Warwick — Revolutionary Reminiscences
Extracted from "History of the Connecticut Valley in Massachusetts, Volume II," by Louis H. Everts, 1879.
Warwick was patriotic and untiring in energy during the Revolutionary struggle, and upon the first alarm sounded at Lexington sprang to arms, bold of purpose and enthusiastic of will. In September, 1774, the town met to consider the pamphlet sent out by the committee of correspondence in Boston, and, after resolving first to procure a town stock of powder and lead, it was voted as follows:
"To adhere strictly to our chartered rights and privileges and to defend them to the utmost of our capacity, and that we will be in readiness to afford relief forthwith should our brethren in Boston or elsewhere be distressed by troops sent to enforce a compliance with the unconstitutional and oppressive acts of the British Parliament."
It was further voted to choose a captain (Samuel Williams), a lieutenant (James Ball), and ensign (Amzi Doolittle), and to enlist a company of 50 men to go at a minute's warning to the relief of "our brethren in the province."
In the autumn of 1774, 25 Warwick men joined a company of Minute-Men organized at Northfield, under the command of Capt. Eldad Wright. They marched with the company to Cambridge soon after the fight at Lexington, and as a matter of record the names of the 25 are here given: Lieutenant Thomas Rich; Sergeants Joseph Mayo and Abraham Barns; Corporals Seth Peck and Henry Burnet; and the following-named privates: Daniel Whiting, John Whiting, Samuel Denny, William Pitcher, Jotham Merriam, Isaac Burnet, Wm. Burnet, Asahel Newton, Simeon Stearns, Francis Leonard, Wilder Stevens, Jonathan Gale, Caleb Rich, Stephen Gould, Peter Ripley, Gove Stephens, John Mayo, Jedediah Gould, Samuel Griffiths, Wm. Bradley.
In 1774, Capt. Samuel Williams was sent as Warwick's delegate to the Provincial Congress at Concord, and in November of the same year an election for officers of the militia resulted in the choice of Samuel Williams as captain; Peter Proctor and Reuben Petty as lieutenants; Thomas Rich, ensign; and Amos Marsh, clerk.
In 1775, Samuel Williams was a delegate to the Provincial Congress at Cambridge, and at this time also Rev. Lemuel Hedge, the Congregational minister, having evinced a strong Toryism, was disarmed and confined, and further prevented from leaving the town except by permission of the committee of correspondence, which was composed of Reuben Petty, Seth Peck, Josiah Pomeroy, Thomas Rich, and Amos Marsh. This action touching Mr. Hedge was partly in accordance with recommendations and resolves passed by the towns of Northfield and Athol. A committee chosen to settle the difficulties between the people and Mr. Hedge reported that Mr. Hedge would agree, provided his liberty were accorded him, to refrain from attempting to prejudice the minds of the people against the country's common cause, and to further submit his case for decision to the General Assembly, to a mutual council, or to any set of judicious men. The town rejected his proposition and left his ease status quo.
Not long after this, a body of about forty men seized upon Mr. Hedge and conveyed him from Warwick to Northampton, with a view to lodging him in prison, but they were compelled to release him. The excitements and distress of this period of his existence so impaired his health, it is said, that (removing to Hardwick not long thereafter) he died in October, 1777.
Mr. Hedge was a friend and college classmate of Gen. Warren, and it is said that when the latter fell at Bunker Hill, he had in his pocket a letter from Mr. Hedge professing a deep interest in his country's liberty, but doubting the final issue.
May 24, 1776, the town-meeting then held had been called in the name of the government and people of Massachusetts Bay. Previous to that date town-meetings had been called in the name of his Majesty. Lieut. Thomas Rich was this year chosen a representative at the General Court, and instructed "to do his endeavor that no acts should be passed encroaching on the liberties or in any measure invading the rights of the people." He was further instructed to grant all supplies necessary for the safety of America under her distressing circumstances, but that he should not be extravagant in said grants.
July 4, 1776, in compliance with a resolve of the General Court, the town inhabitants met for the purpose of expressing their sentiments upon the matter of the Declaration of Independence, and to a man voted in its favor.
In 1779 the town petitioned the General Court for the relinquishment of a heavy fine that had been imposed for a failure to raise the required quota of men for the Continental army, the cause of the failure being an inability to raise money required for bounties. The petition was probably rejected, for directly afterward the town began to raise money for bounties to soldiers, £700 being thus raised in November, 1779, and in July and September, 1780; the sums raised aggregated upward of £21,000, all in the depreciated currency of that period. Fifteen pounds each in hard money were offered in June, 1780, as a bounty for six months' men; January, 1781, the town raised £3100 for horses for the Continental army, and shortly thereafter raised a number of three years' men.
The major part of the people of Warwick were opposed to the war of 1812, but the town, nevertheless, sent volunteers into the service, among them being John Ager, George Stockwell, Henry Whipple, and ______ Parmenter (privates), Benjamin Eddy (drum-major), and Obadiah Bass (musician). Among those who were ordered to Boston on detached service were Ebenezer Stearns, Ebenezer Barber, Ephraim Tuel, Manning Wheelock, Jonas Leonard, Willard Packard, Dexter Fisk, David Gale, Jr., Stephen Ball, William Boyle, Abijah Eddy, Jonas Conant, Samuel Abbott, Peter Warrick, Daniel Smith, Artemas Baker, Abner Goodale, Nathan Atwood, Stephen Williams, Joseph Williams, Jr., James Ball, Jr., Samuel Ball, Ezra Ripley, Eli Stockwell, and ______ Maxwell. Some of the above found substitutes, among whom were Stephen Gale, Benoni Ballou, George Jaseph, Joseph Jaseph, and James Fuller. Samuel Lesure, one of the early settlers of Warwick, was a soldier in the Revolution. His widow died in Whately, Mass., in 1865, at the age of one hundred and one years, and it is said of her that in that year she knitted socks for the soldiers sent by Warwick into the war of the Rebellion.
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14 Jul 2005