Official Seal



Four Mounted Messengers of the Revolution.

At the meeting of the Brookline Historical Society held in the Edward Devotion House in Brookline on Wednesday evening, April 19, 1911, Mr. William Ogilvie Comstock, Vice President of the Society, read the following paper: -

One hundred and thirty-six years ago today, along this then quiet road through Brookline were passing soldiers, mostly on foot, with muskets, going to attack the British, and most of them returning following the British as they retreated back to Boston. Much of the fighting of the Battle of Lexington and Concord took place that 19th of April outside of those two villages, and nearer here, and men from all the surrounding country took part, many, as you know, from this town.

Tonight I wish particularly to speak of four of the messengers of the Revolution, who rode long distances, taking great risks, and carrying warnings, orders, or calls for help. The first two were in this battle, the 136th anniversary of which we celebrate tonight. The first was Paul Revere. He rode the night before the battle especially to warn Hancock and Adams at Lexington, but also to spread the alarm through the country through which he went. He had been over the route several times before this ride, so many were prepared for the warning he brought.
"One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,"

as the poem says, were the words he left in Charlestown, and by his diary we learn that he soon had a horse from Deacon Larkin's in Charlestown and started on the road to Lexington, where he found Hancock and Adams. I speak of Revere as the first messenger, not only because of his greatness, and his greatness given by the poet Longfellow, but because of those other rides he took, days before the battle.

The first messenger to take the news out of Boston on the eve of the battle to the surrounding country and to Lexington was Major William Dawes, who went under orders from Warren some time before Paul Revere started, but who went by land over Boston Neck, probably on foot, until beyond the British lines. He then had a longer horseback ride than Revere, over other roads, but finally into Lexington, where Revere, though starting later, had arrived a half hour earlier. After the warning had been given to these two important men of the colony, Hancock and Adams, whom the British were particularly anxious to capture, the messengers went on together, with a Mr. Prescott, who was of Concord, and had been spending the evening with his sweetheart, Miss Milliken, in Lexington.

Paul Revere was captured by the British before getting to Concord and brought back toward Boston, though he finally made an escape unharmed. Dawes, with Prescott, probably reached Concord, and so the townspeople were prepared for the fight at Concord Bridge. The following letter written by Paul Revere in 1798 to Jeremy Belknap, Secretary of the Massachusetts Historical Society, will be of interest. It reads as follows: -

"The Sunday before, I had been to Lexington, to Messrs. Hancock and Adams, who were at the Rev. Mr. Clarke's. I returned by night through Charlestown; there I agreed with a Col. Conant and some other gentlemen that if the British went out by water we would show two lanterns in the North Church steeple, and if by land, one as a signal. For we were apprehensive it would be difficult to cross the Charles River or get over Boston Neck. I left Dr. Warren, called upon a friend, and desired him to make the signals. I then went home, took my boots and surtout, and went to the north part of the town, where I kept a boat; two friends rowed me across Charles River a little to the eastward of where the Somerset, man-of-war, laid. It was then young flood, and the ship was winding and the tide rising. They landed me on the Charlestown side. When I got into town I met Col. Conant and several others; they said they had seen our signals. I told them what was acting and they went with me to get a horse at the barn of Dea. Larkin." Dawes

This was Revere's letter. We hear, well given by the historian of the Boston Herald in 1907, that his friend, Capt. John Pulling, who had hung the lanterns, only escaped from an immediate search by Gen. Gage by hiding for two days in an old wine butt, owned by his grandmother. After that he escaped to Nantucket and his property was confiscated by Gen. Gage and his house torn down.

Revere went at full speed toward Lexington, but was turned back by a British patrol, and only escaped by pushing for the Medford road, his pursuer getting stuck in a clay pond. At Medford he called out the minute men, and from there on awakened nearly every house. He got to Parson Clarke's about midnight, where he found Hancock and Adams. The guard placed about the house would not admit him, but said, "No noise." "Noise," said he, "you'll have noise enough before long - the regulars are coming out."

