William L. (William Ladd) Chaffin.

History of the town of Easton, Massachusetts (Volume 3) online

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And considering how much more was to be expected of the
whites, and what provocation the red men had in seeing their
possessions falling away from them, and in being slowly driven


back from their beloved hunting-grounds, we have less reason
to reproach the so-called savages than to condemn those who, in
their eyes, were the too often savage invaders of their country.
For the most part, the Indians were more favorable to the
French than to the English colonists in the successive hostili-
ties that occurred between them. Besides the two wars of the
Colonists already alluded to, there were two others considerably
earlier, — King William's War (1689 to 1697), and Queen Anne's
War (1702 to 1 71 3). But the Colonists were seldom at peace,
and there was constant need of military service.

The first reference in the State Archives to the military ser-
vice of our Easton men is found in a petition of Josiah Edson
in behalf of Josiah Keith, of Easton, for a month's wages as a
soldier.! The petition was dated April 8, 1748, and was granted.
This Josiah Keith was son of the first Josiah, of Easton, and
father of the third Josiah, who became a militia Captain and
served in the Revolution. May 23, 1748, it was voted in town-
meeting " that Capt. Eliphalet Leonard shall Have ye Liberty
to Hier men with ye money yt is paid to him by men that is
Impresed into his Majesty's service, or paid for that purpose to
Hier men for what they may be Hiered for." The word " im-
presed " has the force evidently of drafted, since the impressed
men were allowed to pay for a substitute or for exemption.
Ephraim Randall had been thus impressed, June 17, 1746, and
was out in service until July 26.

June 6, 1754, Nathaniel Perry, of Easton, received a captain's
commission, signed by Governor Shirley. He was made a cap-
tain of the regiment of which Col. John Winslow was colonel.
He served in the struggle then going on at the eastern frontier.
On the date of November 8, 1754, he had a company of forty-six
men, with the following from Easton :^ —

Nathaniel Perry, Captain. Joseph Jones, sentinel.

Ebenezer Jones, sergeant. Thomas Babbitt, sentinel.

Nathaniel Babbitt, clerk. Hezekiah Drake, sentinel.

The word " sentinel " is equivalent to the word " private." We
have a later account of this company after it had been recruited

1 State Archives, Military, vol. Ixxiii. p. 125.

2 Ibid., Muster Rolls, vol. xciii. p. 135.



with further enhstments, for getting which Captain Perry had
in December, 1754, received a warrant. In his company there
were, May 29, 1755, ninety-six men ; it was in the "2'^ battahon
of his Excellency Gov. Shirley's regiment, raised for the remov-
ing the French incroachments from his Majesty's Government
of Nova Scotia." Among these ninety-six soldiers the following
were from Easton : ^ —







Lemuel Gilbert . . .






Hezekiah Smith . . .






Thomas Dean ....






James Galliway . . ,






Danl Vokentrugen .






Daniel Niles, Jr. . .






Nath! Perry, Jr. . . .






Samuel Perry ....






Joseph Packard . . .






Beriah Randall . . .






Hezekiah Drake . . .






Thomas Pratt ....






Joseph Belcher ^ . .






John Hern



Black Valley



Pendleton Britton . .






Joseph Jones






Daniel Finney ....






These men were enlisted about five months " earlier than the
date of this return. It was made from the Bason of Annapolis
Royall, Nova Scotia." Captain Perry's company was at the
siege and surrender of Fort Cumberland, concerning which, un-
der date of June 24, 1775, he wrote his wife : " By the good hand
of God, [after] four days' seige to the Fort with our mortars they
surrendered the fort, after a capitulation. But they had the lib-
erty of carrying off their effects. And upon their resignation,
the Bay of Vert surrendered upon the same terms. We went
and took possession of it two days after the first gave up. I

^ This muster-roll belongs to N. W. Perry, of South Easton, a descendant of
Captain Perry.

