Daniels of Massachusetts Bay Colony - Generation IV Major Joseph Daniels (1724 - 1779)


Major Joseph Daniels

b. April 12, 1724, Mendon, Massachusetts, d. June 2, 1779, Mendon, Massachusetts

Daniels - French Marriage

June 21, 1748, Joseph Daniels then 24, married Margaret French, age 19, daughter of John French and Margaret Darling in Mendon, Massachusetts. Margaret and Joseph must have known each other for their entire lives since John French and Eleazer Daniels land holdings had a common border according to records dated March 8th, 1726.

Forming a Family

March 26, 1749, Joseph and Margaret have their first child, Elizabeth 9 months after their marriage.
Birth Recorded, Mendon Vital Records, Births p.60

January 21, 1750, A second daughter, Diadem is born.
Birth Recorded, Mendon Vital Records, Births p.60

March 3, 1753, A third daughter, Margaret is born
Birth Recorded, Mendon Vital Records, Births p.61

March 26, 1755, Joseph and Margaret have their fourth daughter who they named Demaris.
Birth Recorded, Mendon Vital Records, Births p.60

Service in the French and Indian War - Annals of Mendon

August 16, 1757, the soldiers of Mendon were ordered to assist in the defense of Fort William Henry located at the southern tip of Lake George, New York. The company of soldiers served under the command of Captain Phinehas Lovett in Colonel Abraham Williams Regiment. The expedition was turned back at Westfield, Massachusetts when it was learned that Fort William Henry had been surrendered to the French. Joseph Daniels, now 33 years old, served as a sergeant under Captain Lovett. The march to Westfield and back was logged in official records as follows:

Sergeant Joseph Daniels, Miles traveled 165; Days at Westfield 3; Whole time out 14; Pay per day 2s 10d; Horse 2; Pay 2l 1s 8d.

Source: Annals of Mendon, p.279

First Son is Born

February 09, 1758, Joseph is born.
Birth Recorded, Mendon Vital Records, Births p.61

French and Indian War - Annals of Mendon

Many additional expeditions employed the men of Mendon throughout the war.

1758, March - November, General Ambercrombie led many Mendon men that served on expeditions to Canada.

1759, Conquest of Canada and the capture of Fort Ticonderoga and Crown Point.

October 17, 1759, A memo by the deputy secretary to King George II identifies Artemas Ward as Colonel of the 3rd Regiment of the Militia for the counties of Middlesex and Worcester, Massachusetts.

Joseph Daniels was not mentioned in any additional entries in the Annals during the time of the French and Indian War, however, other official government records list Joseph as a Captain serving under Col. Artemas Ward. It is likely that Joseph participated in additional campaigns since he was promoted to the rank of Captain sometime prior to the listing recorded in 1762.

Second Son is Born

December 22, 1759, a second son, Simeon is born.
Birth Recorded, Mendon Vital Records, Births p.62

Land Purchase

An entry in the Proprietors Records of Mendon dated February 3, 1761 records the surveying of a 2 acre parcel of land Joseph was buying from the allotment of Uriah Thayer. The land being acquired was next to his existing property that he purchased from John King sometime earlier. Joseph´┐Żs combined parcel now totaling 4 acres was located on the easterly side of Rehoboth Road.

Third Son is Born

July 04, 1761, Son, Eleazer is born.
Birth Recorded, Mendon Vital Records, Births p.60

Land Purchase

Coverdale Stand
Click on image
to enlarge

At the time Rehoboth Road, now called Elm Street, was a public highway and stagecoach route
between Providence, Rhode Island and Worcester, Massachusetts. A short distance from Joseph's
land was a place known as the Coverdale Stand. Located at the routes midway point, the
Coverdale Stand provided the stagecoach drivers and passengers a resting place where all
could eat and drink. It has been reported that David Daniels, Joseph's brother (13 years older)
provided the stagecoach company with fresh horses and care for the ones who had served on
the journey between Providence and Worcester. David's farm was located a short distance
from the Stand.

