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AMARIAH DANA AND HIS RELATIVES

- PATRIOTS, REBELS AND MORE


AMARIAH DANA (Louis Lehmann’s 4th great-grandfather) was born May 20, 1738 at Pomfret, Connecticut. He is a son of Samuel Dana (a blacksmith, who came from Cambridge in 1722); a grandson of Jacob Dana (who served in King Phillip’s War.); and a great -grandson of Richard Dana,(who died in 690 when he fell of a scaffold in his barn).1 In the French and Indian Wars Amariah first appears April 25, 1759 as a 21 year old soldier from Pomfret on a muster roll (endorsed Nov 7, 1759) of Captain David Holmes’ Seventh Company of the Fourth Regiment of Connecticut Troops commanded by Eleazar Fitch 2 From August 14 to Oct 21, 1759, Captain Holmes kept an orderly book while on garrison duty at Crown Point during the Quebec campaign.3


Twenty-one months later (July 8, 1761) Amariah was among the Pomfret citizens to whom Benning Wentworth (then governor of New Hampshire) granted land in the Green Mountain wilderness area which was later to become Vermont. Ownership of land acquired through such grants was disputed by New York over the next nine years because Wentworth, exceeding his authority, had decided that area was within New Hampshire rather than within New York . To do so, he declared the border between the two states to be sufficiently west of the previous border (the Connecticut River) to encompass the grant lands. In 1764 after the crown rendered a decision in its favor, New York required that grantees give up their charters, and in many instances, to re-purchase their land from New York at inflated prices. . Those not doing so lost legal title to their land which was then reassigned to others. .Making things even worse for Amariah Dana and the other grantees, the New York Supreme Court , in 1770, declared all of Wentworth’s grants invalid. This infuriated many of the settlers including Ethan Allen who subsequently emerged as the leader of the “Green Mountain Boys” which was to include Amariah Dana some years later. 4 5


Despite all the disputes affecting his land grant during those years, Amariah Dana remained in Pomfret where he married Dorothy May on June 30, 1763 and began raising his family (Ezra - born 1764, Lucinda - born , 1765, Eleazar - born 1767, Dorothy - born 1769, and Lucretia - born 1771.). In 1770, the year when his land grant was declared invalid, both of Amariah’s parents died. Three years later Amariah set out to move his pregnant wife and their five children from Pomfret to Amherst, Massachusetts. The trip was marred by tragedy on March 9, 1773 at Belchertown when his baby daughter, Lucretia, fell under a wagon wheel and died. Amariah and Dorothy buried her in Belchertown and continued on to Amherst where he settled, acquiring an interest in a mill. In October, 1773 their sixth child was born and named Lucretia after the deceased baby. 6 7


Protests against British rule were accelerating during those years. Amariah may or may not have known that his cousin, Richard Dana (Richard’s father, Daniel Dana, is a brother to Amariah’s grandfather, Jacob Dana), was a significant member of the Sons of Liberty in Massachusetts in 1769 when, he administered to Andrew Oliver, secretary of the province, an oath binding him not to execute the stamp-act.. And after the Boston Massacre (March 5, 1770), Richard Dana was an eminent jurist serving on a committee investigating the event. He took depositions of citizens who testified that they had heard threats from the soldiers days before the tragedy, that the soldiers had attacked and struck some citizens , that some young men and boys returned abusive language - some throwing snowballs and pieces of ice at the soldiers who then fired into the crowd, killing and mortally wounding several people. 8 . (Richard's descendants are illustrious people. His son, Francis Dana, the United States’ first minister to Russia, married . Elizabeth, daughter . of William Ellery, signer of the Declaration of Independence.. Their grandson , Richard H. Dana, Jr., was the author of "Two Years before the Mast.") 9



Two months later patriots disguised as Indians protested a tax on tea by disguising themselves as Indians and dumping a cargo of tea into the Boston harbor on December 16, 1773.. One source asserts that Amariah Dana and Reuben Dickinson (later to become one of Amariah’s commanders during the Revolutionary War) were actively involved in some way with the “Boston Tea Party”, perhaps through committee work or other activity - if not by actually dumping tea. 10 Whether or not Amariah Dana was actively involved , he most probably was supportive of the event as his brother-in-law, Colonel John May, was most certainly one of those emptying the 342 chests of tea into the sea from Griffith’s Wharf. 11 (Five months later, on May 23, 1774, the town of Amherst replied to a letter from the Boston Committee of Correspondence , supporting the cause of the revolution and thanking Boston for the actions of the patriots who destroyed the tea) 12


