Israel Putnam

Israel Putnam (1718 - 1790)

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Maj. Genl. Israel Putnam
Born in Salem Village, Essex, Massachusetts, New Englandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married in Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, New Englandmap
Husband of — married in Norwich, Connecticut, New Englandmap [uncertain]
Descendants descendants
Died in Brooklyn, Windham, Connecticut, USAmap
Profile last modified | Created 20 Oct 2010
This page has been accessed 7,750 times.

Categories: Continental Army Generals, American Revolution | Died in Military Service, United States of America, American Revolution | American Founding Fathers | Roger's Rangers | Sons of Liberty, American Revolution | Battle of Bunker Hill | Battle of Long Island | Battle of Chelsea Creek | South Cemetery, Brooklyn, Connecticut | Namesakes US Counties | British America, French and Indian War | Connecticut Project | American Revolution.

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Israel Putnam, the son of Joseph Putnam and his wife Elizabeth Porter, was born in Salem, Massachusetts. Strictly speaking his parents may have resided in the section of Salem, called Salem Village, which became the town of Danvers in 1757. The date January 7th, 1717, is recorded in the printed vital records.[1] The "Explanations" on page three state: "Double dating is used in the months of January, February and March, prior to 1752, whenever it appears in the original, and also, whenever from the sequence of entry in the original the date may be easily determined." Evidently, it could not be determined from the record, since only 1717 is in the printed record. However, every secondary source lists this date as 7 Jan 1718 or 1717/8. Israel's older sister Huldah was born 29 Nov 1716, so Israel could not have been born less than two months later 7 Jan 1716/7.


First Israel Putnam married Hannah Pope on July 19, 1739, in Salem, Massachusetts.[2]

Second Col. Israel Putnam married Mrs. Deborah Gar[d]ner, June 3, 1767, in Pomfret, Connecticut.[3]


In Dec 1779, Major General Israel Putnam suffered a stroke while returning to join Washington’s army at Morristown, New Jersey, from his home in Brooklyn. He had another stroke in 1782, and on May 29, 1790, after another stroke he died at his home on the green in Brooklyn, Connecticut. His death is recorded in the town of Pomfret, Connecticut.[4] He was buried in the South Cemetery in Brooklyn, Connecticut, but his remains have since been removed to beneath an impressive statue on the town green.


See wife Hannah's profile.


Israel Putnam's father, Joseph Putnam, died when Israel was just six years old. His mother subsequently remarried Captain Thomas Perley. Israel’s brother David was a cavalry officer and an influential and prominent man in the town of Danvers (Salem Village until 1752). These two people evidently influenced the young Israel in his future path.

In 1739, Israel, age 21, received his portion of his father’s estate, a plot of land. He built a house upon the land; married Hannah Pope; and had his first child Israel Putnam, Jr.

Israel sold his home to his brother David, in 1740, and bought 500 acres in Mortlake Manor, near Pomfret, Connecticut. Here he had a family, farmed, grew fruit trees, raised sheep for their wool, and joined with other townspeople to build schools and a library association. This area became the town of Brooklyn in 1786, shortly before Israel Putnam’s death.

Israel was considered fearless. He acquired his nickname, “Old Wolf,” when he bravely entered the den of a she wolf on his hands and knees, not just once, but three times. He entered first to reconnoitre, the second time he took his gun to shoot her, and the third time to make sure she was dead and triumphantly drag her body from the den.
Maj. Genl. Israel Putnam participated in the American Revolution

Israel began his military career in 1755, when he joined a force of other patriots to help the British Government rid the area of the French and their Indian allies. In his first fight the scouting troop sent out ahead was ambushed. After falling back in disorder, Israel in one of the companies behind, naturally stepped in to fill the gap left by fallen officers. He was appointed Captain of the company two weeks later. Israel would be active in seven campaigns from 1755-1762 (The Seven Years War).

In 1763, he was Colonel with the campaign to wrest Havana from Spain. Israel returned home in Dec. 1, 1764. His youngest son was born Dec. 31, 1764. His daughter Elizabeth died suddenly on Jan. 24, 1765, and his wife Hannah died in 10 weeks on April 6. Israel sought the consolation of the Lord and joined the Brooklyn Church. He busied himself farming and eventually remarried.

In the years leading up to the American Revolution, Israel was active in the Sons of Liberty and served as Connecticut Assemblyman.

His second marriage brought a new opportunity, he enlarged his wife’s home, and procured a tavern license. The General Wolf Tavern was a huge success. Here he lived with his family, and entertained his friends and guests.

