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Every member of our chapter is descended from one or more Patriots of the Revolution. We research those stories as part of our applications for membership. Read those stories below.
As military units from different colonies joined the fight, the Second Continental Congress divided the seaboard into military districts to better manage military operations. By February 27, 1776 these consisted of the Eastern, Northern, Hudson Highlands, Middle, Southern, Western, and Canadian Departments. The Patriot stories of American colonists are organized below by their department of residence at the time of their service. Some of our Patriot ancestors served the cause of the Revolution in foreign military units. Their stories are told in the Spanish and French Forces section.
Many of us are also descended from American Loyalists, enslaved people, German mercenaries, or British soldiers who fought for their beliefs, emancipation, or because of compulsory service, and lost. After the Revolution many former enemies continued to live in the new United States. Part of our nation's slow healing was the binding of descendants of Patriots and their enemies through marriage into new American families and the tapestry of our country's history. The stories of our British-allied ancestors is told in the The British & Their Allies section.
Moses was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts. He settled near Winthrop, Maine District prior to the Revolution. In March 1777, he traveled to Boston and served as a mariner aboard the Continental frigate Hancock. The Hancock was captured by HMS Rainbowin July 1777 and Moses was imprisoned in Halifax, Nova Scotia “part of the time in irons”. He escaped with two others and returned to Boston. Following the war, he settled on an island in the Kennebec River near Solon, Maine where he raised a large family. He died at Solon in 1823, and is buried with his first wife at the Pierce-Purington cemetery near Embden, Maine.
Abijah Brigham was a blacksmith born in Sudbury, Middlesex County, Massachusetts who married Eunice Willis in 1759. He was a minuteman at the Lexington Alarm of 1775, joining the militia’s march from Sudbury to Cambridge as a Sergeant in Captain Haynes’ Company. In July 1776, he became a Lieutenant in Captain Asahel Wheeler’s Company, 4th Middlesex Regiment under Colonel Ezekiel Howe. The Regiment supported the defenses at Fort Ticonderoga against British General Guy Carleton’s invasion from Canada. In October 1776, Lieutenant Brigham served in Captain Amasa Cranston’s Company, Colonel Samuel Denny’s Regiment which fought in the Battle of White Plains, New York. Lieutenant Brigham became a Selectman for Sudbury after the Revolution.
Tobias "Toby" Gilmore was born in coastal West Africa as Shibodee Turry Wurry. He was captured by slave traders in 1757 when he was about 16 years old. Shackled below deck on a slave ship with dozens of other African men, Shibodee was taken across the Atlantic on a slave ship bound for Virginia. After the ship was battered in a storm, the slave traders changed course for Rhode Island and auctioned off some of the captives to pay for repairs to the vessel. A Raynham, RI man named John Gilmore attended the auction and purchased Shibodee, giving him the name Toby Gilmore. War records indicate that Toby served three separate tours of duty, participated in the Battle of Fort Ticonderoga, and was present at the Continental Army's bitter winter encampment at Valley Forge. For his service he earned his freedom. Gilmore purchased land in North Raynham after the war that had been confiscated from a British sympathizer. The Gilmore family was given a cannon, which now resides at the Old Colony Historical Society. Gilmore died in 1812 at age 70 and is interred at the Hall and Dean Burial Ground in Raynham.
William was born in Sunderland, Massachusetts and moved to Vermont at the outbreak of the war. He enlisted in Captain Parmela Allen's Company of Major Ebenezer Allen's detachment, Vermont Militia on February 20, 1780 and was discharged on December 1, 1780. He enlisted a again in Captain James Blakslee's Company of Lt. Col Samuel Fletcher's Regiment, Vermont Militia on July 1, 1781 and was discharged on November 25, 1781. During this time Fletcher's Regiment was stationed at Mount Independence, Vermont to prevent the British garrison at Fort Ticonderoga, New York from advancing into Vermont.
