Saturday, May 8, 2021

Caleb Haskell's diary

TL;DR -- Cuz Caleb out of Newburyport was an early responder having heard a preacher talk hell and firestone (whatever). Several volunteers were out of Essex County MA, but other regions contributed, to boot. The group, lead by Benedict Arnold, went up the Kennebec (in late fall, for God's sake) to Quebec. Caleb diary'ed during the events which encompassed about a year of time. So, we look at that and related material as we continue on setting the basis for the U.S. emergence and its voluminous enveloping of land from the Atlantic to the Pacific. All along, people and their families were involved.  


What got our attention was a tweet on a history page saying that, on 5 May 1775, Caleb Haskell started his diary which ran for a year. He was under the command of Ezra Lunt who is related. Also, Benedict Arnold was the main lead. So, before going into that, we'll look at some of the context of our recent work which deals with New England families within the timeline of the U.S. and allows us to look at related subjects that have been of interest while at the same time keeping Essex County MA in the picture. Of late, we have been looking at the movements to the west as they pertain to the long reach of New England. Too, though, we need to consider the influence of Europe on the early U.S. especially those folks who came from England. That is much later in the 19th century where money needed for investment came in  (with the usual perils of capitalists losing). One consequence was that the population ran up by millions per year for a while as we can see with the U.S. Census. 

Backing up, though, let's look  to the Revolution. Dr. Frank mentioned that the French-Indian affair helped train the local folks sufficiently to pull off the rebellion against the King and his Crown. That affair dealt with a conflict with the neighbors. To give an idea of the scope, we can use this map to show the relative sizes of New France (blue), the principal belligerent, and New Spain. 

French-Indian War era

It was in this conflict where Nathaniel Knapp (ancestor of Dr. Frank) wrote his diary while engaged in the Louisbourg Expedition. We have to mention that Nathaniel was from Newbury while Caleb was of Newburyport. Both of these areas are full of relatives which is another recurrent theme.  

Other parallels abound. For instance, we have looked at rivers, such as the Ohio River, which serve as waterways but are huge barriers, too. In regard to the waterway, traveling either direction can be a problem. It's interesting that the group that Caleb was with tried to navigate up the Kennebec River from Maine up to Quebec. 


One wonders of the timing as they did this in late fall. One goal was to attack Quebec City which was tried on New Year's eve. This map shows the route of the group. The caption from Wikipedia is as follows -- Detail of a 1795 map, overlaid with Arnold's expedition route: *A: Cambridge *B: Newburyport *C: Fort Western *D: Fort Halifax *E: Great Carrying Place *F: Height of land *G: Lake M├ęgantic. 

Arnold's route

The expedition did not work as planned. However, Caleb made it back to Essex County and is buried there. One wonders if he wrote this after the fact given all of the troubles encountered. We know how difficult it was to record anything, especially in the uncertain conditions such as Arnold's group faced. And, such material being preserved for later publication would have been somewhat remarkable, even miraculous.

MS&S: Caleb Haskell vol 7, pg 433

Where Caleb is buried, there is a plaque with lots  of names of relatives: Caleb Haskell, Jr. We need to look more closely at how Caleb relates; too, Ezra Lunt (MS&S, vol 10, pg 46) needs a little study. 

One hundred years later, we will see the U.S. being invaded, somewhat, by multitudes. Lots to look at. 

Remarks: Modified: 05/10/2021

05/08/2021 -- Caleb was in Ezra's unit at the Siege of Boston. Their chaplain was Rev. Samuel Spring. Evidently, Ezra did not go north but stayed in the MA area.  

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