Hancock hearing him, called out: "Come in, Revere! We're not afraid of you," and he went in. In half an hour Dawes arrived and met Revere on the green. Dawes, my second rider, had started at once, without going home, and had eluded the guard at the Neck with difficulty, coming by the longer route of Brighton Bridge and the Cambridge road, and alarming all the houses on his way. With young Dr. Prescott these two, when half way from Lexington to Concord, met British officers, Revere being ahead and Dawes and Prescott a hundred rods behind alarming a house. Prescott, having a Lexington horse that was not tired, jumped a stone wall and escaped. Dawes rode up to an empty farm house, slapping his leather breeches and shouting: "Halloo, boys. I got two of "em!" and his pursuers were fortunately frightened and rode off. By the sudden stop Dawes lost his watch, and some days later returned to the place and found it.

Either Dawes or Prescott got to Concord about two o'clock that morning, and both did fighting that day. Revere rode off one side to some woods and met another party of British, to whom he had to surrender. He told them the country was already alarmed, and they retreated with him to Lexington, where he escaped and rejoined the party at Clarke's about three in the morning. Then they hid in the woods and the events of the Lexington fight were soon before them, as given in all histories.

Miss Ellen Chase of Brookline has particularly well described these stirring days in her important new book, "The Beginnings of the Revolution," in two handsome volumes. In connection with the fight and its results, all should give especial credit to these two messengers, who gave the alarm, also to Ebenezer Dorr of Roxbury, who took the alarm from Boston as far at least as Roxbury and probably beyond, at about the same time Dawes went out. There has been considerable confusion of these two names, but most of the historians have concluded the messengers were as I have stated.

The third long journey, directly after the battle, was to take the news of it to New York City. How this was done is not, I believe, exactly known, but a messenger arrived there with the news on Sunday morning, the 23d of April, as told by Mrs. Martha J. Lamb in her admirable history of the City of New York. The 19th of April had been Wednesday. He may have ridden all the way or transferred the message. She does not give his name. In Amelia E. Barr's romance, "A Bow of Orange Ribbon," the messenger is given as Colonel Marinus Willett, whom I will speak of as the third messenger, but especially for two other rides he certainly took later in the war.

Massachusetts was very near to New York in those days, and although there were many tories in the city, there were eight times as many patriots. The New Yorkers who were in sympathy with the British system of ministerial oppression were much fewer than has been generally supposed. On that Sunday morning, when the messenger rode down the Bowery road to Broadway, alarm and indignation filled the public mind. Although it was Sunday, men took possession of the City Hall and armed themselves with the arms there stored. Two vessels loaded for Boston, with supplies for the British troops there, were boarded, and their cargoes, worth eighty thousand pounds, unloaded. All vessels for British possessions were detained. The Royal Government was powerless. On Monday volunteer companies paraded Broadway and the committee of sixty met in consultation.

So things went there till June 6th, when an order came for the British troops barracked in Chamber street, New York, to join the army in Boston. The committee had said they could go, but with no extra arms. Marinus Willett chanced to come in front of the party on Broad street, corner of Beaver street, and caught the horse of the foremost cart of arms by the bridle, bringing the whole procession to a stand; after much talking he was upheld by others, and these extra arms were retained in the city by the patriots, and used by them soon after. The Sons of the Revolution have placed a bronze tablet to Willett's memory on Broad street which has on it a medallion scene of this brave act. When it is remembered that Willett had many relatives and friends on the tory side, and was a member of Old Trinity, the Church of England nearby, his act will be more lauded. He died August 22, 1830, aged ninety years, and his gravestone is in Trinity Church graveyard on Broadway, at the head of Wall street. He had fought as an officer in the French and Indian War under Gen. Abercrombie, in Col. DeLancey's regiment in 1758, and accompanied Bradstreet against Fort Frontenac. He was an early Son of Liberty in New York, and often called the hero of Fort Stanwix (where Rome, N. Y., now stands). I have a picture of him here tonight as a soldier, etched by Hall, and another portrait when he was an older man, probably taken about 1807, when he became Mayor of New York. It is in the rare book called Willett's Narrative, published in 1831 by his son, mainly from his father's papers. At the siege of Fort Stanwix, where Colonel Willett was second in command and where a red, white and blue flag flew, made of what could be put together in the fort, and said to be the first United States flag ever used in battle, the garrison was hard pressed by Colonel St. Leger and Sir John Johnson.General Herkimer made an ineffectual attempt to relieve the fort. Colonel Willett succeeded in a sortie from the fort, and returned unharmed, but decided to go personally to help General Herkimer. On August 10th, at ten at night, he went alone with Major Stockwell on the long trip down the Mohawk River. As the British Annual Register of 1777 says:-

"Col. Willett (after the sally) undertook, in company with another officer, a much more perilous expedition. They passed by night through the besiegers' works, and in contempt of danger and cruelty of the savages, made their way for fifty miles through pathless woods and unexplored morasses in order to raise the country and bring relief to the fort. Such an action demands the praise even of an enemy."

