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A Rindge voice from the Revolutionary War generation

  • Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • This house on Woodbound Road was built by Eleazer Blake in 1792 and still stands today.

    This house on Woodbound Road was built by Eleazer Blake in 1792 and still stands today. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • E. Blake's musket, war journals, pensions and a photo of him taken in later years are now on display at the Rindge Historical Society as a part of a Revolutionary War exhibit.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    E. Blake's musket, war journals, pensions and a photo of him taken in later years are now on display at the Rindge Historical Society as a part of a Revolutionary War exhibit.

    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • E. Blake's musket, war journals, pensions and a photo of him taken in later years are now on display at the Rindge Historical Society as a part of a Revolutionary War exhibit.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    E. Blake's musket, war journals, pensions and a photo of him taken in later years are now on display at the Rindge Historical Society as a part of a Revolutionary War exhibit.

    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • E. Blake's musket, war journals, pensions and a photo of him taken in later years are now on display at the Rindge Historical Society as a part of a Revolutionary War exhibit.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    E. Blake's musket, war journals, pensions and a photo of him taken in later years are now on display at the Rindge Historical Society as a part of a Revolutionary War exhibit.

    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • E. Blake's musket, war journals, pensions and a photo of him taken in later years are now on display at the Rindge Historical Society as a part of a Revolutionary War exhibit.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    E. Blake's musket, war journals, pensions and a photo of him taken in later years are now on display at the Rindge Historical Society as a part of a Revolutionary War exhibit.

    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Pension records, a powder horn, a photographic portrait and journal entries from Eleazer Blake of Rindge, who served in the American Revolution, have survived the centuries and tell the story of a young man in wartime. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    Pension records, a powder horn, a photographic portrait and journal entries from Eleazer Blake of Rindge, who served in the American Revolution, have survived the centuries and tell the story of a young man in wartime.

    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • E. Blake's musket, war journals, pensions and a photo of him taken in later years are now on display at the Rindge Historical Society as a part of a Revolutionary War exhibit.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    E. Blake's musket, war journals, pensions and a photo of him taken in later years are now on display at the Rindge Historical Society as a part of a Revolutionary War exhibit.

    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • A photographic portrait of Eleazer Blake hangs over his wartime memorabilia at the Rindge Historical Society.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    A photographic portrait of Eleazer Blake hangs over his wartime memorabilia at the Rindge Historical Society.

    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • E. Blake's musket, war journals, pensions and a photo of him taken in later years are now on display at the Rindge Historical Society as a part of a Revolutionary War exhibit.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    E. Blake's musket, war journals, pensions and a photo of him taken in later years are now on display at the Rindge Historical Society as a part of a Revolutionary War exhibit.

    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • E. Blake's musket, war journals, pensions and a photo of him taken in later years are now on display at the Rindge Historical Society as a part of a Revolutionary War exhibit.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    E. Blake's musket, war journals, pensions and a photo of him taken in later years are now on display at the Rindge Historical Society as a part of a Revolutionary War exhibit.

    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Eleazer Blake’s Revolutionary War musket is among the artifacts now on display at the Rindge Historical Society.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    Eleazer Blake’s Revolutionary War musket is among the artifacts now on display at the Rindge Historical Society.

    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • E. Blake's musket, war journals, pensions and a photo of him taken in later years are now on display at the Rindge Historical Society as a part of a Revolutionary War exhibit.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    E. Blake's musket, war journals, pensions and a photo of him taken in later years are now on display at the Rindge Historical Society as a part of a Revolutionary War exhibit.

    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • E. Blake's musket, war journals, pensions and a photo of him taken in later years are now on display at the Rindge Historical Society as a part of a Revolutionary War exhibit.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    E. Blake's musket, war journals, pensions and a photo of him taken in later years are now on display at the Rindge Historical Society as a part of a Revolutionary War exhibit.

    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • E. Blake's musket, war journals, pensions and a photo of him taken in later years are now on display at the Rindge Historical Society as a part of a Revolutionary War exhibit.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    E. Blake's musket, war journals, pensions and a photo of him taken in later years are now on display at the Rindge Historical Society as a part of a Revolutionary War exhibit.

