Thursday, May 30, 2013

Enoch Rowell and Meriam Converse of Candia, New Hampshire

background
Enoch Rowell was born in Amesbury, MA in 1716, first son of John and Elizabeth Colby Rowell.  This is not confirmed by any record, but he is believed to have been their oldest child and since John and Elizabeth married in 1715, the first child usually follows within a year or so. Alternatively, he was not their first child and was not born until 1720 or later.  This later birth date makes sense when you take into consideration his age at the time of marriage and military service.

John Rowell, his father, moved his wife and family from Amesbury to Chester, New Hampshire about 1729. John's  family had lived in Salisbury/Amesbury since the 1640's when the area was first settled.  Chester was incorporated in 1722 and was drawing many men from Salisbury and Amesbury who wanted the opportunity to buy land. Elizabeth's brother Enoch was already in Chester, where he served as selectman and tythingman for many years. According to the book, The History of Chester, John was the first settler on the north end of house lot 114.  On 1 July 1729 he bought house lot #50 and he and Benaiah Colby divided the two lots crosswise.

 In 1736/7 John died, leaving Elizabeth with as many as eight children, her youngest was only about 3 months old.   Elizabeth turned administration of her husband's estate over to her brother Enoch Colby, the value of which was only about  142 pounds. If Enoch was her eldest son, and if he was born in 1716, he would have been at least 20 years old at the time of his fathers death.  Would she have turned over her husband's estate to her brother if she had a son who was for all intents and purposes a grown man?

Widow Rowel appeared in two town  inventories, one in 1741 and in 1745. In each she had some land and a cow. I am not sure if that was the land bought by her husband John.  In 1746 Enoch deeded his 2/6 share in his father's land to his Uncle Enoch Colby.  Enoch had previously bought both Judith's and Elizabeth's 1/6 shares in 1744.  

seige of louisborg
In 1744 England and France declared war on each other. The British Colonies took the opportunity to rid themselves of their French enemies on Cape Breton Island in the Fort called Louisborg.  The French had been interfering with British fisherman and making a general nuisance of themselves. On 13 Feb 1745, Private Enoch Rowell joined Capt. Williams Company in Col. Moore's regiment and headed off to War. The British out-manned and outgunned the French and after 6 weeks and 5 days the French surrendered.

In July of 1646 Enoch served in Captain Daniel Ladd's Company on a scouting mission around Canterbury, NH, looking for marauding Indians.  He missed serving with Robert Rogers by a month or so.  Robert Rogers founded the first company of Rangers. The Ranger history can be traced to today's Army Rangers.

marriage and children
Enoch married Meriam Unknown about 1746 based on the birth of their first child.  No birth date is known for Meriam, I think the year 1716 is used based on the possible birth date of Enoch.  However if they were both born in 1716 this would make them 30 years old at the time of their first marriage and Meriam would have been 52 when she gave birth to her youngest child and that doesn't seem right to me.  Meriam's surname is believed to be Converse, based on the name's use in her grandchildren. Her parents are unknown.

chester and candia
Enoch sold his 2/6 share of his father's land in 1746 and bought a new lot, #50, in the third division of Chester.  The new settlement was begun in 1743 as part of Chester, but in 1763 it was incorporated into the town of Candia.  So in other words Enoch lived on the same plot of land but the name of the town changed.

children of Enoch and Meriam
Elizabeth b. 12 April 1750 Chester d. 13 July 1752 
John b. 12 April 1752 Chester d. 14 November 1752
Miriam b. 30 Sept. 1753 Chester m. John Cammet of Candia
Enoch b. 3 July 1756 Chester d. 2 Aug. 1840 Plainfield, NH   ancestor
Judith b. 1761 d. 20 Dec. 1781
Mary b. 29 Jan 1763 Chester d. 1822 New York m. Henry Gotham
Daniel b. 3 Sept. 1765 Candia (possibly the Captain Daniel Rowell of Maine)
Eliphalet b. 8 June 1768 Candia m. Abigail Smith, d. 1801 Livermore, Maine

1776
Well we all know what happened in 1776, or at least we should!  In 1775 Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys captured Ft. Ticonderoga in New York, on the Vermont border. From the fort the Americans were able to launch an invasion of Canada.  In August of 1776, Enoch enlisted in Captain Joseph Dearborn's Company in  Col. Issac Wyman's Regiment in Continental service against Canada.  The American invasion was not going well and the army was retreating. Col. Wyman's regiment was sent to Fort Ticonderoga to support the retreat. In December they returned to New Hampshire for winter quarters. Enoch did not make it home alive.
There is a story about Enoch's death that seems to have been accepted as truth, it goes:
Enoch Rowell Sr. and Enoch Rowell Jr. both served in the Revolutionary War. When their term of enlistment expired, they were discharged and, as was the custom, were left to get home as they could. They traveled on foot together many a weary mile, mostly through woods, with here and there a small settlement. Before reaching their home in Candia, N. H., the elder man's strength failed him, weakened as he was by the hardships and privations of his military service, and his son went forward to procure help. On returning with assistance, the son found his father sitting on a log where he had left him, with his cane between his knees, both hands on top of the cane, his head on his hands--dead. 
It makes for a good story but there are some glaring errors.  While it is true that both Enoch and his son and namesake were in military service at the same time, Enoch Jr. was in New York with Lt. Col. Loammi Baldwin's Regiment.  He did not muster out until January 3rd of 1777 at Peekskill, New York.  He did have a long walk home, but not with his father.  
Enoch died on 19 November 1776 at Ft. Ticonderoga. Meriam was made administrator of his estate on 21 December 1776 and inventory of which was taken on 24 March 1777. His estate was very modest including a 16 acre lot with house and a 100 acre lot in Candia.  He also owned a pair of spectacles. In 1801 Enoch's land was divided up between Meriam and her children.

Meriam died on 12 December 1813 in Candia. There is no known grave for her.  Whether Enoch was buried at Ft. Ticonderoga or at Candia I do not know.
Related Posts:
Enoch Rowell Jr. and Rachel Worthen



Sources:
David Hoyt, Old Families of Salisbury and Amesbury, 1897
William Haslet Jones, The Rowell Family of New England
E. N. Pearson, Roll of New Hampshire men at Louisborg, Cape Breton, 1745, Concord, 1896
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Louisbourg_(1745)
Benjamin Chase, History of Old Chester, 1719 to 1869, Auburn, 1869
Colby Family and others website
Isaac W. Hammond, Rolls of the Soldiers in the American Revolution, Concord, 1885, p. 327
C. E. Potter, The Military History of the State of New Hampshire from it's Settlement in 1823 to the Rebellion in 1861, 1868