REVOLUTIONARY WAR PATRIOTS- HYDE ANCESTORS- STURBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS – PART IV

Spirit of "76 By Archibald Willard, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=499045

Spirit of “76 By Archibald Willard, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=499045

The life given us, by nature is short; but the memory of a well-spent life is eternal.”  – Marcus Tullius Cicero

What an ideal way to learn Revolutionary War American history! First you locate the pension file for your ancestor and read his handwritten account of his experiences. Second, you travel to the locations where he served while listening to the audiobook  “1776” by David McCullough.

Although my initial research focused just on my 4th great-grandfather, Joshua Hyde, it soon expanded to include his father and three brothers. Like many New England farming villages during the Revolutionary War the able-bodied men of Sturbridge, Massachusetts dutifully defended their liberty by joining the local militia. My 5x great-grandfather, Benjamin Hyde, and four of his sons served for intermittent periods between 1775-1783. They marched from Massachusetts to Rhode Island, New Jersey, New York and Canada.  Significant battles and events they witnessed include: the Battle of Bunker Hill; Battle of Trenton; Battle of Ticonderoga; surrender of General Burgoyne; the defection of Benedict Arnold. During the seven years the Hyde men served only one lost his life and only one suffered a musket ball wound.

At the beginning of the Revolutionary War the colonies relied on the militia as a significant part of their defense. The militia had a long-standing tradition in the colonies as a safeguard to hostile threats. “The first militia units can be traced to Salem, Massachusetts in 1630.”[1] Males between sixteen and sixty, except for clergy, college students and slaves, were required to serve. Most of these men were farmers like the Hyde family or tradesmen and general laborers. They supported the rebellion but weren’t willing to leave their farms and professions for long periods of time.[2] Ten o’clock a.m. on the first Monday morning of December 1774, the  “Alarm Men” of Sturbridge gathered on the Common.  Almost every man over the age of sixteen, some 60 and some more than 70 years old, marched in military form into the Church. There were 103 men ready to defend their freedom. Every man needed to be accounted for and informed that if they were able to furnish themselves with arms and ammunition they should be prepared for action.[3] By the end of the war, 239 men from Sturbridge fought in the Revolutionary War.[4]

The militia was citizen soldiers with minimal training and limited equipment. When the Hydes showed up for duty they wore their own clothes; the militia did not receive uniforms. Perhaps the Hydes wore the typical “American hunting shirt”, made famous in the Revolutionary War. “It was generally made of homespun linen and cut in a long overshirt or wraparound style. It had rows of fringe around the edges and fit loosely so the wearer could move easily….Aside from hunting shirts, the militia usually wore homespun wool coats in a variety of colors and patterns, waistcoats, breeches, and stockings.” [5]

Soldiers in Uniform, Verger, Jean Baptiste Antoine de (creator). Prints,Drawings, and Watercolors from the Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection, Brown Digital Repository. Original Watercolor of African American Soldier of the Rhode Island Regiment, and three other soldiers in American Uniform.

Soldiers in Uniform, Verger, Jean Baptiste Antoine de (creator). Prints,Drawings, and Watercolors from the Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection, Brown Digital Repository. Original Watercolor of African-American Soldier of the Rhode Island Regiment, and three other soldiers in American Uniform.

The militia supplied themselves with  “enough ammunition, food, water, and other items of comfort (blanket, extra clothing etc.) for at least one day’s service.”[6]  Based on the Revolutionary War Muster Rolls for Massachusetts, the Hyde men always served for periods longer than one day.

Soldiers were officially authorized to receive daily rations to include bread (often hardtack), dry beans, meat, peas, and a “gill of rum or beer” (gill of rum is a half a pint).  Militia supplied their own food. Supplies often ran short so soldiers and militia relied on food brought from home, wild foods they gathered, hunted game, or ‘liberated food’. “One sergeant recorded that when his patrol happened upon a sheep and two large turkeys ‘not being able to give the Countersign,’ they were ‘tryd by fire and executed by the Whole Division of the free Booters.”[7] Although the militia had the reputation of not being as prepared as the continental soldiers, nor as disciplined, and prone to a “fondness for plunder”,[8] I prefer to think the Hyde men showed more restraint.

COLONIAL MILITIAMAN EQUIPMENT[9]

Colonial Militiamen, image courtesy of National Park Service, U.S. Dept of Interior, Minute Man National Park, Concord, MA.

Colonial Militiamen, image courtesy of National Park Service, U.S. Dept of Interior, Minute Man National Park, Concord, MA.

  • KNAPSACK: 20 lbs –Knapsack usually made from linen or canvas. It contained food, clothing, blanket.
  • MUSKET: 10 lbs – A trained soldier can load and fire three times per minute
  • CARTRIDGE BOX: 10 lbs – ammunition
  • SOCKET BAYONET: 1 lb – “A special blade that fits onto the end of the musket for hand-to-hand combat.Because of the socket’s design, the musket can still be fired when the bayonet is “fixed”.”
  • CANTEEN: 2 lbs – water
  • ADDITIONAL EQUIPMENT: “A militia rifleman carried his rifle, knife, tomahawk a light ax, water bottle, a powderhorn for his black powder, and a hunting pouch that held other shooting supplies. Sometimes a patch knife, used to cut a patch of cloth, and a loading block, which held patched bullets enabling the rifleman to load quicker, were attached to the strap of the hunting pouch. In addition, a charger measured the amount of powder to put into the rifle when loading.”[10]
  • An essential piece of equipment, a blanket, served multiple purposes. It provided comfort and warmth from the elements. It functioned as an overcoat or a tent if the soldier lacked one.  Soldiers usually received blankets as part of their kit, the militia provided their own.[11]

HYDE MILITIAMEN AND SOLDIERS

JOHN HYDE [b. July 12 1750 – d. April 10, 1808]

The first Hyde family member enlisted in April 1775. Twenty-four-year-old John, the eldest living son, served as a private for eight months in Captain Adam Martin’s Company, Colonel Ebenezer Learned’s Massachusetts Regiment which participated in the Battle of Bunker Hill. In 1776 he re-enlisted again in the Massachusetts militia and served as a sergeant for one year under Major Sprout and fought in the Battle of Trenton. Early in 1777 John enlisted as a private in Captain Timothy Newell’s Massachusetts Company and was at the Battle of Saratoga where  the Colonialists captured British General Burgoyne. During the battle John suffered a musket ball wound to the head. He recovered and re-enlisted in 1778 and served five months at Whitehall, New York.

