Col. Joshua Bates

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Joshua Bates

Birthdate: (49)
Birthplace: Weymouth, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, United States
Death: February 3, 1804 (49)
Weymouth, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Abraham Bates and Sarah Tower
Husband of Tirza Bates
Father of Nancy Bates; Cynthia Cowing; Joshua Bates and Albert Bates
Brother of Abraham Bates; Susannah Bates; Thaddeus Bates; Alpheus Bates; Col. Lebbcus Bates and 3 others

Managed by: David Arthur Trufant
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Col. Joshua Bates

The Revolutionary career of Joshua Bates, began at the beginning of the war in April 1775 and ended towards the end of the war in 1780. He served for 5 years, a long time compared to most men in his town of Weymouth who would enlist for 3-9 month periods and be done after their first service. I was able to find Joshua's pension file on It was filed by his wife, Tirzah Pratt Bates Hunt, after he died (she remarried Ebenezer Hunt after Joshua's death). As the pension was applied for by his wife, it should be noted that the information comes secondhand from Tirzah, so it is not as detailed as it may have been coming directly from Joshua. According to Tirzah, "first he served about two weeks commencing on the nineteenth of April 1775 on a minute Company raised at Charlestown where he was then an apprentice*, names of officers under whom he served unknown." The date of Joshua's service is significant in the Revolutionary War. April 19, 1775 was when the battles of Lexington and Concord were fought. During the battle, neighboring towns were alerted and minute armies marched to the alarm toward Lexington and Concord. After these battles, Massachusetts militia from different towns surrounded Boston to block the British from getting more supplies from their navy. This was known as the Siege of Boston, and lasted about a year. It seems likely due to the dates and location of Joshua's service in Charlestown that he was involved in a march towards Lexington and Concord or the beginning of this siege. The book, Historical Sketch of Charlestown..., discusses this time period in Charlestown on page 7,

A more detailed description of this time in Charlestown is found at google books in History of the siege of Boston, and of the battles of Lexington... on page 79. Living in Charlestown at this time in history would have a great effect on Joshua, with people from the town fleeing with a war starting on their homeland. Joshua made the decision to protect and serve his home. Joshua only served for about 2 weeks in Charlestown, leaving about 2 months before the town was burned and destroyed by the British.

His next service began from Weymouth, in the town he was born. The pension file states, "Also that he served as a private at Weymouth and at Hull in a Company commanded by Capt Joseph Trufant from about the first of May 1775 to the first of January 1777 a term of twenty months. Also that he served at Hull four months ending on the first of May 1777 in one of the four independent Companies there Captain’s name not known" I did not find any information on Capt. Trufant's regiment until I searched for Joseph Trufant in the book on of Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors in the Revolutionary War. It gives a bit more detail than Joshua's pension file as to how this independent company served in the war. The dates and places match what was stated in Joshua's pension.

Joshua's next bought of service is stated as follows, "Also that he served as orderly Sergeant in Capt. Amos Lincoln Company of Artillery, Col. Revere’s Regiment from May eight 1777 to December 31st 1779 . Also in second Company of Revere’s Regiment from January first to May eighth 1780 a term of three years in one continued period of service. While performing this period of service he was frequently marching from station to station and from one section of the Country to another, he was in the Penobscot Expedition and in an engagement at Rhode Island by which he lost his hearing which in a great measure unfitted him for active business through life."

The Colonel Revere referred to in Joshua's pension is the well-known Paul Revere. Amos Lincoln and Paul Revere were both participants in the Boston Tea Party. It is neat that a relative of mine had relationships with at least two members of the tea party. I am not sure how he became to serve with this group and not with a Weymouth regiment, perhaps he made ties with them when he apprenticed in Charlestown. (I also noted that there is an Edward Bates listed as a participant at the Boston Tea Party, not sure if there is a relation.) This last part of Joshua's pension tells a bit about how he served in the Revolutionary War, mentioning an engagement in Rhode Island and the Penobscot Expedition. If we look at Paul Revere's regiment information, we can get a better idea of their activities. The Rhode Island engagement is most likely referring to this engagement explained on the Revolutionary War and Beyond website, where Revere and his regiment "were sent to reinforce General John Sullivan at Newport, Rhode Island. The colonists were unable to recapture Newport and Revere was home in Boston by September." On this same website is a brief explanation of the failed Penobscot Expedition, "Summer 1779, Lieutenant Colonel Paul Revere was placed in command of the artillery train for the Penobscot Expedition to drive the British from Penobscot Bay, Maine (then part of Massachusetts). This turned out to be a disastrous expedition and was the worst US naval defeat in American history until Pearl Harbor. Paul Revere was charged with insubordination for several alleged offenses during this mission and was dismissed from the militia. He was exonerated from all charges after three years of trying to get a fair court martial."

Lastly, Joshua's pension file states, "Also that he continued his services as a soldier from the end of the last mentioned period to the close of the war: but the ? which he made and the officers under whom he served are not certainly known accepting that he served at Rhode Island in Capt. Theophilus Wilder’s Company several months in the year 1780." This last service in Rhode Island is probably the following described in History of the Town of Hingham... on google books:

The book goes on to state the Hingham men that were involved in this event. As Joshua was not from Hingham he is not listed on the Hingham roll. According to the History of Weymouth book on, some men would enlist from other towns if the town was paying more money than their own town could offer. Perhaps this is what Joshua did, or maybe he did not have the opportunity to serve from Weymouth if they were not enlisting men at this time. Regardless, Joshua chose to serve and protect his new country with many years of service.


  • Joshua's son, Joshua Bates, was the benefactor of the Boston Public Library. This son Joshua also was a clerk in Charlestown for William Grey, a distinguished merchant. Excerpt here . This Bates family clearly had ties to Boston and Charlestown.
  • I searched the rev. rolls - 2 joshua bates - one serving in vermont and one in 2nd reg and 23rd reg - probably not this joshua bates as those regiments are not listed in the pension file. Rolls mostly list the continental army, does not list all militia.
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Col. Joshua Bates's Timeline

January 27, 1755
Weymouth, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, United States
February 17, 1785
Age 30
November 11, 1786
Age 31
October 10, 1788
Age 33
Weymouth, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, United States
February 3, 1804
Age 49
Weymouth, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, United States