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The Settler's Stories
Solomon, son of Nathaniel Peck, was born November 11, 1712 in Swansea, Massachusetts. He married Keziah Barnes, the daughter of Samuel Barnes on December 29, 1737, and settled on a part of his father's estate. Eleven children were the fruit of their marriage. Mr. Peck was a useful and respected citizen, and Mrs. Peck a devoted wife and mother. Solomon died on December 6, 1776 in Swansea. On his tombstone are the lines:
'My flesh shall rest in hope to rise Waked by His powerful Voice.'
Keziah, born in Barrington, RI on April 1,1718, was the daughter of Samuel Barnes and his second wife Jean. She lived in Barrington as a young girl. One of her brothers was Thomas Barnes who married into the Cole side of our family. Keziah joined the Barrington Church on March 6,1737. It was there at the age of 20 she married Solomon,
age 25,son of Deacon Nathaniel Peck.
They were a wealthy family, and had many comforts, but tragedy was no stranger to Keziah.
She was the mother of a large family of eleven children. In 1752, her nine year daughter Hannah died.
During the year of 1776, as the colonists grew uneasy with strict and unjust British rule, Barrington prepared for war. Many English ships sailed into Narragansett Bay armed for battle. July 4, 1776 the Declaration of Independence was signed. Two of Keziah's sons died as young men, 23 year old Daniel and 29 year old Benjamin. On December 8, 1776, her beloved husband Solomon passed away at the age of 65. Her 5 remaining sons joined the fight for freedom.
The British were very close to the family homestead. The enemy had fired their powerful ship's cannon directly into the town of Bristol, only a few miles away. Rhode Island was on constant alert.
Keziah must have spent many sleepless nights worrying about her family, her home and her country. The war dragged on for several years, and eventually our young county was free. Troubles were not over. The economy was in shambles, and farms had been neglected. The Pecks pulled together and survived. It was their mother who held the family together.
On July 18, 1792, she died at the age of 75. She is buried near her husband in the Princess Hill Cemetery in Barrington, RI.
Her gravestone is engraved with a fitting tribute to this gallant lady.
"All that was mortal of Kezia wife of Solomon Peck, Esqr lieth here
who died July 18, 1792 in the 75th year of her Age
A faithful wife and Mother dear
Such was she who now lies here"
On January 24, 1723 a son was born to Joseph Cole and his wife Rebecca. He was named William.
Three months later, his father died.
Rebecca and William continued to live in the town of Rehoboth, perhaps at the home of her sister Elizabeth and her husband Tom Hill. Elizabeth died in 1726.
Rebecca and Tom fell in love and planned to marry two years later, but the laws of the church and the Massachusetts Bay Company prevented them from doing so. The couple decided to move to Rhode Island, where they were married on March 31, 1728 by Benomi Hall, Justice of the Peace.
It is not clear if young William went to RI with his mother. He was about five years of age at the time. I
believe he may have stayed with members of the Cole family who continued as members of the church.
There are no records of William living in RI. In later years, there are many records mentioning him in the Rehoboth records.
William became an outstanding and wealthy man in his own right. He served as the Executor of his grandfather's will, and followed the family trade of tanner. His grandfather and namesake had willed him the tannery, and rights to the property. In turn, young William was to care for his grandmother, Ann Peck Cole.
On November 26, 1747, at the age of 24, William married the daughter of Rev. John Greenwood.
Reverend Greenwood was the pastor of Newman Congregational Church. His bride was eighteen year old Molly (Mary) Greenwood. They settled in Rehoboth.
Molly and William had twelve children, Rebecca, their first child died as an infantat the age of six months in 1749. Their other children were, Joseph, William, another Rebecca, Thomas, John, Molly, Chloe, Sarah, Bette, Nathaniel and Allen.
Molly Cole became a member of the Newman Church on July 2, 1749.
William was known as Esquire in the town. He held many town offices, sometimes as selectman, constable and fence viewer.
As problems with England escalated and war became inevitable, William served on a Committee of
Correpondence, petitioning the Royal Governor for relief from excess taxation and arbitrary and unjust rules and regulations. He became a leader as the town prepared for war. Meetings were arranged to obtain weapons and cannons. Militias were formed, military tactics planned, and farmers and tradesmen trained for war. They had enough of British rule. A new country was being born, and William was in the thick of it.
Four of his sons served in the Revolutionary War, Joseph, our ancestor, Thomas, William and John.
William died after the revolution, on June 20, 1793 at age seventy. He lived to see the bonds of British rule
Molly died on November 14,1798 also at age seventy.
They are buried in Newman Church Cemetery in Rumford, RI. Their graves are marked byslate monuments. Many of their family members are buried there also, including the father he never knew.