In March 1777, Jonathan Lawrence joined Colonel Malcom’s New York regiment as a Second Lieutenant. He spent two months at Valley Forge with the Continental Army and fought in the Battle of Monmouth on his way north. During the summer of 1778, he was promoted to First Lieutenant acted as Assistant Adjutant General to the regiment at Fort Clinton, overlooking the Hudson at Bear Mountain. In the spring of 1779 Malcom’s regiment was merged with another and Jonathan Lawrence lost his army position. But was soon appointed a captain in the NY militia, troops made up of local men who signed on for six months at a time. One of Jonathan's duties was to gather information about enemy troops, which was then passed on to General Washington. Washington mentioned Jonathan several times in dispatches, calling him sensible and discreet. On July 21, 1780, Captain Lawrence captured the famous British spy James Moody, near Englewood, NJ. On June 19, 1781, Washington issued an order appointing Jonathan to the rank of Captain in the Corps of Sappers and Miners. Jonathan was later a founding member of the Society of the Cincinnati.
Philip Stowits served under Brigadier General Nicholas Herkimer in the militia of Tryon Cunty, NY fighting against British Regulars and Loyalist forces in the Mohawk River Valley during the Saratoga Campaign. While marching to relieve the besieged Ft. Stanwix in August of 1777, they were ambushed in what is now known as the Battle of Oriksany. Philip Stowits, along with half of the Tryon County Militia, lost his life during what is considered the bloodiest battle of the war.
Robert Blair served in the 2nd New Jersey Regiment. The 2nd New Jersey Regiment wintered at Valley Forge with Washington's Continental Troops from December 1777-April 1778 when Private Blair was chosen to join General Washington's Life Guards. Robert Blair served as a Life Guard until 1783, when the Guard was furloughed at Newburgh, New York.
William was from Maryland and had married Sybil Dent from Charles County, Maryland. William owned several thousand acres and built a tobacco warehouse at Greenway on the James River in what is now Nelson County. In 1776 he was a road surveyor. William served as a sergeant in the Amherst militia under the command of Lt. Col. John Pope and Maj. William Cabell, Jr. The militia joined Lafayette's Army at Yorktown and took part in the battle and Cornwallis’ surrender.
Conrad was born Maxatawny, Berks County to Johann Georg and Anna Maria Müller, German immigrants from the Duchy of Württemberg. Conrad was the nephew of Hans Jakob Kisling (see below), and cousin of John Keesling (see below). Conrad was added to the Berks County militia lists in 1777 and in July, 1780 he mustered in Captain Jacob Baldy’s 6th Co., Lt. Col. “Old German Grey” Hiester’s 6th Battalion to defend Philadelphia. Conrad paid taxes as a resident as a single freeman in 1784. He is listed as one of Hans Jakob Kisling’s debtors, having loaned his uncle money to purchase Continental loan notes in 1779. Conrad migrated down the Great Wagon Road to Rockingham County, Virginia with his father Johann Georg Kisling and cousin Johann Kisling in 1786 to join other relatives. By 1782 the Kisling family were amongst the largest landowners in that county. Conrad met and married Ann Kegley, also a child of German immigrants, in Virginia. Conrad is buried in a private family plot near his home in what is now Max Meadows, Virginia. Their 1810 house still exists. Reproduced by permission of the author. (C) Karl Feld, 2022
