From Daniel T.V. Huntoon's 

History of The Town of Canton, Massachusetts (1893)

CHAPTER XX

THE WAR OF THE REVOLUTION

The chief sources of information to which we naturally turn are the records of the town meetings held during the struggle that gained for America her independence. From them we are enabled to trace the gradual course of events; for to the people assembled in town meeting were referred all the important measures of the time, and the decisions and desires of the legal voters are mirrored on the old records. The original warrants are still preserved, as issued by the selectmen. Many of the original instructions to the agents or representatives of the town still exist. Ancient diaries have been exhumed from the recesses of old attics which throw much light on the daily life of Revolutionary days. Again, tradition has preserved to us many familiar and interesting events connected with the men who were active in that war. Thus we shall be able to follow the particular doings of our townsmen of this important period.

On the 18th of March, 1766, the Stamp Act was repealed. A public thanksgiving was held in the old church on the 24th of July, Rev. Samuel Dunbar preaching from the text, "As the days wherein the Jews rested from their enemies, and the month which was turned unto them from sorrow to joy, and from mourning unto a good day, and that they should make them days of feasting and joy."

On the 6th of October, 1766, an article was read at the town meeting, "to see if the town will give instructions to their representative respecting making good the damages that particular persons in the town of Boston sustained in the late disturbances in this Province respecting the Stamp Act." At the annual meeting in May, Lieut. Hezekiah Gay received eighty-three votes, - six other candidates receiving only eighty in all, - and he was elected Representative to the General Court. At a later meeting he was instruction in regard to the late proceedings in Boston in the following language:- 

"In the first place, we would Jet you know that we abhor and detest all mobs in general, and that none of us had any hand in that in particular, and we are of opinion that not one thousanth part of the. Province in general, exclusive of the town of Boston, had anv hand in them, directly or indirectly. We would recommend to you by no means to vote for recompense to be made by ye Province, as a point of justice; for the Province, immediately after ye violences were committed, bore testimony against them, and used all proper proceedings to detect those that committed them, but to no effect. But the town are willing justice should be done, provided the people be not taxed therefor."

This loyalty was to vanish before the continued oppressive acts of the British Parliament, as time wore on. In 1768 Mr. Gay was again chosen to join with the several towns of the province at Faneuil Hall, on the 22d of September, at a convention there to be held to see what could be accomplished for the good of the province, the General Court having been dissolved by Governor Bernard. This convention asserted its readiness to prevent tumults, and made professions of loyalty. The next day the soldiers from Halifax occupied their places in Faneuil Hall.

On July 31, 1769, Governor Bernard, having failed to obtain grants from the House to support a standing army in the province, left his home at Jamaica Plain and embarked from Castle William. Guns were fired from Mr. Hancock's wharf, and a bonfire started on Fort Hill. The news reached Canton the next day; the bell of the old church rang out a joyous peal, and Seth Billings was unfortunately wounded in firing a salute. He died on the 2d of August.

The population of Stoughton at this time consisted of about 2,100 souls; 530 were of the age of sixteen and upwards. The number of polls was 504. The inhabitants were primitive in their manners, and their wants were few; the greater portion of them could not be called educated, save by the education that comes from innate sense and the varied experiences of life. They were accustomed in difficult matters to look to a few men for advice and counsel, who by their superior natural abilities, or the advantages of early schooling, were acknowledged to be the leading men of the day. When an earnest desire for liberty swept over the land, it found in this town prominent men, whose influence was wielded for the common good; and the hearts of the people beat in unison with the pulse of the embryo nation.

