Wednesday, July 18, 2007


I hit pay dirt at Googlebooks.

I used the keywords: Groton+history+Revolution and came
up with :

Groton During the Revolution: With an Appendix
by Samuel Abbott Green (1900)

I then ran a search in the book for “John Ames” and found
four references. The first was a practice of the times that I’d not
heard of before. It concerned something called Coat Rolls

As part of their service, many Massachusetts militiamen were
issued coats, preferably ones that had been made in their own
towns. Asa Lawrence’s men were among those entitled to such
coats and if they had died their family and heirs could claim the
coat in their place.

Samuel Abbot Green transcribed from the Massachusetts
Archives of his times the requests sent by the various units or
heirs in regards to their coats:

Cambridge October 30 ye 1775
To the Comity of Soplys Beples to Diluer to Asa Lawrence Capt
in Colonel Wm Prescuts Rigement Each a fusane
[fustian] Coat
to which our names are under Subcribe. (p209)

John Ames is among those listed along with David Hason, a
Solomon Gilson, Obadiah Wetherell, & Eleazer Parker. Based on
this I assumed that I read “Saml Gibson’ for “Sol Gilson” among
the list of fellow soldiers given in his petition.

Fusane or fustian refers to the material used to make the coats.
The Wikipedia defines it as a general term for several heavy
woven cloths, made from different materials over the ages but
from what I can tell whatever the material, the common thread,
so to speak, was the durability and practicality of it.

No frippery for the Yankee militiamen but a practical, durable

Green drolly notes that ‘fortunately the men could fight better
than they spelled; and their personal prowess outweighed any
deficiencyin their early education” (p207)

On page 21 I found a "muster roll of Asa Lawrence’s Company
to the first of August, 1775" which includes John Ames, a
Solomon AND a Samuel Gilson, Jonathan Lewis, John Hason and
the others already named on the Coat Rolls. Under “Towns
whence they came” Groton is listed for John, his time of
enlistment April 25, and 98 days listed under “Time of Service”

On page 23 is A return of Capt Asa Lawrences Company in Wm
Prescott Regiment.
John Ames is listed as a private

On page 118 is a list of supplies issued to the militiamen gathered
at the Groton Meeting House on the morning of April 19th ,1775.
On the list is John Ames Jr given 20 bullets and 6 flints, and a
John Ames given 30 bullets and 2 flints.

And so armed and equipped Asa Lawrence and his men, including
John Ames, set off to Lexington. The trouble is, by the time they
got there the British were gone. John and his friends may have
been among those who harassed the Redcoats all the way back to
Boston from Concord and Lexington but they didn’t fight at the
Battle of Lexington as far as I can tell. The accounts I have found
had them getting there too late.

John Ames was 18 years old in 1775 and was nearly 75 in 1832.
Looking back, perhaps that pursuit of the British from Lexington
expanded into being there in the larger engagement.

Either way what I found was further evidence that he had indeed
been a militiaman from Groton.

But could he really have seen Lee, Putnam and Washington “many

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