York County Revolutionary War Militia Registration
I have learned a lot about the Revolutionary War era in the past six years or so since I stepped up my research on Camp Security.
Did you ever wonder how those farmers, merchants and craftsmen in the far flung reaches of York County, including the area that is now Adams County, came to be members of York County Militia companies? Once militia members, they had to meet periodically for practice, or pay a fine if they didn’t show up. Some were then marched off to join the fight for independence at Boston, New York, Philadelphia or sites of other engagements. A good portion of the local militia served at least one two month tour of guard duty at Camp Security between July 1781 and May 1783.
Yesterday I came across two documents at the Pennsylvania State Archives outlining the process of joining the militia:
You are hereby Required in the name of this Common Wealth to Deliver to me within ten days from and after the date of this warrant, on oath or affirmation a true and exact list of the names and names of each and every male white person usually inhabiting or residing—within your Township, between the ages of Eighteen and Fifty-three years, Capable of bearing arms. Delegates in Congress, Members of the Executive Council, judges of the Supreme Court, Masters and Faculty of Colleges, Ministers of the Gospel (or Clergy) or every denomination, and servants purchased bona fide and for a valuable consideration, only excepted. Given under my hand and seal this third day of May 1779.
By order of Rich’d. McCalester, Liet.
Jas. Chamberlain, Major
To James Morrison, Constable of Reading Township.
Sir, I did imploy Mr. Davis Potter to take up the return of the mail white inhabitants of Straban township for the year 1781 which serves I believe he performed to the best of his Knoldge and Sayes he was Seven Days and ½ in performing it. given under my hand this 11th Day of Octob’r, 1784.
Coll. William Scott
Dollars & 1/2
Richard McAllister was the founder of Hanover, first known as McAllister’s town. He was a colonel in the York County Militia, but was writing above to Morrison in 1779 in his capacity of Lieutenant for York County.
By 1781, William Scott was the Lieutenant for York County. He was the one charged by the Pennsylvania government to find a suitable spot to detain the British prisoners and he served as county lieutenant the whole time Camp Security was in operation.
The light density of settlement is shown by David Potter, probably on horseback, being able to cover Straban Township in only seven and a half days. It looks like the bill from 1781 was submitted in 1784. As indicated in some of my previous posts on Camp Security Militia Guards, it could many years before any payments were distributed.
The particular roll of microfilm with this data also has the lists of the white males between 18 and 53 registered in each township. More on these lists later.