Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas Dinner for some Revolutionary War Veterans

From, a news clipping from The Boston Recorder, Boston, Massachusetts, Saturday, January 22, 1825.  This story originated in The New-Hampshire Patriot, and I have seen it copied in other 1825 newspapers, including The Salem Gazette (Salem, Massachusetts), The Centinel of Freedom (Newark, New Jersey), and The Columbian Centinel (Boston, Massachusetts).   It was a revolutionary dinner in more ways than one!


"The New-Hampshire Patriot contains an account of a Christmas dinner given to the Revolutionary officers and the soldiers of Hillsboro, N. H. by one of their number, General Benjamin Pierce - at which 22 persons were present, the youngest of whom was 59, and the oldest 89 years of age.  The following is a list: - Those to whose names an asterisk is prefixed, having been in the battle of Bunker Hill.

Names                                         Places of Nativity                                     Age
Ammi Andrews                               Ipswich, Mass.                                        89
John M'Colley                                 Hillsborough, N. H.                                 88
*James Taggert                               Londonderry, N. H.                                 81
*William Johnson                            Billerica, Mass.                                        77
*William Gamel                              Boston, Mass.                                          74
*James Carr                                   Litchfield, N. H.                                       73
William Taggert                              Merrimack, N. H.                                     73
William Parker                               Chelmsford, Mass.                                    72
*Thaddeus Munroe                        Billerica, Mass.                                         71
*Thaddeus Goodwin                      Leominster, Mass                                     70
*Nath'l Parmeter                           Spencer, Mass                                          70
*William Dickey                            Londonderry, N. H.                                  70
Daniel Russel                                 Andover, Mass                                         70
*John Shed                                   Dunstable, N. H.                                       70
*Isaac Andrews                            Ipswich, Mass                                           69
Daniel Killam                                Wilmington, Mass                                      69
Robert Carr                                  Litchfield, N. H.                                         68
*Zachariah Robbins                      Westford, Mass                                         68
*Benjamin Pierce                          Chelmsford, Mass                                     66
David Livermore                           Sudbury, Mass                                          62
Samuel Morrill                              Manchester, N.H.                                      59
Nath'l Johnston                             Andover, Mass                                          59

About eleven o'clock, at which time the whole company had arrived, the officers of the day were chosen, after which the throne of grace was addressed by the Rev. Mr. Lawton.  The interval between this and dinner, was occupied in rehearsing the adventures, the perils and dangers, of the Revolution.  among others, the President for the occasion, the aged and venerable Lieut. Ammi Andrews, related the following:-
"When our troops were stationed on Abraham's Plains, Col. Arnold was anxious to have a certain British Sentinel taken.  One evening, when in my quarters with Capt. Morgan, I set my sword in the corner and told him I was going to take a British regular.  He said, Andrews you had better not go; the halser will be your portion; and asked me why I left my sword. I told him the Colonel did not want a dead soldier, and proceeded to accomplish my design.  When I came within a rod of the sentinel, I stopped, thought he saw me, but determined to wait till I heard him cock his gun, when I should have said, I wish to go into the city; but I was fortunately mistaken.  He saw me not, and as he turned his back to me, I jumped upon him, drew his bayonet from its scabbard, and told him if he uttered a word, I had his bayonet and would instantly put him to death.  We went about a rod from his post, when I halted, hallooed "all is well" three times - put him on quick time, and shortly had him before Col. Arnold." "


I recognized several names on this list, including the brothers, Ammi and Isaac Andrews from Ipswich, Massachusetts. They are both sons of Solomon Andrews, my 7th great granduncle, which makes them both my 1st cousins 7 generations removed.  Both sons removed to Hillsborough, New Hampshire after the war, perhaps they were given bounty land?  I have another Ipswich ancestor, Abner Poland, who was given land in Enfield, not far from Hillsborough.  Ammi Andrews is the one who told the escapade about capturing the British sentinel in the news clipping above.

The host of the dinner, Benjamin Pierce, was the father of President Franklin Pierce (1804 - 1869), the 14th president of the United States and the only president ever born in New Hampshire. Young Franklin would have been 21 years old at the time of the dinner, and he was probably impressed and influenced by this Christmas meeting of  Revolutionary War veterans. Benjamin Pierce is my 3rd cousin, 8 generations removed, we are both descendants of Thomas Pierce and Elizabeth Cole, early settlers of Woburn, Massachusetts.

I also saw a Munroe on this list and traced Thaddeus Munroe to be my 2nd cousin 6 generations removed.  He was born on 14 May 1753 and died on 28 November 1828 in Hillsborough.  I never knew that these cousins, Benjamin, Thaddeus and Ammi were at the Battle of Bunker Hill, but now I have a good military story to research and prove due to this fascinating news clipping.


To Cite/Link to this post:  Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Christmas Dinner for some Revolutionary War Veterans", Nutfield Genealogy, posted December 19, 2013, ( accessed [access date]). 

Copyright (c) 2013, Heather Wilkinson Rojo


  1. You just never know what treasures will turn up - and this is one of the most fabulous! The other day on the Civil War Rx FB page there was a link that led to a photo of Maine soldier, Rufus Sinclair, who was being treated for a shoulder injury, which he survived, thankfully. I fired off an email to the Sinclair clan and it turned out to be their relative, whose face they had never seen before!

  2. What an interesting article! I recognize a few names, and am writing a note to myself to look for a possible connection between my Josiah Pierce, b. 1761, and died in Ringe, NH in 1834.

  3. Heather-- WHAT a cool "find".
    Here are two of mine- Samuel Johnson and son Phineas. who didn't get to have dinner that day!
    "Samuel Johnson, (1713-96), was colonel of the Fourth Es sex county Regiment at Bunker Hill, and at the surrender of Burgoyne. He was a member of the General Court from Andover, where he was born and died. His sons Samuel, Joshua and Phineas, also served in the Revolution. Also Nos. 5922, 15928, 16789. Phineas Johnson, (1747-1844), was a minute man from And over at the Lexington Alarm. He was at the battle of Bun ker Hill and was one of the survivors at the dedication of that monument in 1843. He died in Brookfield, N. H."
    source: Lineage Book, National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Vol XX, 1897, p.89
    In the Brookfield history book, Our Yesterdays, they talk about how Phineas was the oldest survivor at the dedication, and he was so infirm that people carried him down from Brookfield on a litter.

    1. We purchased the property that includes the cemetery where Phineas Johnson is buried. I am interested in learning everything that I can about the history here. If you have any information that you can share, please let me know how to contact you. Lisa