Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Benjamin Simonds

Portrait of Col. Benjamin Simonds, by William Jennys in 1796.

Throughout the month of October, I've been researching and compiling material about Benjamin Simonds. Between field trips to Williamstown, Massachusetts, Bennington, Vermont, and Walloomsac, New York, it was like I was walking in the shadows of his footsteps. I researched through the material of my own personal library, the Williams College Sawyer Library, and, of course, online. Some of the details were conflicting, based on conjectures to fill in the blanks; they could only use what information they had available to them at the time. I am confident that, through the new data that had been shared and revealed since the publications of some of the older sources used, that I have assembled an accurate and telling portrait of Mr. Simonds. 

He was certainly someone whom I would have loved to have met and chatted with. The stories he must have had of his many adventures. As far as I know, he kept no diary. So we don't know what his daily routine was on a given day, or what he thought about this or that.

Benjamin Simonds (sometimes written Simons, Symons, and Symonds) was among the thirty captives from the siege of Fort Massachusetts in 1746. He was left ill in a hospital in Quebec at the time the surviving captives returned to Boston. He returned later in October of 1747 and was the only former captive to settle in West Hoosac (now Williamstown, MA).

He served in King George's War, the French and Indian War, and the American Revolutionary War. And he was an important figure in the original settlement and early history of Williamstown, Massachusetts.

Benjamin Simonds was assuredly a man of sound judgment and executive ability, as demonstrated through both his military service and community involvement. And, like his great-grandfather, William Simonds, and his grandfather, Joseph Simonds Sr., and his father, Joseph Simonds Jr., before him, he too was a pioneer.

Benjamin Simonds: A Colonial Pioneer, researched, compiled, and edited by C.A. Chicoine.

At the bas-relief of the Battle of Bennington, at the Bennington Battleground Historic Site in Walloomsac, New York, commemorating Col. Benjamin Simonds.