DAR – At last! Joseph Harris Jr of Salem, NH
Finally, after years of trying to find enough proof to join the Daughters of the Revolution through several different Revolutionary Soldiers, I've finally got it! It hasn’t been that I have a shortage of men who served in some capacity that I connect to, it’s the matter of indisputable proof.
Luckily, it just so happens, I have proof of the Revolutionary War ancestor I am most proud of! You may have seen a blog that I wrote long ago about his exceptionally strong wife Martha.
Gilbert, in “The History of Salem, NH”, pg 347, states when “the news came that the British had fired on American troops at Lexington, Joseph got down his musket and powder horn and prepared to leave for the scene of action as soon as a call should come for assistance.” Gilbert states he didn’t know anything more of him after he went into the army but here, we’ll piece together Joseph & his service. Sources for his service can be found here.
Records show Joseph Harris Jr. enlisted Apr 23 with Stark’s Regiment just after Lexington & Concord serving from 15 May 1775 to 1 Aug 1775, 2 mo 22 days under Capt Elisha Woodbury in Col John Stark's First Regiment. Stark’s headquarters from the onset of the war was located at the Isaac Royal House, 15 George St, Medford MA. So, it’s safe to assume Joseph spent some time there. Stark, was an unsung National hero of the American Revolution, but is only well known in New Hampshire. He coined the state’s motto “Live Free or Die”.
Joseph Harris & others in Stark’s Regiment fought at the Battle of Noddle’s Island & Chelsea Creek May 27, 1775 - May 28, 1775 and Bunker Hill June 17, 1775. The Battle of Noddle’s Island & Chelsea Creek is seldom talked about or taught, but it was the second military battle of the Revolution & the first that involved Naval forces. The landscape of the area was quite different than it is today, but it is clear it encompassed the area of Boston Harbor which included parts of what we now know as Chelsea & Winthrop. The topic is quite controversial as to what names &/or towns should be given to this battle & I wish to stay out of all that, lol. Some online sources for the Battle of Noddle’s Island & Chelsea Creek can be found online. That said, the story goes something like this….
As I mentioned before, the Battle of Lexington & Concord had already happened, and British troops had attempted to take over Boston, but they were surrounded by “Rebels” who wished to contain them there. The Rebels, as we were called at the time, aka “Patriots” today, knew there was one area where the British could gain supplies and that was through their ships being brought into the harbor & the farmers that lived on the isles off the shore known as Noddle’s & Hogs Islands. See, the British banked on being able to convince the farmers not only to provide them with fresh livestock and produce, but store supplies they had stolen from elsewhere in the area. The farmers were stuck literally in the middle.
May 14 1775, Joseph Warren, who led the Massachusetts Committee of Safety for the Patriots issued an order that basically stated all the livestock needed to “be taken from Noddle's Island, Hog Island, Snake Island, and from that part of Chelsea near the sea coast, and be driven back” [inland]. Further, he decided that the regiment at Medford should do it. The Regiment at Medford was the NH men gathered by and under the Command of Col. John Stark, of which Joseph Harris Jr. was one.
A few short days before they were to complete this mission Warren and Gen. Artemas Ward scoped out the situation on Noddle’s Island & in fact did find plenty of livestock there. The plan was to move ahead. Keep in mind as I tell this story, the facts are that Stark has never received the respect he deserved, and so depending on who is telling his story matters greatly in the perspective it is slanted. That said, I will try to give a neutral version…
It is said Stark & his trooped crossed the bridge over the Mystic River just after midnight on May 27. They went through Malden, Everett and Revere. The plan was to reach the shore at what is currently known as Belle Isle Marsh Reservation during low tide & make it to Hogs Island from there. About 10am they went across & the plan worked avoiding detection of British forces. Most of Stark’s men stayed there to clear that island while he & about 30 others continued across to Noddle’s Island.
Once on Noddle’s Island, Stark’s men began to kill the animals they could find & set fire haystacks and barns. Now, I don’t know what you are thinking, but even me as a big admirer of Stark, is thinking …Seriously? Dumb idea. Obviously, the British noticed the smoke. For now, I’m going to choose to believe Joseph was back on Hogs Island and not part of that fiasco. After all, I don’t know for sure, nor do I really want to look into it at this moment.
Anyway, so…the British noticed the smoke & fire around mid-afternoon and went to Noodle’s Island & engaged with Stark’s men there. At the same time, the British ship schooner “Diana” was sent to cut off the Patriots escape. 400 British troops encompassed the area & began driving the Patriots back, but alas they “stuck to their guns” so to speak & hunkered down in the marsh of a creek relentlessly firing up the British until they retreated. Stark’s men then rejoined the remaining Patriots at Hogs Island driving hundreds of livestock to the mainland. Meanwhile the Diana was rapidly becoming stuck in the retreating waters of the creek. The Patriots tried to get them to surrender but they weren’t ready & for hours later the battle continued. Eventually though the ship turned to its side & the British were forced to board their other ship the Britannia which was nearby.
