Jesse Mead was born in Greenwich, CT in about 1739. He was the second son of Eliphalet Mead and Abigail Rundle, and was born in the town of Greenwich, sometimes known as Horseneck, on 27th October 1739. Eliphalet was the grandson of John Mead, the first Mead in inhabitant of the area. Eliphalet and Abigail were Congregationalist, both born and raised in Horseneck, as were their parents. Eliphalet and his family at some time move to North Greenwich, in an area known as Quaker Ridge, and were members of the Second Congregational Church. Eliphalet and Abigail were blessed with a family of five boys and four girls. All of the boys served in the revolutionary war.
The area was at the time part of the Colony of Connecticut, the Colonies of New Haven and Connecticut having merged in the interim. Life in Horseneck was closely connected to one's faith, and at the time the Congregationalist were in the majority. The Town of Greenwich board seemed to be governed by the same faith, and was involved in development of the town's roads, harbors, and industries. As well as the regulation of same. The people of the area were dependent on the waters of Long Island Sound for transportation and sustenance to a great degree. To the West the French had made friends with the Indians and had supplied them with arms and were allowed to build a fort at Crown Point, an area claimed by Connecticut. By1755 the British were making an effort to oust the French from British Colonies, and each year after that called on men of Greenwich, Fairfield, Connecticut to serve. That year the British started construction of Fort William Henry, south of Crown Point and Fort Ticonderoga, on the South end of Lake George. In the spring of 1757, command of the fort was turned over to George Monro, with a garrison principally drawn from the 35th Foot and the 60th (Royal American) Foot. By June the garrison had swollen to about 1,600 men with the arrival of provincial militia companies from Connecticut and New Jersey. Because the fort was too small to quarter this many troops, many of them were stationed in Johnson's old camp to the southwest of the fort. When word arrived in late July that the French had mobilized to attack the fort, another 1,000 regulars and militia arrived, swelling Monro's force to about 2,300 effective troops. Johnson's camp, where many were quartered, was quickly protected by the digging of trenches. Conditions in both the fort and the camp were not good, and many men were ill, including some with smallpox. The French force of General Louis-Joseph de Montcalm arrived on August 3, and established camps to the south and west of the fort. Following heavy bombardment and siege operations that progressively neared the fort's walls, the garrison was forced to surrender on August 8th when it became apparent that General Daniel Webb, the commander at Fort Edward, was not sending any relief. French forces totaled some 8,000, consisting of 3,000 regulars, 3,000 militia and nearly 2,000 Native Americans from diverse tribes. The terms of surrender were that the British and their camp followers would be allowed to withdraw, under French escort, to Fort Edward, with the full honors of war, on condition that they refrain from participation in the war for 18 months. They were allowed to keep their muskets but no ammunition, and a single symbolic cannon. In addition, British authorities were to release French prisoners within three months. The next morning, even before the British column began to form up for the march to Fort Edward, the Indians renewed attacks on the largely defenseless British. At 5 am, Indians entered huts in the fort housing wounded British who were supposed to be under the care of French doctors, and killed and scalped them. Monro complained that the terms of capitulation had in essence been violated already, but his contingent was forced to surrender some of its baggage in order to even be able to begin the march. As they marched off, they were harassed by the swarming Indians, who snatched at them, grabbing for weapons and clothing, and pulling away with force those that resisted their actions, including many of the women, children, and black servants. As the last of the men left the encampment, a war whoop sounded, and warriors seized a number of men at the rear of the column. While Montcalm and other French officers tried to stop these attacks, others did not, and explicitly refused further protection to the British. At this point, the column dissolved, as some prisoners tried to escape the Indian onslaught, while others actively tried to defend themselves. Massachusetts Colonel Joseph Frye reported that he was stripped of much of his clothing and repeatedly threatened. He fled into the woods, and