(Neither my footnotes comparing editions nor my
historical, genealogical, and topographical endnotes
are included in this Web Site at this time, although
knowledge gleaned from them has been used in
selecting links to other sites. Complete
references, annotations, etc., will be given in the
forthcoming scholarly edition, but some of these may
be incorporated into this site in the future.
Rather than numbers, endnotes are generally linked
to their place of first occurrence.)
[ To order a hard copy of Recollections click here. ]
noting down & by the hand of. When David Perry says
"written by himself" at the end of his copyrighted title, he means it -- both
figuratively, as in "composing," and literally, as in "penning the words onto
paper." Although the flow of the narrative implies that David Perry was
both author and scribe -- that the original manuscript was actually written
in his own hand -- this assumption is confirmed only by Simeon Ide's
"Advertisement." Without this "editor's note" prefacing the first edition,
the questions surrounding the document's production and its first publication
would likely have remained unanswered. The "Advertisement" also gives us
the only known physical description of Captain David Perry. (Ide's
"Advertisement" is missing in 20th century hard-copy editions).
Printer = Simeon Ide (1794-1889), of Windsor, Vermont, editor and
publisher of newspaper "The Vermont Republican and American Yeoman"
Although the printer's identity is undisclosed in the original 1822 edition of
Capt. David Perry's Recollections of An Old Soldier, Simeon Ide is
undoubtedly the owner and proprietor of the "Republican and Yeoman Printing-Office" and author of the Advertisement that opens the first edition
of Recollections. The copy that belongs to the American Antiquarian
Society [AAS] today is listed on page 151 of "A Bibliography of the Imprints
of Simeon Ide 1814-1879 " by Robert William Glenrole Vail [1890- ], in
the biography Simeon Ide, Yeoman, Freeman, Pioneer Printer, by Louis
Warner Flanders, M. D. [1864- ], with a genealogy of the Ide family compiled
by Edith Flanders Dunbar [1871- ], (Rutland, Vt., The Tuttle company, 1931.
Simeon Ide, son of Lemuel Ide and Sarah Stone) was born 16 Oct 1767
in Shrewsbury, Worcester, Massachusetts and died 22 Jun 1889 in
Roxbury, Suffolk, Massachusetts. He married on 11 Mar 1818 in Rutland,
Rutland, Vermont, Evelina Pamela Goddard (1799-1857) by whom he
had 10 children.
When 79-year-old Capt. David Perry walked from the wintry streets of
Windsor into the Republican and Yeoman Printing Office on Main Street
sometime between 1819 and 1822, Simeon Ide was around 25 years old and
a new father -- the same age as Capt. Perry's own grandchildren.
Well might the young printer have called this "hoary-headed veteran of four
score years" Grandfather.
(Further information on Ide's newspaper, career and own autobiography --
perhaps inspired by that of Capt. Perry -- is planned. )
Windsor, Windsor County, Vermont. The town of Windsor is directly
across the Connecticut River from Cornish, New Hampshire (a town just south
of Plainfield, N.H., where David Perry lived with him family from 1779 to 1797).
His two eldest children lived in Cornish directly after their marriages, and
youngest daughter Hannah [Perry] Alden made Cornish her home for over
40 years. It is possible that David Perry presented his manuscript at
Simeon Ide's "Printing-Office" during a visit to this daughter in Cornish.
A further connection to Windsor exists in that his wife, Anna [Bliss] Perry,
is listed in some sources as having been buried in either Cornish, N.H. or in
Windsor, VT. in 1835.
(Links to information on Windsor:
Vermont State Web Site
and Windsor County Towns.)
Simplicity and truth. David Perry's writing has
"all the ease that goes with honesty" (Barrington, 1997, Writing the Memoir: From Truth to Art,
This does not mean that the reader of David Perry's memoir who is
well-versed in historic details won't find occasional discrepancies
(and very few there are, for a writer recalling experiences after sixty
years' lapse). Differences between the "exact truth" and the
truth as [one] perceived it" has been called "factual truth and emotional truth,"
and while "both...are important in memoir, sometimes...the two are not the same"
(Clearman Blew quoted in Barrington, ibid.). However, in Perry's case,
research reveals that they are nearly always the same. Perry made a diligent effort
to be historically accurate as well as giving the reader insights gained.