This from the British record. At the German Flats, Willett learned that General Learned had been ordered by General Schuyler to march with his brigade of Massachusetts troops from Van Schaick's Island, ten miles above Albany, to relieve Fort Stanwix, up the Mohawk River.

The next long journey Colonel Willett took was as mounted messenger from General Gates at Peekskill to General Washington at Monmouth, and so took part in the Battle of Monmouth. On the 21st of June, 1778, General Gates heard from General Washington of the evacuation of Philadelphia, and Washington asked for an immediate report of General Gates' forces. Colonel Willett crossed the Hudson from Peekskill on the morning of June 22d, and with a fresh horse, reached Washington's headquarters that evening, carrying to the commander-in-chief a detailed account of the force that General Gates commanded. Colonel Willett's account of Washington, as he then saw him, is interesting. He wrote in the third person as follows: -

"General Washington, who never to Col. Willett appeared so great as he did on that day" (the day of the Battle of Monmouth) "(though to him he always appeared greater than anybody else) was mounted on a fine large sorrel horse; he had a spy glass in his hand, and from a commanding situation, within the line of the enemy's fire, he seemed to observe and know everything. Firmness, composure and dignity sat on his brow. His presence inspired universal ardour along the line; and, in the poetical description of Mr. Addison, 'He taught the doubtful battle where to rage.'

"General Washington's situation within the line of fire, with a number of officers about him, appeared to attract the attention of the enemy, so as to induce them to direct their fire on that, more than any other part of the line. Colonel . Willett happened to be near him, when this was evidently the case, and directed one of his (Washington's) aides to ride around among the officers and request them to withdraw, as they offered a mark for the enemy's fire. Upon this intimation a number of them withdrew; and Colonel Willett then retired to that part of the line where the light infantry was formed."

And so he goes on with his narrative, dedicated by his son to General LaFayette in 1831. By his action in warning those officers to thin the group, Willett may have saved the life of General Washington.

The fourth mounted messenger I will speak of tonight was Lieut. Thomas Lamb of Boston, one of Col. Henry Jackson's Massachusetts Regiment of Cadets at Valley Forge, with Washington. This rider went the longest distance, and like the other three, with success. He answered a call by General Washington for a volunteer to ride to Boston for supplies for the army, saying to the General that he could start at once but he had no spurs. Washington took the pair of silver spurs from his own heels and gave them to the young rider. How he went is not known, but when he arrived at Boston Neck his horse shied at the rope that was stretched across the road to prevent unknown people from passing. He was thrown and his arm broken, so that although he delivered his message and the stores were sent by the Boston merchants to the army, Thomas Lamb was not able to return to his regiment, though he recovered and lived for many years. At this time Lieutenant Lamb was twenty-four years old, having had his commission as first lieutenant on February 1,1777, when twenty-three. He was the eighth of the many children of James and Desire Lamb, and several of his brothers took part in the Revolution. He was born in Boston November 20, 1753, and died January 13, 1813, aged fifty-nine years. He became an active shipping merchant of Boston, with his brother, as the finn of James and Thomas Lamb. A call from Valley Forge to Boston for help in this the darkest period of the Revolution has, I believe, never been printed, and I tell it to you as his daughter, Miss Jane Lamb, then of Temple place, Boston, told it to me over forty years ago. No portrait of Lieutenant Lamb has come down to his family, but I have here a photograph of a life-sized painting, by Thomas Sully, of his son, Thomas Lamb, born September 2, 1796, in Boston, that no doubt looks about as his father did when he took this long ride. The spurs Washington gave him and the commission, and his oath of allegiance dated June 10, 1778, at Valley Forge, are in possession of his grandson, the Treasurer of the Massachusetts Chapter of the Society of the Cincinnati.

