Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Fighting for Freedom--Abiathar Richards, Sr.
When I think of the Revolutionary War in New England, I think about Paul Revere and his ride, the Old North Church, and the British Red Coats. Missing from this picture are the colonial soldiers that fought in the War. This week and next, I will focus on two of my New England grandfathers who were soldiers during the revolution.
Abiathar Richards, Sr. is my 3th great grandfather. He was born in Dedham, Massachusetts to John and Abigail (Avery) Richards in June of 1738. On May 21, 1753, he married his cousin, Elizabeth Richards. He and Elizabeth had nine children.
In 1776, General Washington was conducting a siege of Boston. During the night of March 4, large cannons from Fort Ticonderoga were moved onto the hills of Dorchester Heights, which overlooks the Boston Harbor. So that the British would not hear the cannons being moved into place, the soldiers wrapped the wheels of the cannons in straw. That action strengthened the siege against Boston. Convinced that the cannon fire would damage their ships in the harbor, the British troops withdrew from Boston. Abiathar Richards participated in this action by serving four days under Captain Joseph Lewis in the 1st Dedham Company
Abiathar Richard’s second service was closer to home, in the neighboring town of Roxbury. In colonial times, Boston was located on a peninsula with the only land route into Boston, going through Roxbury. To protect the city, troops were stationed in Roxbury. For 15 days beginning on March 23, 1778 Abiathar Richards served in Captain Abel Richards’s company at Roxbury and Boston.
Abiathar’s last enlistment was on July 21, 1780. At that time he became part of Captain Moses Bullard’s Company, Col. Ebenezer Thayer’s Regiment, which was stationed at Rhode Island to reinforce the Continental Army. His service there was 2 months and 24 days. After the war, he returned to farming.
Abiathar Richards died on September 30, 1803 at the age of 73. He is buried in the Village Cemetery in Dedham, Massachusetts.
I think it is interesting that Abiathar enlisted three times. If I could talk to Abiathar about the war, I would ask him why he did that. It does not appear that he was engaged in any battles, I also would want to know if that was correct. One last question-- he and his wife had nine children and a farm, who took care of them and the farm, while he was away.