NOTE: Footnotes for this section do not refer to the St. James 1790 Pew Chart bibliography.
Prior to early 1777, there were various Associator
Battalions in Pennsylvania. These were groups of men who voluntarily banded
together for the defense of Pennsylvania. They called themselves
"Associators" and formed "Associator Battalions". They
should not be confused with the "Pennsylvania Line of the Continental
Army" which were also volunteers who enlisted in the "service of
the United Colonies" for a specified length of service. Some of the "Associator Battalions" formed part of the
"Flying Camp", which was sent to New Jersey and to New York
(Long Island) where they assisted Gen. George Washington in the Battle of Long
Island August 26, 1776. 1
Prior to early 1777, there were various Associator Battalions in Pennsylvania. These were groups of men who voluntarily banded together for the defense of Pennsylvania. They called themselves "Associators" and formed "Associator Battalions". They should not be confused with the "Pennsylvania Line of the Continental Army" which were also volunteers who enlisted in the "service of the United Colonies" for a specified length of service.
Some of the "Associator Battalions" formed part of the "Flying Camp", which was sent to New Jersey and to New York (Long Island) where they assisted Gen. George Washington in the Battle of Long Island August 26, 1776. 1
One of the best known of our "St. James" soldiers was Col. John Bull, son of Thomas Bull and Elizabeth (Adams), who served both as a Continental Soldier and as an "Associator".
His record as a Continental Soldier began in 1775:
Bull, John (Pa). Col. 1st Pennsylvania Battalion, 25th November, 1775; resigned 22d January, 1776; Colonel Pennsylvania State Regiment, 2d May, 1777; resigned 17th June, 1777; Adjutant-General of Pennsylvania, 17th June, 1777 to close of war. (Died 9th August, 1824.)2.
His time as an Associator, Commander of the 5th Battalion, fills in the dates not listed above:
Commodore James H. Bull gives this account of Col. Bulls service during that time:
1776, July 4th to about January, 1777. John Bull, Colonel of a Battalion of Associators in the County of Philadelphia ("5th" in his commission, "6th" in "Archives"), by appointment of the State Assembly. These were new organizations for home defense without pay unless called into the field, and when enlisted were sent to Amboy, N.J. for brief service in watching the British on Staten Island till more permanent troops were organized. As Bulls civilian positions kept him busy in Philadelphia, the Council of Safety gave him leave of absence only from August 17th to September 15th in order to be with his battalion in the field. Arms and ammunition being still scarce, their weapons included pikes and tomahawks." 3
The 5th Battalion of Associators, led by Col. John Bull, included Associator Companies of Providence, Worcester, and Limerick townships. These companies were among the "Flying Camp" Companies.
One of the Companies is listed below which was of Providence Twp.:
5th Battalion, Colonel John Bull, dated Dec. 10, 1776
Capt. John Edwards, Lt. Arnold Francis, Ensign Samuel Roberts
Sergeants: William Nelson, Samuel Skeen, Emanuel Custer. 4
Another item which shows proof of this companys service and, no doubt, their being part of the Flying Camp is the following advertisement:
Perth Amby [Amboy], Aug. 29, 1776. "Thirty-six Pounds Reward. Deserted from Capt. Edwards company in the 5th battalion of Philadelphia county militia, commanded by Col. John Bull, now laying at Perth Amby in N.J., the following persons viz.: Thomas Vanderslice, Cadwalader Jones, Joseph Shambough, Andrew Bell, Abram Skeen, William Groves and John Schrack; all well made straight young men, about (or pretty near) six feet high; also John Bryn a thick well set fellow; John Balthust, of a swarthy complexion; Jacob Taney and George Hyh, all formerly associators; and living in New Providence township; where it is suspected they have now gone. The two first mentioned, deserted in Philadelphia three weeks ago, and the rest went altogether east. Whoever takes up and secures said deserters so that they be brought back again, shall receive the above reward or eight dollars for each pair, by John Edwards, Captain"
