Marsh Lewis, A Patriot in the Revolutionary War

I started blogging one year ago – January 2018. My goal was to tell the stories of the ancestors of Ruth Andrews and James DeBoise. I have spent many years researching this family, and wanted to share the information.  I started writing the stories several years ago, but my progress was very slow. I needed to come to a satisfactory end of this work so that I could move onto other projects. Happily, this blog has helped me achieve my goal to share these stories.

With family history, the search is never complete. There is always more to learn, brick walls to break down, and mysteries to uncover. Last night I watched Henry Lewis Gates new season of “Finding Your Roots” on PBS. Guest Andy Samberg was able to identify his mother’s birth parents by building family trees through the clues DNA provided, and contacting those with close DNA matches to see who might have information to complete the missing pieces of the puzzle. This was exciting to me because that was the process I used in figuring out the birth father of Ruth Andrews, as well as the birth family of my mother’s great grandmother, Mary Jane Pickering. Researching family history is addicting, exciting, frustrating, rewarding, and just plain fun. Once you are hooked, it’s hard to let go!

During this past year, I have shared summaries of the information I have on the direct ancestors of Ruth and James. There is always more to share on the family – the aunts and uncles, cousins, as well as more on the direct ancestors of Marshall Frederick Cortis. During 2019 I will periodically share additional information discovered on family members; however, not as frequently as I posted during 2018. My direct ancestors have been haunting me, letting me know that I have been neglecting them for far too long. So I am going to be spending more time with my Smith, Osborn, Staton, Rice, and Cook family members.

Today, we are going to meet Marsh Lewis. He is Ruth Andrew’s 4th great grandfather on her father’s side of the family. I find him interesting because of his military service during the Revolutionary War.

In 1776, we had a lot of Patriots who strongly felt that they could govern themselves better in this New World than could the King of England. I’ve always admired those individuals and families who sacrificed so much to establish the democratic union known as the United States of America which has survived over 200 years. And although the politics are still contentious, which they have frequently been through the decades and centuries, we still manage to maintain this democratic union.

I have identified four of Ruth Andrews’ direct ancestors who served in the Revolutionary War. On her mother’s side of the family, Edward “Ned” Carter was an African-American Patriot, along with his four sons, who fought for the country’s freedom. And for his sons they were also fighting for their own freedom from slavery, which they obtained through their military service. On Ruth’s father’s side of her family, the Patriots included Marsh Lewis, Elisha Remington, Jr., and Steven Stowell.

Marsh Lewis, the son of Paul Lewis and Hannah Cushing, was born in Hingham, Massachusetts on October 28, 1749. He married Esther Hobart on June 26, 1780, while still serving in the military. Although I have not found his exact dates of service, I found records that he was in the military in 1777 (Battle of Saratoga), 1778, 1779, and 1780. Marsh had at least four children: Elizabeth, Esther, David, and Sally.

Battle of Saratoga, 1777 Photograph by Granger
Battle of Saratoga, 1777

Marsh applied for a pension in 1818 based on his Revolutionary War service. Congress had just made pensions available to soldiers who were in financial need, expanding the number of former soldiers who could receive pensions for their service. Taken from Marsh Lewis’s application for a pension for his service in the Revolutionary War:

I, Marsh Lewis, of Hingham, in the County of Plymouth and State of Massachusetts, do hereby testify and declare, that in the Revolutionary War, I enlisted in the public service for the term of three years, under Lieut. Amos Shaw of Abington, in Capt. Jacob Allen’s Company of Bridgewater, in Colonel John Bailey’s Regiment in the Massachusetts Line, on the Continental establishment; that I was at Saratoga*, when General Burgoyne surrendered with his army; afterward I think we marched to White Plains. That I continued in the public service, the regiment aforesaid, until I had served the full term of three years, for which I enlisted.
Marsh Lewis 16 April AD 1818
Attest: Abner Lincoln
Plymouth March 31st, 1818. Then personally appeared the above named Marsh Lewis & made oath that the above declaration, by him, subscribed is true in all its parts, according to his best recollections & belief before me.
Abner Lincoln
Just. Of Peace
We the undersigned, hereby testify that the above named Marsh Lewis, in consequence of his age & bodily infirmities, & indigent circumstances, greatly needs the aid of his country, as an old soldier, for the support of himself & his wife.
Moses Sprague, Caleb Gill, Selectmen of Hingham
Abner Lincoln, Martin Lincoln, Edward Thaxter, Thomas Loring and 6 others
I, Seth Thaxter, of Hingham, do hereby certify that I was at Saratoga when General Burgoyne surrendered, and frequently saw the within named Marsh Lewis and am confident that he was in Colonel John Bailey’s Regiment. Hingham April 6th 1818 Seth Thaxter

Marsh also indicated in his application that his “business” was a laborer, from which he was not making very much money. He also said he depended on private charity to support him and his wife. His pension was approved on the 5th of April, 1819 at the rate of $8 per month. He received back pay to April 1818.

In June 1819 a request was made of the Probate Court in Plymouth, Massachusetts to assign guardianship for Marsh Lewis in that he was unable to take care of himself. The request stated that he was incompetent to manage the pension he had qualified for and asked that Martin Lincoln, Esq. be assigned as his guardian. Marsh Lewis signed the request, which was approved.

Marsh Lewis died on February 5, 1832 at the age of 82. He is buried in Fort Hill Cemetery in Hingham.

* The Battle of Saratoga was two battles in Saratoga, New York that is referred to as the turning point of the Revolutionary War. The battles were fought in the fall of 1777 eighteen days apart. British General John Burgoyne won the first battle, but lost a large number of his troops. His forces were weak when he entered the second battle, and he was defeated and retreated. He surrendered ten days later. With the Patriots success at Saratoga, the French entered the War as Allies of the Patriots.

I hope 2019 brings you happiness, health, and fun searching your family history!

Until next time…….
Teri

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