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Danvers (Mass.). Committee Appointed to Revise the.

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They were mad clear through. They had been harassed all the
way thus far on their retreat, but most of the way the provincials



i52 HISTORICAL SOCIETY PROCEEDINGS,

had attacked them from under cover. Now to have surrounded
them, they were determined to show no quarter.

In this trap our Danvers men were caught ; they were pressed
so furiously by the British that some of the men — possibly some of
our Danvers men — were driven into the cellar of a neighboring
house, where they were inhumanly treated.

In this yard of Jason Russell's, or in the cellar of the house
above referred to, perished the men whom Ave are proud to call the
Danvers martyrs. As in the past, so now, let us rewrite in letters
of living light upon the scroll of the fair record of our good old
town the names of those heroes who fell at Menotomy — Benjamin
Daland, jr., Henry Jacobs, jr., George Southwick, jr.. Samuel
Cook, jr., Eben Goldthwait, Perley Putnam, Jotham Webb — who
died fighting for their homes and against oppression.

Nor would we forget the wounded of that day, Dennison Wallis
and Nathan Putnam, nor the others, officers and men, who sur-
vived the fearful fight and lived many years after, but who have
all long since passed away. But I must hasten on. The remainder
of the story is soon told. The British go on in their retreat, and
at dusk have neared the haven they longed for — Charlestown —
where they remain for the night. The day is over, the sun has
now disappeared from view and soon the darkness of night will
cover the scene. What a day it has been ! What scenes have been
enacted ! The dead are tenderly and reverently cared for by the
survivors, who know that they have nobly and gloriously fallen,
and that —

' No more on life's parade shall meet

That brave and fallen few ;

On fame's eternal camping ground

Their silent tents are spread,

And glory guards, with solemn round,

The bivouac of the dead.'

The troops remain over night accommodating themselves as best
they can to the circumstances in which they are placed. The
British have been beaten and have been driven back to the place
from which they started on the 18th and 19th of April. The war
has begun in earnest. There being no immediate prospect of
another battle our Danvers men return to their homes, bearing
with them their dead and wounded, and on Friday, the 21st, these
men, who two days before started for the battle with their com-
rades, full of life and hope, are now laid to rest in the soil of their
own homes and among their kindred. Brave souls ! ye gave up
your lives for others. Greater love hath no man than this that
he lay down his life for his country and his friends.

I was to give a general sketch of the events of the 19th. To
other hands is left the task of filling in the details as to individu-
als, who and what they were and the part they took on that event-
ful day.



TOWN OF DANVERS. 153

But for the brave men of this and succeeding battles of the Rev-
olution, we should not today have a country to love. Let us re-
member the debt we owe to these brave heroes and tell it to our
children, that they in turn may tell it to their children, and to
their children's children, and thus may we keep their memory
fresh and green — both now and in all time to come."

Hon. Alden P. White of Danvers read the following letter
from John G. Whittier :

Oak Knoll, April 16, 1891.
Dear Miss Hunt :
I fear that 1 shall not be able to be present at the meeting of
the Danvers Historical Society on the 20th inst. I am sure that the
occasion will not be lacking interest, as it will recall the heroism
and self-sacrifice of the old historic town a century ago. Your
society is doing a good and needed work, and it deserves the
hearty support of all our citizens.

I am very truly thy friend,

John G. Whittier.

D. Webster King of Boston, a native of Peabody, read a paper
concerning Capt. Samuel Flint and General Gideon Foster, both
of whom led companies to Lexington. Mr. King is a descendant
of these two heroes. A brief abstract is here presented :

" Of the Flints who served in the Revolution, history records
but two who were residents of Danvers, Samuel and William ;
these were descendants respectively of two brothers, Thomas and
William, who emigrated to Salem probably previous to 1640.
They were evidently in favor of Free Trade ; surely they were not
High Protectionists ; whatever may have been the degree of loyal-
ty of the English ancestors, it is evident that their descendants,
in 1775, held slight respect for British rule.

I have no record of Wm. Flint's connection with the battle of
Lexington, but he was one of the soldiers from Danvers engaged
in the Revolutionary War.

