Live Free or Die: The Story of General John Stark - The Objective Standard

General John Stark played a tremendous role in winning America’s independence, yet he is virtually unknown today. In 1809, though the two men had never met, President James Madison wrote to Stark in recognition of “the part you bore as a hero and a patriot in establishing the independence of our country.”1 More than a quarter century after the Revolutionary War, it was still common knowledge that Stark, as Madison put it, was “a champion in so glorious a cause.” Likewise, President Thomas Jefferson had written to Stark, “as a stranger who knows you only by the services you have rendered,” to say, “your memory will be cherished by those who come after you.”2

In truth, we should cherish the memory of Stark, not only for his vital role in winning America’s freedom, but also because he embodied that quintessential American virtue: independence.

Early in life Stark learned the virtue of self-reliance, and it would come to define him. Raised on the harsh New Hampshire frontier, he mastered fishing, trapping, hunting, and generally gained the knowledge and skills necessary for surviving in the wilderness. Consequently, he developed the confidence that he could support himself in any environment or situation.

While trapping when he was twenty-four, Stark was captured by Indians. They demanded that he lead them to his party. Stark calmly paraded them two miles in the opposite direction. Believing that Stark simply had gotten lost, his party, which included his brother, signaled their location by firing into the air. Thus, they inadvertently drew in the roving band. Stark batted away several of the Indian’s guns as they chased his friends. This bold act enabled his brother to flee, but Stark remained a prisoner. . . .

Endnotes

1 Caleb Stark, Memoir and Official Correspondence of Gen. John Stark (Concord: G. Parker Lyon, 1860), 316.

2 Clifton Labree, New Hampshire’s General John Stark: Live Free or Die: Death Is Not the Worst of Evils (New Boston: Fading Shadows, 2007), 213.

3 Howard Parker Moore, A Life of General John Stark of New Hampshire (New York: Howard Parker Moore, 1949), 42.

4 Labree, New Hampshire’s General John Stark, 7.

5 Labree, New Hampshire’s General John Stark, 13.

6 Stark, Memoir and Official Correspondence, 346.

7 Moore, A Life of General John Stark, 156.

8 Moore, A Life of General John Stark, 161.

9 Moore, A Life of General John Stark, 162.

10 Moore, A Life of General John Stark, 168.

11 Moore, A Life of General John Stark, 169.

12 Moore, A Life of General John Stark, 162.

13 Moore, A Life of General John Stark, 238.

14 Stark, Memoir and Official Correspondence, 37.

15 C. E. Potter, The History of Manchester (Manchester, NH: C. E. Potter, 1856), 445.

16 Moore, A Life of General John Stark, 249.

17 Moore, A Life of General John Stark, 252.

18 Stark, Memoir and Official Correspondence, 42.

19 Stark, Memoir and Official Correspondence, 43.

20 Moore, A Life of General John Stark, 253.

21 Moore, A Life of General John Stark, 253.

22 Stark, Memoir and Official Correspondence, 123.

23 Moore, A Life of General John Stark, 262.

24 Moore, A Life of General John Stark, 303.

25 Moore, A Life of General John Stark, 322.

26 Stark, Memoir and Official Correspondence, 308–9.

27 Stark, Memoir and Official Correspondence, 311.

28 Stark, Memoir and Official Correspondence, 312.

29 Stark, Memoir and Official Correspondence, 312.

30 Stark, Memoir and Official Correspondence, 313.

31 Stark, Memoir and Official Correspondence, 313.

32 Stark, Memoir and Official Correspondence, 313.

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