Just as the sun was setting on July 4, 1729, Lydia Greenwood gave birth to her seventh child, a daughter. She was named Molly. Her father John was the town minister, as was his father before him.
Molly, one of fourteen children, was raised in a religious home. The community was charged with providing their minister with a living wage. Several times her father requested a raise in salary to take care of his growing family. Molly learned to read and write. When she reached the age of eighteen, she was betrothed to young William Cole, the twenty-three year old grandson of the town tanner. He was an educated gentleman and lawyer. Her father presented a dowry consisting of land to his future son-in-law as was the custom.
Molly and William were married by her father, Rev. John Greenwood in Newman Church on November 26, 1747. The young couple settled in Rehoboth, and two years later, on January 5, 1749, Molly gave birth to her first child, a daughter. She was named for her paternal grandmother, Rebecca Allin Cole. Six months later the child died. In May of 1750, a son was born. He was named for his paternal grandfather, the father William never knew. Joseph died when his son William was only three months old. Molly and William became the parents twelve children, six girls and six boys. Four of her sons served the American cause in the Revolutionary War. Molly's husband was active in the Revolution as well. He served on the Committee of Correspondence for the town of Rehoboth as well as donating large sums of money for the cause of freedom. I am sure Molly spent many sleepless nights wondering if all they owned would be lost. Her four oldest sons served in the Milita. She also had four young children under the age of ten.
Molly was left a widow in 1793. She died five years later.
Benjamin was born at Wanskuck Meadow, Providence, Rhode Island about 1672. He was the third son of John and Mercy Angell Smith. The home of his childhood was in the present town of North Providence.
He married eighteen year old Mercy Angell on April 12, 1693. Benjamin was then twenty-one.
On December 18, 1700, Benjamin Smith inherited land from his father, John II, the miller, in the meadows of Wanskuck. He also owned land in Burrillville, which consisted of hundreds of acres. He was a farmer, and, it appears, he also worked at the trade of cooper.
Mercy Angell and Benjamin raised a large family of six sons and six daughters.
Mercy died at the age of forty-six on September 3, 1721, leaving, among ten others, twin daughters, Ann and Ruth, age four. She was buried on the family farm. Her remains were transferred to the North Burial Ground some years later.
Benjamin married a second time, nine years after the death of Mercy. His second wife carried the same Christian name, Mercy. She was the widow of Resolved Waterman, and the mother of Wait, John and Hannah Waterman. She had been a widow for nine years. Three years after her marriage to Benjamin, they had a child born to them, a daughter, Freelove Smith. Freelove married Col. Samuel Angell, and, as her second husband, Solomon Owen.
Benjamin died before May 25, 1751. In his will, dated January 20, 1750, he named his son Hezekiah, our ancestor, executor. The family homestead at Wanskuck was to given to Hezekiah. To his sons, John, Daniel and Solomon, £5 each, to daughter Mary Whipple, £200, to daughter Abigail Arnold, £300, to daughter Mercy Brown, £300, to daughters Anne and Freelove Smith, £300 each. His inventory amounted to the considerable sum of £820 4s. 5d. including cooper's tools.
Children of Benjamin and Mercy Angell:
John born December 8, 1694
Daniel born June 27, 1697
Mercy born April 18, 1699, married Ensign John Brown of North Providence
Solomon born March 4, 1702/03
Mary born April 3, 1704, married Daniel Whipple, son of Thomas Whipple
Hezekiah, our ancestor, married Rachel Smith, daughter of Christopher
Jonathan born March 3, 1708/09
Nehemiah born on May 2, 1710
Sarah born on April 26, 1712, died at age 17 on April 4, 1729
Abigail born on June 10, 1714, married Jonathan Arnold, son of Thomas and Elizabeth Burlingame Arnold
Ann Smith born on October 5, 1717, married Benjamin Smith, son of Edward
and Amphillis Angell Smith, and her second husband was Governor Stephen Hopkins
Ruth born on October 5, 1717, twin of Ann
Mercy was the daughter of John Angell and Ruth Field. She was born in Rhode Island in 1675. Eighteen year old Mercy married young Benjamin Smith on April 12, 1693.
They raised a large family of six sons and six daughters.
She died at the age of forty-six on September 3,1721, leaving, among ten others, twin daughters, Ann and Ruth, age four. She was buried on the family farm. Her remains were transferred to the North Burial Ground some years later.
Hezekiah Smith and Rachel Smith
1706- circa 1753 circa 1710-circa 1783
Hezekiah was born in the area of Providence which is now North Providence, Rhode Island on August 18, 1706. He was raised on the large farm homestead of his father, Benjamin Smith where he learned to plow the land, raise sheep and other livestock and carry on the daily chores of farm life.