2 The Joseph Belcher named above was a son of the Rev. Joseph Belcher.
After returning from the war, he settled in Stoughton.


went there in company of five hundred men, where I tarried
five days. The place was very pleasant, and the land exceed-
ing good. This place was eighteen miles from the fort we took.
Where we shall remove to next is very uncertain. The whole of
our enterprise seems to be very miraculous. We had two very
smart skirmishes, allowed to be much smarter than any at the
reduction of Cape Breton. We have lost but one New-England
man, and not one by sickness since we left Boston ; and it is a
general time of health now. I with my two sons are brave and
hearty," etc. About a year afterward, however, he writes his
wife that he is in poor health, and earnestly desires her to
obtain leave of absence for himself and his two sons, who are in
his company. He soon gets the order for his release, but it
was written by the hand of Death. Far away from home, but
ministered to tenderly by his sons, he died June 15, 1756, at
the age of forty-four.

Capt. Nathaniel Perry was the son of Benjamin and Dinah
Perry, and grandson of Ezra and Elizabeth (Biirge) Perry, Ezra
appearing in Sandwich as early as 1644. Nathaniel was born
in Sandwich, July 2 (O.S.), 1713. Benjamin Perry and three
sons — Josiah, Benjamin, and Nathaniel — appear in Stoughton
as early as 1734, as indicated by the tax-lists; and Eliakim and
Abner are there four and six years later, respectively. December
2, 1736, Nathaniel married Mrs. Mehitable Willis, daughter of
Lieut. James Leonard, of Taunton, and widow of John Willis, of
Easton. Through her Captain Perry became the owner of the
" Perry place," so called, on Highland Street, west of the Fur-
nace Village, this having been the gift of Lieutenant Leonard to
Mehitable, when she married John WiUis. Captain Perry was
a pious man, one of the stanch supporters of the Rev. Solomon
Prentice in the trying times of the church history that have
already been considered. His military experience has just been

The Perry family developed considerable military talent.
Though Edward Perry, a brother of the first Ezra, was a
Quaker, and a very stubborn one, his descendants have fur-
nished numerous soldiers. Among them may be mentioned
Commodores O. H. and M. C. Perry, Captains Raymond H. J.,
James A., and N. H. Perry, all distinguished naval officers.


Of Ezra's descendants we have Captain Nathaniel and his son
Captain James Perry. Two sons of Captain Nathaniel served
with him in the French and Indian War, as we have already
seen. And we have noted also among his troops Benjamin
Tiipper, a son of Captain Nathaniel's sister Remember, who
had married Thomas Tapper, Jr. Benjamin Tupper and his
son Anselm both showed their Perry blood by decided military
talent during the Revolutionary War, the former gaining the
rank of Brigadier-general. Captain Perry left a widow and five
children. She died September 20, 1797.

In 1755, besides the men serving under Captain Perry, Easton
had at least six other men in the service. These were partici-
pants in the bloody battle at Lake George, near Crown Point,
September 8. In Capt. Richard Godfrey's company there were
Samuel Drake and John Wilson. ^ In Col. Ephraim Leonard's
regiment 2 were John Owen, Lewis Sweeting, and Benjamin
Williams, Jr., whose father was then a captain. Henry Partridge
was there also, having enlisted from Easton, and serving in
Capt. Samuel Clarke's company.^ Nathan Hewett was also in
the service, and died at Oswego, October 30, 1755, but we
have no record of his company. Capt. Benjamin Williams,
although now sixty years of age, raised a company to join in
an expedition against Crown Point in 1756. He was in Colonel
Gridley's regiment, and his company served from February
18 to December 23. Only the names of persons enlisting in
Easton are given."*

Benjamin Williams, Capt. _ John Smith.

Nathan Bryant, Coi'poral. James Wright.

Henry Partridge. Ehjah White.
John Howard Winslow.

