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In Section Seven of the Homer NY cemetery is the grave of Nathan Salisbury, b. 1 Dec 1751, d. 4 May 1817. The gravestone reads: "Lt. of company which captured and burned the British schooner Gaspee in 1772."

This gravestone is some evidence of Salisbury's involvement in the Gaspee attack. 

Immediate family members apparently contributed to a history of his last county of residence, to wit: Smith's History of Cortland County (1885), which also states a Gaspee connection.

Nathan Salisbury, Sr., was Lieutenant under Capt. Burgess of the company which, from Warwick Neck, fired into, captured, and burned the British schooner, Gaspee in 1772.  He resided in Cranston until 1795, when he moved to Providence, R.I.  In March, 1803, he moved his family to Hartford, Washington county, New York, where he purchased a farm and remained until 1806, when he again moved his family to Cazenovia, Madison county, New York. 

See also the 1869 letter of James H. Salisbury, Nathan's grandson, claiming Nathan to be involved, and stating that James learned of events from his grandmother, 50 plus years after the Gaspee attack, while she was still living, as she understood them from her husband (Nathan) who died ten years before James was born.. 

Artillery guns were few and far between in 1772, but in 1772 there was a battery of artillery of militia at Bristol.  Some of the men from Bristol, who were in that unit, may have been in the boatload of men from Bristol, which after the attack, landed at Warwick Neck, with the other boats from Providence, and watched the burning of the Gaspee from that shore. Perhaps Nathan's stories became corrupted by time and generations to the idea that the Bristol artillery was directly involved in the attack.

On the other hand, by 1775, there were artillery groups than the Bristol artillery, and by 1775 Warwick Neck was fortified in expectation of an English attack on Providence.  Salisbury at some time could have been in an artillery group in the Warwick area.

Salisbury is a man about whom research could and should be done. We should try to define the artillery battery involved and find any records of Salisbury's military history.  We should try to see if Salisbury had any connection with,  or residence in Bristol.  We should try to define more exact genealogical information about this Gaspee Raider, including possible relationships to the Browns of Providence.

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I really think what we have in the Salisbury account is an example of why lawyers do not rely on hearsay. I suspect Nathan was in a battery of artillery at some time (perhaps a lieutenant) and at another time he was in a boatload of persons that were at the attack on the Gaspee, but the two were not necessarily related.  Persons hearing him talk could have heard him say on one occasion: "I was in an artillery battery in Warwick neck during the war."  And heard him say on another occasion: 'We set fire to the Gaspee, and we sunk her, and I watched from Warwick neck."  It is a short step for a witness to merge all the statements and stories and report  that Nathan said he was in an artillery group that fired upon the Gaspee.

We guess that perhaps Nathan Salisbury of Cranston served with a Capt. Burgess' Company or artillery at some time during the pre-Revolutionary or Revolutionary times, but that separately from that was one of the men of "about twenty years of age"  from Providence with Rehoboth connections that went on the attack.

Note also that the letter of [J.H.Salisbury, Feb 1869] claims that Nathan was related to William Rhodes (a Revolutionary War ship captain and 1776 member of the General Assembly), and to John Brown.  If these relationships are correct, it would be both unusual and also difficult for Nathan to lie to say that he was involved in the attack.

Nathan Salisbury b 1 DEC 1751 in Charlestown, MA or Warwick, RI d 4 MAY 1817 in Scott, Cortland, NY. Father: Martin P. Salisbury b 4 JUL 1708 in Milton, Norfolk County, MA or Rehoboth, MA. Mother: Mary Pierce b 18 OCT 1718 in Charlestown, Suffolk County, MA or Rehoboth, MA . Marriage on RI on 16 May 1771, to Abigail Stone b 19 (or 16) OCT 1753 in Cranston, RI.,  d 15 Dec 1836.  Abigail may have had a maiden name of "Brown", of the John Browns of Providence. See [J.H.Salisbury, Feb 1869]  Children (all born in Cranston, RI)

The 1885 Smith's History of Cortland County recites the following biographical facts regarding Nathan, his wife Abigail Brown, Stone, and his 11 children.

The following were . . . [the children of Thomas Salisbury, who settled in Cranston]:  Peleg, known as the "big man of Warwick," Martin, Job, Mial, Nathan, Rebecca and Phoeba. Nathan, sen.. . . was born Dec. 1st 1751, and married May 16th, 1771, Abigail Stone- born Oct. 16th, 1753, only daughter of Deacon Joseph Stone, of Cranston, a descendant of Hugh Stone "the stolen boy." Abigail Stone’s mother’s maiden name was Brown, a near relative of John Brown, the founder of Rhode Island College, afterwards Brown University.

Nathan Salisbury sen., was Lieutenant under Capt. Burgess of the company which from Warwick Neck, fired into, captured, and burned the British schooner, Gaspe in 1772. He resided in Cranston until 1795, when he moved to Providence R.I.. In March, 1803, he moved his family to Hartford, Washington county, New York, where he purchased a farm and remained until 1806, when he again moved his family to Madison county, New York. At this place he only remained through the winter, and in March, 1807, came with his family to Homer, the in Onondaga county.

He purchased land and reared a log cabin on lot 5, located on the waters of Cold brook, where his family settled in the fall of the same year. Here he remained until his death, which occurred May 4th, 1817, his wife surviving him until Dec. 14th, 1836. The following were their eleven children: Waity, Sally, John, Joseph Martin, who followed the sea and died on a voyage returning from China, Ann, Mary, Lucinda, Ambrose Cynthia, Nathan jun., and Phoeba.

At the time of the families’ settlement on Cold brook, but half a dozen pioneers had recently reared their log cabins on the adjacent slopes of the valley. The wolf still prowled in the hemlock’s deep shadows, deer and other game were abundant, and the cool streams swarmed with beautiful trout. Hence, it is not strange that young Nathan [junior] should sometimes have followed the deer trail, often with great success. In 1813 he was baptized by Rev. Alfred Bennett and received into the Baptist Church of Homer, subsequently removing his standing to the First Baptist Church of Scott, where a large and flourishing society existed for many years. Always interested in the welfare of the young, he has devoted much time to organizing and conducting Sabbath and singing schools. In 1815 he purchased a farm on lot 95 in the southeast corner of Scott, then an unbroken wilderness, which is the present site of Evergreen Terrace, the Salisbury home. The next summer, 1816, known as the "cold season," he raised two acres of corn; and in 1818, was able to raise thirty acres of fine wheat. Thus, gradually the forest fell, and in its place waved fields of golden grain.

Peleg Salisbury, son of Martin P. Salisbury and Mary Pierce, was empanelled on the jury which found William Dudingston, Captain of the Gaspee, culpable for the damages coming forth from his seizure of a cargo of rum taken from the Greene family in February of 1772 (see Bryant, SW, Rhode Island Justice-1772 Vintage, Rhode Island History, July 1967 26:3, p66.) Descendant Earl Salisbury informs us that Peleg was later a judge in Warwick.

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