Major Ezekiel Worthen, My Revolutionary Ancestor

Major Ezekiel Worthen, (I 763) patron
Revolutionary War, The French Indian War,
King George’s War, The Siege at Louisburg

* See also PDF document in blogroll (links).

Ezekiel was born March 18, 1710, at Amesbury MA, and died September 17, 1783 at Kensington, NH.  About 1732 he married Hanna Currier who was born January 26, 1711 at Amesbury, being the daughter of Rachel Sargent Currier of Amesbury.  They had 3 sons, Jacob, Samuel (Major), and Enoch, all of whom also fought in the Revolutionary War as well as a 15 year old grandson who was a private.

The chief event of the King George’s War was the Siege of Louisburg in which a force of farmers, fisherman, commanded by a merchant, General William Pepperell, of Kittery, ME,  took the strongest French Fortress in America without the aid of regular troops.  This was an exploit for which Pepperell was knighted.  Ezekiel served at Louis Louisburg with the rank of Ensign and Later First Lieutenant.  He gained some repute as an engineer, through his work restoring the fortifications after the capture of the town to guard against a counter attack by the French.

In the French Indian War, some ten years later, Ezekiel was a Captain commanding a company of “New Hampshire Rangers”.  In 1757 his company of Rogers Rangers, (started and commanded by General John Stark) as part of the garrison of Fort William Henry at the head of Lake George in New York State.  The fort was compelled to surrender to General M. Moncalm, who had attacked it with a force consisting of French regulars, Canadian militia, and a large number of Indians.  The garrison after they had given up their army and started out under a French escort, had been attacked.

The Indians began to kill and scalp some of the prisoners,especially those in the rear of the column where Ezekiel’s company was established.  A number of savages rushed at Ezekiel and were about to tomahawk him, but, while they were quarreling over a red waistcoat, which he wore he seized a gun from one of them and ran, full speed into the woods.  When out of their sight, he threw himself flat on the ground beside a large log and squeezed up under the edge of it, pawing leaves and bark over himself.  The Indians jumped the log and Ezekiel, and passed on into the forest.  After nightfall, he crawled out of his hiding place and went on to Fort Edward in safety.  The gun, above mentioned, which he brought home with him to Kensington, was given by one of his decedents to the Bunker Hill Monument Association and may be seen in the building at the foot of the monument.

When the Revolution broke out Major Ezekiel Worthen was 65 years old and a member of the Provincial Congress of NH.  He served as military advisor to the committee appointed to fortify Portsmouth (NH) and erected Fort Washington, and Fort Sullivan, at the narrows to guard the entrance to the Piscataqua Harbor.  For a time he was Commander of the troops assigned to the defense of Portsmouth. He saw no more active service after the first two years of the Revolutionary War, but, continued to serve on committees and as a delegate to conventions and to manifest an interest in the struggle for independence.

The Revolution.  In November of 1747 the people of Boston rose up with great anger.  The problem started when some fifty British sailors, seeking a better life in the New World, deserted from the HMS Lark.  Commodore Charles Knowles responded by ordering a  predawn sweep of the waterfront, to find the deserters and, failing that, to impress other warm bodies into service on the Lark.  Later that matter according to an eyewitness, a “body” of men arose I believe with no other motive than to rescue if possible the captivated..and to protest this form of barbarous abusage.  This was not the first time impressments gangs swept through the wharves and taverns of Boston, and everytime they did, they met resistance.  In 1742 a crowd attacked the commanding officer of the Astrea and destroyed a barge belonging to the Royal Navy.  In 1745 protesters beat up the commander of HMS Shirley and battered a deputy sheriff unconscious; later that year they rioted again when a press gang killed two seaman.  Governor Shirley called out the militia, but only the officers showed up..the rest of the militiamen, it seems were part of the crowd.  The laboring classes of Boston remained firmly in control of their city for 3 days until Governor Shirley negotiated the release of the most impressed seaman.

Then came also the duty on tea which was the most obnoxious tax, not because of the amount per pound, but because of the claim of the British Government that it had a right to tax their American colonies at all; and the people very generally entered into an agreement that they would not import or use tea while it was subject to duty.  As a consequence, the importation of tea was greatly limited, and the attempt to derive a revenue from this source was a complete failure.   The colonists were not so stupid as to be caught by so transparent a trick and their resistance to the tax became more determined than ever.  Public meetings were held in many of the towns in the colonies, and it was resolved that “whoever directly or indirectly aided or assisted in the importation of any of the East Indies company’s teas, or any teas, whatever, should be deemed an enemy of America.

