Interesting Historical Facts Recalled by the Old Cemetery in the West Village.
The improvements about the old cemetery in the meadow below Mrs. Bigelow's and the Stedman homestead at West Brattleboro awaken interest in those buried there. In the records of the New York provincial congress, at New York, under date: "Die Veneris, 9 ho. A.M. July 21, 1775," is this entry: "A letter from Elisha Benedict was read and filed and is in the words following, to wit:
Albany, July 14, 1775.
Sir, According to your instructions I went into Cumberland County to deliver a copy to the Lieutenant, Samuel Fletcher, who was appointed the First Lieutenant, and is with the army at Cambridge. I took the advice of the leading men there and they nominated William McCune in his place, and he is enlisting of men. Alexander Brink the second Lieutenant lives in the upper part of the County. I sent a man with his instructions. I have enlisted forty men, and if I had the money to pay the men a small matter my company would be full in two or three days time.
I am your humble servant Elisha Benedict.
To P. V. B. Livingston, Esq.
President New York Provincial Congress
N. B. I should be glad if Mr. McCune might be the First Lieutenant in place of Mr. Fletcher.
Elisha Benedict was raising a company of Green Mountain Boys of which he was to be captain. Cumberland was one of the counties of the province of New York, and included then about what Windsor and Windham counties in Vermont do now. Samuel Fletcher lived up the hill from the Farwell place this side of West Townshend, and was a great grandfathr of Samuel P. Miller, Esq., of Newfane, and became General Samuel Fletcher. William McCune had come from Scotland to this country, and came to Brattleboro in or about 1767 with his wife and his son Isaac, then about 17, and lived next northwest of the old cemetery on meeting house hill above Centreville. Under date: Die Martia, 9 ho. A.M. Aug. 1, 1775, a letter was received by the same Congress enclosing the warrant to Samuel Fletcher and requesting a warrant to William McCune of Cumberland county in his stead, and it was "Ordered that a warrant issue to William McCune." Ethan Allen was expected to be colonel of the Green Mountain Boys, but only a lieutenant colonel's command was organized, of which Seth Warner was made lieutenant colonel and Samuel Safford major.
Under date Aug. 15, 1775, the same Congress "Resolved that when the Green Mountain Boys are raised each shall be furnished with a coat; and that Mr. Peter T. Curtenius be requested to purchase coarse green cloth for that purpose, and red cloth sufficient to face the coats, and to have two hundred and twenty-five coats of a large size made of the said cloth." Lieut. McCune became a captain in Col. Warner's regiment Sept. 16, 1776, and served as such till Nov. 18, 1778, when he was discharged and paid £36 2s 2½d. He died Dec. 17, 1807, aged 78 and was buried in this cemetery. By some oversight he is not named among the soldiers of the Revolution from this town in the Vermont Gazetteer. He was a grandfather of the late William P. Cune, a great grandfather of Mrs. C. F. Thompson, and a grandfather of one of the grandfathers of Mrs. Fanny Rice and her brothers and sisters, and was an ancestor of many other persons.
Vermont Phoenix, September 25, 1896.
Who Lived in Brattleboro, But whose Names Are Not on Any Printed List--
Copies of Interesting Documents.
Mr. Burnham's valuable history of Brattleboro gives the names of Revolutionary soldiers who have resided in Brattleboro, principally as found on pension rolls, but not of those who enlisted from this town, not pensioners. Reuben Church, who enlisted from this town Aug. 7, 1776, into Lt. Col. Seth Warner's regiment of Green Mountain Boys, was a pensioner, and is mentioned. He became an ensign in that regiment. William McCune enlisted into that regiment Sept. 16, 1776, and became a captain; Benjamin Gould enlisted into it Nov. 2, 1776; Benjamin Butterfield, Jan. 1, 1777, and became a lieutenant; and Joseph Bennett Nov. 2, 1777; John Payne of Newfane enlisted into that regiment Oct. 20, 1776, and David Merrick March 16, 1777; Jesse Walker of Townshend, Jan. 1 and Reuben Ball, Jan. 2, 1777. This regiment had but seven companies and no colonel. The uniform was a coat of coarse green cloth, "of large size," faced with red, furnished by New York; the officers were nominated by a committee of men from towns of the New Hampshire Grants which became the state of Vermont, and were commissioned by Gen. Philip Schuyler, commanding the Northern department; and the regiment was in the Continental line, and paid by the Continental Congress in Continental money. This money depreciated so much that, in June, 1781, at Bennington, the legislature of Vermont passed "An Act for the purpose of making up the Depreciation of the Continental Money to Colonel Warner's Regiment and Captain Lee's Company." This act directed the "committee of pay-table" to examine into the depreciation, allow accounts, and draw on the treasurer for the amount found due each officer and soldier. The accounts were adjusted at Charlestown, N. H., where the legislature of Vermont sat in 1781. Here is the draft and receipt for the men from this town:
Pay Table Office. Charlestown, Oct. 20, 1781.
