Throughout the Colonies the Revolutionary War split communities and families. This was the case in Tredyffrin where there were ardent supporters of the revolutionary cause, some of whom enlisted in the Continental Army, and others who supported the Tory cause (but are more difficult to identify), including at least one person who enlisted in the British Army. There was also a substantial minority of pacifists.
During the run up to the Revolutionary War a Military Association was founded in Pennsylvania, as a civil reserve designed to repel invasion. The Flying Camp was a group of special battalions of Pennsylvania Line troops recruited from the Pennsylvania Associators. The Associators collapsed in the winter of 1776 – 1777. The Pennsylvania Assembly then replaced the Association with the Militia through the "Act to Regulate the Militia of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania" passed on 17 March 1777, and the subsequent Militia Act passed on March 20, 1780, together with their amendments, which required all white men between the ages of 18 and 53 capable of bearing arms to serve two months of militia duty on a rotating basis. Refusal to turn out for military exercises would result in a fine, the proceeds from which were used to hire substitutes. A list of the fines on Tredyffrin residents in 1777, 1778, and 1779 is given in the Appendix. The people described directly below are those who were active in some way during the War. Residents whose houses were used as Quarters or who were plundered by the British have not been included in this list.
As well as the Military Association there was a Chester County Association which was a revolutionary committee. This was set up in 1774 and chaired by Anthony Wayne. Some prominent Tredyffrin residents were members of the committee.
Bartholomew - Joseph Bartholomew of Tredyffrin was made a lieutenant, and later, Benjamin Bartholomew, a captain in the Continental Army, and John Bartholomew, a major in Mercer's Flying Camp in New Jersey (see Readin', 'Ritin', and 'Rithmetic - Schools before the Public School Law). But none of the above are in the Tredyffrin 18th century tax records, they lived in East Whiteland. Benjamin, Joseph and John are buried in Great Valley Baptist Church graveyard.
William Clayton – arrived in Tredyffrin 1773 or 74. There are strong indications he ran the Paoli Inn. In 1777 he was fined for non-attendance for the Militia. He left Tredyffrin during the period of 1777 to 1779.
Richard Currie – born in 1749, son of the Rev. William Currie. Richard joined the First Militia of Pennsylvania. He died of the bloody flux in 1776.
Ross Currie – born in 1754, son of the Rev. William Currie. Ross joined the Continental Army as a 2nd Lieutenant, and was taken prisoner by the British in Canada in 1776. He then changed sides, joined the Pennsylvania Loyalists and moved with them to Nova Scotia. Ross drowned in 1790. He may have committed suicide.
Dr. William Currie – born in 1754, son of the Rev. William Currie. In 1776 he enlisted as a surgeon in Atlee’s Musketry Battalion. He did not re-enlist. Dr. Currie died in Philadelphia in 1829 after a career as a prominent physician in the city.
Rev. William Currie – born in 1710 in Scotland. Pastor of the Episcopalian churches of St. Peter’s in the Great Valley, St. David’s in Radnor, and St. James in Perkiomen. Currie resigned under pressure in 1776 as he refused to omit prayers to the king in his services. He believed that under the oath he took on his ordination he had to include such prayers. Currie died in 1803. Members of the Currie family are buried at St. David’s Church (see photo of gravestones).
Lieutenant Hezekiah Davis – Born: November 22, 1747; died December 27, 1837; buried at Great Valley Presbyterian Church. He was recruited to the Pennsylvania Line through the Flying Camp. He seems to have been captured but when and where is not clear. He is mentioned in Burn’s article, The Invasion of Tredyffrin.
Captain John Davis – Company H, 9th Pennsylvania Regiment 11/15/1776 – 1/17/1781 (The Pennsylvania Line, Regimental Organization and Operations, 1776 – 1783 by John Trussel, Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission (1977)). He was previously captain in Mile’s State Rifle Regiment. Part of Pennsylvania 3rd Brigade at Valley Forge. He took part in the battles of the Brandywine, Paoli, Germantown, Monmouth, Stony Point, and Yorktown, and was also with Wayne in South Carolina and Georgia (see Readin', 'Ritin', and 'Rithmetic - Schools before the Public School Law). Captain Davis died in 1827 and is buried in the Great Valley Presbyterian Churchyard.