New Hampshire joined in a movement with MA, and in May 1774 a Congress consisting of delegates from ALL the colonies, assembled at Philadelphia for the purpose of forming a confederation of colonies in opposing the attempts to strip them of their rights and liberties.  A meeting was held at the Provincial Convention Ezekiel took part in, in Exeter, NH on January 22, 1774, to choose delegates to attend the First Philadelphia Convention or Continental Congress, as it was called.  At a special town meeting held in Candia, July 11, Abraham Fitts was chosen a delegate to the General Congress at Exeter.  The Provincial Congress at Exeter elected Nathanial Folsorn and John Sullivan delegates to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia.

During the Seige of Louisburg, Worthen carrying through this assignment several other important and interesting persons and places appeared in the picture, namely Col. William Pepperell of Kittery, Maine, who led he expedition to Louisburg, William Vaughn of NH, who spent a great deal of time in the interests of the colonies, Commodore Warren of England, commanding an English fleet, Govenor Shirley of MA, Governor Wentworth of NH (The Wentworth Hotel named for him) and George Whitefield (The Great Awakening) a disciple of John Wesley who founded Methodism.  Whitefield was directly responsible for Pepperell’s decision to command the expeditions.  Since I am specifically concerned with the Siege of Louisburg 1745 and one Ezekiel Worthen of Kensington and Kensington itself, it will be the task to depict Kensington in by-gone days, bringing Ezekiel Worthen to the center of the historical stage, show how Louisburg, Cape Breton Island was fortified, and taken and lost.  It was re-taken 10 years later and dismantled.  Whereby, histories, old magazines, stories, family data and tradition, travel, and up-to-the-minute, present day.

Some of this came from an essay by Nellie Chase, written in 1948, a DAR member, and part of my aunt Ima’s records passed down to me, and some things came from “A People’s History of the American Revolution” by Ray Raphael, the History of the Town of Candia, Rockingham County, NH, by J. Bailey Moore, Manchester, NH 1893, and UNH works from ME, etc.

Major Ezekiel Worthen, was an outstanding man, descended from George Worthen who came to Salem, MA from Devonshire, England about 1635. This same Ezekiel (their were 3 descendants of George) received a grant of land from George II, located in Amesbury.  Through the generations, there were many children, and always an Ezekiel, until we come to Ezekiel Worthen, great, great, grandson of the first settler, George Worthen.  There were probably 15,000 Indians in southern New Hampshire until they caught smallpox from John Smith’s men (he was at the Isle of Shoals, if you all remember), reducing their number to 2,000.  We practically exterminated a people who at first, until vile influences enraged them, were friendly –the curse of liquor carried out the plane of unscrupulous and greedy wicked nations.   Reverend Roland Sawyer’s “History of Kensington”, covers the years from 1663-1945, 282 years, of which Ezekiel in written about. Also the Chamber of Commerce of Cape Breton Island, CN: “The Fortress of Louisburg, National Historic Park.”

Ezekiel Worthen was patriotism personified; having a very noble career.  It seemingly was pre-ordained for him.  It’s not likely that he went to war three times because he liked war.  His soul rebelled against murder, marauding and the over-bearing lordship of England.  He Hadn’t yet learned — he never could have learned to depend upon George to do what he knew he could do better himself.  All praises be to the early settlers who had courage, tenacity and faith to carry through once they knew the right of things.  Ezekiel went far up the military ladder.  He went to Louisburg as a Lieutenant, came back a Captain. In the Revolution he was promoted to Major. Like father, like son, as the saying goes; how very proud he must have been that three of his sons were officers in the revolution and a grandson of 15 years old a private in the land forces.

We, as early settlers, colonists, citizens of thee United States have weathered many storms….the great majority of us live justly.  We now, wicked and just alike, are at the crossroads, as we faced great crisis’s, then faith (during WWII also!) was one of our greatest allies, faith in America, in the council of nations, freedom has been purchased at so great a price to safeguard democracy throughout the world.  Are we losing that faith and fight now to this “progressive” movement, and Socialism?  “Wherefore seeing, we are compassed about with so great a cloud”  (after WWI and WWII and Hitler ) “and so with so great a price freedom has been purchased, let us lay aside every weight of selfishness, the sins of partisanship and pride, let us walk worthy of our great inheritance, let us be creditors of the FUTURE as well as debtors of the past; and let us know that the spirit of history is the GOD OF NATIONS WHOSE OTHER NAME IS JUSTICE.”

What is Washington now doing to us?  God help America, and all of us.

*I am the 12th generation descendant from George in 1641, and have the lineage on Genealogy.com   I am very honored to have had such a wonderful man, Major Ezekiel Worthen, in my lineage.  I shrudder to think what he, and men like Jefferson, Washington, Adams, etc, would feel if they just saw what was going on in America now.  Let us give time to pause and ask God, what we do want for America, then let those in Washington and our State know.

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