John Langdon Sibley.

A history of the town of Union, in the county of Lincoln, Maine, to the middle of the nineteenth century; online

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Online LibraryJohn Langdon SibleyA history of the town of Union, in the county of Lincoln, Maine, to the middle of the nineteenth century; → online text (page 30 of 49)
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the orders to the Americans were not to fire first.
The British moved to the bridge, and began to tear it
up. Capt. Davis, of the Acton Company, said they
should not do it, and marched down with warlike
deportment. The British fired. Davis leaped from
the ground, brandished his sword, shouted " Fire, for
God's sake, fire ! " sprang to one side of the road to
avoid the shot, was struck by a ball and fell. Capt.


Barrett followed the British when they retreated. He
said he found men dead, wounded, dying, and under-
going indescribable suffering. One man was trying to
drown himself in a mud-puddle. Another, who was
wounded, hung himself in a barn with a harness.
Capt. Barrett was also at the capture of Burgoyne.

Phinehas Butler served three years. He went to
Ticonderoga, and was in the retreat. Having got
ammunition, arms, and re-enforcements, the party
went back to meet Burgoyne. He was also at Valley
Forge, where he had the small-pox. Afterward he
went to West Point, and had a sergeant's command
of horse-guard in that vicinity ; and there he got a

Samuel Daggett was captured on board a privateer,
and confined four months in the Jersey prison-ship at
New York. Of ninety who went on board with him,
all died but himself and eight more.

Col. John Gleason was in the service, and in the
Shays Rebellion. By a resolve of the General Court,
passed Feb. 19, 1781, he was appointed a muster-
master, to muster into the continental army the men
raised in the county of Middlesex, Mass.

Richard Grinnell was privateering, and also in the
regular land-service. He died at or near Springfield,

Royal Grinnell was in service in Rhode Island.

Amariah Mero was in the service about six years,
chiefly in short enlistments. He went to Sorel, Trois
Rivieres, Montreal, Ticonderoga, and was subsequent-
ly at West Point. He was for some time at Boston
or vicinity, guarding the Burgoyne troops. He never
was in any engagement. His last enlistment was
for three years, and he was discharged at Fort Stan-
wLx.- He sold his rations of rum to the Indians for
beaver-skins. He sold the skins for five dollars, which
paid his expenses to Northampton, where he procured
five dollars more of a friend to pay his expenses home.

Levi Morse went in a privateer to France. He
served six weeks in Rhode Island at the time of Gen.


Sullivan's expedition, under the command of Capt.
Perry, of Sherburne, in Col. Haw^es's regiment. A
memorandum found among his papers, dated July 24,
1832, says : " In 1788, was engaged several days and
nights in constructing redoubts, and exposed to cannon
shot and shells several days. We were overtaken with
a severe storm, whilst on the island, without tents to
cover us. In 1779 and '80, I served in Sherburne
fifteen months ; enlisted under Reuben Partridge, com-
manding officer, in the State of Massachusetts, for the
term of three months at each engagement. In 1781,
I served three months in the State of New York, at
West Point, Peekskill, and vicinity." Another paper,
dated August, 1783, labelled " List of towns from
Sherburne to West Point," contains " Messmates,
Sergt. Joseph Dows, Daniel Brick, Abraham Coolidge,
Joseph Fairbanks, Jesse Phips, Levi Morse."

Bela Robbins, under the name of William Robbins,
enlisted for three years just at the close of the war;
went to West Point, and was dismissed in about nine
months. There was difficulty about his procuring a
pension, because the application was by Bela Robbins.
There ^vas no such name on the roil ; but there was
William Robbins. The difficulty may be explained
by the fact that Billy is a familiar abbreviation for
William ; and hence the transition to Bille and Bela
was easy. He finally received three hundred silver
dollars, and obtained a pension.

Ebenezer Robbins, son of Philip Robbins, priva-
teered in boats with Perry and Thompson, making it
also an object to guard the shore. The party went on
to the land to eat some victuals. The tories saw them
and fired on them, probably to frighten them off and
plunder them. One of the balls wounded Robbins in
the calf of the leg. Mortification followed. He died
and was buried on Cranberry Island. This was pro-
bably near the end of the "war.^

JosiAH Robbins served nine months. He was at
West Point at the time of the deep snow.

' Mrs. McTO and Mrs. Dunton.