A testimonial to John’s service written in 1838 by his daughter Betsy Hyde Mason briefly describes his assignments and injury.

“…heard the said Hyde sundry times relate the tours of service performed by him in the Revolutionary War and I distinctly recollect hearing him say that he performed four tours of duty as a soldier in said war – to wit – a tour in 1775 at Roxbury, a tour in 1776 at and near New York of one year, a tour at the North in 1777 at the capture of Burgoyne and also a tour at Whitehall in 1778 of five months, and I have also heard the said Hyde say that in some of the earlier tours he was a Sergeant in the army and performed that duty and some of the later tours was  a commissioned officer and particularly that at Whitehall he was a Lieut. And I recollect that during his life time I saw his commission as Lieut. I also remember his saying that while in said service he was offered a Captain Commission but refused it. I have heard him converse with some of the soldiers who were out with him in the service & particularly a Mr. Capen who then resided in Belchertown Mass & was formerly of Sturbridge.  They conversed together respecting the Battle at the taking of Burgoyne. They were both in the battle in the same company, my father was wounded in that battle a musket ball struck the side of his head taking off the skin from his temple. The scar of it always remained there till his death. I heard Mr Capen say in those conversations that he saw my father fall when the ball struck him & thought he was dead…My father said he served at one time under Col Seabbard and that in some of his tours under Capt Lyman and that he was in thirteen engagements. ”[12]
Surrender of General Burgoyne courtesy of https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Surrender_of_General_Burgoyne

Surrender of General Burgoyne courtesy wikipedia.

Joshua Hyde also wrote a testimony for John’s pension application which provides more details.

“I Joshua Hyde of Sturbridge in the county of Worcester and Commonwealth of Massachusetts aged seventy six years testify and say that my brother John Hyde who was ten years older than myself in the month of April in the year seventeen hundred seventy five while living with me in my fathers family in said Sturbridge entered the service of the Revolutionary War for the term of eight months as a private and a volunteer in a militia company commanded by Capt Allen Martin and Lieut Benjamin Felton both of said Sturbridge in a Regiment commanded by Col Samuel of Oxford in said Worcester County, and marched with said company to Roxbury and Boston where he served out said tour of duty. And at the expiration of said term of service he enlisted for one year and served as a sergeant as I understood in a regiment of which Major Sprout was Major. The other officers I do not recollect. He marched with said regiment from Boston to New York and performed said term of one year in said regiment in the continental service in the States of New York, New Jersey. He was I have often heard him tell at Trenton at the capture of the Missions on the twenty fifth day of December in the year seventeen hundred & seventy six Christmas Day.”

[The Battle of Trenton was a small but pivotal battle during the American Revolutionary War which took place on the morning of December 26, 1776, in Trenton, New Jersey. After General George Washington’s crossing of the Delaware River north of Trenton the previous night, Washington led the main body of the Continental Army against Hessian soldiers garrisoned at Trenton. After a brief battle, nearly the entire Hessian force was captured, with negligible losses to the Americans. The battle significantly boosted the Continental Army’s flagging morale, and inspired re-enlistments.][13]
Battle of Trenton Published by U.S. Government Printing Office; painting by Hugh Charles McBarron, Jr. (1902-1992) - U.S. Army Center of Military History (Original uploaded on en.wikipedia (transferred to commons by Matanya), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14583328

Battle of Trenton Published by U.S. Government Printing Office; painting by Hugh Charles McBarron, Jr. (1902-1992) – U.S. Army Center of Military History (Original uploaded on en.wikipedia (transferred to commons by Matanya), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14583328

“While I was at work with my said brother in said Sturbridge getting hay for my father in the year seventeen hundred seventy seven Capt Timothy Newell of said Sturbridge who commanded a Militia company sent to my said brother to notify him that he was drafted to go into the service in Revolutionary War and for the term of three months to the northward and was at the taking of Burgoyne as I have after heard him say. And at the expiration of said term of three months he returned home with the said company & came to my fathers house. “[14]

After the war John returned to Sturbridge, Massachusetts. He married Miss Olive Bascomb of Stafford, Connecticut, on December 16, 1779. All eight of their children were born in Sturbridge and eventually the Hyde’s relocated to Belchertown, MA.  John died in 1808 at age 57. He is buried in Abington Cemetery, CT.

Service Record

  • Rank: Private –  Enlisted April 1775- August 1, 1775 – served eight months
  • Served under Captain Adam Martin’s Company, Continental Fourth Regiment of Foot, commanded by Col. Ebenezer Learned. Was in the Battle of Bunker Hill.
  • Rank- Sergeant – 1776 – served one year with MA troops under Major Sprout. Was in the Battle of Trenton.
  • Rank – Sergeant – Aug 16, 1777- Nov 30, 1777 – Company drafted to serve with the Northern army until Nov 30, 1777. Served 3 months  Captain Timothy Newell’s MA company and was at the capture of Burgoyne where he was struck by a musket ball in the temple and wounded.
  • Rank – Lieutenant – Enlisted 1778 and served 5 months and was at Whitehall.[15]

ABIJAH HYDE [b. June 8, 1754 – d. About 1788 in Canada]

The second son to heed the call to arms, Abijah, enlisted at age 20 on May 1, 1775. He served under Captain Sylvanus Walker’s company and Captain Coburn’s company.  His first assignment was to Colonel Timothy Danielson’s 8th Massachusetts Regiment which was later consolidated with Colonel Ebenezer Learned’s Regiment in December 1775. Two and half years after he joined, Abijah died of smallpox in Canada. His exact death date and burial site are unknown. [16]

Abijah "Hide" Hyde - Muster Roll MA, Captain Sylvanus Walker's Co. 1775 - courtesy of www.familysearch.org.

