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History: Recalling Civil War and Revolutionary War veterans from Newburyport area

I just recently became an associate member of The Brigadier Gen. James Brickett Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and remembered this article I published in Patriot Ledger May 21 2015. A few tidbits on the brave soldiers in and around Newbury area.

In Newburyport 60 soldiers from the Revolution gathered to celebrate the 50th anniversary of American Independence (1816). One soldier, Daniel Adams, colonel of Moses Little’s Regiment, uttered these words: “Our Union, liberty, and independence were defended by the best blood of every American.” Adams was referring to the patriots who laid down their life and lands for freedom. On Memorial Day we honor our ancestors who sacrificed everything and the brave fighters who continue to follow their lead.

A potent spark of energy is awakened when we hear their heroic tales. We continue to pay homage to the spirited privateer Offin Boardman and his 17 Herculean wildcats who captured the British ship Friends off Plum Island in 1776.

We honor the 63-year-old Isaac Colby Jr. who marched 75 miles to fight the Brits and Joseph Hoyt a “brave and stalwart soldier,” who at of Bennington unmindful of himself and at the peril of his own life, carried his captain, Nathan Sanborn, shot down, upon his shoulder from the battlefield.

Even before the American Revolution, hundreds paid for freedom, like Captain Benjamin Swett of Newbury, killed at Black Point Scarborough June 1677. Many fought in more than one war as one obituary records Thomas Britt of Georgetown, a 115-year-old who served in the Cherokee War, American Revolution, and War of 1812. He was known in the hub as “a bold assurer of freedom” (Salem Observer 1825).

Paul Turner of the Salisbury Historical Society said his ancestor Sgt. John Colby was a soldier in King Philip’s War and Turner’s Falls Fight under Capt. William Turner. In May 1676 Colby helped guide the scouting party that located and buried the fallen men, including Capt. William Turner.

Captain John Currier, a soldier was in the French and Indian War earned a commission as lieutenant in Capt. Worthen’s company. During the Revolution “he was greatly interested in the struggle for independence and performed valuable services throughout the war” and bravely led the Pond Hills CO. in battle.

Isaac Hart, a soldier in Capt. Gardner’s company in the King Phillip’s War survived the bloody skirmishes, but endured a different kind of tragedy when his wife, Elizabeth, one of the was sentenced to the Boston jail during Salem Witch Hysteria of 1692. Carolyn Hart Wood, a ninth-generation descendant, noted Elizabeth was 70 years old when arrested but fortunately escaped the gallows.

Gravestone “In Memory of Capt. Ebenezer Hart — Who fought for the Liberty and Independence of His Country during the War of the Revolution.” West Burying Ground Lynnfield, Essex County, Massachusetts, USACourtesy of Carolyn Hart Wood

Ebenezer Hart, a descendant of Isaac fought in the Revolutionary War in Capt. Sylvanus Smith’s company and Col. Timothy Bigelow’s 15th Regiment. Wood sent a copy of his headstone inscription, which reads: “In Memory of Capt. Ebenezer Hart — Who fought for the Liberty and Independence of His Country during the War of the Revolution.”

A letter published in 1825 by J Wingate, of Amesbury, stated that the first person killed in Bunker Hill fight was Salisbury’s Simeon Pike. Pike was decapitated by a cannonball and the eyewitnesses present where his neighbors. Wingate stated that “Isaac Whittier, Paul Hardy, John Hoyt, and David Huntington” told him the contents of Pike’s head “were scattered upon them.”

David Allen Lambert, chief genealogist at New England Historic Genealogical Society, has researched his Newbury family line who owned the Poor Tavern on Newbury Neck Road. His family members resided at the Poor Tavern site from 1642 to 1819.

The Poor Tavern Newbury, Massachusetts. Courtesy of David Allen Lambert

Lambert said Capt. Jonathan Poor was among the men who had enlisted and signed the Resolve of the Provincial Congress of the Massachusetts Bay agreement to take up arms and volunteer for the cause. Captain Poor along with his Newbury brethren were hastily summoned at midnight on April 19, 1775, to “defend this Continent from ye invasions of the ministerial troops.” He served as captain under Col. Samuel Gerrish’s 2nd Essex County and Colonel Daniel Spofford’s regiment, the 7th Essex County.

Gravestone located in First Parish Cemetery, High Road, Newbury, Massachusetts Moses Short Soldier of the American Revolution Courtesy of Laurie Short Jarvis

Moses Short, a Revolutionary patriot and carrier of the Newburyport Herald for nearly half a century, was one of the attendees at the 50th anniversary celebration in Newburyport. Moses raised his glass and spoke these words: “The Tree of Liberty watered by the blood of the Revolution may our children suffer no canker worms to injure its sacred leaves.”

That same day John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died within a few hours of each other.

Moses Emery Short named after his Patriotic great-grandfather served in the 19th Massachusetts Co. B during the Civil War. He was killed in battle of Oak Grove June 26, 1862. A New York Times article noted Short as one of the officers who died “fighting with a most determined resistance and serving with most gallant duty.”

The Short descendants have a letter Moses sent to his brother the day before he died. Laurie Short Jarvis says Moses was “a from a long line of sea captains from Joppy and at the age of 14 was a strong sailor himself who competed in regattas before the war.”

Colonius Morse, "Lamplighter of Georgetown, MA" until 1912 and a war veteran Courtesy of Karen Brocklebank.

Colonius Morse survived the long, hot July 3 day in 1863, fighting in the in the fields of Gettysburg. Civil War historian, Bruce Catton noted: “whether they had ten minutes or sixty years left it was a site they will never forget.” But Morse could only wonder if he would live to see his wife, Martha, and his two sons, one who he had not even met yet. Morse held the position as “Lamplighter of Georgetown” until the advent of electricity (1912).

Benjamin Jellison of Georgetown awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his brave defense at Pickett’s Charge and capturing the Confederate flag of the 57th Virginia Infantry in the Battle of Gettysburg Image from "History Of The Nineteenth Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, 1861-1865." Salem Press, Salem MA 1920.

Benjamin Jellison of Georgetown was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his brave defense at Pickett’s Charge and capturing the Confederate flag of the 57th Virginia Infantry in the Battle of Gettysburg. He commanded the first company of Massachusetts sharpshooters from Petersburg in 1864 and served as a messenger for the senate.

Daniel Adams has long passed, but his words are part of every monumental marker. In Amesbury there is the statue of Josiah Bartlett, first signer of the Declaration of Independence, and the Powder House that housed ammunition for the War of 1812 originally stashed in Deacon Orlando’s corn house.

Bombshell brought back from Louisburg by Nathaniel Knapp in 1758. From "The Colonial Book" Towle Manufacturing Co 1908

The bombshell brought back from the battle of Louisburg in 1758 by Nathaniel Knapp is at the Superior Courthouse in Newburyport. A magnificent monument next to the Town Hall in Georgetown erected to memorialize Civil War veterans. In Salisbury the landmark commemorating all the war heroes listed by battle.

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