All these enlisted at Easton, but only Elijah White was
said to be born here. The muster-roll states that Henry
Partridge was " killed or captivated." ^ Notwithstanding his
age, Capt. Benjamin Williams remained in the service several
years. In 1760 he commanded a company in Colonel Thomas's

1 State Archives, Muster Rolls, vol. xciv. p. 32.

2 Ibid., vol. xciii. p. 245. * Ibid., vol. xciv. p. 193, and vol. xcv. p. 197.

3 Ibid., vol. xciv. p. 69. ^ ibid., vol. xciv. p. 436.



regiment. In another company in this same expedition was
a Spaniard, who enlisted in Easton, and who bore the singular
name of Manuel Delopatogui. He was in a Captain Howard's
company. May 7, of this year, William Hayward (son of Wilham
of Easton) died at Fort WilHam Henry. During the next year
this fort, built by Sir William Johnson in 1755, and situated
near the head of Lake George, was menaced by an expedition
of French and Indians under Montcalm. Intelligence of this
danger caused great excitement in the New England towns,
and expeditions were planned for the relief of this important
fortress. There was much interest in Easton about it, and the
following men enlisted in the company of Capt. Ebenezer Dean,
of Taunton, in Col. Ephraim Leonard's regiment:^ —

Jacob Hanks, Sergeant.
Benjamin Tupper, Corporal.
Abial Drake.
Nathan Selee.
Thomas Manley, Jr.
Jabez Phillips.
Samuel Churchill.
Henry Howard.
Nathan Fobes.
Jonathan Hayward.
Mark Keith.
Silas Williams, Jr.
John H. Winslow.
William Pratt.

Abiah Randall.

Seth Manley.

Joseph Drake, 3'!

Nehemiah Randall.

Robert Randall.

Silas Kinsley.

Peter Sullard.

Oliver Gofte.

John Owen.

Phillip King, Jr.

Isaac Dean.

Meshack Wilbore, Jr.

Benjamin Dean, Jr., clerk.

Benjamin Pettengill, clerk.

They started August 17, 1757, but had marched only forty miles
when they learned that they were too late. After a brave de-
fence against overwhelming odds, the gallant Lieutenant-Colonel
Monroe who commanded the fort was compelled to surrender.
This was on the 9th of August. As the prisoners filed out of the
fort they were plundered, and twenty or thirty of them were mas-
sacred by the savages, before Montcalm and the French officers
could stop them. The Easton company named above returned
quietly to their homes, being credited with five days' service.

The war still dragged on. April 13, 1758, twenty-four Easton
men enlisted under Capt. James Andrews, in Col. Thomas Doty's

1 State Archives, Muster Rolls, vol. xcv. p. 547.

1 64


regiment, for service at Crown Point or Ticonderoga, These
were as follows : ^ —

Benjamin Williams, 2* Lieutenant. Isaac Atwood.

Benjamin Tupper, Corporal. Seth Bryant.

Seth Twinney. Joseph Drake.

John Winsiovv. Thomas Drake.

Silas Williams. Samuel Drake.

Seth Willis. Thomas Fling.

Benjamin Keith. Nathan Fobes.

David Keith. Oliver Goffe.

John Manley. Edward Hayward.

Nahum Niles. John Owen.

Daniel Niles, William Higgins.

Peter Sullard. Ephraim Hewett.

These troops had part in a most inglorious campaign. It was
not their fault, however. Before Fort Carillon, at Ticonderoga,
they fought with desperate valor. But while Montcalm in the
thick of danger cheered on his men and directed the defence in
person, the English Commander Abercrombie skulked out of
sight ; and after the defeat, though his forces still outnumbered
Montcalm's fourfold, he beat a disgraceful retreat. We are not
therefore surprised that several of our Easton soldiers deserted.
This was not before, nor was it in face of, a battle. They
deserted at Half-Moon, then a station and now a town at the
junction of the Hudson and Mohawk rivers. Lieut. Benjamin
Williams was sent after them, who found and brought them
back. For their punishment, seven shillings were docked from
their wages and given to Lieutenant Williams. He brought
back sixty-four deserters, and received for the service twenty-
two pounds, eight shillings. Why so light a penalty was in-
flicted for so grave a military offence does not appear ; either
the discipline was very defective, or what is more probable and
pleasanter for us to believe, it was not a case of genuine de-
sertion. Benjamin Keith returned home after the defeat of
this regiment, and as his name was not replaced upon the
roll when he returned to his company his father, Josiah Keith,
petitioned the House of Representatives to rectify the mis-
take. The House answered the petition favorably, and granted

