Jonathan Whitcomb commanded a company that fought at the Battle of Bunker Hill. Three of his brothers also served in the company. Captain Whitcomb was born in Bolton, Massachusetts, and moved with his parents to Swanzey in the 1790s. It is said that Captain Whitcomb’s funeral procession extended for one and a half miles.
Graves of Joshua Holbrook and Captain Otis Whitcomb
Swanzey playwright Denman Thompson used Holbrook’s first name and Whitcomb’s second name for Joshua Whitcomb, the main character in “The Old Homestead.” Included in the list of ten best American plays, “The Old Homestead” is the story of a simply country farmer who travels to New York City in search of his prodigal son, and struggles to understand the values and pace of urban life. After its debut at the Boston Theatre in April 1886, Denman Thompson produced the play for thirty-five years for audiences throughout the United States, and in England in a command performance for Queen Victoria. “The Old Homestead” has been performed annually by local residents since its 1939 Swanzey revival.
Captain Otis and his wife had eighteen children, and he promised her a silk dress if the number were to reach twenty.