Everett Schermerhorn Stackpole.

History of the town of Durham, New Hampshire : (Oyster River Plantation) with genealogical notes online

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pence each.

On "the muster roll of eight men under the command of John
Huggins of Durham who begun July ye nth 1745 to scout in ye
woods from Rochester to Winnipissoke" are the names of John
Huggins, Edward Leathers, Abel Leathers, James Brown, Moses
Varney, Joseph Langley, Daniel Hays, Charles Baker and Ephraim
Alley. Some of these men lived in Dover. They served fourteen
days for twelve shillings, six pence.

Capt. Jonathan Chesley had command of another party of
scouts that ranged "the frontiers about Merrimack" in 1745.
He was elected Representative and served in the House during
most of King George's War.

"Seargeant John Thompson" commanded another scouting
party of eleven men around Barrington and Rochester twenty-
eight days in 1746 and earlier. Four times money was voted
to him and his men for such ser\'ices.

December 2, 1747, the House "voted that ye Muster Roll of
Joseph Thomas & twenty men under his Command scouting from
Durham to Chester, Epsom & Nottingham, amounting to twenty
two Pounds fifteen Shillings & gd in full be allowed."

Scouting parties were commanded also by Samuel Randall
and Joseph Sias. More will be said of these men elsewhere.

8



114 HISTORY OF DURHAM

Capt. Jonathan Chesley was paid for guarding the frontiers,
in 1748, with seventy-three men. Other men who served in
such scouting parties were Ephraim Davis and Nathaniel Hug-
gins [Huckins].

Capt. Joseph Bickford's muster roll, 1756, for defense of Epsom,
contains names of Durham men, Joseph Randall, Ed. Pender-
gast, Benjamin Hall, Gideon Leighton, Joseph Doe, and Samuel
Bickford.

For further information about the military rolls of this period
see Adjutant General's Report, Vol. H, 1866, and N. H. Province
Papers.

The following documents are copied from the historical col-
lections of Col. Lucien Thompson and may be of interest to the
reader. The first document has no date, but, from the names in
it, appears to have been written before 9 September 1757:

Provinc of 1 To Quarter
New Hampshire J Samuel Demeritt

In his Majstys name you are Required to See that the men that are apinted
to go on Duty are fited as the Law Directs Emeadately to march atta quartr
of an ouer notis heare of faill not and you w'ill oblige your Humble Servant

Daniel Rogers Cap',
the men apinted are

Stephen Wille 9 men under your

Joseph wormwood Jun' command from

Edward Hill Durham are

Stephen Sweet [Swett]

Stephen Leathers Stephen Wille Junr

Thomas Leathers Benjam Buzell

Jonathan Langly Stephen Leathers

Benjamin Buzell Edward Hill

Jonathan Rendal Joseph Wormwood Jun

to march according to order

The two following documents contain, in the original, the
autograph signatures of the subscribers. They show the military
spirit that prevailed and the undesigned preparation for the ap-
proaching conflict with Great Britain. For drill in time of peace
they seem to have preferred cavalry to infantry. They were
"Gentleman Troopers," getting ready to be future officers, as
many hoped.

We the Subscribers Do hereby Signify our Consent & Desire to Join in a
Company of horse that may be Raised in the Town of Durham & Parish of



HISTORY OF DURHAM



115



Madbury under Such officers as may be Appointed by the Honourable Benning
wentworth Esq^ Governor & Commander in and Over the province of ncw-
hampshire & Do hereby manifest our Desire that Such a Company may be
Raised & that we will be properly Equipt in a Reasonable Time to Join in
Such a Company in witness whereof we hereunto Subscribe our names this
27«i> Day of Sep* 1764.



Daniel Meserve Jun
Robert Hill.
Beniamjn Gerrish.
Jonathan meserve
Samuel Jones
John Emerson
John Roberts Jun'
Timothy Moses Jun'
John Hill
Beniam Chesia Jun'



Job Demerit Jun«-
Samuel Emerson
Joseph Demerit
Solomon Demerit
Zachariah Boodey
Robert Hill
John Demerit
Clemet Meserve Jun
Ebenezer Miserue.
Abednego Leathers.



