Biography of Nathaniel Folsom
Nathaniel Folsom was a merchant, soldier, and politician from New Hampshire who rose to prominence during the American Revolution. During the French and Indian War, he was a Captain in the New Hampshire Provincial Regiment, and in 1755 participated in the Crown Point Expedition under the command of Sir William Johnson. Later, He fought at the Battle of Lake George, where he and his men helped capture Baron Dieskau. As war with Britain loomed on the horizon, he was elected to the New Hampshire Provincial Congress and appointed as a delegate to the First Continental Congress. He signed the Articles of Association on behalf of New Hampshire. Folsom returned to New Hampshire and continued his service in the Provincial Congress and was appointed to the Committee of Safety. In 1776, he was elected to the Second Continental Congress, and served from 1777 to 1780. In 1783, he was president of the New Hampshire convention that wrote the state’s first constitution. Folsom died in 1790.
This illustration depicts Reverend Jacob Duché saying the Opening Prayer at the First Continental Congress. Image Source: New York Public Library Digital Images.
5 Quick Facts About Nathaniel Folsom
- Nathaniel Folsom was born on September 28, 1726, in Exeter, New Hampshire. His parents were Jonathan Folsom and Ann Ladd.
- He was just 13 years old when his father died in 1740, and he went to work for a local merchant. Afterward, he started investing in timber, opened a sawmill, and then went into business with some of his relatives. Although the business was dissolved in 1768, he continued to work as a merchant in the lumber industry.
- At the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War, the New Hampshire Provincial Congress put Folsom in charge of the colony’s forces. However, most of the militia was with John Stark at the Siege of Boston and the Massachusetts Provincial Congress had placed Stark in command of the New Hampshire men. When the Continental Congress created the Continental Army, it appointed John Sullivan to lead the continental soldiers from New Hampshire, and Folsom stayed in New Hampshire, where he was responsible for recruiting men to fight and gathering supplies.
- He was political allies with Josiah Barlett, a Founding Father who signed the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation.
- Folsom died on May 26, 1790, in Exeter. He is buried in the Winter Street Cemetery in Exeter.
Nathaniel Folsom and the Battle of Lake George
On September 8, 1755, Folsom and his New Hampshire men were near Fort Lyman when Colonel Joseph Blanchard spotted smoke coming from the fighting at the Battle of Lake George. Blanchard was in command of the fort and he sent Folsom, Captain William McGinnis, and their men, to scout the battle. As they moved north, they came across the French baggage train and approximately 300 Canadian soldiers and Indians. The train was stopped at a pool of water to rest. This was roughly two miles south of Lake George. The British ambushed them around 7:00, and most of the French forces were killed. The bodies of the dead were thrown into the pond, which became known from that point forward as Bloody Pond. The Battle of Bloody Pond was the third and final engagement of the day and cemented the British victory.
Nathaniel Folsom and the American Revolution
Signer of the Continental Association
On October 20, 1774, Folsom and John Sullivan were two of the 53 delegates to the First Continental Congress that agreed to impose a trade boycott against British merchants. The colonies put the boycott in an effort to force King George III and Parliament to repeal the Coercive Acts. The delegates signed the Articles of Association, which set up the Continental Association, which was responsible for enforcing compliance with the boycott throughout the colonies. It was the first time that all 13 Original Colonies agreed to a unified boycott against Britain.
Significance of Nathaniel Folsom
Nathaniel Folsom is important to the history of the United States because he signed the Articles of Association and served in the First and Second Continental Congress. He also played a key role in helping set up the constitution of New Hampshire and led provincial militia forces during the French and Indian War.