Capt Ebenezer Perkins 1756-1831Leave a Comment
Birth: 30 Aug. 1756, Norwich (New London) CT [Barbour VR Norwich CT]
Death: 16 Aug. 1831, Norwich (New London) CT [NEHGR Vol. 2 (Oct. 1848) pp. 404-407, Inscriptions From the Burying-ground in Norwich, CT].
Marriage: Ebenezer Perkins stated in letter dated 12 June 1820 (in support of his pension) that “my family residing with me consists of my wife who is about 70 years of age, very infirm, and not able to contribute anything to her support” [Revolutionary War Pension File S36219, Ebenezer Perkins, Connecticut]. His wife’s name was Eunice (maiden name unknown), and she died 6 March 1829 at age 83 at Norwich, CT [NEHGR II-404-407].
Children: It is unknown if Capt. Perkins ever sired any children; there is no reference to any children in his pension file, nor in any of the records located about him.
Education: He appears to have been was well read but details of his education are unknown.
Military: He responded to the Lexington Alarm in April 1775 as a Sgt. of the volunteers from the town of Norwich, CT [CT Adjutants General, Records of Service of Connecticut Men in the War of the Revolution (Hartford CT, 1889) p. 19, hereinafter “CMWR”]; Sgt. 8th Continental Regiment, 10 July 1775 [Francis Heitman, Historical Register, Officers of the Continental Army (Washington DC. Rare Book Co. 1914) p. 436; CMWR p. 85]; Ensign, 8th Continental Regiment, 18 Sept. 1775- 10 Dec. 1775 [Heitman. p. 436; CMWR p. 85]; 2nd Lt., 17th Continental Regiment, 1 Jan. 1776 [Heitman. p. 436; CMWR p. 102]; 1st Lt., 1st Continental Regiment, 1 Jan. 1777 [Heitman p. 436; CMWR p. 146]; Captain, 1st Continental Regiment, 1 Jan. 1778 [Heitman p. 436; CMWR p. 146]; he spent the winter of 1777-1778 at Valley Forge, where he signed the Oath of Allegiance to the United States [The Army and Navy of the United States, 1776-1891, George Barrie Publisher, Philadelphia 1890]; resigned 1 July 1780 [Heitman p. 436; CMWR p. 146].
Cincinnati: Original Member [CMWR p. 376]; first represented in 1982 by George Breed [d. 2000]. Now represented by Hereditary Member who joined in 2011.
Occupation: Stated in letter dated 12 June 1820 (in support of his pension) that he was “a trader” [Pension File].
Discussion: Ebenezer Perkins was one of the many officers of the Continental Army who became active in the Masonic Order during and after the Revolutionary War. On 16 October 1794, he was among several men who were involved in the effort to reorganize the Union Lodge, which initially was chartered 12 January 1753 [200 Years of Union Lodge No. 31, New London Connecticut, hereinafter “200 Years”, www.unionlodge31.org]. The new charter for Union Lodge No. 31 was issued 20 May 1795 [Ibid]. On 25 June 1799, Capt. Ebenezer Perkins, as Worshipful Master of Union Lodge No. 31, laid the foundation for Freemason’s Hall in Norwich, CT [Ibid]. On 27 December 1800 at the Festival of St. John the Baptist, he delivered an address to those assembled at Freemason’s Hall [An Address Delivered to Union Lodge at Freemason’s Hall, in the City of New of New London, on the Festival of St. John the Evangelist 1800 by Ebenezer Perkins (Samuel Green, New London 1801)]. He served as Worshipful Master of Union Lodge No. 31 from 1799 to 1804 [200 Years]. In October 1805 he represented Union Lodge No. 31 at the Convocation of the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of the State of Connecticut [Records of Capitular Masonry in the State of Connecticut, hereinafter “Capitular Masonry” (Press Wiley, Waterman & Eaton, Hartford 1875) p. 32]. He also represented Union Lodge No. 31 at the convocations of May 1812, May 1813, and October 1813 [Capitular Masonry pp. 52, 56, 58]. However, later in life, he apparently fell on financial hard times. In the records of the October 1813 meeting of the Grand Lodge there is the following entry: “The Grand Lodge was opened in the Third Degree of Masonry when a petition from sundry brethren of Union Lodge No. 31, New London, praying some relief for our Bro. Ebenezer Perkins, a member of said Lodge, in consequence of his many and great misfortunes, was introduced and read. After sundry remarks on the subject, it was ordered that the Grand Treasurer pay to Bro. Perkins from the funds of the Grand Lodge, seventy-five dollars, as a charitable donation in his afflicted circumstances.” [The Records of Freemasonry in the State of Connecticut (E.G. Storer, New Haven 1859) p. 254]. His indigent circumstances persisted, as shown by his 12 June 1820 declaration in support of his pension application, in which he stated “by reason of my infirmity have not the ability to pursue” his occupation as a trader and that due to “my reduced and indigent circumstances in life, [I am] unable to support myself without the assistance of my country” [Pension File]. Capt. Ebenezer Perkins died in Norwich, CT 31 August 1831 at age 74 and was buried in Norwich City Cemetery [www.Find-A-Grave.com].