Frank Smith.

The deeds of our fathers : a Memorial Day address delivered in the Town House, Dover, Massachusetts, May 30, 1904 online

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A Memorial Day Address delivered
in the Town House, Dover, MassachU'

setts. May 30, 1904 by


Printed by the




An attempt is here made to give a complete list of soldiers
buried in Dover Cemetery. While the names of a few of the
Revolutionary Soldiers here given cannot be found on existing
grave stones, yet it is believed that they are buried here be-
cause they died in the town and naturally had no other place
of burial.


David Cleveland *
Lemuel Richards *

Thomas Larrabee *
Daniel Whiting *


Eleazer Allen
Eleazer Allen Jr.
Hezikiah Allen
Timothy Allen
Jeremiah Bacon
Silas Bacon
Jabez Baker
Ebenezer Battle
Ebenezer Battle, Jr.
Hezekiah Battle
John Battle
Jonathan Battle
Josiah Battle
John Brown
Thomas Burridge
Samuel Cheney
Daniel Chickering
John Chickering
Joseph Chickering
Nathaniel Chickering
Samuel Chickerinof

Fisher Avers
John Burrage

George F. Miller
John M. Brown
Fdwin F. Gay
William Watson
John Demesritt
John Frost
William Smith
* Also served in the

Ralph Day
Luke Dean
John Draper
James Draper
Joseph Draper
Josiah Draper
John Fisher
Samuel Fisher
David Fuller
James Mann
John Mason
Nathan Metcalf
Abijah Richards
Ebenezer Richards
Richard Richards
Ebenezer Smith
Henry Tisdale
Aaron Whiting
Ephraim Wilson
Seth Wight

WAR of 1812.

Samuel Fisher, Jr.
Alexander Soule


Calvin Ayres
Horatio Littlefield
William H. Skimmings
F. Russell Smith
Ithamar Whiting
Joseph Copeland
James Howard


The Deeds Of Our Fathers.

Mr. President, Members of the Grand Army and Fellow
Citizens : I have prepared for this occasion an address out of
the common, because I believe that lessons of patriotism, and
loVe of Country, can best be taught here by recalling the deeds
of valor, the acts of patriotism, and the noble sacrifices of men
who once lived where you now live, and walked the streets
which you now walk.

As the physician has a deeper interest in preserving health
than he has in curng diseases, so the soldier, although he may
bear the scars of many battles, and though his form may be
bent by suffering, exposure and hardship, if he is a true soldier,
is more deeply interested in the achievements of peace than of
war. So a study of the things which have made for peace
through the deeds of our fathers cannot be without interest and

When the settlers made their homes at Dedham they found
themselves, as did all the early pioneers, exposed to new and
peculiar dangers. The Indians still inhabited the plains and
set their weirs in the Charles and Neponset rivers. Now the
Indians were faithful to their friends, but vindictive and treach-
erous to their enemies ; so when they found themselves shut
out from their own hunting grounds, and their young warriors
clamored for the chase, with which they had been made famil-
iar by song and story, they grew restless and there were early
rumors of war from hostile Indians. Under these conditions
the settlers bethought themselves of the trainbands, of which
they had been members-in the mother land, and proceeded to
organize like companies for home defence. No sooner had a
settlement been made in Dedham than a trainband was organ-
ized. Land was set apajtfor a training field at the west end of the
village, an area which to this day is unencroached upon, and we
hope will ever remain as the training field of 1636 ; a spot made.

sacred to all the ancestors of early Dover families, because here
the settlers met for many years for weekly training, that thay
might render the more efficient service in the protection of theii*
own homes.