The bleak winds of March were sweeping over the hills and along "Packeen plain," when in 1773, by order of his Majesty George III., the inhabitants of Stoughton congregated at the old meeting-house. It was town meeting day, - a day on which from the earliest times plans were formed for the ensuing year. But on this day the minor matters connected with the election of town officers paled before the rumor that the selectmen of the town had received a letter from certain gentlemen in the town of Boston, styling themselves a committee of correspondence, in which, in forcible language, they inform their friends in the country of the grievances the province was then laboring under. The letter having been read in open town meeting, our townspeople immediately replied to it in the following words :

To ye Boston Committe of Correspondence :

Honored Gentlemen, Haveing had oppertunity to hear and consider your letter to us, for which we are obliged and thankful to you, We, according to our best understanding, think that our Rights as men, as Christians, and British Subjects are Rightly Stated by you, and in ye many instanceses produced have been Greatly infringed upon and violated by arbetrary Will and power, we esteem them heavy grivanceses, and apprehensive that in future time they may prove fatal to us and oure posterity, as to all that is Dear to us, Reducing us not only to poverty, but Slavery, we Do humbly remonstrate against them, & concur with you and our Brethren in several towns of ye Province, tho we cannot join with all ye towns, Nor with ye in every circumstance and perticular of your procedings, Yet we must concur with you and them in Bearing our Testimony against them, and in uniting in all constitutinal methods for Regaining those Rights and privileges that have been ravished from us, and for retaining those that yet Remain to us; and accordingly, we advise & instruct our Representative to exerte himself for these ends; and that as this province ever had, and ought to have, a right to petition the King for ye Redress of such greivances as they feel, and for preventing Such as they have just reason to apprehend and fear, that he move that an humble petition for these purposes be presented to his majesty. Hopeing for a divine Blessing upon all our Constitutional Endeavors for ye preservation and enjoyment of all our Natural and Constitutional Rights and priviledges, and professing our Loyalty to the King, and praying that he may Long set upon the Throne, and Rule in Righteousness, and that he may be a nursing father to us, his Loyal subjects, and that all his officers may be peace, and his Exactors Righteousness, We subscribe ourselves Your Distressed Brethren and oppressed fellow subjects.

The moderator of this meeting and the man who read this letter was Joseph Billings. He was the son of that Joseph Billings who kept the old tavern in Milton, next beyond the residence of J. Huntington Wolcott, sometimes known as the Blue Hill Tavern, but oftener as Billings's tavern. His sons, Joseph, William, and John, removed to Canton. Joseph, the eldest, born June 17, 1709, was a prominent man in Canton affairs. He was for many years guardian of the Ponkapoag Indians, and says, "The Indians have eat and drank at my house more than five hundred times." We have seen a letter written by Parson Dunbar, speaking in the highest terms of his ability and character. Joseph Billings's niece, the daughter of Thomas and sister to Daniel Vose, records in her diary that her "Uncle Joseph died Jan. 13, 1789, aged eighty years." No stone confirms this record; but his wife Anna, daughter of Col. John Holman, of Milton, is buried in the old cemetery, and her stone says  she died Oct. 28, 1753, aged forty-five years. Samuel Billings erected, in 1809, a new house on what is now known as the Capt. William Shaller place, which he sold to Alexander French; and here, in 1814, his son, Charles Howe French, was born. From French it passed through two owners, and, May 2, 1827, was purchased by Capt. William Shaller, who resided on it.

The spirit of loyalty was not yet fully grown. On the 17th of June, 1774, the General Court had determined that "a committee should be appointed to meet as soon as I may be the committees that are or shall be appointed by the several colonies on this continent to consult together upon the present state of the colonies." Money was provided to pay their expenses; but either on account of a veto from General Gage, or some other reason, they were left without funds. A confidential circular was addressed to each town, asking for contributions. The matter came up in the afternoon of July 11, 1774, and was next in order after the choice of moderator; namely,

"To see if the Town will vote to pay 2. 17. 9. to ye Honble Thos Cushing, of Boston, by ye 15 th day of August next, to pay ye Committe of this Province chosen by our General Cort to meet ye Committes of the other Provinces."

The town voted to dismiss the article.

Another year rolled away, and an event was to occur which was to make the town of Canton prominent in the affairs of the province; for in that part of Stoughton now Canton was an ancient house in which was held the first meeting in the Province of Massachusetts Bay to oppose the tyranny of Great Britain.

