Happy Independence Day

Signing of the Declaration of Independence

On July 4, 1776, two hundred and thirty-six years ago, representatives of each of the thirteen colonies, who were then already at war with Great Britain, adopted the Declaration of Independence in a session of the Continental Congress. This event marked the birth of the United States of America.

In honor of this historic event, I want to present in this post my known ancestors that served in the American Revolutionary War.

David Dunton (1758-1829), my 5th great grandfather, served in Capt. Hasting’s Company of Col. John Brook’s Regiment (7th Massachusetts Regiment) of the Massachusetts Continental Line. David enlisted into Brook’s Regiment on April 11, 1781 and served for three years, first at the rank of Corporal and finally Sergeant.

Samuel Stearns, Jr. (1754-1840), my 5th great grandfather, served in Capt. John Jones’s Company of Col. Ephraim Doolittle’s Regiment (or 18th Massachusetts Regiment) of the Massachusetts Continental Line. Samuel enlisted on May 22, 1775 as a private in Doolittle’s Regiment. He served two months and fifteen days.

Enos Davis Headstone

Enos Davis (1760-1841), my 5th great grandfather, served in Capt. Henry Gates’s Company in the 1st Maryland Regiment of the Maryland Continental Line. Enos enlisted as a private in Gates’s Company on July 5, 1778 and served until December, 1779.

Obadiah Wilson (1758-1826), my 6th great grandfather, served first in Capt. Mathew Jack’s Company and second in Capt. John Findley’s Company in Col. Daniel Brodhead’s Regiment (8th Pennsylvania Regiment) of the Pennsylvania Continental Line. According to his pension records, he served for three years at the rank of private.

Simeon Reynolds (1763-1837), my 6th great grandfather, served first in Capt. Beriah Bill’s Company in Col. John Durkee’s Regiment (4th Connecticut Regiment) of the Connecticut Continental Line, and second in Capt. Samuel Clift’s Company in Col. Zebulon Butler’s Regiment (3rd Connecticut Regiment) of the Connecticut Continental Line. He enlisted as a private on March 1, 1778 and served for three years as a musician. Simeon may have been a Valley Forge, as Col. Durkee’s Regiment was.

Peter Todd (1756-1841), my 7th great grandfather, served in Capt. Robert Moore’s Company of the North Carolina Militia. He enlisted as a private in summer of 1776 and went on a sixth month expedition under Gen. Griffith Rutherford in a campaign against the Cherokee (part of the Chickamauga Wars). In 1780, he enlisted again as part of Capt. Robert Moore’s Company in Lt. Col. Archibald Lytle’s Regiment (6th North Carolina Regiment) to fight the British and their supporters (Tories), serving three months.

William Gifford (ca. 1750-1831), my 6th great grandfather, served in Capt. Moses Shelby’s Company in Col. Isaac Shelby’s Regiment in a campaign against the Cherokee in 1779 (part of the Chickamauga Wars). In 1788, he also served in Capt. Thomas Vincent’s Company in another campaign that was a part the Chickamauga Wars. (Some have claimed that he was a Lieutenant in the 5th Dutchess County Militia in 1778-1779, but this has not been proven or documented.)

An Example of a Pine Knot

Another ancestor, William Thornton (1766-1843), my 7th great grandfather, was for a long time reported in the DAR Patriot Index to have served as a private in the Virginia Dragoons. However, this account was shown not to be this William Thornton by 1990’s. It is presently unclear if he served at all. However, a family anecdote somehow managed to be passed down involving the American Revolution. In old age, William was noted to have had scares on his head, and when asked about them he informed his family that they were put there during the American Revolution by Tories (British loyalists) who severely beat him with pine knots (or cones) for being a Whig (supporter of Independence). This account has always been offered as why William enlisted.

In addition to these, I have one ancestor that is claimed to have served in the American Revolution but on the side of the British: John Worthington (1729-1810), my 7th great grandfather. John is said to have served in the British Legion. However, I have not been able to confirm this yet.

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9 thoughts on “Happy Independence Day

    1. Thank you. 🙂 Most of these took a long time to track down and wade through false statements. I used various sources, including pension records, published rosters and histories, and especially applications from Daughters of the American Revolution and Sons of the American Revolution. In looking at ancestors from this time, I was expecting a few others to have served, but I have found no record.

  1. William-
    Great blog. Great research.
    Obadiah Wilson’s pension info. in Licking County is a great source of info.
    In it he does list his young children.
    You mention that Margaret (Wilson) McLaughlin, who married Thomas, was the daughter of Obadiah Wilson, the Revolutionary War veteran.
    Margaret and Thomas are buried next to a Levi (Lewis?) and Margaret in the Eden Cemetery in Licking County, Ohio for sure.
    Levi (Lewis?) corresponds to one of Obadiah’s children on the pension and his tombstone’s birthdate matches Obadiah’s pension.
    However, there was no Margaret listed on Obadiah’s pension, unless I missed something.
    That the two couples are buried next to each other is intriguing.
    Just wondering if there’s some document connecting Margaret to Obadiah.
    Thanks so much!
    CRW

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