Abijah “Hide” Hyde – Muster Roll MA, Captain Sylvanus Walker’s Co. 1775 – courtesy of www.familysearch.org.

  • Service Record
  • Rank:  Private – Enlisted May 1, 1775
  • Served under Captain Sylvanus Walker’s Company and Captain Coburn’s company, Col. Timothy Danielson’s Regt. Served two and a half years. Died of Small Pox in Canada.[17]

BENJAMIN HYDE  [b.April 11, 1723- d. November 28, 1797]

On September 4, 1776, fifty-three-year-old Benjamin Hyde joined his sons, neighbors and friends and began his first stint in the Massachusetts Militia. He first marched from Sturbridge, MA to Dorchester Heights and Boston, a total of 72 miles.  By the end of November 1776, Benjamin returned to the farm; the militia allowed him 4 days travel, which indicates he walked about 18 miles per day.[18] At the beginning of July 1777 the militia called him out again. When harvest season arrived in September Benjamin returned home for three months and his youngest son, 16-year-old Joshua, served as his substitute.[19]


In a statement made for the pension file of Jacob Allen, Joshua testifies serving as a substitute for his father.

“I Joshua Hyde of Sturbridge in said County do testify and say that I served in the Massachusetts Militia, in 1777. My father Benjamin Hyde enlisted for 6 months under Capt Cheney and was in Capt Joseph Sibley’s company. After he had served from two to three months my father returned and I took his place and served from three to four months.”[20]

Benjamin "Hide" Hyde - Muster roll - Nov 1776 - marched 72 miles to Dorchester Heights. Courtesy of www.familysearch.org.

Benjamin “Hide” Hyde – Muster roll – Nov 1776 – marched 72 miles to Dorchester Heights. Courtesy of www.familysearch.org.

On December 1,  1777, Benjamin rejoined the ranks as a private and marched to Providence, Rhode Island where he remained until January 3, 1778. His next assignment closer to home didn’t include any travel time. He guarded the stores and magazines in nearby Springfield and Brookfield, MA from January-July 1778.[21] It appears that Benjamin had a respite from the militia for one year; no records show that he served in 1779. On July 22, 1780 Benjamin heeded the call to arms and returned to the militia. He marched 80 miles to Tiverton,Rhode Island. According to Google maps the route would take 22 hours on foot. Using the muster rolls for the Hyde men, they averaged about 18 miles/day.

Fort Barton, Tiverton,R.I.By Marcbela - Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4439719

Fort Barton, Tiverton,R.I.By Marcbela – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4439719

Benjamin’s next tour of duty, from August-November 1781, took him the farthest from Sturbridge; Benjamin walked 140 miles to West Point, New York.[22]  Detailed on August 18, 1781, the soldiers were given 7 days travel; however, they didn’t arrive at West Point until August 31st. [23]

Sketch of West Point 1783, courtesy of Library of Congress.

Sketch of West Point 1783, courtesy of Library of Congress.

Assigned to Colonel Luke Drury’s regiment, Benjamin and his comrades guarded the garrison at West Point, a critical site on the Hudson River.  The Americans feared the British might seize the strategic area to separate New England from the rest of the colonies. While researching Colonel Drury’s regiment I found a website that lists historical documents for sale.  The Weekly Return for Colonel Drury’s Regiment for November 15, 1781 included the following tasks:

“Constant Fatigue at Gallows Hollow,” 16 on “Constitution Island,” 9 “Repairing Hut at New Windsor & Diging wells” 7 “Artifices Constantly Employed in Garison,” 4 “in the Sloop,” 3 “on Forage Guard,” 7 “Making Shingles,” 16 “In the Boats Service,” 3 “Station Guard East Side of the River,” 4 at “Robersons Farm,” 5 “chain fatigue” (i.e. the chain across the river from Constitution Island to West Point), and 14 “Constant Fatigue at the General.” [24]

Fatigue duty referred to military duty that did not require the use of arms; the militia may have been “…employed at work on fortifications, in surveys, in cutting roads.”[25]

Benjamin died in 1797 at age 74, “killed by a fall in his barn.”[26] He and his wife,Dorcas Dyer Hyde, are interred at the Old Burial Ground in Sturbridge, Massachusetts. The cemetery which dates to circa 1740  has many graves of Revolutionary War veterans.

Service Record

  • Rank: Private
  • Sept 4, 1776– November 28, 1776 Sturbridge, MA to Dorchester Heights, Boston, MA; Captain Benjamin Richardson’s Co. Col. Nicolas Pike’s Regt.
  • July 1, 1777 – December 8, 1777 Sturbridge, MA to Providence, R.I. Stationed at North Kingston.
  • December 29,  1777- January 3, 1778 Sturbridge, MA to Providence, R.I; Captain Joseph Sibley’s Co. Col. Danforth Keye’s Regt.
  • January 3, 1778 – July 1, 1778 Captain John Morgan’s Co, guard stores and magazines at Springfield and Brookfield.
  • July 22, 1780 – August 8, 1780 Sturbridge MA to Tiverton, R.I., Captain Abel Mason, Col Jacob Davis’s Regt.
  • August 18, 1781 – November 9, 1781 Sturbridge MA to West Point, N.Y. Captain Rueben Davis’ Co., Col. Luke Drury’s Regiment.  Detailed Aug 18 and arrived West Point August 31, 1781. [27]

OTHNIEL [b. July 12, 1752 – d. August 26, 1832]

The fourth Hyde, twenty-four-year-old Othniel, joined one month after his father but served for only two months, December 1776-January 1777.  Assigned to Captain Abel Mason’s Company, Colonel Jonathan Holman’s Regt, Othniel marched 52 miles in 3 days to Providence, R.I. and back home again.[28]

Othniel Hyde - MA Muster Roll Revolutionary War, December 1776-January 1777, Stationed Providence, RI. courtesy of www.familysearch.org.