The Doty tavern, where the delegates from the several towns and districts in Suffolk first met, and from which place they adjourned to meet at the house of Richard Woodward at Dedham, and finally to the mansion of Daniel Vose, of Milton, where the memorable "Suffolk Resolves" were passed, is still standing;[1] but it is no longer in Suffolk

1 The Doty tavern was destroyed by fire Dec. 19, 1888. Eds.

County nor in the town of Stoughton. The town of Canton claims it to-day, and the county of Norfolk is glad to give it a place among its ancient historical landmarks.

The traveller, journeying from Milton toward Canton, passing between Little and Great Blue Hills, sees before him a level plain. He passes the modern Blue Hill Street, and ,the second house on his left will at once attract his attention by its singular and old-fashioned appearance. It stands a short distance back from the street. It strikes one as a house that has a history; its quaint gambrel roof, through which rise two chimneys of huge proportions, carries one back to times long past, and we would fain listen to the stories it might tell could it speak.

It was built in early days. A marquis has slept beneath its roof; a general has planned within its walls the freedom of a nation; and a destined President of the United States, John Adams, has baited his horse there. Major John Shepard built the old house, and he was a notable man in this part of Suffolk when it was new.

At the period of the Revolution the house, which had been kept as a tavern in 1726 by Major John Shepard, was celebrated for its good cheer. Here could be found entertainment for man and beast. The proprietor was jovial Tom Doty, known among more quiet and sedate persons as Col. Thomas Doty. He it was who kept the best viands and could mix the best glass of grog of any landlord in all the country around. There was no stage-driver so ignorant as not to know where Doty's tavern was. His inn was the centre of gossip; around his capacious hearth were wont to congregate on winter evenings the village wiseacres, to discuss over pipe and bowl questions pertaining to town and province. John Adams tells us that there were many such taverns in his day; that he knew, will appear from the following extract from his diary:

"Monday, Aug. 14, 1769. Dined with three hundred and fifty Sons of Liberty at Robinson's, the sign of Liberty Tree in Dorchester. There was a large collection of good company. To the honor of the company, I did not see one person intoxicated or near it. 

"Between four and five o'clock the carriages were all got ready, and the company rode off in procession, Mr. Hancock first in his chariot, and another chariot bringing up the rear. I took my leave of the gentlemen, and turned off for Taunton. Oated at Doty's, and arrived long after dark at Noice's ; there I put up."

Col. Thomas Doty was the son of Thomas and Elizabeth (Harlow) Doty. He was of the fifth generation from Edward, who was a passenger in the "Mayflower;" the blood of the Puritans flowed in his veins, and he was born near Plymouth Rock. Flis military career opened in 1755, when we find him as a lieutenant in Nathaniel Thomas's company. Later in the same year he was promoted to a captaincy and assigned to the Tenth Company in the Ninth Massachusetts Regiment. He was a friend and companion of Richard Gridley; and when, in 1756, Doty was appointed lieutenant-colonel in Thacher's regiment, these men sat together on many a court-martial during the hot days of summer. In October of the same year, Doty was placed in charge of two sloops on Lake George, and ordered by General Winslow to annoy and, if possible, destroy the enemy. On March 28, 1758, the sum of ,2,000 was allowed him by the government, to pay the bounties of such men as should enlist in the expedition against Canada. The same year he became a full colonel, and was in command of a regiment forming a part of the third division of Abercrombie's army that marched during the summer to attack Fort Ticonderoga. In July his regiment, being at Half-Moon, were so affronted by the remarks of a captain in the regular service one Crookshank that a large number, more than half the regiment, deserted. The matter was brought before the Governor and Council, and the Hon. Thomas Hutchinson, Esq., was ordered to take measures to apprehend the deserters.

In August his troops under Bradstreet, at one of the darkest periods of the French and Indian War, crossed Lake Ontario and captured Fort Frontenac, a formidable stronghold of the French which commanded the outlet to the lake. The war at an end, Doty was for a short time in business at Plymouth and Middleboro'. In 1760 he kept the Lamb tavern in Boston, and in 1764 removed to Canton and was soon honored by the position of moderator of the town meeting. In 1768 he was a deer-reeve. He built a house at the corner of Washington and Blue Hill streets, in which he probably died. His body and that of his wife, Abigail (Williams), lie buried in the Canton Cemetery, and the inscriptions show that "Coll Thomas Doty, Esq., died March 23, 1795, in ye 93d year of his age." His wife died Nov.. 7, 1791, aged seventy-five. By his will, made Nov. 8, 1794, he gave one third of his estate to the poor of the First Church of Christ, now known as the First Congregational Church. 