1 State Archives, Muster Rolls, vol. xcvi. pp. 534-537.


Benjamin Keith the wages due him, — ten pounds, nineteen

In the campaign just spoken of, in Capt. Aaron Willard's com-
pany, was John Packard, of Easton, son of Joseph and Hannah
(Manley) Packard. He died in the army, July 31, 1758, after the
attack on Ticonderoga.i Dr. Seth Babbitt was in the same
service as a volunteer.^ During this same year, 1758, there were
others in Easton who enlisted. Their names are as follows :2 —

Charles Finney. John Randall. David Randall.

Nathan Lincoln. Edward Keith. Solomon Smith.

John Mears. Mark Keith, Jr. Ebenezer Bruce.

Jonathan Goodspeed. Zachariah Watkins.

These eleven soldiers were in Capt. Samuel Glover's company
at the seige of Louisburg, a strong fortress on Cape Breton Island,
northeast of Nova Scotia. Under Amherst and Wolfe a vigor-
ous attack was made, and the place was carried July 26. Our
Easton men saw hard fighting there. Captain Glover's com-
pany remained on duty at that place, and one of these men, —
Edward Keith, son of William and Mary (Kingman) Keith, of
Easton, — was taken very sick. A petition was presented to the
House of Representatives after his return, which states that he
was sent to Boston by vessel, but was so sick that he was unable
to go on shore. He was obliged to remain aboard until two of
his friends came from Easton, got him out of the vessel, and
took him homeward "on or in a hors leter 27 miles ; but before
he came home his father was dead and his mother left a poor
widoah with a great family, & he just come of age k he nothing
to help himself, & his mother though willing yet unable to help
him ; & he continued sick until the next April, & not able to due
one our work ; and the Dr's bill is £2 2s., and his nursing &
bord comes to £2 ys. more, besides his bringing home, — which
just debt he is unable as yet to pay, besides near half a year's
time which he has lost," etc.* He then petitioned for aid, and
the House of Representatives allowed him ^3 6s. ^d. John

^ State Archives, Muster Rolls, vol. xcvi. p. 451.
2 Ibid., Military, vol. Ixxix. p. 231.
8 Ibid., Muster Rolls, vol. xcvii. pp. 165, 167, 168.
* Ibid., Military, vol. Ixxix. p. 276.


Mears named above was an apprentice of Capt. Eliphalet Leon-
ard, who drew his wages. He was a little fellow, who did not
boast of being able to fight much, but who was an expert drum-
mer. We shall hear of him again in the Revolutionary War.
Benaijah Smith also petitioned to draw the pay due to his son
Solomon for service at Louisburg.^

The re-enlistments in 1758 of those who were discharged
October 10, or earlier, were —

Nathan Bryant. John Hearn. John Owen.

Benjamin Tupper. Abiah Drake. Robert Randall.^

Timothy Gilbert.

In 1759 an expedition was sent to attack the forts at Ticon-
deroga and Crown Point, and for this service there enlisted from
Easton, in Capt. Lemuel Bent's company, Colonel Willard's regi-
ment the following :^ —

Timothy Manley, Lietit. Elijah Niles. Jonathan Hayward.

John H. Winslow. Joseph Packard. John Manley.

John Manley, Jr. Timothy Higgins. Abijah Hill.
Thomas Drake.

These men served for an average of about thirty-two weeks
from May 19, 1759, to January 8, 1760. They were with General
Amherst, who loitered at Crown Point after its surrender, instead
of hurrying on to join the gallant Wolfe in his attack and cap-
ture of Quebec, which capitulated September 17, 1759.

