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Heroes of Old

"Capt. Moses Pearson's Company at Siege of Louisburg in 1745"

"Fragments of Portland's Early History Reviewed by Mr. Nathan Goold."


     The Massachusetts Historical Society has lately
published the papers of Sir William Pepperrell they 
have in their possession. In the volume are some 
items of interest to the history of Portland, as relating 
to the Louisburg expedition of 1745. We sent Capt. 
Moses Pearsons's company. In Hon. M. F. King's First 
Parish Records, page 165, is given a copy of a roll of 
that company which is in the possession of Hon. Andrew 
Hawes of Stroudwater, a descendant, which shows forty 
men and that perhaps may be the full roll, although it has 
been stated to have had about fifty men.
     The fortress at Louisburg, Cape Breton, had cost the 
French about six million of dollars, and Maine has reason
to be proud of its part in the capture. The expedition was 
proposed by Col. William Vaughan of Matinicus and 
Damariscotta,  it was comanded by Gen. William Pepperrell 
of Kitttery and Maine sent two entire regiments with their 
officers. Com. Edward Tyng,  who at first was appointed
to command the fleet, but afterwards was  put under the 
orders of Com. Warren of the royal navy, and particularly 
distinguished himself during the siege, was a Portland 
born boy. The first document is a letter from Capt. 
Pearson under date of Feb. 27, 1744, which was, no doubt, 
intended for 1744-5, as the war was not declared by France 
against England until March 15, 1744, and the surender of 
Louisburg took place June 15, 1745, after a siege of forty 
six days. The letter is as follows:
                         Falmouth Feb. 27th 1744.
     Hon'd Sir,-in obedience to your Honor's command. I 
take this, being the first, opportunity to let you know I 
got home the 25th instant; since which I have inlisted 
twelve able-bodyed men. My being from home, Cpt. Nobel, 
Cpt. Moody, and Cpt. Cuter with some others rolling people 
I got a full company at Newbury and did not intend to 
return to Falmouth, but proceed to Boston, induced number 
of whom I most depended to list with the sd Captens, so 
that  men are not plenty; but I hope within 4 or five days
to make up the number thirty or more, and take the first 
oportunity  to Boston. I am Yr. Honours most obedient 
humble ser't.
                    MOSES PEARSON

     Pos. Scrip Colonal Waldow at Bideford informed me 
Cpt. Cuter wold have no commision and incuredge me I 
had opertunity to take the men he inlisted at Falmouth. 
If so I shall be able to raise up a company in a short 
time. I am, Hond Sir,
               Yours,
                    MS. PEARSON.

     The Capt. Noble mentioned was James Noble who 
commanded a company in Col. Samuel Waldo's regiment 
and was commissioned February 8, 1745. Capt. Moody 
was in command of a company in the same regiment 
and was commissioned the next day after Noble. Capt. 
Cutter was Ammi Rumah Cutter, a captain in Col. 
Moulton's regiment. He preached at North Yamouth in 
1720 but afterward was chief surgeon at Louisburg where 
he died in March, 1746. He wanted to go as the chief 
surgeon of the expedition but was unable to secure the 
position so raised a company of about sixty men and was 
made their captain. Moses Pearson was the captain of
the Tenth company in Col. Pepperrell's First regiment 
and was commissioned Feb. 6, 1745. George Knight, 
of Falmouth Neck, was the first lieutenant and James 
Springer was the ensign. Capt. Pearson remained at 
Louisburg until 1746 and was the agent of his, and the 
treasurer of the nine regiments employed in the siege, 
to receive and distribute the "plunder money." Several of
the men's receipts for this money are among the Willis 
papers in our Public Library. Being a joiner, he was 
employed in superintending the building of barracks and 
repairing the fortification. Before the Revolution he
lived on Fore street about opposite our Custom House. He 
left no sons, but six daughters who were the wives of 
Benjamin Titcomb, Josph Wise, Timothy Pike, Dr. Deane, 
Daniel Dole and Joshua Freeman.
     Lieut. George Knight came here from Newbury about 
1733 and probably lived at what is now called North 
Deering. His farm of 60 acres was a mile westerly of the 
Presumpscot River. He became one of the proprietors of 
Pearsontown, now Standish, and gave his share to his 
grandson, Zebulon Knight, in 1775, a short time before 
his death.
     Lieut. Knight was a great grandson of John Knight 
who came from Romsey, England, in the ship James, in 
1635, and settled at Newbury. The old saying "blood will 
tell" is illustrated in the case of George Knight. His 
son, George Jr., was a Revolutionary soldier, Amos was 
a soldier, Samuel was a captain in the Revolution and 
the daughter Hannah, married Capt. Joseph Pride, of 
Pride's Bridge. Capt. Samuel Knight's sons, Stephen, 
Zebulon and Samuel, Jr., were soldiers of the Revolution 
and  the daughter Mary married Joseph Pride, Jr., another 
soldier. Stephen went to Otisfield and his son, Samuel, 
marched in the Otisfield company to Portland in the war 
of 1812. He was on the staging at Stage Island, in 1825, 
when it gave way and Abner Lowell was killed. They fell 
54 feet and struck on the rocks. Mr. Knight had his spine 
dislocatd and ever afterwards was bent over. He afterwards
fell 20 feet, but he lived until he was 75 years of age. 
His son, Zebulon Knight served three years in the First 
Maine Cavalry and a grandson, Samuel W. Knight died 
in the 30th Maine Regt. and his brother George H. Knight, 
after serving two years in the 10th Maine Regt. in the 
Rebellion joined Custer's famous 7th U.S. Cavalry and for 
five years was in the Indian campaigns in the Northwest, 
leaving the service just before the massacre when Gen. 
Custer and his men lost their lives. He is living at
Otisfield caring for his aged father, Benjamin W. Knight, 
who is in his eighty-sixth year, who within a year has 
sent a contribution to the PRESS. How many more of 
Lieut. Knight's descendants have served in the army I 
cannot tell, but this is a sample line.