Blackstone map from early 1800's

Captain Joseph Daniels - Selectmen

1764, March 5th, Captain Joseph Daniels was chosen as a Mendon, Selectmen
Source: Annals of Mendon, p.295

Census Taken

In response to an order given by Colonial Governor Bernard the Selectmen of Mendon conducted a census of the town in the fall of 1764.

The census revealed that the town contained 336 families living in 284 houses. The population consisted of 2,339 persons of which 1,441 were adults and 898 were children under the age of 16. Contained within the counts included 9 persons of color listed as Negroes and Molattoes and 5 persons listed as French Neutrals. Interesting that there were no Indians counted in the 8 square mile area of Mendon. The census was submitted on December 17, 1764 signed by Joseph Daniels and 4 other selectmen.
Source: Annals of Mendon, p.296-297

Fifth Daughter is Born

April 27, 1765, a fifth daughter, Anne is born
Birth Recorded, Mendon Vital Records, Births p.59

Brother David - Selectmen

March 3, 1766, David Daniels, Joseph's oldest brother was chosen Selectmen of Mendon.

Fourth Son Nahum is Born

March 08, 1768, Joseph and Margaret's last child Nahum was born. Nahum was to become my 3rd great grandfather.
Birth Recorded, Mendon Vital Records, Births p.62

Captain Joseph Daniels - Committee Assignment

1771, Captain Joseph Daniels, Lieutenant Benjamin Wheelock and Ensign Benjamin Merriam were appointed to a committee to lease out a burying ground in the First Precinct. "Not for a longer time than 10 years and to lease it to the highest bidder and that the walls be kept up in good repair, the bushes to be kept down and not to be used for any other use than feeding calves and sheep."

Tax Valuation of 1771

In 1771 the Massachusetts Tax Valuation list shows Joseph Daniels to be a prosperous farmer owning 3 horses, 2 oxen, 10 cattle on his farm with 75 acres of pasture, tillage, and fresh meadow. The list shows that Joseph grew grains and hay as well as producing 10 barrels of cider each year. The annual worth of his estate was assessed at 17 pounds 10 shillings which put his estate as third most valuable in Mendon behind Nathan Verry valued at 20 pounds, and his older brother David valued at 21 pounds, 13 shillings. David being the oldest son received the majority of the family wealth based on the value of his money "lent at interest" which was listed at 300 pounds. David and Joseph's father is listed in the tax list, however, he was listed under the "polls not rateable." I take that to mean he was not in good health at the age of 91.

Family Events

1772, January 31; Eldest daughter, now 22 years old, Elizabeth marries Preserverd Baker.

1773, November 17; Daughter, Diadem, now 22 years old marries Timothy Wiswall.

Mendon Prepares for War

September 28, 1774, What became a precursor to the Revolutionary War, Colonial Governor Gage (Massachusetts) dissolved the General Court and dismissed its representatives, which was to have convened at Salem on October, 5th.
Annals of Mendon p.321

October 5, 1774, Despite Governor Gages dismissal some 90 of the representatives elected in pursuance of the writs for calling the general assembly met at Salem. With cautious courtesy they awaited during that day the attendance of the governor, or other constitutional officer to administer the usual oaths. When it became certain by the lapse of time, that the presence of the chief magistrate could no longer be expected a convention was organized the following day.
Journals of each Provincial Congress of Massachusetts p. 6

October 6-7, 1774, The the first Provincial Congress formed with John Hancock as its chairman. Mendon was represented by Joseph Dorr, Esq. and Mr. Edward Rawson. After the election of Hancock a report was prepared stating the Congress's grievances and reasons justifying its formation and actions to be taken. The following day Friday October 7th the report was read and the Congress was adjourned after agreeing to meet at the Concord courthouse Tuesday next, at 10 o'clock in the forenoon.
Annals of Mendon p.321