You are hereby directed to pay to the bearer, Lt. Butterfield, the sum of forty-two pounds it being for the depreciation of wages allowed to Capt. Wm. McCune, Lt. Benjamin Butterfield, Ensign Reuben Church & Benj'n Goold, belonging to Col. Seth Warner's Regiment agreeably to an act of the General Assembly of this state.
Rec'd Charlestown, Oct. 20, 1781. The within sum of forty-two pounds L. M'y in full of Ira Allen, Esq'r. Treasurer.
Some query has arisen whether this Benjamin Butterfield was Esquire Benjamin who lived over West River next beyond the road turning to the left, where Dr. Bemis now lives, and was then 51, or his son Benjamin, on account of his age. But his son then signed and was well known as Benjamin Butterfield, jr., and there is no "jr." about this name in the rolls or documents, and the military age was not limited as it is now. Charles Phelps, Esq., of Marlboro was then 60 and was drafted, and released by Col. Carpenter at Guilford, not on account of his age, but to go to Boston for guns and ammunition. Here is a copy of the release:
Guilford, August 16, 1777.
This may Certify that in Consideration of Charles Phelps, Esq. Having at his own Charge and Risque Journeyed to Boston and procured 160 fire arms and ammunition for the same for these Neighboring towns and has been at a Grate expense in money and time in the [ ] And is now on his Journey to Boston with money to pay for the same. That Altho he is Draughted by the Captain &c to Go to the Westward in Defence of His Country on one of the Alarm Lists, Yet I hereby Release him therefrom to enable him to do far Greater Service for his Distressed Country by doing the above mentioned business at Boston, and his endeavoring to procure more arms & ammunition and Salt. These Distressed Infant towns on the Hampshire Grants for the Relife of the same People, the other 150 Guns and ammunition was Procured by the tender commiseration of the ancient & most Patriotic Colony of the Massachusetts Bay afors'd to whome & for which our hearty and abundant thanks are Ever Due when we all lay open to the Ravages of the Enemy at the wrongfull Giving up Ticonderoga &c to the Regular troops.
Benjamin Carpenter, Colo.
In an engrossed copy of the roll of this regiment opposite the name of William McCune, captain, is written "Deranged," Nov. 18, 1778, which has caused some speculation as to its meaning, and by some it has been thought to have meant discharged. But this could not well be, for officers are not discharged, but resign; or are dismissed. The original roll, however, under the hand of Col. Warner himself, also shows opposite the name of Joseph Safford of Bennington, lieutenant, the same word, at the same date. Both continued in the service afterwards, and this entry seems to mean merely that they changed places.
After the battle of Bennington Col. William Williams sent an order to Col. Carpenter to hurry forward men. This order was written upon a piece of paper on the other side of which was a fine drawing of a fortification, doubtless the work of a British officer, and captured at the battle.
Samuel Warriner of this town enlisted September 24, 1777, into Captain Josiah Boyden's company of Col. Williams's regiment and served 23 days. J. Shepard Gates of Dummerston was lieutenant; Caleb Howard of afterwards Jamaica was a corporal; Leonard Spalding, Reuben Spalding, Wm. Negus, jr., Asa Dutton and Seth Duncan, Dummerston; and Amariah Taft, and Benjamin How, Townshend, were privates in this company. Nathaniel Stedman of Newfane was in Capt. Pettee's company of this regiment. According to an affidavit in an application for a pension Stephen Greenleaf, jr., was with Gen. Gates's army at Saratoga and saw Gen. Frazer shot, but his name does not appear to be on any company roll.
Vermont Phoenix, August 13, 1897.
The expression "L. M'y" is the abbreviation of "legal money".