Daniel Knowlton

Daniel Knowlton (bef. 1738 - 1825)

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Pvt Daniel Knowlton aka Knoulton, Knolton
Born before in Boxford, Essex, Province of Massachusetts Baymap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married in Ashford, Windham, Colony of Connecticutmap
Husband of — married [location unknown]
Descendants descendants
Died in Ashford, Windham, Connecticut, United States of Americamap
Profile last modified | Created 11 Sep 2011
This page has been accessed 645 times.

Categories: Knowlton's Rangers, Continental Army, American Revolution | Wadsworth's Brigade, Continental Army, American Revolution | Battle of White Plains | Battle of Long Island | Battle of Harlem Heights | American Revolution | Connecticut Colony, French and Indian War | Essex County, Massachusetts, Knowlton Name Study | Westford Hill Cemetery, Ashford, Connecticut | Roll of Honor Military Showcase Profile Nominee | Connecticut, Knowlton Name Study.


Pvt Daniel Knowlton served during the American Revolution
Service started:
Service ended:

Daniel was a member of Knowlton's Rangers "an elite reconnaissance and espionage detachment of the Continental Army established by George Washington." [1] It was named after Daniel's brother, Thomas, who was the commander of the unit which was formed in 1776.

William and Martha Knowlton had nine children. Their son, Daniel Knowlton, was baptized 31 Dec 1738 in Boxford, Massachusetts.[2][3]

Daniel married, first, 3 Nov 1763, at Ashford, Elizabeth Farnham[4] of Ashford, Connecticut.[3] Elisabeth wife of Daniel died 1 June 1786.[4]

He married, second, 24 Apr 1788, Rebecah Fenton[4] of Willington.[3]

Lieut. Daniel Knowlton died May 31, 1825. Aged 86.[5]

Daniel Knowlton was baptized in the West Parish of Boxford, Massachusetts, 31 Dec 1738. Herrick claims it was custom at the time to be baptized eight days after birth, so he was born 23 Dec 1738.[6] Late in the year 1740, William Knowlton moved his family from West Boxford to a farm in Ashford, Connecticut.[6]

At age nineteen, Daniel enlisted in the Colonial regiments for service in the French and Indian wars, as did his slightly younger brother Thomas. He was often sent in command of small parties sent to scout in the forest. Here he was known for his bravery and daring. Knowlton did most of his early fighting during the campaign in Northern New York, in the areas of Forts Edward and Ticonderoga.[6]

In June 1753, Daniel was with Colonel Eleazer Fitch’s Third Connecticut regiment, and Captain Jedediah Fay’s company at Crown Point. Daniel’s small force captured and hanged (using hickory sapling bark for ropes) a gang of bloodthirsty, odious, terrible desperadoes.[6]

Between the 15th of March and the 17th of October, 1757, while serving in Capt. John Slapp’s company,[7] Phineas Lyman’s First Connecticut Regiment, in Lord Louden’s expedition to Fort Edward, Daniel saved the life of Israel Putnam (later General Putnam), who had ventured into the dense forest outside Fort Edward and was attacked by a warlike Indian. In the nick of time, before the tomahawk flew, Knowlton came to his friend’s relief and brought down the Indian by a shot from his musket. Putnam and Knowlton, who lived in neighboring Connecticut towns, remained lifelong friends.[6]

From 1 May to 20 Nov 1758, he and his brother served in Capt. Jedediah Fay's Tenth Company, 3rd Regiment of Connecticut Troops.[7]

7 May 1761 to 30 Dec 1761, Daniel was Sergeant in Captain Robert Durkee’s company, Phineas Lyman’s 1st Connecticut Regiment.[7] 4 March 1762 to 4 Dec 1762 he was in Captain Hugh Ledlie’s company of Lyman’s First Regiment.[7] Herrick assigns these two companies to Crown Point,[6] which was relatively quiet, mainly working on fortifications during the time. [8]

