Woodward and Related Families in the Revolutionary War

For some generalized comments on how Quakers felt about and participated in (or not!) in the Revolutionary War, among others, vist our Quakers and War Page. Specifics on individual participation are given below.

Woodward and Related Families in the Revolutionary War

Return to Woodward Home Page
Return to Abraham Woodward Biography
Return to William and Eliza Marshall Woodward Page

Woodwards and Related Families in Pennsylvania

Thomas Woodward

Thomas Woodward (only related through marriage to our Woodwards as far as we know, and not a Quaker) was a prisoner of war during the Revolution and his experience is given on the Thomas and Rachel Starr Woodward page. (Note: Recent DNA test results for a descendant of Thomas and Rachel Starr Woodward indicate that this Thomas was indeed related to Richard and Robert Woodward, but probably several generations back in England)

Commonly found among lists of sufferings are expenses for being forced to billet soldiers (see further description of sufferings below). Sometimes this billeting led to romance. Thomas Woodward was probably billeted in the home of James Starr and thus met and married his daughter Rachel Starr. Rachel was a distant cousin of Abraham Woodward, and granddaughter of Evan and Sarah Woodward Jones. Thomas Woodward served in Captain George Garst's Company in Colonel Patterson Bell's regiment of the Chester County militia. He was taken prisoner at Germantown October 4, 1777 but escaped from a rail pen jail. He fought in the Battle of Brandywine September 11, 1777 so we know he was near the area of the Starr's as they lived near Brandywine Creek. Thomas Woodward's father Thomas Woodward was a Sea Captain who immigrated from England to Philadelphia. He too served the the Revolutionary War and was captured and committed to Old Mill Prison in 1782 and taught navigation to the other prisoners while there.

Abraham Marshall

Following the case of Abraham Marshall is instructive in the procedures the Quakers took in dealing with young men who wanted to participate in military service. This Abraham was son of John Marshall and grandson of Abraham and Mary Hunt Marshall, maternal grandparents of Abraham Woodward.He was raised by his uncle, Humphry Marshall, the botanist.

1st Month, 11th day, 1776 Kennett Preparative Meeting complains of Abraham Marshall for being concerned in training in military services and justifies his conduct therein. William Lewis and William Sanborn to visit and report.

2nd Month, 15th day, 1776 Abraham Marshall yet endeavors to justify his conduct. Case continued in care of William Lewis, James Wickersham and William Sanborn.

3rd Month, 14th Day, 1776 Those appointed report that Abraham Marshall proposes to decline the practice of training, etc.

4th Month, 11th day, 1776 Abraham Marshall not visited since last meeting yet it appears by the account of divers Friends at this time that he hath not declined the practice of training, etc., but rather proceeded further than heretofore. Case continued.

5th Month, 16th day, 1776 Testimony signed against Abraham Marshall - James & Enock Wickersham to advise him.

6th Month, 13th day, 1776 John Sanborn & Caleb Pierce had opportunity with Abraham Marshall and he doth not incline to appeal.

7th Month, 11th day, 1776 Testimony against Abraham Marshall read, returned, and recorded.

Daughters of the American Revolution Records
indicate that Abraham Marshall, born 9-25-1747, died 3-17-1829, married Alice Pennock, served as a Captain during the war in Pennsylvania. It must have been difficult for hot blooded young men to maintain their beliefs as the war swirled around them.

Close Relatives of Abraham Woodward

James Woodward, brother of Abraham Woodward served in the Revolutionary War despite a very strong Quaker family background. According to Daughters of the American Revolution National Number 115197 James Woodward was a private (weaver) in the Sixth Class of Captain Thomas Carpenter's West Bradford Company, Chester County Militia.

John Woodward, also brother of Abraham Woodward served as a private during the Revolutionary War.

Abraham Woodward had an uncle, James Woodward whose two sons (cousins of Abraham) Joseph and William both served as privates in the Revolutionary War.

