Israel Thomas Putnam

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Israel Thomas Putnam

Birthplace: Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts
Death: Died in Pomfret, Windham County, Connecticut, United States
Place of Burial: Brooklyn, Windham County, Connecticut, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Joseph Putnam and Elizabeth Hawthorne Perley
Husband of Deborah Putnam; Hannah Putnam and Deborah Putnam
Father of Colonel Israel Putnam; Hannah Pope Dana; Elizabeth Putnam; Mehitable Edwards; Molly Putnam and 6 others
Brother of Mary Putnam; Elizabeth Carlton; Sarah Brown; William Putnam; Rachel Putnam and 7 others

Managed by: Private User
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About Israel Thomas Putnam

A Patriot of the American Revolution for CONNECTICUT with the rank of MAJOR GENERAL. DAR Ancestor #: A092589

Namesake of the General Israel Putnam House and Putnam, Connecticut


Israel Putnam (January 7, 1718 – May 29, 1790) was an American army general who fought with distinction at the Battle of Bunker Hill (1775) during the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783). Although Putnam never quite attained the national renown of more famous heroes such as Davy Crockett or Daniel Boone, in his own time his reckless courage and fighting spirit were known far beyond Connecticut's borders through the circulation of folk legends celebrating his exploits.

Shortly after the Battle of Lexington at the ouset of the American Revolution, Putnam led the Connecticut militia to Boston and was named major general, making him second in rank to his Chief in the Continental Army. He was one of the primary figures at the Battle of Bunker Hill, both in its planning and on the battlefield. During that battle Putnam may have ordered William Prescott to tell his troops "Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes" (It is debated whether Putnam or Colonel William Prescott created these words). This command has since become one of the American Revolution's more memorable quotes.

Nicknamed "Old Put". Was in history in 1775 at Bunker Hill. Was the person who said, "Don't shoot until you see the white of their eyes."

Joseph PUTNAM [Parents] was born 14 Sep 1669. He died 1724/1725. Joseph married Elizabeth PORTER on 21 Apr 1690 in Salem, Essex, MA.

Elizabeth PORTER [Parents] was born 7 Oct 1673. She died 1746. Elizabeth married Joseph PUTNAM on 21 Apr 1690 in Salem, Essex, MA.

They had the following children:

		F	i	 Mary PUTNAM was born 2 Feb 1690/1691.
		F	ii	 Elizabeth PUTNAM was born 12 Apr 1694/1695.
		F	iii	 Sarah PUTNAM was born 26 Sep 1697.
		M	iv	 William PUTNAM was born 8 Feb 1699/1700 and died 19 May 1729.
		F	v	 Rachel PUTNAM was born 7 Aug 1702.
		F	vi	 Anna PUTNAM was born 26 Apr 1705.
		M	vii	 Col. David PUTNAM was born 25 Oct 1707 and died 1768.
		F	viii	 Eunice PUTNAM was born 13 Apr 1710. She died 2 Feb 1787.
		M	ix	 Baby Son PUTNAM was born Apr 4 1713 (twin). He died 4 Apr 1713.
		F	x	 Baby Daughter PUTNAM was born Apr 4 1713 (twin). She died 4 Apr 1713.
		F	xi	 Huldah PUTNAM was born 29 Nov 1717.
		M	xii	 Major General Israel PUTNAM was born 7 Jan 1718 in Danvers, Essex, MA. He died 29 May 1790 in Pomfret/Brooklin, CT.
		F	xiii	 Mahitable PUTNAM was born 1 Mar 1720. She died 2 Sep 1801.

Revolutionary War Continental Major General. He was not a great military leader nor a great leader of the people but was the epitome of spirit, courage and sacrifice shown by average men who helped America succeed in Colonial times and gain its independence. Many of his exploits are mythical and barely believable. He was born on his father's farm in an area which today is Danvers, Massachusetts, the tenth of eleven children. The little education he received was from a little local country school.

Married at twenty and was soon a large land owner in the area between the villages of Pomfret and Brooklyn in Connecticut which became known as the 'Putnam Farm.' Industrious Israel Putnam soon had a farm bristling with fruit trees with herds of sheep and goats. During the French and Indian War, Putnam offered his services and was given the rank of captain becoming a member of a Ranger band where he served as a scout with great distinction. Returning to his Connecticut farm and while plowing, a messenger came with the news of the British attack. Putnam left his plow, rushing off to join the Americans in the fight for Independence. During ensuring battles, he was a hero at Bunker Hill.

However; Washington blamed him for losses when in command on Long Island for responding too late to orders. In a subsequent battle, he suffered a stroke and his military life was over. He spent the last years of his life on his farm in Connecticut dying some eleven years later of acute inflammatory disease. After a religious funeral mingled with military honors and a eulogy delivered by a personal friend, he was interred in the Brooklyn cemetery. The tomb was three feet high, constructed of brick and across the top a marble slab with a lengthy epitaph by Rev Timothy Dwight who became the President of Yale.

In 1888, General Putnam's remains were removed and reburied under a new bronze equestrian statue in Brooklyn, Connecticut. The original epitaph was emblazoned upon the new monument. The original grave stone is under glass and can be seen in the north alcove of the Connecticut State Capital in Hartford. Epilogue: Some of the stories told about Israel. These are but a few excerpts from my primary New England school reader- 

Upon his first visit to Boston, he thrashed a lad bigger and older than himself for sneering at the rustic style of his homespun garments; His father sent him to drive home a young bull recently purchased. The bull resisted and Putnam put on a pair of spurs, jumped out from behind a tree, jumped upon its back and rode the animal home. Then we have the sheep and goat story - A wolf was wantonly destroying the animals of farmers in the region. Putnam tracked the wolf to a rocky cave. Many ways were attempted to dislodge the predator. Then Israel crawled into the cave, tethered to a rope, his only light was a birch-bark torch. The wolf glared at him out of the darkness and growled menacelly. He was drawn out hurriedly severely cut and bruised. Loading his musket, he went in again and shot the wolf. After being drawn out, he went in a third time and emerged dragging the creature by the ears-And a final:

During the French and Indian War, Putnam was captured by a band of Indians, bound to a tree with twigs and branches place about him. The red men danced around and began to yell and scream while setting fire to the brushwood. Amazingly, a French officer rushed in, cut the ropes saving him from a fiery death.

leader of Bunker Hill victory - second-in-command behind George Washington

His remains are interred inside the pedestal of Putnam Monument.


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Israel Thomas Putnam's Timeline

January 7, 1718
Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts
January 28, 1739
Age 21
Salem Village, Essex, Massachusetts, United States
August 25, 1744
Age 26
Pomfret, Windham, Connecticut, United States
March 20, 1747
Age 29
Age 30
United States
May 10, 1753
Age 35
May 10, 1753
Age 35
United States
September 27, 1755
Age 37
Sudbury, Middlesex County, Massachusetts
January 10, 1756
Age 38
United States