A year after the “Boston Tea Party”, Amariah Dana, then 37 years old, was one of the “Green Mountain Boys” with Ethan Allen at the taking of Fort Ticonderoga on May 10, 1775. 13 Just how and when Amariah developed his relationship with Ethan Allen is not clear. But it may well have been related to Amariah’s problems with the New Hampshire Grants. The "Green Mountain Boys" formed as a reaction to New York making grants of land already settled by other settlers who had received their land grants between 1749-1764, from New Hampshire’s Governor Benning Wentworth who assumed that the Province of New Hampshire extended to a line drawn northward from the western boundaries of Connecticut and Massachusetts. As one of the grantees, Amariah Dana probably found title of his land disputed - leading to Amariah eventually joining Ethan Allen’s "Green Mountain Boys 14.


Ethan Allen had settled in the backwoods area of present-day Vermont, which was then known as the New Hampshire Grants. Like Amariah Dana, he had come from Connecticut.. He organized the “Green Mountain Boys” in order to deter the encroachment of settlers from New York into the New Hampshire Grants. Allen's group was then known as the "Bennington Rioters". Their tactics of terrorizing settlers whom they regarded as “New Yorkers” offended authorities in both New Hampshire and New York. In 1771 authorities in both areas regarded them as outlaws with prices on their heads. 15


Amariah Dana was then with a very rowdy crowd. The "Green Mountain Boys" have been described as being "...as unruly a bunch of roughnecks as any in history"........Ethan Allen "could control them better than anyone else, and they would follow him anywhere." despite the fact that Ethan Allen himself "was no military genius, rather an overbearing, loud-mouthed braggart. He was also a staunch patriot who apparently did not know the meaning of fear."....."History records Ethan Allen as demanding the surrender of Fort Ticonderoga 'in the name of the Great Jehovah and the Continental Congress'. But... "According to historian and folklorist B.A. Botkin, one Israel Harris was present at the timer and later told his grandson (the late Professor James D. Butler of Madison, Wisconsin) that Allen's actual words were 'Come out of there, you goddam old rat!'...." 16

Another account relates how the "Green Mountain Boys" reacted to a dispute between Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold about who was to be in charge of the Ticonderoga expedition. Benedict Arnold “appears to have told Ethan curtly that the Committee had ordered him to take charge of the expedition. A pompous manner was not the sort of thing to try on Colonel Allen. Just what happened next has been lost in 165 years of controversy but a violent row definitely ensued. Ethan vowed by God that he had been elected to lead the attack. Arnold, proud as a peacock and dressed much like one waved his commission Somebody...suggested 'hanging ‘the fancy barstard’ and men shouted that, if they were not to be commanded by their own officers, then the hell with the War, if that was what it was; they would shoulder their arms and go home.17 The “Green Mountain Boys” were rather inebriated on "stonewall", a concoction of hard-cider and rum that they relished.. Consequently when Allen arrogantly demanded that they accept him as their commander When he demanded that they accept him as their commander, they just laughed in his face.18

Five weeks later (June 17, 1775) two of Amariah’s second cousins, Henry Gates and Captain James Dana, were fighting the British at the Battle of Bunker Hill. Henry Gates is a second cousin, once removed as his great-grandmother (Hanna Dana) is a sister to Jacob Dana, (Amariah Dana's grandfather). Captain James Dana and Amariah Dana are second cousins.. James Dana's grandfather (Benjamin Dana) and Amariah Dana's grandfather (Jacob Dana) are brothers.


According to an article about prominent Dana family members, both were wounded at the battle..... "Henry Gates was wounded at Bunker Hill, a ball entering his mouth and coming out at the back of his head, so disfiguring him that he was forever after known as 'Twist Mouth'. He was present at the laying of the cornerstone of the Bunker Hill monument in 1825"..... "Another grandson of Richard's third son was Captain James Dana, who was wounded at Bunker Hill. It was this Dana who, having detected a flank movement of the enemy, threatened with death any man who should fire before him, and who, on the occasion of the patriotic demonstration in honor of that engagement, received from the hands of Washington's aide the flag which had been presented to Putnam's regiment by Connecticut. The young officer bore aloft its battered folds, amid the stirring cheers of the brave fellows who had followed his lead. Being as bashful as he was brave, the captain had shrunk from the honor of this distinction, until urged with bluff good nature by General Putnam. It is said, with how much truth I have been unable to ascertain, that this Captain Dana once saved Washington from capture. " 19


