52 Ancestors Week #33 – The Battle of Bunker Hill

No Story Too Small has issued a New Year’s Challenge: “Have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor.”


A few years ago, my husband and I purchased a second home in Charlestown, Massachusetts; a stone’s throw from the Bunker Hill Monument.

IMG_03202013-11-02 14.07.44

photo (30)

1830 bunker hill

This monument stands on the site of “The Battle of Bunker Hill”, actually called Breed’s Hill, the first major battle of the American Revolution, on June 17, 1775. resulting in about 400 American and 1,054 British casualties.  The town was burnt to the ground and the Charlestown Peninsula fell into British control. Despite losing their strategic positions, the battle was a significant morale-builder for the inexperienced Americans, convincing them that patriotism could overcome a more advanced British military.

account of Battle

On June 17, 1825, the fiftieth anniversary of this important battle, the cornerstone of the monument was laid by the Marquis de Lafayette and an address delivered by Daniel Webster. It was estimated that 100,000 – 150,000 spectators flocked to town, folks from all 24 states of the Union plus “many strangers”.  Survivors of the Battle, the Revolutionary Army and all officers of the Army, Navy and Militia were invited guests to a dinner; others could purchase tickets for $1.50 at Boston book stores. The dinner tent was 400 feet long and 100 feet wide with 12 tables running lengthwise.  In the center was a 100 by 50 foot platform for the invited guests and a gallery for the band.  Attached to the tent were three spacious kitchens and crockery/glassware store.  Mr. Smith was engaged to serve 4,000. One of the (unnamed) Battle survivors was expected to wear the same coat that he wore to Battle, which had no less than nine bullet holes!  The Toll Houses were closed that day and it was requested that navigators not apply for the draw to be open that day. Each survivor was offered three dollars plus one dollar for every twenty miles of travel to cover their costs.

“Every street was filled with passing multitude, moving in various directions; wherever the eye turned it encountered a dense mass of living bodies; and wherever listened the sound of martial music was heard. In short, we were wholly inundated with soldiers, musicians, citizens, carriages and horses.  

At about half passed 10 o’clock the procession moved from the common, escorted by 16 companies of Infantry and one of cavalry, belonging to this city and the adjoining towns.  The bells in this city and those in Charlestown, were kept tolling during the moving of the procession; and salutes were fired in the morning and during the day.”  

At the head of the procession, in eight carriages, were 40 survivors of the Bunker Hill Battle. Each wore on his breast a badge “Bunker Hill, June 17, 1775”; many having implements of war they used in the fight.  Newspaper accounts estimate that the procession exceeded 7,000 persons.

“The procession arrived in Charlestown at about half past twelve…the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts then proceeded to lay the corner stone…the address of the Hon. Daniel Webster is very highly spoken of.  The masterly eloquence of the speaker, when addressing Gen. Lafayette drew tears from every eye. The General, the veterans of the revolution, the speaker and indeed the whole assembly were effected most sensibly. While not a dry eye was to be seen, not a whisper was to be heard, all was still as night…”

The address lasted an hour and forty minutes which was followed by a number of toasts, then an excellent “collation” prepared by Mr. Smith.

Read more here: article


bunker hillbunker hil celebration

Turns out that my 5th g-grandfather, Moses Pindar (Pinder, Pendar, Pender, Pindir, Pyndar) fought in the battle and (although it is unknown if he attended) was an invited guest to the commemorative event!!!!

Moses Pindar chart

Moses fought in the Battle of Bunker Hill, as a private, in Captain Abraham Dodge’s Company, part of Colonial Moses Little’s regiment, after enlisting on 3 May 1775.   Other survivors invited from Ipswich included: Nathaniel Wade, Joseph Hodgkins, John Lukeman, Jabez Farley, John H. Boardman, Nathanial Farley, Abraham Perkins and Solomon Coleman.

moses more

Moses Pindar Revolution

Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors reads: Pinder, Moses, Ipswich. Private, Cat. Abraham Dodge’s co., Col. Moses Little’s (17th) regt.; muster roll dated Aug. 1, 1775; enlisted May 3, 1775; service, 12 weeks 6 days; also, company return endorsed “October the 9 1775;” age, 25 yrs. t

There is one inconsistency, if this is my Moses, he would have been born in 1750 to be age 25 in 1775 – the Moses born to John Pinder and Katherine Kimball was born 10 years earlier in 1740/1741 and age 35 – I believe he was actually 35 and age 25 is an error, see my analysis under vital records.

moses book


Colonial Little’s 17th & 24th regiments were composed entirely of men from Essex County. Captain Abraham Dodge’s group had 1 captain, 2 lieutenants, 1 ensign, 4 sergeants, 4 corporals, 2 fifers and 59 privates.