Another distant cousin of Abraham, Thomas Woodward, also served; he was descended from Robert Woodward who came to America with Richard Woodward, Sr.

"Sufferings" of Pennsylvania Quakers

Pursuant to the advice of the Yearly and Quarterly Meetings, Bradford Monthly Meeting in Chester County Pennsylvania, met on the 13th day of 6th month 1777 and appointed a committee for the purpose of documenting cases of "sufferings". Although the Quakers were exempt from military service because of their beliefs, the Continental Army took what it needed in supplies from them. The English Army passed through the Bradford area on the 11th of the 9th month 1777 and the following "sufferings" were reported among others:

James Marshall
(brother of Eliza Marshall Woodward) Five horse creatures valued at 80 pounds, two saddles, 5 pounds, 150 or 180 pounds of cheese, five pounds, ten shillings.

Account was also taken that James Millison(husband of Grace Woodward, aunt of Abraham Woodward) had taken from him out of his house in the 8th month 1776 one gun valued at forty shillings, taken by some who acted under the Authority of the Congress but refused to tell their names.

Woodwards and Related Families in North Carolina

Abraham Woodward

Abraham Woodward, the subject of this web site, was arrested in Guilford County, North Carolina, in 1776 for refusal to inventory his estate (probably for war taxes?). Details below at the end of the North Carolina section.

"Regulators" was a name adopted by various groups who resorted to extralegal means to establish order, oppose corrupt public officials, or hinder the carrying out of policies which which they disagreed. The most important of the Regulators were settlers from the western frontier of North Carolina who in 1764 organized to resist the practices of corrupt public officials. They led demonstrations and on several occasions resorted to violence. Gov. William Tryon...summoned a militia of more than 1000 men and on May 16, 1771, attacked some 2000 Regulators in the Battle of Alamance Creek. The Regulators were defeated. (Encyclopedia Americana, Vol 23, 1995). Edward Thornbrough was chastised (but not dismissed) in his Quaker meeting for assisting the Regulators. A Web Site "The Regulators of Colonial North Carolina" tells more of the regulators and includes the names of Edward and William "Thornsberry" as regulators.

A famous battle of the Revolutionary War was fought near Guilford Court House in Guilford County, North Carolina. We have posted a map of the battle on our North Carolina Map page. There is also a good site, North Carolina in the Revolutionary War, on Rootsweb. It includes a description of the Guilford Court House battle.

Nadine Holder's grandfather, in a letter to his sister, Jill Martin's grandmother, in 1935, wrote: "Grandmother Rachel Welsh was born in 1818 in Virginia; maiden name was Woodard--or Woodward; of Irish descent; heard her say her mother spoke of hearing the cannons in the Revolutionary War..." He had spent much time in his childhood staying at the home of Harvey & Rachel Woodward Welch, so had probably talked with his grandmother about her origins. Some of the clues in this letter were off the mark, but the "Revolutionary War" statement rang true and helped us locate the family in Rowan (later Guilford) County, North Carolina.

The biography of Quaker Nathan Hunt tells of British soldiers housing smallpox patients in the court house. Nathan caught the smallpox but survived.

There is a microfilm of a paper North Carolina Milita Paroled by Lord Cornwallis in 1781, transcribed by Kathleen B. Wyche, in the British Records Collection of the North Carolina State Archives. It is a list of North Carolina militiamen paroled by Lord Cornwallis, the British commander. It is believed that these militiamen were captured during the events surrounding the Battle of Guilford Courthouse. Among names familiar to us are William Locke (a Locke descendant would marry an Aaron Mills descendant), Thomas Cook, possibly a brother of our Abraham Cook and at least two Shelleys.

Sometimes the Quakers used their faith to avoid military service. Bradford Monthly Meeting in Chester County, Pennsylvania, reports receiving a letter on 3/26/1773 from William and Ann Clark of Orange County, North Carolina, asking for a certificate to Cane Creek Monthly Meeting "for wee or myself Lays Under several Disadvantages particularly the Oath & Bareing Arms in the Militia." A certificate was duly provided on 9th month 17th day 1773 and received at Cane Creek on 11/6/1773.

