Hannah Watts Weston

Hannah Watts Weston (1758 - 1855)
And her Descendants
Otis Converse Fay page
Hannah and the Daughters of the American Revolution
Hannah Watts was born on 22 Nov 1758 in Haverhill, MA. She was the daughter of Samuel Watts b. 1716 and Alice Elsie Bean, and the granddaughter of Samuel Watts b. 1691 and Abigail Dustin. Through Abigail Dustin, Hannah was the greatgranddaughter of Hannah Webster Emerson (Hannah Dustin) and Thomas Dustin.
At some time, the Watts family moved to Maine. In Maine, Hannah married Josiah Weston in October of 1774, and they settled in Chandler's River Township, in Jonesboro, Washington County, about 16 miles from Machias, Maine. Hannah's story begins shortly after the "shot heard round the world" at Lexington, Massachusetts, in April of 1775. Hannah was 17 and expecting her first child. Reports of the events at Lexington did not take long to reach Machias. Josiah Weston was a member of the "Council of War" and present in the meeting at the Burnham Tavern in May, 1775, where the events of Concord and Lexington were discussed. Learning of the events, the men voted unanimously to raise a Liberty Pole. Their discussions led to other plans for action. [page 32]
An early account of Machias' history and the part it played in the Revolution, along with Hannah's story, is contained in NARRATIVE OF THE TOWN OF MACHIAS: THE OLD AND THE NEW, THE EARLY AND LATE, by George W. Drisko, Press of the Republican, Machias, 1904. The quotations and page references given here are to this work.
A week or two later, the British cutter Margaretta, under the command of Captain Moor, entered the harbor at Machias. Moor, noticing the Liberty Pole, made a formal demand of the town that it be taken down, and threatened that he would shoot if it were not. The men refused to take it down, but persuaded Moor to wait for a full vote of the group. In the mean time, the surrounding areas were notified and a force of men gathered to withstand the British attack. There was only one flaw:
"The messenger reports a scarcity of powder at all the settlements to the westward of us. However, they are coming and those who havn't muskets will bring pitchforks and scythes:--They are all aglow with the true spirit, and swear 'Machias shall be defended and the Liberty Tree shall not come down!'" [p. 38] But "'You need not trouble yourselves about the balls... all the women in the settlement have been melting lead this afternoon and intend to cast up a lot of balls! The women are crazier to keep that Pole up than are the men.'" [page 39]
When Moor returned for church on Sunday, an attempt was made to capture him and prevent him from rejoining his ship, but Moor did succeed in returning to his ship.
"Monday morning the excitement was not abated; men occupied the woods and pathways under arms, while the women searched tills and cupboards for powder and lead.
"In proof of the wide spread realization of limited ammunition, Hannah Weston, at Chandler's river, wife of Josiah Weston, who had already gone to Machias, went from house to house of her neighbors and gathered thirty to forty pounds of powder, lead, even some pewter spoons, enclosed all in a pillow case with the intention of sending the same to Machias, as she had often declared to this writer--'I knew they would want it.'" [page 41]
The men had gone to Machias already, however, and so there was noone to carry the load there. Hannah and her sister in law decided to take it; a wilderness path of 16 miles, and Hannah carrying all of the load most of the way when Rebecca faltered. There they found that their men had succeeded in capturing the British ship. Although their delivery of the powder was no longer urgent, they received full credit and praise for the task they had completed. [page 41]
This battle later became known as the "Lexington of the Sea" and marked America's first naval conflict of the Revolution.
Hannah Weston's first child was born about five months later, in October of that year. She bore thirteen children, and eleven lived to marry and have children.
In 1839, when Hannah was 80, she made a deposition. The full story is contained in the Bangor News of November 13, 2004. The document appears to be dated 1809, but there is a note at the bottom indicated that Hannah was in her 81st year, and 1839 seems far more likely. In this document, Hannah describes some of her sufferings, as well as providing some information about the battle. The document is being studied and will probably at some point be made public.
Both Josiah and Hannah Weston fought in the Revolutionary War, and their descendants are eligible to join the Sons of the American Revolution and the Daughters of the Revolution. I find it interesting that the women usually join through Hannah. The sentence in the patriots index is very brief: "Hannah Watts Weston (1758-1855) carried through the woods ammunition for the troops at Machias. She was born in Haverhill, Mass.; died in Jonesboro, Me." Many have joined the DAR through Hannah, including Grace Quinn, my great-aunt.
Maine 1831, by Anthony Finley
map and detail of Washington County
images copyright 2000-2005 by Cartography Associates
used with permission
Hannah and Josiah had thirteen children. A few lines are traced here.
Eliza Hannah Hannah Susan Betsey Elsie Aphia Sophia Frances Phoebe Sally Amelia Joseph
Eliza Weston married Benjamin Dorman
Sophia Weston married Amasa Farnsworth
Sally Weston married Richard Gilman
Amelia married Daniel Coffin
Joseph Weston married Sophia Jones