All four of these messengers, Revere, Dawes, Willett and Lamb, lived long after the war, married and had large families. Revere, as you know, married twice and had sixteen children; Dawes married twice and had seven children; Willett married and had five children; and Lamb married and had ten children. In the old days the single deeds of daring were not written 80 much of as they are now, the great battles being new subjects for the pens of historians, but in families these traditions were held most dear.

A granddaughter of William Dawes, Mrs. Hannah Newcomb Holland, wrote over thirty-five years ago in describing the ride of her ancestor: -
"It is a family tradition that when my mother (Mrs. Hannah Dawes Newcomb, daughter of Major William Dawes) danced a minuet with General Washington at his visit to Boston, he alluded to that ride of her father's with Paul Revere, to her. My grandfather lived in Ann St. at the period of the Revolution. During the siege of Boston, the family silver and other valuables were buried in an old cistern, and sustained no injury. He removed his family to Worcester, Mass., where he made weekly visits. On these visits he wore his coats covered with cloth buttons, though brass and gilt buttons were in common use. Every Saturday his sister, Mrs. Lucas, would cover his gold pieces with cloth and sew them on (as buttons), while as regularly, in Worcester, his wife would remove the coins and put button moulds in their place. In this way he eluded search, and secreted necessary" money for the support of his family. On these journeys he disguised himself in different ways, usually as a countryman selling produce, and on one occasion was kept all day in surveillance trying to 'pass the lines.' "


For this account I am indebted to a book by her son, Henry Ware Holland, printed in Boston in 1878, entitled, "William Dawes and His Ride with Paul Revere." Major Dawes was buried in King's Chapel Burying Ground, and a bronze tablet with the following inscription marks the tomb: -
William Dawes, Jr.,
Patriot, Son of Liberty, and First Messenger
sent by Warren from Boston to Lexington
on the night of April 18th-19th, 1775,
to warn Hancock and Adams of the coming
of the British troops.
Born April 6, 1745.
Died February 25, 1799.
Placed by the
Massachusetts Society, Sons of the Revolution,
April 19, 1899.

Close beside him is buried his first cousin, Col. Thomas Dawes. He also was a high patriot, and the caucuses were sometimes held in his garret on Purchase street, next door to Samuel Adams. He drew on himself the anger of the Royalists, and his house was sacked by the British troops before they left Boston. A gravestone in Mt. Auburn now marks the remains of Lieut. Thomas Lamb, and Paul Revere is buried in Boston. The Perry picture I have here of Revere represents him as an elderly gentleman and is copied, I think, from the miniature lately shown by the Copley Society at their loan exhibition in Boston, owned by a descendant of his.

His commission is now loaned to the Washington headquarters at Morristown, New Jersey, where his descendants, Paul Revere and Augustus L. Revere, sons of the late Gen. Joseph Warren Revere, died with their mother lately - the last of that branch of the Revere family. Mrs. Revere was Miss Rosanna Duncan Lamb, a granddaughter of the patriot Lieut. Thomas Lamb, and her son, Augustus, was a member of the New York Chapter of Sons of the Revolution, as great grandson of both Lieut. Col. Paul Revere and Lieut. Thomas Lamb. His name stands on the same page of the Society Year Book of 1891 I have before me, with James Ray, grandson of Lieut. Col. Marinus Willett.

I have here several original Marinus Willett letters and documents, only one of which was published in his narrative, that show the care used in writing in those days; and their length will explain why I do not read them. A word explaining them will perhaps be interesting, as they are unpublished. The first document, dated October 19, 1781, certifies to the transporting of some wheat to mill thirteen miles and is countersigned M. Willett, Col. Commander. The next is an order for forage for his two horses for February, 1782, signed Albany, February 19, M. Willett, Lt. Col., Commandant of the New York State Troops. The long letter from him to Gov. George Clinton is dated at Albany, May 21, 1781, and is in regard to troops, ending: "I am, your Excellency's most obedient and very humble servant, Marinus Willett"; signing his name in full. From this signature the copy on the etching here is taken. Of the two letters to him by General Henry Knox, the first, dated April 18, 1792, was published in Willett's Narrative, and the second is from Philadelphia, November 22, 1792. The next is an order by the State of New York, signed and sealed by Gov. Gen. Clinton, July 8, 1801, for Marinus Willett "to superintend the erecting, enlarging and completing fortifications, in this State, for the defense of the United States, agreeably to the directions of the Act of Congress therein referred to, and to purchase requisite materials; he, the said Mariaus Willett, to be accountable to the United States (if required) as well as to this State, for the expenditure of all money received by him, and to hold his appointment during the pleasure of the person administering the government of this State." The last is an appointment when he was eighty-four years old, by the legislature of New York, as one of the presidential electors, dated at Albany, November 16, 1824, signed by Gov. Joseph C. Yates.