Rachel Smith, the daughter of Edward Smith, Jr. and his wife Marcy Mowry Smith, was also born and raised in the area. Sometime about 1730, Hezekiah and Rachel were married. About that same time, on September 30, 1729, Benjamin deeded, " for love and affection", one moiety, or half of all his farm lands and meadows, 125 acres in all, "at the place called Wenscott" to Hezekiah. The deed included a provision which stated that the land should not be sold during the lifetime of his father.
Hezekiah must have been a well-loved son, as his father deeded several more large parcels of land to him over the next few years, including 118 acres on the east and west side of Pascogue Brook in Glocester, plus a lot of 65 acres on the Rhode Island-Connecticut line.
Rachel and Hezekiah raised seven children, six sons and one daughter. In his will, probated in 1753, Hezekiah gave to son Nehemiah his homestead in Wanskuck and a part of Wanskuck meadow; to son Enos, 40 acres of homestead near Nehemiah; to son Jesse, a house lot in Providence. This was located on the west side of North Main Street, near Church Street. To sons Benjamin and Edward, homestead property save that which was excepted; son Asa, our ancestor,and the youngest son of Hezekiah, received 25 acres in the southwestern part of Glocester or northwestern part of Scituate; to daughter Abigail, £500; his wife Rachel was to have use and profits of Benjamin's share, as long as she remained a widow, also £600 in bills and public credit in lieu of dowry rights. When the will was proved on December 11, 1753, Rachel chose not to accept the provision of £600 pounds in lieu of her dowry rights.
Rachel and Hezekiah's children were:
Asa, our ancestor, married Anne, last name not known
Abigail, married of Job Aldrich of Smithfield
John Daggett, son of Nathaniel and Rebecca Millard Daggett of Rehoboth, MA, was born on March 6, 1698.He lived on the lands of his father which were located on the cove. When John was nine, his father died and three years later, John became an orphan when his mother also died at an early age. His father had been a wheelwright, farmer,weaver and trader,and it is likely young John and his brothers continued with these activites alongside their extened family.
John married Hopestill Wood of Swansea on June 15, 1721. He was twenty three and Hope was twenty two when they married.Eight children were born to them between 1722 and 1735, four boys and four girls. John died at the age of thirty eight on July 14, 1738, leaving Hope with eight children,the youngest only three.
During his life, John added many more acres to his homestead.The inventory of his estate was valued at £1401 10s 11d., a large inheritance for his family. His wife was named administratrix on September 19, 1738. According to Bristol county Probate Records, the estate was divided on March 18, 1744 between his widow Hopestill, now the wife of Joseph Brown, and the children of Hope and her late husband, John.
Hopestill Wood Daggett
Hopestill, daughter of John Wood and Bethiah Mason, was born in Swansea, Massachusetts in 1699. She married John Daggett of Rehoboth in 1721 when she was twenty-two. Eight children were born to them, four girls and four boys. Hope lost her husband in 1738. She was named to administer the estate.
In 1744, Hope married Joseph Brown who was ten years older than herself. Just before her marriage, she divided the estate of her late husband between their eight children.
The Bristol Probate Records also contain the record of a sad time in Hope's life.
Hope lost her second husband in 1762. She died in 1767 at the age of 68.
John Wood, son of John Wood and Bethiah (Mason) Wood was born on December 21,1689 in Swansea, MA.
He married Charity Millard, the daughter of his stepmother. It appears he and his father married the Millard women on the same day, January 31, 1712.Both Wood families lived in Swansea.
John ran the mill together with his father. He later inherited the mill upon his father's death.
Charity and John had six children:
Bethia born on November 17, 1718
Isaac and Penelope, twins, born on May 23, 1722
Nathan later became a Deacon of the Second Baptist Church in Cheshire, MA. Nathan's son Daniel born in 1750 in Cheshire, MA became a Minute Man in the War of the Rebellion. He responded to the Lexington alarm in Capt. Daniel Drown's Co. He and his brother Nathan fought in the Battle of Bennington, VT.
Seth born on February 6, 1724
John Daggett was the son of John and Hopestill (Wood )Daggett. He was born in Rehoboth, Massachusetts on November 6, 1723 and lived on the farmlands of his family. This land was originally purchased from Governor Bradford of Plymouth Colony. It was described after his death in a sale of land made by his widow and heirs.
John was a farmer, mariner and trader from the nearby cove. At the age of twenty-nine he and Penelope Wood were married in the Church of Christ, Swansea, by Job Mason, Elder on April 4, 1752. Penelope was the twin sister of Isaac Wood. Her aunt was Hopestill Wood, wife of John Daggett born in 1699. John and Penelope had five children, three boys and two girls, all born in Rehoboth.
