Question of the Week: Have you found any ancestors who participated in the American Revolution?

+105 votes

Next week, we celebrate Independence Day in America. Check out the 1776 Project for a list of resources that can help you research your ancestors who lived during this time. 

Let's also turn to the North tomorrow and tip our hats to our Canadian cousins as they celebrate Canada Day! While you're at it, check out the Canadian History Project!

in The Tree House by Julie Ricketts G2G6 Pilot (341k points)
retagged by Abby Glann
Thank you Gail Smith, I really appreciate you looking this up. Now if I can only prove we are related. Thanks again.
Yes, like trying to 'prove' Webbs, Smith, Price, Davis, Low, Turner, Boling, Hickman, Crain, Shutters, Frisinger, Morrison, let alone that none of them went to Utah.
My mothers family is all from Virginia..and it has been really interesting to find all of her ancestors who fought in the Revolutionary War.  These are just the direct ancestors.

My 5th great grandfathers:  Col. William Whiteside,  William Stinchcomb

My 6th great grandfathers:   Jacob Hogue, Henry Clark, Solomon Trower,

                                      Thomas Berry

My 5th great Uncle KIA Kings Mountain: Nathaniel Dryden

Have several ancestors that fought in the Revolutionary War. Direct Ancestor David Maple, During the Revolutionary War: Served in Captain Aaron Longstreet's Co, Third Regiment of Middlesex County Militia

I thought I was descended from Thomas Vaughan (1756-) of Albemarle Colony, Virginia. Further analysis revealed I'm probably from another line.
Yes several.!
Capt James Christie is my ancestor born in New Jersey

His fsther was William James Christie and a privste in the sane war.
William Green Sr.  From North Carolina.   Was living in Hillsborough when he was in the Colonial Army.   Buried somewhere in Haywood County North Carolina.   My goal this spring is to find his grave.
Not him but thank you .

144 Answers

+39 votes

My mom's side had many soldiers in the Revolution. Here is a snippet about one of my female ancestors from the Revolution:


Jannetje Van Rypen Tuers, was a Jersey City patriot whose actions quite possibly changed the course of the Revolutionary War.

Jane was the wife of a Bergen Village farmer, Nicholas Tuers, whose homestead was located at the corner of Bergen Avenue and Mercer Street (now Jersey City).  During the Revolution, she traveled from Bergen to New York to sell produce, and deliver food to colonial prisoners.  She sold her produce in Bear Market where traders spoke Dutch despite the English occupation.  She often stopped at Fraunces Tavern (restored at Pearl & Broad Street in Manhattan) operated by "Black Sam" Fraunces.  Fraunces was a West Indian and a loyal patriot who became Washington's steward when Washington was sworn as president, and the capitol was New York.

Fraunces told her that he overhead English officers in the tavern speak of Benedict Arnold and his treacherous plan to surrender the West Pont garrison to English forces.  The English had gone so far to drink a toast to Arnold.

Jane hurried home, back across the Hudson River, and told her brother, Daniel Van Rypen what she had heard.  Daniel and his father were both loyal patriots, and he felt the information was of the utmost importance.  He immediately rode on horseback to the headquarters of General "Mad" Anthony Wayne at Hackensack, and Wayne sent Van Rypen with an escort to Washington's headquarters.

General Washington had heard vague rumors of Arnold's discontent, but Jane Tuers story confirmed the plot.  He now knew of the Arnold conspiracy three days before the capture of Major John Andre, Arnold's go-between with the English.

Washington thanked Van Rypen and offered him a cash reward.  Van Rypen declined the offer, saying, "I do not serve my country for money, but in case I am taken prisoner by the English, I would like to be released with your help, sir."

General Arnold, learning that his scheme had failed, escaped to New York and protection of the English.  Nonetheless, the plot was foiled.




Image result for canada day humor gifs

by Doug Lockwood G2G Astronaut (2.4m points)
Too funny! Thanks.
Very amoosing! :-)
My daughter, whose great-grandfather was Colonel William Crawford, works in the financial district. Thanks for the info on Fraunces Tavern, According to wikipedia, there is a museum there maintained by the SAR. We are going there soon!
This is an awesome narrative...
I was just in the Fraunces Tavern yesterday in the Financial District of New York City. There is a brand new exhibit there - in the Museum section- which includes info on the women spies in the American Revolution - many documents and portraits. If you are ever in the NYC area, let me know. I am not too far away in Connecticut.

I have many RS ancestors. If forced to choose a favorite, I'd have to go with my own female DAR ancestor, A055108 Barbara Wagner Heyer 1711–1789. I posted her story, with links, background as an immigrant ancestor, and family sheet, in the groundbreaking woman thread.

Nothing as exciting as tipping off General Washington about Benedict Arnold in her 60s, but clearly a brave and tenacious woman.