Durham, April 17, 1765.
We the under Named Subscribers do hereby Inlist our Selves under the Com-
mand of Captain Samuel Demerit Esq', in a Troop of horse in the Province of
New Hampshire to Ride as Troopers under his Command of which Troop the
Honourable Clement March Esq', is Colonel.



Solomon Demeret
Samuel Clark
Joseph Jackson.
Stephen Wille Jun'
Giordon Mathes
hezekiah randel.
Robert Hill
David Davis 'd
Edward hill
Thomas Lathers
James Davis Jun'
Mason Rendel
Joseph Lebbey
Jonathan Meserve
william Rendel Jun'
Jol) Demeret Jun'
John Ring
Philip yeaton
Benning Brackett.
Samuel Emerson.



Timothy Moses Jun'
John Emerson

Trumpeter of this Trope
Richard Hull
James Bonely
.Alpheas Chesley
Joseph Wormwood
Volintine Mathes Jun'
Nathe Daniels
Clement Meserve.
Ichabod Bussell
John Edgerley
Joshua Wiggin
thomas gorge
John Williams
David Daniels
Jonathan Williams
Samuel Snell
Josiah Burley
George tutle.

Gentleman Troopers^



Il6 HISTORY OF DURHAM



The Revolution

On the eighteenth day of July 1774, Ebenezer Thompson,
Esq., and John SulUvan, Esq., were elected to attend a conven-
tion at Exeter for the purpose of choosing delegates to attend the
General Congress to be held at Philadelphia the first day of
September next. This was the first step taken by Durham as a
town toward the liberation of the American Colonies from the
oppressive yoke of Great Britain.

Soon after contributions were sent by various towns for the
relief of those who suffered from the Boston Port Bill. The
following letter, dated 21 November 1774, shows Durham's
sympathy with "suffering brethren in Boston."

Gentlemen: We take pleasure in transmitting to you by Mr. Scammell
a few cattle, with a small sum of money, which a number of persons in this
place, tenderly sympathizing with our suffering brethren in Boston, have con-
tributed towards their support. With this, or soon after, you will receive
the donations of a number in Lee, a parish lately set off from this Town, and
in a few days those of Dover, Newmarket, & other adjacent Towns. What you
herewith receive comes not from the opulent, but mostly from the industrious
yeomanry in this parish. We have but a few persons of affluent fortunes
among us, but those have most cheerfully contributed to the relief of the dis-
tressed in your metropolis.

This is considered by us, not as a gift, or an act of charity, but of justice,
as a small part of what we are in duty bound to communicate to those truly
noble & patriotic advocates of American freedom, who are bravely standing
in the gap between us & slavery, defending the common interests of a whole
continent and gloriously struggling in the cause of liberty. Upon you the eyes
of all America are fixed. Upon your invincible patience, fortitude & resolution
(under God) depends all that is dear to them and their posterity. May that
superintendent gracious Being, whose ears are ever open to the cry of the op-
pressed, in answer to the incessant prayers of his people, defend our just cause,
turn the counsels of our enemies into foolishness, deliver us from the hands
of our oppressors and make those very measures, by which they are endeavor-
ing to compass our destruction, the means of fixing our invaluable rights &
privileges upon a more firm <& lasting basis.

While with the most painful sensations we reflect that prior to the commence-
ment of the evils which now surround us, supineness & inattention to our com-
mon interests had so far prevailed, as almost wholly to sink in luxury & dissi-
pation the inhabitants of these Colonies; we are bound to acknowledge the
divine wisdom & goodness, which by these calamities roused us from our
lethargy, and taught us to defend those inestimable liberties, which otherwise
must have been forever lost to us & our posterity; and to evince his determina-



HISTORY OF DURHAM II7

tion to save America, directed the attacks of our enemies to that quarter
where the virtue & firmness of the inhabitants could brave the shafts of mili-
tary tyrants, and set at defiance the threats of an exasperated & despotic
minister.

