New Salem — Revolutionary Reminiscences

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

      When the Lexington alarm reached New Salem the inhabitants were called together, and upon the village green of New Salem Centre they assembled, guns in hand, ready to march at a moment's notice. There were at this time two militia companies in the town, and of one of these companies one Goodell was captain, and William, son of Benjamin Stacy, who lived about a mile southwest of the present village of Millington, was the lieutenant. Capt. Goodell had previously been regarded as having leanings toward Toryism, and when his company being gathered at the time of the general rally above noted, he manifested a disinclination to raise his voice in behalf of patriotism, he was directly the object of derision, and promptly evaded responsibility by slinking away. At this, Lieutenant Stacy, doffing his hat, drew his commission from his pocket, and, tearing it to pieces, excitedly exclaimed while he did so, "Fellow-soldiers, I don't know exactly how it is with the rest of you, but as for me, I will no longer serve a king who murders my own countrymen." The effect of his example was to thrill the company with patriotic ardor, and they hurrahed and shouted their approval of the lieutenant's action. Capt. Goodell, who appeared at this instant, endeavored to quell the enthusiasm by an attempted exercise of authority, but the blood of his men was up to fever heat, and they waved him scornfully away. The company voted at once to march for the seat of war, reorganized by choosing the gallant Stacy as their captain, and before the next night he set out at their head for Cambridge. Captain Stacy served through the war, rose to the rank of lieutenant-colonel, and received from General Washington the present of a gold snuff-box as a mark of esteem. Shortly after the war closed he removed to the far West, and was killed by the Indians near Marietta, Ohio.
      New Salem was opposed to the war of 1812, and sent Samuel C. Allen as a delegate to the Northampton anti-war convention. In 1814 a draft for soldiers was held in the Baptist Church, when, among others, the following were impressed into the service: Wm. Smith, John Shaw, Samuel Shaw, Joseph Shaw, Asa Powers, John Powers, John Frye, and Andrew Newell.
      In 1814, Col. Williams' regiment, bound for Boston, halted in New Salem a few days, and was there joined by Rev. Alpheus Harding, who had been chosen regimental chaplain.

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