Philip Robbiins, at the commencement of the revo-
lutionary war, resided at Walpole, Mass., and was
lieutenant of a company. Within a week before the
battle of Lexington, he was in Boston, and, in conver-
sation with some boasting British officers, said to them :
" You have as good officers and men as any in the
world ; but the Americans will fight as well without
officers as your men will with officers, and will take
them one to two, and cut them all off for one breakfast,
if they go out into the country in a riotous way." The
officers, highly incensed, put him under arrest, and kept
him several hours. ^ Very early on the morning of the
day of the Lexington Battle, he and the captain and
the ensign of the company were in Boston with then-
teams. On learning that the British had " gone out,"
each, leaving his team to be driven home by others,
took off his horse and mounted it without a saddle,
and drove to Walpole as fast as he could go, changing
horses twice on the w'ay. The military company was
mustered, and hurried to Cambridge, where it arrived
in the evening, after the battle was over, and had only
the satisfaction of eating some of the provisions which
had been taken from the British.

When Robbins was first coming to Union, he was
obliged to go to Salem and take passage in an east-
ward-bound vessel ; it being immediately after the
evacuation of Boston, while the British were probabl}'
lying off Boston harbor. The captain of a privateer
said he would convoy the eastward-bound vessel, as
he " should like to try his legs," never having been out.

' This account of Jessa Robbins coffers somewhat from the one by
Jacob Robbins. According to the best of his recollection, which was
rather indistinct, his father went to Boston from Walpole with a load
of timber, one or two days before the battle of Lexington, and called
at the bar-room of a tavern where British officers were drinking pnnch.
He also called for some ; and, as he was drinking, " he heard the officers
chatting how easy it would be to march through the country to New
York. He interrupted them, and said, ' Friends, you are much mis-
taken : I should not be afraid to undertake, with five hundred such
men as we have in the town I came from, to cut you off before you
got forty miles.' They immediately put him under guard, kept him
three or four hours, and let him go again."


At about eleven o'clock, a. m., after one or two hours'
sail, all on board were surprised to see the privateer
suddenly put off from them. Before long, the captain
discovered she had gone in pursuit of a prize. It was
subsequently ascertained that the privateer took it the
same day, and that it contained provisions, clothing,
&c., for the British army ; it probably not being known
to those on board that the British had left Boston in
the possession of their enemies.

George Wellington was at the Lexington Battle.
He said, when the British came in sight, the captain
of the Lexington Company asked all who were will-
ing to stand their ground " to poise their fire-locks.' '
Every man did it. When Pitcairn ordered the rebels
to disperse, none moved ; but, when the British fired,
all ran. At one time, a British officer came upon a
Yankee with a gun, and asked him what he meant
to do with it. The man hesitatingly replied, " Not
much." The officer presented his pistol ; the man,
taken by surprise, gave up his gun, went off, and in
great mortification told his companions of his ill-for-
tune. As the British advanced to Concord, the Ameri-
cans kept gathering and hanging about them. Wel-
lington followed them on their advance, and on their
return. A noble horse trotted by him, with portman-
teau, saddle, bridle, pistols, &c., but without a rider;
the officer probably having been killed. At another
time, three or four British grenadiers entered a house,
and were followed by Americans for the purpose of
surrounding it and making them prisoners. One of the
Americans went round the house to the back-door.
A grenadier opened it. They " drew upon each other "
instantly. The American shot the grenadier tln-ough
the heart, and he fell dead. The grenadier, firing at
the same moment, shot the American through the ab-
domen. Wellington conversed with the latter, who
said he should die, and he did. Wellington took up
the grenadier's cap, made of leather and brass, carried
it a mile or two, found it very heavy, and tlu-ew it
over the fence. A person who spent an evening with


him and Capt. Ban'ett said they could not agree
whether the first resistance to the British was made at
Lexington or Concord ; but Wellington observed that
one of his relatives remarked after the battle, " D — n
them ! I gave them the guts of my gun " at Lexington
when they fired. Wellington was also engaged at
the time of the Shays Rebellion. He moved to Ap-
pleton, and afterward to Albion, where he died.

Lemuel Wbntworth's gravestone is in the aban-
doned burying-ground at East Union. It states that
he was at the battle of Bunker Hill. This is a mis-
take. From a memorandum made in 1820, it appears
that " he served the United States, a whole year at one
time, in what Avas then called the Year's Service ;
that he marched from Winter Hill to New York, and
then to Albany, Ticonderoga, Montreal, and subse-
quently back to Mount Independence ; and then he
went to Trenton, and helped to capture the Hessians."

Besides the persons mentioned, there may have
been some other revolutionary soldiers, who have not
been noticed because not known to be such.

William Coggan was in the battle of Bunker Hill,
on the British side. He passed over from Boston
after the commencement of action.


