Harold F Blake.

Re-told tales : or, Little stories of war times--French and Indian wars--the revolutionary war--the war of 1812--the Mexican war--the civil war--and the part Kensington played in them online

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Online LibraryHarold F BlakeRe-told tales : or, Little stories of war times--French and Indian wars--the revolutionary war--the war of 1812--the Mexican war--the civil war--and the part Kensington played in them → online text (page 1 of 7)
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_ -^

or Little Stories of War Times French
and Indian Wars The Revolutionary
War The War of 1812 The Mexican
War The Civil War and The Part
Kensington Played in Them


' The old home-fire where the red sparks race
Up the broad-backed chimney, in the old home place !
How far we've wandered from its friendly gleams
From the home-winds singing through the day's still dreams !
Wandered weary in the far, false lights,
Yearning vainly for the old home-nights
For winter-silence on theifrost-flecked ways
And the broad-backed chimney with the home-fire's blaze ! "





UnJv*ry of




3 hJO

^ C
EC u


To Those Whom it Concerns Most
The Kensington Soldier

TO the general reader it can be said that this little
booklet of stories has been prepared and
printed largely to please a few dear old friends,
veterans of the Civil War, who have asked me to tell
their story ; primarily, to be sure, for the purpose of
bringing together and thus making up a complete
muster roll, as complete as is humanly possible, fifty
years after the first one was made up, of the
names of the Kensington men and boys who " went
to the war " always meaning the war of 1861-5.

As I conceive it, the story or stories I tell, while
they are to be retold tales simply, they will be the
better for being told in the kitchen, where we can
sit around and be cheered by the mellow warmth of
the crackling fire in the old wood stove ; and where
we can smoke our pipes if we list, as in the days when
as " boys in blue " you, with your comrades, sat
around the night's campfire under the southern stars
and smoked your pipes ; and when in fancy, it may
be, you saw in the red glowing coals, and in the
bright upward swirling flames, faces and forms of
dear ones in the far off homeland father, mother,
wife, children, or sweetheart; and though seeing


them, and your heart swelled, your lips quivered
and eye moistened, there was no faltering. Yes, as it
was with thee, dear friends, so it was with tens of

Before these " re-told tales " leave my hands for-
ever and a day, I desire to express my obligations
and thanks to my mother, Mrs. Mary C. Blake, to
Mr. Weare Nudd Shaw, the " Sage of Orchard
Hill," to Mr. Joseph N. Austin, to Mr. Benjamin F.
Austin, to Mr. James W. W. Brown, to Mr. George
A. Baston and to Mr. John P. M. Green, all veterans
of the " War between the States," save one, and she
a soldier's widow, for their kindly assistance to me
in my efforts to bring together the full list of names
of every Kensington man and boy who enlisted,
donned his " suit of blue," shouldered his old
muzzle-loading Springfield rifle, and with it served
his country in the dark and perilous days, 1861-5.

And so, while I have told the tales these dear
friends have asked me to tell, I have told them, nay,
in many places repeated " thought, word and inci-
dent " I have told them in my own way. Know-
ing that, though they have been crudely told, they
will please them, what care I for the opinion of the
literary wise critic Nothing ! So long as my
friends and their friends shall find pleasure in them I
shall be satisfied and fully compensated for my labors
in their preparation.


Montreal, P. Q., May 31, 1916.


IF the Reader please, perhaps the best way to approach the subject
matter, the excuse for printing this booklet at all Kensington's
story of the Civil War will be to tell briefly the stories of the
earlier wars, in which Kensington men and women played their
parts. And, therefore, as a preface, let me say that the long, long
years of the pioneers' constant warfare with the Indian, when to open
up clearings in the forests of Hampton, a part of which is now
Kensington, for settlement, the old blunderbuss, and later the flint-
lock rifle, was as necessary as the woodman's axe; yea, more so, for
without the rifle there could have been no axe used. Indeed, we
know that down to reliable historical times the settler, to defend
himself from sudden attack and treachery of the crafty savages, to
have it ready for instant use, leaned his firearm against the tree he
was felling. Hence it was that generation after generation of our
ancestors, through this constant use of the rifle, made of the Ken-
sington men when called to arms, whether in defence of the "settle-
ment," the colony, the State or the nation, not only hardy and zeal-
ous but very efficient soldiers. Hence it was:

The French and Indian Wars, 1756-1763

TRADITION says that there were thirteen men
of the soil of Kensington who fought as
British Colonials under Captain Ebenezer Webster
(father of Daniel Webster) during this very wicked
and cruel war between the British and French, and
their Indian allies, the latter fighting with tomahawk,
scalping-knife and poisoned arrow ; and they made
extended campaigns into New York, Vermont (it is
now) and into Canada, and some of them were under


General Wolfe when he fought General Montcalm
at Quebec and captured that city in 1759; but who
these our townsmen were or what their names there
are no records to tell us. This we do know, how-
ever : Whoever they were, or whatever their names,
being of the blood of the English a-nd of the Scotch
and of the Irish, and from Kensington, they would
and did acquit themselves like men.