Othniel Hyde – MA Muster Roll Revolutionary War, December 1776-January 1777, Stationed Providence, RI. courtesy of http://www.familysearch.org.

In 1779 Othniel married Rachel Streeter Rood. They settled in Brookfield, Massachusetts where Othniel farmed.  The couple named their first son after Othniel’s brother Abijah who died during the war. Othniel died in 1832, 4 years after his wife. His grave site in Vermont is unknown.

  • Service Record
  • Rank: Private  – December 10, 1776-January 20, 1777
  • Served under Captain Abel Mason’s Company, Colonel Jonathan Holman’s Regt. [29]

JOSHUA HYDE [b. December 12, 1762 – d. September 8, 1838]

In September 1777, the youngest Hyde joined the militia. Sixteen-year-old  Joshua traded his farm tools for a musket and served as a substitute for his 54-year-old father, Benjamin Hyde.  Perhaps Benjamin felt a need to return and supervise the fall harvest, or perhaps Joshua eagerly sought his turn to serve. His pension record recounts his experiences; I have added historical details to enhance his story. For more information about Joshua’s family and his life see earlier postings Part I, Part II, and Part III

I was born in the town of Sturbridge aforesaid on the twelfth day of December AD 1761. There is a register of my name in the town records of Sturbridge aforesaid. I was a resident of Sturbridge aforesaid at the time I was called into service, and except at short intervals to the present times. In the later part of Sept AD 1777 I went as a substitute for my father Benjamin Hyde of Sturbridge aforesaid to Rhode Island. I went from Sturbridge through Woodstock, Killingly, and East Greenwich and joined the army at North Kingston at Bissell’s Mills. Col Danforth Keyes Regt, Capt Joseph Sibley, Lieut Joseph Cheney. I went down to Point Judith to guard the shipping.”


[“During the American Revolution, the British controlled Narragansett Bay and raided and burned the farms on Point Judith and the surround areas in the late 1770s under Captain Wallace.”][30]

“I then returned to Providence the later part of November, staid [sic] from four to six weeks and was dismissed January 11, 1778. I performed about three months of service at above stated in General Spencer’s Expedition in the Massachusetts militia as a substitute for my father Benjamin Hyde. The second time that I was in the service I was in the guards at Brookfield Massachusetts. I enlisted the third or fourth day of January AD 1778 for the term of six months in the Massachusetts Militia. The Continental stores were deposited in a school house half a mile south of Chicopee River in Brookfield near Upham’s Mills. Captain [Gilbert] Speakman was Commissary agent, Solomon Barrister and Joshua Abbot were Sergeants. I was employed part of the time in picketing [standing duty at night] in the school house, the rest of the time on guard. I performed six months duty and was dismissed July 2nd 1778 the day that Mrs Spooner was hung at Worcester.”

[Who was Mrs. Spooner and what crime did she commit that warranted hanging?] Not long after I posted this on FB Genealogy Blogger, a fellow blogger informed me of the story about Mrs. Spooner. Bathsheba Ruggles Spooner was the first woman to be executed in the United States following the Declaration of Independence. The daughter of a prominent Colonial American Lawyer, justice, and military officer, Bathsheba Ruggles had an arranged marriage to a wealthy farmer, Joshua Spooner. She then became lovers with a young soldier from the Continental Army, Ezra Ross, and became pregnant. She enlisted the assistance of Ross and two others [British soldiers] to murder her husband. On the night of March 1, 1778, one of them beat Joshua Spooner to death and they put his body in the Spooner well. Bathsheba Spooner and the three men were soon arrested, tried for and convicted of Spooner’s murder and sentenced to death…After the four were executed, a post-mortem examination revealed that she was five months pregnant. Historians have pointed out that the trial and execution may have been hastened by Anti-loyalist sentiment.”[30a] 

Joshua remembered the day of the hanging fifty-four years later and even included it in his pension affidavit. His hometown of Sturbridge is located just nine miles from Brookfield where Mrs. Spooner and the three men committed the crime.

[While on duty protecting the Continental Stores, Joshua helped rescue a man who fell into the mill-pond. Daniel Upham, a fellow soldier, described the incident. “The public stores were kept within a few rods of my Father’s house. I remember that Joshua Hyde was there and did duty on guard, how long I do not know. I recollect that one Perkins got into the mill pond, and that Joshua Hyde swam into the mill pond and with the assistance of other got him out.” ][31]

“I enlisted in June 1778 to go to Rhode Island. I left Sturbridge on the sixth day of July marched through Oxford, Sutton, then to Providence and joined Col. Wade’s Regiment of Massachusetts Militia at Providence. Lt Col. Wood, Nelson was Major, Capt Samual Hammond’s company.

Marched to Barrington, Bristol, and again joined the Reg at Ticonderoga, crossed once on to Rhode Island about the first of Aug. The next day a storm commenced and lasted three days and three nights, the worst I ever knew. I was then at Butt’s fort, then went about 7 miles South to Old Dominion fort to blockade the British in that fort, staid there about 10 or 15 days while LaFayette was endeavoring to get the French to help us, but they not coming. Retreated to Butt’s Fort, and the British followed. I was in the Battle of Aquidneck with the Black Regt commanded by Col Greene.”

Fort Ticonderoga, View from South.

Fort Ticonderoga, View from South.

