Hollis Military History


1718 – 1758

1718 -A law was enacted by the New Hampshire General Court requiring all able bodied men between the ages of 16 and 60 to do military duty excluding members of the General Court, ministers and deacons, schoolmasters, physicians, justices of the peace, millers, ferrymen and those who had previously held a military commission. Each private had to train at least four days a year and muster once in three years. The men were issued “a fire lock, snap sack, cartridge box, Worm and Priming Wire, 1 Pound of Gun Powder, 20 Bullets, and 12Flints”.

Each town had to keep on hand a stock of ammunition consisting of a barrel of good gun powder, 20 bullets and 300 flints for every sixty soldiers.


The 6th Regiment of New Hampshire militia was formed by the General Court. Colonel Joseph Blanchard commanded the nine companies of the new Province of 1741 covering the towns and districts known as Dunstable, West Parish of Dunstable, Rumford (Concord), Nottingham, ( Hudson), Souhegan East, (Bedford), Souhegan West (Amherst). Peter Powers was made Captain of one of the companies 1744 French and Indian Wars.


In March of 1744 Massachusetts and New Hampshire troops became involved in the French and Indian War. Canadian and the Eastern Indians joined forces with the French as they attacked frontier towns taking settlers captive; scalping and murdering as close as Peterborough and New Boston. 


In April, three years after Hollis was chartered as a town, Samuel Cumings requested protection from the enemy stating that: “Holles is a Frontier town …exposed to Danger from the Indian Enemy, and the number of men…who have…Families to take care of ….have much Labour on their hands to subdue and cultivate their Lands. That their situation is such that they dare not to venture to work without a guard … which if they cannot have, they must spend their time in watching and warding, in which case their families must suffer for want of the necessaries of life….They Humbly pray that they may be allowed a scout of ten or a dozen men for the ensuing season till the harvest is past.”
The General Court, at one time, sent ninety scouts out to patrol the forest from the Contoocook river to Holles. During this war bounties for Indian scalps were increased from 100 to 400 pounds. There is no record of Hollis being attacked at this time nor of any soldier serving.


Nearly two-thirds of the Third Company of Colonel Joseph Blanchard’s regiment which aided in the expedition against the French forts at Crown Point were Hollis men. They included Peter Powers as Captain and Rev. Daniel Emerson as Chaplain. 


A battalion of 250 New Hampshire troops, including eleven Hollis soldiers, was raised for the defense of Fort Edward near Lake George. 


A regiment of New Hampshire troops was raised with Rev. Daniel Emerson as Chaplain and Dr. John Hale, surgeon along with twenty Hollis men. 


1775 -1783

“We will endeavor at all times to maintain our liberties and privileges, both civil and sacred, at the risk of our lives and fortunes.” 


April 19 – Deacon John Boynton spreads the word in Hollis that, “the regulars are coming and killing our men, “He was joined by Captain Worcester announcing that the British were marching to Lexington and Concord. By the afternoon ninety-two minute men rallied on the Hollis common ready to do battle. 

June 16 – A company led by Captain Reuben Dow under the orders of the Massachusetts Committee of Safety marched to Charlestown to fortify Bunker Hill. The men worked all night and into the next day with spades, pickaxes and other entrenching tools to secure the heights. The next day the soldiers requested Colonel Prescott to ask for relief troops. He denied the request stating that, “the men who have raised these works will best defend them, they have the merit of the labor and should have the honor of victory, if attacked.” It is estimated that one-sixth of the New Hampshire soldiers were from Hollis. Eleven men lost their lives in the Battle of Bunker Hill and six were wounded from the Hollis company. Mrs. David Wright and Mrs. Job Shattuck, dressed in their husband’s clothes and armed with muskets and pitchforks seized a Tory, Leonard Whiting, on Jewett’s Bridge as he was carrying intelligence to the enemy secreted in his boots.