Captain Samuel Flint was in command of one of the seven com-
panies from Danvers which answered to their country's call in the
hour of peril, April 19, 1775. It was rumored that Capt. Flint
was among the slain, and his return to his family and friends was
a joyous surprise. He was, however, destined to die a soldier's
death for on the seventh of October, 1777, at Stillwater, he was
slain at the head of his company. An officer once asked him where
he should find him on a certain occasion ; his reply was worthy the
proudest days of Sparta : ' Where the enemy is, there will you find
me.' Capt. Flint was probably the only commissioned officer from
Danvers killed in the Revolution.

Gen. Gideon Foster was born Feb. 13, 1748, in a house formerly
standing at the corner of Foster and Lowell streets, Peabody. His
father was Gideon Foster, a native of Ipswich, who had married



154 HISTORICAL SOCIETY fJROCEEDIKGS,

Lydia Golclthwait of Danvers. Gideon Foster married Marcia,
daughter of Daniel Jacobs, Oct. 6, 1750 ; their children were Gid-
eon, John, Marcia and Lydia, none of whom married, so the family
is now extinct.

Gen. Foster was of a commanding- and impressive bearing as I
well remember. Of the company drafted here he was chosen
commander and the first time he led them to face the enemy was
on Sunday, the twenty-sixth of Feb., 1775, when Col. Leslie at-
tempted to destroy the stores at Salem and Danvers. I quote Gen.
Foster's own words from his address fifty-six years ago: 'About
ten days before, I had been chosen to command a company of min-
ute men. They all assembled on this very spot where we are now
assembled and in about four hours from the time of meeting, they
travelled on foot (full half the way upon the run) sixteen miles,
and saluted the enemy. Three of them were slain upon that day.
I alone remain to tell their story.'

In 1792, Capt. Foster was promoted to the rank of Colonel ; in
1796, he was chosen Brigadier-General and in 1801 he was elected
Major General by the Legislature.

Gen. Foster was probably the last surviving commissioned
officer of the Revolution.' '

Mr. Eben Putnam spoke as follows :

The Putnams at Lexington Fight.

" I have been asked to tell you something of ' Captains Edmund
and John Putnam and others.' I shall confine myself to the Put-
nams, but were I to include amongst the ' others ' all of that name
who were present at the Retreat of the British from Concord, or
even those there from Danvers, I should be taking the time al-
lotted to the more eloquent and interesting speakers yet to follow.

Before I pass to a more extended notice of those to whom such
is due, it is meet that I indulge in a brief resume of the part
which the Putnam family took on that memorable 19th of April.

Unfortunately the tax lists of Danvers for 1775 are missing, but
from those of 1773 I find that thirty-six by the name of Putnam,
most of whom were heads of families, were taxed at that date ; and
in 1775 I find that thirty-four Putnams marched from this town to
Lexington. Probably there were at that period capable of bearing
arms, about forty of this name in Danvers, so it is evident that
the martial spirit of the family was thoroughly aroused.

Upon the Lexington Alarm Lists at the State House may be
seen the names of eighty-six Putnams, all of the Danvers family,
who hastened to Lexington from various Massachusetts towns
upon the alarm. Not all reached that place in time to get a shot
at the retreating British, but those from Danvers, Beverly, Chelms-
ford, Reading, Medford and Sudbury did; and of our Danvers
men, you have already heard how, in that fatal walled enclosure,
Perley Putnam was killed and his brother Nathan severely wounded.



TOWN OF DANVEES. 155

These two young men weresons of Jonathan Putnam, a great-
great-grandson of my emigranl ancestor. Perley was born on the
17th of March, 1754, and had bul reached his -1st year.

Nathan was his senior by nol quite five years. These young
men were in the Company of Israel Hutchinson, which had for its
second lieutenant Enoch, son of Jethro Putnam, a member of the
same younger branch of the family, and who afterward rose by
successive steps in the service to the grade of colonel. With
them was also Tarrant I'm nam. a second cousin of Enoch, and
whose widow married Captain Robert Foster of Revolutionary
lame.

Nathan Putnam had in 1771, married the daughter of Dr. Amos
Putnam, whose portrait hangs upon our walls.

I find but little mention of Nathan in after years except that he
continued in the service during the siege of Boston* and at one
time enjoyed the office of constable. He died in 1783.

