Capt Charles Elsworth 1730-1776Leave a Comment
Biography of Capt. Charles Elsworth, Jr. Esq. Feb-29-2012 by Charles H. Lewis
Birth: Born about 1730, based on the inscription on his tombstone which reads, “In Memory of Charles Elsworth, Esq. who Departed this Life Jan. 4, 1776 in ye 47th year of his age” [Henry R. Stiles, M.D., The History of Ancient Windsor, Connecticut, (New York: Charles B. Norton, Co., 1859), p. 279; Ellington Center Cemetery Inscriptions)].
Death: Died 4 January, 1776, prob. at Roxbury, MA [The inscription on his gravestone at Ellington Center
Cemetery does not list his place of death, only his date of death, but see discussion below]
Marriage: To Rachel Makepeace, int. pub. Feb. 23, 1771, at Warren, MA [Vital Records of Warren,
Massachusetts (Worcester, MA: Franklin P. Rice, 1910), p. 103]
Children: Charles Elsworth, Jr. No birth record, but the inscription on his tombstone in the Ellington Center
Cemetery reads, “Charles Elsworth, Jr., son of Charles, Esq. & Rachel died June 27, 1776, age 2 yrs.” Therefore, he would have been born in 1774. There are no other known children.
Education: Not known, but he used the title “Esq.” implying he was an attorney, and was East Windsor’s first
Justice of the Peace. He must have been well educated.
Military: First, appointed lieutenant in the Windsor Train Band in May 1755. In October 1763, he was
appointed captain of the same unit. In July 1775, he was appointed captain of the 5th Company, Colonel Jedediah Huntington’s 8th Regiment (Connecticut) [Charles J. Hoadley, The Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut, (Hartford: Case, Lockwood and Brainard, 1870, Vol. 10, p. 361, Vol. 12, p. 196, Vol. 15, p. 95; CT Adjutants General, Records of Service of Connecticut Men in the War of the Revolution (Hartford CT, 1889) p. 87, hereafter referred to as CMWR]. In April 1775, he marched to Roxbury upon the Lexington Alarm at the head of his militia company to participate in the Siege of Boston [CMRW, p. 9]. In June, his company returned to East Windsor and was reorganized as the 5th Company in Colonel Jedediah Huntington’s 8th Regiment. He then returned to Roxbury at the head of his new company and remained there past his enlistment obligation until January 1776, per request of the commander-in-chief [NARA, M247, Item #59, Miscellaneous Papers 1770-1789, Vol. 2, p. 7].
Cincinnati: Died in Service prior to the formation of the Society of the Cincinnati; first represented by a
Hereditary Member who joined in 2012.
Occupation: First Justice of the Peace in East Windsor, CT; a member of the first Board of Selectmen of the
Town of East Windsor; member of the Committees of Correspondence and Safety in East Windsor; East Windsor Representative to the Colonial General Assembly in Hartford [Hoadley, The Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut, Vol. 14, pp. 2 & 76; Town of East Windsor, CT, Town Meetings, Vol. 1, 1768-1826, pp. 3-8].
Discussion: Charles Ellsworth was a prominent citizen of what became known as Ellington, Connecticut, then a part of the Town of East Windsor, Connecticut. He held prominent elected positions as a selectman and moderator, the first justice of the peace, captain of the local militia, the town representative to the colonial government in Hartford, and a member of the Committees of Correspondence and Safety. At the outset of hostilities with Great Britain in 1775, he was among the first to respond to the crisis at Lexington and Concord, marching at the head of his local militia company. He was appointed captain of the 5th Company in Jedediah Huntington’s 8th Regiment during the Siege of Boston, and served with his company at Roxbury until the beginning of 1776. Tragically, he did not survive the first full year of the War. Based on considerable circumstantial evidence, he likely perished in one of the military hospitals in Roxbury, perhaps of smallpox [Charles H. Lewis, Capt. Charles Ellsworth, Jun., Esq. (self-published: Falls Village, CT, 2011) pp. 8-12]. No known children survived him to adulthood. Charles’ wife, Rachel Elsworth, remarried sometime later, Colonel Levi Wells, another well known Connecticut Revolutionary War officer, who had relocated to Ellington from Colchester Connecticut [Stiles, History of Ancient Windsor, p. 281].