During the American Revolution, John was not a young man. He was in his fifties.John served the cause of the Colonies by being sworn into the Militia in 1777. He served as a Private in the Company of Captain Samuel Cowell. This company served in Col. Benjamin Haw's regiment of Rehoboth, MA. John took part in a secret expedition from September 23 to October 30, 1777. The Roll Call was taken in Suffolk County. This mission was a plan for a general attack on Newport, Rhode Island, under the direction of General Joseph Spencer. The goal sought was for 10,000 men to gather for this battle. By October 13, only 8,333 men were counted, John being one of them. Later, a decision was made to mount an attack if the muster revealed 6000 men available, but the count on October 28 was only 5000 men, and the plan was called off. John remained the entire time. Perhaps other's left, as it was harvest time, and they may have had to return to their farms.
John also contributed money to raise Continental Soldiers on February 18, 1778. His son Levi, our ancestor, also served in the Rehoboth Militia. He joined when he was only fifteen.
John died on August 9, 1789 at the age of sixty six. He is buried in the Newman Cemetery in Rumford, RI. A Revolutionary War Veteran's flag has been placed on his grave by the DAR.
His widow Penelope remarried after his death. She and her second husband moved to Cheshire, MA. She is buried there.
Captain Nathaniel and Alice Fish Peck were the parents of Comfort Peck. He was born in Swansea, Massachusetts on May 26, 1731. Comfort, son of Nathaniel and Alice Peck, of Rehoboth was baptized in the Barrington Church on July 18, 1731.
Comfort married his first wife, Hannah Barney in Rehoboth, MA in 1755. The following year, his father was killed at Fort Edward in New York during the French and Indian Wars. Hannah gave birth to three children before her death prior to 1763. It was that year, on March 5, 1763, in Rehoboth, MA, that Comfort married Keziah Peck, a distant cousin. She was twenty-three when they married. She was the mother of our ancestor, Keziah Peck, her only child who was baptized into the Barrington Church when she was seven days old. Two years after the birth of her daughter, she died. Comfort, left with several young children, buried his second wife in June of 1766 in the Newman Churchyard. Four years later, he married Ruth Saunders in Rehoboth. They had at least one child, Ruth.
As tensions increased between Britain and the colonies, Comfort and his sixteen year old son Comfort, Jr., trained with the Rehoboth Militia. After shots were fired in Lexington, conditions grew worse.
On December 8, 1776, an alarm was sounded calling for troops from nearby towns to assist the people of Bristol and Newport, Rhode Island.
Private Comfort Peck marched in Captain Joseph Franklin's Company,
Col. Thomas Carpenter's Regiment to Rhode Island. His unit remained there for eight days.
Excerpts from the book "Once Upon a Time in Rhode Island"
"It was the year 1776, and the war with England had begun. Along the roads sounded the rumble of artillery and the tramp of armed troops.
In December, a squadron of British vessels sailed into Newport Harbor; the troops landed and took possession of the town.
On the mainland people were terrified lest the British should come there, too. Those living near the coast were advised to send their women and children back into the country for safety, and their furniture and cattle as well. For a time the roads were almost blocked with loaded carts, and with droves of cattle and flocks of sheep. The militia armed and prepared to defend their state, and besides the militia, enough volunteers enlisted to make a full regiment themselves.
Messengers were hurriedly sent to the other New England States to ask for aid, and Massachusetts and Connecticut almost at once sent troops. It was indeed very important for all of New England that Rhode Island should be protected. Rhode Island had sixty miles of coastline, at any point of which the British might land unless there were troops to defend it, and her shores were like an open door to the rest of the country. "
The second time Comfort Peck was called to duty was his service as a Private with Captain Israel Hix's Company, Col. Josiah Whitney's Regiment. Comfort served from July 30 to September 10, 1778 on an expedition to Rhode Island.
More excerpts from the book "Once Upon a Time in Rhode Island"
"On July 29th (1778) a number of sail were sighted on the horizon toward the southeast. The people on the island hurried to the cliffs on the seaward side, and stood washing eagerly the approach of the vessels. It was impossible, however, to tell what vessels they were even when they came near, for they showed no flags. They might have been either British or French.
By one o'clock the fleet had reached the mouth of the main channel, just off Point Judith, and here they dropped their sails and came to anchor. It was a magnificent site as the great vessels lay there rocking gently to the long swell of the water. There were twelve ships of the line, four frigates, and a corvette. Suddenly there was a flutter of white at the mastheads. The flags were being run up. A moment later they lifted in the wind, and all could see the Three Lilies of France on their white ground. It was the French Fleet, our allies, and the heart of the Americans rose high with hope as they saw those flags of the friendly nation.