Hans Jakob immigrated from the German-speaking Duchy of Württemberg to Pennsylvania in 1749, taking the King’s Oath on arrival. He was a farmer and Pennsylvania Associator (volunteer militia) during the French & Indian War and was recalled to militia service in 1776 from the Berks County Associator list at age 47. He substituted his son Johannes Kisling (see below) to complete his service. Hans Jakob borrowed large sums to purchase Continental loan notes in 1779 to support the Revolution, which were subsequently devalued by British counterfeiting. He drowned suddenly crossing the Schuylkill River in Berks Co. in 1784 and is buried at Old Trinity Church in Reading. He left no estate due to the loan debt, causing his wife to lose her mind. Their children, including Johannes, were subsequently scattered to families of relatives and foster parents in Rockingham County, Virginia and Berks County, Pennsylvania. Reproduced by permission of the author. (C) Karl Feld, 2022
John was born in Berks County, Pennsylvania to German immigrants from the Duchy of Württemberg. He worked his father’s farm and served as a substitute for his father in the Berks County militia in Cpt. Wetstein’s First Company, 3rd Battalion under Col. Lindemuth in September, 1776, again in November 1776 in Lindemoot’s Company, Col. Hiester’s Battalion, again in 1777 to Captain Lindemoot’s Company, again in May 1777 in Lt. Col. Heister’s 4th Battalion under Col. Lotz, and again in 1778 in Cpt. Soder’s Company, 1st Battalion. In these units he supported Continental Army operations, participated in frontier defense, and guarded supply depots and prisoner of war camps in Reading, Lancaster, Lebanon, Wilmington, Trenton, Sunbury, and Easton. John participated in the Sullivan Expedition in 1779 as a teamster with his father’s wagon and team, one of two thousand support personnel assembled at Fort Sullivan for the expedition. The expedition drove the British back to Canada and broke the Iroquois Confederacy at the Battle of Newtown. John’s final muster was in July 1780 to defend Philadelphia. He participated in the Battle of Camden in Hiester’s battalion under Maj. Scull. After his father’s sudden death in 1784, he migrated down the Great Wagon Road to farm with his uncle Johann Georg Kisling in Rockingham County, Virginia where by 1782 Kisling’s were amongst the largest landowners. John later migrated again on his own to Henry County, Indiana based on a land grant for his service where he is now buried. Reproduced by permission of the author. (C) Karl Feld, 2022
William was a private in Captain Joseph Erwin’s company, 2nd Battalion, Rifle Regiment of the Pennsylvania Line. This was one of the six companies of riflemen in Pennsylvania created by the Continental Congress in 1775. William enlisted in 1776 for two years. He also served in Colonel Miles’ and Brodhead’s Pennsylvania regiment and in Captain James Carnaghan’s company. William was at the battles of Long Island, White Plains, Trenton, Princeton, Brandywine and Germantown and was discharged in Valley Forge in 1778 after having served for 22 months. He died about 1825 in Derry Township, Pennsylvania.
Raleigh Cater was born in Lancaster County, Virginia. During the Revolution he furnished supplies to the Continental Army from Plentiful Level Plantation in what is now Nottoway County, Virginia which he owned. He was married two times, first in Lancaster to Sarah Sharpe and next to Lucy Anne Crenshaw, daughter of William Crenshaw of Nottoway County. In 1772, between the date of his first and second marriages, Raleigh moved from Lancaster to what was then Amelia County. In 1782, Raleigh Carter was a justice of the Amelia County Court, and doubtless continued as such until Nottoway County was formed. In 1792 he was high sheriff of Nottoway. Raleigh died in Nottoway County prior to 1820.
Samuel was born in Joppa, Maryland as the youngest son of Richard Caswell, Sr. and his wife Christian Dallam. The family moved to near present-day Kinston, North Carolina following the older son, future NC Governor Richard Caswell. Samuel was a lieutenant in the Dobbs County, NC militia. He served in the Battle of Moore’s Creek Bridge, and subsequently in the North Carolina State Troops as commissary officer of the powder magazine at Kin(g)ston with the rank of Captain.
