Everett Schermerhorn Stackpole.

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

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Online LibraryEverett Schermerhorn StackpoleHistory of the town of Durham, New Hampshire : (Oyster River Plantation) with genealogical notes → online text (page 13 of 34)
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I. C. Clarke, and here is a little sample of it :

I see through a tangled, wooded glen

The glint of weapons shine.

And a long array of stalwart men

Marching in warlike line.

They stretch 'twixt the hills from crest to crest,

Their sweat is thick upon brow and breast.

Their muskets trailing low.

They peer through the forests round about

For pitfalls of the foe.

Their horses tug at the traces stout

Of cannon rumbling slow.

And swarms of boats and rustic floats

Up the babbling river come,

And I catch the thrilling of bugle notes

And the rolling of the drum.

On through the thickets a way they trace;

They pause at the river's bars.

They follow a man of the Fighting Race,

And he follows a flag of stars.

The inscription upon the monument is as follows:


















Gen. Alexander Scammell, son of Dr. Samuel Scammell, who
came from Plymouth, England, in 1738, and settled at Milford,
Mass., was born in 1744. He graduated at Harvard, in 1769.
He taught school at Kingston, Mass., in 1770, at Plymouth,
Mass., in 1771 and at 'Berwick, Me., in 1772. For a year he was
employed as a surveyor in exploring the territory of Maine and

Xewtown Battlefield Monlment
Elmira, New York. Dedicated August 29th, 191 2

Iltustralion by the courtesy of the American Irish Historical Society
Reproduction by Anna Frances Levins



New Hampshire, and was one of the proprietors of Shapleigh, Me.
He then became a student in the law office of Maj. John Sullivan
at Durham. The will of Samuel Meaderof Durham was witnessed
in the law office of Gen. John Sullivan, 18 May, 1773, by John
Smith, Alexander Scammell and Jn° Sullivan. He is first men-
tioned in the records of Durham as one of the committee to apply

Gen. Alexander Scammell

the Association Test, 28 November 1774. Tradition says that he
pulled down the flag at the capture of Fort William and Mary,
December 1774. He was at the battle of Bunker Hill as brigade
major and served under Gen. Sullivan in the siege of Boston. He
was promoted to deputy adjutant-general in 1776. He crossed
the Delaware in the same boat with Washington as his special aid,
and took part in the battles of Trenton, Princeton and Saratoga.


In the campaign against Gen. Burgoyne he was colonel of the
First and then of the Third New Hampshire troops and was by
the side of Lieut-Col. Winborn Adams when he fell at Bemis
Heights. He himself had been wounded \et kept the field and
witnessed the surrender of Burgoyne. In 1778 he was commis-
sioned adjutant-general of the army. At the battle of Monmouth
he was aid to Washington, rallied the troops and led the charge.
Washington said of him, "The man who inspired us all to do our
full duty was Alexander Scammell." He commanded the Light
Infantry in the march into Virginia, was wounded and captured
at the battle of Yorktown and died of his wound six days after,
6 October 1781, aged 35. He was buried at Williamsburg, Va.

He was six feet and two inches in stature, of fine proportions,
graceful and attractive, full of ardor, courage and perseverance,
a favorite with Washington, popular with the officers, honorably
remembered by Lafayette. His was a brief, brilliant and noble
career, and it reflects honor on the town vv^here he lived and loved.
Some permanent memorial erected in Durham is due him. The
Scammell Grange is named in honor of him and thus honors itself

The following letter, written to Maj. John Sullivan, then in
the Continental Congress, well shows the quality of Scammell's
heart and mind, as well as the commotion caused at Durham by
news of the battle of Lexington :

Portsmouth, N. H., May 3, 1775.
Honoured Sir: Your leaving New Hampshire at a time when your presence
was so extremely necessary to cherish the glorious ardcjur which you have been
so instrumental in inspiring us with, spread a general gloom in Durham, and in
some measure damped the spirit of liberty through the Province; and nothing
but the important business in which you arc imbarked would induce us to dis-
pense with your presence with any degree of patience or resignation.

