Saturday, July 7, 2018

Starkly Living Free and Dying in New Hampshire

At Stark Park in Manchester, New Hampshire on Saturday, July 7, 2018.

Colonel John Stark's 1st New Hampshire Regiment repulsed three British charges at the Battle of Bunker Hill.

As a Brigadier General of the New Hampshire Militia, he defeated the British at the Battle of Bennington.

At Bennington he issued his second-most-famous quotation. Molly Stark did not sleep a widow that or any other night - she died in 1814 and John lived to 1822.

A gun-toting, baby-carrying Molly Stark has her own statue in Wilmington, Vermont, which I visited last summer.

Stark's most famous quotation, "Live free or die: Death is not the worst of evils" is from a letter written after the Revolutionary War for an 1809 commemoration of the Battle of Bennington. The first part, "Live Free or Die" became the New Hampshire state motto in 1945. In 1977, the U.S. Supreme Court recognized the right of car owners to tape that over on their New Hampshire license plates.

Final resting place of the original Live Free or Die patriot and his wife Molly on a hill above the Merrimack River on what was then their family farm. After the Revolutionary War, unlike many generals, John Stark never sought high public office.