Charlemont — Military

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

      On the 18th of January, 1773, Othniel Taylor was commissioned captain of a military company organized in Charlemont. The loss of the muster-roll prevents us from giving the names of the members, but no doubt they were essentially the same as those given elsewhere as settlers.
      The questions agitating the country during several years before the stirring events of the Revolution received proper consideration in Charlemont. On the 4th of October, 1773, a meeting was held "to take into consideration the melancholy state of the province of Massachusetts Bay, occasioned by the unnatural oppression of the parent state of this province." After deliberation the town declared its "respect for the sacred person, crown, and dignity of our right and lawful sovereign, King George the Third," and that they harbored no thought of separating from the parent state; but they set forth their grievances, as follows:

      "That the inhabitants of this town hold sacred our excellent Constitution, so dearly purchased by our forefathers; that we also hold dear our possessions, so dearly purchased by ourselves, when, to settle this town, and make it more advantageous to his ministry, and profitable to ourselves and posterity, we have been alarmed by the yells of the savage about our ears, and been shocked with scenes of our dearest friends and nearest relatives butchered, scalped, and captivated before our eyes; we, our wives, and children forced to fly to garrison for safety. Therefore, we must hold the man in the greatest scorn and contempt who shall endeavor to rob us either of liberty or property, and that we look upon it as a great frown of Almighty God to permit a man to govern us who seems so much bent to ruin the people."

      They concluded with a prayer for repentance "of all our sins, especially those that pull-down such a heavy judgment on us as an oppressive governor."
      After the report was "repeatedly read," it was unanimously adopted, recorded in the town book, and a copy forwarded to the committee of correspondence at Boston.
      March 11, 1776, Sylvanus Rice, Asaph White, John Brooks, Jonathan Hastings, Artemas Rice, Aaron Rice, James McKennan, William Brown, Oliver Avery, Othniel Taylor, James White, and Nahum Ward were appointed a committee of correspondence and safety, and on the 20th of December of the same year, "agreed and voted to raise the sum of £40 in order to provide a town stock of ammunition."
      At the legal meeting, April 8, 1777, the question being put whether the town will give encouragement as a town toward raising soldiers, it passed in the negative.
      March 10, 1778, "it was voted to choose five men as a committee to settle what has been done in the war, and to instruct them to estimate the service according to the value of time, having regard to the seasons of the year." The committee was Elias Carter, Thompson Maxwell, Jonathan Hastings, Asahel Thayer, and Benjamin Maxwell.
      In 1780, Capt. Sylvanus Rice, Lieut. Thomas Nichols, Benjamin Maxwell, and Artemas Rice were appointed a committee of safety, and it was

      "Voted to raise two hundred pounds as an encouragement to each man who will enlist to serve six months as a soldier in the Continental service."

      In the same year it was "voted that the best shoes for soldiers shall cost $72 per pair, the others $47 per pair."*
      In 1774, Hugh Maxwell represented the town in the Provincial Congress, and the following year Samuel Taylor was the representative.
      At the outbreak of the war a company of Minute-Men was formed in this part of the county, which had among its members a number of the citizens of Charlemont. Oliver Avery was in command and Hugh Maxwell was a lieutenant, They marched to Cambridge in May, 1775, and when the army was reorganized a portion of the Charlemont men enlisted in Col. Prescott's regiment, in which Hugh Maxwell was a captain and Joseph Stebbins a lieutenant, their commissions bearing date May 26, 1775. Capt. Avery and some of the men returned home, but others remained to participate in the battle of Bunker Hill. In this engagement Capt. Maxwell was wounded and Ebenezer Fales killed. Josiah Pierce, a celebrated marksman, fired forty-seven bullets at the enemy with unerring aim, and lived to be present at the laying of the cornerstone of the monument which commemorates that battle and the death of Gen. Joseph Warren.
      "Sylvanus Rice was the captain of a company of Minute-Men, and was frequently employed for short terms of service. He led his company at one time to New London, mortgaging his farm in order to raise the necessary means of equipment." His son Luther died in the service at West Point.
      Moses and Samuel Rice hastened to Bennington with such speed that they were able to join in pursuit of the Hessians. Samuel Rice and Lemuel Roberts, of Charlemont, with others, were captured the succeeding-fall and carried to Canada, suffering intensely from the cold. The former managed to escape the following spring, and, after many hardships, reached his home in the early summer.
      Martin Rice was at Bunker Hill, and Eleazer Hawks at Bennington. Ephraim Hawks, Eliphalet Cutting, Joel Davidson, Eliphalet Cutting, Jr., Jonathan Howard, and Caleb Fish were also Continental soldiers. Tertius Taylor served through the war, holding a lieutenant's commission. Among other battles, he was at Stillwater and Stony Point. His brother, Othniel, was a captain, and led his company into many engagements during the northern campaign of 1777.
      Many others whose names cannot be here produced served in the Revolution; and in the struggle from 1812-15 the town was fairly represented. In the late civil war Charlemont's quotas were promptly filled. It is believed that the following list embraces the names of all who were credited to the town. No record of names having been preserved in the clerk's office, it has been compiled from the State reports.
      In the compilation of the foregoing sketch of the town's history, the writer has been much assisted by the "Historical Discourse" of the Hon. Joseph White, and by information received from Messrs. Eugene A. Field, Phineas Field, E. C. Hawks, Levi Smith, Henry Bassett, R. H. Leavitt, A. L. Tyler, Samuel Potter, M. Hawks, Mrs. Milner Taylor, and W. E. Niles.

* Continental bills.

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