October 11, 1774, Provincial Congress recommended the towns "to see that each minute man should be immediately equipped with an effective fire arm, bayonet, pouch, knapsack, and thirty rounds of cartridges and balls and be drilled 3 times a week".
Annals of Mendon p.322

Mendon Actions Following the First Continental Congress

October 1774, Doctor Jennison, of Mendon, donated funds so the town could purchase a six-pounder field piece. At a meeting of the selectmen it was decided that additional money would be added to funds by the town to procure a twelve-pounder field piece and associated accessories.
Annals of Mendon p.322

October 1774, Captain Joseph Daniels, Doctor Jennison and Henry Penniman were appointed as a committee to procure the twelve-pounder with carriage and associated equipment.
Annals of Mendon p.322

October, 1774, The decision to purchase a single twelve-pounder was reconsidered and it was decided that the committee should purchase two six-pounders, firearms and ammunition.
Annals of Mendon p.322

October 1774, The town voted that one-third part of the soldiers on the military list be enlisted as Minute Men and that Lieutenants Smith & Warren and Mr. Henry Penniman be a committee to provide supplies of the Minute Men if called to march on an expedition. Annals of Mendon p.322-323

November 7, 1774, At a town meeting held this day for some , reasons, which do not appear upon the record, after some "filibustering;"' the meeting was adjourned " to this day come sev' night at 10 o'clock a.m.

Additional Entries to the town record report the following: The "filibustering'' at the meeting Nov. 7 may have been occasioned by the efforts of Timothy Ruggles, of Hardwick. who was endeavoring to develop the loyal sentiment in the Province by circulating papers in every town, " calling upon the friends of Government to form Associations to counteract the designs of the Provincial Congress." The filibustering consisted, in efforts to dismiss the Committee of Correspondence, to dissolve the meeting and to reconsider the votes passed at a former meeting; but, as the malcontents met with little success, no further attempt was made.

Service in the Revolutionary War as Recorded in the Archive's of Massachusetts


Captain Joseph Daniels' 3rd Mendon Company marched on the alarm of April 19, 1775, to Roxbury; service 10 days; also, 1st Major, Col. Ezra Wood's (3rd Worcester Co.) regt.; list of field officers of Massachusetts Militia; commissioned February 15, 1776; also 1st Major, Col. Ezra Wood's (3rd Worcester Co.) regt.; list of officers chosen by their respective companies, as by said Daniels and others, dated July 9, 1776

Roxbury, Massachusetts

Map U.S. Library of Congress Click on image to enlarge
This 1775 map shows the relationship of Roxbury to Boston.
At that time Boston was almost an island if not for the narrow
neck of land connecting it to territory southeast at Roxbury.
The Mendon Militia were ordered to Roxbury since it was only
way for the British soldiers to return or exit Boston over land.
After the attacks at Lexington and Concord the British returned
to Boston using boats to cross the river and therefore avoided a
confrontation with Captain Daniels and the Minute Men anxiously
awaiting their return.

Joseph Daniels Jr. Joins Militia

1775, December 10; 17 year-old Private Joseph Jr. is recruited by Captain John Tyler in Colonel Joseph Read's Regiment.

Joseph Daniels Promoted to 1st Major

1776, February 15, Joseph Daniels is promoted to 1st Major, Col. Ezra Wood's 3rd Worcester Regiment in the Massachusetts Militia

Thursday, February 15, 1776.

[Massachusetts Council, Boston, Massachusetts]

Present in Council: Hononrables Benjamin Groenleaf, Walter Spooner, Caleb Cushing, Thomas Cushing,John Whetcomb, Jedediah Foster, Eldad Taylor, Benjamin Lincoln, Michael Farley, Joseph Palmer, Samuel Holten, Jabez Fisher, Moses Gill, John Taylor, Benjamin White, Esquires.

