William Boutelle by Robert Eager NSSAR# 179422

The Boutelles were an old and established New England family by the time of the Revolutionary War. James Boutelle arrived in Salem, Massachusetts in 1638 and his descendants lived for generations in Reading. William Boutelle’s family moved to Leominster, Massachusetts when he was three years old. His father, another James, was one of the first settlers there.

William grew up in Leominster. He married Persus Hubbard there when he was 29 years old. Together they raised eleven children and at age 49, when the call went out for volunteers to stand against the British, he enlisted as a private in the Captain Josh Joshlin’s Company of Worcester County Militia from Leominster.

It was the end of July in 1777 when they marched with Colonel Cushing’s regiment to support Colonel Seth Warner at Bennington, Vermont. What ensued is considered by many to be part of the turning point of the war. British General John Burgoyne was marching south from Canada to split the colonies. He would later be stopped at Saratoga by the American forces under General Horatio Gates. But, a month earlier, Burgoyne suffered a significant loss when a detachment of 700 men, a mix of Hessians, Canadian Loyalists and Indians, was defeated at the Battle of Bennington. The Massachusetts militia, commanded by Warner, was instrumental in interrupting the British supply lines.

Boutelle’s unit also served for seventeen days in October of that year, assisting General Gates following the Battle of Saratoga.

William Boutelle spent the next 20 years living in Leominster and died there at the age of 68 on April 8, 1797. In his will, probated in May of that year, he left generous provisions for his wife, Persus, and each of their children. He arranged for his wife to have use of their home and all his household possessions except for his clock and desk, which he left to his eldest son and executor, John. William was buried in the Pine Grove Cemetery in Leominster. Persus would outlive him by almost exactly ten years. She died in Leominster on April 12, 1807.

References and Notes

MA Soldiers and Sailors of the Rev War Vol 2, p. 314.

David Wilder, History of Leominster (Fitchburg, MA, Revellie Office, 1853), p. 17, 148.

Massachusetts, Worcester County, Probate Files, 1731-1925., images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-998G-QDBZ?cc=2102083&wc=9BXN-82S%3A1055512501%2C1055537101 : 21 May 2014), Worcester > Case no 6386-6449, Boutell, Philenia-Bowen, Priscilla J, 1731-1881 > image 333 of 1194; Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Boston.

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