Moses Colcord born 16 April 1835

Moses Colcord was born 16 April 1835.  Some records list his place of birth as Plaistow, NH, and some as Springfield, NH.  His death record names his father as Joseph, but doesn’t list his mother.  There were other Colcords born about the same time in Plaistow, listing the parents as Joseph Colcord and Almira Harrington, who were married 17 October 1830 in Burlington, MA.  Moses’ second daughter was named Almira.  The woman, Betsey, wife of Joseph in census records, has been named in some posted family trees as mother of Moses but she is too young to be his mother. I suspect that Moses’ mother is Almira, and that she died before the 1850 census. 

The 1850 census lists Moses, age 15, living in Wendell, NH.  His father, Joseph, is a cooper, or barrel-maker, with property valued at $700.  Betsey, his wife, is only 25, while Joseph’s two older sons, David and Moses, are 17 and 15, meaning that if she is their mother, she had them at age 8 and 10, and that is just not likely.  Moses was also listed as a cooper, his brother David was a farmer, and he had two younger (probably half) brothers, William and Ezra. 

The 1860 census lists Moses in Springfield, NH.  His father is a sawyer, with real estate valued at $900, and personal property at $300.  His two brothers and three sisters are in the household – Willard, Zalmunah, Ann, Sarah, and Amanda. Moses did not have an occupation listed.

On 9 October 1861, Moses, age 24, married Lidia Sanders, age 20, in Springfield.  This was listed as the first marriage for both, and was conducted by John M Brown, Esq, Sheriff.  Parents were not listed.  I have not found records for any children for Moses and Lidia. 

Moses enlisted as a private on 29 July 1862, at age 27, joining Company F, 11th Infantry Regiment of New Hampshire.  This regiment consisted of 1006 officers and men, and became part of the Second Brigade of the Second Division of the Ninth Army Corps.  They participated in the battle of Fredericksburg on 13 December 1862.  They were at Vicksburg, pursued Longstreet in eastern Tennessee, doing heavy and severe work in marching picketing, skirmishing, and fighting; living upon the shortest rations, having many days but one ear of corn per day; with no new clothing for severe months, being the only New Hampshire regiment that participated in that arduous campaign.

More details can be found on line at Civil War sites that have regimental histories.   The 11th was reviewed by President Lincoln in April 1864.  During the engagement at North Anna River, Virginia, May 23-27, 1864, Moses was shot in the left knee.  Both the north and the south suffered about 2000 casualties during the four days of fighting, and some believe that this was General Lee’s last chance to defeat the Union Army.

The 11th Regiment returned to Concord NH and was mustered out on 4 June 1865.  Records show that 5 officers were killed, and 1 died of disease or accident.  Among the enlisted men, 140 were killed, 151 died of disease or accident.  Moses had been appointed corporal, and he did earn a pension for his service in the Civil War. 

I was not able to find a death record for Moses’ wife Lidia, but the marriage apparently ended in some way, as he married for a second time on 8 March 1867 to Sarah Emma Daniels, daughter of Henry Daniels and Fila Clark.  They were married in Springfield, NH.  This record is from an index, and doesn’t indicate how Moses’ previous marriage ended. 

The family was counted in the 1870 census in Springfield.  Moses was listed as a farm laborer, with no real estate, and personal property valued at $100.  The household included his wife Sarah, and their first two children – Andrew born 3 January 1868, and Sarah born 21 Sep 1869. 

Moses and Sarah had several more children born in the following years:  Almira born 7 May 1871; Frank born 7 Mar 1873; Mary b 30 Dec 1874; Delber born 1 Feb 1877; and Theron born 17 December1878.  Sadly, the family was stricken with diphtheria. Mary died 16 December, Almira died 17 December,  Theron and Andrew died 25 December 1878.   Theron was only 8 days old, having been born the day Almira died.  Theron’s birth and death records say “premature.”  We can only guess what a sad time this was for Moses and Sarah, having lost two daughters, then two sons in a matter of nine days.  Being contagious, it is likely that they feared for the lives of the other children, and it is no wonder that that Sarah went into labor prematurely.  Diphtheria is an infectious disease caused by bacteria that affects the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract.  It was a leading cause of death among children, once called the “strangling angel of children”.  The diphtheria bacterium was identified in the 1880s, with an antitoxin developed in the 1890s, and vaccine in the 1920s.  It is now a rare disease in the US, with only about 5 cases per year – only one more than the Colcord family lost in 1878.  Diphtheria is transmitted by close contact via airborne respiratory droplets or direct contact with nasal secretions.  Symptoms are sore throat, fever, malaise, hoarseness, and difficulty swallowing or breathing.  Swelling in the area of the larynx and trachea can lead to the obstruction of the airway with subsequent suffocation and death. 

The 1880 census lists Moses and his family in Springfield.  The family consisted of Moses, a farmer, his wife, and their children:  Sarah, age 11, and Frank age 7, attended school.  Delber was 3, and baby Daniel had been born 13 Dec 1879.  After 1880, Moses and Sarah’s family continued to grow.  Chester was born 9 October 1882.  Clarence was born in September 1884.  Dora Colcord was born 30 Oct 1885.  (She married William Henry LaBombard, son of John A LaBombard and Isabella Tourville.)  The 12th and final child was a daughter born 21 August 1887.  The birth record does not name her.  Sarah died three days later, on 24 August 1887.  The cause of death was listed as Brights disease (kidney disease.) 

A month later, 28 September 1887, Moses’ father Joseph died from an injury from a fall.  He was 84.  In 1889, his stepmother Betsey died at age 61, from apoplexy (stroke). 

The 1890 Veterans Schedule lists Moses as living in West Springfield, and lists his disability incurred as “shot in the leg”. 

In 1900, Moses was living in Springfield, with his daughter Sarah, who had married William Stevens.  A few of the other children were living with different family members.  I do not know if the last daughter survived.  I was not able to find a 13-year-old Colcord girl in Springfield.  If she lived, it is possible that she was adopted out. 

Moses was living in Sunapee in 1904.  In 1905, his son Chester died there, of pneumonia. 

Moses died 1 June 1908 in Springfield.  His death record indicates that he was a carpenter, and widowed.  He was involved in an accident where a dray (a low cart without fixed sides) overturned, injuring his leg.  Moses developed septicemia and died 10 days later, at age 73.



  1. January 15, 2012 at 17:57

    Great post! I have been making a list of epidemics in New Hampshire and New England, and adding to it as I research local genealogy. The years 1878 and 1879 were particularly bad for diphtheria. See this link for a description of how one Vermont town lost many children The NH Historical Society might have more information on the breakout in Springfield, NH. I have a family in Pittsfield, NH that lost all the children (six I believe) and started over and had four more after a diphtheria breakout.

  2. sooze471 said,

    January 15, 2012 at 18:33

    Hi Heather, thanks for reading. When I started adding birth and death dates for the children, I thought there were errors in recording – because the dates were all so close. But it became clear when the causes of deaths were identified. That link you suggested goes to a very interesting description of an epidemic in a small town. Change the names and it could fit the Colcord family (and their neighbors, no doubt). It was also interesting because I had family nearby in the area (Barton/Burke) so this must have caused people there concern as well


  3. sooze471 said,

    January 22, 2016 at 14:02

    Lydia and Moses apparently divorced, as Lydia J Colcord, d/o Samuel Landers, married William Austin in 1867, and this is listed as her 3rd.

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