Sunday, October 4, 2015

Patriot Francis Lester

In April of 1818, Francis Lester applied for a pension as a Revolutionary War soldier. At 76, he states that he is "destitute of property and from my reduced circumstances I need assistance of my country for support." He was a resident of Deerfield, MA when he enlisted, and later a resident of Greenfield.

By his statement describing his service, he enlisted first in the Massachusetts Militia in March of 1775 and served in Cambridge for six months. A few months later, he volunteered for an additional six months, which he served at Ticonderoga. Before his time was up, he enlisted in the Continental Army for three years and joined Captain Torrey's company of the Congress Regiment in Lancaster, PA. He served for the balance of the war until June of 1783.  Interestingly, he states that his discharge papers were destroyed "about twenty years since" by his children when he and his wife were not home.

He received $96 annually until his death in 1832.The local newspaper contained the following obituary:

Died, in this town, on Wednesday evening last, Mr. Francis Lester, a revolutionary pensioner, aged 94 years.  He was probably the oldest surviving member of the revolutionary worthies in this section, if not in this state.  On the evening of his death he went to bed in his usual health and in the morning was found dead in his bed.

His march of the field of time was long and arduous, and well, we believe, particularly during the latter years of his life, did he sustain it.

He enjoyed uncommon health, and was remarkably vigorous for his years.  But a day or two before his death, we saw him walking, erect and with almost as firm a step as when, in the days of youth, with the legions of revolutionary fame, he charged home upon the enemy, and made the plains ring with the shout of victory.  But his earthly campaign is finished, and we trust he is gone to share the rewards of the righteous.


  1. Great article. Are you also a descendant? He is my 6th Great Grandfather. Which newspaper had this article? Thank You.

    1. I believe it was the Greenfield Recorder - let me find the photocopy. I'm not related, but I was intrigued by the length of the death notice.