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History of the Molly Stark Cannon
“The famous Molly Stark cannon, captured from the British at the battle of Bennington (VT) by New Hampshire troops under the command of General John Stark on August 16, 1777, has for many generations been the proud possession of the citizens of New Boston. She is two hundred and twenty years old, having been cast in Paris, France, in 1743. Old Molly, as we affectionately call her, has had a most glorious history, serving under the French flag once, the British twice and the American twice.”
–excerpt from “The New Boston Artillery Company and Molly Stark" Clement A. Lyon 1963

In 1743, the cannon and a mate were cast in Paris, ornately decorated with a shield and crown flanked by American Indians armed with bows and arrows. Both cannons traveled across the Atlantic Ocean to protect the citizens of Quebec. The British forces at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham captured both of the cannons in 1759. Once again, both cannons changed hands when they were surrendered to General John Stark at Bennington in 1777.

“the fruits of the victory were four pieces of brass canon, several stand of arms, eight brass drums, a quantity of German broadswords, and about 700 prisoners.” Our gun, Molly Stark, was one of these four pieces, it being a four pounder.”

The Molly Stark cannon (named affectionately after General Stark’s wife) served in defense of the British siege at Detroit, Michigan, during the “Second Revolutionary War” the War of 1812, and was actually recaptured by the British after the surrender of the city. As fate would have it, the Americans captured Old Molly from the British once again, this time at the Battle of Fort George during the same war.

Prior to his death in 1822, General John Stark removed old Molly from storage at the first arsenal built by the United States (in Watervliet, New York “The Arsenal City”).

Old Molly was retired from active duty and presented to the New Boston Artillery Company of the 9th Regiment of the New Hampshire Militia by General Stark for the company’s contributions to the success of the Battle of Bennington. When the Artillery Company disbanded in 1852, everything except Old Molly was returned to the State of New Hampshire.

“All military accouterments were returned to the State except Molly Stark. Those hardy souls who had preserved and protected her would not give her up” -Clement Lyon, New Boston Artillery Company, 1963.

The original New Boston Artillery Company was active until 1852. It was in that year that the General Court repealed the law requiring military service. During the intervening years until 1938, when the New Boston Artillery Company was legally formed, New Boston citizens kept a secret guard over the cannon.

“Numerous are the tales of rivalry between our neighboring towns for the possession of the cannon." We insert an interesting interlude based on two clipping from the Manchester Union, of March 1920. It seems that the Manchester Historical Association has serious designs on acquiring Molly Stark. Elaborate plans were proposed for bringing the cannon to Manchester by chartered train.

"One car of the special train would be a suitably draped flat car bearing the priceless Molly Stark cannon." The second clipping quotes a New Boston Selectman as saying "I guess that parade which some of the prominent citizens of Manchester are saying will be a special feature of the exercises incident to transporting the cannon to Manchester will be somewhat delayed, and I shouldn’t wonder if it would be indefinitely postponed."

In the spring of 1938, certain incidents developed that caused serious thought among some of our citizens relative to the security of the cannon and on June 7th, William O. Dodge called a meeting for reorganizing the Artillery Company. It was incorporated on August 31, 1938.

The object for which this corporation was established is to have custody of and responsibility for the cannon, Molly Stark. –

This information was taken from “Those Wonderful Years” and “Images of America – New Boston”