Bezaleel Howe

1st Lt. Bezaleel Howe, 1st Regiment, New Hampshire Continental Line – Original Member

Bezaleel Howe, was born at Marlborough, Massachusetts, 28 November 1750, son of Bezaleel and Anna (Howe) Howe. His father died when his son was only a few weeks old. As a child, Bezaleel [Jr.] eventually went to live with an uncle in Henniker, New Hampshire. In April of 1775 Howe marched to Cambridge, and served at Bunker Hill as a volunteer. Afterward he enlisted as a private in the company of Captain Crosby, in Colonel Reed’s regiment of New Hampshire troops. In the course of his service at the Battle of White Plains, and at the Battle of Long Island, Howe was promoted to lieutenant. Of the winter at Valley Forge, he wrote “we suffered intensely for want of clothing but there was no help.” In the summer of 1778 Howe was at the Battle of Monmouth, and in 1779 with General Sullivan on the campaign in western New York. In 1780 Howe witnessed the execution of Major André, whose “bearing” Howe described as “manlty to the last.”

In 1781 Howe was sent to New Hampshire to recruit troops, and in the summer joined Washington’s march to Virginia as a member of the First New Hampshire regiment. Afterward, Howe was with Washington at Newburgh, New York, and was appointed 5 September commander of Washington’s Life Guards, in which capacity he was promoted to captain by brevet, and oversaw the shipment of Washington’s possessions to his house at Mount Vernon. Howe was present 4 December 1783 at Fraunces Tavern when Washington took leave of his officers. Howe received his discharge 20 December 1783.

Instead of returning to New England, Howe decided to remain in the City of New York. He was an original member of the New York State Society of the Cincinnati. He started out in business as a grocer, at 86 Water Street. He also had an appointment as a captain in the New York militia. Soon after his marriage in 1787, Howe moved to New Orleans, apparently in search of business opportunities which evidently did not work out, for the family soon moved back to Manhattan. In 1791 Howe received an appointment in the 2nd regiment of the United States Army, as a lieutenant ordered to go to New Hampshire to recruit troops for the Indian War in Ohio. He was successful in recruitment, and was promoted to captain 4 November 1791. In 1792 Howe was ordered to West Point to supervise recruits for the Ohio campaign under Gen. Anthony Wayne, and Howe was promoted to major 12 March 1795. He was afterwards transferred to New York where he served for a about a year before resigning, 1 November 1796, to accept a post in the New York Custom House. In 1799 he was appointed “inspector of revenue,” in which he reamined for the rest of his life.

As a member of the New York State Society of the Cincinnati, Bezaleel Howe participated in Washington’s memorial service at St. Paul’s Chapel in 1799. Howe regularly attended meetings of the Cincinnati, as at the funeral of Alexander Hamilton in 1804, at the official visit of President Monroe to New York in 1817, and at the banquet for Lafayette, 6 September 1824. Howe died 16 September 1825.

Abstracted from Francis J. Sypher, Jr., New York State Society of the Cincinnati Biographies of Original Members & Other Continental Officers (Fishkill, N.Y.: New York State Society of the Cincinnati, 2004),  222-23.