One descendant and student of David Perry summarized Perry's intent:
“It was of paramount importance to him that his progeny had some post on which
to guide their lives and their country. He said it in the best way he knew how in
order to make the greatest and most lasting impression he could.
I choose to believe that events happened in just the way he described
them and will continue my own efforts to pass along to my children this very same message.”
(Lawrence Marshall, corr. 31 Jul 2003).
In his memoir, Capt. David Perry neither attempts to put every recollection in actual chronological
order, nor to conform to spelling norms that did not yet exist. Rather, his writing
flows from his pen as from his mind, and the purity of his intent is as apparent
now as when Simeon Ide printed his advertisement nearly two centuries
ago. The reader must also bear in mind that books, paper and ink were
at a premium; David Perry did not have the luxury of either revision or extensive
Perhaps it is just as well. David Perry's honesty is such that no one
who reads his memoir with that same brand of honesty can help but be improved by it, or moved by
his admonition to his posterity -- writing as he does
"with all the feeling of a tender parent" (1 Nephi 8:37, BOM).
the art and preserver of all arts.
Ide is here quoting from The History of Printing in America
by Boston printer Isaiah Thomas (1749-1831). Speaking of printing, Thomas wrote:
“That art which is the preserver of all arts, is worthy of the learned and the curious.”
The book -- in two volumes, fully titled The History of Printing in America with a Biography of Printers,
and an Account of Newspapers. To Which is Prefixed a Concise View of the Discovery and Progress
of the Art in Other Parts of the World (Worcester, Mass: Isaac Sturtevant, Printer) --
was first published in 1810.
(Source: “The Popular Press in New Hampshire,” University of New Hampshire Milne Special Collections & Archives On-line Exhibits 1756-1800, http://www.izaak.unh.edu/exhibits/press/ [18 March 2002].)
Forty-sixth year of the Independence of the United States of America =
1822, forty-five and a half years after the signing -- on July 4th, 1776 -- of the Declaration
Latin. Both Latin and Greek -- the Classical languages -- were essential
to grammar school curriculum of 200 years ago; and, although now rarely
included, they continue in the modern English vocabulary, both verbatim
("word-for-word"; from the Latin verbum meaning "word") and directly or
indirectly as the root of most English words. Since Capt. Perry uses Latin
words and phrases in a number of instances, I have included in this Web
Site translations of those, and definitions of any words that might otherwise
elude the reader as they did me.
act of Congress = the Act of Congress, dated 25 May 1790, during the First Congress, Second Session (see Journal of the Senate, p. 145)
and signed into law by Pres. Washington on the 31st of May, 1790.
Printed in Boston, Massachusetts, on Saturday July 17, 1790, by Benjamin Russell in the Columbian Centinel (No. 36 of Vol. XIII),
this act "for the encouragement of learning, by securing the Copies of Maps, Charts and Books, to the Authors
and Proprietors..." constituted the new country's first copyright law. The Constitution
of the United States (17 Sept. 1787) had given congress the "power to
promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for
limited times to authors and individuals, exclusive right to their
respective writings and discoveries" (Art. 1, Sec. 8). The act of 1790
secured these rights by law, and extended it to include maps, charts
and books (Encyclopedia Americana, 1947, VII, 671).
For more information on the history of copyright, see Professor Lee A. Hollaar's Treatise [BNA Books, 2003] at Digital-Law-Online, and
Association of Research Libraries.
1741. Captain David Perry was born during a period of evangelical
fervor in New England known as the Great Awakening.
David Walker & master. David Walker served as a selectman of
Dighton (see below) for a number of years and was prominent in town affairs.
He lived in that part of Dighton that is now the town of Segreganset.
His house, which was "home" to David Perry for the seven years of his
apprenticeship, still stands (History of Dighton).
Bristol County Massachusetts included Rehoboth,
("Eastown") and Taunton, which were thus in relatively close proximity.
(See 1883 map).