The first record of Amariah Dana’s career as a soldier of the Revolutionary War is in “Capt James Hendrick’s co; a pay abstract for rations to and from camp, dated Camp No. 3, Charlestown, Jan. 13, 1776; reported 95 miles travel allowed. Jan. 13, 1776 at Camp No. 3, Charlestown. “ It is not clear just when Amariah got there or how long he stayed but he may well have been there when his son, Ezra, died (Jan 7, 1776) at age eleven back in Amherst. 20 Whatever period he was at Charlestown it was an eventful time in that area. Boston was occupied by 5000 British troops who had been besieged by Washington’s troops since a few weeks after the Battle of Bunker Hill, When the winter of 1775 drew near, Washington decided to fortify the Dorchester Heights as a point to begin a bombardment of the city. To do so he sent Colonel Henry Knox to New York to retrieve the cannon which Ethan Allen and the “Green Mountain Boys” (including ‘Amariah Dana) had captured at Fort Ticonderoga on May 10, 1775. During December and January, Knox and a small contingent of men hauled fifty-nine tons of heavy artillery from Fort Ticonderoga a distance of three hundred miles through blizzards and over difficult terrain, delivering the load to Washington on January 24, 1776. On March 4 Dorchester Heights was fortified with the Ticonderoga cannon. Recalling the costly Battle of Bunker Hill, the British chose not to attack the fortification. wisely decided that any attempt to take the heights in Dorchester would be too bloody to endure. Instead they negotiated with Washington and agreement that they would not burn Boston if they were assured of a safe exit from the town. The British evacuated Boston on March 17, a date which is still celebrated in Boston as “Evacuation Day” 21


The context of the rest of Amariah Dana’s military record is less clear. He is listed as “Private, Capt. John Thompson’s co., Col. Leonard’s (Hampshire Co.) Regt; enlisted May 7, 1777; discharged July 8, 1777; service 2 mos, 10 days, travel included; company marched to reinforce Northern army for 2 months.” also “Private, in a company commanded by Lieut. Noah Dickinson, Col Elisha Porter’s (Hampshire Co;) regt; enlisted Aug 18, 1777; discharged Aug 21, 1777; service 4 days; company marched as far as New Providence on an alarm at the Westward.” also “Capt. Reuben Dickinson’s co., Col. Porter’s regt.; return for equipments dated Nov. 9, 1778; also Capt Reuben Dickinson’s co.; list of men on a credit bill (year not given); service 5 mos. 1 week.” 22


About a year after Amariah’s last recorded military service, his wife, Dorothy, died on Dec 9, 1779, leaving him at age forty-one with seven children. The burden was eased somewhat when her brother, Col. John May, adopted six year old Lucretia and more so when Amariah, took Ruth Williams as his second wife on Oct 5, 1780 They lived on a farm and had four more children during the next seven years. John (died at birth) and Ruth were born in 1983 and 1984, near the end of the Revolutionary War; Hannah and Amariah were born in 1786 and 1787 , a period when . Amariah and many other farm owners in small towns throughout the Massachusetts backcountry saw the value of their farms deteriorate as they struggled to make a living while being expected to pay debts and taxes with hard money although there was no hard money available. Many of those communities had repeatedly pleaded with the legislature to address those concerns and others including taxes, debts, and the structure of government. But each year the legislature ignored such complaints which only added to the misery. Some people, including , Rev David Parsons, pastor at the First Church in Amherst, still advised more patience. (The Second Church in Amherst was formed earlier by members of the First Church, including Amariah Dana, who opposed Rev. Parsons’ views). Nevertheless a series of community meetings of dissatisfied citizens resulted in a convention of fifty towns on August 22, 1786 at Hatfield where twenty-one articles were adopted, many of them grievances which would necessitate a major change in state government and a new state constitution. 23


A few days later several hundred men from Greenwich and Pelham marched toward Northampton, led by Deacon John Thompson who had been Amariah’s company captain in Colonel Leonard’s regiment back in May, 1777. On the way they were joined by a large contingent from Amherst, including most of the very large Dickinson family, very probably including Reuben Dickinson, who had been Amariah’s company captain in Colonel Porter regiment in 1778.In military formation at Northampton, they converged on the courthouse where, as an act of protest, they forced the court to adjourn (This was an early stage of “Shay’s Rebellion” although Daniel Shays did not assume leadership until some months later) This form of protest spread across Massachusetts as more armed men forced the closing of courthouses in Great Barrington, Springfield, Worcester, Boston, and Taunton in the autumn of 1786. And when it appeared that most of the ninety-two thousand militiamen in Massachusetts tended to support rather than suppress the rebels, Congress added more troops to the nation’s army in order to put down the insurgents