Doty was a man of some pretensions to political knowledge; certain it is that he was known at the time of which we write to be highly indignant at the treatment the provinces had lately received from the mother country; and he favored the embryonic movement soon to burst into open rebellion. The time had come when the men of the Province of Massachusetts Bay had become enraged at the blind policy of George III. and his Parliament; bold patriots resolved that throughout the thirteen provinces "Congresses " (so called in order to obviate the provisions of the Regulation Act, which forbade town meetings except by permission of the Governor) should be held in the several counties, and in this matter Suffolk County took the lead. After it was decided to hold such a Congress, the grave question which presented itself to the patriots of Suffolk County was, "Where shall we hold it, and at what town shall it convene?" In the first place, the spot should be central yet retired. Neither Boston nor Salem possessed these requisites; and Samuel Adams, who expected the gravest results from this assembly, strenuously desired that some inland town should be selected, where the Congress might meet, free from interference. This desire was communicated to Dr., afterward Major-Gen., Joseph Warren, and it was agreed that a Congress should be held as soon as practicable; and the town of Stoughton being by its geographical position central, and Doty's tavern of good repute, it was decided that the meeting should take place at the town and tavern aforesaid.

On the morning of Tuesday, the 16th of August, 1774, all was hurry and bustle at Doty tavern. From the farmhouse over the way, which, built in the time of the Indian wars, had for protection its second story projecting over the first, Squire William Royall sent his slaves to assist the slaves of Colonel Doty in making preparation for the distinguished guests. Little did those poor Africans imagine, as they cheerfully fulfilled their masters' orders on that summer morning, that this meeting which would result in bringing emancipation from the tyranny of Great Britain to their masters, would necessitate, at the adoption of the new Constitution in 1780, their being driven by whips into wagons at midnight, chained one to another, and carried from their old home in Massachusetts to be sold into perpetual bondage at Barbadoes.

Early in the forenoon the delegates began to arrive. The members from the inland towns came on horseback, while young Dr. Warren, with his Boston friends, drove up in a stylish berlin drawn by four horses, with a coachman in livery on the box and footman on the rumble. From old Stoughton came Parson Dunbar in gown and bands, a stout old soldier he, for things temporal as well as spiritual. He had fought when his Majesty needed help against the French; but the oppressive acts of the British Parliament had forfeited all claims upon his loyalty, and he came, against the advice of many of his friends, his relatives, and his own son, who held a civil office under the Crown, to meet with the County Congress at Doty's tavern. When he arrived, and the meeting was organized, he was asked to pray. The prayer has unfortunately not been preserved; but one who was present said of it that " It was the most extraordinary liberty-prayer that I ever heard; he appeared to have a most divine, if not prophetical, enthusiasm in favor of our rights. "

Before this Congress adjourned, the following resolutions were passed :

" Whereas, It appears to us that the Parliament of Great Britain, to the Dishonor of the king, in Violation of the faith of the Nation, Have, in Direct Infraction of the Charter of this Province, Contrary to Magna Charta, the Bill of Rights, the National & Constitutional claims of British subjects, by an act Called the Boston Port Bill, a Bill for Amending the Charter of this Province, and another Bill for the Impartial administration of Justice, with all the Parade and administration of law and justice, attempted to Reduce this Colony to an unparalleled State of Slavery : and.

" Whereas, the Several Colonies Being Justley and Properly alarmed with this Lawless and Tyranical Exertion of Power, Has Entered into Combination for our Relief, and have Published Sundry Resolutions which they are Determined to abide by, in support of Common Interest. We Earnestly Recommend to our Brethren in the Several Towns and Districts in this County, to appoint Members for to attend a county convention for Suffolk at the house of Mr. Woodward, Inn-holder in Dedham, on Tuesday, the sixth day of September next, at ten o'clock before noon, to Deliberate and Determine upon all Such Matters as the Distressed Circumstances of this Province may require."

