American Patriots John Haskell and Samuel Tarbox

Some years ago, I discovered a reference to John Haskell being a qualified ancestor for membership in the National Society Sons of the American Revolution, but he was not identified as such by DAR.

John Haskell was my 5x great grandfather. He was born 7 January 1744/45 in Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts, the second child of Nathaniel Haskell and Hannah White. He married Hannah Parsons on 18 January 1769 in Gloucester. Hannah was born on 29 April 1749, also in Gloucester, the fifth child and first daughter of Isaac Parsons and Hannah Burnham.

However, very soon after John and Hannah Haskell married, they removed to the newly settle town of New Gloucester, Cumberland, Maine, where their first child, daughter Hannah, was born on 21 October 1769. Their other twelve children were also all born in New Gloucester.

I had to do some digging to discover how John Haskell made it on to the patriot rolls of the SAR. I was given a vague reference to New Gloucester town records so I wrote to the town clerk. I was rewarded with one page of the typed transcript of the original town records from 19 March 1776.

New Gloucester Town Meeting Records

There was what I needed on the very last line of the page:

Voted that Messrs. John Warran and John Haskell be the tytheing-men.

Janice A. Brown has such a great description of this job on her Cow Hampshire blog post from 7 April 2007 that I can’t do any better:

It was the tithing man’s duty to detain and arrest Sabbath travelers, unless they were going to or from church, or to visit the sick and do charitable deeds. His job was also to keep the boys from playing in the meeting-house, and to wake up any who might fall asleep during meeting.

In some towns, tithing men were provided with staves, which were sticks that had brass upon one end and feathers upon the other. Called “church sticks” and “tithing sticks,” the brass end was used to hit the sleeping men or restless children, and the feathers were used to brush the faces of sleeping women. Another version (kinder) shows a rabbit’s tail on one end and a fox tail on the other.

Tithing men also collected the taxes mandated for the support of the church and the minister of the gospel (thereby the name, from the worth tithe, ” to pay a portion of one’s income, especially to the church.”). They were expected to report on idle or disorderly persons, profane swearers or cursers and Sabbath breakers.

I guess it wasn’t a job for the fainthearted! However, John’s election to town service is what qualified him as an American patriot, but under civil service, not military, which took place during the American Revolution.

Actually, I was quite elated to get this page because this one and only very same page provided me with a second ancestor giving civil service, Samuel Tarbox.

The sentence second from the bottom stated:

Voted that Messrs. Adam Cotton, Barnabas Winslow and Samuel Tarbox be the wardens.

Near the beginning of the minutes for that town meeting, it also noted:

Voted Mr. Samuel Tarbox moderator for said meeting.

Samuel Tarbox was born 23 May 1731 in Gloucester, Essex, MA, the son of Joseph Tarbox and Susannah Stevens. He married Deborah Sayward on 19 June 1755, also in Gloucester. Deborah was born on 10 April 1737, again in Gloucester, the daughter of Joseph Sayward and Sarah Giddings.

Like John and Hannah Haskell, Samuel and Deborah Tarbox are my 5x great grandparents. Also like the Haskells, the Tarbox family moved not many years after their marriage to New Gloucester, Maine. Their first two children were born in Gloucester, but it appears that the remaining seven children in their family were born in New Gloucester from 1762 onwards.

Both John Haskell and Samuel Tarbox are now documented patriots in both the SAR and DAR databases. As you can see, it is a relatively easy task to obtain documentation for non-military service during the American Revolution.



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