[In February 1778 the Governor of Rhode Island authorized and recruited black freemen, slaves, and mulattos as regular soldiers in the Continental Army.  Slaves were promised their freedom at war’s end.] [32]

“That night I march off the island [Aquidneck] to Tivertown[sic]. I was one of the last that march off and it was about day break when I got over.”

[‘On August 28, 1778, the American Forces began an orderly retreat but were soon pursued by the British. During the Battle of Rhode Island, the largest military engagement of the war within the former colony, Butts Hill Fort served as the American Headquarters. In the early morning hours of August 31, the last members of the American army left Aquidneck Island.’][33]

Battle of Rhode Island, Library of Congress Photographs and Prints

Battle of Rhode Island, Library of Congress Photographs and Prints

“Then march over Bristol Ferry to East Greenwich in the night. I was dismissed at Providence or East Greenwich on a furlough on account of sickness about a fortnight or three weeks before my time was out. I was not able to return but was paid to the end of the month of December 1778 making a term of six months.”

[Although Joshua didn’t elaborate in his pension record the complete story of the retreat,  George Davis describes it in “An Historical Sketch of Sturbridge”. “He [Joshua] was in the service during the most critical period of the Revolutionary contest. He was one of the corps commanded by Gen.Sullivan, who gained such distinguished credit in his masterly retreat in Rhode-Island, August 1778. Gifted with a very retentive memory, it may not be out of place to sketch some important particulars related by him [Joshua] with lively interest, and which are in accordance with historic facts. The retreat was under the cover of night, conducted with the utmost caution and stillness and effected by the break of day. This adroit movement was no less memorable than a signal victory. The object of Sullivan’s expedition was to expel the British from Rhode Island. The expected co-operation of the French troops failed. In consequence of this failure, it would have been rashness in the extreme, for Sullivan to have hazarded an engagement. Finding themselves in this perilous condition, many of Sullivan’s troops deserted. Desertion, of this sort, of inexperienced troops, was one of the severe trials to be encountered. The subject of our sketch [Joshua] was not composed of such materials….Mr Hyde was at West Point, at the defection of [Benedict] Arnold.][34]

“I enlisted again for a term of three months, at Sturbridge aforesaid in the Massachusetts Militia to go to Canada. I was mustered at Sturbridge, Mass. Capt Samuel Hammond’s Company, Lieut Corbin of Dudley and Lieut Sibley of Sutton. Marched through Springfield & Greenbush to Albany. I was on guard of about seven hundred Indians in a fort in Albany. Staid at Albany a few weeks and went to the flatts up on the Mohawk or North River. Here and in the vicinity I was on guard five or six weeks and was discharged one week before our time was out at the flatts or at Albany. I was on a detachment party most of the time and was not much of the time with any company or regiment. I served three months lacking one week. Silas Dunton of Sturbridge was in the same company and was warden to Capt Hammond.

Again in 1782 I marched to East Point as a substitute for Samuel Pike of Sturbridge but said Pike had lived most of the time in Brookfield in the county of Worcester aforesaid. I went away the later part of October or the first part of November, joined the Army at York Butts above [MS illegible] about the first of Nov. 1782. Col John Brooks Reg (7th Mass Reg), Maj Lemuel Prescot, Capt. Thorpe’s com, Lt. Lemuel Bussing. I helped build the York butts. Went down to White Plains to Pine Bridge some time in February 1783 and staid one fortnight. I here had my ankle put out and remained 10 or 15 days after my ankle was put out. Said Pike’s furlough was only for three months but he staid four months and being an orderly sergeant he was reduced to the ranks. I continued under the care of doctors till about the first of April and then being [MS illegible] I returned home. I had a discharge under the hand of Gen Lemuel Prescott about the last of March or the first of April, but I have lost it. While I was home Col [William] Stacy of New Salem having been a prisoner for years returned to camp and was Lt Col of our regt and was entitled to Rank. Col Brooks he did not take his rank and had returned home. Benjamin Jennings of Brookfield was a soldier in Col Jackson’s reg and I frequently saw him while at York Butt, and Joseph Fethergill a Corporal was of the same company and same [MS illegible]. Said Fethergill is now a resident of Pittsfield Mass.

Rev Michal Stone and Simon Draper Esq

I hereby relinquish any claim whatsoever to a pension or annuity except the present and declare that my name is not on the pension call of the agency of the state.

Sworn and subscribed the day and year aforesaid  Nathaniel Paine Probate for the county of Worcester                         [Signed] Joshua Hyde

Signature of Joshua Hyde on his pension statement dated August 28,1832. Image courtesy of www.fold3.com

Signature of Joshua Hyde on his pension statement dated August 28,1832. Image courtesy of http://www.fold3.com

Sworn and subscribed to the twenty eight day of August AD 1832 Before me Herman Stebbins Justice Peace”[35]

 

  • Service Record
  • Rank: Private – September 1777 substituted for his father Benjamin
  • Enlisted June 26, 1778- January 1, 1779 -Rhode Island
  • January 1778-July 2, 1778 – Brookfield, Massachusetts; Captain, Samuel Lamb’s Co, Col Nathanial Wade; served on guard duty.
  • June 1778 – December 1778 – Providence, Rhode Island
  • September 1779 – November 1779- Albany, New York.
  • October 22, 1779-November 23, 1779, Regiment raised for 3 months service at Claverack N.Y; transferred to Continental Army. Distance 160 miles, 8 days home travel included.
  • November 1782- April 1783 – New York
  • Captain Hammond’s Company, Captain Samuel Lamb’s Company[36]

Joshua continued to serve in the Massachusetts Militia until the end of April 1783. Although the British surrendered at Yorktown, Virginia in October 1781, the war continued for another 18 months until the signing of the Treaty of Paris signed September 3, 1783.[37]  After his return to Sturbridge, Joshua became a successful farmer (see Joshua Hyde Part I), married, and raised his family.   He died at age 75, cause unknown, and is buried in the North Cemetery in Sturbridge, Massachusetts.


