Amos Lawrence on His Father, Samuel Lawrence

The following passage relates some more of the stories and memories Amos Lawrence told specifically  regarding his father, Samuel. You may notice a few of the sentences describing Samuel’s military service, and his early days with Susanna, are almost verbatim duplicates of previously posted material. In point of fact, the paragraphs here below were written first, by about thirty years.  Despite the repetition, I thought they were still worth including. The flavor of this piece is just a bit different, and Samuel’s exhortation to his sons, that they should use the talents entrusted to them, is advice every child should take to heart, in any age.


from Extracts From The Diary And Correspondence of Amos Lawrence, by William R. Lawrence, M.D., Boston, 1855


My father belonged to a company of minute‑men in Groton, at the commencement of the Revolution. On the morning of the 19th of April, 1775, when the news reached town that the British troops were on the road from Boston, General Prescott, who was neighbor, came towards the house on horseback, at rapid speed, and cried out, “Samuel, notify your men: the British are coming.” My father mounted the general’s horse, rode a distance of seven miles, notified the men of his circuit, and was back again at his father’s house in forty minutes. In three hours the company was ready to march, and on the next day (the 20th) reached Cambridge. My father was in the battle of Bunker Hill; received a bullet through his cap, which cut his hair from front to rear; received a spent grape‑shot upon his arm, without breaking the bone; and lost a large number of men. His veteran captain Farwell was shot through the body, was taken up for dead, and was so reported by the man who was directed to carry him off. This report brought back the captain’s voice, and he exclaimed, with his utmost power, “It aint true; don’t let my poor wife hear of this; I shall live to see my country free.” And so it turned out. This good man, who had served at the capture of Cape Breton in 1745, again in 1755, and now on Bunker Hill in 1775, is connected with everything interesting in my early days. The bullet was extracted, and remains, as a memento, with his descendants.

My father and mother were acquainted from their childhood, and engaged to be married some time in 1775. They kept up a correspondence through 1776, when he was at New York; but, on a visit to her, in 1777 (his mother having advised them to be married, as Susan had better be Sam’s widow than his forlorn damsel), they were married; but, while the ceremony was going forward, the signal was given to call all soldiers to their posts; and, within the hour, he left his wife, father, mother, and friends, to join his regiment, then at Cambridge. This was on the 22nd day of July, 1777. In consideration of the circumstances, his colonel allowed him to return to his wife, and to join the army at Rhode Island in a brief time (two or three days). He did so, and saw nothing more of home until the last day of that year. The army being in winter quarters, he got a furlough for a short period, and reached home in time to assist at the ordination of the Rev. Daniel Chaplin, of whose church both my parents were then members. His return was a season of great joy to all his family. His stay was brief, and nothing more was seen of him until the autumn of 1778, when he retired from the army, in time to be with his wife at the birth of their first child.

From that time he was identified with everything connected with the good of the town. As we children came forward, we were carefully looked after, but were taught to use the talents entrusted to us; and every nerve was strained to provide for us the academy which is now doing so much there. We sons are doing less for education for our means than our father for his means.

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