But when the horrid din of civil carnage surprised us on the 20th of .April the
universal cry was — Oh if Major Sullivan was here! I wish to God Major
Sullivan was here! ran through the distressed multitude.

April court which was then sitting adjourned immediately. To arms! to
arms! was breathed forth in sympathetick groans.

I went express to Boston, by desire of the Congressional committee, then
sitting at Durham, proceeded as far as Bradford, where I oijtained credible
information that evening. Ne.xt morning I arrived at E.xeter, where the
Provincial Congress was assembling with all possible haste. There I reported
what intelligence I had gained; that the American army at Cambridge, Woburn
and C'harlestown was more in need of provisions than men; that fifty thousand
had assembled in tliirt>-six hours: and that the Regulars, who had retreated
from Concord, had encamped on Bunker's Hill in Charlestown.



The Congress, upon this report, resolved that the Durham company, then
at Exeter (armed completely for an engagement, with a week's provisions)
should return home and keep themselves in constant readiness. All the men
being gone from the westward and southward of Newmarket and men-of-war
expected hourly into Portsmouth, it was with the greatest difficulty your Dur-
ham soldiers were prevailed upon to return. Six or seven expresses arrived at
Durham the night after our return; some desiring us to march to Kittery; some
to Hampton; some to Ipswich, etc., which places, they said sundry men-of-war
were ravaging. The whole country was in a continual alarm, but suspecting.

that the marines at Portsmouth might take advantage of the confusion we
were in and pay Durham a visit, we thought proper to stand ready to give them
a warm reception and supposing that your house and family would be the
first mark of their vengeance, although I had been express the whole night be-
fore, I kept guard to defend your family and substance to the last drop of my
blood.. Master Smith being under the same apprehensions, did actually lay
in ambush behind a warehouse and came very near sinking a fishing boat
anchored 'off the river, which he supposed heaped full of marines. Men,,
women and children were engaged day and night in preparing for the worst.

Many towns in this Province have enlisted minute-men and keep them
under pay; and the Congress before this would actually have raised an army


had they not waited for the General Court which sits tomorrow, in order to
raise as much money as they can to pay off their army when raised.

I am extremely mortified that I am unable to join the army at Cambridge.
The particulars of the skirmish between the Regulars and the Americans will^
long before this, have reached you.

In longing expectation your safe, happy and speedy return is hoped for by
all your friends but by none more sincerely than

Vour dutiful humble servant,

Alex. Scammell.
To John Sullivan at Philadelphia or New York.

Col. Hercules Alooney is said to have been a tutor in the family
of a nobleman in Ireland. A person of his name was in Trinity
College, Dublin, in 1732. He is described as a "tall, stately
man." He came to America in 1733 and began teaching in
Somerswortii. He signed the petition to make Madbury a parish
in 1743. He removed to Durham, where he taught from 1751 to
1766. He received a captain's commission in 1757 and took
part in the Crown Point Expedition, being captured and robbed
when Fort William Henry was taken. Was selectman in Durham
in 1765. After the separation of Lee he taught in that town and
was selectman there, 1769-75, and represented Lee several times
in the General Assembly. March 14, 1766 he was appointed
major in Col. David Oilman's regiment, and on the 29th of Sep-
tember was promoted to be lieutenant-colonel and marched to-
Ticonderoga with his regiment. June 23, 1778 he was appointed
colonel in the expedition to Rhode Island. He served on the
Committee of Safety in Lee, was a justice of the peace and a
grantee of Holderness, whither he removed in 1785. Here also
he was selectman and representative four times. He died in
April 1800, and was buried on his farm about a third of a mile
from Ashland village, under a willow tree. The farm is now
owned by Samuel H. Baker. A rough slab marks his grave.
His sons, Benjamin and John, served in the Revolutionary Army^
the former as lieutenant. Col. Hercules Mooney was one of
Ireland's many precious gifts to young America, a leader in
thought and activity, a moulder of character in the training of
Nouth, a wise builder of the Granite State, a valiant commander in
battle, a peaceful and highly useful citizen in the towns he served .-

