Joshua Conant, Casualty of the Battle of Bennington

One of my genealogy goals is identifying those ancestors who served in the Revolutionary War and honoring their service by both writing about them and registering myself in the DAR Descendants database.

Most of the Revolutionary War patriots I’ve identified survived the War. But my 6th great-grandfather, Joshua Conant, did not. (To view pedigree, see my ancestor list on Rootsweb.)

Joshua was the son of Joshua Conant and Jerusha Cummings. He was born into a family with a fairly illustrious heritage: his great-grandfather was Roger Conant, founder of Salem, MA. For background on the Conant family, one source is A History and Genealogy of the Conant Family in England and America, 1887.

The exact date of birth for Joshua is unclear, as various sources give dates of 1749, 1750 and 1752. Seeing as his father died in 1949, the latter dates likely record his baptism, as in this church record, where his father is noted as posthumous:

Source: Town and City Clerks of Massachusetts

Joshua was the youngest of five children; his bothers were Peletiah and Lot, his sisters Jehoaddan and Jerusha. The family resided in Ipswich, MA, where his father was a farmer. He died intestate in 1749 and Joshua was awarded lands from the estate.

In May of 1771, Joshua sold his land in Ipswich and relocated to Amherst, NH. Somehow, he became acquainted with Mary Henderson, living some 24 miles away in Shirley, MA. In August of 1771, their intention of marriage was recorded in Shirley.

Source: Town and City Clerks of Massachusetts

By 1776, Joshua and Mary are living in Londonderry, NH. He was among the signers of The Association Test in June of 1776, for earlier that year, New Hampshire “became the first colony to set up an independent government and the first to establish a constitution” (Wikipedia).

Association Test Pledge

That summer of 1776, as the Colonists and Great Britain geared up for war, Joshua and Mary looked forward to the arrival of their son, Nathaniel. He was born in October, and we can imagine the young family spent that winter and the following spring in some anxiety during that time of upheaval. But the inevitable soon came.

In July of 1777, Joshua left his 22-year-old bride and baby boy to enlist as a volunteer in the 5th New Hampshire Militia Regiment, Capt. Daniel Runnels’ Company. The company was formed in Londonderry and marched 90 miles to Charleston to join Gen. John Stark’s Brigade during the Saratoga Campaign.

The Battle of Bennington took place on August 16, 1777. During the engagement, Capt. Runnels’ Co. attacked the enemy from the south. Joshua was severely wounded in the fight and died from his wounds about four weeks later, on September 10, 1777.

Print of the Battle of Bennington [Vermont], 1777. New York Public Library Digital Collection

Battle of Bennington Monument

Documentation of Joshua’s War Service:


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2 Responses to Joshua Conant, Casualty of the Battle of Bennington

  1. Gerald says:

    Warfare is a fascinating subject. Despite the dubious morality of using violence to achieve personal or political aims. It remains that conflict has been used to do just that throughout recorded history.

    Your article is very well done, a good read.

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