In the "Old New York Frontier," by F. W. Halsey, published in 1901, he says: -

"Many of the pioneers from New England had served in the Revolution; some had gone up the Mohawk with Benedict Arnold to Fort Schuyler in 1777; others were at Cherry Valley with Colonel Alden; others went down the Susquehanna with General Clinton, and thence to the fertile lands of the Genesee. Most notable of all the impressions they had carried home were impressions of the fertility of this New York soil and the sparsity of its population. Accordingly the history of the re-peopling of this frontier is mainly a history of the immigration pouring into it from Massachusetts and Connecticut by a people whom Professor Lounsbury has eulogized as 'born levellers of the forest, the greatest wielders of the axe the world has ever known.' They brought not only skill with the axe, but certain arts and refinements in domestic life, before unknown to the frontier; and with those arts a spirit of enterprise and invention, with an initiatory energy which carried their own fortunes far, and which, more perhaps than all other human forces, have made the central and western parts of New York State what they now are."

This from a New York man; and Massachusetts and Connecticut have extended far beyond that state.

We look back tonight with pride upon our patriots and those of New York, four of whom I have spoken of, and we honor these and the many others who took their lives in their hands, and helped in the great cause of freedom.

The portrait of William Dawes, that is copied onto the program tonight and of which I have a copy here, hangs in Brookline at the residence of Miss Julia Goddard, a granddaughter of the patriot, and her house is one of the finest of the old Brookline mansions. It was built in 1730, and is near the old village green on Warren street, where Brookline's honored band of minute men collected, and started for Lexington on that morning of the 19th of April in 1775. In front of this Edward Devotion house we are now in, no doubt William Dawes stopped and alarmed its sleeping inmates, as he sped on toward Cambridge and Lexington; giving, like Paul Revere,
"A cry of defiance and not of fear.
A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
And a word that shall echo forevermore."

SEVEN Letters and Documents of Colonel Marinus Willett,
shown at the Meeting April 19th, 1911, and here printed as written.

Albany, May 21st, 1781.

Sir: -

Inclos'd are returns of the troops under my Command which are raised for the immediate defence of the frontiers. I have likewise to acquaint your Excellency that I have had a meeting with some of the Field Officers of the County of Tryon to consult the best way to avail ourselves of the aid of the Militia, And notwithstanding that by the Classes of that County, there appears to be upwards of Eleven hundred Militia in the County, It is the oppinion of the officers with whom I confered that 500 will be the extent of what we may expect to turn out to fight the Enemy in case of a General alarm, from whence you may proceive that their must be a Majority which will require a pecular kind of treatment. To attempt to describe the distressed situation of the Inhabitants from the German flatts almost down to Schenectady is unescessary, it is enough to know that such are their fears that they are continually upon the wing, ready to fly at every fain of an Alarm; It appears to me that nothing less can aliviate the present dread of the Inhabitants than a sickening reception of the Enemy should they again (which most probably will be the case) Visit those parts, to effect this the greatest Exertions to procure a Sufficient force are necessary. The Militia of the County ought undoubtedly to Contribute their share in this business. I shall leave nothing within my reach to gain every possible advantage from this Quarter. To find out the best way to accomplish this was my business with the officers of their Militia, among other things I purposed to them to appoint Certain times for the Exercise of their regiments. They appear ready to Comply in the way and manner that was then mentioned. But think more energy is wanting than any of their Officers at present have to make a Scheme of that nature General. I could wish that this particular point might be taken up seriously by the Legislator much very much, depends upon it I conceive some kind of discressionary power truly necessary for their Criticle case; Such a Strip of Country so thinly Inhabited so exposed, and so continually harrased by such a barbarous Enemy can hardly hope for safty from the ordinary, or Indeed any denned means. You are so well acquainted with every part of this affair that I need not tresspass upon your time by any enlargment; I shall however just mention (that) it appears to me proper to have two or three pieces of Cannon distributed at the different posts to be made use of as Signals in Case of a General Alarm, upon which Signals the Militia should repair Instantly to Certain places of rendevous, appointed for that purpose properly Equip'd and furnished with a few days prvosions. If they were obliged to do this on Horse back for the sake of Expedition, it would add much to the security of the Country, But Delinquency should by no means pass with Impunity. If one or two Small Field pieces and a Small detachment of Artilery could be procur'd considerable advantage might be expected from them.

