Who do I write about when I think about independence. We have many ancestors who were in this country during the revolutionary war and this past week the online Fold3 (Website) has made it possible to research their revolutionary files for free (until July 15th). I thought “great now I will be able to get some documentation on those who were fighting for our independence from England”. I started with one I knew had been involved: Abner Amsdale. Well of course there were listings for Abner Amsdale, but was he our Abner? Then I decided to see if any of my direct line for the Putnam’s were involved. We all had heard of General Israel Putnam but we know that he is not an Ancestor but a half brother to our line. My 5x great grandfather, Timothy Putnam born in 1732 he could have been involved or his son my 4x great grandfather Timothy born 1860, so I decided to pursue a Timothy Putnam. In looking for Timothy on Fold3 I found one from Mass. but my Timothy’s lived in New Hampshire during the conflicts.
I finally was able to see that a Timothy Putnam is listed in Charlestown New Hampshire’s list of Revolutionary War solders on a Rootsweb site. Listed as Company No. 1 Col. Benjamin Bellows’ Regiment, with Captain Able Walker. According to this account, in the spring of 1777 Ticonderoga was in danger and Capt. Able Walker takes his company there to give defense. The listing given by Rev. Henry H. Saunderson shows a Private Timothy Putnam. Timothy Putnam Senior would have been 45 and Junior would have only been 17. This could be either one. ( Ticonderoga is about 100 miles from Charlestown)
The confusion comes from the National Archives listing of Pensions and rolls from Massachusetts.
I was reading on line a history of Charlestown by Rev. Henry H. Saunderson that may or may not answer my question: is the Timothy listed for Massachusetts the same Timothy listed in New Hampshire.
and while the decision
of His Majesty was still pending, the General Court of Massachusetts Bay granted above thirty townships between the rivers Merrimac and Connecticut ; which to\^uships upon the running (that is determining)
of the divisional line in 1738, fell within the Province of New Hampshire ; and among them were those granted under the designations No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, and No. 4 ; which are the present townships of
Chesterfield, Westmoreland, Walpole, and Charlestown ; which though they had fallen within the limits of New-Hampshire, were all subsequently settled in dependence upon their grants received from Massachusetts. The settlers therefore, as their grants had emanated from an authority which had no jurisdiction over the soil, had, as it was claimed, no valid title to their lands. And this they must have
known, as the final decree of his Majesty fixing the boundary line, bears date March 5th, 1740 ; and we find a petition of the proprietors of No. 4, dated Sept. 29th, 1740, to His Majesty, praying to be re-
annexed to the Massachusetts Province, to which they had supposed they belonged. This was before any considerable settlement had been made. But notwithstanding their title was uncertain, we find
that the settlement was still continued, though for the most part under different proprietors till 1753 ; when in consequence of the report of the Attorney and Solicitor General in relation to what was right and
proper to be done concerning those townships which had been granted by Massachusetts, in which it was substantially recommended, that proprietors who had made improvements on their lands, should be con-
firmed in the rights and privileges given them by their grants from that State, application was made by petition to New-Hampshire to that effect, which was readily and cheerfully granted. Thus Charles-
town was for between twelve and thirteen years after its settlement substantially a Massachusetts town.¹
A consideration may be that those listed in New Hampshire may have also been claimed by Massachusetts since many of them had resettled in New Hampshire from Massachusetts. Timothy Putnam Senior was born in Massachusetts and his father was from Danvers of Essex County. So possible because of close ties to the town they originated from could these men have moved about the country fighting in different regiments as the conflict continues? Also when we consider the designations during this period for the Colonies, Massachusetts Colony engages quite a large area.
Looking at the two depositions I read they specifically state Timothy Putnam of Danvers Massachusetts.
A Rufas Putnam claims that Timothy was with him at West Point (a battle?) for 3 months with Capt. Benjamin Peabody’s company of Col. N. Wade’s regiment in 1780.² That may have been the period that Benedict Arnold was in Command.
Then a Jonathan Porter of Danvers claims that Timothy Putnam was for 6 months in Rhode Island with him in Capt. Jeremiah Putnam’s company of Col Nathan Tyler’s regiment in 1779.³
I saw a painting online of General Rufus Putnam, was he the same Rufus on the pension documents for Timothy Putnam?
So was my Timothy so well known in his home town that he was reassigned to different companies during the war years that had men that knew him in Danvers and stated he was from there? Then again maybe I am looking at a cousin who has the same name that was still residing in Danvers. What do you think?
While I may not have learned if the records in at the National Archives are for my Timothy Putnam the challenge brought about a great benefit in learning a lot more about the Revolutionary war period, battles, and individuals that I had previously never pursued. Thanks Amy Johnson Crow for these challenges.
sources: 1. HISTORY OF CHARLESTOWN, NEW-HAMPSHIRE, THE OLD NO. 4, EMBRACING THE PART BORNE BY ITS INHABITANTS IN THE INDIAN, FRENCH AND REVOLUTIONARY WARS, AND THE VERMONT CONTROVERSY.
ALSO GENEALOGIES AND SKETCHES OF FAMILIES, FROM ITS SETTLEMENT TO 1876.
By Rev. Henry H. Saunderson.
PRINTED FOR THE TOWN BY THE CLAREMONT MANUFACTURING COMPANY, CLAREMONT. N. H.
2. Deposition from Rufus Putnam
3. Deposition from Jonathan Porter