Maine Memory Network
Maine's Online Museum

Login · My Account · Show Album



Exhibit: A Soldier's Declaration of Independence

George Washington at Monmouth

Item 17524   info | My Album
George Washington at Monmouth / Maine Historical Society

Text by James Leamon
Professor Emeritus, Bates College

Images from Maine Historical Society

In many ways, William Bayley of Falmouth (Portland) remains a mystery. He and his father, John Bayley, signed indenture papers in 1774 for William to become a joyner's apprentice. But only a few years later, William Bayley left the apprenticeship to become a soldier in the Continental Army.

Most of what is known about his war service is revealed in letters he wrote to his mother, Jean Bayley, then a widow. Only one of her letters to him survives.

Bayley's letters suggest the hardships his mother faced when he and her other sons went away, as well as the hardships -- lack of pay and lack of supplies -- soldiers encountered. Even more, Bayley's letters suggest how a soldier declared his own form of independence from his hometown.

This exhibit is best viewed as a Slide Show. Audio portions may take time to load.

Enter This Exhibit

View as Slideshow (good for browsing)

View as List (good for printing)

Copy this Exhibit's Items to My Album (must be logged in)