About the year 1814 came Edward Foster from
Halifax. He was the father of Major Robert Foster.
He had left Massachusetts when the loyalists, or tories
as they were called, were obliged to go off. There
seem to have been two men of the name, a father and
a son. Edes's Gazette, July 29, 1776, states, " We
hear that yesterday a prize was sent into Salem, with
Ben. Davis and son, Edward Foster, and about a
dozen other tories, on board. She was bound to New
York, with stolen dry goods." It is said that Edward
Foster was a blacksmith; and, when Boston was be-
sieged by the American army, he assisted in making
horse-shoes, to which were commonly affixed three
prongs, one or two inches long ; and that these were



buried on Boston Neck for the purpose of laming the
American cavaby, in case they should attempt to en-
ter the city in that direction. Mr. Foster appeared
to be a very worthy, quiet man, and resided with his
son till he died July 17, 1822, aged seventy-two.


When Castine, then called Biguyduce or Penobscot,
was taken by the British troops in the year 1779,
Philip Robbins, as commissary, and his son Jacob
Robbins, as his waiter, joined the expedition * against
them. These were the only persons who went from
Stirlington. When the Americans were obliged to
abandon their movements against Biguyduce, a com-
pany on the retreat encamped one night on Craw-
ford's Meadow. - The few inhabitants here always
kept their guns loaded by their beds, and had dogs.
They often went out as scouts, but in the disguise of
hunters. In Waldoborough and Warren were many
tories ; " the old country people were almost all for
the king." ^ A road was beaten down from Waldo-
borough through the upper part of Union, by the
driving of cattle to Biguyduce. Two British officers
named McGregor and Roakes, deserters from Castine,
piloted by Oliver Miller, of Lincolnville, passed through
the settlement. They could not be prevailed on to

' It was in this expedition that Christopher Newbit, who settled on
the point of land at the north end of Sunnybec Pond, had his right
arm taken off, Juh' 28, 1779, by a cannon-ball, which glanced round
a tree. By a resolve of the Legislature, passed Feb. 28, 1781, his
father John Newbit was paid " £13, in bills of the new emission, in
full for all surgeons' bills and other expenses incurred by the loss
of his son's arm in the battle aforesaid." C. Newbit lost his right
eye, and afterward fractured his right leg so badly that it scarcely
escaped amputation. Notwithstanding these infirmities, it is almost
incredible with what skill he would drive his team, load stones, and
do other work, with his left arm. A pension was settled on him; and
it appears, from the Report of the Secretary of the United States,
that, when he died in Sei)teraber, 1826, forty-seven years afterward,
he had received $2,790.27.

^ C. Eaton, Esq. ' Mrs. Mero.


lodge in the house of Philip Robbins, but spent the
night in the top of his barn.^

Occasionally some of the inhabitants were alarmed.
Two famishing deserters from the British called at the
house at South Union, and asked for ham, a leg of
which they saw in the cellar-way. " Mrs. Butler cut
off and cooked a generous quantity, and set it with
brown bread before them. She Avas so frightened
that she would have given them any thing they had
asked for in the house."

When General Wadsworth and Colonel Benjamin
Burton were prisoners of war at Castine, Philip Rob-
bins and others visited them, with a flag of truce. ^
Some sharp words then passed between some of the
British and Robbins. This was probably towards the
end of April, 1781. Shortly afterward, Philip Rob-
bins was sent express from Camden to Boston, to
guard Capt. John Long, a tory prisoner. His bill,
bearing date May 1 to May 5, 1781, so gi-eat was
the depreciation of the continental paper, amounted
to <£ 1,128. 2s., includmg the charge to meet the ex-
penses on his return. Long afterward escaped. Rob-
bins took him again and carried him back. Long
swore vengeance. He afterwards persuaded the ene-
my at Biguyduce that it would be a good plan to
come and burn Union. Just at that time, the British
officer in command at Biguyduce was changed; and
a friend of Robbins succeeded in informing the new
commander, that the whole affair wag a spiteful move-
ment originating with Long, that there ^vas nothing
at Stirlington worth going for ; and he accordingly put
a stop to it.^

When General Wadsworth and Col. Benjamin Bur-
ton made thek wonderful escape from the British
fort at Castine, of which there is a minute account in
the second volume of Dwight's Travels, they came
on to Mount Pleasant, June 21, 1781, and down by
Crawford's Pond, to Warren and Thomaston.

' Mrs. Mero.