did not reach Fort Edward until August 12, three days later. In Greenwich an alarm had been raised and a Company under Command of Phineas Lyman, which included Capt. White's company. They were to march to the relief of Fort William Henry. Jesse Mead was 17 years of age and was called to serve under Capt. Stephen White, and Lieut. Caleb Mead. He was joined by his cousin Benjamin Mead, and his future brother-in-law, David Knapp. It should be remembered that this Company was only to reinforce those already in the field under Capt. Stephen Waterbury of Stamford. Of course it was too late by the time the Company left, to save any of those massacred in what was called the Battle of Fort William Henry. It is best known as the site of notorious atrocities committed by the Huron tribes against the surrendered British and provincial troops following a successful French siege in 1757, an event portrayed in James Fenimore Cooper's novel, The Last of the Mohicans, first published in January 1826. The Connecticut Militia Regiment system was created in 1739. This system of Militia Regiments would continue in Connecticut until the 1840’s. The common misconception of the militia is that it was a small company of men from a particular Connecticut Town or Village who would occasionally muster on the local Common or Green and practice the military drill of the day. This conception is only partially correct. What seems to be forgotten, overlooked or misunderstood is that every town militia company (sometimes referred to as Trained Bands) in the Connecticut Colony belonged to a numbered Militia Regiment from 1739 on. Not only would the Town Militia Companies train among themselves, under company officers (a Captain, Lieutenant, Ensign, Sergeant and Corporal), but they would then in turn train with their numbered Regiments who were commanded by Field grade officers (a Colonel, Lieutenant-Colonel, and a Major). During the American Revolution, these Militia Regiments would be combined with others to form Militia Brigades which were under the command of a Brigadier General In October of 1757 the The General Assembly of Colonial Connecticut in March of 1758 authorized the raising of 5,000 men and officers to act in concert with other New England Colonies under British Major-General Abercrombie. The Connecticut forces again under Major-General Phineas Lyman, and the Greenwich Company under Capt. Thomas Hobby for an expedition against Crown Point and Ticonderoga. No record of the rolls of that militia exist. Again in March of 1759 the Assembly resolved to raise a force of 3,600 men to be divided into 4 regiments under the same leadership against the same targets. The Greenwich Company under Capt. Thomas Hobby was the 3rd Regiment and the rolls listed Jesse Mead and his older brother Eliphalet, Jr. In 1761 and again in 1762 Greenwich men served in the war, but Jesse Mead does not show up on the roll. In 1763 under the same command structure, with the Greenwich Company under Capt. Thomas Hobby, Jesse is again on the roll. Even though Jesse seemed to be out with the Militia a good amount of time, he did marry in 1760, to Rachael Knapp, and his first daughter, Demas, was born in 1761. A census of the town of Greenwich in 1762 showed 2,021 whites and 52 blacks. A significant share of the white male inhabitants fought in the French-Indian war, and would continue to supply fighting men for the future revolution. In 1763 the French capitulated in a treaty with the British, thus ending the French Indian War. In 1764, Jesse's second daughter was born, Rachael, after her mother. three more daughters; Abigail, Rebecca, and Elizabeth were born before Jesse's only son, Jesse, Jr. was born in 1774. Because of their experience in the French-Indian war, and the required training of militia starting in 1760 to make sure the families of Connecticut were protected from marauding Indians, the men of Greenwich were prepared for the events of 1775. The first event was the Battle of Lexington-Concord, on 21 April 1775, which climaxed the growing cry for less taxation and more freedom in the Colonies. On June 15th George Washington was selected as General and Commander and Chief of the all of the forces of the “united colonies”. The Continental Army was formed later in 1776, while the militias of the various colonies served as the only fighting force of America in the meantime. Troops raised and recruited by the Continental Army were call regulars, or “continentals”, all other troops were militia. Each of the colonies were assigned quotas for recruitment into the Continental Army, with Connecticut supplying 8 Regiments. Three days after the Battle at Lexington, Governor Trumbull of Connecticut ordered a volunteer force be sent to assist