     The following document is of considerable interest to 
the descendants of those named:

     "List of men in Moses Pearson's company now in 
Louisburg, the places of their abode and circomstances, 
Sept. the 17th., 1745.
     Ensign James Springer, Falmouth, has a wife and 
          several small children, ye oldest very young.
     Sargent Axel Roberts, Falmouth, an old man, unfit for 
          duty.
     Sargt. Phillip Hodkins, Falmouth, a large family of 
          young children, his two sons with him.
     Sargt. Joshua Illesley, Falmouth, a single man, his
          affairs require him to be at home.
     Corll. Jon. Emerson, Falmouth, infirm and unfit for 
          duty.
     Corll. David Woodman, Falmouth (missing words)
     Joshua Simpson, Falmouth, Ebenezer Lincoln, these 
          three with J. Illsley all come out of one house 
          and belong to one famley.
     Samll. Clark, Falmouth, his wife and childen in poor
          curcomstances.
     James Gilkey, Falmouth, Jos. Thorn, Falmouth, these 
          two out of my famley.
     J. Thorn, my servant and Gilkey by the year.
     John Ayer, Falmouth, infirm and not fit for duty.
     John Anderson, Falmouth, a single man.
     Jacob Cliffod, Falmouth, sickly and unfit for duty.
     Moses Gould, Falmouth, apprentice, his master lives
          in  the woods, exposed to the enemy.
     Moses Hodkins, Falmouth, Samll. Hodkins, Falmouth, 
          sons of  Phillip Hodkins above.
     Samuel Graves, Falmouth, a very man. His poor father 
          (John)  wants him very much at home.
               A true copy
                    MOSES PEARSON

     Non (Com.) Officers 5. Private men 12."

     Moses Gould was born Dec. 10, 1727, and was then but
17years, 9 mos. His father was named Moses also, and he 
was a soldier under Col. Thomas Westbook through the 
winter of 1724-5. The father was elected a field diver
here March 8, 1727, and was made one of the proprietors 
of the town May 11, 1730, it is thought he lived near 
Presumpscot Lower Falls as he owned land here. He died 
before 1738. The son, Moses, was one of the proprietors of 
Pearsontown in 1752. He had five sisters and one brother. 
Aaron Gould, who married Sarah Starbird in 1757, and that 
year was a soldier  in Capt. Saml. Skillings' Company. I
have never found a  descendant of this Gould family.
     Of the above list of soldiers, Capt. Pearson, James
Springer, Philip Hodkins, Saml. Clark, John Anderson, 
Jacob Clifford, Moses Hodkins, Saml. Hodkins, and Saml. 
Graves also became proprietors of Standish for their
services at Louisburg.
Among the Pepperell papers is a short roll of Capt. Pearson's company, six months after the surrender, they were then the sixth company, and the following is a copy: -Dated Nov. 15, 1745. "Capt. Moses Pearson. Sergt. Philip Hodskins. Sergt. Thos. Illsley Corp. David Woodman. Privates Jeremiah Simson, Ebenezer Linkhorne (Lincoln), James Gilkey, John Anderson, Moses Hodskins, Samuel Hodskins, Jno. Ayers, Abiah Crosby, Jno. Thorn, Saml. Clark Sergts. 2. Copl. 4, Dumr. Pivates 10. Second Lieut. James Springer of Capt. Pearsons company was among those whose affairs required their going to New England, Oct. 17, 1745. Saml. Hodgskins name is among those who voluntered under Capt. Glaizer to attack the Island Battery at the mouth of the harbor of Louisburg in May, 1745, and they stated that they would be ready on a half hour warning. These fragments of our history interested me and perhaps some others may wish to know of their existance. They tell their own story. N. G.

Source: Microfilm 2:48, p. 239, at the Maine Historical Society.

(Portland Daily?) Press, July 29, 1899


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