posted Sun Jan 27 2002
Moses Hazen was the third generation of the Hazen family to be born in the Colonies. Edward Hazen, his great-grandfather, was baptized at Cadney, Lincolnshire in 1614. He would later be found in Rowley, Massachusetts in 1647. His son Richard, Moses’ grandfather, was born in 1669. Richard would be the first Hazen to settle in Haverhill, Massachusetts which is located on the Merrimack River. He would have eleven children. One of his sons was named Moses; this was our Moses’ father. He was born in 1701.
Moses senior would later marry Abigail White. He would become a very prominent businessman. With his partner, John Whittier, they built a large wharf on the Merrimack. In the 1750’s he is reported to have ownership of two slaves. He and Abigail would have six children. On June 1, 1733 Moses was born. He was the second son and their third child.
There is little known about the early years of young Moses. We know from family records that he served an apprenticeship as a tanner. He would later list his profession as a Tanner on the muster roles. It is unknown if he actually practiced his craft or operated his own tannery. He would however, after the war, establish a tannery on his estates in Canada. He would soon begin his new career in the military.
The first part of Moses Hazen’s military career is very vague. It is reported in Francis Parkman’s book that he was involved in the capture of Fort Beausejour in 1755. But the family records indicate his first action was against Crown Point in 1756. He was listed on the muster roles as a lieutenant in Edmond Mooer’s company at Fort Edward in July 26, 1756. Edmond, a cordwainer, was Moses’ uncle. It is also reported that he was at Fort William Henry in October of 1756. It is here that he is said to have met Robert Rogers. His company would return back home for the winter. In the spring of 1757 he was on the “alarm List”, which included all men between the ages of sixteen and sixty. They were exempt from regular military duty.
During the year 1757 Moses would be found in Halifax, Nova Scotia instead of Haverhill. He served as his Brother William’s agent there. He engaged in the shipping of supplies to Halifax for the British armies build up for the invasion of Louisbourg. He had urged William to send livestock. He claimed the proceeds could be “profitably invested” in plentiful, cheap English goods. He returned to Haverhill for the winter.
In January of 1758, Rogers recommended Moses as the First Lieutenant of Captain McCurdy’s new company. Loudoun however commissioned Henry Wendell instead and offered Moses the Second Lieutenants position. Since this wouldn’t give him priority over his provincial commission, he refused. But Wendell would be offered his own company on March 25th. Moses would accept the First Lieutenants position on April 7.
He would serve as a lieutenant until McCurdy was killed in an accident in January of 1759. Moses would then assume command as the Captain of the company. He would lead his men for the first the on a raid against St. Anne’s. They would kill 6 and capture 4. They traveled 150-180 miles in 16 days.
Hazen’s Company would be involved in several heated actions throughout the up-coming year. They would participate in “Montgomery’s Massacre” in which 30 men were killed and scalped. The order was to “kill them all and give no quarter”. After the capture of Quebec, Hazen’s Company would be the only Ranger Company left in service there. In April of 1760, Hazen and his men were stationed at a fortified house near the post at Lorette. Hearing that a French force was on its way, Hazen would depart for Lorette to get reinforcements. He left a small force behind. He encountered two separate French forces on the way, but was able to drive them both off. But these two forces would link up and attack the fortified house where Hazen’s men were held up. Hearing the firing, Hazen turned his men and attacked the French from the rear. The men in the house would sallie out and attack also. Hazen and his men would drive them off and pursue them for 2 miles. They would kill 6 and capture 7. Hazen’s men would say, as recorded in Knox’s journals, “Sir, Lead us on, and rely upon us . . ."