Dighton is about
7 miles from
and both are about 40 miles from Boston. Rehoboth was first called
Seekonk after the Native American name for the land, and included
what is now East Providence, R.I.
relations = probably the family of Capt. Nathaniel Perry, who
resided in Easton. Capt. Nathaniel Perry,
the brother of Eliakim Perry, died of illness on 15 Jun 1756 at Ft. Cumberland, Nova Scotia. His letters home to his wife Mehitable [Leonard]
Perry are preserved in Ancestry & Descendants of Nathaniel Perry, Jr. by Alvin E. Montgomery.
His wife Mehitible Perry survived him by 41 years, and raised their four children: Nathaniel (b: 1738), Lydia (b: ca. 1740),
Samuel (b: 1742) and James (b: 1745/46; Capt., who served in the American Revolution). She is buried in Easton Cemetery, Easton, Mass.
one brother and two sisters = Sylvanus, Abigail and Elizabeth -- at the
time, ages five, three and one, respectively. (See family genealogy page.)
one of my mother's brothers & uncle David Joy = Lt. David Joy, also a
resident of Rehoboth, Massachusetts, the younger brother of Sarah [Joy] Perry.
His unfailing kindness to his nephew David Perry is attested to by his "dropping
everything" and riding all night, by horse and chair, to fetch his nephew home
when the latter was deathly ill with typhus. (For further information on David Joy,
see notes on family page.)
Job Winslow = Job Winslow of Dighton, Mass., where David Perry was
residing as an apprentice tanner-shoemaker at the time of his enlistment.
Capt. Winslow, who remained David Perry's friend throughout his life, was
wounded at Ticonderoga; was raised to rank of Major in the Massachusetts
militia at Nova Scotia, and to Lt.-Col. prior to his service in the recapture
of St. John's, Newfoundland.
Old Hadley = Hadley, Massachusetts, on the east bank of the
Connecticut River, "New" Hadley being Hadley, Connecticut.
Northampton = Northampton, Massachusetts, on the west bank of
the Connecticut River (across the river from "Old" Hadley).
Pantocet Woods (varied spellings) = the area that later became the
town of Pittsfield, Massachusetts in the western part of the present state
near what is now the Massachusetts-New York border.
Albany = Albany, New York, on the west bank of the
(across the river from Greenbush).
North River = an another name for the Hudson
but possibly referring just to the northern section of that river.
Setackuk = probably a phonetic approximation of Schaghticoke,
New York. The reader must keep in mind that many of these places
David Perry saw -- and heard spoken of -- during only one relatively short
period of his life, and he is recalling these at a temporal distance of
sixty years. Nonetheless, his memory is remarkably accurate.
route = probably following the Hudson River Road south to Albany
(or just across the river from that town), then apparently taking an upper
branch of the Old Post Road which wended through a more populated
area, with a corresponding increase in inns.
Sharon = possibly Sharon, Connecticut, in which case, young David
Perry would have had to detour south from the established route and come
back north to Great Barrington, Massachusetts in order to have entered
Springfield, Massachusetts by traversing Glascow Mountain. His reference,
therefore, to Sharon is somewhat obscure.
"Green Woods" = a the evergreen forests that at one time covered
the mountainous eastern portion of present-day Massachusetts and
Glascow Mountain = Westfield Mountain, just west of Springfield,
cob dollar= Spanish milled dollar
Col. Prebble = Jedediah Preble of Falmouth, in that part of Massachusetts that is now Portland, Maine, was appointed Brigadier General in 1760. (See Preble, George Henry, Capt. U. S. N.. Genealogical Sketch of the First Three Generations of Prebles in America: with an Account of Abraham Preble the Emigrant, Their Common Ancestor, and of his Grandson Brigadier General Jedediah Preble, and his Descendants. Boston, Massachusetts: David Clapp & Son, 1868, reprinted in 2000 by Higginson Book Co., Salem, Massachusetts; see also
Ancestors & Descendants of
Thomas Paine Barlow & Frances Anica Preble as extracted from:
Colonial and Revolutionary Families of Pennsylvania,
Volumes I-III. at "The Barlow Clearinghouse" by Susan BARLOW Holmes. 13 December 2002. http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~barlow/FairfieldFamilies/barlow-preble.html#ben)
Halifax = Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. The port city of
of the chief British military ports. Capt. Perry was in
in 1759, in 1760;
and for the last time, in 1762.
