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The Near-death Experience of David Perry

in 1762

In 1762, after participating in the capture of St John's, Newfoundland from French forces during the French and Indian War the then 21 year old Sergeant (later Captain) David Perry had the below 'near-death' experience (NDE), after contracting typhus.

David Perry recorded the below NDE experience he had in 1762 when he was 79 years old. During the years 1815 -1830 the sons and daughters of the Revolution were worrying that the entire story would not be recorded as their fathers and mothers were quickly passing away.  During this period there were an awful lot of writers in both Canada and in the USA who were contacting Revolutionary War soldiers to record their stories for posterity.  Many localities were also recording these Revolutionary War stories in town and city records for posterity. 

David recorded his below story in 1819, while he was living in Chelsea, VermontHe moved to Chelsea, Vermont in 1797, and then to Ira, Vermont shortly before his death in 1826.  David Perry and his wife Anna Bliss were both living in Rehoboth, Massachusetts (1741).

This below excerpt is from the book recorded in 1819 in: "Recollections of an old soldier: The life of Captain David Perry, a soldier of the French and revolutionary wars, containing many extraordinary occurrences...." Written by David Perry himself".  Publisher: Windsor, Vt. : Republican & Yeoman Print. Office, 1822  Out of Print. Publisher: Reprinted, W. Abbatt (1928), Language: English ASIN: B0008ANMV6

His story begins:

"...While I was on board that vessel, it appears to me that I died -- that I went through the excruciating pains of the separating of soul and body, as completely as ever I shall again (and such a separation must soon take place), and that I was immediately conveyed to the gate of Heaven, and was going to pass in; but was told by One, that I could not enter then, but in process of time, if I would behave as he directed, on the set time I should have admittance.

“The One that talked with me, told me about the Revolutionary War, and showed me the British vessels in the harbor of Boston, as plainly as I saw them when they came. And during the first year of that war, I was down there in Gen. Putnam’s regiment, and I went on Roxbury Hill to see the shipping in the harbor, and they looked exactly as they had been shown to me many years before--

“This transition (as I firmly believe) from life to death, and from death to life, which took place nearly sixty years ago, is as fresh in my mind now as it was then; and not many days have passed from that time to this, which have not brought the interesting scenes I then witnessed, clearly to view in my mind. But I never dared to say anything about it, for a great many years after wards, for fear of being ridiculed. But about the last of February or first of January, 1763, peace was declared between England, France and Spain, and the people rejoiced exceedingly on account of it. I told them we should have another war soon. They asked me why I thought so. I told them the British had settled peace with their foreign enemies, but they could not long live in peace, and they would come against us next.  

“But I never told my own wife, nor any other person, of what happened to me on board the vessel, as above related, for nearly thirty years afterwards, when a great deal was said in the neighborhood where I lived, about one Polly Davis of Grantham, N.H., who was taken very sick, so that no one thought she could live long, and many times the people thought she was dying. In one of these turns she had a dream or vision, by which she was assured that, on a stated Sunday, she should be healed, and go to meeting the same day. On the Saturday night, previous to the time appointed, many people stood round her bed, expecting every moment that she would breathe her last: but when the hour she had mentioned arrived, she rose from her bed, and said she was well: and Captain Robert Scott carried her some distance to meeting, behind him on horse back, the same day she recovered. There was so much talk about it, that I ventured to tell my experience as before described, and have since told it to a great many people; and some believe it, and others do not..."


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