The Revolutionary War, 1775-1782

FROM the beginning it has been one of the proud
boasts of Kensington that its people have
always been loyal, ever ready to serve their country
and its institutions.

And so, in the days when the Colonies revolted
against Great Britain, not against the country of Pitt,
Burke, Sheridan and Fox, but against King George
the Third in his crazy attempt to levy and collect
taxes, taxation without representation, Kensington
raised and equipped two full companies, furnished
three commissioned officers, Major Jeremiah Fogg,
Captain Winthrop Rowe, Captain Ezekial Worthen,
and one doctor, Dr. Benjamin Rowe.

In all, eighty-nine of Kensington's own sons en-
listed, and to these she added fourteen nonresidents
which she was able to get to join the men composing
her two companies ; and thus we see that all in all 103
Kensington men shouldered their old flintlock mus-
kets, and with powderhorn and bullet-pouch slung at
their sides, marched to join the forces under General


Warren. And they fought with him at Bunker Hill,
with General Washington at Dorchester Heights and
elsewhere ; aye, from the very beginning to the end
of the Seven Years' War, to the end that the Ameri-
can Colonies might become a nation of free and in-
dependent people.

The following are the names of the Kensington
men who fought in the Revolutionary War, the 103
immortals :

Josiah Blake, Hezekiah Blake, John Blake, Moses
Blake, Joseph Batchelder, Jeremiah Batchelder, Amos
Brown, Stephen Brown, Dennis Bickford, Phillip
Blaisdell, Edward Clifford, Samuel Clifford, Joseph
Clifford, Thomas Creighton, Daniel Clark, Hezekiah
Colby, Thomas Cook, Benjamin Dow, Jabez Dow,
Joseph Dow, Edward Eastman, William Evans, Wil-
liam Fogg, Major Jeremiah Fogg, Joseph Fogg,
Nathan Fellows, Jonathan Fellows, Humphrey Flood,
Jeremiah Folsom, William French, William Fernald,
Jonathan Glidden, Joseph B. Hoyt, Josiah Haines,
Jude Hall (colored), Caleb Hodgdon, Hanson Hodg-
don, Timothy Knox, Will Killey, Jonathan Lane,
Samuel Longfellow, Josiah Locke, Ozzum Locke,
Edward Locke, Timothy Blake Locke, Nathan Lov-
ering, William Leavett, Edward Leavett, Robert
Miller (colored), Jeremiah Moulton, William Morri-
son, Jonathan Mason, John Nichols, Jesse Prescott,
Jonathan Prescott, Marston Prescott, Charles Page,
Aaron Page, Phineas Page, Daniel Page, Robert
Pike, Jonathan Perkins, Moses Perkins, David Phil-
brick, Captain Winthrop Rowe, Dr. Benjamin Rowe,
Jonathan Rawlins, Thomas Rawlins, Jeremiah San-
born, Jonathan Sanborn, Jewett Sanborn, Sherborn


Sanborn, Moses Sanborn, John Sanborn, Abraham
Sanborn, Moses Shaw, Caleb Shaw, Caleb Shaw, Jr.,
Joseph Shaw, Abraham Shaw, Isaac Shaw, Jonathan
Stevens, Daniel Stewart, Stephen Smith, Edward
Smith, Samuel Smith, Benjamin Swain, Samuel
Sanders, Edward True, Daniel True, Edward Tuck,
Jonathan Ward, Melzer Ward, Daniel Weare, Josiah
White, Samuel Wilson, Simon Winslow, Joseph
Welsh, Nathan Watson, John Webber, W. Wiggin,
Captain Ezekiel Worthen, Enoch Worthen. 1

In looking through these one hundred, and three
names how many of them are familiar and dear to
us, even to those of this generation ; aye, more, how
proud not only their descendants but all the inhabi-
tants of the town itself should be to read these
names the names of the sons of Kensington who
fought the long and weary fight that there might be
a new flag, a new freedom, a new nation.