It would appear that although all present at Doty's tavern were unanimous and firm and determined to resist the encroachments of Great Britain, the delegates did not deem themselves especially authorized to negotiate the affairs of a County Congress. They therefore adjourned, and at a subsequent meeting passed the celebrated " Suffolk Resolves," which, drafted by General Warren, and carried to Philadelphia by Paul Revere, were approved by the Conti-nental Congress at Carpenter's Hall, Philadelphia, on the 17th of September, 1774, and which, in the words of Gal-loway, "contained a complete declaration of war against Great Britain."

During the siege of Boston the old tavern was occupied by refugees, and one of the exiled town officers sought its secure retreat.

Beneath the roof of the Doty tavern the Marquis de Lafayette, on his first visit to America, rested while journeying from Taunton to Boston; it was during the war, and the news spread quickly that the gallant Frenchman was a guest at the old inn. In the morning, when he had paid his reckoning and was ready to depart, he found the townspeople gathered in the road before him, who with cheers and good wishes bade him Godspeed.

The County Congress met according to adjournment at the tavern of Mr. Richard Woodward at Dedham, which was situated directly opposite the present Court-House, on the 6th of September, 1774. In the mean time a warrant had been issued in Stoughton for a town meeting, the second ' article of which was:

"To see if the town will choose a committee of correspondence, to correspond with the other committees in this Province, and to meet the committees of the other towns in this County at Mr. Richard Woodward's, innholder in Dedham, on the sixth day of September js next, at two o'clock in the [forenoon], and so from time to time as they shall think proper, until our annual meeting next March."

The town had voted on the 29th of August that a committee be chosen to represent the town at the meeting at Dedham, and that they have full power to act and do anything in county convention, as may appear of public utility in a time of public and general distress. This committee consisted of John Withington, Theophilus Curtis, John Kenney, Jedediah Southworth, and Josiah Pratt.

John Withington, Jr., as he was called until the death of his father, but more commonly known as "Judge," was the son of John and Elizabeth Withington, and was born March 7, 1717, and died Jan. 16, 1798. For his first wife he married, Jan. 22, 1746, Martha, daughter of John and Elizabeth (Bailey) Wentworth, and for his second, Dec. 19, 1751, Desire, daughter of Philip, Jr., and Desire Liscom. He probably removed from Stoughton to Boston, where he resided some years. About 1760, Withington's Corner is mentioned; later he appears as one of the committee to audit the accounts of the Canton Precinct. The next year he joined the church. In 1760 he is described as trader, and buys the right of the heirs of Deacon Joseph Tucker in an old saw-mill and the stream and landing-place which belonged to Tucker. This property appears to be in his possession on the map of 1785. In 1764 he owned a female slave named Violet; she died in June of the following year, "a very terrible time," says a diarist. In 1764 he was a lieutenant in the militia, and in 1769 promoted to captain. He served the town as its treasurer in 1766. He was a delegate to the Second Provincial Congress at Cambridge, and to the Convention at Dedham, in 1775, one of the Committee of Correspondence, and actively engaged in the affairs of the town during the war. He purchased, in 1761, from David Tilden, the estate on the southwest corner of Pleasant and Washington streets, on which stood an old house which he removed to Dedham road, where it was a part of the house known to many as the Leeds house, because Nathaniel Leeds, who came to Canton in 1805, lived in it. He erected the house now standing, owned and occupied by George J. Leonard. This house was probably built about 1762, and remodeled by Dr. Stone in 1827. Mr. Withington appears to have been a trader, and not only sold groceries, dry and wet goods, but carted posts, planks, barrel-hoops, and knees for ships, to Boston or Milton Landing. In 1785 he boarded the candidates who preached at the Corner. In 1786 he provided the entertainment for the Council that ordained Mr. Howard. One hundred and twenty-four persons sat at the tables.

Capt. Josiah Pratt was from Foxboro'. He commanded one of the companies of minute-men in 1775, was a member of the Committee of Correspondence in 1776, and was subsequently for many years selectman at Foxboro'.

