SCARCE SIGNATURE OF JOHN STARK
HERO OF THE BATTLES OF BENNINGTON AND BUNKER HILL
STARK, JOHN. (1728-1822). American General during the Revolutionary War; “Hero of Bennington” for his distinguished service at the Battle of Bennington in 1777; served at the Battle of Bunker Hill, 1775 [Breed’s Hill]; coiner of New Hampshire state motto “Live Free or Die”. His rather scarce Signature, Boldly penned and clipped from a letter, “John Stark, Col”. Mounted under a 19th century stipple engraved artist rendering of Stark depicted in a full bust pose, dressed in military uniform. Very fine condition.
Best known as the coiner of New Hampshire’s state motto: “Live Free of Die,” Stark led a storied life. In 1752, he found himself captured by members of the Abenaki Tribe. While their prisoner his bravery so impressed the tribe’s chief that Stark was made a member of the tribe. Ransomed back to his family the following year, Stark then served as a 2nd Lieutenant during the French and Indian Wars, an experience that prepared him for his distinguished service during the Revolutionary War. On April 23, 1775, he accepted command of the 1st New Hampshire Regiment in America’s war for independence. Initially distinguishing himself during The Battle of Bunker Hill, Stark went on to participate in the decisive Battle of Bennington. Here he led a force which blocked the re-supply of British General Burgoyne’s troops. This event, depriving Burgoyne of much needed equipment and troops, would help to force Burgoyne’s surrender at the Battle of Saratoga two months later. This battle is generally regarded as a major turning point in the Revolutionary War; it was the first major defeat of a British general since the start of hostilities and helped convince the French that the American forces were worthy of their aid. At the end of the war Stark returned to his farm in Derryfield (now Manchester) New Hampshire, resisting any and all calls that he return to public service.