The forming Magizines of Provision is of s(uch) importance and attended with such difficulties (that) it cannot Escape notice. With proper attention I think the Country itself might do something Clever in this way.

By the return of the regiment you'll see that two of the Soldiers are in Goal for Debt. I think it worth the attention of the Legislator to prevent Soldiers from being confined in Goal for debt unless the debt should be considerable, and there was a prospect of the Creditors getting his money by the prosecution but to have a Soldiers liable to be taken from their regiments and Confined in Goal at a time when their Services are greatly wanted, without the Creditor having the least prospect of geting his money, is leaving it with power of disaffected persons materially to Injure the Service.
I am Your Excellency's Most Obedient & Very Hum'le Ser't
His Excellency Gov'r Clinton
Marinus Willett
(Addressed:) Publick Service
His Excellency Governor Clinton
(Filed:) May 21st, 1781, Col. Willets Letter cov'g Return of the Levies, &c &c

Cannawaga October 19 1781

This may sertify that Conelius Putmon has transported, one wagon Lode of wheat for the Public from warins Bush to John Vaders mill which Being 13 milds
To Henra Glan Esq
D. Q. M. G.
Jonathan Douglas
Forrage Master
(Countersigned:) I certify the within to be true. M. Willett Colo. Command'r
(Filed:) Ret of Cornelus Putman

Please to deliver the bearer the allowance of Forage for my two horses from the fourth to the last of this month Inclusive
19th Feb'y 1782
M. Willett L't Colo
Com'dt of the N. York State Troops

To the Contractor
(on reverse:) Sir. Col Willet has Drawn forage up to the 3d Instant inclusive, you will therefore give to him from the 4 bls
Jonathan Laurence & Co
Jacob A Wendell
(Filed:) Col's Willetts order order to furnish forage

(private and confidential)
War Department, 18th April 1792


It was with regret I read your Letter of ... declining the acceptance of the Commission of a Brigadier General. But you have the right to be perfectly master of your own conduct.

The President of the United States has shewed me your Letter of the 14th instant, wherein you express your ideas of an Indian war. Be assured that nothing can be more disagreeable to him and the Government. That the present hostilities originated in the war with Great Britain, and that they continued without intermission, and increasing from time to time until they became too enormous to be longer over looked by Government, cannot be doubted by any honest and impartial men who will attent to the evidence.

But notwithstanding the past, it is the desire of the President of the United States to terminate it without the further effusion of blood. Preparatory overtures have been made to the Indians who are to have a Great Council at the Miami village the next month. But a person of character intelligence and address, is required to be present at that Council in behalf of the United States to unfold in terms which the Indians will comprehend -

1st. That we require no lands, but those which we conceive to have been fairly purchased of those tribes who had a right to sell.

2dly. That if any of the tribes can show just right to any lands they claim by virtue of the said treaties, they shall be liberally compensated for such right.

3dly. That we are not only willing to be at peace with all the nations, but to impart to them such of the blessings of civilization as will suit their condition.

4thly. It is conceived, were they convinced of the truth of those sentiments then peace must be the consequence. But the difficulty is to find a suitable character. You have been applied to and declined. It would appear however from your Letter to the President, that you would seem still to be desirous of being of service to your country at this time.