Two Easton men who enhsted in Captain Bent's company
died, — John Manley, Jr., and Elijah Niles. The story of the
latter's death is told in the following petition of his father, which
he presented to the General Court:* —

Daniel Niles, your petitioner, humbly sheweth that my son Elijah
Niles was a soldier in Capt. Lemuel Bent's company in Col. Wil-
lard's Reg't, and returned his gun into Capt. John Fellows at
Crown Point on the 2^^ day of Nov. last past, and was taken sick
in the woods, but got to number four and there Died ; so the Re-
cate we had for the gun was lost. Your petitioner prays that he

1 State Archives, Military, vol. Ixxix. p. 229.

2 Ibid., Muster Rolls, vol. xcvii. pp. 165, 167, 168.

8 Ibid., vol. xcvii. p. 387. * Ibid., Military, vol. Ixxix. p. 244.


might be allowed the money that was stoped out of his son's wages

for said gun. As in duty bound shall ever pray.

Daniel Niles.
January 16, 1760.

The " number four " alluded to was one of a line of forts ex-
tending from Canada southward, and was located at Charlestown,
New Hampshire. The petition was allowed.

Jonathan Hayward of the same company had a trying experi-
ence. In a petition to the General Court, he states that by Cap-
tain Bent's order he was left at Green Bush, where he had cold
lodging in a barn and could not live there; that he "maid a
tempt " to travel, and travelled about six miles, and could go no
farther ; his friends at Easton sent for him, and when the mes-
senger came to take him away he paid eleven shillings and seven
pence for his boarding, and they were nineteen days on the
road at a cost of two pounds, fourteen shillings ; "your petitioner
prays that your honors would take his case into your wise con-
sideration, and grant him such Releaf as your honors in your
grat wisdom shall think best." ^ It is observable that the
"grat wisdom" of their honors usually granted about half the
amount petitioned for. On this application they sent to Elipha-
let Leonard, for the use of the petitioner, two pounds, nineteen

During the same year (1759) Dr. Seth Babbitt, who had pre-
viously served at Louisburg, was a surgeon's mate in Col.
John Thomas's regiment, stationed at Halifax. He enlisted
March 31,^ and continued in the service nearly two years and a
half, but contracted the small-pox while in the army and re-
turned home, where he died February 13, 1761. It was not
allowable at that date for the remains of those who died of small-
pox to be carried past any house, and his were deposited in a
lonely grave that crowns a small hill northeast of the house
where he died. His grave may still be traced by means of two
stones, scarcely raised above the level of the soil. The house
was one he built in 1756, and was northwest of the old Goward
place, not far from the Mansfield Hne. In the same regiment
with Dr. Babbitt served Jonathan Leonard, of Easton, he being

1 State Archives, Military, vol. Ixxix. p. 553.

2 Ibid., Muster Rolls, vol. xcvii. p. 278.


in Capt. Josiah Thacher's company from March 31 to Novem-
ber I. They landed at Halifax, May 11, 1759.^

Seth Manley served in Capt. Philip Watkins's company;''^ and
John Allen, who lived with Seth Babbitt, served in Capt. Jona-
than Eddy's company.^ — both being in Col. Thomas Doty's regi-
ment. But the date of their service is uncertain. Seth Manley
took his own gun, and was charged three pounds for it when
he was mustered out. An appeal to the General Court, how-
ever, rectified the mistake.*

Gregory Belcher, son of the Rev. Joseph Belcher, enlisted
in Capt. Stephen Whipple's company, November 2, 1759,
and served until March 15, 1760.^ His guardian was Peter

In 1760 ten Easton men enlisted in Capt. Job Williams's
company, of Taunton.^ Their record is as follows: —

Name. Enlisted. Discharged.