Israel Putnam’s exploits during the American Revolution are well written about and need not be repeated here.

For more information and great stories about Israel Putnam read:
“Our Putnams.” by Charles Somerby Putnam, Jr. 2007. (A pdf download)
“Israel Putnam” by Fanny Greye Bragg at the Conn. SAR website.
"An Essay on the life of the Honorable Major-General Israel Putnam. by Colonel David Humphreys, 1788.


(modern lettering used, spelling preserved)

If thou art a Soldier
Drop a Tear over the dust of a Hero
Ever attentive
To the lives and happiness of his Men
Dared to lead Where any Dared to follow;
If a Patriot
Remember the distinguished and gallant services
Rendered thy Country
By the Patriot who sleeps beneath this Marble;
If thou art Honest, generous & worthy
Render a chearful tribute of respect
To a Man
Whose generosity was singular
Whose honesty was proverbial
Raised him self to universal esteem
And offices of Eminent distinction
By personal worth
And a
Useful life
Israel Putnam Original Burial Place

Middle Name? Thomas ?

In the early 1700's people rarely had middle names. Why and where did Israel acquire his middle name. It's not on his birth or death record or on any, located, contemporary documents, and yet here in the 21st century it exists.

Go to Eben Putnam's History of the Putnam Family pg 89 at Google books or at What's there at the top of the page (and on other pages in the section on Israel)? "Israel (Thomas) Putnam" Eureka! EXCEPT, Thomas is in parentheses and refers to the fact that his second generation Putnam ancestor was Thomas. Eben Putnam used it as a way of keeping track of the family. If you look at other pages you will see similar headings always with the second generation ancestor listed in parentheses. Someone, sometime, thought it was his middle name, used it as such, and it has clung ever since.

Conclusion: Major General Israel Putnam did not have a middle name.


  • Eight US states have named counties in Gen. Putnam's honor. They are: Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia. Israel Putnam State Park can be found in Connecticut.


  1. Vital Records of Salem Massachusetts to the End of the Year 1849. Volume II – Births. Salem, Mass: The Essex Institute, 1918. p. 212 link at google books
  2. Vital Records of Salem Massachusetts to the End of the Year 1849.Vol IV-Marriages Salem, Mass: The Essex Institute, 1924.
  3. White, Lorraine Cook, ed. The Barbour Collection of Connecticut Town Vital Records. Vol. 1-55. Baltimore, MD, USA: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1994-2002.
  4. Pomfret Vital Records. Connecticut Vital Records to 1870 (Online images at, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2011.) From original typescripts, Lucius Barnes Barbour Collection, 1928..

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DNA Connections
It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Israel by comparing test results with other carriers of his Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA. However, there are no known yDNA or mtDNA test-takers in his direct paternal or maternal line. It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share DNA with Israel:

Have you taken a DNA test for genealogy? If so, login to add it. If not, see our friends at Ancestry DNA.

Images: 11
Israel Putnam
Israel Putnam

Israel Putnam Image 1
Israel Putnam Image 1

Thomas Putnam House
Thomas Putnam House

Thomas Putnam House
Thomas Putnam House

Israel Putnam
Israel Putnam

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On 9 Mar 2015 at 21:57 GMT Cathryn (Hallett) Hondros wrote:

On 19 Jun 2014 at 02:13 GMT Terry Kraft wrote:

I agree that Israel Putnam likely did not have the middle name "Thomas", and may not have had any middle name. I agree it should be deleted unless/until there is evidence to the contrary.

On 14 May 2014 at 00:55 GMT Terry Kraft wrote:

Putnam-40 and Putnam-108 appear to represent the same person because: I, too, can't see why these two profiles shouldn't be merged. We must allow this to eliminate a duplicate, even if we don't accept any information from that duplicate, since we can't delete profiles.

On 7 Jun 2012 at 17:32 GMT M Lechner wrote:

Please let me know if you need assistance in completing these merges. Mike

On 1 Mar 2012 at 14:38 GMT M Lechner wrote:

Some of these links go to and unless a person pays they see nothing.

Need to copy relevant data and then perhaps link?


On 1 Mar 2012 at 14:35 GMT M Lechner wrote:

Need to merge with Putnam-587. These notes and sources you have are they necessary? Could they me made more readable? Would you like me to try?

Hopefully they can be made readable. Thanks Mike

Israel is 17 degrees from Robin Helstrom, 19 degrees from Katy Jurado and 13 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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