While some of the North Carolina Quakers did not participate directly as soldiers, their descendants have qualified for membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) because of their rendering of "patriotic service" or "civil service." William Millikan, Sr., and John Mills, Jr. were two so qualified. They are both listed in the DAR Index (1966). William Millikan, Jr.'s descendants qualify for the DAR as he actually served as a soldier.

Even if Quakers did not serve directly in the War they were deeply affected by it. Many of the North Carolina Quakers came from the Island of Nantucket in the North and it is probable that their exposed postion there during the Revolutionary War led to the Carolina migration. (Decline of whale fishing was also an influence.) George Mendenhall son of James & Martha Griffith Mendenhall and grandson of Aaron & Rose Pearson Mendenhall married Judith Gardner from one of the Nantucket families. George had received a grist and sawmill from his father. The young married couple were soon occupied with farm, mills, children, and household operations. During the War a part of Cornwallis' army encamped on a hill near the house. The British commandeered the mill and all the grain stored there and also swept the entire premises bare of food stuff. At last the only remaining milk cow was driven up the hill by the soldiers. There was a houseful of children to be fed and this cow was the only remaining source of supply. Judith went at once to the headquarters of the army and laid the situation before the officer in charge, who at once issued the order that the cow be returned to the owner. Judith walked down the hill leading her cow. (Quaker Biographies, Series II, Vol V.)

Abraham Woodward himself (along with others) was arrested in Guilford County North Carolina in 1776 for refusal to inventory his estate. Details were sent to us by Mark Davis, a descendant of one of the arrestees, Jacob Elliott.

The source for this information is: The Colonial Records of North Carolina, Published under the Supervision of the Trustees of the Public Libraries, by Order of the General Assembly. Collected and Edited by William L. Saunders, Secretary of State, VOL X 1775-1776. Raleigh, Josephus Daniels, Printer to the State, 1890, Bradfoot Publishing Co., Wilmington , NC 1993

Page 761: Letter from the Safety Committee in Guilford County to the North Carolina Council of Safety. Guilford County, 23rd August, 1776

"SIR: The Committe of this county have past a resolve appinting a Company of light horse to scout and apprehend those that are disaffected to the Common Cause & for the express purpose of Imbodying of the torys, in Consequence of which several disaffected persons have been brought before that bord, some of whom have been required to give an Inventory of their Estates. Several have refused to comply with this requisition, in Consequence of which and in Complaince of a resolve of your board the Committee have ordered them into Costody, to be sent to the Council. Against Elliott & Woodward nothing very criminal appears to amount to more than a suspicion, on which we are to require an Inventory, & which is refused by those two men, as they say on religious principals."

Page 762: Guilford County, 23rd August, 1776

"To the honorable Council of Safety, We herewith send you the bodies of Jacob Elliott & Abraham Woodward, who was required to give an Inventory of their Estates, which they refused -"

Page 706: Wednesday, August 28th, 1776

"Jacob Elliott, Abraham Woodward, James Wilson, William Draper, John Underhill and Reneca Julian being brought before this Board from Guilford County as persons inimical to the Cause of America,"

Page 920: Friday, November 15th, 1776

"General Jones, Chairman from the Committee of Inquiry, reported that the Committee had taken under Consideration the Petition of Jacob Elliott, Abraham Woodward, and John Underhill, as referred by the Congress, and are of the opinion that they might be discharged, on taking an Affirmation of Fidelity to the State.

"The House taking the same into Consideration, Resolved, That the said Jacob Elliot, Abraham Woodward, and John Underhill, be discharged on taking the following affirmation, to wit: I, A B, do solemnly and sincerely declare and affirm, that I will bear true allegiance to the independent State of North Carolina and to the Powers and Authorities which may be established for the good government thereof."

Mark Davis is descended from Jacob Elliott mentioned above. He has a Web Site about Jacob Elliott.