Amos Putnam 1722-1807

Amos Putnam 1722-1807

Dr. Amos Putnam was born October 11, 1722, to John and Rachel (Buxton) Putnam. He learned the skills of physics and surgery as a young man studying and living with Dr. Jonathan Prince. His medical skills were further honed by serving as a medical surgeon in Colonel Jonathan Bagley’s Regiment in 1755-56 during the French and Indian War, and saw service at Forth William Henry in New York. Putnam had married Hannah Phillips in 1743, she dying in 1758 leaving three children. By the next year he married Mary Gott.

The physical features of Dr. Putnam’s face have come down to us, as during the 1760s he had a pastel portrait made of himself. Possibly created by portraitist Benjamin Blyth of Salem, this 15 ½” x 12 ¾” portrait is possibly the earliest surviving representation of a member of the large Putnam family of Danvers.

During the early 1770s Putnam was active in local affairs. Several times he served as moderator at Danvers Town Meetings, and served as a member of the revolutionary Committee of Safety. Fifty-two years of age in 1775, Putnam was a private in his brother, Captain John Putnam’s Alarm Company, composed of older men and exempts attached to their larger and younger First Company of Danvers Militia. As such, Dr. Putnam marched with his company at the Lexington Alarm of April 19, 1775, and his portrait is the only contemporary one of the over 300 men from Danvers who marched to this first conflict of the American Revolution. He died in 1807, a well-respected citizen of Danvers.

This portrait was presented to the Danvers Historical Society in 1891 by great grandson Charles Putnam of Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Richard B. Trask
December 2022