Ashfield — Military

Extracted from "History of the Connecticut Valley in Massachusetts, Volume II," by Louis H. Everts, 1879.

      The exact part which the town took in the earliest wars that agitated this section of country is not definitely known. Reference has already been made to the trials which the inhabitants of the town underwent during the French-and-Indian war, and there is reason to believe that a large proportion of the male inhabitants served in the war.

The Revolution.

      The inhabitants took an early and active part in the war. The following preamble and resolutions, drawn up as early as 1774, and signed by Benjamin Phillips and 64 other citizens, will show something of their spirit:

      "We, the subscribers, inhabitants of the town of Ashfield, from a principle of self-preservation, the dictates of natural conscience, and a sacred regard to the constitution and laws of our country, which were instituted for the security of our lives and property, do severally and mutually covenant, promise, and engage with each other and all of us,
      "1st. That we profess ourselves subject to our sovereign lord the king, and hold ourselves in duty bound to yield obedience to all his good and wholesome laws.
      "2d. That we bear testimony against all the oppressive and unconstitutional laws of the British Parliament whereby the chartered privileges of this Province are struck at and cashiered.
      "3d. That we will not be aiding nor in any way assisting in any trade with the island of Great Britain until she withdraw her oppressive hand, or until a trade is come into by the several colonies.
      "4th. That we will join with our neighboring towns in this province and sister colonies in America in contending for and defending our rights and privileges, civil and religious, which we have a just right to both by nature and by charter.
      "5th. That we will make preparation that we may be equipped with ammunition and other necessaries, at town cost, for the above purposes.
      "6th. That we will do all we can to suppress petty mobs, trifling and causeless."

      A number of other votes passed by the town during this stirring period will further illustrate the activity and patriotism of the people. May 29, 1775, Elisha Cranson was chosen to attend the convention at Watertown, and again on July 10th. June 1, 1775, at a meeting of the committee of correspondence, the following votes were passed, viz.:

      1st, Voted "not to take any Notice of Ephraim Williams, a suspected Tory."
      Aug. 22, 1775.—"Voted to send a man to Albenah to procure Guns & amanison upon the town's Credit."
      July 10, 1777.-"Voted to accept of the list exhibited to the town of Certain Persons who are thought to be inimical to ye American States."
      Aug. 22, 1777.-"Voted by the Town yt in their esteem the following persons exhibited to the Town in the meeting by the Selectmen do appear so unfriendly to ye American States that they ought to be brought to proper trial, viz., Samel. Belding, Seth Wait, Lieut. Philip Phillips, Samel Anable, Jr., Wait Broughton, Asa Bacon, Elijah Wait, Jesse Edson, and Daniel Bacon.
      "Voted yt the above-named Persons be committed to close Confinement in this Town.
      "Voted that Capt. Bartlet's house be the place of their confinement.
      "Voted yt the Selectmen make Provision for the support of those who are put under confinement, as also for the Guard which shall have the Care of them, upon the Town's cost."
      May 24, 1781.—"Voted to allow Elisha Bartlet £7 for going to Surrotoga to Carry Packs to the Soldiers.
      "Voted to allow £14 as Rations for fourteen Men from Ashfield to Ticonderoga in Feb., A.D. 1776, &c."

      A large number of the inhabitants of the town served in the army, and the town promptly furnished its proportion of supplies.

War Of 1812.

      With this war the town was not in sympathy, and reluctantly furnished the men required by the government. Among these were David Vincent, Josiah Kelley, George Hall, Ely Eldredge, Anson Bement.

War Of 1861-65.

      In the suppression of the Southern Rebellion, the town manifested the same sterling patriotism which their ancestors did in the Revolutionary period. Men and money were freely furnished to answer government demands. After the close of the war a handsome monument was erected in memory of those who perished in the war, as the following vote indicates:
      March 5, 1866.—"Voted to raise $650 (six hundred and fifty dollars) for the purpose of erecting and establishing a monument or memorial to perpetuate the memory of those persons of this town whose lives have been sacrificed in the effort to sustain the government against the slave-holders' Rebellion."
      The following list, culled from the adjutant-general's list, is believed to be approximately correct:
      Wm. H. Ford, Rufus A. Lilley, Lewis Eldridge, Edward F. Hale, Elisha B. Howes, John L. Howes, Sylvester Howes, Henry F. Kilbourn, Alfred C. Thayer, Elon S. Williams, Lewis Williams, all in 52d Mass.; Levi Elmer, James M. Howes, Micajah H. Vincent, Cyrus B. Cone, Leander. V. Hill, Daniel G. Howes, Henry Parsons, Horace V. Taylor, David M. Vincent, Wm. T. Vincent, all in 10th Mass.; Joel Wing, in 27th Mass.; Sumner H. Bardwell, Luther D. Chapin, Harvey E. Bailey, Leroy C. Beals, Henry Guilford, Wm. R. Harris, Wm. L. Luce, Ephraim Taylor, Reuben W. Taylor, Wells P. Taylor, James A. Treat, Levi Warren, Milo F. Warren, Oliver Warren, all in 31st Mass.; George Ward, Norris E. Chapin, Lafayette Eddy, Mitchell Gorn, Ralph H. Ranney, Roswell L. Church, Alphonzo Church, in 34th Mass.; Murray J. Guilford, Darius W. Taylor, Caspar Lilly, Joel Lilly, James McCormick, all in the 37th Mass.; besides Stephen Bates, Levi S. Elmer, R. Bement Smith, R. W. Lawrence, Orange Richardson, William Willis, Albert Lilly, Charles Richardson, Harvey Hadlock, Henry Hallett, Emery H. Bement, Thomas L. Munsell, Henry L. Luce, Cyrus B. Cone, Elias T. Yeamans.
      In the compilation of this town history, the writer is chiefly indebted for assistance to Henry S. Ranney, town clerk, and. for access to interesting and useful documents. Thanks are also due to other citizens of the town.

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