A couple weeks later on June 17 1775 the Battle of Bunker Hill was fought and Stark’s men, including Joseph Harris, participated. Stark determined upon his arrival that the British would likely attack the patriots approaching on the shore of the Mystic River. Stark directed his men to the valley between Mystic Beach and Beech’s Hill.
Jack Kenny describes it best in his post on TheNewAmerican.com & I highly recommend checking out the full context:
Stark ordered them to “fortify” a two-rail fence by stuffing straw and grass between the rails. Stark also noticed an additional gap in the defense line and ordered Lieutenant Nathaniel Hutchins, from his brother William Stark’s company, and others to follow him down a nine-foot-high bank to the edge of the Mystic River. They piled rocks across the 12-foot-wide beach to form a crude defense line. After this fortification was hastily constructed, Stark deployed his men three-deep behind the wall. A large contingent of British, with the Royal Welch Fusiliers in the lead, advanced toward the fortifications. The Minutemen crouched and waited until the advancing British were almost on top of them, and then stood up and fired as one. They unleashed a fierce and unexpected volley directly into the faces of the fusiliers, killing 90 immediately and breaking the advance. The fusiliers retreated in panic. A charge of British infantry was next, climbing over their dead comrades to test Stark’s line. This charge too was decimated by a withering fusillade. A third charge was repulsed in a similar fashion, again with heavy losses to the British. The British officers wisely withdrew their men from that landing point and decided to land elsewhere, with the support of artillery.[i]
The details of Joseph’s service in 1776 was a little harder to track. It is said in his wife’s pension file he served un Capt. John Allen near Boston in 1776, and it would make sense that he was closer to home as my 4x great grandmother Sarah would have been conceived about Mar-April 1776. But what about after that? Well, an undated record seems to indicate at some point he served in the 7th Regiment under Robertson in Richard Dow & Col. Wingate. It is my guess after combining the above record with an additional statement in his wife’s pension that he was in (or near) Ticonderoga, NY prior to June 1777 & a couple other sources stating that Dow & Wingate’s Regiment was raised for service to Canada &/or northern NY, that he was in fact with them up there in the summer of 1776.
I then suspect he returned home for a little while. It is certain he rejoined for another 3 years on Apr 23 1777, this time in NH’s 2nd Regiment under Caleb Robinson’s & Col Nathan Hale. That regiment also embarked upon the journey to Ticonderoga, NY shortly thereafter. Joseph was killed there 17 Jun 1777 during either an ambush by Native Americans or the raid of the British Army the same day. Some records seem to indicate he died the 18-19 of June, so it is unclear exactly.
Most people will probably now wonder…Native Americans…? Yes, while the battle has not been made historically well-known, it was in fact a major battle. More about it can be found on AllThingsLiberty.com in a blog written by Michael Barbieri. I can’t possibly describe the circumstances in Ticonderoga, NY which took my 5x great grandfather from this Earth better he. I highly encourage you to read his work for more specific details about the day. I will however quote from him the following two pieces which hold significant weight in piecing together the death of Joseph Harris:
On that day, with pleasant weather and little expectation of trouble from the British in Canada, the American camp at Ticonderoga had a relaxed attitude. Around noon, the calm atmosphere changed dramatically when the long roll of the drums signaled a call to arms. The alarm had been occasioned by “two Men taken and two killed by a Party of Indians who had concealed themselves in the Bushes near our out Guards, and rushed suddenly upon some unarmed Men who had strolled out a fishing.” These men, from Hale’s New Hampshire regiment, had gone out along the road between the French lines and the mills on the La Chute River. When they had walked only about one hundred rods (about a quarter of a mile) from the lines where a thousand men sat encamped, the Indians fell upon them. Within moments, the Indians had completed their bloody work, dragged their prisoners into the woods, and begun their trek back to Canada.
Records indicate three men of Caleb Robinson’s Company in Hale’s Regiment—Joseph Harris, Moses Copps, and Samuel Smith—all died that day. Whether they suffered their fate near the French Lines at Ticonderoga or in the ambush has not been determined. Four other men—Israel Woodbury and Thomas Creighton of Hale’s regiment, Edward Wells of Poor’s regiment, and William Presson of Scammell’s regiment—are all listed as missing at that time. Like those killed, it has not been determined if they became prisoners during the raid or the ambush.
