Freelove Stow

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Freelove Stow (Baldwin)

Birthplace: Milford, New Haven, Connecticut, United States
Death: December 11, 1805 (77)
Milford, New Haven, Connecticut, United States
Place of Burial: Milford, New Haven, Connecticut, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Phineas Baldwin and Rebecca Baldwin
Wife of Captain Stephen Stow
Mother of Stephen Stow, Jr.; Jedediah Stow; Captain Samuel Stowe; Sergeant John Stow; William Stowe and 2 others
Sister of Katherine Miles and Phineas Baldwin

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Freelove Stow

FREELOVE4, Phinehas3, Richard2, John1 (of Milford).

Freelove Baldwin, dau. of Phinehas Baldwin (son of Richard Baldwin and Amy Oviatt) and Rebeckah Baldwin (dau. of Sgt. Samuel Baldwin and Rebecca Wilkinson), was born in Milford, Connecticut on Dec. 5, 1728; married with STEPHEN STOWE, of Milford. Capt. Stephen was a mariner. He settled in Milford about 1750.

Children were: Stephen (1753), Samuel, Esther (m. Dea. John Stone), Jedidah (1757), John (1760), William (m. Elizabeth Baldwin, dau. of Aaron), and Phinehas (of Milford, m. 8/14/1786 w Mary Platt).

His will, dated Jan. 27, 1777, gives the use of his estate to his widow until his youngest child is of age; to Stephen, all his money and debt from Capt. Miles; to son Jedidah, a watch and Gillette lot, and all the money he has or shall earn in the service of the United States. He d. Feb. 8, 1777, just twelve days after making the will.

From Connecticut Daughters of the American Revolution, Mary Philotheta Root published in 1904

"The Milford chapter did not need to deliberate long in the selection of a name. The name of Freelove Baldwin Stow, wife of Captain Stephen Stow, appealed to them at once. Not only did Freelove Baldwin Stow give her four sons, Stephen, Samuel, John, and Jedediah, to the cause of liberty, but the following story will show that she was called upon for even greater renunciation.

On a bitter cold winter night in December, 1776, about two hundred half-clothed, half-starved, sick and dving soldiers were landed on the Sound shore at Milford. During the entire day the inhabitants had watched with anxious eyes a suspicious looking craft in the harbor. Under cover of darkness these poor wretches were cast on shore from a British ship to which they had been transferred from the prison ship Jersey. Near the landing place were the homes of Captain Isaac Miles and Captain Stephen Stow, who, each at his own fireside, little dreamed of the scenes being enacted within sight of their homes. Suddenlv there fell upon their ears strange, indefinable sounds. Springing for their rifles, they opened their doors to find the place fairly swarming with nearly frozen, starving, loathsome humanity. Into the kitchens of Stephen Stow and Isaac Miles these starved, wild-eyed creatures swarmed. For the night they received the best care which neighbors could give them, but the morning plainly showed that nothing could now undo the wretched work which months of destitution had wrought.

The townhouse was hastily improvised as a hospital, but before night the seeds of disease sown in that dreadful prison ship had taken root and nearly every man of them was laid low with ship fever or small pox. To obtain nurses was almost an impossibility. But there was one man who unhesitatingly took up the duty which lay nearest at hand. It was Stephen Stow, the husband of our heroine. After making his will, an act which gives evidence that he realized the uncertainty of his return, he turned his face on all that was dear to him, home, friends and wife, and taking his life in his hands, ministered day and night to those sick and dying men, until at last, worn out by constant attendance, he too succumbed to the dread disease. Forty-six of the sufferers were laid to rest in the burial ground at Milford, and with them their faithful friend and nurse, Stephen Stow, whose brave wife's claim to the body of her husband after death could not be allowed.

In 1853, a monument was erected to the memory of these prisonerpatriots on which was inscribed by the State of Connecticut the following record of Stephen Stow's sacrifice :

" In memory of Stephen Stow, who died Feb. 8, 1777,

aged 51. To administer to the wants and necessities,

and soothe the miseries of those sick and dying men

was a work of extreme self-denial and danger, as many

of them were suffering from malignant and contagious

maladies. In this voluntary service Stephen Stow took

the disease of which he died. To commemorate his

self-sacrificing devotion to his country and humanity,

the Legislature of Connecticut resolved to inscribe his

name upon the monument."

Travelers by rail between New Haven and New York, as the train nears Milford, often note the tall brownstone shaft which marks the resting place of these Revolutionary patriots, the sight of which may recall the words of One who for the love of suffering humanity made the supreme sacrifice : " Greater love hath no man than this : that a man lay down his life for his friend."

Freelove Baldwin Stow was a woman of gentle birth and could trace her lineage to royal ancestors. She was born December 5, 1728, and was the daughter of Phineas and Rebecca (Baldwin) Baldwin. Her father, Phineas Baldwin, was a descendant of John Bruen, of Bruen, Stapleford, Cheshire, England, whose biography was published in 1799 by authority of the city of Chester, England. John Bruen was a descendant of Robert de Bruen of Cheshire (122o), was born in 156o and was married three times. His first wife, Dorothy, was a daughter of Sir Thomas Halford of Halford, Cheshire, and of his wife, Jane Booth. His second wife was Anne Fox, whose son Obadiah Bruen was one ofthe patentees of

the charter of Connecticut. His third wife was Margaret, whose daughter, Mary Bruen (b. 1622), came to America with her half-brother Obadiah, and married John Baldwin of Milford.

John Baldwin came from Donrigge, Parish of Aston Clinton, Bucks County, England, and was one of the first Milford settlers of 164o. Freelove Baldwin was a great granddaughter of John Baldwin by both parents, her mother being a granddaughter of John Baldwin's first wife, and her father a grandson of Mary—, John Baldwin's second wife.

The Stows came from Maidstone, Kent County, England, and settled in Roxbury, Mass. Among the first settlers of Massachusetts was John Stow, the Puritan of Roxbury. He was the grandfather of Stephen Stow of Milford. Three of John Stow's descendants were presidents of Yale College and one is named among the founders of Yale. Stephen Stow was also a descendant of John Hopkins, one of the founders of Hartford, and of the Stockings, Moulds, and Bronsons, all of noble name and deed.

Many articles of furniture which were the marriage portion of Freelove Baldwin are still in existence, and tradition says that Madam Stow on occasions used to provide for her friends a delicious brew of tea, none of which came from Massachusetts Bay. It is not known where Freelove Baldwin Stow was buried. She lived at the time of her death in the same house where her husband and sons left her when they went out to battle and death. Tradition says that her son, Jedediah Stow, was close upon the heels of General Putnam at Horseneck, and that John Stow, another son, was at the battle of Saratoga. The present owner* of the Stephen Stow house kindly had one of the original rafters removed that the charter of the Freelove Baldwin Stow Chapter might be framed with wood from the home of Stephen Stow."

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Freelove Stow's Timeline

December 5, 1728
Milford, New Haven, Connecticut, United States
October 1754
Milford, New Haven, Connecticut, United States
Milford, New Haven, Connecticut, United States
Milford, New Haven, Connecticut, United States
Milford,New Haven,CT
Milford,New Haven,CT
Milford, New Haven, Connecticut, United States
of Milford, New Haven, Connecticut, United States
December 11, 1805
Age 77
Milford, New Haven, Connecticut, United States