Col. Timothy 4 Bigelow


(1695) Col. Timothy 4 Bigelow, fifth child of Daniel 3 (Joshua 2, John 1) and Elizabeth (Whitney) Bigelow, was born Worcester, Worcester county, MA on 2 Aug 1739. He married, on 1 July 1762, Anna Andrews, daughter of Samuel and Anna (Rankin) Andrews, born 11 April 1747 At Worcester. At the time of her marriage she was an orphan and had inherited a considerable fortune. Her maternal grandparents were James and Rachel Rankin, immigrants from Ireland with the Scots Presbyterians of 1718. Her father Samuel Andrews established a tannery in Worcester, and built the Bigelow Mansion opposite Courthouse Square.

Timothy Bigelow was early apprenticed to the blacksmith trade, and carried on that occupation most of his life. He was self-educated, and as a young man was widely-read and became a fluent speaker, and accumulated a little library. He was known locally for his prowess at debating. He early espoused the anti-British sentiment, both writing & speaking a break with the mother country. At the opening of the conflict between the colonies and England, in Mar 1773, Timothy was a member of the Committee of Correspondence. In December following he organized the "Political Society," the meetings of which were held in his home, and by means of which the power of the Tory party was broken in Worcester. In 1774 the citizens formed the Sons of Liberty through the influence and support of Bigelow. He was a member of Boston's Whig Club, and associated with Warren and Otis, and other leading colonial advocates. He was a delegate to the Provincial Congress in its first two sessions.

In the formation of the Minute Men in Worcester, Timothy Bigelow was chosen its commander unanimously, and he drilled the men so thoroughly that when Gen. George Washington reviewed the company, he said, "This is discipline, indeed." Bigelow marched at the Battle of Concord and Lexington, and soon after was commissioned a major. In September following he volunteered for the expedition to Quebec under Benedict Arnold going by way of the Kennebec river through the wilderness of Maine. On this expedition Maj. Bigelow was ordered by Gen. Arnold to ascend a mountain near the headwaters of the Kennebec, with a small party of men, for the purpose of reconnaissance. This mountain today bears the name Mt. Bigelow.

While on the march to Quebec, he wrote the following to his wife:

October 26th, 1775

On that part of the Kennybeck called the Dead river, 95 miles above Norridgewock Dear Wife. I am at this time well, but in a dangerous situation, as is the whole detachment of the Continental Army with me. We are in a wilderness nearly one hundred miles from any inhabitants, either French or English, and but about five days provisions on an average for the whole. We are this day sending back the most feeble and some that are sick. If the French are our enemies it will go hard with us, for we have no retreat left. In that case there will be no alternative between the sword and famine. May God in his infinite mercy protect you,my more than ever dear wife, and my dear children,"Adieu, and ever believe me to be your most affectionate husband,

"Timo. Bigelow."

Bigelow proceeded on the march to Quebec, and on the 31st of December was taken prisoner by the British, and kept prisoner until the following August. He, with other prisoners, was taken to New York, and then exchanged. He promptly reentered the service as Lieut-Colonel under General Gates, and in 1777 was commissioned a full Colonel, the highest rank of any Bigelow during the Revolutionary War. He was at Saratoga, Verplanck's Point, Peekskill, Valley Forge, West Point, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and the surrender of Burgoyne.

Plaque below on a Monument at Valley Forge
Picture of Col Tim Bigelow 's Plaque at Valley ForgeAfter the War he came home ill and was unable to resume his occupation as a Blacksmith. It was then he went to West Point for some time, and was appointed commander of the arsenal at Springfield. When his health broke he returned to Worcester, after eight years in the army and found his property and business seriously diminished and encumbered in debt. With others he obtained a grant for 23,040 acres (dated 21 October 1780), on which was founded the town of Montpelier, VT. He never saw the grant. His Son Andrew's death from consumption in 1787, and the pressure to pay off his indebtedness caused his health to decline. With his finances depleted. He resumed his occupation of blacksmith, but with the post-war inflation, his own distaste for business, and the pressure of friends who had lent him money, he was thrown into debtors' prison. He died in debtors' prison 31 Mar 1790 at the age of 51. A friend, Isaac Thomas, placed a single line in the Massachusetts Spy announcing his obituary. His widow Anna died 9 July 1809 at Groton, MA.

