Independence Day 2011

The Fourth of July, also known as Independence Day, is this coming Monday. On the Fourth we commemorate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, declaring America’s independence from Great Britain. I thought this would be a good time to talk about the ancestors from our family who fought for American independence over 230 years ago.

I have two ancestors (that I know of) that fought in the Revolutionary War and I have proved them both in the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR). Joe also has several ancestors that served in the Revolution. Although he is not a member of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR), at least two of his ancestors have been proved in the NSDAR. The following are our known Revolutionary War ancestors.

Private Christian Whiteman fought in the Berks County, Pennsylvania, Militia with Captain Filbert’s Company, 6th Battalion; Captain John Shaefer’s 6th Company, 6th Battalion; and Captain Michael Furrer’s Company. Christian was born 16 March 1762, probably in Pennsylvania. Christian married Hannah Huey, his second wife, about 1798. According to tax and census records they were living in Georges Township, Fayette County, Pennsylvania 1798-1800. Christian and his family moved to Fairfield County, Ohio, about 1805. Christian died 23 December 1827 in Pickaway County, Ohio, and is buried in Reber Hill Cemetery there. I descend from Christian and Hannah’s daughter, Mary, who married Isaac Huey.

Commander James Phillips was the naval commander of the Sloop General Lee. According to the Journal and Correspondence of the Maryland Council of Safety, 7 July-31 Dec 1776, Vol. 12:534, Maryland State Archives, “Commission issued to James Phillips, appointed Commander of the Sloop General Lee, mounting 10 Carriage Guns and 8 Swivels, he having complied with the Resolution of Congress.” James was born 6 March 1768, in Baltimore, Maryland, and died 1811 in Baltimore. He married Catharine Frizzell in 1791 in Baltimore and they had at least one child, Ruth. Ruth married Nicholas Headington and I descend from their son William.

Private Jonathan Grant enlisted February 1776 in Pittsburgh in Captain William Croghan’s Company of the 8th Virginia Rifle Regiment, commanded by Col. Abraham Bowman. He was discharged at Valley Forge during the winter of 1778 but later served another three months as a volunteer at the request of General Washington. During his war service he fought in the following battles: White Plains, Trenton, Brandywine and Germantown, where he was wounded in the leg. (source: NARA M881, Compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army during the Revolutionary War, 1775-1783 and Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, NARA Record Group 15. Both online at About 1807 Jonathan was a surveyor in eastern Ohio, where he resided until his death. According to DAR and pension records Jonathan was born 16 July 1755 and died 27 July 1833 in Prairie Township, Holmes County, Ohio. Jonathan is buried in McCullough Cemetery in Holmes County, currently located on an Amish farm. We visited the cemetery in 2005 and saw his tombstone. Jonathan married Sarah Kelley, his second wife, about 1791. Joe descends from their son, Alexander Grant.

Private Hugh Montgomery enlisted for three years in February 1777 in Captain James Sullivan’s Company of the 9th Virginia Regiment, commanded by Colonel Russell. He fought in the following battles: Long Island, White Plains, Trenton, Brandywine, and Valley Forge, under the command of Generals Broadhead and McIntosh.  Hugh was wounded during the Revolutionary War. He later enlisted in the War of 1812 from Butler County, Ohio. (source: Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, NARA Record Group 15.) According to DAR applications Hugh was born 25 Feb 1754 in Ireland and died 20 May 1830 Greensburg, Decatur County, Indiana. He married Eve Hartman in 1784. Joe descends from their daughter, Mary, who married Alexander Grant, a son of Jonathan Grant.

Samuel Bennett was born about 1747 and died in 1812 in Butler County, Ohio. Although it appears that Samuel has not been proved in the NSDAR, he likely fought in the Revolution. In 1934, at the age of 89, Eliza Flanagon wrote in her journal that Samuel Bennett was born in New Jersey and that he served throughout the Revolutionary War. Eliza was the granddaughter of Nicholas and Lydia (Bennett) DeMoret and the great-granddaughter of Samuel Bennett. Samuel Bennett married Silence Platt about 1768 and Joe descends from their son, John.

