Revolutionary War officer remembered

MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury will celebrate the gravestone marking of Capt. Jonathan Nichols on Thursday, July 18, at 4:30 p.m. by the Vermont Society of the Sons of the American Revolution (VTSSAR) at the Old Town (Hammond-Bushey) Cemetery on Washington Street Extension. The cemetery is 8/10 mile after the intersection of Washington and Seminary streets, on the left.
State President Douglass “Tim” Mabee and his Vermont Society members will join Middlebury civic leaders in placing the SAR Revolutionary War grave marker next to the headstone of Capt. Nichols. The National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution (NSSAR) encourages its members to locate and mark as many of its Revolutionary War patriots as it can.
Capt. Jonathan Nichols (1727-1814), a native of Massachusetts, lived in Mansfield, Conn., where he married Sarah Bassett of Middleboro, Mass., who bore him 11 children at Mansfield. He was among the men responding to the Lexington Alarm in the American Revolution and served as a captain under Lieutenant Colonel Experience Storrs (1732-1834) in exercising and training their regiment. Nichols was appointed to a committee to encourage enlistments in April 1777, and in September to a committee to provide clothing for soldiers in the Continental Army. He and Sarah relocated to Middlebury sometime before 1800.
Their son Lieut. Jonathan Nichols (1758-1829) served in the American Revolution in Colonel Levi Wells’ regiment on Dec. 9, 1780, and at Germantown and Valley Forge as well. He relocated from Mansfield to Middlebury about 1794, where he applied his skills as a mechanic and familiarity with the manufacture of iron in his businesses, after he purchased Appleton Foote land and a water power. He erected below Foot’s mills, successively, a forge, trip-hammer and gun factory. He was not very successful in the management of these establishments and they fell into the hands of different persons. These businesses were kept in operation partially for several years, but fell into decay and were finally consumed with the other works in that location. Lt. Jonathan and his wife Rebecca (Swift) Nichols relocated to Providence, R.I., where they are buried at Swan Point Cemetery.
Marston Watson of Richmond, Calif., fifth great-grandson of Capt. Jonathan Nichols, assisted in arranging this event but is unable to attend the ceremony. Watson is a member of NSSAR, which honored him with the prestigious Minuteman Award in 2009. It is presented to no more than six honorees each year out of about 28,000 national society members. His 17 Revolutionary War ancestors have been submitted and approved by NSSAR. Watson is a hereditary member of the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati as well.
The Vermont Society SAR will hold its board of managers dinner meeting at Fire and Ice restaurant in Middlebury after the gravesite ceremony. Middlebury residents and guests are invited to attend the event at the Old Town Cemetery.

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