Dr. John Davis, Surgeon, enlisted in Atlee’s Musketry Battalion. He was captured in the Battle of Long Island, August 26th, 1776 and imprisoned in a hulk in New York Harbor. He was later freed in a prisoner exchange (see The Invasion of Tredyffrin by Franklin Burns). Dr. Davis died in 1816, aged 71 years old and is buried in the Great Valley Baptist Church graveyard.
William Davis – enlisted as a drummer boy in the Continental Army and served at Valley Forge. In 1789 he married Mary Havard and lived at Duportail’s Quarters. Davis drew a map of Valley Forge showing position of the Brigades and some of the Generals’ Quarters.
William Dewees – a Colonel in the Militia, but is not mentioned in the Revolutionary War Military Records at the Pennsylvania State Archives. Partner and ironmaster at Valley Forge. It is likely that he manufactured Revolutionary War supplies at the upper forge. He was also manager of the gunpowder factory on French Creek until the factory blew up on the 10th March 1777. Dewees was captured by the British while spying in Philadelphia and forced to sign a non-involvement oath. He was financially ruined due to the destruction of the forges in the War. Dewees died in 1809.
Joshua Evans – owner of the Paoli Inn and a member of the Chester County Association.
Frank Fisher, of Tredyffrin. A Marine on the brig "Hyder Ali," Capt. Barney. Fisher was wounded during the capture of the "General Monk" in Delaware Bay, 1782. He enlisted in 1777 and died (about) 1825. Fisher is buried in the Old Eagle School graveyard (see Revolutionary soldiers in the Old Eagle School graveyard by Henry Pleasants).
Joseph Griffith – a lieutenant in the Militia (see the Muster Rolls and The invasion of Tredyffrin by Franklin Burns), but this person is listed under Captain Israel Moore of the Easttown Militia. There was a second Joseph Griffith, a private in Captain Rowland’s company in 1779. Griffith owned property in north Berwyn from 1779 to 1792.
Lewis Gronow – born c. 1749. Lewis was an early proponent for independence. He was a member of the Chester County Association and sub-lieutenant of Chester County. Lewis was elected a member of the General Assembly for Chester County in 1774(?) and in 1778 to 1781. His account books list the fines imposed for non-attendance at militia musters (see below) and he ordered the confiscation of property for non-payment of those fines. Lewis died in 1782.
Ezekial Howell – born September 23rd, 1755; died October 4th, 1812; buried at the Great Valley Presbyterian Church. He was a major in the 4th Artillery Regiment (pay receipts and gravestone). In 1841 his widow, Elizabeth Howell, was receiving a military pension (Survey of Pensioners, 1841, Chester County Archives).
Jacob Huzzard (II), of Tredyffrin - Private, Captain Mordecai Morgan's Company, Colonel John Hannum's Regiment, Chester Co. Militia. Enlisted 6/23/1777; died 1819; buried in Old Eagle School graveyard (see Revolutionary soldiers in the Old Eagle School graveyard by Henry Pleasants).
George King, of Tredyffrin (?), born in 1731. He died on the 5th December 1792 and is buried in St. Peter’s graveyard (see Eighteenth Century Burials in St. Peter’s Churchyard). He is listed as a Revolutionary Soldier. George King owned property in Tredyffrin, but his biggest holdings were in Willistown. He paid taxes in Tredyffrin in some years but mostly he paid taxes in Willistown.
Charles McClean, aka McClain or McLain (1790 census), of Tredyffrin, born in 1741. He enlisted in Dunne's Company, 3rd Pennsylvania Regiment. Wounded at Stony Point, he received pay in 1783 (receipt book). McClean died in July 23, 1798 and is buried in Old Eagle School graveyard (see Revolutionary soldiers in the Old Eagle School graveyard by Henry Pleasants).
Samuel McMinn, of Tredyffrin. A Private in Emergency Militia of 1780, from Chester County. He was excused in 1781 (Appeal Book 1781). McMinn died in Aug. 8, 1811, aged 54 and is buried in Old Eagle School graveyard (see Revolutionary soldiers in the Old Eagle School graveyard by Henry Plesants).