in the defense of New York, under Capt. Abraham Mead, 9th Regiment of militia, Jesse Mead, now 36, married and with 6 children, was among the privates in this company. Jesse's company now under Capt. James Green, Lieut. Col. John Mead's Regiment, was sent to New York in Aug of 1776. This was the First Detail. The Company, which was ordered to New York in 1776, took part in the Battle of Long Island August 27, 1776. The First Detail served during the months of August and September, and the Second Detail served during October, November, and December 1776 and January 1777. Jesse was in one of the last regiments to leave, under General Israel Putnam, in the retreat from New York City to Harlem (Washington Heights). It has been said that during the retreat General Putnam with 4,000 men was left as a rear guard while the main army under General Washington took a position on Harlem Heights. When General Washington heard that the British General Clinton had landed in New York September 19, 1776, he sent a hurried order to General Putnam to evacuate the city and join him on Harlem Heights. Putnam was ignorant of the route leading from the city, and his aide, Aaron Burr, offered to guide the troops. He got lost, and Captain Mead's Company suffered losses in a skirmish with the pursuing British Light Calvary. After the retreat they were posted on Harlem Heights and remained there until the Battle of White Plains on October 28, 1776, in which they were engaged and suffered considerable losses. It should be noted that Jesse's brothers Jehiel, a Sargent, and Eli, a private served at the same time Capt. Matthew Mead's Co. At the end of September 1776 Washington’s army occupied the northern tip of Manhattan Island and the ground to the West of the Bronx River north of Kingsbridge. Howe from his positions on the rest of Manhattan determined to outflank the Americans with a landing at Throg’s Neck to the East of the Bronx. The British landing on 12th October 1776 was held by Pennsylvania, New York and Massachusetts troops, forcing the British to re-embark on their boats and land further up river at Pell’s Point. Meanwhile Washington withdrew his main army north to positions at White Plains on the east bank of the Bronx River, north of Yonkers. On the insistence of Congress a substantial garrison was left at Fort Washington on northern Manhattan Island. Howe and his British and German troops followed Washington via New Rochelle and up the Bronx River. Washington fortified a position between the Bronx River and the river Crotton. On the far side of the Bronx was an isolated outpost on Chatterton’s Hill held by Colonel Spencer, Colonel McDougall and some 4,000 men including two New England militia regiments under Colonel Rufus Putnam.
Colonel Rahl with two Hessian regiments advanced on a small hill that lay unoccupied beyond Chatterton’s Hill on the extreme American right while the British 2nd Brigade attacked the Americans on Chatterton’s Hill supported by two further Hessian battalions. This attack pushed the Americans back until the flanking threat from Rahl’s men caused the Americans to withdraw from the hill and retreat across the river to join Washington’s army. The British did not press this attack. British casualties were 313 killed and wounded. The Americans lost 300 killed, wounded and captured. The American figures are speculative. Follow-up: Howe was able to take advantage of Washington’s withdrawal, with much of his army, to take Kingsbridge and capture Fort Washington. This was a considerable blow to the American cause and precipitated the headlong American retreat to the Delaware River. After the battle of White Plains on the 28th of October, the 9th Regiment was again called out, this time Lieut. Col. John Mead's Regiment, under General Wooster, was sent to the Westchester border. 24 days service, discharged 24 December 1776. Again Jesse and his brother Eli were in Capt Matthew Mead's company in the same service. During the Revolutionary War, Saw Pit was an important military outpost. Both armies vied for possession of the port, and the village was nearly destroyed in the crossfire. In 1776, American General Israel Putnam used the Bush Homestead, in what is now John Lyon Park, as his headquarters. When the clamor of the Revolution settled, the area was rebuilt and its shipping and shipbuilding industries prospered. Before long it had become an important steamboat stop, the eastern "port of Westchester." The name Port Chester was adopted in 1837. On May 4, 1868, Port Chester was incorporated as a village with specified limits within the Town of Rye. In April of 1777 Sergeant Libbeus Mead, Jesse's younger brother, was severely wounded in the right hip. He was disabled and received a