Reuben Dow

Capt. Reuben Dow, William Prescott’s Massachusetts Regiment

Reuben Dow was born September 7, 1729, either in Salem, New Hampshire or Haverhill, Massachusetts. He was the son of Richard and Phoebe (Heath) Dow. Reuben married Lydia Jones. Sometime in the 1760’s, Reuben purchased a farm in Hollis, New Hampshire.   

After receiving word of the Lexington Alarm on the afternoon of April 19, 1775, a total of 92 men gathered in Hollis and formed a Militia Company. Reuben Dow was elected the Captain of this company. Dow’s Company then marched to Cambridge before dawn the following day. Thirty-Nine of the privates returned home in the next few weeks, however Fifty-Three of them volunteered in various units to serve for Eight months.  Most of them re-enlisted in a new company under Captain Dow. Shortly after the commencement of the Siege of Boston they were incorporated into Prescott’s Massachusetts Regiment. William Prescott owned land in Hollis and knew most of the men very well, so it must have seemed a natural choice for them to fall under his command, rather than one of the unknown Colonels from the three New Hampshire regiments.

Prescott’s Regiment served throughout the Siege of Boston and was present at the Battle of Bunker Hill.  The company made up roughly one-sixth of the men under Col. Prescott on the 16th of June, 1775, who made their way to Breed’s Hill and began building the redoubt.   Six men from the Company were killed in the battle and eight men were wounded.  The regiment, as a whole, recorded Forty-Two killed and Twenty-Eight wounded.

By year’s end the enlistments of Captain Dow’s men ran out.  Some returned home, many were signed on in other units, and some were discharged with pensions due to wounds.   Captain Dow was in this last category as his right ankle had been shattered by a British musket ball at Bunker Hill. Captain Dow was discharged December 28, 1775 and placed on half-pay from January 1, 1776 to December 31, 1776. After this, he was placed on One-Fourth pay until 1783 when was granted a lifetime pension by New Hampshire.

After his discharge, Captain Dow returned to Hollis and served as Chairman of the Committee of Safety and a Representative to the General Court. Captain Reuben Dow died February 9, 1811. He is buried in the Congregational Church Cemetery in Hollis, New Hampshire.   

Sources: Francis B. Heitman, Historical Register of Officers of the Continental Army, (Baltimore, 1914), 203; The State of New Hampshire, State Papers, Volume XIV, (Concord, 1885), 32, 39, 43; The State of New Hampshire, State Papers, Volume XVI, (Manchester, 1887), 321, 326, 328, 331, 345, 431, 495, 691. Selected Wartime Service Records of Captain Reuben Dow; gravestone of Reuben Dow.