Saturday, May 24, 2014


Righting the Historical Record

Acknowledgement:  Thanks to Rodney Sawyer for adding to our story of John Sawyer through his contribution to our information base regarding John's service during the War of Independence. While, we were able to honor John Sawyer, militiaman, with a government issued memorial for his service during the War of 1812, it is important that we recognize his much longer and more involved service during the Revolution. 

Thanks, also, to Sharon Lee Quincannon, whose yearly gift of $25.00, given in the name of her 'adopted Veteran', Lieut. Crispus Graves, Revolutionary War, was used to purchase a flag standard for John Sawyer.  This marker, embossed with the image of a 'Minute Man' is used to mark the graves of Revolutionary War Veterans.

John Sawyer was born on November 13, 1760 to Anthony and Susannah Sawyer.  When he was eighteen years old, he answered the call of the governor of the colony to join the militia and march from his home in Falmouth (Portland) to where troops would be taken to the area of what we now know as Castine, Maine to participate in the ill-fated Penobscot Expedition.  While 1500 militia were called up, only 875 ground forces showed up.  

John Sawyer enlisted on July 1, 1779 and served a term of three months in Capt. William Cobb's Company, a detachment of Col. Jonathan Mitchel.  His record of service is contained in Vol. 17 of Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary War, page 874.  He was discharged on September 25,1779.

   On October 1, 1779 until late December 1779, John served another enlistment in Col.
 Mc Lellan's Militia Company under the command of Capt. Joseph Pride for service to  Falmouth.  Again in the spring of 1780, John Sawyer enlisted for a third time.  He served for eight months from April 25, 1780 until December 6, 1780 in Col. Joseph Prime's Cumberland Regiment, in Capt. Joseph Pride's Company for the defense of eastern Massachusetts.

     In total, John Sawyer served a thirteen month period of three enlistments during the Revolutionary War. I am so pleased we have found this information and can honor him for his service and patriotism.

The 3rd New England Flag adopted for use by the Militia.
On April 20, 1790, John Sawyer married Abigail Graves, daughter of Lieut.Crispus and Susannah Graves.  They lived in East Deering until their deaths and are interred in the East Deering/Grand Trunk Cemetery.

The Maine Historical and Genealogical Recorder, Vol. 4 1887 list their inscriptions as follows:
               JOHN SAWYER                                                              ABIGAIL
                       Died                                                                            Wife of
                Dec. 6, 1842                                                                    John Sawyer
                      AEt. 82                                                                      died  March 10
                  ________                                                                           1848
                                                                                                        AEt. 82 yrs, 6 mo.
                                                                                                                27 d's.

I am going to include several documents I hope will interest readers who want to know more about John Sawyer and his service during the Revolution, including some testimonies recorded to verify his service in order for his wife to obtain his pension benefit.

More about this later.  At present, I am working with one of our young Junior Girls Scouts to put together records for the Grand Trunk Cemetery to be kept in the Office at Evergreen Cemetery.  We hope people looking for information about the GTC will find it useful.  So, for now, I need to sign off.  Remember our Patriots on Memorial Day!