From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

My Revolutionary Ancestors

Passionate about freedom


In preparation for an upcoming get-together with my sister and brother, I've been organizing and printing some family tree information that I think might be particularly interesting to them.

On my father's side of the family, there are several lines that go back to early colonial days in New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and North Carolina.  And on my mom's side of the family, some of her maternal grandmother's people were here during the same time period, in Maryland, Delaware and North Carolina. Almost all of these folks were from England originally, and several of them participated in the American Revolution.

Tonight, I made a list of our Revolutionary ancestors with a brief description of their service. I'm going to include it in the family info I'm assembling for my siblings. It's not a proper genealogical document yet because I didn't list out the sources, but I will improve it in the future.

When I counted the names on my list, I saw that we have at least twelve Revolutionary patriots and/or soldiers in our family tree. I am immensely proud to be their descendant, but I am also humbled as I think of their willingness to risk their lives for the cause of freedom and independence.

I've read several of their applications for war pensions, in which they described their service, and I've decided that we have far too little respect for the American colonists who fought for freedom and independence. We say the word "sacrifice" so glibly when we talk about them, and we don't even think about what their sacrifices really were or what hardships they endured. (And that's true for all soldiers in every war, not just for my ancestors.)

I wonder if my Revolutionary ancestors would be as proud of me as I am of them. And what would they think of the nation now? The preservation of hard-won, blood-bought freedom is such an important responsibility -- am I doing my part?

Here are their names:
Four images of Revolutionary War battles
Image source and artist info

Ezra Caswell
Private for 3 years in Capt. Thomas Converse's Connecticut line, discharged at Fishkill, NY.

Elijah Clark
Enlisted by Samuel Jones. Enrolled July 17, 1776. Passed by Will. Harrison July 27th, 1776. Private in militia. From his Revolutionary war pension application: he “served in a regiment of the Maryland line, he does not recollect the number, under the following named officers. General George Washington, Samuel Adkinson Col., John Tabs Maj'r., Thomas Henson Capt., Sam'l. Jones & William Henson Leftenants, William Adams Ensign, John Grant Sergeant, William Tiler Second Sergeant.”

Smith Mapes and 
Samuel Mapes
Smith Mapes and his father Samuel Mapes were signers of the Revolutionary Pledge and both served in the Second (“South-end”) Regiment, Ulster County, New York Militia, under Colonel James McGlaghry.

Jeremiah Cory
Private in the Morris County Militia (New Jersey). The Indiana DAR* notes that he was taken prisoner during his service.

Isaac Messenger
Isaac served in Capt. Amassa Mill's Company, Connecticut Regiment, 5th Regiment of Light Horse. Seven Messenger brothers served, and all survived the war. Only one was wounded.

Reuben Martin
According to his Revolutionary War pension application, he served in Sussex County, New Jersey, militia in the company of his brother, Captain John Martin, commanded by another brother, Colonel Edmond Martin; was under Colonel Edmond Martin in the battle of the Brandywine, where he was wounded and at Germantown, and was at Middle Brook May 10, 1778, under the same brother.

Nathan Slaughter
02 Mar 1778, Subscribed to the Oath of Allegiance and Fidelity (made his "A" mark) before the Hon. Richard Mason, Caroline County, Maryland. (This doesn't seems quite as illustrious an act of service as some of the others, but signing an oath of allegiance is considered an act of patriotism by the DAR* and SAR**.)

Robert Hill
Joined Capt. Jonathan Wood's company, 8th Worcester County, Massachusetts, regiment. Joined Capt. Smith's company, Col Bigelow's regiment for 3 years, etc. He has a long service record in “Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary War.” His service included shoemaking, Oct 1778- Feb 1779. Discharged Jan 2, 1780.

Basil Israel
Maryland Militia. Commissioned as Ensign, August 28, 1777, and served for the duration of the war in various capacities, according to SAR and family records.

John Ferry
Private in New York Continental Line, 1st Regiment, under Col. Goose VanSchaick, (according to "New York in the Revolution, page 32.) His wife, Susannah Munn, served as a nurse for part of the time that he was in service.

Susannah Munn
Field Nurse 1st Regiment, New York Continental Line.

* DAR: Daughters of the American Revolution
**SAR: Sons of the American Revolution;
(Membership in these two organizations is limited to those who can prove that an ancestor served in the American Revolution.)

3 comments:

Collagemama said...

Very interesting. I love the names. Saying them aloud is like a patriotic poem.

Genevieve said...

I think every one of them has a Biblical first name, except for Susannah which appears in the Appocrypha (sp?).

John Ruberry said...

Awesome. My family only goes back to 1850 here, I had two ancestors, both on my family's side, who fought with the Union in the Civil War.

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.