I’m writing this on Independence Day, thinking of one of my ancestors who served in the Revolutionary War—Ephraim Lucas. What a simultaneously exciting and terrifying time for future Americans.
Ephraim Lucas was born in Plympton, Massachusetts on 13 March 1763, one of the twelve children of Barnabas Lucas and Joanna Pierce.At the age of 17, Ephraim enlisted to serve in the Revolutionary War. From Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors in the War of the Revolution:
Lucas, Ephraim, Plympton. List of men raised for the 6 months service and returned by Brigadier General Paterson as having passed muster in a return dated Camp Totoway, October 22, 1780; also, payroll for 6 mo. men raised by the town of Plympton for service in the Continental Army during 1780; marched to camp July 4, 1780; discharged Nov. 18, 1780, service 4 mos., 26days, including travel (240 miles) home.
Lucas, Ephraim. Description list of men raised to reinforce the Continental Army for the term of 6 months, agreeable to resolve of June 5, 1780, returned as received of Justin Ely, Commissioner by Brigadier General John Glover, at Springfield, July 23, 1780, age 17 years; 5 ft. 4 in., complexion light, engaged for town of Plympton, marched to Camp 23 July 1780 under Command of Capt. John Williams.
Ephraim’s brothers Nehemiah, Consider and Barnabas also served in the Revolution.
Ephraim received land (4th son listed) at Plympton belonging to his father, called the Ramson farm, in the 1789 division of his father's estate. His father was a large land holder (as well as part owner of a grist mill), bequeathing land to all of his 12 children as well as his widow Joanna. Nathaniel’s inventory also lists “a number of old books,” indicating they were an educated family.
In 1791, Ephraim married Azubah Pratt, the daughter of Nathaniel Pratt and Mary Cobb. Ephraim and Azubah had five children: Mary, Isaac, Syntha/Cynthia, Joanna, and an unnamed girl who died young.
I have a copy of his pension papers regarding his Revolutionary War service. He received 30 dollars and some odd cents per year. At age 68, he states he enlisted at Plympton in Capt. Judah Alden’s Company, in what he recollects to be the year 1780. He re-enlisted in the following year. Records show he served for six months in 1780 and three months in 1781. He states he was born at Plympton and has only lived there and in Plymouth. He states “he was at the foot of the gallows & saw the execution & heard the last words of Major Andre.” The statement bears his signature. Major John Andre was a British officer, hanged as a spy for conspiring with American General Benedict Arnold for his attempted surrender of West Point, which would have allowed the British to cut New England off from the rest of the colonies. Andre was hanged at Tappan, New York, on 2 Oct 1780.
|Ephraim Lucas' signature from his pension application|
In 1838, Ephraim’s widow Azubah petitioned to receive half his pension, allowable to certain widows under a recent law.
Ephraim died 28 November 1834, age 72 years, and is is buried at Chiltonville Cemetery behind the Congregational Church in Chiltonville, a village in Plymouth. His stone still survives. There is open space around his stone, but no identifying markers, but likely more family burials. His wife Azubah lived to age 94 and was buried at “Eel River,” which I’ve heard is what Chiltonville used to be called, but have also heard Russell Mill’s Cemetery was once called Eel River, so uncertain at this time.
|Ephraim Lucas' gravestone at Chiltonville Cemetery, Plymouth|