\Vc are pleased to find, that the methods by which the ministry sought to
divide, have happily united us, and by every new act of oppression, more &
more strengthened union. And we can, with truth, assure you, gentlemen,
that in this quarter we are engaged, to a man, in your defence, and in defence
of the common cause. We are ready to communicate of our substance largely,
as your necessities require; and, with our estates, to give our lives & mingle
our blood with yours, in the common sacrifice to liberty. And since we have
no asylum on earth, to which we may fly: before we will submit to wear the
chains of slavery a profligate & arbitrary ministry are preparing for us, we are
determined upon an emigration through the gate of death, in hope of inheriting
the fair land of promise and participating with our forefathers in the glorious
liberty of the Sons of God.

That Heaven may support you, under your distressing circumstances, and
send you a speedy and happy deliverance from your present troubles, is the
earnest prayer of. Gentlemen, your cordial friends and very humble servants,

John Adams,

John Sullivan, Committee.

[IMass. Hist. Col'., Fourth Series, Vol. I., p. 144.]

It is probable that this letter was composed and written by the
Rev. John Adams, in consultation with John Sullivan and many
others in Durham. Note the unanimity of sentiment expressed.
It is a noble document, and the church and town should be proud
and grateful that a man of such spirit and abilities was a leader
among them at a critical time. John Sullivan wielded the sword
and earned all the honors he has received. John Adams remained
in the work of the Christian ministry, serving his country as
faithfully as the other, and four 3'ears later was forced out of
Durham by a false and slanderous tongue. Is the pen mightier
than the sword? This eloquent epistle is worthy to be ranked
with the utterances of the most famous orators and patriots of
revolutionary times.

On the twenty-third of the following November a town meet-
ing was called "to make choice of committee to observe the con-
duct of All persons touching the association of the late American
Congress held at Philadelphia and to proceed with those who
Violate the same in the way pointed out by the said Congress."
This meeting convened at two o'clock of the afternoon of 28 No-
vember 1774 and adjourned to the house of Lieut. Winborn



Il8 HISTORY OF DURHAM

Adams, who lived just across the road from the meeting house,
possibly because it was late in the year and those assembled
could keep warm more easily in Adams' house, for meeting houses
then had neither stoves nor chimneys. The record of the meeting
is as follows, lacking somewhat in clearness. No Association
Test, signed by inhabitants of Durham, is found in the office of
Secretary of State of New Hampshire, though eighty-six towns
are so represented :

There James Gilmor Esq'. Valentine Mathes Esq^. George Frost Esq'. Jno
Sullivan Esq^ Ebenezer Thompson Esq^ Capt. Thomas Chesley, Jn" Smith
3d. Majf Stephen Jones. Voted that Majr Jones be Excused from serving
Tho» Hardy chose. Mr Jonathan Chesley Lt. Winborn Adams Mr Moses
Emerson Mr Alexander Scammell Mr Stephen Cogan Mr Joseph Stevens —
chosen a Committee for the purpose within mentioned. Maj' Stephen Jones
put to Vote again and rechosen and Mr. John Griffin Jeremiah Burnum Lt.
Samuel Chesley Doctor Samuel Wigglesworth Jonathan Woodman 3<f Nath'
Hill Timothy Medar Nathi Demerit & Francis Mathes — -Voted Rev* John
Adams Ebenezer Thompson Esq' Major Sullivan Jn° Smith 3'i and Mr
Moses Emerson be a Committee of Correspondence to Correspond with the
Committees of the severall Towns in this find the other Governments in
British America, the Determination of three of the s'' Committee to be suffi-
cient. Resolved that the select Men of Durham ought forthwith to add to
the Town stock of Powder so as to make it up 200 lbs and to lay in 400 lb
bullets & 500 flints.