Hoping to quell the disturbances, the Massachusetts legislature then passed a mixture of bills. Some legislation was designed to ease tax burdens and debt obligations. There was also an act of indemnity which offered pardons to everybody who had obstructed the court between June and the publication of the act - if they swore an oath of allegiance to the state and its rulers by January 1. But other legislation was punishing. One bill (the “Riot Act”) threatened resistant insurgents with forfeiture of land and property, with whippings, and with imprisonment. The Militia Act threatened disloyal militiamen with death but was minimally effective, especially with western Massachusetts militiamen who greatly disdained the state authorities. As this became more evident Governor Bowdoin decided to hire an army to squash the rebellion, and to name General Benjamin Lincoln as its commander Funds for this were raised by Boston businessmen because the legislature had not sanctioned nor financed the troops


As Lincoln’s army was marching west, Daniel Shays became increasingly identified as the leader of the rebellion although there were insurgents who did not follow his directions. The showdown came when Shay and other rebel leaders set out to seize the federal arsenal in Springfield only to find that General Shepherd was there first. Nevertheless Shay’s army attacked the arsenal but was routed by cannon fire. Shays then moved his force first to Pelham and then to Petersham where they were again routed by Lincoln’s army. After that the rebellion dwindled down to a number of minor skirmishes.


As the rebellion simmered down the insurgents faced consequences formulated under a Disqualification Act of February 16. This act stipulated that ordinary rebels, such as Amariah Dana, had to surrender their arms. They also had to testify that they had rebelled against the state and its authorities. Then they had to take an oath of allegiance and pay a fee of nine pence to a justice of the peace who certified that they had done so. Finally they were prohibited for the next three years from voting, holding office, serving on juries, teaching school, working in taverns and inns, and selling liquor. If they accepted those conditions they would not be prosecuted thus avoiding being fined, whipped, or hanged .


Amariah Dana and his son, Eleazar, took the Oath of Allegiance in February, 1787. 24 Presumably they lost rights as stipulated in the Disqualification Act. But if so, it turned out to a temporary loss when Governor Bowdoin was soundly defeated in the election of April, 1787. The new legislature restored suffrage to the roughly four thousand men who had taken the Oath of Allegiance 25


Shay’s rebellion may well have generated some conflict between Amariah and his brother-in-law, Colonel John May, of Boston Tea Party fame. . Amariah was a struggling farmer who saw the value of his land and property diminishing under state policies which favored more wealthy citizens such as Colonel May who was a wealthy merchant of Boston. But on a more personal level, Amariah and his son, Eleazar, were active participants in the rebellion while Colonel May, who had adopted Amariah’s daughter, Lucretia, some years ago, was on the other side, commanding his militia regiment. 26


Amariah Dana’s life was much less eventful after Shay’s rebellion. He lived another forty-five years and fathered five more children with his second wife (Amariah - 1787, Samuel - 1790, Sarah - 1791, Sylvia - 179e, and Joseph - 1795.). He saw at least five of his children get married. (Dorothy, Lucretia, Ruth, Sarah, and Joseph. He was seventy-four years old in 1814 when his son, Joseph, served in the War of 1812, posted at Boston in Captain John Taylor’s militia. Amariah was eighty-two when his wife, Ruth, died. He died ten years later, October 29, 1830, at age ninety-two while living with his son, Joseph, and is now buried in the South Amherst cemetery. 27



NOTES AND REFERENCES FOR

AMARIAH DANA AND HIS RELATIVES - PATRIOTS, REBELS AND MORE”


1. The information about Amariah Dana’s ancestors is taken from The Dana Family In America Dana, Elizabeth. The Dana Family In America 1956.

2. The muster roll record of Amariah Dana as a soldier in Captain David Holmes’ Seventh Company is cited in Rolls of Connecticut Men in the French and Indian War, 1755-1762. Hartford: Connecticut Historical Society. Collections of the Connecticut Historical Society Vol X. 1905 pp 167-8

3. The orderly books kept in 1759 by David Holmes orderly books, 1758-1759. Vol 2. Massachusetts Historical Society Call number(s): P-363, reel 13 (microfilm) P-212, 1 reel (microfilm) Ms. N-1422

4. Amariah Dana is listed as one of the Pomfret grantees of the New Hampshire Grants in The New Hampshire Grants Being Transcripts of the Charters of Townships and Minor Grants of Lands Made by the Provincial Government of New Hampshire Within the Present Boundaries of the State of Vermont, from 1749 to 1764. Vol. XXVI. Albert S. Batchellor, Editor of State Papers. Concord. 1895

5. An article about the New Hampshire grants is included in the Onpedia Encyclopedia. (“New Hampshire Grants” Onpedia Encyclopedia www.onpedia.com/encyclopedia/new-hampshire-grants.)

