Military Service in Early Harwinton

From: History of Litchfield County
With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches.
J. W. Lewis & Co., Philadelphia, Pa. 1881

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During the French and Indian Wars of 1755-63, a large proportion of Harwinton residents were soldiers serving with the British. Among these men were Charles Goodwin, Capt. Jacob Hinsdale, Timothy Homaston, Benoni Hough, Samuel Weston.

Timothy Homaston served under General Amherst at the taking of Quebec in 1759. He lived to a very advanced age, dying in Harwinton in 1829.

At the time of the American Revolution, there was in Harwinton some division of opinion concerning overthroving the British rule in the Colony. One of those opposed to seeking independence was Mark Prindle. An old document in the state archives reads:

"John Marsh, 3d, of Litchfield, applied (to the Governor and Council of Safety, 11, Feb., 1777) for liberty to take Mark Prindle, of Harwinton (a tory then at Mansfield), and have him before the court at Litchfield, in discharge of his bail bond, given for said Prindle in another case; which was granted by the Governor and Council with their order to return said Prindl after his trial, to Amariah Williams in said Mansfield."

During the revolution, the colony mandated quotas of men each town should raise for the war effort. In 1871, Harwinton was fined fifteen pounds by the state for missing their quota goal by one man.

However, the majority of Harwinton people supported the Revolutionary effort. In fact, the men of the town were quick to respond to the needs of a distant town. While Harwinton people were getting ready for Sabbath morning on April 27, 1777, a messenger arrived. Danbury was being invaded by Governor Tryon with his troops. Harwinton soldiers rushed to Danbury - about 44 miles away -- and arrived there early Monday morning. By that time the British had inflicted their damage and left.

A Harwinton mail, Levi Monson, served as a sergeant in Captain William Douglass’s company as part of Col. David Wooster’s regiment. He was taken prisoner on the Isle of Montreal and carried to Quebec. From there, he was transported as prisoner to England with a soldier named Green, and Col. Ethan Allen. He later returned from Falmouth, England, to Halifax.

It is noteworthy that although many Harwinton soldiers died of camp sickness, there is no record of Harwinton men killed in battle while fighting in the Continental Army.


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