Last Monday of each month to meet. Mr Emerson chosen Chairman of
the Committee of Inspection. [Town Records, Vol. H, p. 94.]

The opportunity to add to the town's stock of powder soon
presented itself. Down at New Castle, at the mouth of the
Pascataqua River, stood Fort William and Mary, known to con-
tain valuable military stores. On the thirteenth of December,
1774, Paul Revere brought to Portsmouth a message from the
Committee in Boston, that troops were to be sent to reinforce the
fort, and that orders in the King's Council prohibited the ex-
portation of gunpowder and military stores to America. Gov.
Wentworth sent word to Captain John Cochran, who commanded
only five men at the fort, to be on his guard. He put three four-
pounders where he thought they would do the most good and
awaited the expected assault.

On the fourteenth of December about four hundred men
assembled in Portsmouth under the leadership of Hon. John
Langdon. Tradition says that Thomas Pickering also had a



HISTORY OF DURHAM 1 19

leading part, for which the evidence is not so full. They went
to the fort in gondolas and naturally did not face the cannon's
mouth, when there was an easier way of approach. The cannon
and small arms were discharged at command of Capt. Cochran,
but nobody was hurt. Indeed, he probably aimed so as to hurt
nobody, thus saving himself and his men from harm. Capt.
Cochran reported in writing, "Before we could be ready to fire
again, w^e were stormed on all quarters, and they immediately
secured both me and my men, and kept us prisoners about one
hour and a half, during which time they broke open the powder-
house and took all the powder away, except one barrel; and hav-
ing put it into boats and sent it off, they released me from
confinement." This was written the very day of the assault and
is, doubtless, literally true.

About one hundred barrels of gunpowder — the number varies
a little in different statements — were sent to Maj. John Sullivan
at Durham, which he deposited in places of security, as he after-
ward wrote. He further says, " I went down with a large number
of men and in the night following went in person with gondolas,
took possession of the fort, brought away the remainder of the
powder, the small arms, bayonets, and cartouch-boxes, together
with the cannon and ordnance stores; was out all night, and
returned to Portsmouth next day. I might here add that I
bore the expense of all the party. The gondolas, with the stores,
were brought to Durham, after several days spent in cutting the
ice, Durham river being then frozen over; the cannon, etc., was
then deposited in places of security. These are facts known to
almost every person in the State." This was published in the
New Hampshire Mercury, 3 May 1785.

It appears, then, that the Durham people had no part in the
first assault on Fort William and Mary, and that the second as-
sault, by the company from Durham under the leadership of
Maj. John Sullivan, during the night of 15 December 1774, met
with no resistance. Effort has been made by writers of prose and
of poetry to magnify this deed and to secure honor therefor to
various towns. That four hundred men should overcome six
men, who made onlv a feint of resistance, is not in itself a deed






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HISTORY OF DURHAM 121

to boast of. There was no fighting, no danger, no display of
bravery. The courage required was not physical, but moral.
It was an aggressive act of rebellion against the strongest nation
on earth. If the revolt failed, the leaders at least knew that they
would lose their lives, but they knew well that the thirteen colo-
nies were with them in this enterprise. It was one of the first
public acts in the great struggle for national independence. If
there had been a little blood shed on both sides, this would have
been celebrated even more than the fight at Concord and Lexing-
ton. Somebody must be killed before war becomes glorious.
Such at least is the verdict of history.

The powder was stored first in the meeting house at Durham
Falls, as uniform tradition says; some have said under the pulpit;
others, in the cellar; but the meeting houses of that time had no
cellars. One hundred barrels of gunpowder would probably
not remain in or under the meeting house over the Sabbath.
The thought of it would disturb the peaceful devotions of the
worshipers. It was speedily removed and distributed in several
towns. Some of it was stored at the house of Hon. Ebenezer
Thompson, and more was carried to the home of Maj. John
Demerit, who lived in Madbury. The exact site of the building,
where the powder entrusted to him was kept, is now pointed out.
The tradition that he hauled with an ox-team some of this powder
to be used at the battle of Bunker Hill seems to be trustworthy.
That some of it was sent later to Winter Hill at the request of Gen.
Sullivan is clear by historical evidence. The arms brought from
the fort to Durham were repaired and put in order, as appears
from a town record under date of 31 March 1783, "Voted that
the select men Be directed to allow Thomas Wille 20/9 in full
for repairing the guns brought from Fort Wm and Mary."