Burwell Davis was born Aug. 14, 1756 in what was then known as Granville County, NC (now Warren County). At the age of 22, he was called to serve in the North Carolina militia under the command of Captain Barton Harris, and was assigned to a regiment of the militia commanded by Colonel Thomas Eaton and General John Ashe. Davis participated in the Battle of Briar Creek before being discharged, but was again called to serve in March 1781 before the Battle of Guilford Courthouse. There he was under the command of Colonel Thomas Alston, the Marquis Francis de Malmedy and Colonel Charles Eaton. Davis marched to the area of Guilford Courthouse, but did not participate in battle. After marching to Ramsey's Mill and South Carolina, he was discharged again. Davis married Martha "Patsy" Hawkins in Warren County about 1783. They had seven children. He died on Aug. 11, 1846, four days short of his 90th birthday. A marker celebrating his life was erected in the church cemetery at Shady Grove.
John was born in Edgecombe County, North Carolina. He was among a group of men from Nash County, likely militia, recorded as being present at Kinston on March 26, 1780 under Lieutenant William Merritt. He also served North Carolina's Revolutionary government from 1778 until 1782 as a court appointed road overseer, land evaluator, and juror.
Major William Edmondson, was 2nd in command of the Virginia troops at the Battle of King’s Mountain. Two of his brothers were killed, one brother-in-law killed, and one cousin wounded in the battle. They are listed on the monument located on the King’s Mountain Battlefield.
James served as a matross (soldier of artillery) in Capt. William Pierce’s 1st Artillery, Continental Troops, commanded by Col. Charles Harrison. James enlisted in 1777 and was discharged in 1786. He also furnished supplies to the Continental Army, served as a magistrate in Albemarle County, Virginia, and was a subscriber toward postal carriage for prompt delivery during the Revolution.
John McCoy served as a private with NC 1st Regiment when it was reconstituted in 1781. While serving in an advance party at the Battle of Eutaw Springs, South Carolina John was shot and killed by British regulars. A fellow solider described in written testimony how John McCoy was killed in action. “Just before the commencement Captain Raiford and twenty four men, of whom this applicant was one, were ordered by Col. Armstrong to advance ahead with two field pieces and the officers belonging to the artillery, and when we had advanced some distance in a run we discovered an advanced party of the British foot on our left in ambush just ready to fire and at that moment Capt. Raiford, commanded us to squat, and as we were in the in the act of doing so, the British fired and killed John McCoy and John Russel, two of my mess-mates.”
Samuel Meredith was born in Hanover County, Virginia and was a captain in Colonel William Byrd's regiment in 1768. For his services he was granted 2,000 acres land in what is now Kentucky on July 11, 1774. Governor Patrick Henry granted Samuel additional lands in Kentucky for services in the French and Indian War. In 1775, he was captain of an independent company from Hanover County, which he resigned on May 2 in favor of his brother-in-law, Patrick Henry, accepting instead a lieutenancy in the company. Samuel was a member of the convention of May 1776. In 1778 he subscribed 500 pounds to old Washington Henry College in Hanover and for several years was president of the Board of Trustees. In 1779 Governor Thomas Jefferson confirmed to Samuel the Kentucky lands granted in 1774, and that same year Samuel purchased the home of Joseph Cabell called "Winton" near New Glasgow in Amherst County and moved there. Colonel Meredith was then in service with the Amherst militia. In 1785-1786, Samuel was also one of the trustees of Warminster Academy from 1791, and was long a justice of the peace, when the justices sat on the county bench, and for some years before his death was the presiding justice, and was also high sheriff in 1807. He was buried at "Winton” beside his wife. The old Cabell building still stands, and the old family burying ground is on the property.
