Saturday, September 15, 2007

Patriot Soldier, Isaac Buck

One of my favorite ancestors is Isaac Buck (1757-1846).

His service in the Revolutionary War in both the Massachusetts Line and the Continental Line is summarized by this:

"During the Revolutionary War in 1775, young Isaac Buck was in Captain Benjamin Hastings company of Bolton, Colonel Asa Whitcomb's regiment. He was matross in Captain James Swan's company, Colonel James Craft's regiment, in 1776. A "matross" was a private in the army who aided the artillery gunners to load, fire and sponge the guns. He was also in Captain Philip Marett's company in 1776-1777. He was in the Continental Army in Captain John Houghton's company, Colonel Josiah Whitney's regiment in 1778, and was in Captain Redding's company, Colonel Gamaliel Bradford's regiment in 1777. In 1780 and 1781, he was in Captain Thomas Jackson's company, Colonel John Crane's Third Artillery regiment."

Another significant record of his life accomplishments is in his application for a Revolutionary War Pension. The Pension file (S34136) for Isaac Buck contains affidavits attesting to his war service and the circumstances of Isaac Buck life. He applied for a Pension in April 1818, and received it in 1820. It includes:

"I, Isaac Buck, a citizen of the United States, now resident at Sterling in the County of Worcester in the State aforesaid, do on oath testify and declare that in the War of the Revolution in the month of December in the year one thousand seven hundred and seventy nine, I entered and engaged in the land service of the United States on the continental establishment, and served accordingly from that time to the end of the war as a private against the common enemy without any interruption or absence, that I belonged to Captain Jackson's company of Artillery in Colonel Crane's Regiment under the command of General Knox, and that I left the service in the month of June 1783 at West Point when the Army was disbanded, and that by reason of my reduced circumstances in life and poverty, I stand in need of assistance from my country and support being now of the age of sixty years - and I hereby relinquish all claims to every pension heretofore allowed me by the laws of the United States if any may be or hath been allowed. My discharge was lost from my pocket many years since and is not in existence." /signed/ Isaac Buck.

A schedule of the property belonging to Isaac Buck of Sterling as of May 1 1820 included:

"one cow - one clock - one table - one looking glass - one chest - one shovel - one tongs - crockery - glass stemware - one old axe - one hoe - one old plough - one old wagon - one pot - one kettle - one pair of dogs - three old chairs - six knives and forks - $30.25"

The schedule also says, apparently written for Isaac Buck:

"The said applicant is a farmer, but wholly unable to labour the present season on account of a wound in his shoulder in May last - and never expects to perform much labour hereafter. His wife named Patty Buck is aged 60 years - is barely able to do the work of her house. I have but one child at home named Isaac Buck aged 14 years and performs as much labour as other farmer's boys at his age, but does nothing toward my support. This is the whole of my family." /signed/ Isaac Buck.

For his service, he was awarded a pension by the United States of $8 per month commencing 8 April 1818.

Isaac Buck participated in many of the historic campaigns of the Revolutionary War. He probably helped Henry Knox move the artillery from Ticonderoga to Boston in the winter of 1776, and probably was with Knox and Washington from then until the end of the War - fighting the British in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Isn't it amazing what records you can find for your ancestors?

I thank God for all of the Isaac Bucks who have served their country so well for so many years at the risk of life. They have kept, and are keeping, our country free and thriving.

1 comment:

GreenmanTim said...

Randy, this is a fascinating account. Intrigued by the service record you listed for your ancestor, I started looking into the units in which he served. Depending on when Isaac Buck transferred from Colonel Asa Whitcomb's Militia regiment to the Artillery, he might or might not have served with Knox from Ticonderoga to Bosotn but might well have serviced the guns that forced the British to evacuate on March 17, 1776. There is an article about Col. Whitcomb's regiment from a series in the Massachusetts Magazine apparently available at the NEHGS research library (F/61/M48)entitled: “Colonel Asa Whitcomb’s Regiment. Colonel Asa Whitcomb’s Regiment, April 19, 1775. Colonel Asa Whitecomb’s 5th Regiment, Provincial Army, April-July, 1775. Colonel Asa Whitcomb’s 23rd Regiment, Army United Colonies, July-December, 1775.”
[The Massachusetts Magazine, July, 1914, 7:3, p. 99-123].

I wonder if perhaps the commander of the Artillery regiment in which he was a matross in 1776 was Thomas Crafts, not James? Here is an article on him from Boston 1775 that may be of interest.

Col. Thomas Crafts was commander of Massachusett's militia artillery in 1776. He was a prominent Boston patriot as well.

Colonel Gamaliel Bradford Commanded a regiment of the Massachusetts Line which saw service in the Saratoga campaign during 1777. More on Colonel Bradford here:

His regiment is usually called the 14th Massachusetts but I have seen it also given as the 13th and am not an expert in distinguishing which is correct. He was brigaded with the 10-12th Massachusetts Continentals in Patterson's Brigade at Mt. Independance (I had an ancestor in the 11th) and from there to Saratoga, Valley Forge and Monmouth. I had an ancestor in the 11th MA. In any event, Bradford's was an infantry regiment, not artillery.

Colonel Josiah Whitney had formerly been Lt. Colonel in Asa Whitcomb's Militia regiment. He was commissioned Colonel of the 2nd Worcester Regiment of Massachusetts Militia in February, 1776. If Isaac Buck served with him in 1778, He may have taken part in the bungled Newport, Rhode Island campaign between July and September, 1778.

Colonel John Crane's 3rd Continental Artillery Regiment was Knox's old Massachusetts Regiment. While it did indeed help move the guns from Ticonderoga while under Knox in the winter of 1775-1776, your remarkable ancestor served in it in later years.

All told, an extraordinary service record!