If the reader has not already noted let the writer
point out :

That of the 103 men enlisted seventy-eight of
them had plain Scriptural names.

That of the 103 men but three of them had middle

That in two instances at least a father and son en-
listed and served, namely, Caleb Shaw and Caleb
Shaw, Jr., and Caleb Hodgdon and his son Hanson.

That there were two Negroes and we wonder
whose slaves they were, if slaves.

1 My thanks are due and are hereby tendered to my friends, Rev. Roland
D. Sawyer and George Osgood, Esquire, for their courtesy in supplementing
my list with additional names of the Kensington men engaged in the Revo-
lutionary War, and which has undoubtedly enabled me to give a complete
roster of our patriotic ancestors who were engaged in that war.


That one family furnished two officers Captain
and Doctor Rowe.

That one family sent three brothers Jeremiah,
William and Joseph Fogg, and that Jeremiah was
made a major and served as adjutant with his regi-
ment at Bunker Hill and from thence throughout the

It is probable that there were other fathers and
sons and brothers who served gallantly throughout
the war with credit to themselves and to the honor
and glory of their town, as every man did.

Another proud boast of Kensington is : It never
produced a Tory.

It will be a surprise, no doubt, to most of my
readers to learn that twenty Tories, by order of Gen-
eral Washington, were sent from New York state to
Kensington, and there kept as prisoners of war during
many months of our War for Independence, but
such is the fact. The names of these prisoners, and
the names of the Kensington men and woman in
whose custody they were placed were as follows :

These five prisoners, Daniel Bedel, John Vande-
burg, Jonathan Dewell, Henry Vandeburg and Balc-
tis VanKleuk, were placed in the custody of Nathaniel

These three, Timothy Dewell, Silas Dewell and
Robert Dewell, were placed in the custody of Jona-
than Purington.

These four, Jacob Sharpston, Derk VanVleet,
Hugh Vosher and John Degroaf, were placed in the
care and custody of Winthrop Rowe.

These two, Henry Younghome and Courtriet
Smith, were placed in custody of Nathaniel Healey.


These four, George Peters, EHas Doty, Peter Van-
deburg and Solomon Eltinge, were placed for safe
keeping with the " Widow Do\v." (It would be in-
teresting to know whose widow this brave and patri-
otic woman was.)

These two, John Schaffelt and Casper Rowe, were
the prisoners kept by Benjamin Moulton.

And thus we see that not only did our beloved
town send 103 of her patriotic sons to help make up
the Continental army, but kept twenty Tory prisoners
within its borders during the war.

Knowing the dire needs for money, and the utter
lack of it in the hands of the Treasurer of the Colo-
nies during the entire length of the war, may we not
wonderingly ask who it was that paid for the " keep "
of these Tory prisoners? There are no records to
show the payment of any such bills, and if paid at
all, payments were made in Continental money, which
was not worth the paper it was printed on, though
it was redeemed many years after the war. Patriots,
as we have seen, the men of Kensington were, and
the presumption is and it 's the writer's opinion that
these five well-to-do farmers, including the Widow
Dow, kept these Tory prisoners at their own expense,
and in doing so showed their patriotism and served
their country as disinterestedly as did their neighbors
and townsmen who served in the army.


War of 1812

N the fall of 1814, during our " second war " with
Great Britain, seventy-two men belonging to


one of the militia companies of Kensington, under
command of Captain Stephen Brown, being fully ac-
coutred and equipped (those were the days of real
preparedness), marched through Exeter, Stratham
and Greenland to the defence of Portsmouth ; but
the enemy, while appearing in force off Portsmouth
when the alarm was sent out to the militia of the
State, having suddenly withdrawn, our gallant men
at once returned to their homes.

Speaking of the march of Kensington men to the
defence of Portsmouth, "Orchard Hill" tells us in
the Exeter News-Letter that " In September, 1814,
Governor John Taylor Gilman called out the militia
to go to Portsmouth as a squadron of British war
vessels were off our coast. A company from our
town, Captain Stephen Brown commanding, was
called on for seventy-two men. They were out only
fourteen days. Other towns sent later. One of our
men who was called for was afraid to go and hid in
his father's barn, but was found after three days and
sent to Portsmouth."

