Simeon Ashbow, Private of Marines

Simeon Ashbow. According to an article from Narragansett Dawn, Reverend Samuel Ashpo Ashbow (1718-1795), son of Ashobapow and a pupil at the Mohegan school, and his wife Hannah Cutchegan or Catjagon (1716-1801) had four sons who fought in the Revolutionary War. These brothers were Mohegan Native Americans who were born in Norwich, CT. Samuel, Jr., the oldest born about 1746, was married and a father when he joined the colonial militia in May 1775. Samuel and his younger brother John, born about 1753, enlisted together and marched in the company of Capt. John Durkee of Colonial Israel Putnam’s Regiment. They marched from Norwich to Cambridge shortly after the Lexington and Concord Battles. On 16 June 1775 they joined the other colonial regiments on Breed’s Hill. The Connecticut troops were stationed to guard the rail fence on the northeast side of the hill. The men strengthened this fence and held the British soldiers back on the first two attacks. On the third attack the British were able to overtake the troops guarding the fence and storm into the redoubt. It is possibly during this last attack that Samuel was killed, becoming the first Native American to die in the American Revolution. He was probably buried on Breed’s Hill in a mass grave with the many other men who died that day. John survived to continue fighting until his discharge on 16 December 1775 and was later married to a woman named Ann. Their brother Robert, married to Betty, joined later and died in 1776 during the retreat from New York. The fourth brother who participated in the war was Simeon Ashbow who served on the frigate Confederacy. According to New London’s Indian Mariners by Jason R. Mancini adapted from his article in Perspectives on Gender, Race, Ethnicity and Power in Maritime America, Mystic Seaport (2006), “A number of the workers (on the Confederacy) were associated with the Mohegan community directly across the river. Many of these men, including Peter Neshoe, Thomas Mosset, Turtle Hunter, Gurden Wyaugs, Ebenezer Tanner, Daniel Uncas, Dennis Mohegan, Simeon Ashbow, and James Jeffrey, were almost exclusively employed as ships riggers between October 1778 and February 1779 (He is listed on the Frigate Confederacy Riggers’ Returns 1778-1779). The nature of this work, which involved detailed knowledge of ship engineering and operation, suggests that these men were all by this time experienced mariners and recognized as such. Furthermore, men from various Indian communities, including some of those involved in the construction of the Confederacy, later sailed as crew members: Simeon Ashbow and Daniel Uncas as marines, Ebenezer Tanner as a cook’s mate, and William Fagins, Jonas Peege, and Turtle Hunter as seamen.” Simeon Ashbow died at sea on the Confederacy on 13 March 1780.

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