Thursday, December 30, 2010

Peter Salem.

I kind of remember reading something about Peter Salem when I was in High School but that’s been a good 45, years ago. Then today I ran a cross a site with a copy of a book called; ( The Black Phalanx, A History of the negro soldier of the United States.) written by Joseph T. Wilson, 1888. I did some research and found a lot is on the internet about him. I found him very interesting and decided I would like to have a page on my web site.

Peter Salem, once a slave, fought side by side in the ranks with white soldiers, when the British Pitcairn mounted the redoubt, upon that memorable occasion shouting “The Day is Ours! “ Peter Salem poured the contents of his gun into that officers body killing him instantly, and checking temporarily the advance of the British.

Major Pitcairn, caused the first effusion of blood at Lexington. In that battle his horse was shot under him, while he was separated from his troops. With presence of mind he feigned himself slain; his pistols were taken from his hostlers, and he was left for dead, when he seized the opportunity and escaped.

A Biographical account of Peter Salem is given in the following newspaper extract.

“April 1882, the town of Framingham to place a memorial stone over the grave of Peter Salem, alias Salem Middlesex, whose last resting place in the old burail ground an Framingham centre has been unmarked for years. For this purpose $150, was appropriated by the town. The committee in charge of the matter has placed a neat granite memorial over his grave, and it bears the following inscription: “Peter Salem, a solider of the revolution, Died Aug. 16, 1816. Concord, Bunker Hill, Saratoga. Erected by the town 1882.”

Peter Salem was the colored man who particularly distinguished himself in the revolutionary war by shooting Major Pitcairn at the battle of Bunker Hill, as he was mounting a redoubt and shouting “This day is ours!” this being the time when Pitcairn fall back into the arms of his son, and tenderly bore him to the boats.

A contribution was made in the army for the colored soldier, and he was presented to Washington as having performed this feat.

Peter Salem served faithfully in the war for seven years in the companies of minute men under Captain John Nixon and Captain Simon Edgell of Framingham, and came out of it unharmed. He was a slave, and was owned originally, by Captain Jeremiah Becknap of Framingham, being sold by him to Major Lawson Buckminster of that town, he becoming a freeman when he joined the army. Salem was born in Framingham, and in 1783, married Katie Benson, Granddaughter of Nero living for a time near what is now States mustered field. He removed to Leicester after the close of the war. His last a bode in that town being a cabin on the road leading from Leicester to Auburn. He was removed to Framingham, where he had gained a settlement and there died.

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