Edward Marden Sr. – A Minute Man?

While exploring the letters of Charles S. Marden I learned that Charles believed his great great grandfather, Edward Marden, had served as a Minute Man in April of 1775. Could it be true and if so could it lead to Edward’s family?

Back I go to Ancestry.com to see what I can find for additional information on this Minute Man named Edward Marden. A while back Ancestry was doing a promotion of it’s military records and created a special portal for accessing military records by conflict. When I go to Ancestry today, I can never seem to locate this portal but luckily I saved the page to my favorites. Here is the link to U.S. Military Collections. I find it so much easier to find military records using this portal because it allows me to search all records for a specific war at once and automatically excludes all other record types from the search.

So, here I select the tab for Revolutionary War and enter Edward Marden without any other info. The very first item is a record for Edward Marden who served as a Minute Man.

The source is Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors in the War of the Revolution, 17 Vols., 1896. I will refer to this as “MSS” for here on. Here is the entry

Volume 10
page 224
Marden, Edward, Brookfield.Private, Capt. Jonathan Barns’s co. of Minute-men, Col. Jonathan Warner’s regt., which marched on the alarm of April 19, 1775; service, 9 days; reported enlisted into the army.

Scrolling down through my search results, I spot Edward Marden, Mardin, Mardean, Mardeen, etc. listings in NH, a number of entries for an Edward MARTIN, none of which look promising. Another entry from MSS giving the various spellings for Marden as Madden, Mardin, Marding, and Mardon. However, no other entries for Edward Marden.

Notice it says Edward was “reported enlisted into the army”. I should be able to find more. I restrict my search to MSS and change the surname to Madden, then try each other spelling. Here are the items that popped up.

Volume 10
page 128
Madden, Edward, Boston (also given Attleborough).List of men raised to serve in the Continental Army from 1st Holliston co., as returned by Lieut. Joseph Mellen; residence, Boston; engaged for town of Holliston; joined Capt. Orringh Stoddard’s co., Col. John Patterson’s regt.; term, during war; also, list of men mustered by Nathaniel Barber, Muster Master for Suffolk Co., dated Boston, March 16, 1777; Capt. Stoddard’s co., Gen. Patterson’s regt.; also, descriptive list of deserters, dated Camp Highlands, N. Y., July 13, 1780; Col. Joseph Vose’s (1st) regt.; age, 40 yrs.; complexion, dark; hair, dark; occupation, shoemaker; birthplace, Cork, Ireland; residence, Attleborough.

This can’t be Edward the Ranger, because we know exactly where he was from Dec-1776 to Jun-1783. Next …

Volume 10
page 128
Madden, Edward, Brookfield.Private, Capt. Simeon Hazeltine’s co., Col. Fellows’s regt.; muster roll dated Aug. 1, 1775; enlisted May 2, 1775; service, 3 mos. 7 days. [See Edward Marden.]

This appears to be another entry for Edward the Minute Man who was from Brookfield. Lets keep this one handy. Next …

Volume 10
page 130
Maddin, Edward.Private, Capt. Simeon Hazeltine’s (5th) co., Col. John Fellows’s (8th) regt.; company return dated Oct. 7, 1775; reported a transient; also, order for bounty coat or its equivalent in money dated Dorchester, Nov. 27, 1775.

This appears to be yet another entry for Edward the Minute Man. I see something new! It says he was reported a transient rather than of Brookfield. That could be important because our Edward claimed he was a transient at the time he enlisted. I need to keep this handy as well. Next …

Volume 10
page 131
Maden, Edward.Private, Capt. Orringh Stoddard’s co., Col. Joseph Vose’s regt.; Contineutal Army pay accounts for service from Jan. 1, 1777, to Dec. -, 1778; reported deserted; also, same co. and regt.; muster roll for Dec., 1777, sworn to at Camp near Valley Forge; enlisted Jan. 1, 1777; enlistment, during war; also, same co. and regt.; muster roll for Nov., 1778, dated Providence.

Another one I can rule out. This guy was with Washington at Valley Forge when Edward the Ranger was out ranging the county side with Whitcomb. That is the last I find in the MSS books.

The one thing I notice right off is the two additional entries have spellings Madden and Maddin which I have not encountered so far in my research. Two out of three entries have it spelled with no “r” and 2 “d”s. This man is associated with Brookfield, MA at the beginning of the conflict so perhaps I should look into Brookfield families to see what I can learn. I also want to go back to Footnote.com to see if I can find the actual documents for this soldier.