REVOLUTIONARY WAR PENSIONS

After the Revolutionary War pensions were awarded based on participation in the conflict. The first pension legislation occurred on August 26, 1776 to provide half-pay for officers and enlisted men who were disabled in the service and unable to earn a living. On May 15, 1778 another resolution benefited military officers who remained in the Continental service to the end of the war. Additional resolutions in 1789 and 1818 resulted in benefits for invalids and veterans. “The last and most liberal of the service-pension acts benefiting Revolutionary War veterans was passed on June 7, 1832. The act provided that every officer or enlisted man who had served at least 2 years in the Continental line or State troops, volunteers or militia, was eligible for a pension of full pay for life.”[38] Nearly three months after the resolution passed, Joshua Hyde filed his pension application.

The application process varied dependent upon the act under which the would-be pensioner applied. The process required the applicant to appear before a court of justice in the State of his or her residence and describe under oath a record of their service. A widow of a veteran had to provide information to include a marriage date and location. Supporting documentation might include property schedules, marriage records, and affidavits of witnesses. The local court certified these documents and forwarded them to the Secretary of War or the Commissioner of Pensions. The applicant later received notification if his request had been approved, rejected, or was pending. Semiannual payments were made through pension agents of the Federal Government in the States.[39]

During the months of July and August 1832, Joshua located six fellow militiamen with whom he’d served and sought their affidavits. He wrote affidavits for five men.  On September 7, 1832, the County Court of Worcester submitted his application. The certificate of pension approved on May 16, 1833 provided Joshua $72.56 annually.[40] Upon his death in 1838 the payments ceased. When Congress approved on July 29, 1848, “ An Act for the Relief of certain surviving Widows of Officers and Soldiers of the Revolutionary Army,” Joshua’s widow, Sally, applied for benefits.

Pension grant for Sally Fay Hyde, widow of Joshua Hyde, granted July 3, 1840. Image courtesy of www.fold3.com

Pension grant for Sally Fay Hyde, widow of Joshua Hyde, granted July 3, 1840. Image courtesy of http://www.fold3.com

In August 1848 she submitted her application assisted by her son, Benjamin Dwight Hyde, an attorney.  They waited almost a year in vain for approval or rejection. After no response they wrote another letter to the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts seeking resolution.  Due to “age and bodily infirmity the seventy-four-year-old widow could not personally appear before the court, so a concession was made to allow for “taking said Declaration out of Court.[41]  Approval granted on July 3, 1840 authorized Sally to receive $72.56 annually, the same amount her husband had received. For nine months Sally reaped the benefits. She died on June 15, 1850, her cause of death pleurisy (lung inflammation). [42] Sally lies next to Joshua in the North Cemetery in Sturbridge, Massachusetts.

Unlike Joshua, his brother John did not personally benefit from a pension. However, John’s widow received compensation. An Act of Congress in July 1836 provided that a widow of any veteran who fulfilled the requirements of the act of June 7, 1832 could apply for a pension if she had married the veteran before the last period of his service. [43] Unfortunately for John widow, Olive Bascom Hyde,  his last period of service in 1778 occurred before their marriage. Olive could not receive benefits from the act of 1836.An additional act of Congress on July 7, 1838 granted 5-year pensions to widows whose marriages took place before January 1, 1794.[44]  John and Olive married October 25, 1779, thus Olive qualified; she promptly applied for a pension in August 1838.

Olive Hyde, widow of John Hyde, pension grant. Note death date for John is incorrect. Image courtesy of www.fold3.com.

Olive Hyde, widow of John Hyde, pension grant. Note death date for John is incorrect. Image courtesy of http://www.fold3.com.

More than a year later in October 1839, the “gravely ill” widow of 83 still awaited confirmation of her pension. Finally on May 7, 1840 Olive received an annual pension of $26.66. She received $119.99 in arrears issued on May 7, 1840.[45] Three months later Olive died.  She is buried near her husband John in Abington Cemetery, Connecticut.

Coincidentally,when I began writing this article I received the journal from an aunt who attended a workshop on the American Revolution in July 1991.  Aimee Thompson cultivated her passion for learning,  history, and travel into a successful teaching career both stateside and abroad. She expresses quite eloquently the sentiments I embrace regarding my Revolutionary War ancestors.

“As I write this final entry at the conclusion of my week-long journey back into the past, I shall leave Valley Forge tomorrow with head held high, increased pride in my heart to be an American, and a deepened gratitude to those highly dedicated, self-sacrificing,, and determined Patriots who forged the United States of America from thirteen original British Colonies.”[46]

Genealogy Sketch

Name: Joshua Hyde 1762-1838
Parents: Benjamin Hyde 1723-1797 and
Dorcas Dyer 1726-1787
Spouse: Sarah “Sally” Fay Hyde 1775-1850
Children:

  1. Augusta Hyde, b. 31 Oct 1795, Sturbridge, MA, d. 17 Sep 1872, Sturbridge, MA.
  2. Betsy Hastings Hyde, b. 28 Mar 1798, d. 1880, Sturbridge, MA.
  3. Charlotte Hyde, b. 26 Sep 1800, Sturbridge, MA, d. 16 Mar 1870, Brookfield, MA
  4. Benjamin Dwight Hyde, b. 12 Dec 1762, Sturbridge, MA, d. 2 Nov 1869, Sturbridge, MA
  5. Emory Hyde, b. 21 Feb 1805, Sturbridge, MA, d. 31 Oct 1830, Sturbridge, MA
  6. Frederick Baxter Hyde, b. 15 Jul 1808, Sturbridge, MA, d. 25 Feb 1852, Norwalk, Huron, Ohio
  7. George Baxter Hyde, b. 20 Mar 1811, Sturbridge, MA, d. 8 Jul 1889, Boston, MA
  8. Fitz Henry Hyde, b. 2 Jun 1814, Sturbridge, MA, d. 23 Oct 1833, Sturbridge, MA
  9. John Fay Hyde, b. 5, Aug 1817, Sturbridge, MA, d. 3 Sep 1889, Buda, Bureau, IL

Relationship to Kendra: 4th great-grandfather

  1. Joshua Hyde 1762-1838
  2. John Fay Hyde 1817-1889
  3. Frederick Albert Hyde 1851-1926
  4. John Fay Hyde 1885-1950
  5. John Frederick Hyde 1911-1980
  6. Jean Hyde Hopp Eichorn
  7. Kendra Hopp Schmidt

 

© 2017 copyright Kendra Hopp Schmidt. All rights reserved.