Still another brother was Jeremiah Putnam, afterward a captain
in the 27th Foot Regiment, who served long and honorably in the
war. A sister of these three brothers married Henry Putnam, the
son of another martyr to Liberty on that eventful day. The
father of this Henry bore the same name as his son, and was at
this time living in Medford, in that part near Charlestown, where
at one time he kept school. He was a veteran of Louisburg, a
man of experience in military matters and had earned the commis-
sion of lieutenant which he held during the Louisburg Expedi-
tion. Although exempt from military duty he accompanied the
troops to Lexington and fell in action. His sword which he car-
ried at Louisburg and other military trappings are in the posses-
sion of his descendants. The son Henry had marched as a first
lieutenant in Jeremiah Page's company and was quite badly
wounded (a fact not mentioned in any of the chronicles of the
fight) and remained at Medford, where his wife joined him. Upon
the morning of the 17th of June, she drove him to the foot of
Bunker Hill, and he did good service on that and other occasions,
as he served throughout the siege.

Deacon Edmund Putnam, who so gallantly led his band of min-
ute men, or more properly speaking, Alarm List, was the son of
John Putnam and a great-great-grandson of the first John, through
his second son Nathaniel, and was born 27 June, 1725. Deacon
Edmund was a man of great strength, both mentally and physi-
cally, and his character was highly esteemed. Rev. Benjamin
Balch acted as lieutenant of this company.



1LOST in the battle of Menotomy by Nathan Putnam, of Capt. Hutchinson's Company, who
was then badly wounded, a French Firelock, marked D, No. e;, with a marking Iron, on the
Breech. SaidPutnam carried it to a crofs Road near a mill. Whoever has faid Gun in
Poffeffion, is derired to return it to Col. Manffield of Lynn, or to the Selectmen of Danvers,
and they fhall be rewarded for their Trouble.

Dancers, May \6th, 1775. From New England Chronicle or The Essex Gazette, May 25, 1775.



156 HISTORICAL SOCIETY PROCEEDINGS,

At the time of the Lexington Alarm, Deacon Edmund was liv-
ing in the old Daniel Rea house, still standing on the road to Put-
namville, although at one time he lived over the line in Topsfield.

In his company were Ensign Tarrant Putnam, Sergeant Benja-
min Putnam, and Private Aaron Putnam, all of the tribe of Na-
thaniel and near neighbors of their captain.

Benjamin and Aaron were credited with but one day's service.
How this is, I do not understand, as it seems improbable that they
would have gone to Cambridge and back on the same day, to say
nothing of having taken part in the battle. Sergeant Benjamin
had a son in Captain Jeremiah Page's company and Aaron's
brother Phineas served in the company of Captain John Putnam,
the half-brother of Edmund. Captain John Putnam was born in
1720 and died in 1786. He was a man of great influence among
his neighbors and was, I imagine, of a more pugnacious disposi-
tion than Edmund. John Putnam as well as his brother Edmund,
served the town in many capacities having often been selectman
and on various important committees. His title of captain adhered
to him through life, while that of his brother Edmund speedily
gave way to his older, more dignified, and sober title of deacon.
While Captain Edmund's company was one of the smallest of our
Danvers companies, that of John's was much larger. Among
Captain John's men were Corporal Asa, likewise a deacon in the
First Church, Phineas, Enos, Joseph, and James Phillips, a son of
Dr. Amos Putnam.

Deacon Edmund Putnam was one of the first to adopt the Uni-
versalist faith in the vicinity and among his descendants may be
reckoned one of the most prominent Unitarian divines.

We must not forget, that there were equally true and brave men
among the Loyalists of those days. A Danvers man, James Put-
nam, had, previous to the Revolution, risen to high honor in the
legal profession. He was born just below the present home of the
poet Whittier, and there his brother Archelaus still lived at the
outbreak of the Revolution.

Another brother, Dr. Eben Putnam, lived in Salem and was a
member of the Committee of Safety. All of these brothers were
unjustly accused by the mob of being tories, and suffered consider-
able annoyance.

The battle of Lexington lost James Putnam his extensive prop-
erties in Worcester, sent him a refugee to England and lost to Mass-
achusetts the best lawyer of the time, one to whom the patriot
Adams owed much of his legal ability. His letters in my pos-
session tell of the most sincere love for his country. Both of his
brothers regained the confidence of their fellow-citizens, and each
in his own way served his country.

Another Danvers man has been deepty wronged by tradition and
I cannot close without correcting the mistake. Timothy Putnam
is said, in the Bistory of Essex County, to have left his native
hillside and^fled, a tory, to Nova Scotia.



