Cornelius Lenox

Quick Facts
Patriot of Color at the Battle of Bunker Hill
Place of Birth:
Woburn, Massachusetts(?)
Date of Birth:
Circa 1754

The following is from the 2004 National Park Service study Patriots of Color researched and prepared by George Quintal:


Cornelius Lenox was born circa 1754.I

He joined the eight month’s service from Woburn on 24 May 1775 in the company of Capt. John Wood, in Col. Samuel Gerrish’s regiment.II Just three days later, he was administered the oath ‘required by Congress to be taken by the Massachusetts army.’III He was listed on the return of sick and absent on 10 August 1775 at MedfordIV and on a pay abstract for September 1775 at Chelsea.V On the October 1775 return he is ‘reported a mulatto.’VI He declined to serve in 1776 and also declined on 28 December 1775 to receive a bounty coat, opting for the money instead.VII

In 1776, he served from Lexington in the New York Campaign in Capt. Simon Hunt’s company, in Col. Eleazer Brooks’ regiment, and ‘lost articles in battle’ at White Plains.VIII

There is no record of 1777 service.

In the summer of 1778, he served in the Rhode Island expedition under Capt. John Dix, in Col. William McIntosh’s regiment and Gen. Solomon Lovell’s Brigade.IX

From 1779 to 1781, he served in many successive three-month engagements as a guard in and about Boston under Capt. (and then Maj.) Nathaniel Heath. At the time of his discharge in March 1781, he was a guard in Watertown under Sgt. Samuel Richards.X He was still in Watertown on 13 July 1781 when he received wages as a guard, still under Sgt. Richards.XI He served in total approximately five years.

He was ‘from Boston, [and] settled about 1783 [in Newton (MA)], on the bank of Charles River, near the Watertown line.’XII The 1790 census of Newton lists him as head of household of seven free people of color.XIII

He was married in Boston on 4 April 1780 to Susannah Toney.XIV


  1. Birth date backwardly-computed, based on average age of marriage of 26 (per study of compiler).
  2. Secretary of Commonwealth. Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary War (1896-1908), 10:44, listed as ‘Lunox.’ Also 2-CD Family Tree MakerTM set “Military Records: Revolutionary War.”
  3. Ibid 9:931, listed as ‘Lonnox.’
  4. Ibid 9:679, listed as ‘Lennox.’
  5. Ibid 9:931, under ‘Lonnox.’
  6. Ibid 10:43, listed as ‘Lunnox.’
  7. Ibid 9:680, listed as ‘Lenox.’
  8. Ibid 9: 679, listed as ‘Lennix.’
  9. Ibid 9:601, listed as ‘Leanox.’
  10. Ibid 9:679, under ‘Lennix.’
  11. Ibid, listed as ‘Lennex.’
  12. Smith, S.F., D.D. History of Newton, Massachusetts … (1880), 145.
  13. United States Census, National Archives and Records Administration, Record Group 29 (1790-1850). Index. 1790, Massachusetts, Newton, 150.
  14. McGlenen, Edward W. Boston Marriages from 1700 to 1809 (1977), under the heading of ‘1780.’

Learn more about Quintal's study.

Boston National Historical Park

Last updated: August 11, 2021