ISRAEL PUTNAM was born at Salem, in the state of Massachusetts, on the 7th day of January, 1718. He was a great-grandson of John Putnam, one of the Puritan Pilgrims, who came to this country under the banner of the venerable Endicot. His father, Joseph Putnam, married Miss Elizabeth Porter, and had by her twelve children. He was a farmer, and intended Israel for the same pursuit in life. At that time, none but persons selected for the liberal professions received any other than the education of common schools, in which the arts of reading and writing, and a slender proficiency in the rudiments of arithmetic, were the sole attainments to be acquired. In those good old days, a farmer was more desirous of leaving to his son an example of moral worth, habitual piety, and industrious habits, than heaps of gold, and restless aspirations for offices, for which his limited education in no wise fitted him. Such an example was the bequest of Captain Joseph Putnam to his son Israel, who was more indebted to nature for those endowments, and that undaunted courage, active enterprise, and untiring zeal for the cause he espoused, than to any influences of early mental culture. His constitution was vigorous, and he displayed in the beginning of life that insensibility to danger, and that bold daring, which subsequently signalized his name in the wars of his country.
Of his school days little is known. Here and there an incident has been preserved to prove these traits his own when still a boy, but our space forbids the recounting of them. In the year 1739, at the age of twenty-one, he married Miss Hannah Pope, daughter of Mr. John Pope