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

+96 votes
4k views

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!

asked in The Tree House by Julie Ricketts G2G6 Pilot (254k points)
retagged by Abby Glann
Funny you should ask. I recently started going through my database and culling out a list of those who fought in the Revolution. I'm up to eight and I know there are a lot more. Most from Massachusetts, but also from New Hampshire, Maine and New York. Included is James Parker of Shirley, Mass., who was a minuteman at the Lexington alarm. John Dwight Jr. of Shirley who was deaf in one ear from the effects of a head wound at the battle of White Plains. And, Matthew St. John and Petrus Zufelt of New York, who fought at forts Montgomery and Clinton. Capt. Adna Penniman of N.H., also a minuteman, received a pension.
Double Post

Yes, many... But most notable, in my direct lineage was   Robert Gregg Sr. (1732 - 1796).  He served under Capt. Sawyers, and Col. Christie in the 1774 expedition in Tennessee, which led them to the Tellico Valley towns of the Cherokee. Still later, more trouble with the Cherokee, after the family moved to yet another frontier in Holston Country (Tennessee). 

  1. From "Gragg Descent" ~ GEORGE ROBERT GRAGG 1978 pp-78
  2.  See Photo: http://www.wikitree.com/photo/jpg/Gragg-374-12
  3. See Photo: https://www.wikitree.com/photo/jpg/Gragg-374-5

"Robert Gragg and his son, Samuel, who was seventeen years old at the time, served as privates under Capt. Sawyer and Col Christie in the 1774 campaign...According to Samuel Gragg, son of Robert, in his Revolutionary War Pension Application, the Indian expedition led them to the Tellico Valley towns of the Cherokee, and it was there that his father killed a half-breed Cherokee chief named McCormack. This McCormack was mentioned as a renegade in David H. Corkran's book, The Cherokee Frontier." (From: "Gragg Descent"~GEORGE ROBERT GRAGG 1978 pp-73)

Many Americans (and Canadians, too) have both “Patriots” and “Loyalists” on their family tree.  I have two 4xggrandfathers who fought on opposite sides of the same battle.  They were from two different families who had no idea that their descendants would one day marry each other, but there are cases where siblings who held opposing views supported opposite sides so intensely that a permanent split occurred and whole branches of a family tree were erased from memory.
I have been searching for years for a Jonathon Maynard, from Massachusetts in 1776.This was from a Ripley's believe it or not many years ago. I didn't know much about my father's family and always wondered. When I finally started researching my families, , he was part of the equation. I haven't proved relationship yet ,but I'm slowly working on it.
I have three proved DAR  members  . Dawson Wade , Issac Stephens, Peter Stephens all from Virginia.  Still looking for James Wade ?
I have 7 proved and could do others but frankly I have called it quits on supplementals. NSDAR is very slow with supplementals, they are concentrating on new members as priority. My most recent supplemental took 2 years.

Although I do have several additional Rev War I could quite easily prove as "new soldiers" and would love to honor them, I'm thinking of joining Jamestown instead.
Yes, NSDAR is slow at processing the Supps.  But, for me it is more about proving my heritage than the wait.  I want to honor my ancestors.  Right now I am working on proving a new patriot.  I find it exciting and exhilarating.  And, I know that National is working on speeding up their process to make things faster.
It’s only right that they should give priority to prospective new members who are submitting their first Revolutionary War ancestor in order to join the organization, rather than making them wait in line behind current members submitting their second, fourth or tenth ancestor.  But I’m glad they’re trying to find a way to speed up the process, because the long wait for supplemental approvals has  been a problem for years,
My rebels were:

John Boone (related to Daniel) - born in Pennsylvania and served in North Carolina.

William Davis - Massachusetts.

Nathan Hale (not a direct ancestor; common ancestor James Noyes)  - Connecticut

Robert Jackson - Pennsylvania.

Abraham Lucas - born in New Jersey and served in Pennsylvania.

Thomas Noyes - Massachusetts.

Charles Rector - Virginia.

119 Answers

+3 votes
 
Best answer
My 6th g-g-father, Thaddeus Davis, fought as a Loyalist. He and his wife fled to Ontario, Ca after he was released as a prisoner of war. Ironically his father-in-law fought for the American side out of New York. It must have made for some friction in the family. Thaddeus' wife, Deborah, seems to have supported her husband and lived with him in Canada until her death
answered by Jamie Thompson G2G2 (2.3k points)
+34 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.

 

 

HAPPY CANADA DAY!

Image result for canada day humor gifs

answered by Doug Lockwood G2G Astronaut (2.3m 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.
+19 votes
Thirty. (But who's counting. :-)

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

https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Vincent-18#Patriot_Ancestors

Happy Birthday USA!!!! (Or maybe not, but it's the day we celebrate.)
answered by Bill Vincent G2G6 Mach 3 (36.1k 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!)
+18 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.
answered by Brenda Carter G2G2 (2.2k points)
+19 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!)
answered by Kristen Louca G2G6 Mach 2 (22.9k 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.  
+14 votes
At least two who served as captains in the CT state militia, though neither saw combat.
answered by Eric Moore G2G Crew (620 points)
+21 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!
answered by Robin Lee G2G6 Pilot (445k 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 ancestry.com 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 Ancestry.com account, it is a lot less expensive to just order a $5 copy from the county offices.
+13 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.
answered by Bob Jewett G2G Astronaut (1m points)
+14 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.

answered by James Stratman G2G6 Mach 5 (59k points)
My 4th GGF was there too.
+14 votes
In the book 1776 I am learning about the Putnam brothers. Both were Generals and there is a standing fort with that name.
answered by Cheryl Hase G2G Crew (620 points)
+18 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.

answered by Dan Sparkman G2G6 Mach 1 (16.4k points)
+14 votes
Hi Julide,

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

Richard-5281
answered by Richard Hayes G2G6 (6.2k points)
+13 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.

answered by anonymous G2G6 Mach 3 (31.2k points)
+12 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:

https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Space:My_Revolutionary_Soldiers
answered by Paula J G2G6 Pilot (199k points)
+12 votes
My 3rd gr. granddad, Martin DuBois and 4th gr. granddad, Conrad DuBois are Revolutionary Patriots. Martin served as a bugler in 1782.
answered by Rod DuBois G2G6 Pilot (168k points)
+13 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:

https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Space:Military_Showcase_Profiles
answered by Paula J G2G6 Pilot (199k points)
+12 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!  :)

answered by Vicky Majewski G2G6 Mach 6 (66.9k points)
+11 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.
answered by Gurney Thompson G2G6 Mach 5 (50.9k 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.”
+10 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.
answered by Roy Gehris G2G2 (2.9k 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.

Kathy,

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.

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/grisly-history-brooklyns-revolutionary-war-martyrs-180962508/

https://parkplanning.nps.gov/showFile.cfm?projectID=67264&MIMEType=application%252Fpdf&filename=PRSH%5FScoping%5FFlyer%2Epdf&sfid=267642

+11 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.
answered by Cathryn Hondros G2G6 Mach 2 (21.7k points)

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