Daniel Maule – a Quaker who had property confiscated for the non-payment of fines. See the minutes of the Quaker Meeting for Suffering for details.
John Phillips – a lieutenant was captured at the battle of Long Island, August 26th 1776. Phillips was imprisoned in a hulk in New York Harbor; later exchanged (reference: The invasion of Tredyffrin by Franklin Burns). John was later a publican who managed the Blue Ball Inn (1781 – 1783), The Leopard (1785), and finally became landlord of the Black Bear (1786 – 1789).
Samuel Richards – a Quaker who had property confiscated for the non-payment of fines. See the minutes of the Quaker Meeting for Suffering for details.
Jonathan Rowland – Little is known about this Jonathan Rowland other than he was a captain in the Militia, 4th Company, 5th Battalion (1777), 6th Company, 4th Battalion (1780- 1781). See the Revolutionary War Military Records at the Pennsylvania State Archives.
Christopher Rue – is listed in records of Militia fines as being of Tredyffrin but he only appears in the township tax returns in 1785. He is also listed as a lieutenant in the Militia company from Easttown.
Abel Thomas – a Quaker who had property confiscated for the non-payment of fines. See the minutes of the Quaker Meeting for Suffering for details.
Jacob Walker – a Quaker who had property confiscated for the non-payment of fines. See the minutes of the Quaker Meeting for Suffering for details.
Joseph Walker – a Quaker who had property confiscated for the non-payment of fines. See the minutes of the Quaker Meeting for Suffering for details.
David Wilson – born in 1745. A Captain in the Militia 1780 - 1783 (6th Company, 4th Battalion), 1783 – 1786 (2nd Company 8th Battalion), 1786 – 1789 (7th Company 6th Battalion), and 1789 – 1792 (7th Company 2nd Battalion). See the Revolutionary War Military Records at the Pennsylvania State Archives. He died on the 24th August 1828 and is buried in Great Valley Presbyterian Church. He was the assessor of the reparation claims against the British which were compiled in 1782.
Edward Woodman – born in 1749; enlisted in the Continental Army and served at Valley Forge. He married Sarah Stephens, daughter of Abijah Stephens and lived on Abijah Stephens’s farm after the War. Edward was the father of Henry Woodman, author of The History of Valley Forge. He died in 1820 and is buried in the Valley Friend’s cemetery. His widow, Sarah Woodman, was receiving a military pension in 1841 (Survey of Pensioners, 1841, Chester County Archives).
Christian Workizer – previously a colonel in the British Army. He repeatedly refused to turn out with the militia, because he once held a commission in the British army and retained a sincere regard for General Wolfe, under whom he had served at Quebec (reference: The invasion of Tredyffrin by Franklin Burns). Workizer died in 1786.
There are 97 names in the list of fines below, 14 of whom are probably Quakers, and 6 Mennonite. Some other residents, for example John Creamer, also had strong convictions against serving, as is shown by them incurring the maximum fine each year.
In total 55 people were fined in 1777; 67 in 1778; and 31 in 1779. To put these numbers in context there were 115 males in the 1778 tax returns but some of these tax payers would have been over 53 years of age, and ineligible for militia service. So it seems that over half of the eligible people were fined for non-attendance at Militia service in 1777 and 1778. During this period the township suffered the British depredations and then the impact of the Valley Forge encampment. Many of the residents were probably more concerned with staving off starvation than serving in the Militia.
These lists show there was a wide range of sentiments in Tredyffrin concerning the revolution but everyone must have been affected by the conflict in one way or another.
Appendix - Lewis Gronow’s List of Fines
Captain Rowland’s Company, Tredyffrin Township
Exercise and class fines for non-attendance in pounds, shillings, and pence. Images of Gronow’s account book are available on Ancestry.com.
Key: M – Mennonite; Q – Quaker; E – Ensign was a junior rank of commissioned officer. Originally the job of the ensign was to carry the ensign (national) flag.
Thanks are due to Patricia Henry who provided information on Quakers used in this study.