Monday, March 23, 2015

Sorting Out the Military Service of Zachariah Hildreth (1754-1820)

I've spent part of the past week trying to find records of, and to sort out, the military service of Zachariah Hildreth (1754-1828), my 4th great-grandfather.  He was born in Westford, Massachusetts to Zachariah and Elizabeth (Precott) Hildreth, and resided in Townsend, Massachusetts after his marriage in 1777 to Elizabeth Keyes.  The elder Zachariah was born in 1728 and died in 1784 in Westford.

I started out with the entries in the book, Massachusetts, Secretary of the Commonwealth, Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary War (Boston, Mass. : Wright & Potter Pritning, 1896-1908):

There are three entries for the name, it may be that they refer to only one person, or two persons, or three persons with the same name.

The first listing for Zachariah Hildreth of Boston says he mustered in June 1777 in Col. Henry Jackson's regiment.  There was a Zachariah Hildreth who married Margaret Bard in 1773 in Boston.
There are Revolutionary War Rolls and other records for a Sergeant Zachariah Hildreth in Colonel Henry Jackson's Regiment on and Fold3.

 I think the first listing refers to this specific Zachariah Hildreth, who is not closely related to the Zachariahs of Westford and Townsend.

The second listing for Zachariah Hildreth calls him a 2d Lieutenant and notes he was in Captain Zachariah Wright's 2nd Westford company in the 6th Regiment.  Note the name Jonathan Reed in this entry.  This is obviously a company from Westford.  My elder Zachariah Hildreth would be age 48 in 1776, while my younger Zachariah Hildreth would be age 22.  I think that this second listing is probably my elder Zachariah.

The third listing is for Zachariah Hildreth and calls him a Corporal, and he joined in 1778 in Col. Jonathan Reed's regiment.  I think this is probably my younger Zachariah Hildreth who settled in Townsend by 1778 (when his first child was recorded there).

The complications arise when I review the SAR Applications on  There are two SAR applications (and two for DAR also, but I can't see them) for a Zachariah Hildreth.  One is for Samuel Hildreth Emerson:

This application attributes the Lieutenant of Westford to my elder Zachariah Hildreth.  I think this is probably correct, but I haven't found any military records to support it..

The second application is for George Henry Woolley:

This application attributes the 2nd Lieutenant of Westford as my younger Zachariah Hildreth who settled in Townsend.  I think that this is not correct, but I can't find records to support it.

Then there is the biography of Milo Hildreth in the book Biographical Encyclopaedia of Massachusetts of the Nineteenth Century, that states:

..."Zachariah Hildreth [of Townsend] was a farmer, a cooper, and a military man, who was  elected Captain of the militia in 1790, and held that office until 1796."

This doesn't mention his rank or service during the Revolutionary War, and I would think that it would.

I did find one record in the Revolutionary War Pension Records for John Sherwin of Townsend where Zachariah Hildreth was listed as one of the men who served in 1778 as a guard in Cambridge, which matches the description of Corporal Zachariah Hildreth's service to some extent.

My hypothesis is as above as to each Zachariah Hildreth, but I'm not sure that I've nailed all three of these Zachariah's down yet since I don't seem to have any records for the Westford and Townsend men.

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Copyright (c) 2015, Randall J. Seaver

1 comment:

Linda Stufflebean said...

Randy, Check the website, GRS link to Ancestors.

Two Zachariahs come up, one 1728-1784, married Elizabeth Prescott. The second 1754-1829 married Elizabeth Keyes and he is called 2nd Lt. One member, nat. number 762184, has both men listed as her patriots. My nat. number begins with 658 and I joined in 1981. This lady likely joined in the late 1980s or early 1990s and had to provide strong documentation.