    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • E. Blake's musket, war journals, pensions and a photo of him taken in later years are now on display at the Rindge Historical Society as a part of a Revolutionary War exhibit.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    E. Blake's musket, war journals, pensions and a photo of him taken in later years are now on display at the Rindge Historical Society as a part of a Revolutionary War exhibit.

    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • E. Blake's musket, war journals, pensions and a photo of him taken in later years are now on display at the Rindge Historical Society as a part of a Revolutionary War exhibit.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    E. Blake's musket, war journals, pensions and a photo of him taken in later years are now on display at the Rindge Historical Society as a part of a Revolutionary War exhibit.

    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • This house on Woodbound Road was built by Eleazer Blake in 1792 and still stands today.
  • E. Blake's musket, war journals, pensions and a photo of him taken in later years are now on display at the Rindge Historical Society as a part of a Revolutionary War exhibit.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)
  • E. Blake's musket, war journals, pensions and a photo of him taken in later years are now on display at the Rindge Historical Society as a part of a Revolutionary War exhibit.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)
  • E. Blake's musket, war journals, pensions and a photo of him taken in later years are now on display at the Rindge Historical Society as a part of a Revolutionary War exhibit.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)
  • E. Blake's musket, war journals, pensions and a photo of him taken in later years are now on display at the Rindge Historical Society as a part of a Revolutionary War exhibit.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)
  • Pension records, a powder horn, a photographic portrait and journal entries from Eleazer Blake of Rindge, who served in the American Revolution, have survived the centuries and tell the story of a young man in wartime. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)
  • E. Blake's musket, war journals, pensions and a photo of him taken in later years are now on display at the Rindge Historical Society as a part of a Revolutionary War exhibit.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)
  • A photographic portrait of Eleazer Blake hangs over his wartime memorabilia at the Rindge Historical Society.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)
  • E. Blake's musket, war journals, pensions and a photo of him taken in later years are now on display at the Rindge Historical Society as a part of a Revolutionary War exhibit.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)
  • E. Blake's musket, war journals, pensions and a photo of him taken in later years are now on display at the Rindge Historical Society as a part of a Revolutionary War exhibit.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)
  • Eleazer Blake’s Revolutionary War musket is among the artifacts now on display at the Rindge Historical Society.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)
  • E. Blake's musket, war journals, pensions and a photo of him taken in later years are now on display at the Rindge Historical Society as a part of a Revolutionary War exhibit.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)
  • E. Blake's musket, war journals, pensions and a photo of him taken in later years are now on display at the Rindge Historical Society as a part of a Revolutionary War exhibit.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)
  • E. Blake's musket, war journals, pensions and a photo of him taken in later years are now on display at the Rindge Historical Society as a part of a Revolutionary War exhibit.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)
  • E. Blake's musket, war journals, pensions and a photo of him taken in later years are now on display at the Rindge Historical Society as a part of a Revolutionary War exhibit.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)
  • E. Blake's musket, war journals, pensions and a photo of him taken in later years are now on display at the Rindge Historical Society as a part of a Revolutionary War exhibit.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

The Stamp Act, Sugar Act, Townshend Acts and more were legislative attempts by the British to have colonists pay for a share of their own defense following the French and Indian War, which came to an end in 1763. To the colonists, though, these measures were despised forms of “taxation without representation” that led them to rebel against their Mother Country in 1775. With the first shot fired at Lexington and “heard round the world” that April, the American Revolution had begun.

These snippets from the war’s history may sound familiar as modern-day history textbooks are filled with theories outlining the major impetuses for the war, the major battles fought and won, as well as well-known generals who led colonial militias across the unforgiving North American terrain. While these elements of the war are important, it’s the personal stories that most often bring the 18th-century crises vividly to life.

When local kids learn about the American Revolution, will they hear about the stories of the 300 men from Rindge who sacrificed their lives for independence, with many leaving home as teens or young adults? Or the 54 Rindge natives who fought at Bunker Hill, where the British were victorious but suffered heavy fatalities?

