Thursday, February 26, 2015

Live Free Or Die: The Life And Wars Of John Stark

Chris Carola at the Washington Times offers a review of Richard V. Polhemus and John F. Polhemus' Stark: The Life and Wars of John Stark.

His words grace New Hampshire’s license plates - “Live Free or Die” - yet most people outside New England would be hard-pressed to identify Gen. John Stark, despite his heroics in two 18th century wars, including key roles in some of the American Revolution’s most significant battles.

Two brothers hope to enlighten readers with their new book on the Granite State’s favorite son, who did most of his soldiering in New York while serving in the forerunner of today’s U.S. Army Rangers and, two decades later, leading troops in the nation’s fight for independence.

“He was a lot better known in past years than he is now. He deserves for that to change,” said retired lawyer Richard Polhemus of Dover, New York, co-author with his brother, John, of “Stark, The Life and Wars of John Stark,” recently published by Delmar, New York-based Black Dome Press.

Born in New Hampshire to Scottish immigrant parents in 1728, Stark grew up hunting and trapping in the northern New England woods, where settlers were under constant threat of attack from Abenaki Indians allied to the French in Canada. In 1755, when the French and Indian War began, Stark joined a company of frontier scouts led by his friend, Robert Rogers.

Known as Rogers’ Rangers, the unit became famous for its daring forays into the northern New York wilderness to scout enemy movements for the British army. As one of Rogers’ lieutenants, Stark proved to be a cool-headed officer in some of the war’s fiercest guerrilla-style engagements. That reputation served him well when he recruited scouts for the Rangers and, later, New Hampshire militiamen during the Revolutionary War.  

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