Daniel’s brother, Thomas, served in the British expedition to Havana against Spain (Mar to Aug 1762). Because the two served together in other companies, it is believed that Daniel was there with his brother, but most of the muster rolls were lost or destroyed.[6]

At this point in Daniel’s career he married and lived a fairly normal life, farming in Ashford.[6]

He was described as being a “very tall, wiry man, slightly stooping shoulders, high brow, prominent nose, stern though gentle features, and blue eyes. One eye had been badly injured by a prickly branch, while chasing a band of Indians.[6]

When the American Revolution began Daniel was quick to respond. When his brother, now Colonel Thomas Knowlton, arrived in Boston, General Israel Putnam asked after Daniel, who had gone in a different direction. The General remarked, “I am sorry that you did not bring him with you; he alone is worth half a company. Such is his courage and lack of fear I could order him into the mouth of a loaded cannon, and he would go.”[6]

Daniel was commissioned Ensign of Colonel John Chester’s Connecticut regiment, Sixth Battalion, Wadsworth’s Brigade, Captain Reuben Marcy’s company, in June 1776. This Battalion was raised to reinforce Washington in New York. They were stationed at Flatbush Pass and participated in the Battle of Long Island 27 August 1776, just avoiding capture by the enemy.[6][9]

After the Battle of Long Island. Daniel was detached from Chester’s company and was assigned to Knowlton’s Rangers,[10] a unigue group of “scouts”. This is not surprising considering his previous experience and his brother Colonel Thomas Knowlton was in command. At the Battle of Harlem Heights, 16 September 1776, Thomas was killed. Daniel, in another part of the field, heard of his brother’s death and stated: “we will retrieve my brother”s loss.” Before the day ended the loss was partially alleviated by the success at Harlem Heights. This was the first decisive victory of the war.[6]

Daniel returned to Chesters regiment and participated in the Battle of White Plains, New York, 28 October 1776. He was appointed a second lieutenant by the state assembly and again rejoined Knowlton’s rangers. At the fight at Fort Washington he and the entire garrison were made a prisoners of war.[6]

Daniel remained in the hands of the enemy for two years. Some of the time was spent on the infamous prison ship “Jersey.” Later he was close to death while confined to an old meeting house on Long Island. Had it not been for the compassion of one woman, who smuggled food and water to him, he surely would have perished. Years later, at service in the Westford church a hymn was begun containing the words “Give Britain praise” Daniel rose and requested that the hymn not be sung, he was ignored, so he arose from his seat and marched out of the church, declaring that he couldn’t worship with a congregation that “gave Britain praise for anything.”[6]

After being exchanged with other prisoners, Daniel was assigned as Lieutenant to Captain Joshua Bottom’s company, Lieutenant-Colonel Levi Well’s regiment[11] and was with them at the Battle of Horseneck, 9 December 1780, where again he was taken prisoner. After being released, he went home to Ashford for a brief time. Patriot that he was, he enlisted again, was commissioned as first lieutenant, and joined Captain Benjamin Durkee’s company of Mattrosses, in the Provisional Regiment stationed at Fort Trumbull, New London, Connecticut, from 16 July 1782 until the end of the war.[12][13][6]

He retired to farm life after the war. His first wife died and he remarried and had two more children. He died from a fall in the barn at Ashford, 31 May 1825.[6]

His gravestone is simple.[14]

Daniel Knowlton,
May 31 1825,
aged 86 years.”
A Patriot of the

It has been asked, why didn’t Knowlton attain the higher military rank he deserved? Partly because he spent much time as a prisoner of war. Partly because he turned down promotions preferring to stay where he felt he could best serve. A later descendant answered the question, “The best acknowledgment of a man’s services to his race is rendered when his countrymen demand with surprise why his deeds are not more publicly appreciated.”[6]

A fuller account of Daniel's exploits is given in “Lieutenant Daniel Knowlton and His Military Descendants” by William Herrick Griffith from which this shortened account has been drawn.

