Come drop a grateful tear
The love of God to call his (home?)
While he resided here
In that blessed faith through life he (persevered?)
And died without a fear.
On the Fourth of July 2017, I reflect on my 3rd great-grandfather, Lt. John Cotton, who was the son of Colonel Theophilus Cotton. Lt. John Cotton was a veteran of the American Revolution and the first of his line to move west.
After the Northwest Territory was ceded to the United States at the Treaty of Fort McIntosh in 1785, the Ohio Company purchased one million acres of land along the Ohio River and a number of families from New England migrated to Ohio in 1787. One of the first families to settle Ohio was Nathaniel Little, his wife Keziah Atwood/Adams, his daughter Lucy and Lucy’s husband Lieutenant John Cotton, who served with Nathaniel Little in the War of Revolution.
The marriage of John Cotton and Lucy Little linked two of the oldest and most distinguished families of Old Plymouth Colony. Lucy Little is descended from Richard Warren, Mayflower passenger and signer of the Mayflower Compact. And, Lieutenant John Cotton is descended from Rev. John Cotton, who fled England in 1633 to escape trial by Charles I for being puritan.
John Cotton’s father, Colonel Theophilus Cotton, was head of the Plymouth Militia and the Plymouth Sons of Liberty. Together with his father, John helped the cause of the American Revolution well over a year before the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776. In April 1775, he was appointed Quarter Master under his father, Col. Theophilus Cotton and served for about 8 months, assisting George Washington to organize the Continental Army. In January 1776, he was reassigned to Ensign Elija Crother’s Company under Col. John Barbey. Then in December 1776, he was reassigned to Col. Baily’s Regiment and, in January 1777, was promoted to Lieutenant and assigned to Col. Rufus Putnam’s Regiment. Finally, in 1778, his commission transferred to Gen. John Nixen, under whom he served as Quartermaster.
Lt. John Cotton retired his commission in 1780 and recorded his intentions to marry Lucy Little, the daughter of Captain Nathaniel Little, whom he served with under Colonel Rufus Putnam. The two were married in Plymouth, MA on August 28, 1780, and moved west to Ohio with Lucy’s parents and siblings in 1787. They settled first in Belpre, Ohio and later moved to Youngstown, Ohio, he died on February 1st, 1831 at the ripe old age of 85. He and his wife, Lucy are buried next to each other in “The Cotton Cemetery” in Youngstown, Ohio.