After that fateful day, Martha remained his widow in Salem, NH for the rest of her life. More details on her rather fascinating life after Joseph’s death can be found here
Okay – so now I guess it’s time to explain how I trace back to him & a little more about his details & descendants.
My 2x great grandfather was John Haseltine of Salem, NH – his blog is here, and documentation filed with my application can be found here
My 3x great grandparents were Simon Haseltine & Clarissa Young of Chester, NH – their blog is here, and documentation filed with my application can be found here
My 4x great grandparents were Hezekiah Young & Sarah Harris of Manchester, NH – their blog & the Young line will follow in the next couple weeks, but some documentation filed with my application can be found here
5x great grandparents Joseph Harris Jr & Martha Hadlock!
Joseph Harris Jr. was born in Salem, NH on 16 Aug 1751, son of Joseph Harris Sr. & Joanna (Webber).[ii] Joseph Sr & Joanna married in Ipswich, MA 2 Dec 1743, [iii] and had Joseph Jr & 4 daughters. Their daughters were: Elizabeth born 28 Sep 1749[iv]; Sarah born 29 Sep 1753[v]; Patience born 16 Apr 1756[vi]; Mary born 21 Oct 1758.[vii]
Joseph Jr’s mother, Joanna died prior to 1787 when Joseph Sr married second Lydia Asten/Austin on 9 Aug 1787 in Salem, NH. [viii] I highly suspect Joseph Sr & Lydia had a daughter of their own named Hulda W. Harris, born about 1783-1787, however evidence is severely lacking. Hulda does seem extremely close to the family given the names of her children. Hulda married William Jones in 1803 & had: Caleb Y.;Ralph H.; Sarah.; Alexander T.; Dudley W.; Hezekiah Y.; Henry P.; John R.; Margaret E.; Martha Allen; Nathan B.; & William (see familysearch.org) She is referred to as Granny Jones in the History of Salem NH by Gilbert, however she is not on the census with her husband in 1850.[ix] If Hulda was Martha’s child as some indicate, I suspect I would have found something to her detriment for having a child out of wedlock – and there was not even the slightest hint she was anything other than highly respected in the community.) Joseph Sr lived a long life & was clearly part of his grandchildren’s life as Sarah mentions him in her letter found in her mother’s pension file.[x] He died between 1810-1820. No record or will was found in Rockingham County, but there is a notation of an inventory for a Joseph Harris [Sr] c1815 but it does not have a docket#. Deeds have not proved helpful thus far. I will have to do another blog on further details for him & his daughters when I get a chance.
Joseph Jr married Martha Hadlock born 2 Dec 1748 in Gloucester MA, [xi] dau of Samuel Hadlock & Hannah Toppan, [xii] on 15 Sep 1771 in Haverhill MA by Rev Badger. [xiii] They first lived in Ipswich and then removed back to Joseph’s home town of Salem, NH.[xiv] His probate file can be found in Rockingham County Docket# 4400. See this folder for copies of documentation on Martha & Joseph.
Joseph & Martha’s children were:
1. Martha Harris born c1772 in Ipswich MA.[xv] In Orford, NH on 24 Jan 1793 she married Michael Taintor [xvi] who d. 22 Jul 1802 Orford NH (NHVR). [xvii] She died 21 Nov 1824 a52y near Haverhill, MA & was buried in Salem Center Burial ground, Salem NH. [xviii] During 1800 they both were in likely in Orford, ME. 1810 shows she was in Orford, but she was not found in 1820 so it is unclear to me where she was in that last years of her life. [xix]
i. Joana Taintor 17 Sep 1793 Orford NH (NHVR)[xx]
ii. Josiah Taintor 1 Feb 1795 Orford, NH(NHVR)[xxi]
iii. Alexander Troup Taintor 3 May 1797 Orford, NH(NHVR) [xxii] m: Deerfield MA? [xxiii] He died in Somerville Ma Oct 14 1873 (MVR)[xxiv]
iv. Joseph Obadiah Harris Taintor 17 Dec 1799 Orford, NH (NHVR) [xxv] d. 7 Jun 1863 Deerfield MA (MVR)[xxvi]
v. Mary Midwell Taintor 25 Mar 1802 Orford, NH(NHVR)[xxvii]
2. Joanna Harris born 6 Jul 1774 in Salem NH. [xxviii] Resided in the area of Belfast ME prior to 1837.[xxix] Some say she married Jonathan Jack of Chester NH, but I found nothing to confirm this. It is suspected my myself & a fellow researcher/potentially distant cousin, Christine Howard, that she may have actually married John Howard. Christine found that Martha provided an affidavit for the Revolutionary pension of Lydia (Corliss) Howard's application. Martha states in her affidavit that her daughter married Lydia and John Howard's son John, who was born in Salem, N.H. on 10 December 1776, but did not provide a first name of her daughter. Due to the process of elimination is seems clear this was Joanna, however naturally there is a snag. Salem, NH Town Records show a marriage for Nancy Harris & John Howard on 13 January 1799. Christine & I agree this is a stretch for a nickname for Joanna, however her grandmother was Joanna, so perhaps it was to avoid confusion. Or perhaps it was just an error as a son, Joseph Harris Howard was born to John & Joanna Howard in Salem NH on 28 March 1799. I can’t explain the quick birth after the marriage but my suggestion would be to check the details in the Salem Town Meeting Records available through LDS. There could be a hint in there I previously missed. There are definitely occasions in there when they discuss children that may have been conceived in unusual circumstances.
