Gray Patriots

Capt. Jonas Stevens and His Family — Revolutionary History of a Border Town – List of the Soldiers of that War.

In November 1778, many of the towns of Massachusetts, and perhaps all of them, returned to the government of the state, a list of the men then served in the Continental army from their towns. This was probably done for the purpose of giving each town credit for soldiers furnished and to regulate and equalize their quotas.

Newspaper Clipping: The Portland Daily Press; 10 Oct 1896, Sat; Page 10

The following in a copy of the report of Capt. Jonas Stevens of Gray, Maine, which gives the soldiers’ names who were then in the army from that town also two from New Gloucester. His company was a part of Col. Timothy Pike’s Fourth Cumberland County Regt. The original report is in the Massachusetts Archives, Vol. 48, Page 65.

Probably most of these men had enlisted for three years service in the early months of 1777, although there were some nine months’ men then in the Continental army.

“A return of men Inlisted in the Continental army Belonging to the town of Gray In the County of Cumberland and State of the Massachusetts Bay Belonging to Capt. Jonas Stevens Company in said town.”

Capt. Silas Burbank’s Company, Col. Sam’l Brewer’s Regiment: Moses Twitchell, Jr., Gray; Jonathan Doughty Gray.

Capt. George Smith’s Co., Col. Joseph Vose’s Regt.: 
Broadstreet Ruteman, Gray; Mical Davis, Gray.

Capt. Paul Ellis Co., Col. Timothy Bigelow’s Regt.:  Seth Dutton, Gray; George Knight, Gray;  David Jordan, Gray;  Solomon Jordan, Gray; Mark Merrell, Gray;  William Stevens, Gray; Abraham Young, Gray; Nathaniel Young, Jr., Gray; Samuel York, Gray; Jonah Stevens, New Gloucester; George Lesley, New Gloucester.

Capt. Jeremiah Hills’ Co., Col. Joseph Vose’s Regt.: 
John Dolley, Gray.

Capt. John Skillings’ Co., Col. Francis’ Regiment: 
Nathan Noble, Gray.

The above is a True List According to my best knowledge.”

“attest DAVID SMALL, Lieut.”
Gray, Nov. 84, 1778.”

Capt. Jonas Stevens, it is thought, came with his brother Nathaniel, from England about 1740 to Massachusetts Bay and that they were of the family of Gloucestershire where up to the end of the seventeenth century the family were in possession of large, landed property but being Royalists lost most of their estates. when the family was broken up and scattered and some came to this country.

Capt. Stevens is said to have been the oldest son of the family and brought over the family coat of arms, but It was taken to Boston where it disappeared. His brother, Nathaniel, in said to have remained in Boston while be went to Townsend, Mass., from there he came to Falmouth and from here went to New Boston, now Gray, Maine, about 1760, where he was one of the first settlers.
William and Joel Stevens were also early settlers of that town.

Capt. Jonas Stevens’ daughter, Ruth, was the first child born at New Boston, in 1762. He was a selectman in 1778. His children were Jonas, born in 1747, who married Mary Crandall and probably served three years in the Revolutionary army, He died at Norway, February 9, 1833. Joel born 1751, a soldier. Joseph, born 1758, married Elizabeth Hobbs and entered the army May 15 1775, in Capt. Moses Merrill’s Co. of Col. Edmund Phinney’s Regt. and is said to have been the first settler of Norway, Maine. Nathaniel, born in Townsend, Mass, in 1761 and was probably a soldier from New Gloucester. Ruth born 1762, and Susannah who married Samuel Winslow. It seems quite probable that the wife of Capt. Jonas Stevens was Ruth Farrar of Concord, Mass., a cousin of Major Timothy Farrar, the Chief Justice of New Hampshire during the Revolutionary war.

The Stevens family, it is stated, was seated in Estigton, Co. Gloucester, England, up to the end of the seventeenth century where it had been in possession of large, landed estates for upward of two centuries, but it suffered like many others in the Civil war, and lost a greater part of its possessions. The family were eminently attached the royal cause during those eventful times. They seem to have separated into two branches about the end of the seventeenth century, one settling in County Essex, and the other in County Leister. Of the former branch. it is said, no member survives.

The notes on the Stevens family were furnished by Charles E. Stevens of Northampton, Mass., a descendant of Capt. Jonas Stevens, through his son Joseph. He is much Interested in his ancestors’ history and is glad to get information relating to them and their residence in Gray and Norway.

Lieut. David Small was a selectman of Gray in 1780.

Jonathan Doughty first enlisted in Col. Edmund Phinney’s Regt. May 31, 1775.

Moses Twitchell, Jr., was the son of Moses Twitchell, who died in the Arnold expedition.

Bradstreet, Buteman, or Bootman, served at the siege of Boston in Capt. Winthrop, Bastan’s Co. in 1776, and so did Joel Stevens.

Seth Dutton, first enlisted in Phinney’s Regiment, May 19, 1775, and George Knight was the drummer of the same company, but enlisted four days before.

