From the Stonington Yankee.
THE TWO BROTHERS.
The advantages which accrue to a people from development of patriotic courage, devotedness or individual prowess, are many and obvious to any intelligent mind; and the moral influence exercised by them on the rising generation, is worthy the consideration of every patriot and statesman. The little story which follows, speaks not of titled noblemen, or of renowned generals, skilled in the arts and tactics of war, whose maneuvres have turned the fate of some great battle. Yet it tells of those not the less worthy — those who possessed souls as brave and noble as ever breathed under ermine robes or glittering mail.
The honors paid to patriotism are considered beauties for future sacrifice; and the youth of our country, when incited by generous enthusiasms, to future defence of our field, or firesides, and our “star spangled banner,” will remember, that altho’ they cannot always act the general, the duke, or the prince, they can all imitate the American soldier.
On the 6th Sept. 1781, a day memorable in the annals of the revolution, and one whose consequences will long be felt by the inhabitants of the south east part of Connecticut, a youth, engaged in the field suddenly stopped — stood an instant in breathless anxiety, listening — and then threw down his implements of husbandry, and with an earnest and hurried step, moved to his father’s house.
He had been several minutes busy in preparing, before being noticed by his progenitor, who being deeply alive to the feelings which had called his offspring from the field, thus addressed him:
“Don’t stop to shave, my son — it will make you too late to render any assistance. Take your gun and hurry on, or the fort will be taken before you can arrive.” The young man threw down his razor, and seizing his musket, commenced putting it in order for the work of death.
The regular and continued peals of cannon as they bellowed from forts Trumbull and Griswold, loudly spoke the alarm of war. It was the signal for rallying the yeomanry of the surrounding country, to defend their rights and liberties; but more particularly at this time to repel the threatened attack on New London, by a body of British troops under the command of the infamous Benedict Arnold.
Alarm, at this period, had been so frequently sounded, and the people were so harrassed by the repeated and useless tramps that they were literally worn out, and consequently, but very few heeded the call at this time.
Our youth, however, hastily prepared himself, and with a firm and fearless step hurried towards Groton heights. It was the voice of his country that called, and he could not delay when she asked assistance. Young, ardent and full of enthusiasm, he soon travelled the twelve miles, and joined his brother in the fort, just before the gates were closed.
The first burst of fraternal affection, on the recognition of fraternal kindred, in such an hour, being past, after a hearty shake by the hand — side by side they commenced their dreadful strife — united in their exertions for their country, as they were in feeling and sentiment for her cause.
I shall not here attempt to account the gallant though unfortunate affair” “are not these things written in the chronicles of time,” as long as our country shall stand? As long as heroic deeds or valor are appreciated, it will be known as the spot where husband, father, and son, fearlessly braved the storm of war. The deeds of Ledyard and his associates cannot be easily forgotten. The name of Groton Heights shall be the watch word for every patriotic American, although their fathers yielded to the strong power of the foe. It was the altar of freedom which smokes with her dearest sacrifice.
It was a dreadful assault — and our youth soon perceiving that the odds were fearfully against the garrison, and seeing his brother (endeavoring to save the life of Capt. Amos Stanton, as brave a man as ever lived) fall beneath the sword of a ruthless enemy, fought with the strength of a Hercules.
Having spent his last shot effectually, he was seen with the butt of his gun resolutely beating down three bayonets, with which the assailants menaced his breast. While thus engaged, the butt broke — not disheartened, however, he continued bravely to defend himself with the barrel, which he still held in his hand, until another of the enemy, coming up on one side, ran him through the body.
The barrel of his broken gun fell useless at his feet — and the beautiful, the generous and noble youth breathed out his last, while pinned to the wall of fort Griswold by a British bayonet. Weep, O weep! sons and daughters of America! for this day made many an orphan and widow. The bravest and noblest champions here bled! and it saw the end of many of God’s noblest workmanship.
There is a moral sublimity in the unbending firmness with which the virtuous man struggles with the storm that lays his hope in the dust. It is easy to be resigned to suffering before the thunder has burst upon our heads; but to wrestle with the destroyer — to see link after link broken from the chain of our earthly stay — to stand on the dark shores of life with resignation and calmness, amid a providence so awful and heart-rending as now greeted the father, is to practice that lesson, “Thy will be done.”
Two days had passed since the dreadful conflict, when an intimate acquaintance called to see the patriarch, and offer him consolation. — He calmly took the hand of his friend and leading him to another apartment, with a tearless eye, pointed to a table, on which lay two coffins — they bore the name and age of his two sons. To look on death thus, in these we love, is more than mortal — his lip quivered when he broke the silence, and his voice trembled a little as he said, “They have left us; — there are only their mangled bodies; but I bow to an arm stronger than Britain’s. They have gone, but they died like American soldiers; — and although not in the lap of victory, their death is not the less glorious.”
The patriot stood in calm and dignified composure, by the side of that “narrow house” which was forever to hide his dear children from his sight, “like a r??ted tree in Lebanon;” unsubdued by the blow, he seemed nerved for the solemn duty. The clods of the valley rattled on their coffins. It was an hour of trial, and although he stood up firm and dignified, as if he spurned affliction’s blast, yet his faultering voice, as he once spoke, proclaimed that his soul was stricken, and that his unbending spirit was wrestling with the strong feelings of nature.
Years have passed since the last ??d duties were paid to their unconscious relics; and the two brothers, who in their youth so devoutedly offered up their lives on the altar of their beloved country; side by side, as they fought, in one grave have mouldered to their kindred earth. Their dust, like their blood on the platform of fort Griswold, has commingled together — and one common stone, which marks the place of their deposit in Stonington, is inscribed with the names of Enoch and Daniel Stanton.
The Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Jan 18, 1831
The following pages (as well as the grave inscription above) are from The Battle of Groton Heights, which I have linked below:
Evidently, Enoch’s wife applied for a pension or some sort of compensation, but it was denied. I believe she was left with seven children to raise. There are two more pages regarding Enoch Stanton in the book that follow these above.
Title: The battle of Groton Heights
Author: William Wallace Harris
Editor: Charles Allyn
Edition: revised (Google Book LINK)
Publisher: C. Allyn, 1882
Not only were Lieut. Enoch and Sgt. Daniel Stanton patriots, they came from a family of patriots.
The following information was found linked to several family trees on Ancestry.com:
Their father: Phineas Stanton
Phineas was an officer in the French War, 1745-1755, and in the Revolutionary War. In 1745 he was a lieutenant on a list of general and staff officers of French and Indian War rolls. He served as captain in the Cape Breton Campaign in the war with the French. In 1755 he was a captain in the 4th Connecticut Regiment at Crown Point and appointed Commissary March 1756. In 1758 he was Commissary of the 8th Connecticut Regiment. He was deputy to the General Assembly at New Haven in 1768 and was a member of the General Assembly 1778-1780.
Their grandfather: Daniel Stanton, Sr.:
Daniel was … an officer in the French War.
Their great-great grandfather:: Thomas Stanton has a rather amazing life story:
From the New England Historical and Genealogical Register it is learned (vol. II, p. 113) that on January 2, 1635, Thomas Stanton took passage for Virginia in the merchantman “Bonaventure,” and that he recorded himself as being twenty years old. There was a John Stanton in Virginia prior to 1635, and from 1652 to 1658 there are records of a Robert Stanton, of Dorchester, Massachusetts, and of a Robert Stanton, of Newport, Rhode Island, a Quaker, who died 1672, aged seventy-three years. His descendants are numerous in the United States, and many of them still adhere to the Society of Friends. Edwin M. Stanton, Lincoln’s great war secretary, was a direct descendant of this Robert of Newport. There is no evidence that Thomas and Robert Stanton were related or even acquainted, or in fact that Thomas was related to any Stanton then in America. The records in New London that might have told who he was and from whence he came were destroyed in 1781 by Benedict Arnold when he sacked and burned that town. Thomas did not long remain in Virginia. In 1636 he is on record in Boston, Massachusetts, as a magistrate. He next appears in connection with the Pequot war. Miss Caulkins says: “The services of Mr. Stanton as interpreter during the Pequot war were invaluable.” In De Forest’s “History of the Connecticut Indians,” [i.e., John William De Forest's History of the Indians of Connecticut from the earliest known period to 1850] [he says "Some time in April (1637) a small vessel arrived at the fort (Saybrook, then commanded by General Lion Gardner), having on board Thomas Stanton, a man well acquainted with the Indian language, and long useful to the colonial authorities as interpreter." He was one of the magistrates in the trial of John Wheelwright at Boston, October 3, 1637. He [was] now married, and in February, 1639, is numbered among the one hundred and twenty-seven property holders of Hartford, Connecticut, with his father-in-law, Dr. Thomas Lord, who held the first medical license granted in the New England colonies. He came to America with Dorothy, his wife, April 29, 1635, in the ship “Elizabeth and Ann.” From this time Thomas is of frequent mention in the records as Stanton, Staunton and Steynton. The name is compounded of two Anglo-Saxon words — Stan, meaning stone, and Ton, meaning town: Stonetown, or Stanton. His name appears on all Indian deeds and transactions of that period between 1636 and 1670. He was required to be present wherever a court conference or treaty was to be held. In 1649 he had permission to erect a trading house on Pawtatuck, with six acres of ground and a monopoly of trade on the river for three years. He probably went to Pequot in 1651 and took up his permanent residence in Stonington in 1658. In March, 1652, he was granted three hundred acres laid out in a square upon the river, next his former grant of six acres. In 1659 Chief Cassawashitt deeded to him the whole of Pawtatuck Neck, and the small islands that lay near it, known as “The Hommocks.” This grant was confirmed by the court 1671. He removed his residence in 1658 to Wequetequock Cove, two and one-half miles from Stonington. He was the third settler there. This territory then belonged to the Massachusetts plantation, and was called Southington, Suffolk county, Massachusetts. In 1662 Charles II gave Connecticut a new charter that included Southington. In 1665 the name was changed to Mystic, and in 1667 the final change was made to Stonington. Perhaps the prominence and numbers of the Stantons had something to do with selecting a name so much like their own in etymology and meaning. In 1665 he was commissioner with authority to hold a semi-annual court at New London, the county seat. In September, 1666, the first court ever held in the county was assembled. The commissioners or judges were Major Mason, Thomas Stanton and Lieutenant Pratt. He was now continually in public office; the last honor to come to him was in 1666, when he was elected a member of the general assembly of Connecticut, to which he was re-elected each year until his death in 1677. He continued useful in Indian affairs, although largely superseded as interpreter by his sons, who all spoke the Indian dialect and were much in demand. He was a member of the First Congregational Church of Stonington, which he helped to organize. His son-in-law, Rev. James Noyes, was first pastor of that church. His long, active, useful and honorable life ended December 2, 1677. He is buried in the old family burying ground on the east side of Wequetequock Cove, about halfway between Stonington, Connecticut, and Westerly, Rhode Island. In 1637 he married Ann, daughter of Dr. Thomas and Dorothy Lord, of Hartford, Connecticut. She died 1688, surviving her husband eleven years.