Was he too old to fight in the US Revolutionary War?

+11 votes
I see this comment regularly on profiles where men would have been over 65 when the US Revolutionary War started.   "Caution, would have been XX years old at the start of the War"  I take this caution as a critique about the source listed.

As a point of interest, both the Daughters and Sons of the American Revolution recognize as "Patriots" anyone who provided services, or who signed an oath of fidelity.  Therefore, they are listed on the United States Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783   There are also many women listed in the War Rolls as they provided food and lodging.
in The Tree House by Robin Lee G2G6 Pilot (644k points)
I don't like the idea of festooning profiles with this kind of warning, but I think it's a worthwhile caveat -- an alert that we should look carefully at the evidence.

I have a Massachusetts ancestor who has sometimes been mistakenly claimed to have enlisted as a private in the Continental Army in 1780, when he was 56 years old. An ancestor of his age could have had Revolutionary War service, but it would typically be militia service that began earlier in the war (for example, I have other ancestors who "turned out for the Lexington Alarm" in 1775 at rather mature ages), or patriotic service, or civil service. It's unlikely that he would have enlisted as a private in 1780. In this case, the 1780 enlistee was his nephew who shared the same name.
I have ancestors who did milita service in St. Mary's County, Maryland, when they were in their late 40's/early 50's, and at least one NSSAR/NSDAR-recognised patriot ancestor who was born in 1713 and performed patriotic service. The warning can be useful in some instances--the NSDAR database has entries for previously submittted patriot ancestors with notes that claimed service belongs to a son or another man of the same name, for instance, so a disclaimer like that may be useful for lines that appear in older DAR lineage books that have been found problematic.

1 Answer

+2 votes
John Peden-5 was also too old to fight, it is said he loaded rifles.
by Lynette Jester G2G6 Mach 5 (54.7k points)

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