Francis Miller was born at sea on a voyage from Philadelphia to Charleston, SC. Francis entered the Revolutionary War in 1775 and fought at the battle of Cross Creek, North Carolina to subdue Scotch Tories. By the Spring of 1776, Francis had been promoted to Captain of the Riflemen Rangers, with 100 men under his command. The Rifleman Rangers fought the Cherokee Indians. In the Fall of 1780 Captain Miller and his Riflemen marched from Mecklenburg, NC to Rugley's Mill in South Carolina where, at the request of Colonel William Washington, he helped to make a wooden cannon about the size of a six-pounder. The Loyalists were strongly posted in the log barn, in front of which was ditch and abatis. Having no artillery, Washington could make but little impression upon the garrison, so he resorted to a stratagem. Fashioning a pine log to resemble a cannon, he placed it in such a position near the ridge as apparently, to command both the house and barn of Colonel Rugley. He then made a formal demand for surrender, menacing the garrison with the instant demolition of their fortress. Alarmed at the apparition of a cannon, Rugley sent out a flag and with his whole force of one hundred and twelve men, immediately surrendered. Poor Rugley never appeared in arms afterward. Cornwallis, in a letter to Tarleton, said "Rugley will not be made a brigadier." Captain Miller fought in two other important battles in the Southern Campaign: The Battle of Hanging Rock, fought in SC on August 6, 1780, and The Battle of Guilford Court House, in Guilford County, NC on March 15, 1781. He died on February 19, 1843 in Greenfield, Illinois. Source: Miller, NJ. CPT Francis Miller. CPT Francis Miller (1753-1843) - Find a Grave Memorial.
Neill, son of James Morrison, was born in Philadelphia and married Annabelle Johnston of New Castle, Delaware. Neill, Annabelle and James moved to the Four-Mile Creek area of Mecklenburg County in Providence township. Neill served as magistrate for Mecklenburg County and was a Captain in General Rutherford’s 1776 Cherokee Campaign. Neill was also one of the original signers of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence. His son, William, fought the British at Sullivan’s Island and Camden, South Carolina, and was wounded but recovered. He became a doctor and served as a representative to the North Carolina Legislature in 1796. Neill’s daughter, Jane, signed a resolution like other women in Charlotte that they would not speak to young men in town who did not volunteer for the military. Jane married Major Thomas Alexander, one of the last Revolutionary War veterans to attend a Mecklenburg Declaration celebration. Tradition has it that Neill Morrison was friends with John Flennikin and that they served in the militia company with James Jack. Captain Jack delivered the copy of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence to the North Carolina representatives at the Continental Congress.
John North was born in North Carolina. From 1773 to 1775, he volunteered as a Ranger on the frontier of South Carolina, under Capt. Richard Pollard. He served for about a month on the waters of Flint River, after which he was discharged. He later moved into Georgia, and at Louisville from 1775 to 1777 he again volunteered as a Ranger serving under Capt. Alexander Irwin in the militia under the command of General John Twiggs. John served for two years protecting the frontier in Georgia in what was then called the Rocky Comfort and Ogeechee River countries. He was discharged at Rocky Comfort. In 1785, John was given a land grant of 287.5 acres in Washington County, Georgia as a bounty. He died in 1850 in Marion County, Indiana.
Ledstone Noland was born in Maryland in 1750. He married Elizabeth before the war in Rowan County, North Carolina in 1770. Ledstone served as a private in the North Carolina militia enlisting for service in August 1776 under the command of Captain John Johnson in a unit led by General Griffith Rutherford and Colonel Francis Locke. His company saw multiple engagements with British troops and native Americans from Rowan to Transylvania Counties; most noteably the Battle of Waxhaws on May 29, 1780, the Battle of Colson's Mill n July 21, 1780, and the Battle of Shallow Ford on October 14, 1780. Noland left the militia in November 1783. He eventually settled in what is now Jackson County Missouri where he was laid to rest on July 6, 1839.
John Cocke Pleasants was the son of Joseph Pleasants and Martha Cocke and was born in Henrico County, Virginia. He was a Quaker by faith but was commissioned Captain in the 5th Virginia Regiment where he supported the troops by providing supplies which continued until his resignation or death. He died after 1776, possibly in 1783 when a copy of his will was filed due to his original will having been destroyed by the enemy. He and his wife Susannah Woodson had 7 or 8 children and there is evidence of service among his five sons as well. His heirs lived generally around the same area with some eventually settling in Kentucky.