The day after the arrival of the fleet, the American General Sullivan went to the flagship to talk over the plan of attack with D'Estaing. It was decided to make the attack as soon as possible. To wait would only be to give the British a chance to strengthen their position still further. The American forces were to cross from Tiverton to the north end of the island. The French troops were to land on Conanicut Island ( Jamestown) and to cross from there. Meanwhile, two ships of the line, two frigates, and the corvette were to take up such a position as to keep the British ships that were in the harbor from escaping.
The movements of the French fleet were carefully watched by the British. They soon realized that their vessels were being shut in by the French, and rather than run the risk of having them captured, they destroyed them. Three vessels that were in Sakonnet River were blown up. Four frigates and the corvette were run up on the beach of Rhode Island and burned. Others were burned in the harbor, and the hulks were sunk there so ass to obstruct navigation.
The 10th of August was the day set for the French and Americans to land on the island. Sullivan's forces had grown until now he had under him almost 10,000 troops, but he most of these were raw and untried, and had never been in battle before. Almost all of the British were veterans. However, the French, too, were tried troops, an Sullivan counted largely on them. He was full of hopes of success.
But a bitter disappointment awaited him. The French troops were landed on Conanicut as he and D'Estaing had agreed, but hardly had this been done when a British fleet was sighted down the bay. D'Estaing at once decided to re-embark his men and sail down to meet the enemy and give battle. His troops were ordered back to the vessels, and as soon as they were on board he set sail. Sullivan knew nothing of this sudden change of plan. He was still counting on his allies, when looking out over the water, he saw with amazement, that the French fleet was disappearing in the distance.
The disappointment was so great that a feeling of discouragement spread through the whole army. Men and officers alike began to doubt whether the French were faithful to them. Lafayette was deeply mortified.
But in spite of the desertion of the fleet, Sullivan determined to carry out his attack. But, on the 12th of August a great storm arose that swept both land and sea. The wind blew a hurricane, and the rain fell in torrents. Arms and ammunition were made useless. It would have been impossible even for troops to march in such a storm. Tents were blown down or carried away by the wind. The soldiers were left without shelter. They crouched in the corners of fences or against rocks, trying in vain to protect themselves. Many died from exposure.
On the sea the fleets were scattered almost before their battle had begun. Masts were broken and rigging torn away.
By the 15th the storm had passed, and during that day the French fleet again came in sight and took up the position they had before. Sullivan hoped now, at last, they would carry out their agreement. Instead D'Estaing sent him a message that he would have to sail to Boston to have his vessels repaired. It was in vain that Sullivan urged and entreated him to remain. Lafayette added his entreaties to Sullivan's, but the French admiral was determined to go to Boston. He would promise nothing except that he would return as soon as possible, and with despair Sullivan saw the sails set and the whole fleet go sweeping out past the British batteries and away toward the north.
The second desertion by the French had an even worse effect on the American forces than the first. They began to desert in large numbers. Almost 3,000 of them left and went back to the mainland, and Sullivan's force of 10,000 was reduced to 7,000.
He still held a place on the island, but with such a weakened army, he dared not stay so near the enemy, and he retreated to the fortified hills at the north. He hoped it would not be long before the fleet returned, but meanwhile his heavy stores and baggage were sent to the rear where it would be easy to transport them to the mainland if this proved necessary.
By the 28th the last of the heavy baggage was carried to the rear. All was ready for a retreat, but still Sullivan waited, hoping each day that the French fleet would return, but each day he was disappointed.
On the 28th Lafayette started for Boston to try to hasten the return of the fleet. He crossed to the mainland and then made the journey on horseback. He was so eager to return that he made the whole journey ( a distance of almost seventy miles) in less than fourteen hours.
The British had learned, with fresh hope, that Sullivan was making ready to retreat to the mainland. They determined to make an attack at once, and before his forces could leave the island.
Very early, almost with the dawning of the 29th, the British forces were on the march, and at nine their cannon opened fire on the American outworks. The heavy booming seemed to shake the island and could be heard on the mainland.
There were two principal highways along the island, one to the east and one to the west. Along these roads the British columns moved to the attack. The Americans had made ready to meet them. Two light corps had been sent out, one down the east road, and one down the west road, to meet the advance of the enemy.
A number of pickets were stationed at a crossroads that branched off from the east road. Here a field had a stone wall around it. The order for these pickets was to lie concealed behind the wall until the British were close upon them, and then to fire on them and retreat. This order was well carried out. The light corps, when attacked, fell back to the main body of the army. The order to do this was brought to them by a regiment that Sullivan sent to protect the retreat. The pickets still crouched concealed behind the stone wall. The field lay still and peaceful in the sunlight. For a time the pickets heard nothing but the distant roar of the cannon, and the nearer volleys of artillery. The American troops had fallen back. Then from down the east road came the steady tramp of the British as they came swinging on, their bayonets glistening in the sunlight.
