Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My Uncle, Asahel Read (1753-1775) died at Lexington on 19 April 1775

 Asahel Read was born before 20 March 1753 in Sudbury, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, the youngest son and youngest child of Isaac and Experience (Willis) Read. 

The book The History of Sudbury, Massachusetts. 1638-1889 by Alfred Sereno Hudson notes (accessed on Google Books, page 381):

"During the day Sudbury sustained the loss of two men, Deacon Josiah Haynes and Asahel Reed. Joshua Haynes was wounded. Deacon Haynes was eighty years old. He was killed by a musket bullet at Lexington. He belonged to the old Haynes family of Sudbury, where his descendants still live. He was one of the original signers of the West Precinct Church Covenant, and was made deacon May 24, 1733. He was buried in the Old Burying Ground, Sudbury Centre. The grave is marked by a simple slate stone. Mr. Asahel Reed was of Captain Nixon's minute men. His name is found on that company's call roll to which we have before referred; it is left out after the battle, probably because after his death the name was stricken from the list. He belonged to the old Reed family of Sudbury, whose progenitor, Joseph Reed, settled at Lanham about 1656. Probably he was also buried in the old ground at Sudbury Centre. Mrs. Joseph Reed, a member of the same family and grandmother of the writer, said many years ago that the body of Mr. Reed was brought to Sudbury. So, although no stone has been found which marks the grave, he doubtless rests somewhere in the old burying-ground at the centre, which was the only one at that time in the West Precinct."

The periodical The Magazine of History with Notes and Queries, Volume 1, January-June 1905, (accessed on Google Books, page 244) has a list of the dead on Patriot's Day (19 April 1775) and Asahel Reed is listed as from Sudbury and buried in Sudbury Centre.

So there is no gravestone for Asahel Read.  And there is no government military record for Asahel Read, only a Sudbury town record, as noted in the Hudson book. 

Why do I care?  Because Asahel Read was my fifth great-grand-uncle, since I am descended from his sister, Sarah Read (1736-1809), daughter of Isaac and Experience (Willis) Read, who married Norman Seaver (1734-1787), and they were my fifth great-grandparents. 

The death of Asahel Read at the start of the Revolutionary War affected the Read and Seaver families.  Norman and Sarah (Read) Seaver named their next child Asahel Reed Seaver, born 2 October 1775 in Westminster, Worcester County, Massachusetts.  He married Hannah Gager in 1809, and Asahel died in 1849 in Westminster. 

Unfortunately, I have no family stories handed down over two centuries about Asahel Read's participation in the rush to Lexington and Concord on the morning of 19 April 1775.  I am quite sure that his namesake (Asahel Reed Seaver) was told the story about his uncle Asahel and, hopefully, repeated it to his children. 


Heather Wilkinson Rojo said...

I like how your ancestors named their child after Asahel Read. This must have been common. My ancestor named his son after his uncle, Robert Munroe, who was one of the first men bayoneted on Lexington Green. The name Robert Munroe has been passed on ever since, down to my Dad's brother, Robert Munroe Wilkinson. No one knew why until I found the story of the Battle of Lexington. We forget that to the people of Middlesex County, this was like their September 11th -an unforgettable disaster that left lots of memories.

Midge Frazel said...

You did see my gravestone post on the gravestones in the Revolutionary graveyard in Sudbury?

Geolover said...

Randy, a very moving story. One branch in my ancestry did the same concerning a childless relative who died in the siege of Fort Meigs during the War of 1812 - a host of sons in the next 3 generations bore his name. Thus genealogy and history intimately combine in the lives of families.