For many young people today, the Revolution is a grand and yet remote event that happened too long ago to find modern-day connections. But well into the 1800s, when camera photography was coming into its own, every town had a last man or woman who had lived during the war. And their faces can help tell their stories, according to a New England filmmaker raising money to do just that.

So who were these people who fought for America’s independence? What could be said about their lives and the time when they lived? For one Rindge man, whose ancestors secured his wartime possessions, there’s a lot to tell.

Revolutionary War Sgt. Eleazer Blake’s powder horn, musket, journals, photographic portrait and more have survived through the centuries, preserved as a critical layer of Rindge’s town history. And just last fall, the artifacts caught the attention of historian Maureen Taylor of Providence, R.I., who with Cambridge-based Verissima Productions, is working to bring the stories of more than 200 people, including Blake, who were youths of the Revolution and survived into the photographic age to film.

“It’s got a lot of people thinking about history and the Revolutionary War period in a little bit of a different way,” said Taylor in a phone interview with the Ledger-Transcript on Friday, referring to her project. “This film will open a window into the people and stories that seems so far away.”

But in order to begin shooting “Revolutionary Voices: A Last Muster Film,” the production team needs $27,500 by April 10. Since Feb. 27, Taylor and Verissima Productions have requested donations through an online Kickstarter campaign, which as of Monday afternoon had raised $25,035 thanks to 321 donors.

Director Rob Cooper of Verissima Productions said Friday that finding the Rindge Historical Society and Eleazer Blake’s story was like hitting a goldmine and part of the reason why the fundraising campaign — which includes a short video featuring Rindge — has been so successful.

“To see [Blake’s] discharge papers signed by George Washington really caught my attention,” Cooper said of his visit to Rindge in February. “To actually be face-to-face with something he signed was just truly amazing for us.”

After more than 10 years as a photographic detective, searching for those rare Revolutionary War images, Taylor said she’s located approximately 200 and profiled some of them in two volumes: “The Last Muster: Images of the Revolution” and “The Last Muster: Faces of the Revolution,” the latter of which publishes in May. The ability to look directly into the face of someone who served as a young adult in the Revolution is a feeling that is unmatched, she said. And in the case of Blake, Taylor noted, the story is so rich.

Blake, who grew up south of Boston, enlisted in the war at just 18 years old and fought throughout its duration, said Ken Raymond, a Rindge Historical Society volunteer, on Thursday. Blake was born in Wrentham, Mass., on April 1, 1757, and at the age of 16 apprenticed himself to a wheelwright in his hometown. At just 18, Raymond said, Blake joined the patriot army, participating in the Siege of Boston — the opening phase of the Revolution — followed by the bloody engagement at Bunker Hill on June 17, 1775. Two years later, Blake would enlist in the Continental Army for the duration of the war, which came to a close in 1783.

But it wasn’t until 1792 that Blake would settle in Rindge as a wheelwright and farmer, building his home on what is now Woodbound Road, Raymond said. Blake was chosen deacon of the Rindge Congregational Church, which was built in 1796, and held that position until the age of 80. In 1858, he died at the age of 95.

Raymond said it is unclear to local historians why Blake chose Rindge as his home, although his brother was not too far away having settled in Stoddard.

“It wasn’t easy to get here. Rindge in many ways was the frontier,” Raymond said of the 18th-century town. “But land was a commodity and the real opportunity was the chance for people to own land and get out of the Boston area.”

Karla MacLeod of the Rindge Historical Society said Rindge had mills, but the market for woodenware was more realistic given the geographical terrain.

There are surprising similarities in how the center of Rindge looks today to how it would have looked during Blake’s lifetime, according to MacLeod and Raymond; the layout of houses and roads around the town common and Rindge Congregational Church mirrors that of earlier times, they said.

Seeing the house that Blake built still standing on Woodbound Road, the Rindge Congregational Church where he worshiped and the churchyard with his family’s graves, Taylor said she was overwhelmed. “It’s been an amazing journey,” she said. “I just never know what’s next.”

Alyssa Dandrea can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 228 or adandrea@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter at @alyssadandrea.

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