The committee, consisting of Withington, Kenney, Curtis, and Pratt, were desired to endeavor to obtain a county indemnification for such persons as might suffer, by fine or otherwise, from a non-compliance with the recent arbitrary acts of the British Parliament. The delegates from Stoughton attended the meeting at Dedham, and it was decided to adjourn this County Congress until the 9th of September, the delegates to meet at the house of Daniel Vose in Milton. At this meeting were passed the celebrated " Suffolk Resolves." The house where the resolutions were passed is still standing in Milton, next north of the railroad station at the Lower Mills, and can be distinguished by a marble tablet, recording the fact that in that "mansion on the 9th of September, 1774, were passed the Suffolk Resolves."

To attend this meeting, the town of Stoughton sent Thomas Crane, at this period of our history one of its most energetic and influential citizens. He was the son of Deacon Silas and Experience (Tolman) Crane, and was born in Milton, Jan. 6, 1726-27. He was the great-grandson of Henry, of Dorchester, the immigrant ancestor. His parents died within a day or two of each other and were buried in the Canton Cemetery in June, 1753. Thomas came to Canton in 1748, and the following year married Mary Fenno. At one period of his life, about 1763, he resided at Ponkapoag. He was a justice of the peace and quorum, and a major in the militia. He was a delegate to the Second Provincial Congress at Cambridge held in February, and at Watertown in July, 1775.

He was selectman for many years, and served as Representative to the General Court during five of the most trying years of the war. He was actively engaged in hiring men and procuring money during the Revolution. He engaged the soldiers, saw them mustered into the service, and paid them their bounties. As will hereafter appear, he was selected by the government as the proper person to take charge of the powder-mills, and was ever active and vigilant in the patriot cause. When the demands of the mill upon his time were not imperative, it was his custom to go about from house to house soliciting clothing and money for the families of the Continental soldiers. His manner is said to have been so impressive, and his persistency so great, that many who had never been known to give a penny for the good cause, deposited with him their contributions. It is related that in his enthusiasm the tears rolled down his cheeks and spattered on the contribution-paper like rain. 

A favorite remark of his when soliciting subscriptions was, ;

"My friend, the child Independence is about to be born; be liberal and give him an easy delivery." He continued to reside in Canton until 1774, when he removed to Stoughton, where he owned a large tract of land between Belcher's Corner and West Stoughton. He left there, and was residing in 1787 at the house now owned by J. Huntington Wolcott in Milton. Here he died on the 7th of October, 1804.

On the 7th of October, 1774, the Great and General Court was convened al Salem, and the citizens of Stoughton, with those of the District of Stoughtonham, decided that Thomas Crane was the man to represent them; and they voted him certain written instructions. He was admonished to adhere firmly to the charter of the province which had been granted by their Majesties William and Mary, and under no consideration to acknowledge the validity of any Act of the British Parliament tending to alter the government of Massachusetts Bay; at the same time his constituents did not disguise the fear that in their opinion a conscientious discharge of duty would cause a dissolution of the House of Representatives. Nevertheless, should such an emergency arise, their representative was instructed to join the other towns in the province for a General Provincial Congress, and do those things which were requisite and necessary to conduce to the true interests of the town and province, and take such measures as should be most likely to preserve unimpaired the liberties of all North America.

It was at a session of this body held at Cambridge, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 1774, that the committee that had been previously appointed to consider what was necessary to be done for the defense and safety of the government, reported a resolution that the field officers forthwith endeavor to enlist one quarter at least of the number of the respective companies, and form them into companies of fifty privates, who shall equip and hold themselves in readiness, on the shortest notice from the Committee of Safety, to march to the place of rendezvous; and that each and every company so formed choose a captain and two lieutenants to command them on any necessary and emergent service, and that the officers form the companies into battalions to consist of nine companies each. Within a month from the time of the publication of these resolutions, these companies were designated as minute-men.

