Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: A Veteran’s Service and Gravesite

This Saturday, being Veteran’s Day weekend, Randy Seaver has given us a timely challenge for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun:

1)  To celebrate Veterans Day, pick one of your ancestors or relatives with a military record and a gravestone.

2)  Tell us about your ancestor’s military service.

3)  Tell us about your ancestor’s gravestone – where is it, what is the inscription, when were you last there?  Show us a picture of it if you have one available.

Way back in the early days (Summer 1981) of my genealogy research, my husband and I took a trip to New England to visit family and to search out family history records.

One of the places we visited was Mason, Hillsboro, New Hampshire, a beautiful little town not too far from the Massachusetts state line. It was summer time and not much was happening in the town. In fact, I had to talk to the town clerk at his house and he kindly told us where to find the cemetery.

In this small cemetery, I have several ancestors buried including  Revolutionary War soldier Joses Bucknam.  If you look carefully at the foremost gravestone in the photo above, you can just about see a small American flag in the ground on the right side of the stone. That is the grave of Joses Bucknam.

Joses Bucknam was born on 6 March 1761 in Malden, Middlesex, Massachusetts, the 7th of eleven children born to James Bucknam and Mary Goddard. He didn’t marry until after the American Revolution ended, but took as his bride Abigail Hay of Stoneham, Massachusetts on 19 September 1786.

Joses Bucknam was likely drawn to the excitement of wartime, as he was only 16 years old when his military service began, but he was brave and believed in the cause as his pension file (#1395 and #W 24,680)indicates that he served four enlistments over a wide geographic area:

  1. March 1776 – served one month under Captain Hale at Ticonderoga
  2. Later, served four months at Fort Hill in Boston.
  3. March 1777, enlisted for 3 years under Captain Chiles and was discharged in November 1780 at West Point
  4. April 1781, enlisted on board a 20 gun ship, but in June 1781, they were defeated by a 36 gun British frigate, taken first to Ireland and then to  England. He remained imprisoned until June 1782 until he was part of a prisoner exchange.

It was this last enlistment that had to have been scary. At first, it was thought that Joses was a deserter – not so! When he and other prisoners were moved from Ireland to England, they were jailed at Mill Prison, one of the most notorious prisons of the time.

Joses stated in his pension affadavit that he was freed in June 1782, but no details are given as to how he arrived back in the colonies and made his way home to his family.

Joses Bucknam is also the Revolutionary War soldier under whom I joined the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Thank you, Randy, for this week’s challenge.


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