One of the Revolutionary War soldiers from Hampton, New Hampshire, was my ancestor, Captain John Dearborn. I’ve always seen him referred to as Cap’t. Dearborn to distinguish him from the other John Dearborns from New Hampshire who were related to him (and there were quite a few). I’ve learned more about him recently. It appears that he was at first a member of the Coastal Militia which was charged with setting a watch to keep an eye on the shipping lanes off the coast. On a couple of occasions, John and others were charged with the safety of Portsmouth Harbor and the Piscataqua River and would spend a few days at a time supplementing the troops there.
He was a lieutenant when I found the first reference to him in the report of the Committee of Safety. He was one of the inaugural members…one out of 13 men chosen from the town. His duties for that body would have been more involved than guarding the coast since the Committee of Safety was established in each town by the State Convention as it was a substitute for the King’s government. In New Hampshire the committee was given the authority “To take under consideration all matters in which the welfare of the Province in the security of their rights is concerned; and to take the utmost care, that the public sustain no damage.” (Dow History of Hampton NH, Vol 1, p 255) The committees were made up of local people so the members would have known who was loyal to the crown and who was a patriot. I hate to think he was watching his neighbors but that’s what committee members did in part along with keeping the peace and managing local affairs as well as furnishing men for Watches and other duties.
Since he was primarily a member of the Coastal Militia there is only one record of federal service for a month’s duty. He was paid 3 pennies a mile for the trip to Saratoga, New York, and 2 pennies a mile for the trip back which added up to $12.00 for this service. The company he was in was probably attached to Col. Moulton’s Regiment, Col. Whipple’s Brigade to support the engagement at Bemis Heights near Saratoga. After this turn of events for the revolutionaries, he returned to coastal duties for the balance of the war. He was a citizen-soldier and faced the immediacy of duty on home soil while making a living and raising a family.
Captain John Dearborn was born 1 July 1740 in Hampton, NH; married about 1762, in Hampton, Zipporah Towle; he died 18 Oct 1794. She was born 26 May 1744 in Chester, NH; she died in Hampton 11 Nov 1804. They had 11 children. One of their sons, also ancestor of mine, Jacob Dearborn, served in the War of 1812 as a captain of a light infantry company stationed near Portsmouth NH.
I think I'll need to balance out the family scales by next telling you about some Tories in the family tree. I hope you won't have to wait a long time to hear those tales.