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Children of the American Revolution

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Captain Stephen Betts | Mary Bush | Captain Joel Cook | Captain David Hawley | Sarah Whitman Hooker | General David Humphreys | General Ebenezer Huntington | Charles Merriman | Captain Charles Pond | Sgt. David Thompson

Charles Merriman was born August 29, 1762 in Wallingford, CT, the son of Amasa and Sarah (Ives) Merriman. Little is known about his education but on July 1, 1777, at the age of 14, just eight weeks shy of his fifteenth birthday, he enlisted in the Army of the Revolution as a Drummer and served with the sixth Regiment Connecticut Line as a Drum Major through 1781 and was then transferred to the Fourth Regiment Connecticut Line until the time of his discharge in 1782.

After his service with the Army he settled in Watertown, CT, where he opened a tailor shop near what is now the Taft School, and later opened a general store adjacent to his tailor shop. He was a charter member and Treasurer of the Federal Lodge of Masons, Watertown’s oldest fraternal organization, which was chartered in 1790. The lodge held its meetings in a room in Merriman's house which he furnished to the lodge for $12.00 a year including wood for heat and candles for light.

Charles married Anna Punderson on May 16, 1784 in Watertown, CT, and their marriage was blessed with four daughters and six sons. He died August 26, 1829, at the age of 67 and is buried in the Old Burying Ground in Watertown. Because of his early volunteer service in the army, it was fitting therefore that the local Children of the American Revolution Society was named the Charles Merriman Society Children of the American Revolution.

Charles Merriman was still a child, age 14, when he bravely joined the cause for Independence. His function as a drummer was an important one for drumming was used as a form of wireless communication among the troops because the sound of a drum could be heard far beyond the range of a human voice. This method of drumming was also used to relay other types of messages and used to call people together. One of the most often displayed illustrations of the Independence is a picture of a colonial soldier with a drum, one with a fife, and a third carrying the Flag, with one or more of them wearing a wound bandage. Historians have written that these three persons were always out in front of the fighting troops and suffered heavy casualties because they were openly exposed to enemy fire, and were not armed themselves.

They actually “led the troops into battle”, and when one of them became disabled, wounded, or killed, other soldiers rushed to pick up their drum, fife, or flag and continued onward and perhaps that is what created the image known to everyone as the “Spirit of 76”.

The sight of 14 or 15 year old boys fighting in the Revolutionary Army was not an unusual occurrence for, except for farming, the average young boy had little to look forward to with the war going on around them. So, in the spirit of their elders, they joined up and filled whatever position that needed to be filled.

That spirit of volunteerism has continued throughout the history of our great nation, and in succeeding years, many volunteers have lied about their ages to become part of our nation's fighting forces. The spirit of volunteerism prevails today in many areas with people sacrificing their time and their treasures, to fill the needs of others who are less fortunate than themselves.

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