Friday, April 1, 2011

Cavendish Semiquincentennial: Cavendish Militia

In a new settlement like Cavendish, one of the first order of business would be to establish a militia for self-defense. Every able-bodied man would be a member, with one elected as Captain. These groups were also called “training bands.” John Coffeen was captain of the first Cavendish Militia and during the Revolution was at the head of a troop of Rangers.

When the Revolution came, these military companies were called into action. Oliver Tarbell was captain of one of the “train bands” and the company met at the Tarbell farm. In addition there were “alarm-lists,” which enumerated all the men between 14 and 65 years of age, who were liable to be called upon in an emergency. Up until 1847, all able-bodied men between 18 and 45 years of age, by law, were enrolled in the militia and were required to do military duty. Every man was required to keep arms and equipment as needed for actual service, and for so doing, his poll was exempt from taxation.

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