Ambrose Hill, Revolutionary War Soldier and Patriot

Ambrose Hill was born March 21, 1744 in Goshen, Litchfield, Connecticut. He died February 26, 1816 in Cornwall, Addison, Vermont. He was buried in Cornwall. He was on a list of Revolutionary War Soldiers buried in Cornwall, Vermont. Ambrose married Lucy Beach October 10, 1764 in Goshen, Litchfield, Connecticut. Lucy Beach was born January 27, 1746 in Goshen, Litchfield, Connecticut. She died March 18, 1838, in Cornwall, Addison, Vermont.

Ambrose Hill served in the Revolutionary War. His widow Lucy received a Pension for his service. According to information in his Pension file ( Pension File No. W21338 ) Ambrose Hill was a resident of Richmond, Berkshire County, Massachusetts, when he enlisted in April 1775. He served 15 days as a Corporal under Colonel Patterson; six months as Orderly Sargent under Aaron Rowley, Colonel Jonathan Smith; one month and four days as Captain under Colonel Powell, and was in the battles of Bunker Hill, Benington, Stillwater, and at the surrender of Burgoyne and evacuation of Ticonderoga.

The Colonists in Berkshire County were very involved in the beginning events of the Revolution. When news from Lexington and Concord came in April 1775, two Berkshire regiments immediately started marching to Boston. One unit under Col. Patterson of Lenox was stationed at Cambridge, but did not get to Bunker Hill for that battle. Both regiments were involved in repelling a landing party at East Cambridge and many soldiers stayed at Boston until it was evacuated March 16, 1776. Under the leadership of Joseph Raymond and Aaron Rowley most of the volunteers continued to serve as a unit throughout the early part of the war.

Ambrose Hill would have been among those early Berkshire Volunteers under Col. Patterson. Ambrose was a Corporal with Capt. David Rosseter’s Company in Col. John Patterson’s regiment which marched on the alarm of April 19, 1775. This was the same day that the first shots were fired at Lexington, Massachusetts. His service was from April 23, 1775 to May 8, 1775. He was listed as Sergeant with Capt. David Noble’s Company, Col. John Paterson’s Regiment, serving 7 days from April 22, 1775, which company marched in response to the alarm of April 19, 1775. The Battle of Bunker Hill was fought on June 17, 1775. These dates would indicate that Ambrose did not serve then, however the next entry showed that later that year Ambrose was again with John Paterson’s Regiment, muster roll dated Aug 1, 1775. This indicates that he enlisted April 19, 1775 and served 3 months 9 days with company return date October 6, 1775. He apparently served during that entire first summer. There was mention of an order for a bounty coat or its equivalent in money dated Fort No. 3, Charlestown, October 26, 1775.

Ambrose served as Sergeant in a company of Massachusetts militia in the vicinity of Boston until the British troops left Boston in the spring of the year 1776. Later, he served as Captain of a company of Massachusetts militia and he commanded a company that marched from Richmond to New Haven, Connecticut where he served as Captain sometime over two months. He received a Captains commission.

Later service in 1777 would have been in the battles in the Ticonderoga and Saratoga area. Ambrose was a Sergeant in Capt. Amos Rathbun’s Company, Maj. Caleb Hyde’s detachment of militia from July 8, 1777 to July 26, 1777 (19 days). His company marched to reinforce the northern army and was discharged 97 miles from home. At this point in the war, General Burgoyne had advanced down the Richeleau River to Lake Champlain with a massive army. Fort Ticonderoga was at that time badly in disrepair and the soldiers were lacking adequate supplies. When General St. Clair learned that the British had cannon on Mt. Defiance, it was felt that they would not be able to hold the fort and therefore he ordered an evacuation of Fort Ticonderoga. Many felt this was a cowardly act and he later faced a Court Martial, however his intent appeared to be to save his troops, rather than have them killed in a battle that could not have been won. The Evacuation of Ticonderoga took place July 5-6, 1777. Ambrose Hill probably was not at the fort, but was with troops sent there to assist them. After taking Fort Ticonderoga, the British advanced overland southward. This was a difficult march because of the tremendous amount of supplies they were carrying and the rugged nature of this wilderness they traveled through. The Colonial troops were able to slow their march even further by creating diversions and destroying the roads in their path.

Part of the Colonial Troops went east into Vermont, and Ambrose was probably with these. The next term of service listed for him was as Captain in Aaron Rowley’s Company, Col. David Rosseter’s detachment of Berkshire Co. militia, serving from August 13, 1777 to August 20, 1777, 7 days at Bennington. They would have joined troops from Ticonderoga and fought in the Battle of Bennington, Vermont August 16, 1777, where they defeated the Hessian forces. David Rossiter, Aaron Rowley and other officers of the Berkshire militia became quite famous.

