Written by Harriet Jane Lamb Stradling
Aeneas Lamb was one year old when the first shots of the Revolution were fired. One thousand of the British soldiers stationed at Boston marched to Lexington to seize a supply of ammunition. Forewarned by Paul Revere, the MinuteMen began to gather. Fifty of them met the British at Concord, but were forced to fall back. After taking their powder and guns, the Redcoats began to withdraw for Lexington. They were watched by MinuteMen from across the bridge. One of the last of the British to leave town turned and shot at the Americans. The Americans returned the fire.
The war was on. The Redcoats retreated rapidly along the road to Boston, but hundreds of men in small groups were coming form all directions. They were unseen by the British and by the other groups of Americans. Hearing the shots, they ran to the road and fired at the retreating army from behind bushes, rocks, and trees. Mile after mile along the road newcomers took up the fire without knowing what had transpired before.
Within a week, 16,000 volunteers besieged Boston: old men and young boys, farmers, laborers, merchants, and ministers. They were untrained, but determined. Courageously they fought the seasoned British troops at Bunker Hill. They were outnumbered and had the guns of the warships in the harbor to combat. Being short of ammunition, they heeded the order, "Don’t fire ‘till you-see the whites of their eyes." When the ammunition gave out, they fought with rocks and gun butts. They were finally forced to retreat. The British losses were staggering. The fact that untrained men could do what had been done encouraged the colonies to rally around their leaders, and hold out through the eight discouraging years of the war with mighty Britain, Mistress of the Seas.
God comes to the aid of those who depend upon Him and labor with their might in a righteous cause. Near the end of the war Washington wrote: "Our affairs are brought to an awful crisis… we’re are at the end of our tether and now or never our deliverance must come…but certain I am that it is in our power to bring the war to a happy conclusion." With his weary, poorly-fed troops he attacked fortified Yorktown. French ships appeared at the mouth of the river to aid him. British escape was prevented by a sudden terrible storm. Cornwallis was forced to surrender.
Messengers rode swiftly with the news! Town criers shouted it to the sleeping citizens. They poured into the dark streets in glad excitement! Bonfires were lighted, and bells clanged. The people danced with joy, pushing the statues of King George III from their pedestals. Probably, nine-year-old Aeneas, his brother, three sisters, and his parents long remembered that glorious occasion. Prayers from David’s pulpit and congregation joined the mighty anthem of gratitude, which went up from the nation, home, army, and Congress. They marched in a body to church to offer there thanks to God. It was an astonished world that saw the constant defeat of the suffering Americans finally turn to victory over the greatest nation of that time.
The Lambs were now Americans. Another little citizen, baby Lydia was added to the family the following year.
Aeneas grew up during the hectic years when the States, torn by strife and faction, sought to weld themselves into a nation. Order gradually emerged after God raised up wise men to write and convert the people to accept the American Constitution: "the most wonderful work ever struck off at a give time from the brain and purpose of man."
No fitter men could have been chosen for the task of forming a government under which free men might think, act, and worship as they chose, limited only by the rights of others to do likewise. These noble and great ones were educated men. They studied first-hand from Greek and Latin the theories and history of ancient governments. They were also familiar with people in the Bible. There were interested in people who were free and prosperous when obedient to the principles revealed through Moses, the Great Legislator, and falling captive to other nations when they disregarded them. They knew well that long and bitter struggle of their own English forefathers against cruel kings and judges who overthrew the law. Also, America’s had more than a century and half of governmental experience since the landing of the Pilgrims had revealed many foundational principles of unity and freedom.
Under inspiration, these wise men analyzed the successes and follies of past ages. They knew how and how slowly men had gained liberty in former times and places. They realized the methods craftily employed generation after generation to quickly to plunge people back into slavery. They strove to utilize the wisdom and avoid the mistakes of older nations, as well as those contemporary with themselves. As a result, they deeply distrusted all government. They knew well how prone even the best of it is to usurp the right and property of the people under pretense of caring for them.
To them, and, himself, was the important this—not man is mass, but the individual—born with certain rights which no one should take from him; government was to be his servant, given by him certain tasks, and no others, with power to do those tasks and no more. Painfully fresh in their minds were recent violations of their own rights. So ways and means were devised to withhold dangerous powers from the government without injuring its function as a servant of his strength to protect from foreign aggression. It was to be neither wholly national nor wholly federal, but a combination of both, rejecting the weaknesses and retaining the strengths of each. The conduct of all other affairs was to be left to the States, themselves, (each of which was to be an independent, self-governing republic) or to the people. Thus limited, the few powers given to the Federal Government by the people were carefully parceled out among three departments, forever separate, checked and balanced by each other so that no one of the three might usurp rights of States of people.
Then, still distrustful, they added the Bill of Rights—the first ten amendments—not to grant further powers, but to make it even more certain that government understood its own limitations: "Congress shall make no law…." "The right of the people…shall no by violated."
Aeneas Lamb, eighteen-year-old citizen of the young Republic went to Woodstock, Connecticut, and married Anna. Anna was the daughter of Adonijah Blackmore and Lyllis Cook. Their first children, Polly and David, were born in Springfield, Massachusetts. The other children were born in Rowe. Abel was five years younger than David and five years older than Aeneas Jr.. Anna and Zerviah completed the family.
According to Aeneas, Jr., his father lived to a good old age. He died in Wisconsin, ten miles from Madison at 84 years of age…I am 85 years old and I am writing without glasses.