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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

AMOS HASTINGS: A QUESTION OF RANK

If you Google "Amos Hastings" and "Bethel, Maine", your search will turn up
some variation of the following brief biography written by William Lapham:


"Amos Hastings was born in the west parish of Haverhill, Mass. He was in the
affair at Concord and Lexington, and also in the battle of Bunker Hill. He served
several years and came out with the rank of captain. He married Elizabeth Wiley,
a sister of the wife of John Grover, and came here from Fryeburg. He settled at
first at Middle Interval and for many years his house was the town house. Later
he moved to a farm on the north side of the river. He was early identified with
the militia of the town and held office through the various grades to that of
Brigadier General. He was a man possessed of sound judgment which was often
utilized by the town when difficult questions came up requiring careful
investigation and adjustment. He may justly be regarded as one of the fathers
of the town."- p43  History of Bethel: formerly Sudbury, Canada, Oxford County,
Maine, 1768-1890; with a brief sketch of Hanover and family statistics
(Google eBook)
,  Press of the Maine Farmer, 1891, Augusta, Maine.

But when I found Amos'  service records over on Fold3, all I could find were
documents listing him as a fifer in Colonel Gerrish's Regiment. That would
matchup with Benjamin Barker's affidavit in the Pension file. The search
of the War Rolls by the  Massachusetts Secretary of State surely would have
turned up some confirmation that Amos had risen to the rank of Captain, yet
apparently it did not.  And neither Daniel Gage nor Benjamin Barker mention
Amos being an officer in their statements.





Amos was indeed a Brigadier General of the 2nd Brigade 13th division of the
Maine Militia in 1815 and so probably also served during the War of 1812.

I think the  information about his captaincy during the Revolution may have
been a result of two things, the first being that by the 1890's the generation that
had fought in the war was long gone. By that time, sketchy family traditions had
been handed down to the great grandchildren of the veterans and there was a
tendency to add a few embellishments.

The second possible cause of the misinformation was the nature of the books
it appeared in, because frankly, some of the family histories of prominent men
in the town were "puff pieces" meant to enhance their prestige. By the 1890's
there were several Hastings men who were leading citizens of Bethel, Maine
it may be whoever provided the biography of Amos Hastings to William Lapham
did a little "gilding of the lily" as it were. Someone must have felt that being
a Captain in the Revolution was more impressive.

Ironically, I think that  Amos Hastings being only a fifer in the Revolution and
eventually rising to the rank of Brigadier General in the Militia is a greater
accomplishment. 


1 comment:

Betty Taylor said...

There are just so many unanswered questions. I always hate that, I guess that's what keeps us digging. Good post!