|General Israel Putnam|
Wife of Revolutionary War General Israel Putnam
Israel Putnam was born on January 7, 1718 in Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts, to Joseph Putnam and Elizabeth Porter Putnam. He was not interested in education but loved being physically active and adventurous, and had a reputation for courage and competitiveness as a young man.
At age 20, Putnam married Hannah Pope, and shortly thereafter the couple moved to Connecticut, where he and his brother-in-law together bought 514 acres. Within two years he was able to buy out his partner and thus became sole owner in what was called the Putnam Farm, on the top of the high hill between the villages of Pomfret and Brooklyn.
Although Massachusetts born, the best days of his life were spent in his adopted state. For many years Israel Putnam devoted himself to the cultivation of this farm, and it was considered one of the finest in New England. He gave special attention to raising sheep and fruits, especially winter apples.
During the French and Indian War, Putnam excelled in guerilla tactics, fighting with the Connecticut militia in a special unit known as Roger’s Rangers. He quickly proved his talents as a skilled warrior and was promoted to captain in 1755 and then to major in 1758.
With fifteen honorable combat wounds marking his body and memories of many hair-raising adventures, the legend came home to Pomfret in 1765, hoping to find peace in farming the familiar acres, getting to know his eight children and socializing with old friends. Shortly after his return, one of his ten children and his wife Hannah died.
Putnam’s leadership was again summoned in 1764 during Pontiac’s Rebellion when he was appointed Commander of five militia battalions. He was soon married Deborah Gardiner, a wealthy and socially prominent widow whom he had known for years, and he managed to spend a relatively quiet ten years, farming and devoting himself to the local offices to which his fellow townspeople elected him.
Putnam was outspoken against British taxation policies and around the time of the Stamp Act crisis in 1766, he was elected to the Connecticut General Assembly, served as chairman of its committee of correspondence, and was one of the founders of the Connecticut Sons of Liberty.
By the eve of the Revolution Israel Putnam had become a relatively prosperous farmer and tavern keeper, with more than a local reputation for his previous exploits.
Increasing animosity between the hard-working colonials, who had built their new communities with their own blood sweat and tears, and their British overseers, who were taxing the colonies ever more heavily to finance affairs at home, finally exploded with the shot heard ’round the world on April 19, 1775, at Lexington, Massachusetts.
Israel Putnam in the Revolutionary War
On the morning of April 20, 1775, Putnam and his son Daniel had gone into the field near the tavern at Brooklyn Green to plow. They were busy at work when about eight o’clock a messenger rode into the village, announcing that the British had fired on the militia at Lexington, Massachusetts, had “killed six men and wounded four others,” and were on their march into the country.