In the latter part of the last century, when a war
with France was anticipated, orders came for an en-
sign and eleven men. Accordingly, eleven men enlisted
under William Hart. They frequently met for drill,
and held themselves in readiness to march. But they
were never ordered from Union. The ensign, how-
ever, seemed determined to make somethijig out of it.
Accordingly, he once told his soldiers, when he was
about to have a training, " to i'etch their girls " and
any friends whom they wished to invite, and have a
ball at his house. The consequence was a merry time
to all, except one of the eleven, who, on account of the
unpopularity of his wife, was not invited. The guests
" paid for the fiddle and the liquor," and Hart fur-
nished the entertainment and provided for the horses, i
This appears to have been all the part which the in-
habitants took in the expected French war.


Sept. 1, 1794, upon an article " to see what sum of
money the town will grant for raising minute-men," —
that is, men to be ready to march against the enemy
at a minute's warning, — it was voted to give "three
dollars' bounty, and to make their wages ten dollars
per month with what Congress gives." Another war
with Great Britain was anticipated, because the British
government would not give up, according to treaty,
the posts at Detroit and in the West.

Aug. 28, 1797, the sum of lifty-five dollars was
granted " to purchase military stores, viz., 60 lbs. pow-
der, 100 lbs. ball, 100 flints, &c., agi'ceable to law; said
money to be assessed and collected as soon as con-
venient." Edward Jones was to purchase the stores
as soon as the money w^as collected. Amariah Mero
was " chosen to go to Waldoborough Coui't, to repre-
sent to said court that we are in preparation to get

» Mrs. Wm. Hart.


stores, and to get the town cleared of the fine, if he

Jan. 31, 1804, the town paid " Rufus Gillmor, one of
the selectmen, $51.33, to purchase ammunition for the
town's use." There is another charge, without date,
of one dollar and twenty-five cents, by Jessa Robbins,
" for flints for the town."

The selectmen's records contain the following no-
tices : Sept, 2, 1806, " Took from the town stock of
powder 23 lbs., for the use of the two companies in
this town." June, 1807, " Put into the town stock of
powder one hundred weight, which cost $38.25," Oct.
14, 1808, « Took from the town stock 26 lbs. for the
use of the two companies in this town." In 1810,
" The selectmen supplied the two companies with
28 lbs. of powder."


The town's powder w^as stored in the garret of the
Old Meeting-house. An unsuccessful attempt was
made, May 8, 1815, to provide a powder-house. April
7, 1816, " Voted to build one, the expense not to exceed
fifty dollars." Accordingly, not long afterward, the
villagers were surprised one morning at seeing a little
wooden building about six feet square and ten feet
high, with a peaked roof, perched on the highest part
of the hill, north of the Common ; where, having been
made to order, it had been hauled in the night. It still
stands there, though somewhat the w^orse for the storms
and the boys' knives. An effort was made, April 7,
1845, to have the town dispose of it and of the " uten-
sils therein."


In different parts of the town, when the day's work
was over, almost every evening's breeze bore with it
the sounds of the drum and file, before and after the
war of 1812. The swivel was placed near the powder-
house. For several months after the war, it was gene-
rally fired once each day, between sunset and dark.


May 6, 1816, it was "voted that the militia should
have the privilege of the meeting-house for inspection."
A military spirit pervaded the town. Those were the
"glorious days," when soldiers would volunteer, and
meet for the purpose of drill.

July 4, 1820, a good day for appeals to patriotism,
the town " voted that Capt. Noah Rice draw from the
town-treasury fifteen dollars, to be applied towards
the purchasing a stand of colors." The rifle-company
made a similar application, April 1, 1822 ; but it was
" voted to drop the article." A standard, however,
was afterward presented by the ladies through Miss
Foster, who made an appropriate address, which was
replied to by Capt. Lewis Bachelder, who received it.


Infantry Officers. — Ij'ght Infontry. — Its Organization and Dress.
— Its Officers. — Rilie Company. — Its Organization and Dress. —
Kifles. — Its Officers. — Disbandment.


Officers. — Joel Adams, elected captain, Oct. 19,
1791; discharged May 14, 1798. He was the first
captain, and for some time used a moose-wood cane,
instead of a sword. Previously to this, there was no
military training in Union.

Joseph Maxcy, the first lieutenant, Oct. 18, 1791 ;
captain, June 25, 1798; major, Sept. 5, 1805.

William Hart, first ensign, Oct. 18, 1791.

David Gillmor is said to have been the second


John Blanchard, lieutenant, Aug. 30, 1802.

Rufus Gillmor, captain. May 2, 1805; major, June
26, 1810 ; discharged Feb. 2, 1814.

Joseph Pitman, ensign, June 16, 1806.

Joseph Vaughan, heutenant, June 6, 1808 ; dis-
charged June 21, 1813.

Peter Adams, captain, Jan. 7, 1811 ; discharged Aug.

21, 1813.