“At the Battle of Bunker Hill, Col. Little led three of his companies across Charlestown Neck, under severe fire from British batteries and ships of war, reached the scene of action before the first charge of the enemy, and was present throughout the entire engagement. His men were posted in different places – a part at the redoubt, and a part at the breastwork, and some at the rail fence. A fourth company came upon the field after the battle began”. One account claims forty of the regiment were killed or wounded.  In another list the statement was made that sever were killed and 23 wounded”.

Another account reads: “His company were camped within sight of the battle of Bunker Hill and a number of them went voluntarily into the fight…” Moses is listed among the names of those who fought”.

It seems only one man of the company, Jesse Story, lost his life.

col little

moses battle


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Ipswich Vital Records – Births and Marriages


Moses was likely born to John and Katherine (Kimball) Pinder and baptized 3 March 1740.

There is one inconsistency, if this is “our Moses”, and the company return [pictured above] which endorsed “October the 9 1775;” age, 25 yrs is correct,  he would have been born in 1750 to be age 25 in 1775 – this Moses born to John Pinder and Katherine Kimball was born 10 years earlier in 1740/1741 and thus age 35 at the time of the Battle of Bunker Hill.

I have found no evidence of a second Moses Pinder in the area, although multiple marriages are listed, there is only one likely birth and one likely death of a Moses, age 86, recorded in Massachusetts on 19 Oct 1827. The corresponding published death notice, which makes mention of Moses being “a soldier of the Revolution” and also lists his age as 86, which places his birth about 1741 and thus 34 or 35 years of age in 1775.

Moses birth

moses marriage


Massachusetts Vitals shows three records pertaining to Moses Pinder married in Essex county; I believe there only to be one man of that name in Essex in that time frame and all three likely pertain to him, he was likely married twice to (1) Elizabeth Safford and (2) Mary Procter or Kimball.

(1)   Moses Pindar  – bride’s name: Elizabeth Safford; marriage date: 04 Oct 1765; marriage place: Ipswich,Essex,Massachusetts – https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/FCCS-T9H.  Elizabeth was the daughter of Daniel Safford and Hannah Hovey.  Daniel left 5 shillings to his grandson, Moses Pinder (his will was proved in Essex County, 1796, Case Number 24493 ). His daughter Elizabeth was not named; she was likely deceased.

(2)   Moses Pinder – bride’s name: Mary Procter; marriage date: 08 Sep 1778;  marriage place: Gloucester,Essex,Massachusetts – https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/FCHH-FJV the Mary Procter marriage registered in Gloucester states that Mary was now from Ipswich: Moses, and Mary Procter [formerly of this town, now of Ipswich, C. R. 1.], Sept. 8, 1778. They were married by the Rev. Eli Forbes, pastor of the First Church of Gloucester.

(3)   Moses Pinder – bride’s name: Mary Kimball; marriage intention: 19 Sep 1778, Ipswich,Essex,Massachusetts – https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/FCCS-TM5

Maybe Mary Kimball and Mary Proctor are the same person?  Perhaps Mary was married previously and one town recorded her maiden name and the other the name she used during her first marriage – since they are 11 days apart (the intention was registered after the marriage)? Mary was said to be 77 when she died in 1826, thus placing her birth about 1749 and about age 29 when she married, certainly old enough to have had a prior marriage.

The Massachusetts Tax Valuation list of 1771, which lists males over 16, and includes over 27 categories of property from buildings to financial assets to livestock, lists only one Moses Pinder in the entire state (in Ipswich) further indicating that there was likely just one Moses.  It is possible there was a Moses who was not of age in 1771 but then he would have been significantly younger than “Mary” and neither his birth or death recorded. There were no Pinders of Gloucester who may have fathered a second Moses. Other Pinders recorded were:  Benj’n, John, Jonathan in Ipswich and Thomas of Newburyport (no one with other variations of the name Pinder were recorded).


Known children born to Moses in Ipswich include:

(1) Mary Pinder daughter of Moses and Elizabeth, baptized 28 May 1769 (Ipswich vital records) – no further records found, probably died young.

(2) Moses Pinder son of Moses baptized 30 Dec 1770 (Ipswich vital records), named in his grandfather’s will 1796, 1850 census in Homer, Cortland, New York.

(3) Joseph Pinder son of Moses baptized Aug 29, 1779 (Ipswich vital records) – no further records found, probably died young.

(4) John Pindar son of Moses baptized 21 Jul 1782 (Ipswich vital records) – died 1783

(5) Polly Pindar daughter of Moses baptized 10 Oct 1784 (Ipswich vital records) – died 1787

(6) David son of Moses, baptized 16 Sep 1787  (Ipswich vital records) married Elizabeth Jones and died at sea 1815

(7) George Washington Pinder Son of Moses and Mary Pinder  baptized 7 Feb 1793 (Ipswich vital records) – married Priscilla Allen in 1822.


