Brick Wall Case Studies #6: Finding the family of a Massachusetts Revolutionary War soldier
It was a family tradition that Benjamin Clark served in the Revolutionary War. Vital records, town histories, and Revolutionary War pension files proved the family tradition to be correct.
What We Knew
It was a family tradition that Benjamin Clark served in the Revolutionary War.
Online trees listed him as born in Abington, Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1749, but there were many Benjamin Clarks born around that same time and no proof which was the correct Benjamin.
Benjamin Clark married Mehitabel Edson in East Bridgewater, Plymouth, Massachusetts on 21 December 1775. No parents were listed on the document. It says that Benjamin Clark was "of Stoughton".
Benjamin and Mehitabel had 8 children and the births of the children were all recorded in the vital records of Royalston, Worcester, Massachusetts.
Records We Located
The marriage document of Benjamin Clark and Mehitable Edson said that Benjamin Clark was "of Stoughton". This means that Benjamin was living in Stoughton at the time the couple were married; he may or may not have been born in Stoughton.
We located a history of Royalston, Massachusetts on Archive.org that was written in 1917. It said that Benjamin Clark came from Bridgewater to Royalston and served in the Revolutionary War.
We located Benjamin Clark in the Daughters of the American Revolution database found on their website. It lists Benjamin Clark as born in Abington, Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1749. It listed him as a corporal in the Revolutionary War and said he died in 1815 in Royalston, Massachusetts, and that his wife was Mehetable Edson.
We located a Revolutionary War pension file for Mehitable Edson Clark on Fold3.com. Mehitable filed for a pension in 1837 after her husband's death. At the time of her filing she was living in Royalston. She said that she and her husband were married in 1775 and that her husband was living in Stoughton at that time. She stated that her husband died in 1815 in Royalston at the age of 65 years, making his birth year about 1750.
In the pension file, there was a statement Ezra Clark of Taunton, Massachusetts who stated that he was the brother of Benjamin Clark.
In the vital records of Massachusetts, there was only one brother combination of a Benjamin and Ezra Clark born to the same parents and that was Benjamin Clark born in 1749 in Abington and his brother Ezra born in 1760. The birth year of 1749 matches the dates that Benjamin's wife gave of when he was born. The parents of Benjamin and Ezra were Benjamin and Bethiah Clark. So the Benjamin Clark born in 1749 does appear to be the one born in Abington.
Benjamin Clark did serve in the Revolutionary War and his wife received a pension for his service. He had a brother Ezra Clark and parents were Benjamin and Bethiah Clark. The documents and sources we gathered are found on the person page of Benjamin Clark in the FamilySearch Family Tree, ID LCTM-12R.
Need help finding more records? Try our genealogical records directory which has more than 1.1 million sources to help you more easily locate the available records.