David Grafton, ensign, Jan. 7, 1811 ; lieutenant,
Oct. 2, 1813 ; captain, Jan. 8, 1814 ; moved from
town ; discharged March 24, 1817.

Rufus Gillmor, jun., ensign, Oct. 2, 1813 ; lieu-
tenant, Jan. 8, 1814 ; moved to Searsmont ; dis-
charged March 9, 1816.

Bailey More, ensign, Jan. 8, 1814 ; lieutenant. May

22, 1816 ; moved to Searsmont ; discharged March
20, 1817.

Noah Rice, ensign. May 22, 1816 ; captain, April 30,
1817 ; re-elected captain, Sept. 24, 1825 ; removed.

Millard Gillmor, lieutenant, April 30, 1817 ; moved
from town ; discharged July 6, 1819.

Nathaniel Tobey, ensign, April 30, 1817 ; lieute-
nant; discharged 1823.

Cyrus Robbins, ensign, Aug. 30, 1819 ; discharged
May 27, 1820.

John Pearse Robbins, captain. May 24, 1823;
removed 1825.

Philo Thurston, ensign, July 5, 1825 ; discharged
March 17, 1834.

Ebenezer Ward Adams, captain, Sept. 18, 1832;
cashiered Sept. 8, 1835.

John Fuller, lieutenant, Sept. 18, 1832; discharged
March 5, 1840.

George Robbins, captain, May 10, 1834 ; discharged
by limitation, Jan. 3, 1842.

Alexander Skinner, lieutenant. May 10, 1834; dis-
charged by limitation, Jan. 3, 1842.

Lite W. Boggs, ensign, May 10, 1834; discharged
by limitation, Jan. 3, 1842.



General Orders. — "Head Quarters, Feb. 26, 1806.
The Commander-in-chief, having been authorized by a re-
solve of the General Court, on the petition of Micajah
Gleason and others, and having the advice of Council,
thereupon orders that a company of light-infantry be raised
in the Fourth Regiment, First Brigade and Eighth Divi-
sion of the Militia, to be annexed to said regiment, and sub-
ject to all the regulations established by law; provided,
nevertheless, that no standing company of foot be reduced
thereby to a less number than sixty-four effective privates.
" By order of the Commander-in-chief,

" Wm. Donnison, Adjutant-General."

Organization and Dress. — The light-infantry was
accordingly organized in 1806. The dress consisted
of blue short coats with buff facings, blue panta-
loons, half-gaiters bound with buff, oval black leather
caps, with a red painted stripe two or three inches
wide around them, and a strip of bear-skin about three
inches wide, extending from the brow over the top of
the head to the back of the neck. On the right side
of the caps was a cockade, from behind which rose a
perpendicular red plume. The musicians substituted
red or buff coats and white pantaloons.

Officers. — Nathan Williams, captain, May 22,

Joseph Morse, lieutenant. May 22, 1806 ; discharged
Feb. 20, 1812.

Micajah Gleason, ensign. May 22, 1806 ; resigned
Feb. 28, 1809.

Edmund Mallard, ensign, Aug. 24, 1809.

Herman Hawes, the second person born in Union
who did military duty, was elected captain, April 23,
1811 ; major. May 7, 1814 ; breveted lieutenant-colo-
nel, July 1, 1816, according to an Act of the Legis-
lature, passed June 20, 1816 ; discharged April 9,

John W. Lindley, lieutenant. May 11, 1812; cap-
tain, Aug. 25, 1813 ; discharged April 9, 1818.


Hervey Maxcy, ensign, May 11, 1812 ; lieutenant,
Aug. 25, 1814; discharged April 9, 1818.

Samuel Stone, ensign, Aug. 25, 1814; captain.
May 19, 1818 ; discharged and company disbanded,
June 14, 1819.

Eben Stone, lieutenant. May 19, 1818 ; discharged
and company disbanded, June 14, 1819.


Organization. — Nathan Bachelder and forty-one
others petitioned the Governor and Council that the
light-infantry, commanded by Capt. Samuel Stone,
might be disbanded, and that they might be formed
into a rifle-company. The measure was approved
by the officers commanding the regiment, brigade, and
division, and by Capt. Stone, most of whose men
were among the petitioners. It was alleged, that the
light-infantry was sinall in number, and not fully
officered and not easily recruited. The committee of
the council reported favorably June 12, 1819, and the
report was accepted by the Governor on the same day.
June 14, the adjutant-general issued his orders ac-

Online LibraryJohn Langdon SibleyA history of the town of Union, in the county of Lincoln, Maine, to the middle of the nineteenth century; → online text (page 30 of 49)