General Knox


October 25th marks the date of the 1806 death of General Henry Knox. Students of the American Revolution will recognize Knox as the man who brought about the legendary 1776 movement by oxen of 60 tons of artillery captured from the Britsh at Fort Ticonderoga in NY across the snows to Dorchester Heights outside of Boston. This arduous feat brought about the withdrawal of the encircled British troops from Boston.
This was just the beginning of his contributions to America. Knox
, who fought in all the major battles from Bunker Hill to Yorktown, went on to become Washington's artillery general and later his Secretary of War. During 1779 he organized and operated an artillery training camp that is thought by many to be the fore runner of Westpoint. Knox is also credited with establishing the Society of of Cincinnati, a fraternal order of commissioned officers after the Revolution. As Secretary of War, he marshaled our tiny army and planned its enlargement, established the army and navy academies, built forts and provided for our defense. He was a tireless strategist and planner.
So, how did this man end up in Maine? Henry Knox, 7th child of a large And impoverished immigrant family and mostly self-educated bookseller in pre-Revolutionary Boston, fell in love with and married a daughter of the very wealthy, but ultimately Loyalist, Flucker family. After the Revolution, Knox worked officially to resolve land titles for Maine properties seized from Loyalists including the Flucker's Waldo Patent on the Midcoast. By means both fair and often not quite kosher he ended up with 570,000 acres of the old Waldo Patent. 
Knox built a large three story mansion called Montpelier in Thomaston and settled down to speculate in land, raise cattle, build ships, slake lime, make bricks and many other investments too diverse to manage. He was an honorable man who was not always responsible in his business dealings. In October 1806 he swallowed a chicken bone at a local picnic and died three days later. He was at the time near bankruptcy.
The Knox Museum in Thomaston operates a wonderful facility out of a replica of Knox's Montpelier (the original was razed). They conduct numerous educational events each year for students, schools and teachers as well as the general public. You can visit them online at 
Alan Taylor in his book, Liberty Men and the Great Proprietors: The Revolutionary Settlement on the Maine Frontier, 1760-1820, provides a more populist view of Maine and Knox in this time period.
My photo shows the Knox grave in Thomaston's Town Cemetery.

                                      Formerly                   © Pat Higgins 2017