Juniata Patriots of 1770
Port Royal Times
JUNIATA PATRIOTS OF 1770
The following is taken from The Herald of April 19, 1894, and was written by A. Boyd Hamilton:--
In 1882 I prepared an article, setting forth the military services of two
companies of militia former in Juniata county, under Capt. Gibson and Capt.
Hamilton, "of Fermanagh," in 1775 and 1778. Hamilton's as it appeared upon the
pay roll. Another roll of Captain Hamilton is printed in Penna. Arch., Vol. 16, 586.
The service of this company was for two months, from Oct, 1777. This roll has
the same commissioned officers, but no subalterns are given. Many of the
names on this list are to be found on that of 1778. Of the 53 officers and privates
almost every one was a resident in the ancient and ample territory of old
Fermanagh. It is no more than justice to the very stalwart patriotism of this part of
the Juniata Valley, that these names should be brought before a greater number
of local readers, than the select circle who may possess copies of so rare a work
as the 50 volumes of State papers.
Roll of John Hamilton, 5th class, October, 1777:
Captain John Hamilton
First Lieut. William Williams
Second Lieut. John McConnell
Ensign John Henderson
James Howell (Harrell)
James McRoy (McIlroy)
Joseph (James) Stuart
Wm. Ramson (Remson)
Richard Earl (2)
James Purdy, Jr.
The Juniata men had sufficient employment defending their own
firesides -- and crops from destruction, yet from a very sparse population, sent at
least two battalions to the army on the sea coast before 1776 was ended. The
enrollment of these home troops appears to have been negligently kept. Some
rolls have come to us without any officers--some with a commander and a couple
of privates, so that rolls as full as those which are noted herewith are of real
historic value. We quote one under command of Capt. Hugh McAlister, of
Cocolamus, as an illustration.
Captain Hugh McAlister, Aug. 1781 to Oct. 2, 1781.
Robert Gurell (?)
The years 1777 and 1778 were times of great excitement on the frontier,
particularly in Cumberland, Northumberland and Bedford counties, a territory
covering nearly one half of the State. Classes of militia were frequently "called
out" under order for a service of two months, and sent to the frontier along
Penn's Creek, Aughwick, Standing Stone, Kishacoquillas and other mountain
In the various histories of old Cumberland county, covering nearly the whole
valley of the Juniata river and its tributaries, there is no connected narrative of
the "state of the country," that is, of the constant calls for military protection by its
inhabitants. There is sufficient official data now accessible to do this in a most
interesting form. Where traditions of family history agrees with official accounts
such information could be used with great advantage. In most of the histories
tradition has the foremost place. The future has a vast mine of information not
within the reach of those who have heretofore undertaken the history. The brave
women of that day did not march, but had to work. Seventy years ago I heard it
stated that in 1778 there "were none to save the crops from Sherman's Creek to
Kishacoquillas, except the old men and young wives."
The farmers and laborers of the Valley of the Juniata and Susquehanna were
therefore not called upon, as were those of Lancaster, Berks, Chester and Bucks
to defend the Delaware or sea coast region.
There is no roll of the company commanded by Capt. John Hamilton in
service for nine weeks, from July 31, 1777, or of another under the same
command, in service for 8 weeks from May 14, 1778. These companies guarded
the mountain passes on the West Kishacoquillas and Tuscarora Creeks.
Capt. Hugh McAlister's company was stationed "on John Penn's Creek, along
A. Boyd Hamilton
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