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Guest Contributors...             Edwin R. Scollon

Researching Lake Champlain...
The Valcour Bay Research Project- XII(c)

Mrs. Molly Rogers

Drawn by Adam Loven from a rubbing by Edwin Scollon. LCMM Collection

Stranger stop and cast an eye
As you are now, so once was I,
As I am now, so will you be,
Prepare for death and follow me.

Through an enduring tribute at Westford’s Fairview Cemetery, Mrs. Molly ensured that generations of Americans would remember her husband; a man who sacrificed his comfort, love and life in the hopes that some day his family and fellow Americans would live in freedom.

But the hardships that Mrs. Molly endured are also evident at the Rogers’ family plot.  Alongside the Rogers’ monument, are two small stones that mark the resting place of two other Molly’s in the young couple’s lives; those of their infant daughters.  Their first was born in 1774. She only lived to the age of 15 months and died amidst the turmoil and start of the Revolution. 

It was customary for colonial Americans to carry their namesake into each generation.  In a time of high infant mortality, it wasn’t uncommon for Puritan parents to continue with the name’s use for siblings born after a child’s death.   Benedict Arnold, himself, was the second Benedict of his generation.²

Mrs. Molly was pregnant when her husband volunteered to reinforce Arnold’s fleet.  He would die during the Battle of Valcour Island, 3 months before the child’s birth.  Tragically, this second Molly born to Mrs. Rogers would also die as an infant.  She lived to the age of 20 months, dying September 11, 1778.

Westford, Massachusetts was a short distance away from where the American Revolution was to begin.  Its citizens were among the first to respond to the British advance on Lexington and Concord.  During a walk through Fairview Cemetery, it’s readily apparent how precious life and liberty were to those early-American families.  Despite her loss and her grief, Mrs. Molly would make sure that the love for her husband and his contribution to American independence would not be lost to those who would stop and cast an eye.

Click on the thumbnails to see a full-size image

Fairview Cemetery,
Westford Massachusetts

Here Lieutenant Rogers' pregnant widow erected a monument to her husband who died "in the Serves of his country and in the caus of  Liberty..."

Continued here:
Daniel McCay's Military Record
by Myron C. Smith, MD

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Other links about Valcour Island and the Battle of Valcour within
The Lake Champlain and Lake George Historical Site

The Battle of Lake Champlain:
The American Revolution on Lake Champlain


¹Jacobs, G. Walker.  Stranger Stop and Cast an Eye: How to make gravestone rubbings and castings and interpret their imagery.  Brattleboro: The Stephen Greene Press, 1972.

² Randall, Willard Sterne.  Benedict Arnold.  New York:  Barnes & Noble Books, 1990. 17   

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