[1] Ronald L. Boucher. “The Colonial Militia as a Social Institution.” Anthology by the editors of Military affairs. Military Analysis of the Revolutionary War.  New York: KTO Press, 1977. p. 35, quoted in Larry Hart, “The Colonial Militia during the Revolutionary War”, digital images. (http://hartnation.com/the-colonial-militia-during-the-revolutionary-war/#_ftn19 : accessed 8 January 2017).
[2] Gerald Horton. “The Militia A Very Condensed Overview”, digital images. (https://www.hortonssarticles.org : accessed 8 November 2016).
[3]  Joseph S. Clark. “An Historical Sketch of Sturbridge, Massachusetts from Its Settlement to the Present Time“. (West Brookfield, Massachusetts: E. and L. Merriam, Printers 1838),  16; digital images, (http://www.archive.org : accessed 9 November 2016).
[4] Ibid, p.20.
[5] “Outfitting an American Revolutionary Soldier.”digital images, NCPedia (www.ncpedia.org : accessed 12 December 2016). Used with permission from Tar Heel Junior Historian 32, no. 1 (Fall 1992): 28–34, copyright NC Museum of History.
[6]Just the Essentials: Clothing and Equipment of Revolutionary War Soldiers.” Minute Man National Historical Park. National Park Service, U. S. Department of the Interior. 2009. http://www.nps.gov/mima/forteachers/upload/essentials.pdf(accessed November 29, 2016).
[7]Kyle R. Weaver, Diane B. Reed, Fred Lauver (Eds). 2004“Pennsylvania Trail of History Cookbook,” PA: Stackpole Books and Pennsylvana Historical and Museum Commission, quoted in “Feeding Revolutionary War Soldiers”, digital images. (https://pafoodways.omeka.net/exhibits/show/table/articles/feeding-revolutionary-war-sold : acessed 8 January 2017).
[8] Fleming, Thomas. “Militia and Continentals.” Journal of the American Revolution. N.p., 28 Aug. 2016. Web. 08 Jan. 2017.
[9] “Just the Essentials: Clothing and Equipment of Revolutionary War Soldiers.” Minute Man National Historical Park. National Park Service, U. S. Department of the Interior. 2009. http://www.nps.gov/mima/forteachers/upload/essentials.pdf(accessed November 29, 2016).
[10] “Outfitting an American Revolutionary Soldier.”digital images, NCPedia (www.ncpedia.org : accessed 12 December 2016). Used with permission from Tar Heel Junior Historian 32, no. 1 (Fall 1992): 28–34, copyright NC Museum of History.
[11] Ibid
[12] “Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files,” digital images, Fold3 (https://www.fold3.com : accessed 8 November 2016), entry for John Hyde; citing NARA microfilm publication compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutinoary War, M804, Roll 1387.
[13] Wikipedia Contributors. “Battle of Trenton.” Wikipeida, The Free Encyclopedia. 6 Jan. 2017. Web. 6 Jan. 2017. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Trenton
[14] “Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files,” digital images, Fold3 (https://www.fold3.com : accessed 8 November 2016), entry for John Hyde; citing NARA microfilm publication compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutinoary War, M804, Roll 1387.
[15]  “Compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutionary War,” digital images, Fold3 (https://www.fold3.com : accessed 8 November 2016), entry for John Hyde; citing NARA microfilm publication compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutinoary War, M881, Roll 0470.
[16] George Davis. “Historical Sketch of Sturbridge and Southbridge“. West Brookfield, Massachusetts: Power Press of O.S. Cooke and Co, 1856), 88; digital images, (https://www.archive.org : accessed 8 November 2016).
[17] Ibid
[18] “Massachusetts, Revolutionary War, Index Cards to Muster Rolls, 1775-1783,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSQZ-C33F-H?cc=2548057&wc=QZZQ-MQW%3A1589088627 : 25 November 2015), > image 1612 of 2755; citing Massachusetts Archives, Boston.
[19] “Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files,”digital images, Fold3 (https://www.fold3.com : accessed 8 November 2016), entry for Joshua Hyde; citing NARA microfilm publication Case Files of Pension andBounty-Land Warrant Applications Based on Revolutionary War Service, M804, Roll 1388.
[20] “Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files,”digital images, Fold3 (https://www.fold3.com : accessed 5 January 2017), entry for Jacob Allen; citing NARA microfilm publication Case Files of Pension andBounty-Land Warrant Applications Based on Revolutionary War Service, M804, Roll 0037.
[21] “Massachusetts, Revolutionary War, Index Cards to Muster Rolls, 1775-1783,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-909-57909-94326-31?cc=2548057 : 25 November 2015), Herskill, Andrew – Hill, Amos > image 1622 of 2755; citing Massachusetts Archives, Boston.
[22] “Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary War”. Boston, Massachusetts: Wright & Poetter Printing CO, 1900), 830; digital images, (https://wwwarchive.org : accessed 8 November 2016.)
[23] “Massachusetts, Revolutionary War, Index Cards to Muster Rolls, 1775-1783,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-909-57909-94326-31?cc=2548057 : 25 November 2015), Herskill, Andrew – Hill, Amos > image 1622 of 2755; citing Massachusetts Archives, Boston.
[24] “A Month After Yorktown, Colonel Drury’s Weekly Return for His Regiment at West Point Notes “Chain Fatigue”, http://www.abebooks.com (https://www.abebooks.com/servlet?BookDetailsPL?bi+10723273999 : accessed 10 January 2017).
[25] Wikipedia Contributors. “Fatigue duty.” Wikipeida, The Free Encyclopedia. 7 Jan. 2017. Web. 7 Jan. 2017. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fatigue_duty).
[26] “Massachusetts, Town Vital Collections, 1620-1988,”digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 6 January 2017), entry for Benjamin Hyde, Death Date 23 Nov 1797 Death Place, Sturbridge, Massachusetts.
