Friday, February 10, 2012

John Collins, Soldier

One of my favorite finds last year was this piece on John Collins, my 6th great-grandfather.  Interestingly, once I had established John as an ancestor, I also got two more Patriot soldiers in my family tree, John's father and father-in-law.  John began his service in the Continental Troops, as a member of Seth Warner's Green Mountain Boys.  He then joined the 2nd, and later 3rd, Berkshire Co. (MA) Militia Regiment.  He finished out the war in the Vermont militia.  I can guess that the source of most of the following is John's pension application, since much here seems to be taken, nearly verbatim, from the application.  When looking for John's pension application and service records, I used the following as a guide - and had surprisingly excellent results...

From the 21 October, 1920 issue of the Honeoye Falls Times:

"Thirty-Seventh Year. Number 32 H


Early History of the Town and Its Settlers

Compiled for the Times by Mrs. Anah B. Yates

No. IV

In treasuring up the memories of the fathers, we best manifest our regard for posterity


Revolutionary Soldiers.
John Collins.

    John Collins, of Mendon, made application for pension August 7, 1832. He was born in Scituate, Rhode Island, October 21, 1754, and the only record of his birth is in his Bible. He lived in Lanesboro, Berkshire County, Massa-chusetts, at the beginning of the Revolutionary war; in 1779, he removed to Ira, Rutland County, Vermont, and in 1809, he removed to Mendon, Monroe County, New York.
    In January, 1776, he volunteered under Capt. Nathan Pierce, of Lanes-boro, for five months, to go to Canada. He was mustered at Rupert by Col. Seth Warner, who was raising the regiment for Canada, from there Captain Pierce returned home with recruiting orders.
    The regiment marched from Rupert under Lieut. Eli Petibone, of Lanesboro, by way of Spencertown, Ticonderoga, mouth of Otter Creek, and on the Vermont side of Lake Champlain, to St. Johns and Montreal, where they halted a week and were paid six dollars each in specie by General Wooster for bounty. From there they marched by Three Rivers to the army of General Arnold, who was blockading Quebec. The snow was deep and Arnold not having recovered from his wound, was drawn about the camp by the soldiers on a sled. Jones, a Lieutenant, in the company, Capt. Hall, of Lanesboro, Gideon Morison (?) of Sunderland, William Satterlee and Julien, of Williamstown, belonged to Warner’s regiment. During the winter General Thomas joined the army. The British received reinforcements and on May 6, our army retreated from Quebec. At Sorel, Gen-eral Thomas was taken with small-pox and died. He was discharged at Chambly about the last of May.
    July 1, 1776, he enlisted under Lieut. Newell, of Lanesboro, for five months. Oliver Root, of Pittsfield, was Captain of the company, Newell (Newhall) and Clark, Lieutenants, and Asaph Cook, of Adams, Ensign. Jonathan Smith, of Lanesboro, was Colonel of the regiment. Company mustered at Pittsfield, and from there marched to New York. While there our army retreated from Long Island to White Plains, and this regiment being hardy backwoodsmen were most of the time on fatigue, throwing up entrenchments. He recollected Co. Glover’s regiment from Marble-head; they were called “Jo Bunkers.” The company was discharged about De-cember first at Croton River.
    July, 1777, the Militia was called out to go to the north to oppose Burgoyne. The deponent volunteered. Ensign Me-dad King marched the men to Fort Ann. On the march they heard of the evacuation of Ticonderoga. Colonel Brewer commanded Fort Ann. Soon after arrival there a party of the enemy were said to be approaching by way of Wood Cree. Volunteers were called to meet them by Capt. (?). They turned out at a place called Battlehill, met the enemy and a sharp action ensued. Many were killed and they were ordered to retreat and Fort Ann was ordered evacuated. Col. Brewer retreated fif-teen miles to Fort Edward, commanded by General Schuyler. Col. Brewer was ordered back four and one-half miles to form camp, where they lay about a fort-night when our forces retreated to Fort Miller. His time expired in August and he returned home.
    Directly his company, Capt. Brown’s, was ordered to defend Bennington. They marched without delay, and the next morning after their arrival they were detached under Col. Hench to at-tack the Hessian breastworks. About twelve o’clock, the battle began. They carried the breastworks and the enemy was defeated and taken. Then came Col. Skene with reinforcements. This was the hottest battle, but they defeated him and took his cannon and many men. After assisting to guard the prisoners to Williamstown Meeting-house, the company returned home. Lieuts. Nash and Prindle and several others were from Lanesboro.
    During the residue of the season he was called to go as a guard for provisions. He was at Pawlet, Castleton and Skenesmorough after the surrender of Burgoyne.
    In 1779, after his removal to Ira, alarms were frequent and the militia were called out. He was out under arms two weeks at Castleton and went to Ticonderoga. He was out several times. His service was all with state troops or militia and he served in all thirteen months. He received no written dis-charge and he knew of no one then liv-ing who served with him; he referred to William Barnard and Henry Fellowes or any inhabitant of Mendon where he had lived twenty-four years. In clos-ing his petition he said, “When and to whom shall I apply for traditionary evi-dence of my services? The graves can’t speak; the aged are no more. The present generations have heard my statements, and perhaps they have no tradition from any other source; it is fifty-three years since I left Lanesboro.”
    Before James Smith, Judge.
    The court declared Mr. McGregor, a minister of the Gospel to be “Gentle-man of Reputability.”
    James McGregor testified to an ac-quaintance of twelve years and had heard that he was a Revolutionary sol-dier.
    Also the testimony of John Moore. Before Leonard Adams, Clerk.
    John Collins died January 5, 1833, aged 79, and is buried in the cemetery near Rochester Junction, Mendon.

Anah B. Yates, Compiler, The Pioneers of Mendon: Nos. I-LXXIV, From the Honeoye Falls Times, Sept. 30, 1920 - May 25, 1922 (n.d.), pages 13-14; digital images,, ( : accessed 9 February 2012).

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