Letters during his official career would indicate, by their grammar and spelling, that he enjoyed few educational advantages.
In 1755, during the Crown Point expedition, he gained distinction by skilful handling of a New Hampshire company in the famous fight with the French and Indians under Baron Dieskau near Lake George.
He seems to have acquired a permanent interest in military matters, for he held several commands in the militia during succeeding years while engaged in mercantile business at Exeter.
In 1774 he attended the First Continental Congress and with his colleague, John Sullivan, signed “the Association. ” In the following year he was active in revolutionary proceedings in New Hampshire and a member of the Provincial Congress.
Detained in the state by administrative duties, however, he did not reach the scene of action until a few days after the battle of Bunker Hill. On June 30 he was placed in command of the entire state militia with the rank of majorgeneral.
He remained in the field for some months and his reports show the difficulties encountered in maintaining discipline during the siege of Boston.
The artist died in Philadelphia and was buried in the German Presbyterian burial ground, which was long ago obliterated.