Further Christine found a listing for John Howard c1837 which coincides with the affidavit Sarah wrote on their mother’s behalf. As well, she found a listing for a service record for a Joseph H. Howard, born circa 1798-99 in Salem, NH & enlisted in Portland, ME. She would be the one with more expertise on the Howard line, and should be consulted in matters of interest to it.
3. Sarah “Sally” Harris b. 15 Nov 1776 (See future & past Young blogs, which are here and here
[ii] "New Hampshire Birth Records, Early to 1900," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FLPR-SM9 : accessed 9 May 2016), Joseph Harris, 16 Aug 1751; citing Salem, Rockingham, New Hampshire, United States, Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics, Concord; FHL microfilm 1,001,004.
[iii] "Massachusetts Marriages, 1695-1910," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FCCS-PM2 : accessed 9 May 2016), Joseph Harris and Joanna Webber, 02 Dec 1743; citing reference ; FHL microfilm 0547505 IT 1.
[iv] "New Hampshire Birth Records, Early to 1900," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FLPR-MYG : accessed 9 May 2016), Elizabeth Harris, 28 Sep 1749; citing Salem, Rockingham, New Hampshire, United States, Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics, Concord; FHL microfilm 1,001,004.
[v] "New Hampshire Birth Records, Early to 1900," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FLPR-3WL : accessed 9 May 2016), Sarah Harris, 29 Sep 1753; citing Salem, Rockingham, New Hampshire, United States, Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics, Concord; FHL microfilm 1,001,004.
[vi] "New Hampshire Birth Records, Early to 1900," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FLPR-SRD : accessed 9 May 2016), Patience Harris, 16 Apr 1756; citing Salem, Rockingham, New Hampshire, United States, Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics, Concord; FHL microfilm 1,001,004.
[vii] "New Hampshire Birth Records, Early to 1900," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FLPR-SF8 : accessed 9 May 2016), Mary Harris, 21 Oct 1758; citing Salem, Rockingham, New Hampshire, United States, Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics, Concord; FHL microfilm 1,001,004.
[viii] "New Hampshire Marriage Records, 1637-1947," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FL69-J2B : accessed 9 May 2016), Joseph Harris and Lydia Asten, 09 Aug 1787; citing Salem, , New Hampshire, Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics, Concord; FHL microfilm 1,001,267.
[ix] "United States Census, 1850," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MWZL-32H : accessed 9 May 2016), Wm Jones, Salem, Rockingham, New Hampshire, United States; citing family 173, NARA microfilm publication M432 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
[x] Fold3 Martha Harris’s pension file
[xi] Fold3 Martha Harris’s pension file
[xii] Martha Hadlock Birth Record, Martha Young's pension file- #14847; Joseph Harris Rockingham County Probate File #4400, Joseph Death Record- does not exist - instead see Revolutionary Service Records; Martha Death Record-does not exist - instead see 1840 Census where she is in the home of Dudley W. Jones.
[xiii] Fold3 Martha Harris’s pension file
[xiv] Fold3 Martha Harris’s pension file
[xv] Fold3 Martha Harris’s pension file
[xvi] See FamilySearch.org
[xvii] See FamilySearch.org or NHVR
[xviii] Haverhill, MA Death Records & Salem Center Burial ground, Salem NH.
[xix] 1800 Census he was in Orford, ME; 1810 Census she was in Orford; She was not found on the 1820 Census there
[xx] See FamilySearch.org or NHVR
[xxi] See FamilySearch.org or NHVR
[xxii] See FamilySearch.org or NHVR
[xxiii] See FamilySearch.org or MVR
[xxiv] See FamilySearch.org or MVR
[xxv] See FamilySearch.org or NHVR
[xxvi] See FamilySearch.org or MVR
[xxvii] See FamilySearch.org or NHVR
[xxviii] See FamilySearch.org or NHVR
[xxix] Fold3 Martha Harris’s pension file
Amylynne (Baker) Murphy