Four Hollis soldiers under General Arnold made their way through the Maine forests along the Kennebec river to Canada and Quebec. One of the men, Minot Farmer who fought with Captain Dow’s company at Bunker Hill was taken prisoner at the assault on Quebec in May and died in captivity. Hollis provided 21 men, including a surgeon, who bravely fought battles near New York City and were victorious at Trenton and Princeton, New Jersey.

July 25 – Hollis soldiers in the third company of a New Hampshire regiment were enlisted to re-enforce the army under the command of Colonel Joshua Wingate.

September – A regiment of New Hampshire troops containing 21 Hollis soldiers was sent to reinforce the Continental army at White Plains.

November – Twelve Hollis soldiers serving in the third company of a small New Hampshire regiment were ordered to New York in the defense of Ticonderoga.


The state of New Hampshire was required to furnish three regiments for theRegular Continental Army. The militia to be maintained by “quotas” apportioned to each town. Hollis was responsible for thirty troops. These men to serve, if possible, for three years; if not the “quota” was to be constant by men serving for 8 to 12 month periods.

May – Patriotic agreement signed stating that the men of Hollis would, “be in the greatest readiness and preparation to exert themselves in defense of their country in this hour of danger,” and “to equip ourselves immediately, with arms, ammunition, etc. and to be ready at a minute’s warning by night or by day to go and assist our Brethren whenever they may be attacked—that upon an alarm (three guns fired in quick succession) we will appear immediately upon the Parade at the Meeting House in Holles,” and that the soldiers would be provided with a good horse to quickly get to the place attacked. 

June 30 – A company of fifty-eight Hollis men left to defend Ticonderoga against the British led by General Burgoyne. They were stopped at Walpole, 65 miles away and told to return home arriving July 4. On July 5 the company again headed toward Ticonderoga, but 110 miles away at Cavendish, Vermont they were sent back to Hollis reaching home on July 15 at which time the company was abandoned.

July – 20 A company of forty-two men left Hollis to join in the Battle of Bennington where New Hampshire volunteers won the battle on August 16. They then moved on to Stillwater, New York and on September 28th the men were discharged. Samuel Leeman was the only Hollis soldier who died in 1777. He was killed in the Battle of Saratoga at the taking of General Buroyne and his army.


In the summer Hollis raised a brigade to reinforce the Continental Army in Rhode Island for an attack by the British. The expedition failed when the French fleet, who offered, assistance was disabled. 


New Hampshire, once again, raised a regiment in which six Hollis men served in defense of Rhode Island. 


Hollis continues to provide its quota of troops making arrangements to “take care” of these men who served at West Point and the northern frontier, and their families, paying them not only in money but also corn and rye.

August – the town furnished 16,000 pounds of beef for the army. 


The number of Hollis troops was reduced to twenty.


Last year of the war. It has been estimated that Hollis sent more than 300 soldiers during the seven years of the war, many serving in two or three quotas.

WAR OF 1812

1812 United States declared was against Great Britain. Because people in New England were not in favor of this conflict little was done in the way of voluntary enlistment. No special call was in Hollis for the regular army and  very few enlisted. According to records, there were two officers and four enlisted in this war. Of these, William Lovejoy died of a disease and Isaac Hardy was killed in the naval battle on Lake Erie under the command of Perry on September 10, 1813.


The British fleet was cruising along the north coast and it was anticipated they would make an attack on Portsmouth. Governor Gilman called for New Hampshire troops to defend the city. Hollis was required to supply two militia companies.