A few weeks later the Chevalier de Levis, would bring his entire force up to Ste. Foy. During the ensuing battle the British would suffer heavy casualties, numbering 1000 men. Hazen’s Company would be in the thick of it. Moses himself being severely wounded in the thigh. In “The Fraser’s Highlanders” the diary of Sergeant James Thompson is quoted quite frequently. On page 104, he describes the retreat from Ste. Foy as follows:
“On the way, I fell in with a Captain Moses Hazen, a jew, who commanded a Company of rangers, and who was so badly wounded, that his servant who had to carry him away was obliged to rest him on the ground at every twenty or thirty yards, owing to the great pain he endured. This intrepid fellow observing that there was a solid column of the French coming on over the high ground and headed by an officer who was some distance in advance of the column, he ask’d his servant if his fuzee was still loaded (the Servant opens the pan, and finds that it was till prim’d). “Do you see.” says Captain Hazen, “that rascal there, waving his sword to encourage those fellows to come forward?” “Yes,” says the servant, “I do Sir.” “Then,” says the Captain again, “just place your back against mine for one moment, till I see if I can bring him down.” He accordingly stretch’d himself on the ground and, resting the muzzle of his fuzee on his toes he let drive at the French officer. I was standing close behind him, and I thought it perfect madness in him to attempt it. However, away went the charge after him, and afaith down he was flat in an instant! Both the Captian and myself were watching for some minutes under an idea that ‘altho’ he had laid down, he might take it into his head to get up again, but no, the de’il a get up did he get, it was the best shot I ever saw, and the moment that he fell, the whole column he was leading on, turn’d about and decamp’d off, leaving him to follow as well as might! I couldn’t help tell the Captain that he had made a capital shot, and I related to him the affair of the foolish fellow of our Grenadiers who shot the Savage at the landing at Louisbourg, altho’ the distance was great and the rolling of the boat so much against his taking a steady aim. “Oh” says Captian Hazen “you know that a chance shot will kill the devil himself.”
Following the Battle of Ste Foy, Hazen’s Company would continue on, but under the leadership of Lieutenant Butler. Moses would remain at Quebec in the hospital while his men would proceed down the St. Lawrence. In February 21, 1761 he was commissioned a Lieutenant in the 44th Regiment of Foot. In the book “Canadian Refugee’s” it’s recorded that he paid 800 guineas sterling for his commission. He would be placed on half pay in 1763.
In August of 1761 General Murray penned the following about Captain Hazen:
“During all the Severe Winter, Capt. Hazzen was from the Circumstances of Affairs ever upon Duty, he was allways Ready and willing to go upon Every Service Even the most hazardous on the least notice . . . he Discovered so much still Bravery and good Conduct as would Justly Entitle him to Every military Reward he Could ask or Demand, I wish I could procure him Such a one as I think he Deserves.”
Following the war Moses would become 1 of 200 English landowners in Canada. He would also be 1 of 27 Justices of the Peace named by Governor Murray in 1765. He was also appointed Assistant Surveyor of the Kings forest. Moses would focus his attentions upon the Richelieu River area. However by the outbreak of the Revolutionary War his Canadian holdings were a Seigneury at Iberville, a farm at Savanne de St. Luc and substantial holding on the site of St. John.
His business career wasn’t as glamorous as his Military career. In fact it was somewhat tainted. He would accumulate a great deal of holding between the wars. There would be lawsuits, Sheriffs sales and even a sexual escapade. It does appear though, that things did settle down for him when he got married. He would marry Charlotte de la Saussaye, a lady from a very respectable family from Montreal, in 1770.
He entered into a partnership with Lieutenant Colonel Gabriel Christie. He met him originally during the siege of Quebec. He would manage the affairs of the partnership while Christi was out of the country. He would clear the land, build 2 mills and provide masts for His Majesty’s Navy. Moses had schemes and energy, but lacked money. His affairs did not prosper. IN 1770 Christi would dissolve their partnership.
He would abandon his lumbering and mining operations to devote his time to farming. Moses and Charlotte had a two story, 20-room manor house opposite St. John. He constructed a second sawmill, a forge and an ashery for making potash. His reputation was greatly improved.
At the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, Moses would give aid to General Montgomery and his Army while on their march to Quebec. He gave food liberally to the troops. Because of this the British destroyed his property. Following this he fought for the American cause. He would raise a four-battalion regiment called the 2nd Canadian Regiment or also called "Congress’s Own.” He was commissioned this regiment’s Colonel. They would take part in the Battles of Brandywine and Germantown. He was promoted to Brigadier General on June 29thm 1781. Charlotte and Moses appear to have bore no children. She would stay by her husband till his death in February 1803. He was 70 years old. They resided in Troy, New York.
by Brian Wilson