Captain Hazen = Moses Hazen, afterwards
Brigadier General of the
Second Canadian Regiment (a.k.a. "Congress' Own") during the
Capt. Stark. The "Capt. Stark" who served at Quebec was actually John Stark's brother,
Capt. William Stark. Born four years apart,
with William the elder, the brothers were born and bred "in a frontier community
where hunting and Indian-fighting were the chief occupations" (Am. Bio. Dict. 9:530). The confusion in identity
was natural, partly because John Stark was a famous revolutionary general, the hero both of Bunker Hill and the Battle of Bennington
and lived until May 1822 whereas William joined the British army during the Revolution and
and died, forgotten by history, in 1776.
During the French and Indian War, both brothers served in Rogers' Rangers. William aided in the capture of
Louisbourg under Gen. Amherst in 1758, and served under Wolfe at Quebec in 1759. John Stark "attained a captaincy through gallantry
on the field" (Ibid.). In January 1757, en route with a scouting party to Lake Champlain, he distinguished himself
by walking forty miles in deep snow, after a day's fighting and a night's marching, in order to bring succor to the wounded." (Ibid.)
Like David Perry, he was at Ticonderoga in 1758 under Gen. Abercrombie during the failed assault.
In 1759, as part of the operations to take Montreal in the province of Quebec, he served under
Gen. Amherst in the capture of Ticonderoga and Crown Point.
The Ranger companies were parred down
after the taking of Quebec City, and, like several other Ranger captains including his brother William,
his usefulness to the crown had ended closing this chapter in his military career.
Thus John Stark was did not participate in the actual taking of Montreal in 1760.
Pisga = phonetic substitution for Piziquid. Fort Piziquid was afterward
called Fort Edward, and Piziquid River the
River. A Biblical
appellation, Pisga is a common New England place name and would
have been familiar to David Perry, whereas Piziquid -- an Algonquin
word -- would not.
Minas Basin is spelled by David Perry as Menus.
the Havanna or Havana = Havana in the West Indies, i.e., Havana,
Cuba. "The Havana" directly translates the Spanish La Habana.
The British wrested Havana from Spain on 12 August 1762, shortly
after the Spanish joined the war as France's ally. (Both France and
Spain were Catholic while England was protestant and it cannot
be denied that religion played an important role in the partisanship
of Spain for France and the continual friction between France
When Massachusetts received the news of victory, a resolution was passed on September 15, 1762 requesting
the Governor appoint a day of public Thanksgiving: the date chosen was Thursday, October 7, 1762.
[Mass. Archives; corr. with Patricia Althea
Reference librarian, Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA]
Peter Laford = probably an anglicization of Pierre Laforte.
Capt. MacDonnell died = was presumed dead. He was badly wounded and "disappeared from the
scene" to the common soldier's point of view. Taken to a home in Quiddi Vidi, he cared for and slowly
regained his health. (See Prowse.)
Doctor Matthews is Dr. Thomas Mather, Matthews being a phonetic approximation with a British/New-England accent for "Mathers"
-- Mathers and Matthews being two of the many variant spellings of the name "Mather,"
a common feature of names "by ear" as we might say Gibbs for Gibb.
Perry mentions him twice, initially when he was treated by him, and again when he saw him during
his near death experience.
Perry states that he "had been intimately acquainted" with Dr. Mather:
"intimate" in the early eighteenth century, still very British usage means
"a close friend, having bonds of affection or understanding resulting from the sharing
of interests, problems, and experiences." [Oxford Dict.]
Thomas Mather, the descendant of four generations of ministers, was Perry's elder by three years.
There would have been a natural affinity between the two since Perry was a sober young man who valued the Bible
and, not liking the "rough set much," desired more uplifting company.
Both Mather and Perry were in Col. Jonathan Hoar's regiment in the expedition to recapture Newfoundland from the French.
Typhus was picked up on the return voyage from Newfoundland to Nova Scotia. Mather died in Halifax of typhus
while Perry was returning home.
nervous fever = typhus.
