In honor of Veteran’s Day, the following letter was submitted
to the Lowell Sun but was not published.
October 7, 2007
Letter to the Editor
The Lowell Sun
491 Dutton Street
Lowell MA 01853
To the Editor:
Each November 11th, Veteran’s Day, we pause to honor
and recognize those who have served and sacrificed for our
country. As a history teacher, I am fortunate to have the
opportunity to invite those from the Greatest Generation to
speak with my students annually on Veteran’s Day so they
may share their stories with the students first hand. However,
there are many stories of ordinary citizens who did extraordinary
things in time of war, and sadly, their stories have been
forgotten over time. One such story is that of Moses Bradstreet
Moses B. Coburn was born in Dracut on January 14, 1758 to
Samuel and Mary Coburn. He was one of six children. The Coburns
have a long history in Dracut. The family descends from Edward
Coburn who had emigrated from England and eventually settled
in Dracut. Edward was one of the town’s first settlers.
The Coburns were farmers and Moses worked on the family
land his entire life except when he, like many others in Dracut,
joined the local militia to fight the British during the Revolutionary
War. In fact, a total of 439 Dracut men fought in the Revolution.
The town’s population only numbered 1173 during that
time; thirty-seven percent of the town’s population served.
This is a staggering statistic and one of which Dracut should
be proud. No other town in the colonies sent as high a percentage
of their population to fight the British.
Moses Coburn was one of those who enlisted. In September
1776, he was mustered into the company of Captain Zacheus
Wright. The men marched to New York and New Jersey. Coburn
was severely wounded in October 1776 during the Battle of
White Plains. In his Revolutionary Pension application, Coburn
detailed the events of the battle, “…while in the
act of loading my gun, I received a musket ball near the hip
joint which passed through my body; it lodged in my clothing
on my right side. My companions carried me twelve miles upon
their shoulders…” Coburn eventually made it back
to Dracut after convalescing under the care of Dr. Benjamin
Kitteridge for nine months.
After returning to Dracut, Coburn resumed life as a farmer.
He married Leah Coburn on January 5, 1786 and they had four
children—Mercy, Clarissa, Moses, Jr. and Alfred.
Moses B. Coburn, Revolutionary Soldier, wounded in action
at White Plains, New York, passed away in Dracut on September
26, 1838 at the age of 80. He was laid to rest next to his
wife in Claypit Cemetery. We know from records that at one
time there was a marker honoring his service during the war.
His headstone read, “Moses B. Coburn, Age 80, He was
Soldier in the Revolution.”
However, as the years passed, and Claypit Cemetery was allowed
to fall into ruin and decay, his headstone was one of the
many to be smashed and destroyed. There is no marker any longer
honoring this man, a farmer from Dracut, who served during
the Revolutionary War. What an ignoble way to honor such an
With Veteran’s Day approaching, it would be an appropriate
time to put an to the neglect of this historically significant,
colonial cemetery which serves as the final resting place
for men such as Coburn. However, the town of Dracut has shown
no desire to properly honor those in Claypit over the years
and claim responsibility for the site. Therefore, stories,
such as that of Moses B. Coburn, will most likely disappear
from the pages of Dracut’s history.
Lakeview JHS, Dracut