Robert was the son of Henry Raper, Jr. and wife Elizabeth. They lived in Pasquotank County, North Carolina. He enlisted as a private on April 6, 1776 for 3 years under the recruiting officer Edward Veal. They were marched to New Bern and placed under Captain Robert Fenner's Company, 2nd North Carolina Regiment under Colonels Alexander Martin and John Patton. The regiment marched to Charleston, South Carolina and stayed there a year. The regiment then marched to Philadelphia and were under the command of General George Washington. Raper was at the Battle of Brandywine on Sept 11, 1777 and Germantown on October 4th. He spent the winter at Valley Forge. His company fought at the Battle of Monmouth on June 28, 1778. They then marched back to Charleston, South Carolina under the command of General Benjamin Lincoln. Raper was captured on May 12th, 1780 and escaped 2 months later, heading back to Pasquotank County. He and his family moved to Nash County by 1822 which is the now the western part of Wilson County, North Carolina.
John Whitehead was born in New Kent County, Virginia. He moved to Amherst County, Virginia in about 1760 with his wife Sarah. The deed book of Amherst County shows he purchased a tract of land of 125 acres on the head waters of Huff Creek for farming in what is now the Sardis neighborhood in 1762. During the Revolution John was a staunch patriot and was a private in a company raised in Amherst by Colonel William Cabell. He served under the Marquis de Lafayette in the Virginia campaign and was present at the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown. He served in the cavalry of the Virginia Continental Line and paid Supply Tax to the Continental Congress in 1783.
Joseph Williamson was born in Bertie County, North Carolina. He was the son of Francis Williamson, Jr. and wife Martha Harris. They moved to Johnston and Dobbs counties, which became Nash County in 1777 and Wilson County in 1855. Joseph was a learned man and served as Justice of the Peace for Edgecombe County from 1764-1777 and in Nash County from 1777-1786. He was appointed a Captain in the Dobbs County Militia and served under Major John Drake. He was also a constable and tax collector from 1779 to 1780. Joseph was buried at his home on the north side of Contentnea Creek at Rock Ridge in Wilson County where the old mill was. His house was torn down about 30 years ago and the rock designating his grave is no longer there.
Francois Louis Gremillion fought with the Galvez Militia at the battle of Baton Rouge under Spanish Colonial Governor Bernardo de Galvez on September 21,1779 and subsequently the capture of Biloxi (March 14,1780) and Pensacola (May 8,1781).
John Leggett was a North Carolina merchant who responded to the NC Royal Governor's February 1776 call for armed men. John formed his own company of which he served as Captain in the North Carolina Provincials under Brigadier General Donald McDonald. He escaped capture at the Battle of Morre's Creek Bridge, but was eventually found and held captive for 29 months in Philadelphia. While held prisoner all his moveable property was seized from his wife's home and sold under the Confiscation and Banishment Acts. John was eventually exchanged and took ship home, but was captured again at sea on December 1779 and carried to Boston. There he was imprisoned another six months until exchanged again. He joined the British forces at the Siege of Charleston, thereafter joining Colonel Hamilton’s Royal North Carolina Regiment as Captain for which he raised 97 men. John returned to North Carolina and was present at the Battles of Hanging Rock, Camden, Halifax, Rockfish, and New Bern from 1780-1781. All his moveable property was again seized from his wife's home and sold. In 1780 General William Harrington seized most of Legett's indigo plantation to compensate himself for personal indigo losses to the British, in response to which Captain Legett siezed the wagon and property of General's wife as she tried to flee the conflict zone in Anson County. John harassed rebel forces in Richomnd and Anson Counties to such an extent he was unable to return home to his family after the war. He could not evacuate his large family and sailed alone from Wilmington, NC to Saint Augustine, British East Florida in 1782 and thence to Country Harbor, Halifax, Canada. There, as ranking officer, he led the creation of the town of Stormont and Legett's Landing. His uniform is on display today in the public archives of Nova Scotia.