"the fourth of Seven-month, (what salutes of cannons and small arms!)"

This week beginning with Independence Day, it seemed apt to feature one of my ancestors, a maternal fifth great-grandfather, who fought in the Revolutionary War: Capt Samuel Cherry (15 May 1756 - 27 Oct 1825).

(by his friend Benjamin Coe)

The hero is gone, and deeply lamented
The hero who fought by the side of the brave,
The hero who served in the fields that were tented,
For victory, or an honorable grave.
The hero is gone, but his mem’ry for ages
Will live in the land where freedom is revered.
While history stands recorded in pages,
While the rights of his country are ever revered.
The hero is gone, never returning,
Few are not left to tell us his story.
Tears of the warriors in bitterness burning
Will fall on the vet’ran companion in glory.
The hero is gone, his seasons of glory,
His springs, his summers and autumns are ended.
In the winter of age, with a heart that was heavy
He left us with freedom and liberty blended.

Benjamin Coe, author of this poem, famously avoided duty in the Revolutionary War by sending one of his slaves, Cudjo, in his place. Cudjo, who said he descended from African royalty--perhaps an early example of genealogical wishful thinking--received high honors, as one of many slaves who served in the war. Benjamin Coe's brother, Moses Coe, is a direct ancestor of former President George W. Bush. Anyway....

Samuel Cherry was born in Londonderry; this much we know--but which Londonderry? Opinion is divided between those who believe he was born in Londonderry, Ireland, and those who believe he was born in Londonderry, New Hampshire. His birthplace, as well as who his parents were, are apparently lost to history, despite several generations of researchers trying to find out. Perhaps we will never know.

We do know that he was in what was to become the United States by age eighteen, for on 23 April 1775, he enlisted in (then) Capt George Reid's Company (1st New Hampshire Regiment) after the Lexington Alarm. Samuel Cherry fought at Bunker Hill, and participated in the assault on Quebec, Canada.

On 8 November 1776, he was commissioned Lieutenant in Capt James Carr's regiment, 2nd New Hampshire company, under the command of Col Nathan Hale.

In 1777, Samuel Cherry played a prominent role in the Battle of Bemis' Heights, and the Battle of Freeman's Farm (both Saratoga). On 2 December of that year, he was commissioned Captain Lieutenant, 2nd New Hampshire Regiment, under (now) Col Reid.  Also that year, he found time to marry Ann Wallace (23 Feb 1754 - 24 Jun 1812), of Londonderry, New Hampshire. (Although some sources call her Frances Isobelle Wallace, I have never seen documentation for this.)

Nuptials over, in 1778 Samuel Cherry participated in the Battle of Monmouth. Through 1779, he was a member of General George Sullivan's Indian Expedition through Pennsylvania and western New York. (General Sullivan would later become the father-in-law of Samuel Cherry's wife's cousin.) On 10 October 1779, Samuel Cherry became the father of the first of his eleven children, Samuel Cherry Jr (who later married a Delano), and a few weeks later, on 30 November 1779, he was commissioned Captain in the 2nd New Hampshire.

A re-enactment group as "Capt Cherry's Outfit."

Capt Cherry was present at Cornwallis' surrender at Yorktown on 19 October 1781 (a month before his second child, Susan, was born) and retired from the military in January 1783, to resume his civilian career, farming.

Some time before 1800, the Cherry family left Londonderry and moved to Paris, New York. Having been granted two hundred acres in the area as part of his pension, in 1810 he moved to the newly formed town of New Haven, Oswego, New York, where he was appointed one of the first Justices.

Capt Samuel Cherry died, widowed and living with one of his sons, in near poverty on 27 October 1825, and was buried in New Haven Cemetery.

Photograph by Bill Starck.

The Cherry family continued to fight for liberty. Descendants of Capt Cherry fought in the War of 1812, and gave their lives in the Civil War.  Another Samuel, Samuel Alonzo Cherry (16 Dec 1811 - 27 Apr 1897), grandson of Capt Cherry (and one of my third great-granduncles), was a significant member of the Underground Railroad, whose home was a "station" in Marysville, Ohio.

Through my relation to Capt Cherry, I am able to join the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR).

1. Samuel Cherry married Ann Wallace, daughter of John Wallace and Janet Steele.

2. John Wallace Cherry (27 May 1788 - 10 Feb 1857) married Clarissa Adams (31 Jan 1791 - 7 Feb 1872), parents unknown, on 11 Oct 1808 in Paris, Oneida, New York.

3. Mary Ann Cherry (17 Dec 1813 - 11 Nov 1853) married Frederick Dillazone Ketchum (6 Apr 1811 - 21 Jan 1888), son of Elisha Ketchum and ?, on 13 Feb 1835, in Huron, Erie, Ohio.

4. Caroline Clarissa Ketchum (30 Sep 1848 - 7 Feb 1920) married Phillip Jacob Runser (30 May 1845 - 22 Mar 1921), son on Philippe Jacob Runser and Anna Marie Brunner, on 13 Feb 1871, in Black River Falls, Jackson, Wisconsin.

5. Isabelle "Belle" Runser (21 Oct 1881 - 30 Mar 1960) married John Jacob "Jack" Severin (11Jul 1878 - 2 Jan 1965), son of Jacob S Severin and Anna Margaretha Tiedjens, on 13 Feb 1903, probably in South Dakota.

6. Myrna Margaret Severin (6 Nov 1907 - 12 Jan 1997) married Dana Earl Brown (26 Jan 1910 - 10 Sep 1984), son of Clarence Edgar Brown and Cora Mabel Kinman, on 21 Oct 1933, in Minneapolis, Hennepin, Minnesota.

7. Beverly Alane Brown (8 Aug 1934 - 7 Mar 2010) married [Living] Burnett, son of Leroy Stanley Burnett and Hazel Lucille Erickson, on 4 Mar 1961, in Long Beach, Los Angeles, California.

8. Your humble blogger.


  1. How nice to have a portrait and poem to treasure of your ancestor. It helps brings them to life.
    Theresa (Tangled Trees)

  2. Samuel cherry is my 5th great grandfather via his son Wallace

  3. Hannah Cherry married Syria Adams Syria was on of my granfathers

  4. I have spoken to a number of Cherry's he was born in Londonderry Ireland. He's my 6x great grandfather....Wallace Cherry....Caroline Cherry....Squire Wilson....Helen Wilson...Angus Cole...Harry Cole...Richard Cole...David Cole... Craig Cole (me) thank you so much for this blog.