Wednesday, July 4, 2012

On that Fateful Day....


I have had a love of history my entire life.  Perhaps that is why I was drawn to obtaining a degree in History at the University of Idaho.  I’ve always been very interested in Revolutionary War history – perhaps it has something to do with my fascination with John Adams or maybe it was the Betsy Ross costume my mother made for me to march in the parade in 1976.  I’ve always enjoyed learning and reading about the time period.  During some research, I found that one of my ancestors participated in that very first day of battle on 19 April 1775.

Asa Wheelock was the third of the eleven children of Jonathan Wheelock and Martha Wight.   He was born on 2 Oct 1741 in Charlton, Worcester Co., MA.  He married Rachel Drury on 3 Dec 1763 in Charlton, Worcester Co., MA.  She was the daughter of John Drury and Susannah Goddard and was born 13 Feb 1744 in Framingham, Middlesex Co., MA.  By the time 1775 had come along, Asa and Rachel had five children with oldest being just 10 years old.  During that fateful year, I’m sure Asa, like many other area farmers took up practicing on the village green as their village militia.  Asa served under Ebenezer Learned during that first day on April 19, 1775 when the militia after hearing word about the Battle at Lexington marched to Roxbury, MA where he served 12 days.  In my imagination, I see his wife waiting at home with their five children probably wondering if he would ever make it home and waiting for twelve days until they saw him again.

Asa probably came back home like many of those early soldiers and planted his spring crops.  He served again as a Sergeant in Captain Abijah Lamb’s company and Col Jonathan Holman’s regiment for 21 days when the company marched home from Providence, RI during the alarm on December 10, 1776.  It doesn’t look as if he served a lot of time –but he did do his part and survived.  Longfellow called the first shot on that day as the “shot heard round the world!”  There were a lot of militia men like Asa Wheelock who served on the first day and went back home to plant their fields.  Asa and Rachel both lived long lives.  After the war, Asa and Rachel moved to Calais, VT and became some of the earliest settlers.   Asa was 75 when he died in March 1816 and Rachel was 86 years old when she died 2 Apr 1830.

Asa and Rachel went on to have eleven total children who are:
               i.   RHODA9 WHEELOCK, b. 28 Mar 1765, Charlton, Worcester Co., MA.
              ii.   MARTHA WHEELOCK, b. 09 Dec 1766, Charlton, Worcester Co., MA; m. DAVID GODDELL, 01 Nov 1786, Charlton, Worcester Co., MA.
             iii.   GODDARD WHEELOCK, b. 25 Sep 1768, Charlton, Worcester Co., MA; d. Abt. 1814, Calais, Washington Co.,VT; m. ELEANOR HATHAWAY.
             iv.   JENNISON WHEELOCK, b. 31 May 1770, Charlton, Worcester Co., MA; d. 25 Feb 1813, Calais, Washington Co.,VT; m. MOLLY WELLS.
              v.   AMOS WHEELOCK, b. 05 Mar 1772, Charlton, Worcester Co., MA; d. Aft. 1835, Calais, Washington Co.,VT; m. HANNAH WHEELOCK, 24 Feb 1799, Charlton, Worcester Co., MA; b. 11 Apr 1779, Charlton, Worcester Co., MA; d. 21 Mar 1812, Charlton, Worcester Co., MA.
             vi.   SALEM WHEELOCK, b. Abt. 1776, Charlton, Worcester Co., MA; d. Abt. 1853, Auburn, NY; m. ABIGAIL MCKNIGHT, Abt. 1798, Calais, Washington Co.,VT.
            vii.   LEONARD WHEELOCK, b. Abt. 1777, Charlton, Worcester Co., MA; m. LORINDA JAMES.
            viii.   MARY WHEELOCK, b. 29 Apr 1778, Charlton, Worcester Co., MA; d. 31 Jan 1854, Shipton, Richmond Co., Quebec; m. WINSLOW POPE, 08 Dec 1793, Berlin, Washington Co., VT; b. 10 Aug 1770, Rochester, Plymouth Co., MA; d. 18 Feb 1847, Shipton, Richmond Co., Quebec.
             ix.   HULDAH WHEELOCK, b. Mar 1780, Charlton, Worcester Co., MA; d. 18 Jan 1863.
              x.   ASA WHEELOCK, b. Abt. 1783, Charlton, Worcester Co., MA; d. 24 Feb 1858, Apple River, IL; m. (1) LUCY HUBBARD, Abt. 1807; d. Bef. 1818; m. (2) WELTHA ADALINE HORR, Abt. 1817.
             xi.   JARED WHEELOCK, b. 05 Aug 1785, Charlton, Worcester Co., MA; d. 17 Oct 1872, Calais, Washington Co.,VT; m. MARY DAVIS, 01 Jan 1805, Calais, Washington Co.,VT.

I am descended from their daughter Mary Wheelock who married Winslow Pope in 1793.  Asa and Rachel are my 5th great grandparents.  On this 236th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, I salute the militia men who were brave enough to stand up to the most powerful military in the world and especially my 5th great grandfather, Asa Wheelock.