John Stark was born in Londonderry, New Hampshire, on August 28, 1728. Growing up in a frontier community gave Stark the skills he would use in later life as a successful military leader. Hunting, fishing and scouting were among the pioneer activities necessary for survival in the harsh wilderness.
His first formal military action was during the French and Indian War, when he served with Roger's Rangers and attained the rank of captain. Marriage and his farm and mill near Concord, New Hampshire, occupied his attention for the next 16 years. News of the Battle of Lexington called Stark to war again. Appointed colonel of a regiment of New Hampshire militia, he fought in several decisive battles during the American Revolution and achieved a reputation as a leader and shrewd tactician. He was popular with his men and is remembered for his exhortations going into battle. His tactical success was due to independence and decisiveness. By ignoring orders, he engaged his men in a battle whose outcome prompted Congress to promote him to the rank of brigadier general. At the end of the American Revolution, he was elevated to major general.
Following this promotion, he retired to his farm in New Hampshire, where he spent the rest of his life. He died on May 8, 1822, and is buried on his farm, which is now a New Hampshire state park.