On the 17th of November, 1774, the citizens of Canton Corner, then called "Old Stoughton," beheld for the last time the conjoined crosses of Saint George and Saint Andrew on a blue canton, floating on the breeze. The ancient national flag of the mother country, that had sustained on many a hard-fought field the honor of old England, and which from infancy they had been taught to honor and respect, was furled, never again to be regarded as an object of love and veneration. On the open field near the old meeting-house his Majesty's troops were drawn up in line; one by one the officers surrendered their commissions and immediately re-enlisted under the new government "of the people, by the people, and for the people."

And now the year 1775 opens, a year fraught with intense interest. This was the last year that the town warrants were to have the old heading that had for so many years greeted the eyes of loyal citizens. They were no longer summoned to convene "In His Majesty's name," and the warrants no longer ended, " In the fifteenth year of His Majesty's reign," but instead, we read in 1776, "In the name of the Government and People of ye Massachusetts State;" in 1782, "In the name of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts," and ending "In the sixth year of the Independent States of America."

On Feb. 1, 1775, the Second Provincial Congress was held at Cambridge, and on the 9th of January, the town of Stoughton made choice of Thomas Crane to represent them in that body. During the same month, on the 16th, it was voted to send " all of our Province money to Henry Gardner, Esq., of Stow." This was in conformity to a recommendation of the Provincial Congress, and the money was therefore sent to him in preference to Harrison Gray, Esq., the royal treasurer; the town agreed to indemnify the constables for not carrying the money to Gray. The resolves adopted by the Continental Congress were heartily ratified at this meeting, and it was voted to choose a committee who should use their, interest that "the Resolves and the associations of the Continental Congress should be closely adhered to." This committee was called a committee of inspection, and consisted of nineteen persons, as follows: John Withington, John Kenney, Adam Blackman, James Endicott, Jeremiah Ingraham, Abner Crane, Peter Talbot, Jonathan Capen, Robert Capen, Jedediah Southworth, Samuel Shepard, David Vinton, Theophilus Curtis, Josiah Pratt, Eleazer Robbins, Samuel Tucker, Benjamin Gill, Robert Swan, and Peter Gay.

The Committee of Inspection or Correspondence was vigilant and energetic. Four persons, acting under its orders, stopped a load of iron passing through the town. It belonged to John McWorther, of Taunton, who immediately brought an action against the committee. The following was the expense attending the defence of the suit

Lieut. J. Withington     -    13-18-0

Samuel Tucker            -       9-0-0

Peter Talbot                -       9-10-0

Jonathan Capen           -       13-8-0

Adam Blackman          -         6-0-0

Peter Gay                    -         6-0-0

Samuel Shepard           -       11-8-0

Robert Swan                -        9-0-0

Abner Crane                -       13-0-0

Benjamin Gill               -       47-1-16

John Kenney                -      24-0-6

James Endicott             -       7-16-0

                                    170-2-0

The town reimbursed the above-named parties. An article was inserted in the warrant: "To see if the town will take any measures to encourage the raising, and instructing of a number of minute-men as recommended by the Provincial Congress." It was deemed inexpedient by the town to take any action in this matter, but to postpone until later the raising of men who might be called upon at a "minute's" notice to march against the enemy; nevertheless, the young men of the town voluntarily devoted themselves to the manual-at-arms, and were in the habit of meeting for purposes of drill, officered by men selected by themselves. When the time arrived to which the decision of this matter had been postponed, March 6, 1775, it was voted to raise one quarter of the militia as minute-men, as had been advised by the Provincial Congress. One shilling was the sum each man was to receive for one day's training, the training to be on two half-days of each week, and the matter of raising the men was left to the field officers and the selectmen. Nor were proper and efficient drill-masters wanting. The young men of Stoughton were instructed by Robert Swan, Samuel Capen, and Nathaniel Wales; the young men of Sharon by Samuel Billings, Eleazer Robbins, Josiah Pratt, and Benjamin Rhodes; and the young men of what is now Canton by Benjamin Gill, John Davenport, and Asahel Smith, all of whom had held commissions under the old regime in the Third Massachusetts Regiment, of which Nathaniel Hatch had been colonel.

On to Chapter 21 - The War of the Revolution (Continued)

Back to the main page of www.StoughtonHistory.com