Col. Thomas Tash, born 5 July 1722, was of a family that came
from near Belfast, Ireland, according to tradition. The original
name was Mclntash. His father was Jacob Tash, who married
(2) Patience, daughter of James and Mary (Smith) Thomas, in


1727. Col. Tash married (i) Mrs. Anne Parsons, the wealthy
widow of Capt. Parsons of Portsmouth, (2) Martha, daughter
of Joshua and Elizabeth (Kenniston) Crommett. He appears
in a scouting party, under Samuel Miller in 1744. He was
a captain in 1758, in the French and Indian War. September
17, 1776, he was appointed colonel of a regiment that served near
New York. He removed to New Durham in 1783 being one of
the original proprietors and their clerk in 1765. His children
were Thomas, James, Jacob, William, Martha, Betsey, Mary
who married Josiah Edgerly 12 July 1793, and Patience. Col.
Tash died in October 1809, aged 87 years.

He lived for a time in Newmarket being engaged in trading
and shipping and represented that town in the legislature in
1776. He erected the first saw- and grist-mill in New Durham.
He was taxed for real estate in Durham as late as 1 783. He repre-
sented New Durham, W^olfeboro, etc., in the legislature in 1778.
He was a justice of the peace and actively engaged in manu-
factures and agriculture, a busy leader in stirring times.

Lieut. -Col. Winborn Adams was born in Durham, son of Dr.
Samuel Adams, grandson of the Rev. Hugh Adams. He was,
doubtless, named for his uncle, Winborn Adams, a schoolmaster,
who died in 1736, thus perpetuating the maiden name of his
grandmother, Susanna Winborn. He is often mentioned in
the records of Durham as surveyor of lumber and innholder.
The house he built and used for an inn stands on the south side
of the road, opposite the Sullivan monument. He was at the
capture of the military stores at Fort William and Mary, Decem-
ber 1774, and was commissioned captain of the first company
raised in Durham for the Revolutionary Army. He was pro-
moted to be major in 1776 and lieutenant-colonel 2 April 1777.
He commanded the Second New Hampshire Regiment at the
battle of Stillwater, called also the battle of Bemis Heights, and
fell mortally wounded, 19 September 1777. His name was long
perserved in several branches of allied families. He seems to
have been a brave and popular man. He was a member of the
lodge of St. John (Portsmouth) of Free and Accepted Masons,
and so also were Gen. Sullivan and Gen. Scammell. In a deed
dated 1756 he is called "Chirurgeon."

He married Sarah Bartlett and she continued to keep the inn
for some time after her husband's death, and town meetings
were held at her house. The following petition may be of interest :



To the Hon'>'<> the Council and House of Representatives of the State of
New Hampshire. Ck'ntlemen, Your Petitioner humbly shevveth that her Hus-
band late Lt. Col" Adams of the 2°d New Hampshire Regt fell in battle on the
memorable 19th of Sept 1777, and left her a helpless widow destitute of the
means of procuring a Livelihood as her sole dependence was on her Husbands
pay, her only son having been ever since in the service of this state. — That it
has been with extreme difficulty she has since procured a scanty subsistence with
her own industry & the Charities of her friends. — That she has delay'd peti-
tioning hitherto in hopes that the Honi>i» Legislature of the State would have
made a general provision for the mourning widows & helpless orphans of those
who fell in defence of the Liberty & Property of their Friends & Country. —


But that she is compelled to the disagreeable Necessity of imploring the as-
sistance of that Country in defence of which her late husband fell, and humbly
requesting that the Hon*-'' Legislature would grant her the half pay of her
late husband or such other allowance as they in their superior Wisdom shall
think proper, so as to raise her above the pinching hand of poverty and enable
her to support a Life rendered melancholly and unhappy. And your Petitioner
as in Duty Bound will ever pray &c.
[N. H. Town Papers, XI, 596.] Sar.\h Adams.

