Surg Darius Stoddard 1754-1790Leave a Comment
Birth: 17 May 1754, Salisbury (Litchfield) CT [D. Williams Patterson, John Stoddard of Wethersfield, CT (1873), p. 33; Find-a-grave (died in his 37th year)].
Death: 12 July 1790, Salisbury (Litchfield) CT [Stoddard, p. 33; Gravestone photo; Malcolm Day Rudd, Men of Worth of Salisbury Birth, The Salisbury Quadrimillenium Edition, (The Salisbury Assoc., 1991), p. 161].
Marriage: Mary Holley, daughter of John and Sarah (Lord) Holley. Marriage date unknown, and several years after Darius Stoddard’s death, Mary is believed to have wed Elias Hall, of Castleton VT, an officer of the Revolutionary War. [Men of Worth, p. 161]
Children: There is no record of children.
Education: He was trained in medicine and surgery, but it is not known by whom. By the start of the war, Dr. Stoddard was fully qualified to practice medicine and quickly signed on to serve as a Surgeon’s Mate and Surgeon in the Continental Army. [Men of Worth, p. 160]
Military: The first record of Dr. Stoddard’s service began 1 Jan 1777, as Surgeon’s Mate and Surgeon in the Hospital Department of the Continental Army, at the age of 22. He continued service to the Continental Army, Hospital Dept. for a period of 5 years, serving for some of that time as Surgeon, Col. Henry Jackson’s Regiment. [Secretary of the Commonwealth, Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary War, Vol. 15 (Boston, MA, 1907), p. 62. hereinafter “MSSRW”; CT Adjutants General, Records of Service of Connecticut Men in the War of the Revolution (Hartford CT, 1889) p. 629, hereinafter “CMWR”; Francis Heitman, Historical Register, Officers of the Continental Army (WashingtonDC. Rare Book Co. 1914) p. 522].
Cincinnati: Darius Stoddard never joined the Society of the Cincinnati prior to his untimely death at the age of 37 and there is no record he left any children; he was first represented by Hereditary Member (Rule of 1854) who joined in 2013, just 8 days prior to the 223rd anniversary of Dr. Stoddard’s death.
Occupation: Physician, surgeon [Men of Worth, p. 160; records of the Continental Army, Hospital Dept. service].
Discussion: Darius Stoddard was the fifth of nine children born to Josiah and Sarah (Robbarts) Stoddard, and the fourth of five boys. Four of the Stoddard boys served with distinction during the War; elder brothers Luther (2nd LT, Hinman’s 4th CT; Capt., Burrall’s CT Reg.) and Josiah (Capt., 2nd Continental Light Dragoons), and younger brother Samuel (Sergt., Warner’s Regt. and 2nd CT Line). His father died in 1764, leaving the 10 year old Darius’ guardianship to the executor of his father’s will. However, upon reaching legal age Darius was able to select his own guardian and chose Nathaniel Buell. Darius and his two older brothers were widely known and respected for their bravery and patriotic service throughout the war, but the trio was also well known for their quick tempers and unseemly behavior. Although often finding themselves in trouble, Darius generally put his abundant energy to good use throughout his war time service as a Surgeon’s Mate and Surgeon, serving in the Hospital Department throughout much of the war. However, frequent disagreements with fellow patriots were not uncommon and perhaps the most famous incident in his military service occurred in the fall of 1780, when he raised serious charges against his late-brother’s commander, Col. Elisha Sheldon, 2nd Light Dragoons. The conclusion of Sheldon’s general court-martial ended with the Colonel acquitted of all charges, “with honor and approbation” and Stoddard fined for the expenses of the trial for bringing charges deemed without merit. After the war, Dr. Stoddard continued to practice medicine in his hometown of Salisbury and in eastern New York until the time of his death. Stoddard and his brother, Luther, joined the Montgomery Lodge of Masons in 1783, the year of the lodge’s founding. The lodge is still active to this day, known as Montgomery Lodge No. 13. As the war ended, he petitioned Congress and the Connecticut State Assembly, finally receiving his back pay earned during the War. However, he became consumed with land speculation deals in Virginia and found himself accumulating great debts, which landed him in jail from time to time. After a brief stay in jail in 1790, he became ill and soon thereafter died of consumption. He is buried next to his father in Town Hill Cemetery, which can be found on the campus of the Hotchkiss School, Lakeville, CT. His headstone is inscribed with the following words: “In Memory of Doctor Darius Stoddard, who Died July 12th 1790 in the 37th year of his age. Nor shill, nor art the shafts of death can shun, But all alike his Icy arms must try; How short our time, how soon our race is run, Then let’s with care to Christ for shelter fly.”
[Men of Worth, p. 157-161; Find-a-grave and gravestone photo; “CMWR”, pp. 61, 93, 110, 257, 272, 327; “Heitman’s Historical Register”, p. 522; Dr. Darius Stoddard, Letter to the CT General Assembly, dated 15 October 1782 (Connecticut State Archives: Revolutionary War, 1763-1789), series 1, roll 23, p. 263; Montgomery Lodge No. 13, Lakeville, CT (www.montgomerylodge13.org)].