When they reached the crossroads there was a sharp command from their officer, and the Twenty-second Regiment divided. One half of it continued along the main road, the other turned off toward the field where the Americans were concealed. Pickets still crouched there, gripping their guns and scarcely breathing. Not until the British were abreast of them did they move. Then they sprang to their feet with a yell, and poured a fierce volley in among the red coats.
The British were so utterly unprepared that they made no attempt to return the fire. Many of them had fallen and lay groaning in the dust of the road. Before those who were unhurt could recover, the Americans had reloaded, and had again poured a storm of bullets in among the enemy. Almost one quarter of the whole Twenty-second Regiment lay there, dead or dying.
Two troops of Hessians hurried on to the support of the British, but they arrived too late. The Americans had already gone. They had retreated to the main army without the loss of a single man.
Along the west road the fighting had been hot and furious. Twice the British and Hessians had charged upon the American regiments, and twice they had been driven back. A third attack might have had a different ending, for the American forces were almost exhausted, but two fresh battalions were sent forward by Sullivan and saved the day for them.
Varnum's regiment of Negroes had been posted in a valley. It was against these that the Hessians made their fiercest attack. Three times they charged down the hill, and three times they were driven back. Though many of the blacks were killed or wounded, they had no thought of quitting their position. But the Hessians had suffered far more terribly. So many of them were killed, indeed, that the next day their officer refused to lead them. He was afraid they would shoot him for making them lose so many men. The whole battle had been a slaughter for the British forces. At one place as many as sixty Hessians were found lying in a heap together.
The British were forced to fall back, and the Americans pursued them hotly almost up to their fortifications. One of their batteries on Quaker Hill was captured.
Sullivan was very anxious to carry on his attack still further, but his men were too exhausted. For thirty-six hours they had been on the march, or fighting and working, without a moment to rest or eat. He was obliged to fall back to his camp and allow his troops some time for food and sleep.
On the 30th Lafayette returned from Boston, exhausted from his journey. He was bitterly disappointed when he found the battle had been fought while he was away, and a victory won. Through all that day there was some firing between the two forces, but no regular attack by either side.
Lafayette had brought a letter to Sullivan from the French admiral. In this letter D'Estaing told Sullivan that his fleet was still undergoing repairs, and that he would not be able to return for some time. Sullivan also, that same day, received a letter from Washington warning him that the British fleet, under Lord Howe, had sailed for Rhode Island, and might arrive there at any time.
This was serious news for Sullivan. If the British fleet arrived while he was still on the island and the land forces again attacked him, it would mean an utter defeat of his forces, and a heavy loss. It was now very necessary for him to retreat to the mainland as quickly as possible.
To deceive the British, and make them think he still meant to hold his position, he had a number of tents brought forward and set up where the British could see them. He also sent his men to work fortifying the camp. While this was going on at the front, his stores and baggage were being quietly sent down the river. Lafayette had missed the battle, but now he could do a good service in helping on the withdrawal.
There was, fortunately, no moon that night. As soon as it was dark the Americans were on the move. In perfect silence troop after troop marched down to the river and embarked, and were carried over to the mainland. What was left of the stores and baggage were taken with them. It was a masterly retreat. All was done in perfect order, in perfect silence, and without a single mishap.
All night long the British sentries paced back and forth, giving the sign and countersign, and never once did they guess that the enemy they were guarding against had left the island; that their fortifications lay empty and deserted. Only as the morning light spread palely over the island did the British see that no one was left in the American camp. The enemy they had still hoped to capture had escaped them. They still held the island, indeed - in that far Sullivan had failed-but their forces had suffered a heavy defeat. They had lost 1, 023 men in the battle, while the loss of the Americans was only 211.
Congress passed a vote of thanks to Sullivan for the way he had managed the campaign. It also passed a resolution in which it said his retreat had been "prudent, timely, and well conducted." It was indeed a brilliant end to a brilliant victory, and Lafayette declared the Battle of Rhode Island to be the "best-fought action of the war."
His first wife Hannah Barney died at the age of 24 on March 28, 1762. His second wife, our ancestor Keziah died at the age of 26 on June 26, 1766. His third wife was Ruth Saunders died on August 2, 1795 in her 55th year.
Comfort died on May 29, 1814 in the "83rd year of his age". They are all buried in Newman Cemetery in Rumford, Rhode Island.
The Last Will and Testament of Comfort Peck
As it is appointed for man to die, so do I make this my last will and testament in the manner and form following~
First and principally, I commit my spirit into the hands of God who gave it, hoping through the merits of ____and baptism of my Savior Jesus Christ, to have full and _____on of all___ and to insure everlasting life, and my body I commit to the Earth to be buried in a decent Christian burial at the discretion of my Executors hereby named, nothing doubting but at the general resurrection I shall be risen again by the mighty power of God to life everlasting.
