(Editor's note: This is the whole of a letter from a professional genealogical researcher hired to aid (46. i) Benjamin Knower in his application to become a member of the Sons of the American Revolution. The letter was preserved in the papers of Emily Gregory Holland.)
Newtonville, Mass May 11 '96
Mr Benjamin Knower Scarborough-on-Hudson N Y
I send herewith the ancestry in the male line of Benjamin Knower of Roxbury, which I hope will prove satisfactory. It seems well proved as to connections, deeds etc, proving the town and probate records. You are quite fortunate in having it run so smoothly, there is often a missing link. My examination of the Malden records has thrown new light upon the Rev service of the Knowers. On the Mass rolls we have Thos of Westminster & John of Worcester (sons of John of Malden) Daniel, of Malden & Benjamin of Roxbury (sons of Daniel of Malden) & Jona (now proved son of Jona of Malden and cousin to Daniel & Benj) The Midd'x Co Probate records Nov. 1752 state that Jona died 1775, leaving a widow (Mary Ann Wilson) & 8 children; that the eldest son had been absent nearly all the time since his father's decease "either at sea or in the army" and last year in the Spring he agreed to go into service for three years, his pay to go to his mother, but he met a woman in Boston and married her in a month & brought her to his mother instead. This agreed as to services with the rolls of Benjamin where no term was given. Now at Malden I find recorded 6 of the children of Jona & Mary Wilson, the eldest son of Jona, born Aug 22, 1749. I find the marriage of Jona K & Mary Ann Follings, of Boston, May 20, 1781. By our rolls, Jona of Malden served 8 months, 1775, on R.I. Alarm 1780 and enlisted in the Continental Army 1781 for three years & gave his age 33. We have no reference to his sea service but the age and 3 years enlistment agree with the letter. I find the Knowers were somewhat amphibious. Daniel, brother of Benj had 8 months, 1775 guard duty, later & was on the "Hazard" with Benj in 1778 (& was lost in the West Indies with his brother-in-law 1780) I am therefore convinced (as no other Benj of proper age appears in the Malden books) that you are right in claiming the seaman's service, as well as the landsman's for your ancestor of Roxbury --
The following tours of duty are recorded in "Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors," Volume 9, page 371.
Knower, Benjamin, Roxbury. Private, Capt. Moses Whiting's co., Col. John Greaton's regt. of Minute-men, which marched on the alarm of April 19, 1775; service, 13 days; also, Capt. Edward Payson Williams's co., 36th regt.; company return dated Fort No. 2, Oct. 5, 1775; also, Capt. Williams's co., Col. Greaton's regt.; order for bounty coat or its equivalent in money dated Cambridge Camp, Dec. 22, 1775.
Knower, Benjamin. Marine, brigantine "Hawke," commanded by Capt. Jonathan Oakes; engaged May 3, 1777; service, 1 mo., with the fleet under Commodore John Manley; roll sworn to in Middlesex Co.; also, Seaman, brig "Hazard," commanded by Capt. John Foster Williams; engaged July 7, 1778; discharged Oct. 14, 1778; service, 3 mos. 9 days.
Knower, Benjamin,.Private, Capt. Moses Bullard's co., Col. Ebenezer Thayer's regt.; enlisted Aug. 2, 1780; discharged Oct. 27, 1780; service, 2 mos. 29 days; regiment raised in Suffolk Co. to reinforce Continental Army for 3 months and stationed at Rhode Island.
I enclose account
Very resp'y yours
Sara E. Cushman