The following is from "The Family of Willis Vernon Farr" by Jayne E. Bickford:
Let us consider for a moment the town of Chesterfield and the State of New Hampshire as it was about 1764 and earlier. Let us also think about the journey from Stow, Massachusetts, to Chesterfield.
In doing this, we can relate many of the same thoughts to the movement of other ancestors from a town to another far distant in the early days.
We learn front the Family Encyclopedia of American History that "The first recorded description of New Hampshire is that of Martin Pring, an English sea captain who sailed up the Piscataqua River in 1603, noting 'goodly groves and woods and sundry beasts, but no people.
The same encyclopedia also tells us that by 1679 New Hampshire was a royal province "in its own right." It refers to settlers fanning out into the "wild interior." The Colony was embroiled in boundary disputes for a number of years. And then shortly after young Daniel Farr (son of Daniel and Leah) went to Chesterfield, the Revolutionary War came, and he was off to do his share for independence.
Now to Chesterfield itself. Mr. Randall in his History of Chesterfield states that there were several tribes of Connecticut River Indians, and that Chesterfield was in the territory claimed by the Squakheags. "At first the white settlers and Indians in the Connecticut valley, lived together in peace; but this state of affairs was not destined to be of long duration, and this fair valley was for many years the scene of bloody encounters." (pp. 13-19)
The township No. 1 "nearly identical with the present township of Chesterfield" was accepted by the General Court of Massachusetts 30 November 1736.
On 10 February 1752 a charter was granted incorporating Township No. 1 under the name of "Chesterfield. ' This name may have been in honor of the Earl of Chesterfield or for an English town of the same name. The grantees of Chesterfield were unable to carry out the provisions of the charter within the specified five years. They petitioned the Governor and Council for an extension of time and the time was extended on 11 June 1760.
According to tradition Moses Smith and his son-in-law William Thomas came up the Connecticut in canoes or boats in November 1761, to make the first settlement in town. Both men brought their families with them. Thomas' wife gave birth to a child 25 April 1762, the first white child in town.
Mr. Randall states that town records did not start until 1767, but that it is certain that a number of families had become established in the town before 1767.
Thus we see that our Farr family who purchased land in 1764 was among the early arrivals.
Stow, Massachusetts, not too far from Boston was a well-established town at the time Daniel Farr removed to Chesterfield. And there were dense forests between the two towns. There was a lack of modern transportation and communication. Did the Farr family walk or ride horseback or did the family utilize waterways? We do not know, but what courage these early people had to leave their friends and neighbors (and possibly other family members) and their established home and start out in the wilderness to establish a new home.
And courage took other forms, also. In 1776 the Committee of Safety for the Colony received the following request (p. 51 History of Chesterfield):
"'Colony of New Hampshire.
IN COMMITTEE OF SAFETY.
April 12th, 1776.
"In order to carry the underwritten RESOLVE of the Honorable Continental Congress into execution, you are requested to desire all males above twenty-one years of age (lunatics, idiots and negroes excepted) to sign to the DECLARATION on this paper; and when so done to make return thereof, together with the name or names of all who shall refuse to sign the same, to the General Assembly or Committee of Safety of this Colony.
M. WEARE, Chairman.'
"WE, THE SUBCRIBERS, DO HEREBY SOLELY ENGAGE AND PROMISE, THAT WE WILL, TO THE UTMOST OF OUR POWER, AT THE RISQUE OF OUR LIVES AND FORTUNES, WITH ARMS, OPPOSE THE HOSTILE PROCEEDINGS OF THE BRITISH FLEETS AND ARMIES AGAINST THE UNITED AMERICAN COLONIES."
Our ancester Daniel Farr (the son of Daniel and Leah) signed this declaration. Elisha Walton, son of our ancestor, Lawrence Walton, was reported as not having signed the declaration, and I expect it took equal courage to decline to sign. Mr. Randall points out that had the American cause failed, every person signing the declaration would have been subject to charges of treason.
As alluded to before, Daniel Farr, the father, was a Revolutionary soldier. Harriet Nancy Farr's notes state "Private under Gen. Stark at Bennington, Vt. Corporal at Ticonderoga. The DAR Index shows: Daniel Farr, b. 2-1-1744/5 d. 4-27-1798 m. Lucretia Walton, Sgt., N. H.
Reverend Sinnett's genealogy of the Farr family does not show the second son Joseph. However, his existence is substantiated by the fact that his daughter Mercy is buried in his parents' burial lot at Chesterfield. Further, a visit to Windham, Venont, reveals that Joseph and his wife Hannah are buried there. He died 20 March 1824 in his 50th year which is reconciled by subtracting his date of birth from his date of death and finding he was Just past 49, but in all truth in his 50th year. Ellen Mary Farr in her notes referred to "Joseph Farr (Grandfather Farr) died March 20, 1824.'
A LOOK AT DANIEL FARR"S REVOLUTIONARY SERVICE
Randall's History of Chesterfield refers on page 91 to the Militia Act passed in 1776 by the New Hampshire Assernoly and Council. He states:
This act provided for the organization of all male persons, with certain exceptions, into a Training Band' and an 'Alarm List,' the former comprising able-bodied male persons from sixteen to fifty years old, and the latter all male persons from sixteen to sixty-five years old, not included in the Training Band. Negroes, Mulattoes and Indians, together with persons occupying certain public positions, and engaged in certain employments, were exempted from military service. Both classes of the militia were organized into companies and regiments, which, in part or in whole, were liable to be called out for duty at any time; but persons in the Alarm List were only to do duty in case of an emergency. All persons, however, of either class, under sixty years of age, were required to do 'watch duty, ' when occasion demanded the establishment of a military watch in any town. Every person was obliged to provide his arms and accoutrements, if able to do so, at his own expense; otherwise, the ; town in which he resided, was to provide them. The specified equipments were as follows: A good fire-arm, ramrod, worm, priming-wire and brush, bayonet with belt and scabbard, cutting sword or hatchet, cartridge-box, a hundred buck-Shot, jack-knife, six flints, tow for making wadding, one pound of powder and forty leaden balls, a knapsack and blanket, and a canteen or wooden bottle having a capacity of at least one quart. The selectmen were also to furnish, at the expense of each town, a certain number of spades or shovels, pick-axes and hoes, for the use of the militia. The 'alarm' was to be given by firing three guns in succession, by beating drums, or by beacons.
It is to be assumed that Daniel Farr was properly equipped and his name is shown in the list of men who under the command of Captain Waitstill Scott of Westmoreland set out on the march to the threatened Ticonderoga fortress in 1777. At this time Daniel Farr is shown as Corporal.
Mr. Randell tells us that the alarm proved false and these soldiers did not engage in battle. He says "Most of Capt. Scott's men served about 40 days.'
The men who marched to Ticonderoga in May 1777 were hardly home when word was received that Burgoyne's army was marching toward that important post. Again the New Hampshire milita was called to the rescue. It does not appear that Daniel Farr was in this group.
In 1777, August 16th, the Battle of Bennington (Vermont) took place. The New Hampshire Malitia was divided into two brigades. General Stark commanded one and General Whipple commanded the other. Colonel Moses Nichols commanded one of the regiments in Stark's brigade, and the eighth company of this regiment was commanded by Captain Kimball Carlton of Chesterfield. This company went from Chesterfield and adjacent towns 22 July 1777. And we find Daniel Farr, Sergeant, at the Battle of Bennington. Whether he was injured, we do not know. We only know his rank and that he served under the command of Captain Carlton.