Samuel Adams, only son of Lieut. -Col. Winborn Adarfis'

served as lieutenant under Gen. John Sullivan in the campaign


against the Indians and was after the war lieutenant-colonel in
the militia.

Capt. Smith Emerson served in Col. Wingate's regiment at
Seavey's Island. This company was enlisted in October 1775.
It served also at the siege of Boston and was discharged in March
1776. He was appointed captain of Company Six in Col. Thomas
Tash's regiment which was raised in September 1776 and sent to
New York to aid the Continental Army. His commission was
signed by Gen. Washington, under whom his regiment served,
taking an active part in the battles of Trenton and Princeton.
Capt. Emerson settled in Lee, where he was one of the selectmen.

Capt. John Layn was living in Durham as early as 8 March
1760, when he enlisted in Capt. Samuel Gerrish's company,
Col. John Goff's regiment, for the Canada expedition. John
Layn, gunsmith, of Durham, in a petition of 26 May 1761,
states that he was employed as armorer for that regiment and
furnished his own tools, but had received no extra pay for this
service. He was allowed four pounds sterling. [See N. H. Town
Papers, XI, 581.]

He was appointed captain in Col. John Waldron's regiment,
6 March 1776, for six weeks of service at Winter Hill.

He lived in Durham village where now resides Hon. Joshua
B. Smith. He acquired land at Newtown, in what is now Lee,
in 1763 and 1 766, and established the first inn in that town.
The old signboard, bearing the name of Washington and the
date 1779, is still to be seen, but the painting of Washington
on horseback has been effaced therefrom by the elements. He
owned mills at Newtown, where he was living in 1790. He died
before 12 May 1811, when his son, John, was appointed adminis-
trator of his estate. Descendants of the name still live in that

Col. Alpheus Chelsey, born in Durham, was one of the party
that went to Fort William and Mary in December 1774. He was
recommended to the authorities as captain, in 1775, by Gen.
John Sullivan. He had orders to enlist a company of 61 able
bodied men, 2 December 1775, to serve under Washington. He
appears as lieutenant-colonel in Col. John Waldron's regiment
6 March 1776. He is repeatedly called colonel in the records of
Durham. He married Deborah Meserve and died in Barnstead
in 1792.


Andrew Drew was born in Dover 25 March 1758, and died at
Durham Point, 19 December 1854. -^^ age of 18 he enHsted in
Capt. Caleb Hodgdon's company, in Col. Joshua Wingate's
regiment, stationed on Seavey's Island in December 1775. He
took part in the expedition to Rhode Island and was in the
battle of Newport. He served nine months in Capt. Peter
Drown's company. Col. Stephen Peabody's regiment. He re-
ceived a bounty from the town of Durham and was a pensioner
from 1836 till the time of his death. He was buried in the Smith
cemetery, near the south shore of the mill-pond.

Samuel Demeritt was born 17 June 1756. He enlisted in Capt.
Winborn Adams' company, 2 June 1775 and served near Boston.
In 1776 he was on the roll of Capt. William McDuffee's company,
Col. Tash's regiment, and probably joined the army in New York.
He entered the naval service and was on the ship 'Raleigh as a
marine, time of entry 31 July 1777, stature, five feet, eight inches
and three fourths. He died i November 1801 at Wednesday
Hill, Lee. [See Genealogical Notes.]

