Col. Timothy 4 BIGELOW

Page 3 for #1695

51-161    Col. Timothy  BIGELOW of Worcester, Mass., the fifth child of Daniel  and Elizabeth (Whitney) Bigelow, of Worcester, was born in that town Aug. 2, 1739, and married, July 1, 1762, Anna Andrews, daughter of Samuel and Anna (Rankin) Andrews; she was born April 11, 1747 in Worcester, and at the time of her marriage was an orphan and an heiress to a considerable fortune. Her mother was the youngest daughter of  James and Rachel Rankin, who emigrated from Ireland with the Scotch Presbyterians of 1718, and her father established a tannery near Lincoln Square, and built the old Bigelow Mansion opposite the Court House. Col. Timothy Bigelow early commenced life by being apprenticed to the blacksmith trade, and afterward carried on the business, and soon ranked as one of the most energetic and prosperous of the young men in Worcester. Endowed by nature with keen observation and a desire to posess the advantages of education, he worked ardently to supply the want, and soon became acquainted with some of the best English works, and early gained the art of writing and speaking with directness and accuracy. These acquirements were destined to be soon called into full exercise by the rapid approach of the clouds of revolution, which were spreading themselves over the colonies, and by his ability to debate, he was early placed in a prominate position among the whigs of the town. At this time the best educated and most influential of the citizens were adherents of the king, and dedicated tories. And it will be seen that it required far more than ordinary courage for men to openly espouse the cause of the cause of the colonists, but he was not to be deterred. Early in March, 1773, we find him a member of the local Committee of Correspondence, and in December following, he organized the "Political Society," and meetings of these bodies were often held in his dwelling, and it was in these bodies that measures were concocted in secret which broke the control of the tories in the town.
At the meeting of the citizens in 1774, the adoption of the bold (and then treasonable) resolutions was due to the vigorous and able support of Mr. Bigelow, and from that day the "Sons of Liberty" were victorious in a town where toryism had its strongest hold. As a member of the "Whig Club"of Boston, he became an associate of Warren, Otis, and other prominent men of those times. He was a delegate to the Provincial Congress during the first and second sessions, and upon the organization of the Minute Men in Worcester, he was chosen its commander by a unanimous vote, and by his unceasing instruction, his company became one of the best drilled companies in the service, and at the first review at Cambridge Gen. Washington is said to have used the expression, "This is discipline, indeed." On the memorable 19th of April, he marched with his company to the scene of action (Battle of Concord and Lexington.....ROD), arriving in Cambridge the day following, he immediatly reported for service, and soon after received from Congress a commission as Major. In the September following he volunteered in the famous expedition to Quebec under Benedict Arnold, going by way of the Kennebec river through the wilderness. It was on this expedition that Major Bigelow was ordered by Gen. Arnold to ascend a mountain near the headwaters of the Kennebec, in order to make observations, and with a few men in attendance, they are said to be the first white men to ascend the mountain, which has since been known as Mt. Bigelow. He participated in the hardships of that ill fated expedition, and on the night of Dec 31st, in the assault on the city, he was taken prisoner with many others.
The following is a copy of a letter to his wife written while on the march:

                                                                                                                 October 25th, 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."

     They were kept prisoners until the following August, when they were taken to New York, where an exchange was effected and he returned to his home, but soon re-entered the service with the rank of Lieut-Col. On Feb. 8, 1777, he was commissioned Col. of the 15th Regt. of the Mass. line in the Continental Army. He, with his regiment, was with General Gates at the surrender of Burgoyne, at Saratoga, and afterwards in the Rhode Island Expedition, at Verplank's Point, Peekskill, Valley Forge, and West Point; he remained in the field until the close of the war, and his reputation for intrepidity and discipline was maintained throughout; after the army was disbanded he was stationed for a time at West Point, later was assigned to the command of the national arsenal at Springfield, and later he left the service to return to his family; leaving with the reputation of a meritorious officer and a much depleted purse, owing to irregular payments and the depreciated currency of that time, with his health impaired by the hardships and exposures of eight years' active service in behalf of his country. He returned to find his property seriously diminished by the many sacrifices of his martial service. With a resolute spirit he set to work to repair his shattered fortune, and resumed, his old occupation of a blacksmith, but times had changed, as also he himself, hard money had ceased to circulate, and a depreciated currency was in its place; credit existed only in name, and eight years of exciting service in field and camp, together with the long disuse of his old avocation, had produced an inaptitude for business, a condition of which, parties, who should have been sincere friends, but in their desire to gain in their worldly possessions, were not slow in taking advantage of for their own benefit and to his injury.
      With others he obtained a grant of land in Vermont consisting of a township of  23,040 acres, Oct. 21 1780, upon which was founded the town of Montpelier, VT, but he never went to live on the grant. In 1787, his son Andrew fell victim to quick consumption which affliction, together with his business reverses, tended to depress his energy and cast a gloom over his mind. Through the machinations of false friends, who owed much to his patriotism of former days, he found himself tangled in debt, unable to extricate himself, or satisfy their shylock demands, and to their shame and disgrace he was thrown into jail, where, overwhelmed by his adverse circumstances, he died March 31, 1790. His widow died at Groton, Mass., July 9, 1809.
     He was of fine personal appearance, over six feet in height, his bearing erect and martial. He possessed a vigorous intellect, ardent temperament, and a warm and generous heart. His children were born in Worcester, and were:

517.    Nancy, b. Jan. 2, 1765; m Jan. 7, 1784, Hon. Abraham Lincoln of Worcester; he d. July 2, 1824; was selectman, 1809 to 1824;
           representative to the General Court, 1809 to 1823; and member of the Council, 1823, 1824.

518.    Timothy, b. April 30, 1767; d. May 18, 1821; m. Lucy Prescott.

519.    Andrew, b Mar. 30, 1769; d. Nov 1787. 

520.    Rufus, b. July 7, 1772; d in Baltimore, Md., Dec. 21, 1813; unm. He was a prominent merchant in that city.

521.    Lucy, b. May 13, 1774; m. June 19, 1805 Capt. Luther Lawrence of Groton, he was b. Sept. 28, 1778 and d. April 17, 1839; They had:
                      i.  Anna Maria, b March 25, 1806; m. Dec. 1, 1829, Norman Seaver of Boston.
                      ii.  Emily, b. June 24, 1807; d. 1808.
                     iii.  Elizabeth Andrews, b. June 29, 1809; d. Aug. 19, 1830.
                     iv.  Katherine, b. April 26, 1811; m. Charles T. Appleton; d. April 18, 1846.
                      v.  Rufus Bigelow, b. July 13, 1814; graduated  at Harvard University 1834; d. Jan.13, 1841 at Peu in the south of France. 

522.    Clarissa, b. Dec. 29, 1781; m. Tyler Bigelow.

Howe, Bigelow Family of America; pg 76-79;
Gilman Bigelow Howe does go on a bit, but I thought his actual entry would be useful...............ROD 09/12/05

Modified - 09/12/2005
(c) Copyright 2005 Bigelow Society, Inc. All rights reserved.
Rod  Bigelow - Director

Rod Bigelow (Roger Jon12 BIGELOW)
P.O. Box 13    Chazy Lake
Dannemora, N.Y. 12929
<  >