The men who went down to the fort from Durham are men-
tioned in part by Gen. Sulli\an in an article published in the
New Hampshire Spy of 17 March 1789. He says that Ebenezer
Thompson went with the party to Portsmouth, but did not go
down to the fort. Among those who did go to the fort were
"the Rev. Mr. Adams, Dea. Norton, Lieut. Durgin, Capt.
Jonathan Woodman, Mr. Aaron Davis, and, I think, Mr. Foot-
man *of Dover, and many others." Capt. Eleazer Bennett, the



122 HISTORY OF DURHAM

last survivor of those who took part in the capture of the miUtary
stores, who lived to be over one hundred years old, gave an account
of the affair to the Rev. Mr. Tobey of Durham, which was pub-
lished in the Congregational Journal of i8 February 1852. Be-
sides being there himself he mentioned John Sullivan, Winborn
Adams, Ebenezer Thompson, John Demerit of Madbury, Alpheus
Chesley, Jonathan Chesley, Peter French, John Spencer, Micah
Davis, Edward [Ebenezer] Sullivan, Isaac Small and Benjamin
Small. Gen. Sullivan wrote in 1785 that he was assisted by his
three clerks in bringing the stores up the river, and these clerks,
or law-students, were Alexander Scammell, Peter French and
James Underwood.^

January 2, 1775, the town again chose Ebenezer Thompson,
Esq., and John Sullivan, Esq., as deputies to attend a convention
at Exeter, to chose delegates to the General Congress to meet at
Philadelphia, and 26 April 1775, a special meeting of the in-
habitants of Durham chose Moses Emerson as Moderator and
voted as follows:

That Ebenezer Thompson Esq' Mr. Moses Emerson and John Smith 3'^
be Deputies to attend the Provincial Congress at Exeter forthwith. Lt.
Samuel Chesley added to the Committee.

Voted that the Town would Pay any men that Should Set off Equipt as
Soldiers for Boston according as the Provincial Congress shall determine, if
they vote anything otherwise the Town to Allow them a reasonable sum.

Voted that those persons who are about to march and not able to furni.sh
themselves be furnished by the Select Men.

This was seven days after the battle of Lexington. It is evi-
dent that some men from Durham went to Boston soon. How
many were present at the battle of Bunker Hill cannot be told.
There is official record that Alexander Scammell was there as
brigade major. Moses Emerson was appointed commissary
for the army 25 May 1775. Under date of 28 June 1775 he writes
from Medford, Mass., "Ever since the engagement they have
been all hurry and confusion; busie intrenching & preparing to

'Much that is based only in the imagination has been written about this event. The
account here given is taken in substance from Prof. Charles L. Parsons' The Capture of Fori
William and Mary, reprinted from Proceedings of the N. H. Historical Society. His state-
jnjnts are so supported by historical evidences that they can scarcely be questioned. •



HISTORY OF DURHAM



123



receiv'e the enemy. The troops that were in the late engagement
lost their blanketts & Clothes." The reference is to the engage-
ment at Bunker Hill, 17 June.

On 20 May 1775, the convention at Exeter voted to raise three
regiments one of which was commanded by Col. Enoch Poor.
The term of service was to expire in December of the same year.
This regiment was afterward designated as the Eleventh Conti-
nental Foot. Durham contributed nearly a full company, under
command of Capt. Winborn Adams. Col. Poor's regiment was
stationed on the seacoast, from Odiorne's Point to the Merri-
mack River. The very day of the battle of Bunker Hill the Com-
mittee of Safety at Exeter directed Gen. Folsom to order two of
the companies in Col. Poor's regiment, including that of Capt.
Adams, to march to Exeter for further orders, and the next
day, "upon receiving the news of the engagement at Charlestown
directed Col. Poor to order all the companies in his regiment,
except Capt. Elkins', to march immediately to Cambridge."

