Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Hezekiah Wyman and the Legend of the White Horseman

Happy Patriot's Day!

(This material may not be used without the express permission of the author) 

Here is another story about the Wyman family and the Battle of Lexington on April 19, 1775. Hezekiah Wyman of Woburn was fifty-five years old, and he sported long flowing grey hair. He rode a white horse that day when he set off to aid his Lexington neighbors. According to the newspaper The Boston Pearl and Literary Gazette  “his exploits were well nigh fabulous.”

The British called him “Death on the Pale Horse” as he rode through the woods, shooting the British regulars who marched in lines down the roads of Lexington. He picked off a number of British soldiers and wounded several others, and always escaped unhurt. When he ran out of bullets he continued to fight with his bayonet and charging the British. He pursued them all the way to Charlestown before he returned to Woburn.

Wyman also served for five months at Ticonderoga and for three months in New Jersey. He was paid 8 Pounds, 16 shillings and 10 pence for his service in 1777. He died in 1779 and left his son, Daniel, his white horse in his will. His story became known as “The Legend of the White Horseman.” Interestingly, he was baptized by the Arlington minister on 28 June 1779, a few days before his death.

According to Historian Charles Bahne, he found among Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s papers a first draft of the famous “Paul Revere’s Ride” with an entire lost stanza about a tall grey rider, possibly Hezekiah Wyman. The lost lines were first read publicly in 2007 at a lecture Bahne presented at the Old South Meeting House, “Paul Revere’s Ride Revisited”.

Hezekiah Wyman is another descendant of the original settler, Francis Wyman. He seems to come from a long line of warriors!

Generation 1: Francis Wyman, born 1594 in Westmill, Hertfordshire, England, died about 15 September 1658 in Westmill ; married 2 May 1617 to Elizabeth Richardson, daughter of Thomas Richardson and Katherine Duxford.

Generation 2: John Wyman, born in West Mill Parish, Hertfordshire, England, was baptized on 3 February 1621; married 5 November 1644 in Woburn to Sarah Nutt, born in England and came to America with her father, Myles Nutt. She married second on 25 August 1684 to Thomas Fuller of Woburn. I am descended of John’s brother, Francis Wyman, Jr. (1617 – 1699). He was my 9x Great Grandfather.

Generation 3: Seth Wyman, born 3 August 1663 in Woburn, died on 26 October 1715; married on 17 December 1685 in Woburn to Esther Johnson, daughter of Major William Johnson. Seth Wyman was a lieutenant in the Woburn Militia.

Generation 4: Seth Wyman, born 13 September 1686 in Woburn, died on 5 September 1725; married 26 January 1715 in Billerica to Sarah Ross. Seth Wyman was a soldier under Lovewell, and was presented with a sword to acknowledge his bravery and good conduct for the fight at Pigwocket.

Generation 5: Hezekiah Wyman, born on 5 August 1720 in Woburn, died in 28 June 1779 in Arlington; married on 20 February 1744/45 in Woburn to Sarah Reed, daughter of Israel Reed and Hannah Wyman.


For more information:

http://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2010/01/another-cow-salmon-and-sam-adams.html   My first story about the Wyman family and the battle of Lexington.  In this story, a Wyman wins a cow for aiding a famous refugee on the day of the battle.

http://wyman.org/wyman-library/wyman-libray-4    This newsletter posted on the Wyman Family Association website lists the Wymans who participated in the events on the day of 19 April 1775, including Hezekiah Wyman.

http://boston1775.blogspot.com/2010/06/documented-life-of-hezekiah-wyman.html   one of a series of posts by J. L. Bell about Hezekiah Wyman.  Bell has documented Hezekiah's life over several years, always posting near Patriot's Day, 19 April.


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Hezekiah Wyman and the Legend of the White Horseman", Nutfield Genealogy, posted 19 April 2011, ( https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2011/04/hezekiah-wyman-and-legend-of-white.html: accessed [access date]).


  1. How interesting. I always love finding a bit of hidden history. That is neat about Longfellow's poem. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Robert Dale WymanJuly 11, 2014 at 8:59 PM

    I like it!

  3. Robert Dale Wyman, Major, US Army, RetiredJuly 11, 2014 at 8:59 PM

    I like it!

  4. Robert Dale Wyman, Major, US Army, RetiredJuly 11, 2014 at 9:28 PM

    I like it!

  5. Wyman cousins! I'm descended from John Wyman.

    1. I'm Joel Wyman and this is my bloodline also

  6. I am also. My name is Douglas M Wyman of Boston, MA. Glad to meet you Cousin!

  7. Douglas M Wyman of Boston, MA.Descended from John Wyman also.