The battles at Stillwater, where Burgoyne eventually surrendered, took place in late September and into October of 1777. A “Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors in the War of the Revolution” reference would indicate Ambrose did not serve long enough to be involved at Stillwater, however a DAR letter indicated he served 6 months as orderly Sargent under Aaron Rowley, which would have extended through the entire time of the events at Stillwater. After the Surrender of Burgoine at Saratoga, the Berkshire units broke up and the soldiers joined various other regiments.

At some period during the War, Ambrose served in the army in the State of New Jersey and Lucy thought that was as Captain and that he was there in a battle.

As Captain 11th Co. 3d Berkshire Co. Regt. Of Mass. Militia, Ambrose was on a list of officers commissioned March 1778. Then as Captain in Lieut Col Miles Powell’s (Berkshire Co) Regit, he was engaged July 18, 1779 and discharged Aug 22, 1779, serving 1 month 10 days at New Haven, Connecticut, including 5 days (110 miles) travel home.

The Pension File indicated that Ambrose Hill was married at Goshen, Connecticut, October 10, 1764 to Lucia Beach. He died at Cornwall, Vermont in February 1816, and she was allowed a pension for his services on her application executed October 31, 1836, at which time she was a resident of Shoreham, Addison County, Vermont, aged “ninety years and upwards.”

While Ambrose was away serving in the war Lucy was at home with several small children. She stated in her deposition that “she was left at home in charge of her family consisting of six small children and that she underwent much fear and alarm in consequence of the Torris which were numerous in that part of Massachusetts where she resided.”

At the time of the Pension application, which was shortly after the Pension Act of July 4, 1836 was passed, Lucy was quite old and not able to remember the specific times of service. Apparently because of this, the application was delayed and other depositions taken to try to confirm the places and times of service. This all took considerable time and must have been quite an ordeal. A letter in the file dated January 26, 1837 stated, “I have made an unsuccessful search for the alleged service of Ambrose Hill as a sergeant in 1775, and as an adjutant in 1777. The name of his Captain in 1775 is not given, one thinks it was Porter.” They requested names of officers. He did serve 1 month 10 days as Captain in 1779 in Connecticut, July 1777 as sergeant in A. Rathbun’s Company 13 days and held a commission as Captain in March 1778. In June 1837, Lucy consented to receive a certificate for the amount which they said was allowed: 1 month 4 days as Captain, 15 days as Corporal, 6 months as sergeant. Apparently since no more specifics could be documented, she settled for a pension based on this time of service. It does appear from recollections of the family and others who made depositions that he would have served for much longer. The official certificate indicated service at Bunker Hill, Bennington and Saratoga.

(This information was taken from The Joseph Eggleston Family: Seven Generations from Joseph (d. 1767) of Stonington, Connecticut to Joseph (1885-1965) of Utah & Wyoming, Including Maternal Lines: Hill, Burgess, Titus, Sammis & Johnson, by Karen Eggleston Stark)

Sources of information:

History of Berkshire County, Massachusetts: with biographical sketches of its prominent men, Vol. 2 (Photo reproduction of original published: New York: J. B. Beers, 1885) (974.41 H 2hb) Rev. A. B. Whipple, Chapter XXV Town of Richmond, p. 481.

Katharine Huntington Annin, Richmond, Masachusetts: The story of a Berkshire town and its people, 1765-1965. (Richmond, Massachusetts: distributed by Richmond Civic Association, 1964) (974.411 RI H2a); History of Berkshire County

“Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors in the War of the Revolution” Vol. 7, p. 865

Smith, H. P., History of Addison County, Vermont: with illustrations and biographical sketches of some of its prominent men and pioneers. Syracuse, NY: D. Mason & Company, 1886, p. 416-417. (974.35 H2s )

The National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution Vol. 70 p. 54. Vol. 113 p. 134.

This was also published on the Golden Spike Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution website.

The Eggleston Herbal

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How many people have the opportunity to hold in their hands something ancient that has been handled by at least nine generations of ancestors? Being a genealogist and museum person, this was pretty close to heaven for me.

I first learned of the “herbal” over twelve years ago. Through genealogical research I had become acquainted with many “cousins,” some much more distant than others. Through these contacts, I gained some wonderful information and was able to share information with others. Putting these pieces of information together helped us all learn more and created a more comprehensive family history.

Early in 2002, I got an email from a cousin, Lucinda, who had seen my post on a surname list. Two days later she emailed me two images which blew my mind. Continue reading