_______such worldly estate as it hath pleased God to bless me with in this life, my will is and I dispose of the same in the following manner considering that all my just debts and funeral charges be well and duly paid by my Executors with all convenient speed after my decease.
Unto my beloved son Comfort Peck and to his heirs and assigns Ten dollars to be paid him in one year after my decease by my Executors with nine hundred dollars already given him as his full share out of my estate.
Unto my daughter Christian Peck, one feather bed, bolster and pillows under bedsteads and cord, two sheets and two blankets and one coverlet and a comfortable support in sickness and in health so long as she shall live single provided and one out of my estate by executors and at her decease a decent burial and in case my said daughter shall die and leave no children, my will is that the bed and bedding given to her be given to her executors.
Unto my daughter Kezia Daggett, the wife of Levi Daggett, three hundred dollars to be paid to her in one year after my decease.
Unto my daughter, Hannah Wood, the wife of John Wood, two hundred and fifty dollars paid to her in one year after my decease.
Unto my daughter, Ruth Peck, one feather bed, bolster and pillows that she now calls hers with the furniture belonging to the same. I also give my said daughter, house room, food and drink and firewood at any time where she chooses to live at my now dwelling at anytime while she shall remain single and unmarried to be provided by my executors. Until my said daughter Ruth shall marry, my will is and I hereby order that my executors pay her on her marriage day, three hundred dollars and deliver to her one_____ to her own disposal; but in case my said daughter shall die unmarried, it is my wish that my executors pay unto my son Comfort and my daughters Kezia and Hannah thirty dollars each one year after her decease and to be released from any further payment on account of the legacy given to Ruth.
Item My will is that a lot of Ground lying on the east side of the highway, north from my Home, adjoining Dr. Allen's land now fenced in and improved for a burying ground forever remain free for any of my posterity to bury their dead in and never be conveyed to any particular person.
Item I hereby give and bequeath to my two Sons, Nathaniel Peck and Thomas Peck and to their heirs and assigns forever all the rest and residue of my estate both real and personal where-so-ever the same may be found or in what-so-ever it may consist to be equally divided between them that shall remain after paying of all my just debts and charged and legacies herein ordered for them to pay on condition that they pay the same and provide a good home and comfortable support for my Daughters Christian and Ruth as is herein ordered, all which said real estate is given to them is made chargeable with, Hereby nominating and appointing my said Two sons Nathaniel Peck and Thomas Peck joint Executors to this will ~
Hereby revoking and making null and void all other or former wills by me at any time here-to-for made ratifying this and this only to be my last will and Testament in witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this fifth day of February in the year of our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and one.
Signed, sealed, pronounced and declared by the said Comfort Peck to be his last will and testament in the presence of
Rehoboth Says "No" to Smallpox Inoculations - 1761
A 1761 petition signed by fifty-seven residents of Rehoboth, Massachusetts asking town and county officials to forbid one Nehemiah Bickworth from performing smallpox inoculations in town.
Rehoboth March ye 16th 1761
To messures Thomas Bowen Danl Carpenter and Aaron Kingsley Justices of ye peace for the County of Bristtoll & the Select men of the town of Rehoboth Gentlen. These are to inform your Honour that there is a man named Nehemiah Bickworth Lately Come to this town in order as we have bin Informed to sett up the practice of Inocolation: which we apprehend will be of very Ill Concequince to the town in Generall, and a practice which hath been hitherto Rejected in this province and also in the Neighbouring Government and which we hope will Like wise be Discountenanced by your selves and in order there to wee the Subscribers Desire your honours would Take Some Speedy meathod that the sd Nehemiah Bickworth may be Emediatley sent or Carried out of town for wee are some of us fairfull whether the practice if not already begun, will Commince in a very short time.
Gentlen. your Compliance here in will oblidge your Humble Petitioners.
Abiah Bliss, John Wheeler,Vallintine Wheeler,Jacob Millard, Benja. Willson, Elkanah French,Thomas Bounds, Samuel Read Jr., James Allyn, Jonathan Robinson Junr, Ezra Kent, Elijah Kent, Aaron Read Jun., Richard Spear, Allen Jacob, Timothy Read Junior, John Willmarth Jr, Ephraim Martin, Robert Goff, Andrew Whiton, Ebenezer Peck, Nathaniel Brown, Abraham Ormsbe, Henry West, Charles Peck, Joshua Smith, John Carpenter, Aaron Barney, John Ell[see?] *, Ebenr Allen, Comfort Peck, Joseph Peck William Bullock, Ebenezer Walker, William Brown, Obadiah Read, Noah Sabin, Iasiel Perry, Jonathan Baldwin, Matthew Cushing Junr., Abiah Smith, Eliphalet Carpenter, Jonathan Carpenter, Aaron Read, John Lindley, James Clay, Benjamin Morton, Ephraim Carpenter Joseph Barbur, Nathan Peck, Thomas Allyn junor, Epharaham Miller, Nathaniel Titus, Jesse Derin, Daniel Whitaker Steven Moulton Jr, David Perrin
* Possibly John Elice, whose wife Eunice died in Rehoboth in 1749.