TOWN OF DAN VERS. 157

\x\facU Timothy Putnam died here in 1756, and his widow, who
had previously been the wife of Caleb Putnam, married Richard
Upham and in 1 T < > 1 , with her family of young sons removed to
Truro, Nova Scotia and there the sons founded a flourishing branch
of the Putnam family, who mistakenly pride themselves upon be-
ing descended from refugees.

I have not told you of the young son of Major Ezra Putnam,
who, aged 16, went as a drummer to Lexington and served through-
out the siege, nor of the boy Amos Putnam, son of a Danvers man,
who had settled in New Salem. This boy who died of exhaustion
on the rapid march to Lexington, is to be honored as much as liis
more fortunate cousin, Perley, who fell by British bullets.

The martial spirit of the family did not die away with the evac-
uation of Boston, for over one hundred of its members served in
the Continental Army, and in the second great war of Liberty,
there were at least three hundred bearing the name amongst the
' Boys in Blue,' and the record is not yet complete. "

Doctor Putnam then introduced Hon. Robert S. Rantoul, Mayor
of Salem, who spoke as follows :

" Many of the acts of our lives are well enough forgotten, not
that they are in themselves bad or mean, or necessarily selfish, but
that they are trivial and have no ultimate results. They produce
no ripple upon the current of human events. But now and then
a great historic event occurs, and when that happens, such an event
as we are here today to commemorate, it is a thing not to be for-
gotten, but to be perpetuated and kept in memory to the remotest
time. Therefore it is not only a pleasure but a solemn duty to at-
tend an occasion like this, and to help in every way in our power to
hand down to our posterity the recollections of the virtues and ex-
cellences of our ancestry. Had there been time, I should have
tried to emphasize this single view of the extraordinary transac-
tions of the day which we are now celebrating — a view of the ex-
tremely homely, domestic, personal character of this encounter at
Lexington. It always seems to me to be a hand-to-hand fight of
the nations. The relations of the colonists to the representatives
of the British government were so peculiar, so intimate, the colo-
nists were such thorough-going law and order men, conservative
in every fibre, respecting the law, desiring to obey the law, respect-
ing the emissaries of the law who had been sent here to govern
them, that the colonists who stood on Lexington Common had a
terrible task to bring their minds to the position in which they
found themselves that day. The very muskets which they took
to defend themselves with were known as 'King's arms/ They
were fighting at their own thresholds, behind their own stone
fences, in presence of their own families and children ; they were
fighting at Concord Bridge with their own venerated pastor look-
ing from his own study window upon his own parishioners to see
them quit themselves like men, as they did on that glorious occa-



158 HISTORICAL SOCIETY PROCEEDINGS,

sion. There was none of the flaunting of banners and the blare of
trumpets and the excitement and chivalry and romance which car-
ries young men off on a march with an army to attack a distant or
foreign enemy. It* there was any of it, it was on the British side.
I think the feeling those men had in their minds was not so much
aggressive as conservative. I think they felt they were driven to
the wall, that they were cornered, that there was no escape consist-
ent with self-respect and the preservation of the rights of English-
men from the dilemma in which the British government had placed
them. Therefore they resolved that the last price — the price of
blood — was not too great a price to pay for the liberties of English-
men. It is not reasonable to suppose that they saw very clearly
the vast dimensions of the struggle which was before them or the
results which were to follow. It is idle to think that they were
fighting for a nation as wide as a continent, spanning from one
ocean to another, or anything of that sort. I think that they stud-
ied out from Blackstone their legal rights as Englishmen, and I
think that ' they knew their rights, and knowing, dare maintain.' *

The afternoon exercises came to a close with the singing of
" America."

The exercises were continued during the evening; among the
speakers was Hon. M. Chamberlain who said :

" What actuated the men of the Revolution in the course which
they took? Was it actual taxation ? No. Not a penny was ever
paid by them on an ounce of tea, not a penny was ever paid for a
stamp under the stamp act. From Maine to Georgia, never was a
cent taken out of the pockets of the colonists by reason of the tax-
ation of the British Government. What was it, then, against
which they took up arms ? It was against the principle of the
light to tax as expressed in the stamp act and kindred measures.
The marvel of all this matter to me is that 3,000,000 of people
should take up arms, not in consequence of what they suffered, but
in consequence of what they apprehended; not because it bore
heavily upon them, but because of the right. There was a princi-
ple at stake which touched their patriotism, and a principle which
touched their religion ; and for that they went to war, for that
they suffered hardships. Who were they ? They were men of
dear intelligence and right thinking, of determined perseverance.
They had thought this thing out, and they knew what their rights
were. Those were the men to whom we are so much indebted.