There is also a possibly of typhoid fever, but the presence of lice makes the former
much more likely. Typhus and typhoid fever ("typhoid" meaning "typhus like") were virtually undistinguishable
before the causes were identified -- at a much later date. (More information forthcoming).
Typhus was first brought to Newfoundland on lice infected blankets in 1760 or 1761.
nearly thirty years = about 1790, when Capt. Perry had been living
in Plainflield, New Hampshire, for over 10 years and had an established reputation in the town.
ninth of December = 9 December 1762. The ninth was the annual Thanksgiving day of the province by proclamation.
Like days of public thanksgivine of previous years (e.g., Dec 3, 1761, Nov 29, 1764, Nov 27, 1766), the day was a Thursday.
four wars = 1) King George's War, or War of the Austrian Succession,
(known in David Perry's day as the "Old French War"); 2) the French and
Indian War, or Seven Years' War (known in 1822 as the "French War");
3) the Revolutionary War; and 4) the War of 1812.
party spirit = Federalists were the dominant part in New England during the War of 1812.
They opposed the war, some to the point of advocating secession from the Union, defied the Republican administration
of Pres. James Madison, and "shared an abhorrence of the
war -- frequently grounded on religious principles" (Hickey, 257).
Plattsburgh = Plattsburgh, New York (in the early 1800s, occasionally spelled without the "h"). See Historic Lakes. For more information on
the Battle of Plattsburgh and Lake Champlain, see Part V- Action on Cumberland Bay: September 11, 1814 at the Historic Lakes web site.
Col.* Fassett = General Elias Fassett, born Dec. 20 1771 in Bennington,
Bennington Co., VT, the son of Capt. John Fassett, Jr. and Hannah[?]
Safford. He married there Sarah Walbridge (b: 1772, Bennington, VT),
the daughter of Henry Walbridge and Anna Safford who were both
originally from Norwich, CT (the township to which David Perry's father
had removed and raised a second family after the death of Sarah [Joy]
Perry in 1748). The children of Elias and Sarah [Wallbridge] Fassett
were born in Cambridge, Lamoille, VT.
Elias Fassett was "brigadier general of the militia of northwestern Vermont
...at the outbreak of the war of 1812...In 1813 he resigned his commission
in the Vermont state service and [on 23 Feb. 1813] secured a commission
as colonel in the regular army" (Ward, Harry Parker. Follett-Dewey-Fassett-Safford-Hopkins-
Robinson-Fay Genealogy and History. Champlin Printing
Co., 1896, which refers to "Hamersly's Regular Army Register,"
probably the Thomas Holdup Stevens Hamersley's
Historical Register & Dictionary of US Army 1789-1903, p. 116. See also
Fassett, Katherine Schuster. The Fassett genealogy: Descendants of Patrick
and Sarah Fassett. Binghampton, NY: KF Schuster, 1974).
"The Vermont Historical Magazine, in speaking of the military enthusiasm
of northern Vermont, where recruits were raised for the Indian wars, the war
with Tripoli, and the regular army and navy, says: 'It was also, a recruiting
station during the War of 1812, and in 1813 the Thirtieth Regiment of U.S.
Infantry, under Colonel Elias Fassett, was mustered and drilled here,
preparatory to joining the army for actual service.' In Hammersly's Regular
Army Register, p. 116, there is a roster of regiment as it stood April 30, 1813.
Among third lieutenants are Thomas Chittenden and Benjamin Fassett"
(Ward, and Fassett).
Ward (Follett...Gen. & Hist.) gives and extract from Hiram Harwood's Diary
of 1812: "Monday, June 7, 1813 - Many of us went down to where Col. Fassett's
regiment took its departure for Burlington, [VT], which they did in a brilliant manner."
Fassett was honorably discharged from the army on 15 June 1815 (Historical
Register and Dictionary of US Army 1789-1903). Burlington may have been
the residence of Elias Fassett at the time of the Battle of Plattsburgh, or at
some point, for he died there 15 Aug. 1822 (the year of the publication of
David Perry's memoir).