Joe and I may have other Revolutionary War Patriots in our family trees. In my family the father of Nicholas Headington of Maryland, as well as one of the Hueys from Pennsylvania may have served. It is probable that one of Joe’s Monroe ancestors also fought in the Revolution. As usual, I will keep searching.

If you have a Revolutionary War ancestor in your family you might consider joining the NSDAR or SAR. To be eligible for membership in the NSDAR you must be a woman at least 18 years of age who can prove your direct descent from a person who aided in achieving American independence during the period between 19 April 1775 and 26 November 1783. Membership in the SAR is open to any male who is at least 18 years of age and can prove lineal bloodline descent from an ancestor who actively supported the American Revolution. My relatives on my dad’s side of the family could join either organization fairly easily by linking to my NSDAR applications. Contact me for details if you are interested.

If you are not sure if your ancestor served in the American Revolution you can search the NSDAR’s Patriot Index Lookup Service. And, through July 4, you can search SAR applications dating from 1889-1970 free on . You will be prompted to set up a free account after you hit the Search button. The collection includes 145,000 applications.

I wish everyone a Happy Fourth of July weekend!


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    • Teresa K. Weil on February 27, 2012 at 4:02 pm
    • Reply

    In regards to Jonathan Grant, I too visited the Amish farm where he is buried. I’ve worked with my local DAR Chapter to confirm my descent from Jonathan, and was able to earn that all important DAR # 863798 on June 2008. To your knowledge Karen, has there been any talk about improving that bramble filled cemetery ? I’m living in Arizona now, and doubt I’ll be that way again.

    Teresa Low Weil

    1. Congratulations on your DAR membership with Jonathan Grant as your ancestor. We live several hours from his gravesite. Unfortunately I was not prepared enough when I visited the private cemetery several years ago. His stone was broken, on the ground, covered with moss. I was not able to remove all the moss. I took a photo and did a rubbing but the rubbing in nearly unreadable. Too much moss! The cemetery is on private property and the owner of the farm said nothing about any improvements. I would like to go back, better prepared, and clean up the stone and get a better photo and rubbing. As you know, the stone is in a thicket. I imagine the area was cleared at one time but the farmer probably farms around it and the brush just grew up again. The farmer did say that someone puts a flag on the grave every year. Possibly the VFW on Memorial Day?

    • Susan H on September 9, 2012 at 4:41 pm
    • Reply

    I am just beginning the process of doing paper work to join a new DAR branch that is
    starting in our area in AZ. I find that two of your patriots are also mine. James Phillips and Christian Whitman.

    1. We must be related! Do you know who our common ancestor is? You may be able to connect to my DAR application.

    • Joe A Smith on November 16, 2013 at 1:34 am
    • Reply

    Hi Karen, Looks I found another set of cousins. I seen a reply to a Teresa Weil dated Feb 27, 2012. I am related to Jonathan Grant Prairie twp Holmes County,Ohio. Both of my parents were related thru him.. The date of birth I have problem with is in family bible it states Jonathan was 78 years 11 months when he died. That would make him born August 1754. I can’t think of his name (in my notes) that Jonathan was from Conn. and born in 1755. Jonathan has a new marker. Go to the site you will see picture of it and the note saying 78 years 11 months . Yours Joe A Smith

    1. Thanks for writing and letting me know about Jonathan’s new grave marker. I looked it up on Find a Grave. We saw the old marker several years ago and it was in very bad condition. It was broken, laying on the ground and I made a rubbing of it. I’ll have to take a road trip there to see it next spring. I see what you are saying about his date of birth. I also have the 1755 date, born in Connecticut, given to me by J. Kellerman several years ago. It looks like your calculation may be correct. This is my husband’s side of the family and I have not worked on that side for several years. Joe descends from Jonathan’s son Alexander and from Alexander’s daughter Elizabeth, who married Landon Bennett. I would be happy to share information.

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