+22 votes
Thirty. (But who's counting. :-)

I made a special subheading for them on my profile page:

Happy Birthday USA!!!! (Or maybe not, but it's the day we celebrate.)
by Bill Vincent G2G6 Pilot (120k points)
I have 25 direct ancestors and at least as many that were uncles, cousins, etc. It has been a great pleasure learning about all their service. ( and the odd Loyalist ancestor, too!)
+22 votes
Anyone who can trace their family back 230 years in this country is likely to have a patriot or two. I have several, including DAR recognized patriots John Bebout, Sr., John Bebout, Jr., John Adams 1740-1799, and Robert Moore 1732-1805. I also have several more not yet recognized who I am working on.
by Brenda Carter G2G2 (2.4k points)
+21 votes
Only one confirmed so far.

James Harrower was part of the 42nd Regiment of Foot in the British Army. He apparnetly was part of the reservists in the Battle of Long Island and was injured in the hand and foot.

He returned to his home country of Scotland after the war and served in an 'invalid' company for the British army there for many more years.

His offspring immigrated to Ontario, Canada, in the 1800s, claiming land grants from the government for settling in Canada.

A lot of my ancestors immigrated to Canada initially, but then ended up in the US. I do have one other line that immigrated to Connecticut in the 1700s or so and seemed like they were around at the proper time, but not sure on the details on their potential service in the war.

(Happy Canada Day, as I am a Canadian!)
by Kristen Louca G2G6 Mach 2 (28.2k points)
Well done on what seems to me should have been obvious. There must be Ancestors on the Loyalist side as well. There appears to be an attitude that only supporters of Washington fought in this conflict. I regard myself as an outsider from Australia, but can not help wondering about those poor boys who were part of the British loyal forces and fought for their King. As you have pointed out there were those who fought for the other side (loyalist), ad should be honored as well.

It worked both ways, as there were people from Quebec and the Maritimes who wanted independence for their own colonies as well and as a result were forced to leave their homes and seek refuge in the US at the close of the war.  See, for example:

  • Everest, Allan Seymour (1977). Moses Hazen and the Canadian Refugees in the American Revolution. Syracuse University Press. ISBN 978-0-8156-0129-6.
The Revolutionary War was actually a civil war that involved all of British North America, even beyond the Thirteen Colonies who sent representatives to the Continental Congress.  
+16 votes
At least two who served as captains in the CT state militia, though neither saw combat.
by Eric Moore G2G Crew (680 points)
+24 votes
While I am a member of Daughters of the American Revolution through my ancestor Isaac Lee, I have 4 more that I am working to "prove".   Trust me DAR is a lot more strict on sources than Wikitree!
by Robin Lee G2G6 Pilot (627k points)
I am also in that process. My husband has several ancestors, too, in the Revolutionary War, but I am wondering how to prove them. Did you use to get copies of certificates?
In some cases, yes.   My ancestor was Quaker, so I was able to get a lot of the data from the Quaker website.  I have found that wills are easier to get through the local library or genealogical group where your ancestor died.   Lots of my records I got directly from county sites.   Unless you already have an account, it is a lot less expensive to just order a $5 copy from the county offices.
+15 votes
Lots ... can't count them all as they're in different categories by state and such.  Looked at the officer category and there's nine there.
by Bob Jewett G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
+16 votes

I have many on my maternal side and some were American Patriots. My 5th great grandfather was at Valley Forge in the winter of 1777-78 in the  American Continental Army.

by James Stratman G2G6 Mach 8 (80.6k points)
My 4th GGF was there too.
+17 votes
In the book 1776 I am learning about the Putnam brothers. Both were Generals and there is a standing fort with that name.
by Cheryl Hase G2G Crew (710 points)
+21 votes

   Well, I have quite a few, from several states. My grandmother was a member of the DAR.  Perhaps the most illustrious of an illustrious crew was Samuel Spaulding, who answered the call on the morning of Lexington and Concord, and who allegedly was at the Boston Tea Party and the Battle of Bunker Hill as well. 

     One officer in the NY forces, Lt. David Gue  Several others in the NY militia, one of whom perhaps was scalped by Indians in the Mohawk Valley.  Others from Rhode Island, Virginia, and probably North Carolina as well; I haven't been able to find out about all of them yet.

    Also one Lt. in the British Army in Connecticut, who was sorted out early by the Revolutionary government there and probably sat out the war.  After the war, he picked up with his family and moved to Canada "to breathe some of King George's air."

       I have one ancestor born in St. Catherine's, Ontario to Americans, who stayed an American citizen.  Does this make me a Canadian?  Anyway, Happy Canada Day to our northern neighbors. 