I am authorized to assure you that if you will still undertake the business, in which from the preparatory measures I can assure you there will be but little personal hazard (although that would not be a consideration with you), that you would render your country a most acceptable service. That if you succeed, of which I should flatter myself you will have the glory thereof, besides being most liberally compensated in a pecuniary way, which shall be stipulated to your satisfaction. If you should incline to undertake this affair, not a moment's time should be lost in reparing here. The way would be by Pittsburg down to Fort Washington, every facility of Guards would be afforded you. Captain Hendricks, and perhaps others of the Indians here present might accompany you. Besides, there are women prisoners at Fort Washington, and probably friendly Wabash Indians who would accompany you. Permit me to urge you compliance with this invitation to perform the mission, and that you would immediately and explicitly inform me of your determination.

I am, Sir,
With great Respect
Your most Obed't hum' serv't
Colonel Marinus Willet.
H Knox
(Filed:) Letter from Gen'll Knox reg(a)rding my refusal of the Brig.Gen'll appointment and an application to go on a Mission to the Wabaush & Shawney Indians.

(private and confidential)
Philadelphia 22 Nov'r 1792.

Dear Sir: -

Having studied fully the subject of our conversation lately, to the President of the United States, he is exceedingly desirous of your being employed on the line contemplated; And I am therefore desired to request of you the terms you would expect in either of the following cases.

To wit First A temporary mission which perhaps might require Six, nine, or even twelve months?

Second An establishment of a permanent nature embracing the four southern nations and including the idea of a general residence among them?

Every part seems well understood but the compensation you may require, which the President is desirous of knowing explicitly. Will you therefore be pleased to name the sum for which you would perform the first, and the rate (per) annum for which you would undertake the second service, herein before mentioned.

Its the United States desire general tranquillity with all the Indian tribes, on the purest principles of justice and humanity, the happy accomplishment of your mission, would at once be grateful to your feelings, and honorable to your public character.

Supposing the terms accommodated at what period could you get out upon the business?

Please to let me have an immediate and precise answer to this letter.

I am Dear Sir
with great and sincere Esteem
Your friend and humble Servant
Colonel Marinus Willet
H Knox
(Filed:) Gen Knox Letter
22d Nov'r 1792
with proposition for my Indian Mission

Excelsior seal

George Clinton Esquire
Governor of the State of New York
General & commander in Chief of all the
Militia & Admiral of the Navy of the same,

To all to whom the presents shall come or may concern.

Pursuant to the power vested in the person administrating the Government of this State by the statute entitled "An Act complying with the Act of Congress respecting Balances reported, against certain States by the Commissioners appointed to settle the accounts between the United States and the several States," Marinus Willet of the City of New York Esquire is hereby appointed and employed to superintend the work of erecting enlarging and completing fortifications in this State for the defence of the United States agreeably to the directions of the Act of Congress therein referred to, and to purchase the requisite materials; He the said Marinus Willet to be accountable to the United States (if required) as well as to this State for the expedniture of all money received by him, and to hold his appointment during the pleasure of the person administering the Government of this State.
Given under my hand and the Privy seal of the State this Eighth day of July in the twenty sixth year of the indipendance of the said State & in the year of our Lord 1801
Geo Clinton

(Filed:) Military Agent appointment, July 8th, 1801

Executive Chamber,Albany, 16th November, 1824.


You are appointed by the Legislature of the State of New York, one of the Electors of President and Vice-President of the United States, to assemble with your Colleagues at the Capitol, in the city of Albany, on the day next preceeding the first Wednesday in the ensuing month of December, of which appointment you are hereby notified, conformably to the act directing the Executive to cause such notice to be given.

I have the honor to be
Your Ob't Serv't.
Joseph C. Yates.
The Hon'ble Marinus Willett
(Addressed) The Hon'ble Marinus Willett
New York

An eighth Marinus Willett paper has since come to me, relating to the attempt of Aaron Burr to become Governor of New York. It will be remembered that Burr's defeat in this campaign led to the duel on July llth, 1804, in which Alexander Hamilton was killed.