The subject of military protection soon became one of vi-
tal importance to the colony, and as some of the settlers had
been members of the Honorable Artillery Company in London,
it naturally occurred to them to establish a like company here
•which should be a school for the officers of the trainbands, as
■well as for officers of any other troops which might be organized
for their defence. In 1637 the officers of the trainband, the
magistrates, and business men in the several towns, formed a
military association tor the training of officers with meetings
for instruction in discipline and tactics, which greatly added to
the safety of the colony. In 1638, this company, which was
later known as the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company
of Massachusetts, obtained a charter. John Johnson of Rox-
bury, from whom your honored Postmaster, George L. Howe,
and others of this tov/n, are descended, was the first clerk of the
organization. Many Dedham settlers joined this company, from
whom many residents of Dover have been decended as follows:
Joshua Fisher, Daniel Fisher, John Plympton, Andrew Dewin,
George Fairbanks, Anthony Fisher and Daniel Gookin. In la-
ter years George P. Sanger and Ansel K. Tisdale, both natives
of Dover, have been members of this Company Judge Sanger
had the honor of being the captain of the Company in 1854.
Of your summer residents, Capt. John S. Damrell and Charles
S. Damrell are members, the latter having the honor of now
holding the office of first Lieutenant in this ancient Company.
In the spring of 1637 there was an alarm from the Indians.
Watches and wards were ordered to be set up, and an invitation
was sent to Capt. Cakebread, a renowned soldier of Watertown,
to come and be at the head of military affairs in Dedham. This
was probably a false alarm, as no further reference is made to it
in the records, but it shows how watchful the early settlers had
to be.

In 1648 the residents of Dedham petititioned the General

"That whereas our band of Trained Soldiers, has been yet
•deficient for want of officers established, to exercise them, and
as we humbly conceive, that we have some among us that may
be fit to exercise our Company, we have with one consent made
vchoice of Eleazer Lusher for our Captain, and Joshua Fisher
to be our Lieutenant." These offices were no sinecure as the
trainband met as often as weekly during the entire period of
King Philip's War. As time went on the fear of the Indians
increased. The town of Dedham in building a school-house in
1649 made provision for the erection of a leanto, on the west
side of the building which was used as a watch tower. This
addition was carried up two and a half feet higher than the
school house, and so bronght out at a corner of the building, as
to command a view on all sides, and here the lonely sentinel,
guarded during the solemn watches of the night, the humble
homes of the earlier settlers against Indian attacks. J'rom this
tower the sentinel had a view of the plain, between the Charles
and the Neponset rivers, and this favorable situation, together
with the watchfulness of the settlers, saved Dedham from Indian
attacks, while many other frontier towns were burned. In
recalling the dangers to which the first settlers were exposed, I
want to refer to a tragedy, which occurred on a spot probably
familiar to you all, the Chautauqua grounds at Framingham, and
which illustrates the peculiar perils to which our fathers were
•exposed in their settlement in the wilderness. A few days
previous to the first of February, 1676, Thomas Fames, left his
home to go to Boston to obtain a guard and ammunition. Re-
turning a few days later, and ascending a little hill near the
present railroad bridge, "he saw by the smoke, and the slumber-
ing fire, and the perfect silence of death, that a terrible fate
had come to his family; the lifeless bodies of six, and the absense
of at least four others told the entire story. The house was
fired, by hay taken from the barn upon a rack, and the condi-
tion of the snow all about, was evidence of the fearful struggle
for life, and attempts to escape which had been made."

The Pequod Indians caused great trouble to the colonies
even in the first years of the settlement. I have found, however,
no record of any Dedham planter who took part in this war^

although the town must have been represented, because in 1654,.
it was decided to raise two hundred and seventy foot, and forty
horsemen in the several colonies, to prosecute the Pequod War.
The Massachusetts Colony, on account of its wealth and pop-
ulation, was required to furnish two thirds of all the means and
men. On the 9th of October, 1654, the Massachusetts troops
mustered at Dedham, and the next day marched to Providence,
and thence along the westerly shore of Narraganset Bay, to the
Niantic country. Advantap;eous arrangements were made
with the Pequods and the forces disbanded on the 24th of
October, having been engaged in the service only sixteen days.
Governor Hutchinson in his "History of the Colony of Mass-
achusetts Bay" said: "The war with the Indians commonly
called, Philip's War ' endangered the very being of the Colony,.
and it was a question with some whether the Indians would not
prevail to a total extirpation of the English inhabitants."
King Philip was the greatest Indian of whom we have record.
" His sagacity, shrewdness and cunning in his dealings with
the white man is unequalled in Indian strategy. His skill in
uniting the New England tribes, some of whom had been his
lifelong enemies, shows a power for organization and control,
equal, if not superior, to that of the great statesmen and war-
riors of other races. His strong friendship, shielded many of
his benefactors in the hour of greatest peril," When the town
of Swansea was destroyed in 1675, King Philip sent messengers
to inform his friends of the coming doom, and urged them to
flee to places of safety.