1861 – 1865


Over twenty regiments from New Hampshire served in the “Southern Rebellion. As in the Revolution, a quota of soldiers from each state was required. Hollis exceeded its numbers, for New Hampshire. On May 4 the first regiment from New Hampshire answered the call for its share of 75,000 men by President Lincoln and served their term until August 9 along the Potomac River between Washington and Harper;s Ferry. The second New Hampshire regiment rendezvoused at Portsmouth and was engaged at the Battle for Bull Run at Gettysburg. The Third New Hampshire regiment was enlisted under the Act of Congress of July 22, 1861 and was on duty in South Carolina and Florida serving at the assault on Fort Wagner. From April of 1864 the regiment was in most of the battles until the end of the war. Six Hollis soldiers served in Company F of this regiment. James Chase and Caleb Davis were among the wounded. The Fourth New Hampshire regiment containing two Hollis soldiers in Company B mustered at Manchester in September and left for South Carolina and Florida. The regiment was ordered to Virginia and served there and in North Carolina until the close of the war. Perley J. Jewett died at Morris Island, South Carolina on December 3, 1863 of a disease. The Seventh New Hampshire regiment enlisted at Manchester and mustered in the United States service December 1861. Company H of this regiment had forty-one Hollis soldiers who were engaged in many of the battles near Richmond, Virginia and aided in the capture of Fort Fisher, North Carolina. More than half of the troops were either killed, wounded, diseased or disabled. Among the recognizable names were Colburn, Duncklee, Farley, Hayden, Hills Lund, Rideout, Truell, Worcester and Wright. Eighth New Hampshire Regiment enlisted at Manchester in December 1861 and left for Ship Island, Mississippi in January. Five Hollis soldiers enlisted for three years serving at Ship Island and other states along the Mississippi River. Four of the five either died or were disabled in this muster. 1861 Between October 9th and November 2nd, twenty-two Hollis soldiers enlisted in Company E of the 15th New Hampshire regiment out of Concord. They served in the Union Army in Louisiana until May 1863 when they were ordered to the siege of Port Hudson. Hollis Ladies Soldiers’ Aid Society was organized in 1861. These ladies met during the war on the first Tuesday afternoon of each month to, “fashion, make and provide articles of necessity and comfort, such as lint, bandages, comfortable clothing and bedding, canned fruits, wines, etc., for the sick and wounded in hospitals, and necessaries for the use, convenience and health of the men in the field and camp, and also for the relief of such of them as were doomed to pine and suffer in the infamous rebel prisons.” 


Hollis enlistees for three years, after August 1862, were paid a $200 bounty. Thirty men took advantage of the bounty between September 1862 and July 1863. 1863 Ten Hollis soldiers were drafted to meet the quota for the town. With the exception of Hiram R. Kendall the men furnished “non-resident” substitutes  at an average cost of about $500 of which the town paid $300. 

October – A call for fourteen men, 12 were non-residents, was made to meet Hollis’ quota. These twelve men were paid $235 each by the town plus $300 by the state. The two residents were paid $300 by the town plus the state bounty.

1864 Nine troops were requested to fill the quota for Hollis and once again non-residents were substituted at the cost of $315 per draftee plus a bounty of $300 each from the town. 

June – Enoch Farley was appointed to engage men to fill all future calls. In July 28 additional men were requisitioned for three years. Only three Hollis residents, the last to enlist in this war, were engaged. The remaining soldiers were aliens. Bounties for these soldiers were about $680 paid by both town and  state.


The quota for this year was made up of aliens who belonged to “That call of worthless vagabonds known at the time as, Bounty Jumpers, of no service in the army, a curse to the country, and a reproach to human nature.


1898 – 1945

1898 Spanish American War: There is no record of any Hollis residents participating in this war.


In Company L of the Vermont regiment three Hollis residents participated in suppressing “Pancho” Villa in his raid against the town of Columbus, New Mexico in which sixteen citizens were killed.


1917 April – The three men involved in the above conflict were among the first to serve in WWI. Victor Nartoff, one of the three gave his life in this conflict. Among those participating in this war effort were Mary B. Cleasby, a nurse serving in Panama. Hollis had service men in many branches including Harvey M. Powers, considered a daredevil as a naval aviator. At least three Hollis men were on torpedoed troop transports. Anna and Emma Bell organized the women of Hollis to knit for the Red Cross.


Hollis raised $10,000 in the War Stamp Campaign.