Henry Durgin was a private in the Eighth Company, Second
regiment in 1 780-1 781, having enlisted for the war. Supplies
were furnished him by the town in 1781. He certified, 30 Jan-
uary 1786, that he was a soldier from Durham in Capt. Fogg's
company and was wounded in one foot "when at home on a fur-
lough in the year 1782 & that Docf Nathaniel Kidder of New-
market had the care of the wound until it was healed." [N. H.
Town Papers, XI, 591.]

James Leigh ton was born in Dover 12 October 1749 and died
22 February 1824. He was buried in the village cemetery at
Durham. He was a tailor by trade, and enlisted in Capt. Win-
born Adams' company in 1775 and remained in service during
1776. Afterward he entered the naval serv-ice and served three
years under Commodore John Paul Jones, on the Ra^iger and on
the Bon Ilomme Richard. He was one of the marines who took
the plate from Lord Selkirke on the coast of Ireland, and when it
was ordered to be returned he was one of the party sent to deliver
it. He was quick tempered, fearless and always ready for

Lieut. Tobias Leigh ton, born in Dover 9 May 1736, enlisted
as sergeant in same com]jany as his brother, James. Was lieu-
tenant 19 September 1776 and marched with Col. Long's


regiment to Ticonderoga. He married Ann Tuttle and died in
Madbury, in 1812. [See Genealogical Notes.]

Valentine Leigh ton of Durham was mustered into Col. Moon-
ey's regiment i July 1779. He was in the expedition to Rhode
Island serving five months and twenty days. He afterwards en-
listed for the war and 2 June 1781 was in Capt. Rowell's company,
in Col. Reid's regiment. He married, 15 April 1784, Sally Wille,
who was buried 3 February 1785. An only child was buried 14
November 1785.

Lieut. John Griffin was born at Gloucester, Mass., 25 July 1740.
He was lieutenant in Capt. Winborn Adams' company, in 1775.
He married, 18 May 1767, Hannah Gerrish of Berwick, Me.,
born 20 June 1746. She died 11 March 1830. The following
children were recorded in Durham: Adoniram, born 28 March
1768, married 18 August 1799, Ruth Currier, and died 20 June
1 851; Nancy, born 5 November 1769, married Isaac Chesley,
Jr., 17 November 1796; Hannah, born 18 September 1771,
died young; William, born 13 October 1772, died young; William,
born 6 April 1774; Winborn, born 13 October 1776; Mary, born
23 September 1780; and John, born 17 June 1782, published to
Keziah Jenkins of Lee, 18 November 1806. Lieut. Griffin died
in 1788 and was buried in Durham. He is called captain in
1782 and was selectman 1782-87. In the taxlist of 1787 he is
"Col. John Griffin."

Ens. John Starbird, born 7 February 1755, was the son of
Lieut. John Starbird, who died 17 October 181 1, aged 87 years,
eight months, a soldier in the French and Indian Wars. He
enlisted as corporal in Capt. Winborn Adams' company, 1775.
He appears as ensign in Capt. Caleb Hodgdon's company,
Col. Pierce Long's regiment 25 September 1776. His company
was stationed at Portsmouth and marched to Ticonderoga in
1777. After the war he was made lieutenant and was a pensioner.
He lived not far from the old railroad station and was a shoe-
maker. He died 17 October 1841 and is buried in the village
cemetery, without a gravestone. His wife, Rebecca, died 9
February 1825, aged 68. Their children were Sally, who married
Stephen Hodgdon in 1810; Lois, who married (i) Calvin Picker-
ing, (2) Hazen, (3) Levi Cram; Stephen, who married

(i) Tamsen Nute who died 24 February 1848, (2) Caroline
(Teague) Davis, widow of Daniel Davis. Stephen Starbird died


15 December 1869, aged 81 years, 8 months. Other sons of Ens.
John Starbird were John, who married 23 December 1836, Olive,
daughter of Edward Winslow Emerson, and Samuel, a sea captain
in merchant service, who died 15 November 1825, aged 44 years.
All the sons took part in the War of 18 12, Stephen on the Canada
frontier, and John and Samuel in the privateer service.