Summary Of Edward the Minute Man

  • Edward serviced 9 days in April 1775 (Concord & Lexington)
  • Edward was from Brookfield, MA at the time he served
  • Edward enlisted into the regular army May 2, 1775 and is still of Brookfield
  • Edward served in Capt. Simeon Hazeltine’s Co., Col. Fellows’ regt. and was paid for 3 mos. 7 days as of Aug. 1, 1775
  • Edward continues to appear in the above company but now is listed as Transient
  • Edward last appears in records on Nov. 27, 1775

But 1st, from a normal Ancestry Search I want to check the name Edward Madden with a birth date of perhaps 1750 ±10. Ah, 5th item down is “Vital records of Brookfield Massachusetts to the end of the year 1849.” Click! Up comes Brookfield Marriages, pg. 365 which shows

MADDEN, Edward and Lois Goodale, int. May 7, 1775.

This is 5 days after the Minute Man enlisted in the army, so may not be the same man. Unfortunately, no other Madden show up in this alphabetical list and no Marden either. I found an Edward Madden married to Jane Reed in Boston in 28-Feb-1803. An Edward Madden that came to America in 1763, apparently as a prisoner or perhaps a seaman on a prison boat from London, but no other details.

Now I hop on over to FamilySearch to see what turns up there. A search for Edward Madden, Maddin, Marding, and Mardon comes up with nothing useful.

One more stop at NEHGS. Only a few Edward Marden/Mardin/Madden/Maddin etc.. Just a scattering of Madden in early MA vital records and none in Brookfield except the marriage already mentioned. I did find an Edward Maddin marriage intentions to Susanna Leonard of Tauntion in Norton, MA 1-Jan-1795. This might be the Minute Man, but I didn’t find anything more for him.

A Google search for History of Brookfield brings me to “History of North Brookfield, Massachusetts”, 1887, which does show an Edward Marden serving as a Minute Man for the town. The book also gives a Thomas Madden as serving for the town in the Continental Line, but no other mentions of the surname with it’s various spelling including the Genealogical Register portion of the book. The facts so far suggest a Madden family in the area at the time the war broke out, but perhaps they were newly arrived.

At Footnote.com I found 3 documents for the name Edward Madden in Revolutionary War Rolls. They are all for the man that served with Stoddard, which can be ruled out because of overlapping dates.

Edward Marden, Edward Madden, and Edward Maddin from above all appear to be the same man and the name is most likely Madden rather than Marden. I can account for him during 3 periods in 1775, but not before or after.

The Minute Man does not appear to be the other Edward that served under Capt. Stoddard from 1777 to 1780, since that one is from Boston. However, I can’t rule out that possibility based on the information I have to work with. The Minute Man could have moved to Boston between the end of 1775 and the beginning of 1777. This seems possible since he was a transient towards the end of 1775.

I would like to point out that Minute Men were pretty proud of their unique service at the beginning of the war. Edward made no mention what so ever of being a Minute Man or of having served any time before his enlistment with Whitcomb in December of 1776.

MSS was published in 1896, so it was available to Charles S. Marden in the early 1900s when he was researching his family history. I think he simply assumed the entry for Edward Marden as a Minute Man was for his ancestor.

I can’t rule out the possibility the Minute Man is Edward Marden the Ranger, but I can’t connect the two men either.

It is my personal opinion the Minute Man is not a Marden, he is a Madden and someone made an error in reading, transcribing, or typesetting the name found in the records for the April 1775 service as a Minute Man.

Do any of my readers disagree or see something I missed?

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3 thoughts on “Edward Marden Sr. – A Minute Man?

  1. This is very interesting. You can't dismiss the spelling of New England names, because we drop R's and add them back in weird places. Like the gravestone I recently found for Mahther (Martha), next to her sister Prisciller.

  2. I am a New Englander – born and raised and know very well how bad we can butcher names. I am not dismissing anything.
    My blog is about exploring what the historical record tells us. The records I have access to (which are certainly not all the possible records that may exist) don't provide a clear answer.
    The evidence found so far suggests the Minute Man's name is Madden (2 out of 3 entires have it with two d's and no r's). I find Maddens but not Mardens in Brookfield at the beginning of the war.
    None of this tells me if the two men are the same person. Certainly Edward Madden of Brookfield could have become Edward Marden of Northumberland but so far the currently known historical documents do not allow me to jump to that conclusion. More work is needed.

  3. As a follow up to the previous post I would like to stress where I am going with this blog. It is intended to be a teaching tool and a road map for descendants. I do not expect to find all the answers, but I hope to demonstrate where descendants can focus their own research and perhaps find some of the answers.

    I have been assisting people with genealogy research for a couple decades. Experience has taught me that novice genealogists (I was there once and I remember doing this myself) are too quick to jump to conclusions and don't look any deeper for confirmation. This is why the Internet is full of bogus family trees. Family historians need to learn to analysis and criticize any statement or fact they encounter that is not properly documented. Hopefully I am demonstrating some of the ways in which to do this and pointing out where additional research is needed.

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