Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Carnival of Genealogy 75: Justice and Independence -- Richards Packard, Revolutionary Soldier

My fourth great-grandfather Richards Packard enlisted for the American Revolution when he was only 17. He was born, son of Eleazer Packard and Mercy Richards, 7 April 1763 in Bridgewater, Massachusetts (the part that is now Brockton). In his Revolutionary War pension file, he is described as standing 5' 2" in height. He was short, even in those days. I picture him as a feisty bantam rooster of a young man.

Richards mustered in at Springfield, then in Hampshire County, in Captain Wade's Company, Colonel Jackson's Regiment. According to his pension file, the company went to West Pont, New York, and to King's Ferry. As he himself says in his pension application papers, he was at Haverstraw "when Andre was hung," referring to the execution of British spy Major John Andre on 2 October 1780.

He re-enlisted in February of 1782, at Leverett, Massachusetts, and again ended up in New York, at West Point, this time in Captain Smith's Company in Colonel Rufus Putnam's Regiment. During this time, he suffered from smallpox, but apparently recovered. Richards Packard was discharged in February o f1783.

His pension application was filed from Vermont, and by the time he applied for the pension, he was raising his family in Canada. No, he didn't decide to become a Tory, and it is a myth that those American colonists who ended up in Canada after the Revolution were all Tories. Richards Packard engaged in an ever-northward migration searching for land. He went first to Winchester, New Hampshire, where he worked in a foundry, and where he met and married his wife, Sarah (Sally) Coats/Coates. They removed to Vermont, where Richards tried a couple different plots of land but apparently was not happy with them. Canada was practically giving land away, and he settled near Georgeville. Packard cousins still live on the same plot of land Richards Packard settled in around 1798.

Richards Packard died 25 February 1840.


Richards Packard and Sarah Coats/Coates Packard, widow, Revolutionary War, Application for Pension, W21886, Records of the Veterans Administration, Record Group 15, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.

"The Globe May Be Sold on the 'L' Word, but Earlier Bostonians Knew Better," The Georgeville Enterprise: An Occasional Publication. Georgeville, Quebec: The Georgeville Historical Society, Vol. 12, Number 1, Summer 2003, pages 1-3. [The 'L' word in question is 'Loyalist.']

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