(For more on Fassett, see Lossing's Field Book, Chapter 37, n. 67)
discomfited by land. Amid brisk resistance by the American
defenders, the British occupied the north and west portions of the town of Plattsburgh on
Sept. 6th, but were held in check by Macdonough's fleet anchored in Plattsburgh (Cumberland) Bay.
There they built batteries and awaited the arrival of their fleet. The Americans under Gen. Macomb
had fortified the south side of the Saranac River, and fired hot-shot to disloge British sharp shooters in buildings
across the river. See HISTORIC LAKES. Part IV- War in Plattsburg, New York: September 6-11, 1814.
Macdonough's grandson Rodney Macdonough (b. 1863), in his biography of the commodore's life,
described the scene just "minutes before the battle commenced":
“There was now a hushed, expectant moment like the stillness which precedes the storm. Macdonough, whose manly courage was supported by a childlike faith,
knelt on the deck of the flagship [Saratoga] with his officers around him and repeated the
prayer appointed by the Church to be said before a fight as sea" (R. Macdonough, 177; see also 276, 262).
That prayer is recorded in the The Book of Common Prayer,
is as follows:
O MOST powerful and glorious Lord God, the Lord of hosts,
that rulest and commandest all things;
Thou sittest in the throne judging right, and therefore we make our address
to thy Divine Majesty in this our necessity, that thou wouldest take the
cause into thine own hand, and judge between us and our enemies.
Stir up thy strength, O Lord, and come and help us; for thou givest not
alway the battle to the strong, but canst save by many or by few.
O let not our sins now cry against us for vengeance; but hear us thy poor
servants begging mercy, and imploring thy help, and that thou wouldest
be a defence unto us against the face of the enemy.
Make it appear that thou art our Saviour and mighty Deliverer,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(Source: “The Prayer to be said before a fight at sea against any enemy" in
"Forms of Prayer to Be Used at Sea";
Thomas Macdonnough, a devout Anglican, undoubtedly used
The Book of Common Prayer published in 1789.)
Macdonough was unostentatious in all areas of his public life,
both before and after the victory of Lake Champlain.
He was surprised and humbled by the honors subsequently showered upon him; he felt he was simply
doing his duty to God and to his country (ibid., 209, 211, 261).
Macdonough was known as a faithful, zealous, consistent Christian. Kind to his men,
"'he was remarkable...for the mildness of his manners and yet pecupliar for his enforcement of discipline.'" (Ibid., 255, 262). "The confidence of his officers and men in him was unbounded" (155).
On Sunday, September 4th, a week before the action on Lake Champlain. a young man from Yale dined with Macdonough and his officers
after "divinie services." " 'While awaiting the dinner hour [Macdonough] entered freely into conversation on religious
services in the navy, and, among other things, remarked that he regarded the Epislte of James as peculiarly suited to the sailor's mind; the illustrations frawn from swa life -- such as "He that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind",
and "Behold the ships, though so great, are turned about with a very small helm" -- are very striking, and then the plain and forcible manner in which the ordinary duties of life are taught,
and the sins of men are specified and condemned, are easily comprehended, even by men as little instructed as seamen usually are. My youthful
ears were all attention to such language and in such associations. At dinner a blessing, being invited, was offered by
the chaplain, and it appeared to be no unusual thing.' " (Joseph H. Dulles quoted in R. Macdonough, Life, 155-156).
In the midst of the meal, the commodore said, "'Gentlement, I mean the sailor gentlemen,
I am just informed by the commander of the army that the signs of advance by hte British forces
will be signalled by two guns, and you will act accordingly.'" (ibid. 156)
(See Macdonough, Rodney. The Life of Commodore Thomas Macdonough, U.S. Navy. Boston: The Fort Hill Press, S. Usher, 1909;
See also Russ Pickett. One of Delaware's Heros: Captain Thomas Macdonough. Delaware State Web Site. http://www.state.de.us/facts/history/mcdobio.htm)
Washington = President, previously General, George Washington. During the War of 1812, some men formed the Washington Union Society,
to combine their efforts to assure the continuance of the Union. Radical Federalists in New England sought to secede from the Union -- a sentiment that
culminated in the Hartford Convention in 1814.
"United we stand; divided we fall." This phrase was
in common use at the time of the Revolution. Evidently Perry heard Washington use
the phrase at the Siege of Boston when the general took command of the troops in July, 1775.