There is only one death of a Moses Pindar in Essex, – Moses, Oct. 19, 1827, a. 86 yr.; Mary’s death does not offer her maiden name: Mary, w. Moses, Mar. 2, 1826, a. 77 y.

Mary Pindar Death

Moses Pindar Death

Probate records in Essex County were not located for any man named Moses Pinder.


On 30 November 1785, Moses’ father John, yeoman, died in Ipswich, intestate.

Ten days later, on 10 December 1785, Moses’ mother Katherine died in Ipswich.  She left a will in which she names her heirs as …”my children Moses Pinder, Simon Pinder, Katherine Fuller [husband Daniel], Hannah Stacy [husband Daniel] and my granddaughter Sarah daughter of my son John, deceased…..my son Benjamin Pinder and my daughter Lucy Henderson [husband Thomas]….”.  She left Moses six shillings.

Katherin Pinder probate


The censuses taken in Moses’ lifetime do not offer clues to his occupation.  There is one mention in town records “1771, March 18th. The Commoners gave £10 to Anthony Loney and Moses Pindar, because their fulling-mill had been borne away by a freshet”, but it is unknown if he ran/worked at a fulling-mill for his entire life:

10 fresh

* “Fulling is the finishing of wool cloth, basically shrinking it into its final form.” “A fulling mill is used to shrink and thicken woolen cloth.”

The history of the beginning of the Cloth Industry in America by Bob Bamford, of Essex Books claims: “With the advent of the fulling mill in Rowley, Massachusetts by John Pearson, in 1644, came the manufacture of cloth on a scale never before attempted in America. Previous to John’s coming, cloth making was a rather crude industry. Practically all of it was homespun, and while the women did the best they knew, the results were, naturally, quite far from satisfactory. The fulling mill changed all this. The cloth was still spun at home, but the finishing or fulling was done at the mill, and consequently a much better material resulted. In time this lessened the importation of cloth from England, making it just one of the many contributing causes of the Revolution of a century and a half later”.

* A freshet is a flood resulting from heavy rain or a spring thaw. Whereas heavy rain often causes a flash flood, a spring thaw event is generally a more incremental process, depending upon local climate and topography. The term freshet is most commonly used to describe a spring thaw resulting from snow and ice melt in rivers.

In an 1824 land deed, he is referred to as a Clothier.

Moses Pinder land sale 1824

Censuses and Tax Records

1790 census

In 1790 Moses was residing in Ipswich with one male under age 16 and two females near (or with) his sister Hannah and her husband Edward Stacey.

1790 Census

 1798 tax records

Tax records indicate that in 1798, Moses owned land in Ipswich, perhaps jointly with Edward Stacey [his brother-in-law, husband of his sister Hannah].  The property had one dwelling house and an outhouse.  The lot was equal to 10 perches (about 1/16 acre) and valued at $150.

1898 pindar land

In 1812, Moses sold land (book 198/page 217) in Ipswich, his son David signs as a witness and Mary gives up her right of dower.  It is described as 1/8th undivided part of meadow land in Ipswich called Bartholomew Hill pasture and commonly known by the name of Pinder Right, originally laid out as eight acres.

Moses Pinder land sale

hill descript



Moses also sold land with a dwelling house in 1824 (deed pictured above, book 237/page 108) that he purchased of the estate of Stephen Safford for 36 pounds, 13 shillings and four pence. The land is described in the deed by which he purchased the land in 1769 (book 126/page 253). It included the Northerly end of a dwelling house to the middle of the chimney with a shop at the end of said house and a Dye house adjoining and half the barn and half about 8 rods of land, bounded southerly by Nathaniel Farley, westerly on the road that leads to the grist mill, easterly by land owned by the town of Ipswich, enclosed by a stone wall, the same land owned by Stephen Safford, deceased. Joesph Hunt purchased the other half of the property.


1800 census household: 1 male <5, 1 male  >40, 1 female 5-10, 1 female >40

1800 Moses

1810 census household: 1 male 17-26, 1 male >45, 1 female 17-26, 1 female >45

1810 moses census

1820 Census – unreadable

Moses 1820

Bunker Hill Day, is now observed every June 17, and a legal holiday in Suffolk County, Massachusetts.  A day with special meaning, as I have now discovered two ancestors who fought in the battle (the second being William Grout, subject of a future post).  Is it a coincidence that I a own a home in almost the exact spot where my ancestors fought for our freedom?

bunker hill day

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