pension for the rest of his life. In the early stages of the war, there were those both for and against the revolution in Greenwich. As the war progressed, the loyalists or “Tories” as they were called began to take more heart and engage themselves in actions detrimental to the local populace and the Revolution. Because Greenwich lay so close to the sea, it was prone to attacks from boats. British sympathizers and British naval boats seeking to gain stores began raiding the countryside. At the November session of the General Assembly, the town petitioned for cannon and shot to protect itself. A company of artillery men was selected to man the cannon made available. After the British had occupied New York another class of men, called cowboys arose, who were much worse that the Tories. These were lawless men that seized upon every opportunity to plunder. The committed their assaults on both the enemy and Americans. Old grudges from before the war were now satisfied with relentless vigor, and the Americans suffered the most. They made warfare after the Indian fashion, skulking about the woods and at night, they would shoot down anyone. Older citizens, and those on the Committee of Safety were constantly watched and hounded. Capt. Sylvanus Mead, a cousin to Jesse, and a member of the Committee of Safety was shot and killed by one of these marauding parties in early 1780. Later his father Benjamin Mead, an uncle to Jesse, had his farm raided by Tories and British soldiers. The father and 2 of the older girls barricaded themselves in the house, while the gang collected his livestock and began to drive them off. Benjamin's son, only 12 at the time, attempted to get the livestock to safety and was fired upon by the gang. He finally surrendered only to be shot and killed. A typical raid was reported in the New York Gazette on the 16th of October, 1777, a Tory paper supporting the British cause:"Last Sunday Colonel James DeLancey, with sixty of his Westchester Light Horse went from Kingsbridge to the White Plains, where they took from the rebels, 44 barrels of flour, and two ox teams, near 100 head of black cattle, and 300 fat sheep and hogs." Even American General George Washington knew of James DeLancey and his mounted troops. He reported to Congress on May 17th, 1781:"Surprised near Croton River by 60 Horse and 200 Foot under Colonel James DeLancey... 44 killed, wounded and missing... attempted to cut him off but he got away." The winter of 1779-80 was one of the most severe on record. Long Island Sound was completely frozen over. Greenwich residents' cattle were herded onto the ice and driven down to New York for British provisions. So even when Jesse was not on active duty in the militia, he and his family were certainly in a state of constant alarm. He and other residents of Greenwich spent much time in guarding and protecting their home and family. During the Revolution, Greenwich was a burr in the side of the British. General Tryon called the people of Greenwich "swamp rats" because after they attacked British supply ships on Long Island Sound and were pursued by warships, they disappeared into the swamps and small bays on the Connecticut shore. On more than one occasion small boats fled across the shallow sandbars where the pursuing enemy ships went aground, to the great amusement of the natives who gathered on the shore to watch. In 1779 British General Tryon brought a force of some 1500 men who occupied Greenwich for two days. The soldiers pillaged and looted the houses and inns in the immediate area, burning many of them. The military purpose of the raid was to destroy the salt works and a store house, which they did and much more. Finally in 1783 the nation and Connecticut celebrated the Treaty of Paris which ended the Revolutionary War. Jesse and his wife Rachel had 8 children, 6 before the Revolutionary War two during the war. His son Jesse Jr. is the line that connects us to them. After the war Jesse is shown on both the Westchester, New York, and the Greenwich, Connecticut, 1790 census. That is because the area in which they lived, called Quaker Ridge, was very near the disputed border of New York and Connecticut. In 1800 Jesse moved his family to New York City, along with his son-in-law Daniel Banvard, Jesse, Jr., and daughter Demas Lloyd, whose husband Richard had died. Jesse is still on the 1810 census of New York City, with his wife he was 71.
Married Rachel, daughter of David and Rachel (Close) Knapp 12/10/1760.
Jesse and Rachel had eight children.
He passed away in 1781. No record of a will, probate, or burial have yet been found. (the search continues) For all biographical information, this one source has been used. 
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