What was the course of instruction which so impressed those
men of New England with a desire to vindicate their rights and to
withstand and confront and finally to conquer the most colossal
power of modern times? Patriotism was then, as it ought to be
today and forever, a religious sentiment with them. It was a part
of their religion not to submit false principles in civil government
any more than in religion or in church government. That lay at
the foundation of their action,"



TOWN OF I) AN V KltS. 159

At the close of Mr. Chamberlain's address, the Grand A in im-
post entered the hall. They were greeted with applause, the en-
tire audience standing. After they had slacked their arms and
colors in front of the platform, President Putnam extended to them
an eloquent welcome.

President Capen of Tufts College spoke in part as follows :
Wk I have been wondering what my own connection is with all
that has been said. I was not born in Essex County. 1 was not
born in Middlesex county. I was born on the other side of the
Neponset river, beyond the Blue Hills. And though I have a
Revolutionary ancestry on both sides, so far as I know, I have no
relationship, no kindred with any of the men who fought at Lex-
ington and Concord. But it is enough for one to be an American
citizen to have contact with the da}' - and the events that yen cele-
brate. It is true that for sixteen years now I have had my resi-
dence in that most historic spot in Massachusetts, in the new
world. Every morning I may look out of my chamber window be-
fore I rise from my bed and see that granite shaft rising to greet
the sun in his coming, which commemorates one of the grandest
and most historic acts in the history of mankind. And from
another window I may survey the road over which the British
soldiers tramped on their way to Lexington, and see some of the
points where the men of Essex County intercepted them on their
return at nightfall. No man can live there without breathing that
atmosphere, without catching its inspiration, without having some
of its glorious memories stir within him, and without having the
lessons of this noble past burned into his soul.

What are some of those lessons ? First, those men, though sub-
jects of the British crown, had developed an independence which
was entirely different from Englishmen. They were thoroughly
American. That is the lesson we want to learn here — to be thor-
oughly American. We welcome here the oppressed of all nations,
but we want them to come leaving the old-world associations and
memories behind them, to come here to fight under the flag, to ed-
ucate their children here ; we want them to come here prepared to
enter into our ideas and institutions, and to help perpetuate them.
The second lesson is the lesson of patriotism and love of coun-
try as distinguished from the spirit of commercialism. The spirit
in our politics that would make business interests of more impor-
tance than the principles on which this Government was founded
— -the principles of humanity, liberty and justice — that spirit is the
danger that besets us, was the peril that surrounded us before the
War of the Rebellion and that compelled these brave men whom 1
see before me belonging to this Grand Army post to go to the war.
We want to put into the foreground the spirit of patriotism that
was so admirably illustrated by these men of the Revolution."

Dr. A. P. Putnam read the following poem, which he had
written expressly for the occasion :



160 htstorical society proceedings,

Our Heroes of 1775 and our "Boys in Blue."



By Rev. A. P. Putnam. D. I).



One April morn fleet tidings came.

That, out New England's dear old town,
The Red coals, proud and gay, had marched

To serve by guilty deeds the Crown.

Our fathers heard the warning cry,
.Seized sword and gun with eager hand.

Quick left the plough and bench and hearth,
And flew like lightning o'er the land.

No storied past, of Greece or Rome,

Can tell the tale of nobler braves
Than Danvers men, who " ran '' that day,

To fight ; nor feared untimely graves.

.Stern, dauntless Captain Flint, he said; —
" Where face the foe, there 1 am found:''''

Dyed with their blood yon Cambridge heights.
And, with his own, Stillwater's ground.

See here the battered steel he flashed,

The gory belt that girt him fast,
As there he led his comrades on,

And gave his precious life at last.

A gallant hero, too, was Webb,

Nor deemed his nuptial suit too fine,

In which to act a soldier's part,

And pour his gifts at Freedom's shrine;

But donned his best, and kissed his bride,
And sped to make the sacrifice, —


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