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Genealogy Tips: Read the Article Carefully

It is easy to look at a newspaper article quickly and not catch every detail. For example, take a look at this 1851 obituary.


Massachusetts Spy (Worcester, Massachusetts), 16 July 1851, page 3.

At a quick glance, you might think this is the obituary of a Revolutionary War veteran who fought at Concord and Bunker Hill. But look again.

Reading Thomas Hill's obituary carefully, we see he was a Revolutionary War pensioner who "was in the battle of Concord, and was on Bunker Hill, but not in the engagement."

Just what did that mean?

Digging deeper I found this article that explains Hill's involvement more fully.


New Hampshire Gazette (Portsmouth, New Hampshire), 23 April 1850, page 2.

So now we know the rest of the story.

Thomas Hill was only 14 years old at the time of the Battles of Lexington & Concord, on 19 April 1775, and therefore "not under arms." Two months later, however, during the Battle of Bunker Hill on 17 June 1775, he joined his father and brother as one of the Minute Men "who fought at Bunker Hill."

Here is a copy of Hill's gravestone in the Old Burying Ground in Arlington, Middlesex County, Massachusetts.


Credit: Find-a-Grave

The inscription reads:

In memory of
THOMAS HILL
who was born in the Precinct
called Menotomy; now the
Town of West Cambridge,
and died here July 8, 1851
Æ. 89 y'rs.
He was a brave, true and
faithful SOLDIER of the
REVOLUTION.
And the last Revolutionary
Pensioner of the Town.
He lived esteemed and died
encircled by pleasant memories
among all that knew him &
by some of whom this monument
has been placed over his grave.
Nov. 1, 1851.

Genealogy Tip: Take the time to carefully read each article. And then look for more articles and read them carefully, too—they may add some details missing from the first article you found.