David Jordan served three years in the army and moved to Albany, Maine.

Solomon Jordan was in Capt. Abner Lowell’s, Matross Co. at Falmouth Neck in 1777, and was in the army probably at least three years.

Mark Merrill first enlisted in colonel Phinney’s Regiment, May 15, 1775, and was probably a long service man.

William Stevens served in Captain Richard Mayberry’s Co. at Dorchester Heights from August to December 1776 and was probably a three years soldier in Capt. Paul Ellis’s Co. Capt. Ellis was killed at Monmouth.

Abraham Young was also in Mayberry’s Co. In 1776. He was town clerk and died at Gray in January 1829. HIs wife Rebecca married a Washburn and probably lived at Paris, Me.

Nathaniel Young probably moved to Greenwood, Me.

Jonah Stevens was probably Jonas Stevens, a son of Capt. Jonas, and enlisted May 15, 1775, in Phinney’s Regiment.

George Lesley was in Capt. Richard Mayberry’s Co. at Dorchester Heights in Col. Ebenezer Francis, Regt. In 1776.

Nathan Noble, of Cols. Francis’ and Tupper’s Regt. was killed in the battle of Saratoga, Oct. 1, 1777, in his fifty fifth year. He first served at Louisburg in 1745, then again in the expedition to recapture that fortress in 1757, was in the expedition at Lake Champlain, in 1758 and 1769, served at the Siege of Boston in 1776, and enlisted Jan. 1777 for three years. He was in the retreat from Fort Ticonderoga in 1777, in the battles of Hubbardton, Stillwater and Saratoga. His two sons also served in the army. Reuben went to Mount Desert, and Nathan, Jr. was one of the early settlers of Norway, Me. He was my grandfather’s grandfather.

The plantation records of New Boston are lost. They were brought to Portland to be used in a law suit and never were returned. If they are in existence they should be returned to the town of Gray, as they are of great value in relation to the early history of that town.

In August 1777, the inhabitants of New Boston petitioned for an act of Incorporation, and June 19, 1778 the town of Gray was incorporated. Then it was stated that the number of families in town exceeded sixty, but only thirty-eight names were signed to the petition. They were as follows: Samuel Nash, *Jabez Mathews, *Jonas Stevens, *William Webster, John Nash.
Jeremiah Hobbs, Jeremiah Hobbs, Jr., Joseph Stevens, Joseph Weeks, Daniel Cumming, George Douty. *James Douty, *Nathan Merrill, Daniel Libby, *Abraham Young, John Jinks, *Mark Merrill, *Richard Hayden, *John Mors, *William Grele, *Samuel Thompson, James Russell, Richard Merrill Jr., James Humphrey, *Reuben Noble, Thomas White, Joseph Cummings, Nicholas Mains, David Orne, *Daniel Heaney, Richard Merrill, *Isaac Fister, *Nathaniel Young, Elijah Jordan, Nathan Morse, Nathan Knight, Clement Haydn and *Joel Stevens.

Those marked with * are said to have been in the army, but the probability is that nearly every one performed some service during the war. William Grele was the son of Alice Grele who kept the famous tavern on Falmouth Neck at that time.

Those that served the town as selectmen during the war were. Capt. Willian Webster, Daniel Libby, Daniel Cummings, Major Jabez Mathews, Capt. Jonas Stevens, Sergt. Samuel Thurston, Lieut. David Small, Samuel Thomson, Gideon Ramsdell, David Hunt. and Lieut. Jedidiah Cobb.

The town clerks were David Clark, David Orne. and Jedidiah Cobb, and the town treasurers were David Orne and David Hunt.

At the town meeting, in 1778, Nathan Merrill, Thomas White, and Richard Hayden were elected to the Committee of Safety.

In addition to those already named who served in the Revolutionary army from Gray, were Joseph Allen, Daniel Knight and Levi Morse who probably served three years, Moses Twitchell, senior, who enlisted in Col. Phinney’s Regt. July 8, 1778, joined Arnold’s expedition and was killed or died Nov. 9, 1775, and James Lesley who enlisted in the same regiment May 20, 1775. There were also Asa Libby, Jonathan Hayden, Amaziah Delano, James Welch, William Libby, Samuel Stowell, Jonas Humphrey, Elisha Commons and John Cushing, who lived in the town then or moved there afterwards, who were soldiers of the Revolution.

This is but an imperfect list of the patriots of the young township of Gray, but it shows the spirit of those early settlers in the times when their souls were tried.  They were struggling in their poverty to make themselves a home in the wilderness where they could enjoy the fruits of their labors, but they never shirked their responsibility to their country. They had always lived a life of freedom and were determined always to be free. No sacrifice was too great for them to make that their children, to the latest generations, should have a government of the people.

“A debt we ne’er can pay
 To them is justly due;
 And to the nation’s latest day
 Our children’s children still can say,
 They died for me and you.”