Montague — Revolutionary Reminiscences

Extracted from "History of the Connecticut Valley in Massachusetts, Volume II," by Louis H. Everts, 1879.

      April 6, 1773, the inhabitants held a meeting to discuss a pamphlet received from the town of Boston, touching the rights and grievances of the colonies. It was decided to choose a committee of correspondence, composed of Moses Gunn, Elisha Allis, Stephen Tuttle, Peter Bishop, Judah Wright, Nathaniel Gunn, Jr., and Moses Harvey, and at an adjourned meeting in April the committee presented the draft of a letter to the committee of correspondence at Boston, and in this letter it was set forth in substance that the committee considered the infringement upon the rights of the colonies, as set forth in the pamphlet, as being what in reason and justice ought to give great concern to every friend of his country, and excite his endeavors in all lawful methods to obtain suitable redress.
      In July, 1774, the people in town-meeting adopted a non-consumption covenant, whereby they pledged themselves to suspend commercial intercourse with Great Britain until the repeal of the act closing the port of Boston and the restoration of chartered rights. They further pledged themselves not to knowingly purchase any goods arriving from Great Britain after the last day of the ensuing August. In view of the distressing condition of affairs throughout the country, it was voted to set apart the 14th day of July as a day of humiliation and prayer.
      In September, 1774, it was voted to procure fifty pounds of powder, one hundred and twelve pounds of lead, and a sufficient number of flints, "as a town stock for the present." In January, 1775, it was voted to raise six pounds to encourage the Minute-Men "shortly to be raised in Montague." At the same meeting it was voted to send Moses Gunn to represent the district in the Provincial Congress. Out of the sum above appropriated, it was voted to allow the Minute-Men six-pence apiece each half-day they attended military exercise. At a meeting in April, 1775, it was voted to send a wagon with provisions for the use of the army. To transport this wagon-load of provisions to the army at Cambridge, the district paid Elijah Smith seven pounds, ten shillings, and nine pence.
      In 1778 it was voted to abide by the Articles of Confederation proposed by the Continental Congress, except the article empowering Congress to declare peace or war. This power the town considered should be left to the people, and not entrusted to any body of men.
      In the same year it was voted to provide twenty-three pairs of stockings, twenty-three pairs of shoes, and twenty-three shirts for the use of the Continental soldiers. It was agreed to give twenty shillings a pair for stockings, thirty-six shillings a pair for shoes, and eight shillings per yard for yard-wide shirting.
      In May, 1778, the town voted to raise £150 to pay the bounties for the five soldiers ordered by the General Court for the army.
      In December, 1778, it was voted to pay seven dollars apiece for eight shirts, and eleven dollars a pair for shoes, provided for the soldiers.* In June, 1779, it was agreed to raise £574 for bounties and mileage to the soldiers ordered to be raised by the General Court. For this money six soldiers were raised. In the following September the town refused to adopt the scale of prices fixed for various commodities by the Northampton convention.
      In October, 1779, the town borrowed £360 to pay bounties for soldiers ordered by the General Court. Of this sum, the town paid £40 each to eight soldiers, as follows: Noah Barnes, Joel Benjamin, Asa Fuller, James Winslow, Ephraim Whitney, Sim King, John Clapp, and Jonathan Marsh.
      In June, 1780, it was voted to give each man who should turn out as a volunteer for six months a bounty of £206. No one offering to volunteer, the bounty was raised to £300 and £3 per month, and the 11 men required were obtained.
      In July of the same year 11 additional men were called for, and a bounty of £150 and £3 per month promised as an encouragement. In October, 3600 pounds of beef were bought for the army under an order from the General Court.
      In January, 1781, 7 more soldiers were raised by bounties, and shortly thereafter it was voted to give as a bounty to each soldier 20 yearling heifers or steers, in case said soldier should continue in the war one year; 20 two-year-old neat cattle in case he should serve two years; and 20 three-year-old neat cattle in case he should serve three years. In the following July a bounty of £3 40s. per month was offered for three months' men.
      In September, 1781, 20s. bounty and £30 per month were offered for soldiers to serve in the defense of the State of Connecticut. In December, 1783, the town treasurer was authorized to exchange Continental money for silver at the rate of $120 for one dollar!
      In July, 1812, the town in public meeting recorded its disapprobation of the war declared against Great Britain, and voted to send a memorial to the President and Congress, praying that war might cease, and that the blessings of peace might be restored to the land. Beyond that the records are silent touching the action of the town as concerned that war. It is, however, certain that the town furnished 16 men for the service. Fifteen of these were drafted and one volunteered, the volunteer's name being Chester Taylor.
      Montague sent Henry Wells as a delegate to the Northampton convention, called by the three river-counties to memorialize the President of the United States, and to demand a speedy conclusion of peace.

* These enormous prices illustrate the relative value of Continental bills.

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09 Jul 2005