In Council: Read, and concurred.
In the House of Representatives: The House made choice, by ballot, of the following gentlemen as Field Officers of the Third Regiment of Militia in the County of Worcester, viz: Ezra Wood, Colonel; Joseph Chapin, Lieutenant-Colonel; Joseph Daniels, First Major; Caleb Whitney, Second Major.

Source:Document, American Archives: Document ID: S4-V4-P01-sp29-D0127

Major Joseph Daniels - Selectmen & Committee Appointments

1777, March 3rd, Major Joseph Daniels was chosen as Mendon, Selectmen.

1777, March 3rd, Major Daniels is appointed to the Committee of Correspondence along with Edward Rawson, Esq., Captain Samuel Warren, Ens. Henry Benson, and Ebenezer Holbrook.

Special Court of Sessions

1777, May 23, There was concern among citizens that some among them may not be loyal to the United States during this time of war. The following entry describes the situation as seen by the local authorities:
"To choose by ballot some meet person, who is firmly attached to the
American Cause to procure and lay before the Court (described in An Act,
entitled an Act for securing this and the other United States, against the
Dangers to which they are exposed by the Internal Enemies thereof) the
evidence that may be had of the Enemical Disposition toward this army
of the, United States, of any Inhabitant of this town who shall be charged
by the Freeholders and other Inhabitants of said Town, in manner mentioned
in said Act, of their being persons whose Residence in this State is dangerous
to the public Peace and Safety."

Under this article Major Joseph Daniels was chosen by ballot as the meet person to procure evidence, if any there be, to lay before the Special Court of Sessions
Mendon Proprietors Record p.364

Articles of Confederation - Town Vote

1778, Jan, 6: Maj. Joseph Daniels, Joseph Dorr, Esq., Coroner James Sumner, Mr. Joseph Benson, Jr., and Edward Rawson, Esq., were chosen a Committee to instruct each of the Representatives in the General Court, in regard to each article in the Confederation proposed by Congress, and sent by the General Court to each town in the State; and report to the town at the adjournment of this meeting.

1778, January 12: At the adjournment of the meeting held Jan. 12, the Committee probably made a report although none appears on the record.
The town then voted to approve the thirteen articles of Confederation proposed to the United States for a perpetual Union, and also of eight resolves passed in Congress. The Representatives were instructed to vote for the articles whenever they came up in the General Court, and the Clerk was directed to furnish each Representative with a copy of this vote.
Source: Mendon Proprietors Record p.366

Town Business at Time of War

1778, March 16: Voted not to build a Work House, but to hire one, and chose Maj. Joseph Daniels, Capt. Samuel Warren and Mr. James Blake, Overseers of the Poor. This is the first election of Overseers of the Poor, the Wardens, heretofore, performing that duty.

Maj. Daniels, Capt. Warren and Mr. James Blake were chosen a Committee to provide for the families of the Continental soldiers that went out of this town. By the following vote we shall learn that, at this time. Mendon had seventy-five men, in actual service, in the Continental army.
Mendon Proprietors Record p.368

Death of Major Joseph

June 2, 1779, Major Joseph Daniels died at the age of 55. The last record of public service was noted on March 15, 1779 when the town of Mendon agreed to pay 6 pounds to him, Captain Warren and Mr. James Blake as Overseers of the Poor.

Joseph is buried next to his parents in a grave marked with a bronze Revolutionary War medallion

Joseph's will was signed by the probate committee in September, 1780

Massachusetts Militia

July 20, 1779 The following petition was entered by Captain Peter Penniman, 2nd Lieuenant Pelatiah Thayer and 1st Lieutenant Abraham Staples
"Petition addressed to the Council, dated Mendon, July 20, 1779, signed by said Penniman and other officers of 6th co., Col. Nathan Tyler's (3d Worcester Co.) regt. of Mass. Militia, asking leave to resign their commissions, and stating that they had resigned, as they supposed, to Maj. Daniels. Some Months past in the absence of Col. Wood and Col. Tyler; ordered in council July 22, 1779, that the resignations be accepted."

Daniels Family in the War


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