The following is the text of a speech made at the dedication of George Sorter's Grave by the Nancy DeGraff Toll Chapter, DAR - abt 1930
LIFE STORY OF GEORGE SORTER, "Revolutionary Soldier."
George Sorter, Revolutionary Soldier and patriot whose memory we honor today, was born in Somerset County, New Jersey in 1756, his forebears having settled in the Romayne and Cruser localities of that county upon their arrival from Holland several years previous.
Somerset County, New Jersey is still the "home" of this family alltho some of its members immigrated to Kentucky and Michigan in the early days when these States were territories and only a few frontier settlements were counted within their boundries.
George Sorter enlisted at the age of nineteen at the beginning of the war of the Revolution as a wagoner and served four years in that capacity. He then "carried gun two years" as the Michigan Military Record reads giving alltogether six years of continued service for his country from 1775 until the surrender of Lord Cornwallis to Gen. George Washington at Yorktown brought the struggle for Independence to an end in 1781.
Soon after the coose of the Revolutionary War, he married Miss Mary Comstock and went to Seneca County, New York whose earlier settlers were mostly soldier to the Revolution from Pennsylvania and New Jersey who received land in payment for their services during the war. Here were born the children of his first marriage Isaac, Daniel, Betsy and Osia.
Isaac the eldest son immigrated to Michigan at a later date and settled on land bordering on the Macon river in Monroe County.
After the death of his first wife George Sorter returned to New Jersey from Seneca County and married Catharine Fisher who also was born in that State in 1793. Miss Fisher's father owned and operated one of the first silk mills in New Jersey and there is a family tradition that her trousseau contained many dresses of this material so heavy and rich that they would stand alone.
To this union were born seven children. The first three, Henry in 1816, John in 1818, and Charity a child of one year came with their parents to Monroe County in the summer of 1822. The little family made their perilous journey from Ovid, Seneca County, New York thru dense forests and over unbroken roads by ox team.
Upon their arrival in this section George Sorter took up a large tract of land between four and five hundred acres about ten miles west of Monroe on the south bank of the River Raisin. Here he built a log cabin without windows as was the custom of the day for protection against the prowling wild animals of the forest and started to clear their land.
He with two other early pioneers were instrumental in building the first school-house in Monroe County, the site of which was appropriately marked a few years ago near the Grape Bridge on the south bank of the River Raisin.
In 1822 the population of Monroe County numbered a few more than 1851 persons all of them living within a radius of ten miles of the little Settlement of Frenchtown now our thriving city of Monroe. Flour and sugar were scarce articles of food in those days and the early settlers took turns making the trip to Detroit on horseback for these commodities.
Three sons and a daughter were born to this courageous pioneer couple after they established their home in Monroe County, Peter in 1823, who when he grew to nmanhood settled and lived in Adrian, Elisha in 1825, Andrew in 1827 and Lucretia in 1830.
George Sorter and his wife lived to have grand children and great grand children surround them. His son John and his wife Mary Lavina remained at the request of the father, on the original farm and gave them loving care in their declining years.
The wife Catharine died on November 15, 1850 and nearly one year later the husband and father, George Sorter, passed away on September 15, 1851 at the age of 95 years.
It may truly be said that the Sorter family "they were a patriotic family," eight of its members answered the call to arms in defense of our country in five generations in five wars.
George Sorter in the Revolution, his son Henry in the Mexican War of 1846-48, his grandson the late Justus Sorter of Monroe in the Civil War and his sons in turn, Arthur and Roy, in the Spanish-American Conflict. Three great, great grandsons of thei patriot served in the World War.
1. While George Sorter did not move to Monroe County, Michigan with his family until 1822 he owned property there in 1819. The original 1819 survey map of Monroe County, Michigan identifies George as owning Section 1, Dundee Township. This property bordered the Macon Indian Reservation on the east. Why he did not settle on this original piece of property is unknown. However, the River Raisin may have provided better transportaion links than the smaller Macon River which crossed the original piece of property.
2. His son Isaac settled on the north bank of the River Raisin, in Section 10, Raisinville Township. This property was owned by Solon Sortore in 1876.
3. Elisha Sortore settled on the south bank of the River Raisin in an area known to local residents as "Pumpkin Hook", Section 9, Raisinville Township.
(Transcribed by Ronald J. Sortor)
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