" In 1855, Congress passed a law giving every sol-
dier who served fourteen days in the War of 1812 a
quarter section of land, 160 acres. This man who
actually served but eleven days was not entitled to
it, but he employed Ira Blake, Esq., to help him to
get it. Mr. Blake argued thus with the War De-
partment : That seventeen miles was a military day's
journey and as Kensington was twenty miles from
Portsmouth that would give the man two days going
and the same returning ; four days, added to the
eleven days he served, made a day to spare. So the
man got his quarter section of land and later sold it


for $160.00. Another Kensington man who went
down with the company died before this law was
passed, but his three minor children drew his quarter
section and later sold it for $100.00." And
thus the Government recognized the sturdy men of
Kensington, who had again served their country in
time of war.

The reader will note that " other towns sent later,"
which fact enables me to point out that Kensington
was always first and foremost in every forward move-

As for the names of those of our ancestors who
thus served their country, as the old rhyme had it:

" Here follow the names of

The Kensington militia men,
Who marched to Portsmouth,
And then back again."

Stephen Brown, captain, Dennis Bickford, John
Ward, Samuel Smith, Timothy Knox, John Nocolle,
Thomas Rawlins, Joseph Brown, Nathan Watson,
John Webber, Hezekiah Colby, Edward Eastman,
Edward Leavett, Samuel Wilson, Timothy Knutes,
Samuel Sanders, John Mason, Charles Page, William
I. Killey, Samuel Winslow, Philip Blaisdell, Edward
True, William Fernal French, Daniel True, Zacheus
Roberts, Jotham Milliard, Robert Forsaith, Samuel
Lamprey, Stephen Kimball, Benjamin Prescott,
David Prescott, Nathan Dow, Caleb Brown, John
Nudd, Jeremy Batchelder, Jonathan Hobbs, John M.
Shaw, Samuel Fellows, Lewis Gove, Joseph D. Wad-
leigh, Nathaniel Fellows, Smith Lamprey, Gilman
Lamprey, Newell Dow, Wadleigh Dow, Sewell Dow,
Lewis Vesey, John Weare, Joseph Poor, Robert


Rowe, Gardiner Green, Samuel Tuck, John Wad-
leigh, Benjamin Moulton, Abel Page, Daniel Pres-
cott, Abraham Rowe, Oliver James, Sewell Locke,
Porter H. Wilson, Joel Lane, John James, John
Page, Moses Sanborn, William H. Wadleigh, Sewell
Wadleigh, Jeremiah Wadleigh, Ira Fellows, John
Blaisdell, Joseph N. Healey seventy-two.

In looking through the names of the men who
served their country, both in the Revolutionary War
and the War of 1812, our rolls of honor, how familiar
and dear many of them are ; and precious memories
they will ever remain to their descendants and to the
citizens of the town. Yes, they will so remain, for
we see there enrolled the names of the very best of
the old Kensington families, families belonging to
the very soil itself, and, like it, of the best.

Mexican War, 1845-1848

THE Mexican War was not altogether popular at
the North at the time, though to-day all his-
torians agree that it was not only justified from a
moral point of view, and added not only a vast
area of territory to our already large domain but it
also added tremendously to our national wealth as
well as to our political strength at home and abroad.
As to Kensington's participation in this war, so far
as the records show, or memory serves, Ferdinand
L. Blake and John V. Hodgdon were the only two of
our men to take part in it. Mr. Blake enlisted at
the age of twenty and served in the infantry under
General Franklin Pierce, afterwards President Pierce,


throughout the war, and was honorably discharged
at its close. His discharge papers from that service
are to-day precious heirlooms in the family of the

Mr. Hodgdon served in and was honorably dis-
charged from the navy. And thus we see that in
our Nation's third war the sinew and strength of the
young manhood of the soil of Kensington bore its
share in the hardships of war.

The Civil War, 1861-1865

AT ( the outset let it be said that while the state-
ments made in this war story may not be
strictly accurate as to names (though I believe they
are mainly so), the general statements made are in
all essentials historically correct.

As to political conditions in Kensington and in our
part of the country generally just before the war was
declared, I think that it can be said with truth
that previous to April 14, 1861 there were un-
doubtedly very large numbers of men belonging to
both parties, who believed that if there was to be an
intercivic war it would simply be a political war
largely brought about by the anti-slavery agitators
of the North and the " fire-eaters " of the South, and
anyhow it would soon be over. We remember that
Seward and Greeley, and even the newly inaugurated
president said it would not last three months. As a
matter of fact, Lincoln's call for " 75,000 three


months men " shows that the war was not at first
taken very seriously.

In the beginning, democrats and republicans alike
blamed both of the above types of ultra rabid par-
tisans for the cause of the bitterness existing between
the people of the North and the South at the time
of the inaugural of Mr. Lincoln on March 4, 1861.