      And of course, Happy Fourth of July to all Americans everywhere!  But I deeply miss the ability to legally shoot off fireworks on the Fourth.  My wish is that the nation preserves the rights our ancestors suffered so much to guarantee us.

by Dan Sparkman G2G6 Mach 2 (21.2k points)
+16 votes
Hi Julide,

I have over 550 relatives who participated in the Revolution. Most of them are from New York state.

by Richard Hayes G2G6 (6.5k points)
+15 votes

Capt. John Chambers is my paternal 6th great-grandfather and an American Revolutionary War patriot. I just wrote up his bio this past week.:)  I have several others in my family tree but need to do more documentation on them.

by anonymous G2G6 Mach 3 (32k points)
+14 votes
The area where my ancestors were was right in the middle of things. I grew up between Kings Mountain and the Battle of Cowpens. Here are some of mine (some are brothers of direct ancestors). Needs work:
by Paula J G2G6 Pilot (241k points)
+14 votes
My 3rd gr. granddad, Martin DuBois and 4th gr. granddad, Conrad DuBois are Revolutionary Patriots. Martin served as a bugler in 1782.
by Rod DuBois G2G6 Pilot (178k points)
+15 votes
If you are proud of your 1776 profiles and would like to see them showcased by the Military and War project, that is this month's theme!

Nominate them here:
by Paula J G2G6 Pilot (241k points)
+14 votes

I probably do.  My maternal grandfather James J. Brown comes from a very old Virginia family, and there are stories about an ancestor who served with George Washington, but I haven't done much research on that line.  Yet!  :)

by Vicky Majewski G2G6 Mach 7 (74k points)
+13 votes
I have several Patriots.  One was a General named Henry Hooper who was basically in charge of Maryland's Eastern Shore and tasked to protect it against an invasion which never really happened.  But there were plenty of skirmishes.  The other were the Nixon brothers, James and George, who also turn out to be the ancestors of Richard M Nixon.  They fought at Valley Forge and the Battle of Brandywine.
by Gurney Thompson G2G6 Pilot (152k points)
I went back and found the pension application written by George Nixon and it humorously documents his involvement in the Revolutionary War.  George writes that he “joined the Army of Washington, recrossed the (Delaware) River with him and were stationed with him at said Trenton on the memorable 2d of January 1777 when the British marched to attack the Americans.  This deponent is old and frail but well recollects the whole scene then displayed.  After reviewing the fires about midnight the American troops were silently withdrawn and after gaining a position in the enemy’s rear were marched towards Princeton, near which place early next morning they met the rear of the British troops where a battle was fought and the latter defeated.  In which this deponent bore his share to the best of his skill and understanding as Ensign in said Company and has now in his possession the very Sword and Spontoon (half-pike) by him carried on that occasion.”
+13 votes
Yes, my 4th Great Grandfather, Christopher Bittenbender, was a member of the Northampton County Pennsylvania's 7th Company, 3rd Battalion, part of the Flying Camp. He was captured at the Battle of Long Island on Aug. 27, 1776.
by Roy Gehris G2G3 (3.1k points)

I am a direct descendent of Colonel John Michael Smyser of York, Pennsylvania.  He became Captain of a company under Col. M. Swope's regiment. Taken prisoner at Fort Washington, NY(November 16, 1776). Retired as a Colonel.  He was a member of the flying camp also.


Thanks for selecting my answer concerning my answer concerning my Revolutionary War ancestor. From what I have found, it appears that Christoffer Bittenbender was a POW for 6 months on a British ship in a New York bay. Many of those men died and were thrown overboard into the bay.

You mention that your Revokutionary War ancestor was imprisoned by the British on a ship anchored in NY harbor.  You might be interested in these articles.

+13 votes
I have discovered 5 Revolutionary patriots, but have proved 1 (so far) to the DAR's rigorous standards.

Reinholt Abendschon/Obenchain
Alexander Chubb  (DAR proven)
Matthias Hollopeter
Balzer Leffel
John Leffel

Wikitree provided a wonderful platform in which to organize my research.  Even better, shortly after my induction to the DAR, a 2nd cousin discovered my Wikitree work and leveraged it for her and her daughter's applications for induction to the DAR.
by Cathryn Hondros G2G6 Mach 2 (23.8k points)
+13 votes

One 4th-great-grandfather, Henry McDaniel, enlisted "sometime in the latter part of spring, or beginning of summer in 1779". According to his 1832 affidavit for pension, he was just 13 at the time. He served, in his own words, "in the Regiment commanded by Col. Lynch commonly called Lynchs Rangers or Lynchs Light Horse". The Regiment fought in the American South, including "Kings Mountain where we had a severe skirmish with the Tories, in which [he] recd a wound in [his] thigh". The Battle of King's Mountain is considered the turning point in the southern campaign and I think provided inspiration for the climactic battle in "The Patriot". Fortunately, Henry's wound was not so severe that it kept him out of action and, after a few additional skirmishes, he himself "was detached from Regiment to attend upon the sick & wounded soldiers". Henry McDaniel was, IMHO, a hero and true patriot.

Another 4th-great-grandfather, Philip Seiler, enlisted in 1776. He joined the 5th Pennsylvania Regiment, then commanded by Major Hartman, and served 11 months and 14 days. He enlisted again in 1777 in Grubb's Pennsylvania Regiment and fought at the Battle of Brandywine.

by Loretta Layman G2G6 Mach 2 (28.4k points)
edited by Loretta Layman
I have numerous ancestors who fought in the Revolution, the most famous perhaps was Jason Russell was killed April 19,1775 in Menotomy, MA (now Arlington) along with several other patriots at his home by the retreating British.

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