Samuel Scales was born in Durham, 1754. He was a private
in Capt. Smith Emerson's company, 5 November 1775, enlisting
from Lee. He died in March, 1778. His wife was Hannah Lang-
ley, who married (2) 1784 Samuel Hill of Loudon, N. H. Samuel
Scales was buried in the old town cemetery in Lee. A common
field stone, with the initials S. S., marks his grave. A posthu-
mous son, Samuel, was born April, 1778.

Samuel Thompson was born in Durham about 1755. He served
seven years in the Revolutionary Army, eighteen months in Col.
Poor's regiment and five years in Maj. Whitcomb's rangers. In
1820 he was living in Sandwich, N. H., aged 64. He then had a
wife, aged 50, and daughter, aged 13. He was a farmer and
much troubled with rheumatism.

James Thompson, brother to the above, son of James and
Mary (Clark) Thompson, was in Capt. Winborn Adams' company
in 1775, then aged 26. He served three years in the army.

Vincent Torr enlisted at the age of 17 in Capt. Winborn Adams'
company, 20 July 1775, and served at Winter Hill, Mass. He
recnlisted for three years, 8 February 1777, in Capt. Frederick
M. Bell's company. Col. Hale's regiment. He was at Ticonder-
roga and in the battle of Stillwater, or Bemis Heights, and wintered
at Valley Forge. Died in Newmarket, 11 May 1829. [See
Genealogical Notes.]

Samuel Williams was on the muster roll of Lieut. Piper's
company, at Portsmouth in 1780. He enlisted 20 July of that
year for six months. He or his family received supplies from
Durham, March 1778 and onward till 1781. His wife's name was
Sobriety (Bamford?). He was of Barnstead in 1781 as a recruit
for Durham.

Lemuel B. Mason, son of Robert and Susanna (Bickford)
Mason, was born in Durham, February 1759. He was an infant
when his father died and was but sixteen years old when he en-
listed, probably from Newington, soon after the battle of Bunker
Hill. He remained in the army eight years, till the proclamation


of peace. He participated in the battles of Trenton, Princeton,
Monmouth, and Stillwater. He was present at the surrender of
Burgoyne and was with Gen. Sullivan in his expedition against
the Indians. His captain taught him to read and write and he
became sergeant, clerk and lieutenant. In leading scouting
parties against the Indians he had bullets put through his coat
and hat but was never wounded. Once he saved himself by
hiding in a hollow log all night. He returned to Newington
penniless and despoiled of his inheritance. Here he married (i)
Sarah Nutter, who died childless. He married (2) 16 November
1786 Mary Chamberlain in New Durham and had thirteen chil-
dren. He removed from New Durham to Alton, where he served
several years as selectman, and thence to Gilford. He served
one year as captain in the War of 1812. He lived at Gilford
many years, receiving in old age a pension of $320. He had a
justice's commission in 1838. He died in Moultonborough, 30
March 1851, aged 92 years, 2 months. His wife died 4 February
1 85 1, aged 82 years.

David Davis, born 25 August 1760, was a pensioner. He
served in Capt. Archelaus Woodman's company. Col. John
Waldron's regiment in January 1776. In August of that year
he enlisted in Capt. Smith Emerson's company. Col. Thomas
Tash's regiment, and in December of the same year he was in
Capt. Samuel Wallingford's company, Col. David Gilman's
regiment. In August 1777 he again entered service as private
in Capt. George Tuttle's company, Col. Stephen Evans' regi-
ment, which took part in the battle of Saratoga. In June 1778
he enlisted for eight months in Capt. Stephen Jenkins' company,
Col. Thomas Poor's regiment. In July 1779 he enlisted for the

Online LibraryEverett Schermerhorn StackpoleHistory of the town of Durham, New Hampshire : (Oyster River Plantation) with genealogical notes → online text (page 13 of 34)