It seems likely that it was used by Washington in a pep-talk to the troops, but there is no
published record of Washington's words in which the maxim is found. The maxim dates back to
Aesop's fables such as "The Bundle of Sticks" whose moral, "Union gives strength,"
had obvious application to the Thirteen Colonies.
The proverbial truth was incorporated into "The Liberty Song" by John Dickinson (1732–1808) in 1768,
Then join hand in hand, brave Americans all!
By uniting we stand, by dividing we fall.
“United we stand; divided we fall” became the watchword not only of the American Revolution,
but was rightly associated with the freedom of the United States thereafter.
The partisan divisiveness during the War of 1814 was fresh in Perry’s mind as he
urged future generations to better “Stand United.”
follies, extravagance and luxury of European countries. In spite
of the schism with Great Britain, American's were "ambitious to ape" *
European nations (particularly England and France) even in David Perry's
day -- one obvious example being the fluctuating fashions in the clothing of
the more affluent citizens. (See
It is a tragic lesson of history that with prosperity comes a tendency toward
greed; and with poverty, toward coveting the lifestyles of the wealthy.
bless and praise his Holy name. One familiar with the following words by
Samuel F. Smith and Francis Scott Key cannot help but think of them here:
"...Our father's God, to thee, Author of liberty, To Thee we sing;
Long may our land be bright With freedom's holy light.
Protect us by thy might, Great God, our King!"
["My County, 'Tis of Thee," Samuel F. Smith]
"...Oh, thus be it ever, when free men shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation!
Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land
Praise the Pow'r that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: 'In God is out trust!'
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!"
["The Star-Spangled Banner," Francis Scott Key, 1814]
two wars for our independence = the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.
Although there was no overt victor in the War of 1812,
the fledgling United States won its place as a free and independent
country upon the high seas -- and thus in the global arena. Until
pressed, and her prowess exhibited, her freedom from British rule
was confined to the home-base setting.
dedicate ourselves to God. Perhaps no
words evoke so strongly the following sentiments of Katherine Lee Bates,
as does the final admonition of David Perry:
"...Oh, beautiful for patriot dream That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam, Undimmed by human tears!
America! America! God shed his grace on thee..."
A few of the extant editions of Recollections contain inscriptions. One is that of Elra Bicknell. A search for the identiy of
this Elra Bicknell reveals the following additional information surrounding David Perry's life:
Circumstantial evidence suggests that Peter Bicknell served in the French and Indian War
with Capt. David Perry, who was a private and then a sergeant during the war.
It is also possible that Hezekiah Bicknell may have served during the War of 1812.
Peter's grandson Elra, son of Hezekiah, owned a copy of Recollections of an Old Soldier --
the autobiography of Capt. David Perry (1741-1826).
Although "Elra was deeply interested in the history of the family and collected a large amount of
material for preservation of the family connections,"*
there was apparently no relation. However, Peter Bicknell lived in the same areas as
David Perry for much of his life, as did Hezekiah.
The daughter of Amond Bicknell of Tunbridge, VT (d: May 1998), said that the
Bicknell farm in Tunbridge was “close to the border of Chelsea” where David Perry
wrote his Recollections in 1819.
David Perry’s youngest daughter Hannah had married in Tunbridge in 1802,
which indicates some ties to the town. David Perry lived in Chelsea from 1797 until around 1823,
when Elra was 9 years old. Elra probably heard David Perry's war stories as a child.
By the time he was 14 years old, Elra had obtained a copy of David Perry's Recollections
which had been printed in 1822. This copy, now owned by the the Connecticut State Library at Hartford,
bears the inscription "Elra Bicknell. His Book. Orange County, Tunbridge, VT 1828."
*Thomas Bicknell, A History and Genealogy of the Bicknell Family,
Providence : T.W. Bicknell, 1913 (Cincinnati, Ohio : Higbee-Bicknell Publishing & Printing), p. 185
On Elra's genealogy see also http://www.bicknell.net/,
KJV = The Holy Bible, King James Version
BOM = The Book of Mormon (Another Testament of Jesus Christ)