The Indians caused so much fear in 1673 that many resi-
dents of Dedham fled to Boston. A little later a garrison was
built, which had a keeper for several years. We have a true
picture of the times in a description of the garrison built by
Benjamin Bullard and George Fairbanks of Dedham (from
whom many Dover families are descended) in their settlement,
in 1658, in what is now Sherborn* and Millis. There were nine
settlers in the vicinity, all of whom located their dwellings,
with reference to natural security against the Indians. These
settlers built their garrison on the north shore of Boggastow
*See Moore's History, Sherborn.

Pond in what is now Millis, It was a spacious and regular
fortress, 65 or 70 feet long, two stories high, and built of faced
stones. It had a double row of port holes on all four sides.
The fortress was lighted and entered at the south overlooking
the pond. The upper story was appropriated for the women and
the children, and had a room partitioned off for the sick. Here
no small number of children of the early settlers were born. Here
In times of alarm they were accustomed to flee for more than
two generations. In this fort they were once besieged by a host
of King Philip's warriors, who despairing of all other means,
attempted to fire the building by running down a declivity
above the garrison a cart of burning flax. Arrested in its
descent by a rock, an Indian ran down to start it. He was im*
mediately shot and killed, after which the Indians retreated.
The walls of this fort were standing as iate as 1785, in which
year they were demolished. Dedham was ordered by the General
Court i:i 1673 to prepare for war. The trainband had more
frequent meetings, a barrel of powder and other ammunition were
purchased, the great gun was put on wheels, and thus the town
made ready for war. The inhabitants were encouraged to
enlist into the troop of horse, commanded by Captain Thomas
Prentice of Cambridge, by an offer of an abatement of their
taxes. This was considered a great inducement as taxes were
very high. A war assessment was levied upon the inhabitants
of Dedham which exceeded one shilling for every pound of val-
uation, a rate in excess of $20 on a thousand, and this simply
for purposes of war.

The forces of the Massachusetts Colony were mustered on
December 10, 1675, on Dedham Plain. From this point they
marched against the Narragansett fort. Assembled on that
historic spot, a proclamation was made to the soldiers in the
name of the Governor, stating that if they played the man,
took the fort and drove the enemy out of the Narragansett coun-
try, which was their great stronghold, they should have a gratu-
ity of land beside their wages. In after years the soldiers were
not forgetful of their claims, nor the Colony unmindful of the
obligation, and so, in recognition of this promise, the town of


Westminster was set apart in 1733 as Narragansett Number
Two. Joseph Smith, who lived here, on the Proctor place, on
Farm Street, in 1776, was one of those who settled on this-
grant. As Senator Hoar has said: "King Philip's plan for the
extermination of the white man was cunningly conceived. It
was baffled only by the heroic and advantageous courage and
skill of men themselves disciplined by life in the forest, led by
men trained in the great military school of which Cromwel^
was master." Every mother in New England must have suffered
the agony of daily and nightly terror for herself and her child-
ren. We realize this fact when we consider the exposure, suffer-
ing and loss of the settlers in the neighboring town of Medfield.
There were, it was said, ten thousand warriors organized by
King Philip, who could issue out at any point from the forest to
attack settlements, extending over Massachusetts, Rhode Island
and Connecticut, a {territory which contained, all told, only
80,000 white people. The first actual outrage in King Philip's war
was committed in Dedham, where a white man was found dead,
in the woods. Later, John Sausaman. the Indian schoolmaster
at Natick, who acted as a spy upon King Philip and betrayed
his councils, was murdered. The agency in this murder was
directly traced to King Philip, who finding himself detected
now began the war by an attack on Swansea. Men from Ded-
ham took part in the bloodiest battles of this war. Twenty-one
from this town are said to have been among Capt. Prentiss'
troops, which made the first attack upon King Philip June 28,.
1675. In 1676 Pomham, who next to King Philip was the most
dreaded of Indian warriors, having sought refuge in the woods
near Dedham, was slain by a party of Dedham and Medfield
men, assisted by friendly Indians.

