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Guards at Camp Security 4: Adam Black Part 1

Document showing rifles available to each company of guards at Camp Security, February 1782
Document showing rifles available to each company of guards at Camp Security, February 1782

Revolutionary War Captain Adam Black was a native of the part of York County that is now Adams County. He died there in 1816, and his wife Sarah, who had been receiving a widow’s pension, died in 1842. Six of their original 13 children survived Sarah and applied for her pension as her heirs, as was allowed at that point, over 70 years after the war’s end.

Adam Black was named Ensign of a Company of Associators raised in York County on March 8, 1775. Brother Matthew Black attested in 1834, when Sarah applied for a pension, that he was a sergeant twice in Adam’s companies and that in the first tour they marched in 1776 to Philadelphia, Trenton, Newark and Amboy. The second tour, after Adam was named Captain, was spent in 1777 with Washington’s Army at Valley Forge. The unit may have been assigned to procure cattle and food for the army, not an easy task that winter.

According to Adam’s son William, Adam later served two tours as Captain of Militia Guards at Camp Security. Various lists and some affidavits seem to back that up, even though not many people who served at Camp Security were still alive by that time.

William appeared before court August 27, 1844. His declaration:

“…toward the close of the war, [Adam Black] was engaged in guarding prisoners taken from the British… .”

And from William Black’s July 7, 1845 deposition:

“That towards the close of the Revolution the said Captain Black, as this deponent has already stated in his declaration, was engaged with his company as Captain guarding British prisoners. He recollects hearing his father say that the prisoners sometimes were rebellious and sulky, and that the guard threatened to use their arms against them. Part of the service was performed he thinks at Camp Security—he cannot tell how long he was engaged in it, but it was towards York, and he further says that at no other time of his life was the said Captain Black engaged guarding prisoners except in the Revolutionary War.”

Backing up the claims were two documents certified May 29, 1845 by the Secretary of the Commonwealth as being true copies of originals in Harrisburg:

“Inventory of Muskets at Yorktown etc. taken on order of Major William Bailey.
At Yorktown in good order 71, wanting repair 34.
At Camp Security
Capt. Andrew Patterson’s Company 19
Capt. Eph. Pennington’s Company 35
Capt. Adam Black’s Company 27
Capt. John McMaster’s Company 21
Total in good order 173 wanting repair 34
Feby. 1, 1782
Each of them in order is provided with a bayonet.”


“Arrangement of York County Militia for 1783:
2nd Battalion Moses McClean Sr., Colonel; John Edie, Major
Co. 5 Captain Thomas Orbison, Lieutenant Joseph Hunter, Ensign Robert Wilson
Co. 6 Captain James Johnston, Lieutenant John McBride, Ensign James Spear
Co. 7 Captain Adam Black, Lieutenant Francis McMurdie, Ensign George Biers
Co. 8 Captain Thomas Clingan”

I’ll share more of the 56 page Captain Adam Black file in my next post, including two depositions by Nicholas James, who seems to have spent a good bit of time working at Camp Security as a civilian.

Militia officers at Camp Secuity, 1783.
Militia officers at Camp Secuity, 1783.

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