Benjamin Williams, ij-/ Z?>«/^;w«^ . . . February 13 December 6

Nathan Bryant, Sergeant March 6 „ 6

WilHam Bartlett „ 3 „ 6

Richard Brumige „ 6 „ 6

Thomas Fling „ 6 ,, 6

John Hayward (sick) „ 31 November 10

William Keith (son of Mary) ^ ,, 6 December 6

Thomas Keith (son of Ruth) „ 6 ,, i

Samuel Perry „ 27 November 30

Beriah Randall . . . ■ April 13 December 6

In the company of Capt. Josiah Dunbar'^ were — •

Name. Enlisted. Discharged.

Thomas Drake (age 31) March 19 December 2

Timothy Higgins (age 17) „ 19 „ 2

Edward Kingman ,,26 „ 7

In another company^ was Benjamin Cole, of Easton, aged 31.
In Capt. Jonathan Eddy's company ^ there were from Easton
in 1760 —

1 State Archives, Muster Rolls, vol. xcvii. p. 287.

^ Ibid., vol. xcvi. p. 273. 3 ibid., p. 406.

* Ibid., Military, vol. Ixxix. p. 272.

^ Ibid., Muster Rolls, vol. xcviii. p. 380.

* Ibid., pp. 244-246. '^ Ibid., p. 317.
8 Ibid., p. 127. « Ibid., p. 217.


Name. Enlisted.

Abial Drake April 6

Timothy Gilbert „ 2(1759)

John Hearn >> 2


32 weeks, 5 days.
85 ,, 6 „
4 » I ,.

In Capt. Jeremiah Green's company ^ was William Higgins,
and in another company ^ (captain's name not given) were Heze-
kiah Drake and William Barclay, — the latter a Scotchman,
then resident in Easton.

Thomas Keith, who was in Captain Williams's company, con-
tracted the small-pox while in the service; and his mother, Ruth
Keith, being at much expense and trouble about it, petitioned
the General Court for relief, stating it had cost her nine pounds,
one shilling, and eight pence. She was allowed five pounds, nine

The following Easton men enlisted in Capt. Samuel Glover's
company : ^ —


John Staples (son of John) .

Solomon Smith

John Holmes

Silas Williams (deserted)
Benjamin Tupper (Sergeant)
John Mears (Drummer) . .
Ebenezer Bruce




November i,




I day





4 days

August 20,




5 „

November i,







4 „





4 ..





4 „

The Solomon Smith named above was a minor, and Paul Pack-
ard was his guardian.

In 1 761 were the following enlistments or re-enlistments of
Easton men : Richard Brumfield served twenty-six weeks and
two days in Capt. Job Williams's company;^ John Mears beat
his drum for Capt. Lemuel Dunbar's company about thirty
weeks ;^ Timothy Higgins was with Capt. Lemuel Bent,'' and
Edward Kingman with Lieut. Francis Miller's company,^ about
thirty weeks each ; Nathan Bryant served as sergeant under
Capt. Job Williams for thirty-two weeks ; ^ William Merry and

1 State Archives, Muster Rolls, vol. xcviii. p. 409.

' Il)icl., Military, vol. Ixxix. p. 405.

* Ibid., Muster Rolls, vol. xcviii. pp. 400,401.

6 Ibid., p. 126. ■' Ibid., p. 146. ^ ibid., p.

2 Ibid., p. 8.

5 Ibid., vol. xcix. p. 15.
165. 9 Ibid., p. 183.


David Smith served twenty-eight weeks and six days each in
the company of Capt. Edward Blake.^ In 1762, in the company
of Capt. Timothy Hammant, little John Mears, who is now fond
of war, turns up again. The record is as follows : —

Name. Enlisted. Discharged.

John Mears March 24 November i

Hopestill Randall ,, 24 ,, i

John Wood ,, 24 December 23

John Wood Jr ,,24 ,, 23,

Hopestill Randall was evidently transferred to another com-
pany, as his time was made up on another pay-roll. He
was there named the son of Baraciah Randall, which is a

Online LibraryWilliam L. (William Ladd) ChaffinHistory of the town of Easton, Massachusetts (Volume 3) → online text (page 16 of 78)