The following is a list of Capt. Winborn Adams' company,
2 June 1775:



MEN S NAMES.


AGE.


OCCUPATION.


TOWNS IN
WHICH THEY


Capt. Winborn Adams






LIVE.


John Griffin








Zebulon Drew








Stephen Jones Thomas


24


Gent.


Durham


Micah Davis


34


Husbandman


Durham


Trueworthy Davis Durgin


21


Husbandman


Durham


WilUam Adams


19


Taylor


Durham


John Ncal


33


Carpenter


Barnstead


John Starboard


21


Husbandman


Durham


Samuel Demerit


19


Husbandman


Durham


Charles Bamford Jr.


36


Husbandman


Barrington


John Drisco


21


Husbandman


Durham


Tobias Leighton


37


Joiner


Durham


Robert Leathers


40


Husbandman


Durham


Eph"» Tibbits


21


J(jiner


.Ma(li)ury


David Rand


28


Blacksmith


Durham


Daniel Nute


22


Husbandman


•Mad bury


David Cops


25


Turner


Durham


Robert Wille


22


Husbandman


Durham


James Leighton


25


Ta\lor


Durham


Thomas Ellison


21


Husbandman


Barrington


James Thomas


34


Husbandman


Durham


John Collins


25


Taylor


Durham



124



HISTORY OF DURHAM



Jeremy Young


i8


Husbandman


Durham


Joseph Kendall


19


Taylor


Durham


Samuel Sayer


21


Taylor


Durham


Eliphalet Durgin


22


Joiner


Durham


Solomon Runnals


23


Tanner


Durham


Abijah Blaisdell


21


Cordwairier


Durham


Ezekiel Wille


51


Carpenter


Lee


[ohn Demerit


26


Blacksmith


Madbury


Ebenezer Chesley


18


Cordwainer


Durham


Samuel Hill Clark


22


Husbandman


Durham


Sam" Clough


29


Husbandman


Durham


Joseph Bickford


21


Husbandman


Durham


Josiah Burnham


23


Taylor


Lee


Dudley Davis


27


Husbandman


Barrington


John Williams


28


Husbandman


Lee


Thomas Davis


^1


Husbandman


Durham


Nathi Jenkans


26


Husbandman


Barrington


Sam' Smith


2i


Husbandman


Madbury


John Johnson


20


Husbandman


Durham


Joseph Smith


21


Husbandman


Durham


Daniel Pinkham


21


Husbandman


Madbury


Eli Bickford


21


Husbandman


Lee


John Clough


26


Husbandman


Durham


John Colbath


22


Husbandman


Durham


John Buss


u


Husbandman


Durham


Winthrop Wiggan


30


Carpenter


Newmarket


John Glover


24


Husbandman


Durham


Lemuel Nutter


35


Joiner


Newington


Joseph Leighton


22


Husbandman


Newington


Thomas Thompson


2i


Husbandman


Durham


Moses Meader


-3


Husbandman


Durham


Enoch Green


19


Hatter


Durham


John Sias


21


Husbandman


Lee


Thomas Polluck


25


Husbandman


Durham


Daniel Shaw


22


Husbandman


Lee


John Leathers


22


Husbandman


Lee


William Smart


20


Cordwainer


Durham


Nicholas Tuttle


22


Husbandman


Middletown


Enoch Runnals


21


Husbandman


Lee


Isaac Tuttle


22


Husbandman


Dover


Lewis Kynaston


24


Taylor


Newmarket


Joseph Buzzel


46


Husbandman


Madbury


Simon Batchelder



Online LibraryEverett Schermerhorn StackpoleHistory of the town of Durham, New Hampshire : (Oyster River Plantation) with genealogical notes → online text (page 11 of 34)