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Daniel Shays
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Farmer
    (1747-September 25, 1825)
    Born in Hopkinton, Massachusetts
    American soldier, revolutionary, and farmer
    Resided in Pelham, Massachusetts
    Served as a Sergeant, later a Lieutenant and Captain, in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War
    Fought in the Battles of Lexington, Bunker Hill, and Saratoga
    Leader of Shays' Rebellion, a populist uprising against controversial debt collection and tax policies in Massachusetts (1786-1787)
    Petitioned for clemency and was granted a full pardon by Governor John Hancock, who also cancelled the rewards being offered for their capture (Jun. 25, 1788).
    Died, in poverty, at the age 78, in Sparta, New York; buried at the Union Cemetery in Scottsburg (Sept. 25, 1825)
    Memorialized in the famous 'Ballad of Daniel Shays'
    Depicted in Walter Dyer's 'Sprigs of Hemlock' and Christopher Collier's 'The Winter Hero' (1931; 1978)
    Information on his personal or domestic life is virtually nonexistent.
    He and his colleagues ('Regulators') tried, and failed, to seize a Springfield armory.
    He is the namesake for a rebellion despite being only one of several leaders (and a tepid, reluctant one at that).
    He angered many of his peers by selling the sword General Lafayette had presented him with in honor of his service in the Revolution, in 1780.
    One of his men froze to death when he tried march a thousand soldiers to Boston during a blizzard; they were forced to retreat.
    Colonial woodcraft depicting him and fellow 'Regulator' leader, Joe Shattuck, rendered their likenesses deliberately unflattering.
    He attained a posthumous following in the 1960s and 70s as radicals who advocated sedition against the government made him one of their historical revisionist mascots (he never advocated anything of the kind).
    Although, it IS fairly safe to say that textbooks tend to brush him and his rebellion 'under the rug,' mainly because it disrupts the narrative that post-Revolutionary America was just 'hunky dory' until the advent of the Civil War decades later.
    His parents were immigrants from Ireland.
    He generally identified as a mediator and 'peacemaker.'
    As such, he took every opportunity to try and work towards a peaceful resolution to the conflict.
    Early 20th-century populists cast him as a folk hero.
    But, generally, his image never totally recovered and he remains known as a 'misguided rabble rouser' who tried to overthrow the government.
    He was wounded while serving in the Revolution.
    After returning from service, he discovered that countless other farmers and war veterans were being regularly taken advantage of (denial of pensions, high taxations, etc.)
    His family was so affected by the financial hardship, post-Revolution, that they sold over half of their 251 acre property.
    He was allegedly moved to action after witnessing a sick old woman forcibly removed from her bed by debt collectors.
    When three of his friends resisted repossession and were arrested on charges of sedition, he led a protest of 700 armed farmers & veterans who nonviolently marched in support of them (laying the groundwork for the rebellion).
    He sold his sword from Lafayette out of financial necessity (he spent his last years in debt).
    At least his efforts brought forth good results, now the US government takes way better care of its vets (oh, wait - crap...)

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair


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