Written by Harriet Jane Lamb Stradling
David was born three weeks before the great victory at Louisbourg in 1745. The war ended when he was three years old. A year later, his grandfather Jonathan Lamb died. The young lad was eleven when the final French-English war was disheartening for the colonists. Their side suffered defeat after defeat, and the danger from the Indians was ever present. But, the tide turned and the French were defeated when David was eighteen. France now gave up her territory on the American continent, which opened up new opportunities for expansion and trade to the English colonists.
The prospects were bright when David who was age twenty, married eighteen-year-old Sarah. Sarah was the daughter of Matthias Clark and Lydia Eaton. We have record of six children being born to them, but there may have been more. David became a Baptist minister and labored in many fields. During the years that he and Sarah lived in Spencer, three children were born to them. Their children were Olive, Jonas, and Aeneas (our ancestor). Three other children, Sally, Chloe, and Lydia were born at Charlton. The last child arrived in Davidís fortieth year. In history, these twenty years marked the great struggle known as the American Revolution.
Through faith in God, courage, and diligence, Massachusetts had progressed steadily from the beginning. Despite the hardships, famine, and war they were now freed from the necessity of being ever alert to attack and of being dependent on the mother country for military aid. Our country expanded and prospered economically, industrially, culturally, and educationally, blossoming into a great commonwealth. The other American colonies grew and prospered in the atmosphere of independence.
But England, also relieved of the necessity of fighting with the French, now had time to turn her attention to closer supervision of her colonies. The other colonies expanding economy and prosperity were not to her liking because they competed with home industry. Stern governors were sent to enforce the long-neglected laws. New laws were passed, restricting and limiting the colonists. Trade laws were tightened, some items taxed, and the manufacture of others forbidden. In many ways, the Americans began to feel the pinch of rigid governmental controls. The officials sent to enforce the laws and collect taxes were obnoxious in their show of authority.
Freedom was too newly bought for these people. They remembered how high a price it was for them to just let it be taken from them so easily. For over seven hundred years, beginning with the signing of the Magna Carta, their forefathers had struggled and died to overthrow the tyranny of their kings and gain their rights as Englishmen. Now, these principles were being violated. Since they had tasted the fruits of self-government, they bitterly resented the hampering influence of regimentation in their economic affairs. Having known the advantages of flaws passed and taxes levied by local men who knew local conditions, they felt especially the unfairness of being taxed by far-off lawmakers not of their choosing.
These events must have affected the lives of David, Sarah, and their family. They discussed the possible outcome of the convention of merchants at Philadelphia in 1768 to try to preserve the coloniesí economy; the decision being that the colonies must unite in action in whatever course was followed. Perhaps David, Sarah, and year-and-a half-old Olive were present at another gathering a few weeks later in Roxbury, when the citizens styled themselves "Sons of Liberty," and consecrated the famous Liberty Tree under which they met. Here was sung for the first time the Liberty Song.
Davidís congregations must have discussed rumors of a possible rift with the mother country. They must have been stirred by the Boston Massacre, when British soldiers fired into a crowd of citizens. Their daily lives were affected when the British, who had protested unfair taxation through the Boston Tea Party acted in retaliation against the colonists by closing the Boston harbor. This stopped trading and cut off shipping. Massachusetts had taken the lead in maintaining liberty. Now that her citizens faced hunger, the other colonies rallied to her support. Wagons of loads of wheat, fish, and other produce began to arrive. Herds of cattle and sheep appeared, and even a load of rice from South Carolina was sent to encourage them in their stand.
David must have considered the far-reaching implications of Englandís proposal to send a bishop of the state Church of England to supervise spiritual affairs in America. The reaction was firmly against this, even in the two colonies whose citizens were still members of that church. The sentiments of those who had come for religious freedom were shown in a cartoon of the times. The colonists pushed away the ship of the arriving bishop with poles, throwing his books at him, and carrying banners saying: "Shall we be obliged to maintain bishops who cannot maintain themselves?" "No Lords, spiritual or temporal, in New England!" and Liberty and Freedom of Conscience." It was from the pulpits that the seeds of liberty were sewn. Ministers were among the first to take up their muskets in freedomís cause when the time came.