Hence it was that, during the year 1860 and the
early part of 1861, there were tens of thousands of
men in the North, who said : " If there be war, let
the hot-headed politicians who are causing it do the
fighting;" and these things were said in no mean
party spirit, but in all sincerity, and without thought
of disloyalty to the Government. But when the
Southern Confederacy, through General Beauregard,
struck the first blow at Fort Sumter on April 4, 1861,
forty-one days after the inauguration of President
Lincoln, then it was not a question of party but of
patriotism all through the North, and in no section
of the State or country was this sentiment more in
evidence than in Kensington.

As I have stated elsewhere, politics was always
first and foremost in all matters of a public character
in Kensington, and so, while the democrats were
" Union " men, and with Andrew Jackson believed
" That the Union must and shall be preserved," they
waited through the year 1861 for the republicans,
who, it seemed to them, being supporters of Lincoln,
should take the initiative, shottldbe. the leaders in any
movement, looking to concerted or formal action
necessary to get any considerable number of our
townsmen to enlist for the war. The result of this
waiting was, that the leaders of neither party took


any steps to this end until early in the summer of
1862. Even then, as a historical fact, no steps were
taken publicly until several private conferences had
been held by the democrats, and which resulted in the
calling of a public meeting to be held in the town-
house. This meeting was largely attended ; the
question of enlistment was thoroughly gone into, and
especially as to what part Kensington should take in
putting down the rebellion.

In passing, it should be said to the everlasting
credit of the democrats who attended this first or
preliminary meeting that, while it was primarily a
meeting of democrats and in their hands, they were
not there as party men to talk politics, but patriot-
ism ; to see what they ought to do in that dark hour
of the Nation's peril. They met to act in the spirit
and in harmony with the broad statesmanship, the
noble-minded and great-hearted patriotism that had
already been taken by their late presidential standard-
bearer, Stephen A. Douglas.

And so, the consideration given this great and
momentous question at this meeting by these men
was a serious one ; it was discussed soberly and
solemnly, for all realized that the decision to be made
by them was bound to affect not only the men of
the town as a whole, but no one could tell or foresee
how vitally it might affect each one as an individual.
And so, the question in all its phases was thoroughly
gone into, and when all who chose to speak had
spoken, on motion it was voted " That Ferdinand L.
Blake be and is hereby authorized and instructed to
go to Concord to confer with Governor Berry to ad-
vise him that the. voters, in the town of Kensington




in meeting assembled had voted unanimously to do
all they could to help preserve and maintain the
Union, and that it was the sense of the meeting that
the said Blake should be appointed a recruiting offi-
cer to enlist such men for the war as might be avail-

This motion was also carried unanimously, no
doubt largely because Mr. Blake had, as we have
seen, served under General Franklin Pierce through-
out the Mexican War, and, therefore, presumably
knew something about real war. But I think there
were other reasons why he was thought to be the
best man to handle the matter. He was, and always
had been, one of the leading democrats; had been
postmaster under two presidents ; was known of all
men to be eminently fair and just; was respected
alike by both political friends and opponents ; a man
of wide reading, and in the prime of life. With
these credentials Mr. Blake went to Concord to see
the governor, and who, we may be sure, was glad to
welcome him, once he was advised of the object of
his visit. Hence, it followed that as soon as the
official wheels could be made to turn the commission
was made out and signed by the governor, and Mr.
Blake returned to Kensington, a recruiting officer,
the first, so far as the writer has knowledge, ap-
pointed in the county.

Our recruiting officer at once called a public meet-
ing. At this meeting a large number of men of
military age, belonging to both parties, attended, and
many enlisted the first afternoon and evening, more
the second day, and still more the third day. The
total number of enlistments exceeded their most san-


guine expectations, and I repeat that there were no
party men at these meetings; all were Union men
and patriots. Yes, as Douglas felt honored in the
holding of Lincoln's hat while he took the oath of
office and later delivered his first inaugural address,
so the Kensington followers of Douglas stood ready
and willing to help hold up the hands of the presi-
dent in his efforts to maintain the Union.

I have mentioned elsewhere several times that
Kensington was always foremost in Leadership in the
towns of Rockingham County, and so, in this matter
of the enlistment of men at the time of the Civil
War we see the same spirit of leadership manifested.

NOTE While I am drawing almost entirely from memory

1 3 4 5 6 7

Online LibraryHarold F BlakeRe-told tales : or, Little stories of war times--French and Indian wars--the revolutionary war--the war of 1812--the Mexican war--the civil war--and the part Kensington played in them → online text (page 1 of 7)