It is said that he was of fine personal appearance, over six feet in height, with military bearing. In addition to his vigorous mind, he had a warm and generous heart, according to Howe's Bigelow genealogy.

In addition to several chapters of patriotic organizations named in his honor, there are a number of memorials to Col. Timothy Bigelow:

  1. Montpelier Vermont was founded and names by him.
  2. Bigelow Mountain in Maine, the same that he climbed, is names for Timothy; its possession is now disputed by both Whites and Indians. see - article about the Monument at the foot of Bigelow Mountain in Maine.
  3. Worcester Common has a Bigelow monument, Presented by Grandson, Timothy Lawrence, in 1861.
  4. Several Monuments with his name at Valley Forge ( See picture above)

Massachusetts Solders & Sailors of Rev War, Vol II:

Bigelow, Timothy, Worcester. Captain, Col. Artemas Ward's regt., which marched on the alarm of April 19, 1775; service, 5 days; reported enlisted into the army; also, Major; list of officers of the main guard taken May 8, 1775; also, list of officers of the main guard, dated Cambridge, May 11, 1775; also, lists of officers of the picket guard, dated Cambridge, May 15, May 21 and May 22, 1775; also, list of officers on fatigue duty, dated Cambridge, May 25, 1775; also, 2d Major, Gen, Ward's regt.; commissioned May 25, 1775; also, Col. Jonathan Ward's regt.; muster roll made up to Aug. 1, 1775, dated Dorchester; enlisted April 19,1775; service, 3 most 20 days; also, company return dated Dorchester, Oct. 7, 1775, reported on command to Quebec; also, Col. Ward's regt.; Maj. Gen. Thomas's division; list of field officers of the Continental Army in 1776; also, Col. Artemus Ward's (Worcester Co.) regt.; list of field officers [year not given]; also, Colonel, 15th Mass. regt.; Continental Army pay accounts for service from Jan. 1 1777, to Dec. 31, 1779; also, muster roll for Jan. - Sept., 1777, dated Van Schaick's Island; appointed Jan. 1, 1777; reported on command at Worcester; also, pay abstracts for Nov. and December., 1778, dated Providence; also, muster roll for March and April, 1779, dated Providence; reported on furlough; also, muster roll for Aug, 1779, dated Lower Salem; reported sick at Ridgefield; also, list of settlements of rank of Continental officers made at West Point by a board held for the purpose and confirmed by Congress, Sept. 6, 1779; commissioned Feb 8, 1777; also, Continental Army pay accounts for service from Jan. 1, 1780, to Dec. 31, 1780; also, muster roll for Jan.- June, 1780, dated Robinson's Farms; also, muster roll for November and December., 1780, dated Garrison at West Point; reported absent at Fishkill; also, pay abstract for October.-December., 1780, dated Boston; reported deranged Jan. 1, 1781.


Biggelow, Timothy. Lieutenant Colonel, 15th Mass. regt.; official record of a ballot by the House of Representatives, dated Feb. 6, 1777; appointment concurred in by Council, Feb. 6, 1777


Children of Timothy and Anna (Andrews) Bigelow, all born Worcester, Worcester county, MA:



b. 2 Jan 1765; d -Unknown; m 7 Jan 1784 Abraham Lincoln; res Worcester.



b. 30 April 1767; d. 18 May 1821 at Medford, MA; m 30 Sep 1791 Lucy Prescott; res Medford 10 children. Served in the Revolutionary War with his Father, and was a well known Lawyer & Politician



b 30 Mar 1769; d. Nov 1787.



b. 7 July 1772; d 21 December 1813 Baltimore, MD; unm.

16955 +


b. 13 May 1774; d ; m (1) 19 June 1805 Luther Lawrence, who died 1839; and (2) his brother William Lawrence; res Groton. 5 children.



b. 29 December 1781; d ___; m 26 Nov 1806 Tyler Bigelow-- (1692C);
res Watertown. 8 children.


SOURCES: Howe, Bigelow Family of America; vital records of MA towns; BIGELOW FAMILY GENEALOGY VOL. I pages 73 / 74; Forge Volume 10, No. 3, page 8-9 

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