New York 26 Mar 1804


In discharge of the duty imposed on us by the inclosed resolution, we take the liberty of soliciting your support of Aaron Burr as Governor at the coming election, upon the result of which we believe the welfare of the state especially depends. A dangerous aristocracy has arisen and by means of wealth, of family connections, and of offices, has acquired a power and influence, which ought to alarm every friend of Republican principles, this combination if not now resisted may rise above controul. Our motives are more particularly detailed in the address which accompanies this, and which we recommend to your serious attention. If you concur with us in opinion we request your zealous cooperation, and any information which may be useful

We are with Respect
Your Obd't Ser'ts

[wax seal] (Signed)
Anth'y Lispenard
Marinus Willett
John Rathbone


A poem read before the Brookline Historical Society at the meeting of April 19, 1911 by Miss Florence Eisenhardt, a pupil of the Brookline High School; and printed now by permission of the author, Miss Julia Goddard, an honored member of the Society.
Should aught the historic names divide
Of those who dared that glorious ride!
No rivals they, who through the land
Bore Liberty's renowned command,
But comrades in a cause most dear,
Were William Dawes and Paul Revere.

When Warren, of the hero-heart,
Sought who would act a fearless part,
Would safely bear through danger's hour
The word that checked tyrannic power,
He made his hidden purpose clear
To William Dawes and Paul Revere,
And bade them, as they patriots were,
To accept the charge he would confer.

True "Sons of Liberty," indeed,
They sprang to serve her hour of need;
Staunch messengers who near and far,
Woke the still earth from sleep to war.
One sped amain on his dangerous way,
And crossed the beleaguered waters wide
Where the Somerset swayed on the heaving tide,
Her lofty topmast, slender and gray,
Just touched by the signal lantern's ray.

One taught his steed to face the foe,
Where barriers swung on hinges slow,
And by the torch light's wavering glow
Red-coated men marched to and fro.

But when the sudden order-word
Commanding change of guard was heard,
Then, as the challenged gate withdrew,
This man courageous, passed it, too;
The venturous path successful tried,
Pressed by the English column's side,
And instant gained the country wide,
Where the star-crowned heights through the gloaming showed,
And was off and away on his longer road;
And the goal of each would be bravely won
If they met together in Lexington.

The wooded lane - the silent street,
Lay wounded 'neath their horses feet.
The furrowed course, unseen the steed,
Might well proclaim their arduous speed,
While gathering clouds, the moon's pale sheen,
Now lit, now dimmed the midnight scene.
Apart, alone, foes near at hand,
They went to rouse the slumbering land,
Their voices, piercing through the gloom,
Might seem the very voice of doom.
To clustered homes, by lonely door,
They rang the summons o'er and o'er -
No time to hearken a reply,
As gallantly their steeds rushed by.
But listen - from the higher air,
The mighty murmur gathering there,
As a great-destined nation heard
And answered "adsum" to their word.
Through deepest watches of the night,
That solemn call, that speeding flight!
Ne'er might that warning cry have peace,
The hillside's ringing accent cease,
The trusted horse with panting breast
Renounce his toil for welcome rest,
Until the noble race was run,
And the riders clasped hands in Lexington.

Brothers for aye in Freedom's cause -
Brave Paul Revere! Brave William Dawes!
What generous blood beats through the heart
Would hand their memories down apart.
Should statesman's pen, the poet's verse,
Fail each man's service to rehearse;
Or tongue of truth forget to tell
How each brave messenger did well ?
No! Let one line of Honor's roll,
One page of History's ampler scroll,
Declare their deed, with merit due,
Accorded ne'er to one, but two,
And a remembering country say,
"Revere and Dawes" on Patriot's Day!

O Lexington! True field of fame,
Our lips are proud to speak thy name,
That, writ within the halls of Time,
Appears in characters sublime.
Still, shall our Stars of Victory spread
Their shining circle round thy head,
And, from the azure, soft and bright,
Oh! still shall fall their glory-light,
In silent homage o'er each mound
Where patriots sleep in holiest ground.
When Liberty, upon her throne,
Makes her long list of heroes known,
Bids to her presence each dear son,
With stately greeting to each one
And conqueror's wreath for every brow,
Once struck to dust but radiant now,
Who calls she first among her brave,
Feared nought of death their land to save?
Whose sacred honors doth she name?
Who rise in ranks at that acclaim?
Hark! 'Tis her trumpet's clarion tone,
"Come! Minute-men of Lexington!"