[27] Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary War. Boston, Massachusetts: Wright & Potter Printing CO, 1900), 830; digital images, (https://www.archive.org : accessed 8 November 2016.)
[28] “Massachusetts, Revolutionary War, Index Cards to Muster Rolls, 1775-1783,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-909-57909-88947-0?cc=2548057 : 25 November 2015), Herskill, Andrew – Hill, Amos > image 1724 of 2755; citing Massachusetts Archives, Boston.
[29] Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary War. Boston, Massachusetts: Wright & Poetter Printing CO, 1900), 834; digital images, (https://wwwarchive.org : accessed 8 November 2016.)
[30] Wikipedia Contributors. “Point Judith, Rhode Island.” Wikipeida, The Free Encyclopedia. 5 Jan. 2017. Web. 5 Jan. 2017. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Point_Judith,_Rhode_Island
[30a]Wikipedia Contributors. “Bathsheba Spooner.” Wikipedia. The Free Encyclopedia; accessed 13 Jan 2017.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bathsheba_Spooner
[31] “Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files,”digital images, Fold3 (https://www.fold3.com : accessed 8 November 2016), entry for Joshua Hyde; citing NARA microfilm publication Case Files of Pension andBounty-Land Warrant Applications Based on Revolutionary War Service, M804, Roll 1388.
[32] “The 1st Rhode Island Regiment of the Continental Line.” www.americanrevolution.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Jan. 2017.
[33] Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project, D. K. Abbass, Ph.D., “Butts Hill Fort, Portsmouth,” Rhode Tour, accessed January 8, 2017, http://rhodetour.org/items/show/50.
[34] George Davis. Historical Sketch of Sturbridge and Southbridge. West Brookfield, Massachusetts: Power Press of O.S. Cooke and Co, 1856), 93-94; digital images, (https://www.archive.org : accessed 8 November 2016).
[35] “Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files,”digital images, Fold3 (https://www.fold3.com : accessed 8 November 2016), entry for Joshua Hyde; citing NARA microfilm publication Case Files of Pension andBounty-Land Warrant Applications Based on Revolutionary War Service, M804, Roll 1388.
[36]“Compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutionary War,” digital images, Fold3 (https://www.fold3.com : accessed 8 November 2016), entry for John Hyde; citing NARA microfilm publication compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutinoary War, M804, Roll 1388.
[37] Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Washington’s Headquarters. New York: Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, 1987.
[38] “Pensions Enacted by Congress for American Revolutionary War Veterans”, digital images. (https://www.freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com : accessed 8 November 2016).
[39] “Pensions Enacted by Congress for American Revolutionary War Veterans”, digital images. (https://www.freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com : accessed 8 November 2016).
[40] “Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files,”digital images, Fold3 (https://www.fold3.com : accessed 8 November 2016), entry for Joshua Hyde; citing NARA microfilm publication Case Files of Pension andBounty-Land Warrant Applications Based on Revolutionary War Service, M804, Roll 1388.
[41] “Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files,”digital images, Fold3 (https://www.fold3.com : accessed 8 November 2016), p.25  entry for Joshua Hyde; citing NARA microfilm publication Case Files of Pension andBounty-Land Warrant Applications Based on Revolutionary War Service, M804, Roll 1388.
[42] “Massachusetts, Death Records, 1841-1915, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 9 January 2017), entry for Sarah Hyde, 15 June 1850, Sturbridge, MA.
[43] Pensions Enacted by Congress for American Revolutionary War Veterans”, digital images. (https://www.freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com : accessed 8 November 2016).
[44] “Just the Essentials: Clothing and Equipment of Revolutionary War Soldiers.” Minute Man National Historical Park. National Park Service, U. S. Department of the Interior. 2009. http://www.nps.gov/mima/forteachers/upload/essentials.pdf(accessed November 29, 2016).
[45]“Compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutionary War,” digital images, Fold3 (https://www.fold3.com : accessed 8 November 2016), entry for John Hyde; citing NARA microfilm publication compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutinoary War, M804, Roll 1388.
[46] Aimee Thompson, Mobile, Alabama, Journal 1 July 1991, Research Journal, 1991; Thompson Family, Schmidt Research Files; privately held by Kendra Schmidt, Vienna, Austria.

 

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About treeklimber

An interest in history and travel lends itself to a passion for genealogy. The more I research, the more I realize there is to discover. It is a never-ending puzzle.
This entry was posted in Biographies, Military Service, My Family Ancestry and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to REVOLUTIONARY WAR PATRIOTS- HYDE ANCESTORS- STURBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS – PART IV

  1. I’m speechless! Such wonderful history, documents, and memories. Great post, Kendra. The best part is I know you received an answer to your question about Mrs. Spooner.

    Like

  2. Michael says:

    Wow! What a great job culling all of this history to tell your family’s story. You’re really fortunate to have uncovered the documentation that allows you to illustrate your family’s service to this country’s birth and in such a captivating way. I enjoyed the read.

    Like

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