Of those from Dedham who served in King Philip's War,
was James Draper, who was an early settler in that part of
Dedham which is now Dover; John Bacon who later lived on
the Clay Brook road and settled the farm, for many years
known as the Jonathan Perry place; John Battelle, who settled.
the so-called Farrington farm on Main Street, and Ephraim
Wilson, on Wilsondale street. Andrew Dewin, who for a time
lived near Mr. Sawin's picnic grounds, was credited for military

service in 1676. Many early Dover families were descended?
from Jonathan Fairbanks, John Ellis, Nathaniel Richards, John
Baker, Thomas Herring, Daniel Fuller, Daniel Wight, and
Jeremiah Fisher, all of whom were soldiers in King Philip's
War. The Dedham soldiers for the most part served in Capt.
Henchman's Company. On June 26, 1675, ^^^^ company
started on a march from Boston to Mount Hope. At Dedham
they halted for an hour during an eclipse of the moon. In 1676
Capt. Brattle was sent on an expedition toward Mount Hope-
He was instructed to march to Dedham, where he was to re-
ceive twenty soldiers from the town, with an officer, and others
from Dorchester and Roxbury. But no record exists of this
company. The town assumed, during this period, the respons-
ibility of the payment of wages to the famiiies of soldiers in
their absence. This arrangement assured prompt aid, and the
families of the soldiers were supported without becoming a pub-
lic charge. At the close of King Philip's War in 1676, more-
than half of the towns in Massachusetts had been burned, and
a tenth of all the fighting men in New England had either fallen
in battle or been carried off captives. Thus ended the second
and last war between the whites and the native Indians in
southern New England, in which our fathers were engaged.

Horace Mann uttered the truth that "Whatever you wish to
have appear in the life of a nation must first be introduced
into its schools." The establishment of the first free school in
Dedham in 1644 was the one act, which above all others, has
done most to promote the peace of the nation. Every reform
begins as a feeling. Our Puritan and Pilgrim ancestors felt for
many years in the motherland the need of free schools for the
education of their children. This feeling becfinie an idea when
they settled in New England. It was left, however, to the
Dedham settlers, in town meeting assembled, on January ist,
1644, to establish the first free school, to be supported by gen-
eral taxation, v»'hich the world has ever seen. Fortunately we
have the names of the forty-two freemen whu voted to establish
this school. Neaily all the early Dover settlers were descend-
ants of these men. The list includes the Chickerings, the
Batteries, the Everetts, the Wights, the Fishers, the Gays, the

BuUards, the Wilsons, the Colburns, the Morses, the Hichardes
the Fairbaakses and the Metcalfs. I do not know how it is with
others, but for myself, I am prouder of this one act of my
Puritan ancestors, the establishment of the first free school, than
I am of any other deed of my fathers of which I have ever
Jearned. I believe the free public school has done more for
the peace, prosperity and happiness of this republic than any
lOther institution in our land. We are daily learning in this
republic of ours, the truth of that saying uttered by Emerson :
^* We must supercede politics by education."

I have failed to find the record of any soldier from Dedham
■who took part in King William's war or Queen Anne's war, but
in King George's war the Second Parish, now Norwood, was rep-
resented by five officers, besides the Rev. Mr. Balch, who was the
chaplain of a company at the siege of Louisburg, and it is high-
ly probable that the other parishes were represented, although
no record can be found. In the final struggle between France
and England for possessions in America, in what was called the
French and Indian War, which lasted from 175410 1763, the
Springfield Parish was well represented. It has been said that
at this period one-third of all the able-bodied men of the prov-
ince were in some v/ay engaged in the war. In accordance with
the plan of Braddock's campaign, Crown Point, among other
places, was to be attacked, and Lt. Daniel Whiting and Timothy
Guy, from this Parish, took part in Capl. William Bacon's com
pany in that engagement. Others were engaged at differen,
times at Ticonderoga, Fort Edward, Fort William Henry, Lake
George and Canada, as follows: Timothy Ellis, Lemuel Rich-
ards, David Cleveland, whose father, George Cleveland, died in
the service at Fort William Henry, Oct. 2, 1756, Thomas Larra-
bee, Moses Richards and Nathan Whiting. When in 1763 peace
had been established between France and England, these soldiers
r,eturned to their homes to pursue the vocations of peace, which,
however, they were not destined long to enjoy. I'he men whp
had learned warfare in the French and Indian wars, weire
among the first to take up arms against the mother land in 1775.
No danger, no hardship, no suffering was too great for them to
endure in defense of the principle of self government. Tp
them life was of less value than a principle, the principle writ-

ten by Cromwell on the statute books of Parliament : '* All
just powers under God are derived from the consent of the peo-
ple." While it was conceded that America should contribute to
the public debt which had been contracted in the protection of
the Colonists from the French and Indians, yet they proposed
to pay it by grants from their own legislature, and in their own
way. The tax upon the imports of the Colonists, in which they
had no voice was repugnant to them, and as they believed, was
a violation of Magna Charter, the foundation of English liberty.