6. A detailed biographical sketch of Amariah Dana is included in Families of Amherst, MA Compiled by James A. Smith

7. Birth and death information about members of Amariah Dana’s family is included in Vital Records of Connecticut. Barbour Collection

8. . Richard Dana’s role as a member of the Sons of Liberty administering the oath to Andrew Oliver and his activity as a jurist in the investigation following the Boston Massacre are both included in “Richard Dana” Appletons Encyclopedia, Copyright © 2001 VirtualologyTM)

9. The information about Richard Dana’s illustrious descendants is included in a transcription by Elaine Merrell from “Several Ancesteral Lines of Moses Hyde and his Wife Sarah Dana, Married at Ashford, CT., June 5, 1757", by Harriette Hyde Wells, published Albany, N.Y.: by Joel Munsell's Sons Publishers, 1904

00. The statement Amariah Dana and Reuben Dickinson) were actively involved with the “Boston Tea Party” is taken from History of the Connecticut Valley in Massachusetts. 1879

11. Colonel John May’s participation in the Boston Tea party is noted in Dawes-Gates Ancestral Lines. Page 423

22. The contents of the 1774 letter from the town of Amherst supporting the cause of the revolution is documented in Families of Amherst, MA Comp by James A. Smith

33. Amariah Dana’s role as one of the “Green Mountain Boys” with Ethan Allen at the taking of Fort Ticonderoga is noted in several sources including (1) Families of Amherst, MA Compiled by James A. Smith; (2) "Annual Address Before the Vermont Historical Society Delivered at Montpelier, VT., October 8, 1872, by Hon. Lucius E. Chittenden. Rutland: Tuttle & Company, , 1872; and Ethan Allen Homestead Historical Site (Burlington, Vermont) www.ethanallenhomestead.org/

44. The background of the New Hampshire grants as a context for conflict is described in "Genealogical Research - Methods and Sources" Vol I - American Soc. of Genealogists. p. 131

55.Ethan Allen’s organization of the “Green Mountain Boys” to oppose the encroachment of settlers from New York into the New Hampshire Grants. is documented in the “ Chronology of the American Revolutionary War” www.motherbedford.com/Chronology12.htm

66. The characterization of Ethan Allen and the "Green Mountain Boys" as rowdy roughnecks and the cruder version of Ethan Allen’s demand for the surrender of Fort Ticonderoga are both taken from . -Virtual Vermont's mini-biography of Ethan Allen. in Virtual Vermont Internet Magazine

..www.virtualvermont.com/history/eallen.html

77. The dispute between Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold and the contempt of the “Green Mountain Boys” toward Benedict Arnold is described in a biography of Ethan Allen (Holbrook, Stewart Ethan Allen. 1958)

88. Chronology of the American Revolutionary War www.motherbedford.com/Chronology12.htm

99. The activities of Amariah Dana’s cousins, Henry Gates and Captain James Dana, at Bunker Hill are noted in "Prominent American Families - The Danas" by Joseph Dana Miller in "Munsey's Magazine, Vol XVI, Oct 1896 to March 1897. p 145.

00. Amariah Dana’s service record in the Revolujtionary War is noted in Families of Amherst, MA Comp by James A. Smith and also in Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary War. 1898. P. 386

11. Historical details of the Revolutionary War in the Boston/Charlestown area are related in an on-line article, “The British Relinquish Boston - Chronology of the American Revolutionary War

www.motherbedford.com/Chronology12.htm

22. These additional details of Amariah Dana’s military record are recorded in Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary War. 1898. P. 386

33. Details of Shay’s Rebellion are well documented in Leonard Richards’ book, Shay’s Rebellion Pp. 36-37

44. The information about Amariah Dana and his son, Eleazar, taking the Oath of Allegiance appears in History of the Town of Amherst, Mass (FHL film #0476932)

55. The restoration of suffrage to the Massachusetts men who had taken the Oath of Allegiance is noted in Shay’s Rebellion. (Richards, Leonard. Shay’s Rebellion). Pp. 38-39)

66.Biographical information about Colonel John May is fromBiography of John May.” Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography. Vol IV p. 272

77.. The details about the life of Amariah Dana and his family in his later years is taken in part from Families of Amherst, MA Compiled by James A. Smith