I have two great-great-great-great grandfathers who were members of the Massachusetts Colonial Militia in Plympton, Massachusetts. They are Freeman Ellis (1745 – 1802) and Isaac Fuller (1751 – 1833). Both of them settled their families in Oxford County, Maine in the 1790s. Freeman Ellis died in Hartford, Maine in 1802. Isaac Fuller died in Livermore, Maine in 1833. The son of Freeman Ellis, Freeman, Jr., married the daughter of Isaac Fuller, Lydia, in Hebron, Maine in 1800. Therefore I am descended from both of these Revolutionary soldiers.
Although they served in different companies, both were members of Theophilus Cotton’s Regiment. Freeman Ellis was a member of John Bradford’s company. Isaac Fuller was a member of John Bridgham’s company. (John Bridgham also settled in Hebron, Maine).
The military service records of both men, recorded in Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors in the Revolutionary War, report that they “…marched on the alarm of April 19, 1775…” That alarm was, of course, the message carried out from Boston by Paul Revere and others that “the Regulars are coming.”
I wondered for years whether this information permitted me to refer to them as Minutemen. The designation of certain militia members as Minutemen preceded the French and Indian Wars of the 1750s. Each town was responsible for raising a militia force for defense. The Minutemen were a small hand-picked elite force which were required to be highly mobile and able to assemble quickly. Generally, they were the younger men of the town. These men were organized into minute companies which underwent special training. [Source: Andrew Ronemus, UShistory.org]
In 2013 I discovered at the Massachusetts Historical Society a magazine article which clarified this issue for me. [Frank A. Gardner, M. D., “Colonel Theophilus Cotton’s Regiment,” The Massachusetts Magazine, Vol. III, No. 2 (April 1910), p. 99] The subtitle of this article is, “Colonel Theophilus Cotton’s Minute Men’s Regiment, 1775. 16th Regiment Army of the United Colonies, 1775.”
The article reports that five of the regiment’s companies, including those of Captains John Bradford and John Bridgham, responded to the Lexington Alarm. John Bradford’s company was made up of 58 men from Halifax and Plympton. John Bridgham’s company was made up of 58 men from Plympton, Wareham, Plymouth, Middleboro, Rochester, and Freetown. The entire regiment had about 600 soldiers, including commissioned officers, staff, non commissioned officers, and rank & file.
Both of these companies marched on the alarm to Marshfield and served twelve days before returning. In a future posting I will explain why they marched to Marshfield and what they accomplished there.
I now know that I can proudly say that I am a descendant of two Minutemen.