You know the service of our fathers at the Lexington
Alarm,* which has been so often told. You remember how one
young man — Elias Haven — left his home in the west part of the
town, in the early hours of that eventful day, to give a day's
work to a farmer two miles away. He went perchance, with-
out bestowing a kiss upon his wife, or the children whom he had
brought about his knees. He went out as he had gone a hun-
dred times before, expecting to return to his- family when the
day's work was done. At nine o'clock while working in the
field, there came a messenger, and in response to the alarm,
with sixty-tive others from this parish, he obeyed the call of
duty. Standing beside his brother-in-law, Aaron Whiting, at a
corner of the Meeting-House in Arlington, he was shoe down by
a British musket ball, thus giving his life for the founding of a
nation whose democratic principles we now enjoy. Think you
if he were alive to-day, would he, like so many, "pay private
debts with scrupulous honor, and pay political debts by deeds
■of dishonor and disgrace ? "

At the Battle of Bunker Hill, we have the names of seven-
teen residents of the Parish, who under Capt. Daniel Whiting,
took part in that engagement, being the only soldiers from the
ancient town of Dednam who actually engaged in the battle. I
am glad on this occasion to give for the first time the names of
others, who learning of the battle on the morning of June 17th,
hastened to Boston to render such service as they might. The
list is as follows: t Samuel Farrington, Ezra Gay, Jonathan

*See Narative History of Dover for a complete list of those who took
part in the Revolution from the Springfield parish.

tTaken from the muster roll of Capt. Aaron Guild of Dedham, now
in possession ot George H. Plimpton of New York City.

Whiting, Ebenezer Battle, Ebenezer Newell, Asa Mason, John
Battle, Joseph Fisher, Jabez Baker, John Mason, Aaron Fair-
banks, Moses Richards, David Cleveland, John Chickering,.
Thaddeus Richards, Jeremiah Bacon, Joseph Fisher, Ebenezer
Richards, Thomas Gardner, Nathan Metcalf, James Mann^
Ebenezer Battle, Jr., Jabez Whiting, Josiah Battle, Daniel
Chickering, Jr., Elias Stlmson, and Moses Bacon. In the won-
derful work of fortifying Dorchester Heights, as you well know,
Capt. Ebenezer Battle, with forty-three others from this parish
took part. In the years of warfare which followed, the Spring-
field Parish soldiers did valiant service in New York State, in
Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Rhode Island. At home they
assisted in guarding Rurgoyne's Army after his surrender at
Saratoga. They also rendered valuable service in guarding
stores at different times and places in the vicinity of Boston.

Through published works," and correspondence which has
been made accessible in recent years, we have learned much of
the service of Massachusetts soldiers in New York State, in
which we have a lively interest, because in this work, Major
Col. Daniel Whiting of this parish took no insignificant part.
We learn through these records what he meant in his petition
to the General Court, when he said : " I was in many perils in
the Indian Country." At Cherry Valley in Eastern New York,
there is a beautiful monument which has been erected in mem-
ory of those who fell there in a fearful massacre Nov. ii, 1778.
In the "Border Wars" against the Indians, Tories, and British
soldiers. Col. Ichabod Alden of the Massachusetts Sixth Regi-
ment had command of the fort at Cherry Valley. General
Hand, who was in command at Albany, failed for some reason,
to make adequate provision against an attack on this fort and
town, although such an attack was strongly feared by the resi-
dents. On Nov. 7th, a committee of citizens expressed great
fear of an attack and added "to prevent which and to dispel
our fears, let a sufficient number of troops be allowed us, and if
possible those we now have under Col. Alden, as they are
acquainted with our country, and the roads and haunts of our

*The Old New York Frontier.


enemies, so that by this means we maybe secure from slaughter
and devastation." On Nov. 9th Col. Alden sent a scouting
party of nine men down the valley. They soon met the ad-
vancing invaders and were made prisioners. Two days later at
noonday the attack was made and "gave the settlement a com-
plete surprise notwithstanding all our endeavorsto the contrary,"


Online LibraryFrank SmithThe deeds of our fathers : a Memorial Day address delivered in the Town House, Dover, Massachusetts, May 30, 1904 → online text (page 1 of 2)