Monday, May 26, 2014

Captain Lemuel Roberts

We are blessed with information from Lemuel, himself.  He wrote a book of his memoirs of his time in the Revolutionary War.  The only enlisted man to do so, which has given us today great insights into the men of that time period.  It is now required reading in some Universities for American History courses.
Found on Archive.org

Lemuel said he was born on April, 1751, in Canaan, Connecticut. He told us his father Lemuel Roberts who was married to Lydia Purchase gave him his Christian name.This was proved by Connecticut Town Birth Records, pre-1870 (Barbour Collection)
 
Interesting that he gave a different date.
When he was ten they moved to Stillwater, New York.  He spent a time with his eldest brother in partnership working lumber.  He helped his father for 6 years 1769 to 1775 in building a home in Charlemont, Franklin, Massachusetts
In 1775, when the British fought the Sons of Liberty (his words), he and many youth of his area marched off under the command of a Captain Avery to Cambrige where he enlisted under Captain Maxwell.  He describes his motivation as “feeling his bosom glow with love for my country.” (Page 21)  His description of service, I imagine would be true for most young men his age…”my zeal for liberty urged me to an attentive observance of all necessary orders…”(page 22)
His father died while he was gone, and he says himself became sick.  He took this occasion to go home on a pass to check on the fatherless family who he had promised to care for.  Lemuel was giving up hope of continuing as a soldier, when his older brother and his family came back to care for them. 
He re-enlists, as his previous enlistment had expired, with Captain Thomas Alexander in Col. Porter’s regiment of the Massachusetts line.  His description of the battles, and action are riveting.  It is hard to put the book down.  He early on had explained how daring and physically active he was before the war. He maximized on those traits, which today has earned him a fond title of “Rambo of the Revolutionary War”.  He was captured in Canada, and imprisoned, only to escape 3 times. The Canadians became wary of him and isolated him. He prevented cowardly officers from needlessly surrendering to weaker British forces. Just to mention a few moments of excitement. A Colonel Herrick commissioned him a lieutenant for a scouting expedition on 12 January 1778. 
After leaving the war he stayed in Vermont. He asked Col. Herrick for back pay; but due to the countries lack of organization, he never received compensation.

He married Sarah Collins on March 14, 1781, in Rutland, Vermont. He was a Captain of the Ira Militia in Vermont in 1785. They had five children during their marriage. He died in 1810 in Franklin, Vermont, at the age of 58.   
In 1790, Lemuel Roberts lived in Chittenden, Rutland,  Vermont.
In 1800 - 1810, Lemuel Roberts lived in Franklin, Vermont.
This is the time period in which he wrote his Memoirs for publication.

1810 United States Federal Census 
No one has his death or burial place, to my knowledge, today.
This is two of six service records from the U.S. Revolutionary Service Records on Fold3



All his life, Lemuel served family or community, or country.  He continues to give, as we are enabled to learn about the battles, and feelings first hand from his memoirs.
 I love his closing.  
More than anything I am uplifted by his belief in God.