Stern Patriotism

Tim’s 6th-great-grandfather was a veteran of the War for Independence, taking part in the Lexington Alarm battle, when he was 33 years old.

The first battle of the Revolutionary War, fought in Massachusetts on April 19, 1775. British troops had moved from Boston toward Lexington and Concord to seize the colonists’ military supplies and arrest revolutionaries. In Concord, advancing British troops met resistance from the Minutemen, and American volunteers harassed the retreating British troops along the Concord-Lexington Road. Paul Revere, on his famous ride, had first alerted the Americans to the British movement.
The Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Connecticut website

Capt. Lemuel Roberts, son of Lemuel and Abigail (Beaman) Roberts, was born 2 October 1742 in Simsbury (Hartford) Connecticut, and died there 19 December 1789. He married there 8 December 1763, Ruth Woodford, who was born 4 November 1744 in Farmington (Hartford) Connecticut, and died about 1800 in Bloomfield (Hartford) Connecticut, daughter of Samuel and Mary (Thompson) Woodford.

original headstone

Lemuel lies buried in the Old Wintonbury Cemetery (formerly Old North Cemetery) in Bloomfield, Connecticut.

The following account is from Lester A. Roberts, Esq., “Descendants of John Roberts of Simsbury, CT and Bloomfield, CT,” The New England Historical & Genealogical Register, Vol 42, July 1888: 246:

[Lemuel’s] stern patriotism made him some enemies, and in 1787 a protest was made to the General Assembly against his reappointment as Justice of the Peace, but without avail. He was found dead one morning at the foot of stone steps from a house in which he had held a court the evening before. Being lame, he was the last to leave, and if he fell or was thrown down the steps was never known. On his grave-stone in the Bloomfield burial-ground, under the usual inscription, are the following lines:

No Cordial to revive his heart,
No one to hold his head,
No friend to close his dying eyes;
The ground was his death bed.

Lemuel & Ruth were the parents of eight children:

1. Lemuel Roberts (Tim’s 5th-great-grandfather), born 17 April 1766, died 2 July 1829 in Bloomfield. He married 5 October 1786, Roxy Gillett, who was born before 19 March 1769 and died 6 September 1848 in Bloomfield, daughter of Amos and Susanna (Webster) Gillett. Lemuel & Roxy were the parents of six children.

2. Ruth Roberts, born 24 January 1768 in Simsbury, died 31 May 1847 in Worthington (Franklin) Ohio. She married in 1789, Ezra Griswold, who was born 6 December 1767 and died 22 October 1822 in Worthington, son of Elisha and Eunice (Viets) Griswold. Ruth & Ezra were the parents of two sons.

3. Hannah Roberts, born 15 March 1770, died 15 March 1829. She married Augustus Filley who was born before 31 August 1766 and died 5 March 1812 in Otis (Berkshire) Massachusetts, son of Jonathan Filley.

4. Samuel Roberts, born 20 March 1772 in Simsbury, died 9 October 1846 in Sharon (Litchfield) Connecticut. He married (as his first wife) in 1793, Eleanor “Elethea” Calkins, who was born about 1733 and died 24 January 1813 in Sharon. Samuel & Eleanor were the parents of four children, possibly more. Samuel married (as his second wife) in 1815, Pamela Patchin. Samuel & Pamela were the parents of a daughter.

5. Eunice Roberts, (twin), born 22 August 1774 in Simsbury, died 13 August 1825 in Hartford (Hartford) Connecticut. She married 3 March 1799 in Bloomfield, James Goodwin, who was born 27 December 1777 in Hartford, and died there 13 September 1844, son of Jonathan and Eunice (Olcott) Goodwin.

6. Lois Roberts, (twin), born 22 August 1774 in Simsbury, died 7 November 1847 in Indiana. She married Zopher Topping, who was born 17 June 1773 in Granby (Hartford) Connecticut and died 7 September 1814 in Worthington.

7. Hezekiah Roberts, born 5 June 1776, died 6 June 1776 in Bloomfield, age 0.

8. Hezekiah Roberts, born before 26 August 1781. He married Harriet King. Hezekiah & Harriet were the parents of three children, possibly more.

12 thoughts on “Stern Patriotism”

  1. is the angel on the headstone in picture 2 unusual to be found on the sites you’ve visited Barbara, the image stood out to me…I haven’t worked recently to my family history records but a friend the other day suggested some audio accounts from my parents. I have some written accounts and old pictures from my parents, so perhaps audio is a new interest and might be easier for my dad.

    1. Tai, a death’s head or soul effigy was very common in 18th century New England cemeteries. Each carver had his own artistic style so in cemeteries one usually finds many very similar carvings.

      “Soul Effigies represent the individual at the doubtful moment of transition between this mortal existence and the eternal. Some effigies look optimistic and cheerful, others quite clearly scowl and still others wear a look of confusion or uncertainty.”

      You might find this blog post interesting:

      Audio memories are priceless because we can forget the voices of our parents and grandparents. Some aren’t comfortable being recorded but if your parents like the idea that would be wonderful! Our local library has a genealogy and history room with recordings from local residents. And other rare materials. You have to sign in and leave your driver’s license at the front desk in order to go in there, reflecting the value of the collections.

      1. thanks Barbara :), a fascinating read, some of the images on the link look a little Celtic, others look like the patterns of the yin/yang, it’s interesting to see the transition as beliefs change and grow.

        I’m seeing my parents tomorrow morning so will see how the idea goes. Thanks for all you share, we’ve been on a journey together, long may it continue. Love to you and your family, Tai

        1. Once when we were in a early settlers graveyard we bumped into a young girl, maybe about 10 years old, with her father. She was taking pictures of the various headstones for her personal study of engraved symbols. Not for school or family history research but for her own curiosity. I was impressed with her father for supporting this exploration of her interests. We had a nice conversation.

          Hope your parents turned out to be good with the idea of recording their memories. 🙂 Sending love to you and your parents and yes, may the long journey continue… ❤

          1. yes my parents were enthusiastic about the idea Barbara, we got looking at old family photos, and when I get chance I’ll be looking around Wybunbury church and graveyard and taking a few photos…I’ve come back with quite a few pictures of mum’s family to take copies off, a good morning….just had lunch and thought I’d check online, love and blessings, Tai

          2. That’s great that your parents were enthusiastic about the idea, Tai! It’s always wonderful when the genealogy bug comes back to bite us and spur us on. 🙂 Enjoy your new discoveries and photo copies! Love and blessings to you, too.

    1. Like you, Timi, I hope Lemuel never knew what happened to him. Since heart disease runs in Tim’s family and has taken many of his ancestors at a relatively young age, I would not be surprised to learn that Lemuel had a fatal heart attack.

    1. Imagine the shock the householder had the next day when opening the front door. I wonder that his wife hadn’t missed him and gone out looking for him, but, maybe she went to bed early and didn’t miss him until she awakened in the morning…

    1. It certainly is! It’s funny how some engravings say nothing about the life lived and focus only on the way a person died…

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