Charity was the daughter of Robert and Charity Thurber Millard. She was born in Rehoboth, Massachusetts on April 24, 1693. Her home was near the Rocky River, where her father ran a tannery. Charity's father died when she was sixteen At the age of twenty she married John Wood in Swansea, Massachustts. He was the son of John Wood and Bethiah Mason Wood. John was 24. They raised a family of six children, two girls and four boys. Charity died at the age of eighty -two in Rehoboth.
Alice was born in Portsmouth, Rhode Island on July 3, 1702. She was the daughter of Lt. Robert Fish and Mary Hall Fish. Alice was raised in the Quaker religion. On October 25, 1722, at the age of twenty, she married Nathaniel Peck of Swansea, Massachusetts. He was twenty-three. They settled in Swansea, Massachusetts, which today is known as Barrington, Rhode Island. Alice was baptized by Rev. Peleg Heath, into Christ Church of Barrington on October 18, 1730. Two of her children, Thomas and Mary were baptized the same day. Her husband was also a member of the same church. Nathaniel and Alice raised six children, three daughters and three sons. Their youngest son, Peleg, was 15 when his father died. The date of Alice's death is not known. It was sometime after 1756 when her husband died at Ft. Edward in New York while on a military expedition during the French and Indian War.
Nathaniel was born in Swansea, Massachusetts on July 10, 1699. He was the son of Deacon Nathiel Peck and Christian Allen Peck. His mother died when he was three. He was raised by his father and step-mother Judith Smith Peck. Nathaniel married Alice Fish, a Quaker from Portsmouth, Rhode Island,on October 25, 1722 in Swansea. They settled in the south-easterly portion of Seekonk. This area is now known as a section of Barrington, Rhode Island known as Phoebe's Neck. He is listed on the records of Taunton, Massachusetts as Lieut. Nathaniel. Nathaniel served with the Rhode Island Provincials from May 1755-December 1755, and at later dates. He rose to the rank of Captain. He and Alice were members of the Church of Christ in Barrington. They were members from November 13, 1728. Alice and Nathaniel raised a family of six children, three boys and three girls. He was a man of wealth. His will, is recorded in Taunton, Bristol County. In his will, he gives to his wife the use of the best room in his Mansion house, with a privilege in the kitchen. He gives her the privilege of keeping a cow and a horse, winter and summer, and whatever else she may choose to keep as long as she remains a widow.
He also gave her 20 lbs. of flax and 15 lbs. of wool yearly; also all his indoor movables. He required his son Comfort to provide for her ten bushels of indian corn, five bushels of rye, 200 weight of pork and 100 weight of beef yearly, so long as she may remain a widow. He also gives her his negro girl slave, named Rose. He gives his daughter, Mary Jacobs, wife of Allen Jacobs, 5 pounds 13 shillings and 4 pence; to his daughter Abigail Barney, wife of Martin Barney, 5 pounds 13 shillings 4 pence. He gives five sheep to his beloved grandson Nathaniel Peck, and three to his granddaughter Mary Jacobs. He divides his lands and common rights among his three sons, Thomas, Comfort and Peleg; giving Comfort the homestead. He makes Comfort and his wife his executor an executrix. His inventory, which is in the Taunton records is lengthy. Among the property named is one negro man, about 70 or 80 years old, one negro woman about 40 years old, appraised at 13 pounds 6 shillings and 8 pence. One negro girl, about 8 years old, appraised at 20 pounds. One mulatto boy, about 13 years old, bound as an apprentice until 21 years of age.
Captain Nathaniel died during a campaign in the French and Indian War at Fort Edward, New York on August 5, 1756. He is buried in Princes' Hill Cemetery in Barrington, Rhode Island. He served many years, rising to the rank of Captain. He died on August 5, 1756 at Fort Edward in New York while serving in the French and Indian Wars.
Edward was the son of Edward Smith and Amphillis Angell Smith, children of two of the founders of Rhode Island. He was born in Providence, Rhode Island about 1660. About 1700, he married Mercy Mowry also of Providence, the daughter of Nathaniel Mowry and Joannah Inman. They were the parents of eleven children. Our ancestor was Rachel Smith. She married Hezekiah Smith, a descendant of John Smith, the Miller of Providence. Edward died November 9, 1726 in Providence. Mercy died after November of 1741.