Will: "In the Fear of God and in hope of being Saved by his Mercy and free Grace I Daniel Knowlton of Ashford in the County of Windham and State of Connecticut ... buried in A Christian like manner and that suitable monuments be Erected at my Grave ... Just Debts and funeral expences be all settled and paid ... to my Beloved Wife Rebeckah Knowlton, ... to my son Marvin Knowlton ... son Daniel Knowlton ... Heirs of Elizabeth Chaffee ... son Nathaniel Knowlton ... son Manasseh Knowlton ... son Ephraim Knowlton ... Daughter Martha Brandon ... Daughter Keziah Lyon ... Daughter Hannah Knowlton ... son Erastus F. Knowlton ... Daniel Knowlton and Marvin Knowlton Both Ashford ... Executors ... 9th Day of March AD 1824."
Presented in court 7 June 1825. Inventory 25 August 1825 valued at $982.98[15].

Lieut. Daniel and Elizabeth had:[3]

  1. Daniel was born 7 December 1765;[4] died February 1834;[3] married Betsey Burchard 4 Apr 1793.[4] They had seven children.[3]
  2. Elizabeth was born 24 March 1768.[4] She married Frederick Chaffee 6 Mar 1788[4] of Ashford.
  3. Nathaniel (twin) was born 24 December 1770[4] and married Hannah Farnham.[3]
  4. Manassah (twin) was born 24 Dec 1770[4] Not on Woodward's list.
  5. Ephraim was born 3 October 1773[4]
  6. Martha was born 24 February 1777.[4] She married Charles Brandan[4] of Ashford.[3]
  7. Kesiah was born 9 February 1781;[4] married 3 January 1805 Amasa Lyon,[4] Esq. of Ashford. Their son was general Nathaniel Lyon.
  8. Hannah was born 19 April 1783.[4] She married Daniel Knowlton 2nd, 24 Nov 1803.[4]

Lieut. Daniel and Rebecca had:

8. Erastus Fenton, born 29 Jan 1790[4] and married Waite Windsor of Gloucester, Rhode Island.[3]
9. Marvin was born 3 Sep 1794.[4] He married Calista Leonard[4] of Stafford, Connecticut.[3]


