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At home, Snow led the South Parish Eastham Revolutionary War veterans in naming the newly incorporated town of Orleans. Snow and the veterans, it is said, believed the new town should bear a French name to honor France’s support of the U.S. during the Revolutionary War.

When the United States and Britain found themselves at war again in 1812, it was Snow who trained and instructed a local militia. When the British attempted to land in Rock Harbor in December of 1814, Snow’s men repelled them.

Snow found work as a shoemaker and cobbler in East Orleans until he was able to retire on his Revolutionary War Veterans Pension. He also served as builder and part owner of the East Orleans Grist Mill from 1800–1811 and continued as a miller until 1828.

When Isaac Snow passed away on March 12, 1855, he was the last surviving Revolutionary War Veteran in Barnstable County and Orleans’ oldest citizen.

A Region Divided

As the war against Napoleon came to a close in Europe in 1814, the British Empire focused its attention and resources on the United States. That same year, at the height of its strength, the British blockade covered all of the ports along Cape Cod Bay. Embargoes from the Jefferson and Madison administrations prohibited trade with the British, causing tension in many Cape Cod communities.

Like the rest of the country, residents of the Cape and Islands found themselves divided in support for the war. Citizens from Yarmouth, Dennis, and Provincetown sent letters to President Jefferson asking him to repeal these embargoes, while Sandwich, Falmouth, Barnstable, and Orleans adopted the trade restrictions wholeheartedly. Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard also proposed a repeal; Nantucket even struck a deal with Great Britain in 1814, in which they declared neutrality in the war and relinquished all support for the United States.

Footnotes and Cannonballs

Some Cape Codders were so much in favor of the war effort that they traveled elsewhere to engage the British. Joshua Crosby of Orleans left home at 13 in 1792 for a life on the open ocean and enlisted as a gun captain aboard the mighty USS Constitution in July of 1812. Just weeks after Crosby enlisted the Constitution set course for Nova Scotia to disrupt British commerce. On August 19, the Constitution came across the formidable British Frigate Guerriere. The U.S. Navy was in need of a major victory to revive wilting morale and engaged the enemy ship. Crosby and his crew maintained their fire on the Guerriere’s masts, and after several debilitating shots, the Guerriere surrendered.

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