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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Peter Salem, Minuteman and Hero of Bunker Hill

Peter Salem by Kyley R.

Though Peter Salem is mostly known for his role serving at The Battle of Bunker Hill, he played a significant role in the Revolution that helped lead to America's success.

Peter Salem had a difficult childhood as an African-American slave. He was born in Framingham, Massachusetts in 1750. Salem was born into an enslaved family owned by Jeremiah Belknap. In around 1775, he was sold to Lawson Buckminster. The names and occupations of his parents are not known. Salem did not have a last name so his first owner, Jeremiah Belknap, is believed to name him Salem after his previous
residence in Salem, Massachusetts. Lawson Buckminster freed Salem to let him enlist in Captain Simon Edgel's "minutemen". He was one of the only African-American men
to be a part of the company.

Peter Salem successfully served in the American Revolution and participated in important battles. Salem fought in in four battles in all; The Battle of Concord, the Battle of Bunker Hill, the Battle of Saratoga, and the Battle of Stony Point. On June 17, Salem shot and killed British Major John Pitcairn during the battle of Bunker Hill. Many people recognized Salem's act, and the musket he used to kill Major Pitcairn
is now in an exhibit at the Museum of the Battle of Bunker Hill.

Peter Salem had a quiet life after his service. Salem went to live in Leicester, Massachusetts, and built a cabin to live in after he finished serving in the army. He married Katy Benson in September, 1783. Together, they did not have any children. After they married, they both became cane weavers. Peter Salem died on
August 16, 1816 at age of sixty-six. In 1882, a monument was put up in Framingham,Massachusetts, his birthplace, to commemorate him at the Old Burying Ground.

Brave and successful, Peter Salem played a significant role in the American Revolutionary War that contributed to America's freedom.

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