  1. Wikipedia article "Knowlton's Rangers
  2. Vital records of Boxford, Massachusetts to the end of the year 1849. Topsfield, Mass., Topsfield historical society, 1905. p. 58
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 Woodward, Ashbel, MD of Franklin, Conn. "Memoir of Col. Thomas Knowlton, with a Genealogy of the Knowlton Family." NEHGR Vol 15 (1861) p 345
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 4.15 4.16 4.17 4.18 White, Lorraine Cook, ed. The Barbour Collection of Connecticut Town Vital Records. Vol. 1-55. Baltimore, MD, USA: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1994-2002.
  5. Woodward says he died 30 March 1835, which is clearly wrong.
  6. 6.00 6.01 6.02 6.03 6.04 6.05 6.06 6.07 6.08 6.09 6.10 6.11 6.12 6.13 6.14 6.15 6.16 Griffith William Herrick. “Lieutenant Daniel Knowlton and His Military Descendants.” p. 49 of Prospectus and Year Book Containing the History, Constitutions, By-laws, List of Officers and Members of the Knowlton Association of America from Its Organization. Knowlton Association of America, Miner Rockwell Knowlton S. H. Wentworth, printer, 1897.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Collections of the Connecticut Historical Society Volume X. Rolls of Connecticut Men in the French and Indian War, 1755-1762. Hartford: Connecticut Historical Society, 1905. pp. 6, 106, 252, 315
  8. Crown Point An Outline History
  9. Johnston. The Record of Connecticut Men in the Military and Naval Service During the War of the Revolution, 1775-1783.p. 411
  10. Johnston. [https://archive.org/stream/waroftherevolution00recorich#page/n149/mode/2up/search/Knowlton Knowlton's Rangers.
  11. Johnston. https://archive.org/stream/waroftherevolution00recorich#page/614/mode/2up/search/Knowlton p. 615] one of two regiments composed of Militia spring 1780 to Dec 1780
  12. Johnston. p. 588 Captain Durkee's Company 1st Lieutenant appt Jul 16 1782 disc. Jul 6 83. Enlistment Sep 8 82 to Sept 8 83
  13. Johnston.[https://archive.org/stream/waroftherevolution00recorich#page/628/mode/2up/search/Knowlton p. 629
  14. "Connecticut Cemetery Inscriptions. Ashford. Westford Hill. NEHGR 69:280 Vital Records from The NEHGS Register. Online database. AmericanAncestors.org. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2014. (Compiled from articles originally published in The New England Historical and Genealogical Register.) Link AmericanAncestors ($) Link at Archive.org
  15. Probate Files Collection, Early to 1880; Author: Connecticut State Library (Hartford, Connecticut); Probate Place: Hartford, Connecticut. Probate Packets, Kendall, Septimus-Larned, Daniel, 1752-1880. Daniel Knowlton, Ashford, 1825 #2488, Pomfret Probate District. Connecticut County, District and Probate Courts. Accessed at Ancestry.com
1800 USA Census : Ashford, Windham, Connecticut. Daniel Knowlton.
Free White Persons - Males - Under 10: 1 //
Free White Persons - Males -10 thru 15: 1 //
Free White Persons - Males - 45 and over: 1 //
Free White Persons - Females - 16 thru 25: 1 //
Free White Persons - Females - 45 and over: 1 //
Number of Household Members Under 16: 2 //
Number of Household Members Over 25: 2 //
Number of Household Members: 5 //
Second Census of the United States, 1800. NARA microfilm publication M32 (52 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C. Census Place: Ashford, Windham, Connecticut; Series: M32; Roll: 2; Page: 841 line 7; Image: 389; Family History Library Film: 205619
1810 USA Census : Ashford, Windham, Connecticut. Daniel Knowlton
Free White Persons - Males - 10 thru 15: 1
Free White Persons - Males - 16 thru 25: 1
Free White Persons - Males - 45 and over: 1
Free White Persons - Females - 16 thru 25: 1
Free White Persons - Females - 26 thru 44: 1
Free White Persons - Females - 45 and over : 1
Number of Household Members Under 16: 1
Number of Household Members Over 25: 3
Number of Household Members: 6
Note a younger Daniel Knowlton is also living in Ashford.
Third Census of the United States, 1810. (NARA microfilm publication M252, 71 rolls). Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C. Census Place: Ashford, Windham, Connecticut; Roll: 3; Page: 556 line 8; Image: 00303; Family History Library Film: 0281231
1820 USA Census: Ashford, Windham, Connecticut. Daniel Knowlton. Although this might be the younger Daniel, It looks more like Daniel Sr. Enumeration Date: August 7, 1820
Free White Persons - Males - 16 thru 25: 1
Free White Persons - Males - 45 and over: 1
Free White Persons - Females - 16 thru 25: 1
Free White Persons - Females - 45 and over : 1
Number of Persons - Engaged in Agriculture: 2
Free White Persons - Over 25: 2
Total Free White Persons: 4
Total All Persons - White, Slaves, Colored, Other: 4
Fourth Census of the United States, 1820. (NARA microfilm publication M33, 142 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C. Census Place: Ashford, Windham, Connecticut; Page: 442; NARA Roll: M33_3; Image: 347

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On 12 Jul 2018 at 02:25 GMT Samuel Knowlton wrote:

Knowlton-319 and Knowlton-1370 appear to represent the same person because: Knowlton-1370 is a duplicate of Knowlton-319 (and had daughter Martha Knowlton, Knowlton-1646 b. 24 Feb 1777 listed as sole daughter; she has been moved).

319 is obviously correct and shouldn't be altered.

Daniel is 17 degrees from Robin Helstrom, 18 degrees from Katy Jurado and 17 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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