Perth Amby [Amboy], Aug. 29, 1776. "Deserted from Capt. Jacob Petermans company of associated commanded by Col. John Bull on the 24th inst. John Harple, sergeant bon. p.c. 5 ft., 8, hair fair, 18 yrs. Peter Shunk, p.c. 6 ft. dark brown hair, dark com. lusty made, a wheelwright, 25 years. Francis Shunk, p.c., 5 feet 10 inches, has dark brown hair, dark complex. a Tanner 29 years. John Harple, p.c. 5, 8 black hair, swarthy com. Cordwaner 25 yrs. Christian Dull, p.c. 5, 11 dark brown hair, 30 years of age, cordwaner. They all went off with the rifle shuts, and took their clothing with them. Whoever takes up &c., three pounds each." 5
At least part of the Worcester Militia (Captain Jacob Wentz, 1st Lieutenant Christian Weber, 2nd Lieutenant Benjamin White, and Ensign Shipe/Shope) was also part of the Flying Camp. This company, under command of Lieutenant Christian Weber, included Sergeant James Bean. In his pension application 6, James Bean says in the middle of July they marched from Wentzs Tavern in Worcester Township to Philadelphia where they were attached to Colonel [John] Bulls Regiment. They remained in the barracks for three weeks and then marched through Trenton, Princeton, and Brunswick to Amboy. They did not participate in the Battle of Long Island but apparently assisted in throwing up entrenchments. They remained in the vicinity of New York and the North River until Fort Washington was taken. They were discharged the middle of December and James Bean returned home around Christmas.
In March 1777 a draft law was passed, Battalions were organized, elections held in April, and commissions issued in May. Men drew lots for classes from which they served. Not all muster rolls for all companies exist. Fine lists, for non-attendance on drill days and battalion days, can be used to place men in a particular company and class. Of course, your name only appears if you did not attend, but many men were fined.
Providence and Worcester Townships were placed in the 5th Battalion of Philadelphia County, under Colonel Robert Curry, Lt. Colonel Fred. Wise, and Major John Edwards.
3rd Company: Captain Arnold Francis (Lower New Providence) [there was more than one company from Providence Township]:
Peter Sheen/Skeen and Abraham Skeene were fined in the 8th Class in 1777 and in 1778 [no class given]. 7 Samuel Skeen appears as 2nd Lt., under Captain Arnold Francis for 1777.8
8th Company: Captain Abraham Wentz, 1777 (Worcester Township)[replaced by Captain John Lowry]
Ensign Paul Custer, 5th Battalion, Curry, 8th Co., Capt. Wentz dated 5/12/1777 (Wentz was replaced by Lowry.) 9
9 PMHC Digital Archives
Although James Bean states in his pension application that he was elected and appointed 2nd Lieutenant of the Worcester Militia under Captain John Lowry the beginning of 1777, he has a commission dated 12 May 1777 as 1st Lieutenant, Third Company, Captain William Bull in the 1st Battalion as does Benjamin Pawling, who was appointed 2nd Lieutenant. This Battalion was under Colonel Daniel Hiester, Jr., Lt. Colonel Jacob Reed, and Major Jacob Markley, Esq. and included Perkiomen-Skippack Township.10
James Bean says he was called out in July 1777, under Captain John Lowry, Worcester Militia, Colonel [Robert] Curry [5th Battalion], and they marched toward the Schuylkill and down toward Philadelphia, remaining in that neighborhood until the Battle of Brandywine when they marched to Swedes Ford to oppose the British crossing the river. They were attached to General Potters Brigade and engaged in scouting until November when they were sent to Ogdens Ferry on the Delaware River. They returned to Feather Hill in Whitemarsh Township and went into winter quarters until the 1st of March 1778. He returned home the middle of March 1778.
After returning home, James Bean served under Captain McLean, as a substitute for Lt. Paul Custer of the Whitemarsh Militia, his half-brother (whose wife was dangerously ill). They were attached to General Potters Brigade, continually scouting, until the middle of May 1778.
After returning home, James Bean was elected Captain of the Providence Militia; however, he declined since Arnold Francis desired to be Captain. This company was called out the first of June 1778. Captain Francis was unable to lead the company so James Bean went out in his place as Captain with Lt. North to Philadelphia. They were attached to Major Markleys Battalion and Colonel Thompsons Regiment. In the fall they went to Coryells Ferry on the Delaware to guard British prisoners and remove them to Tawneytown, Maryland. They returned to Lancaster where they remained for the winter and returned to Philadelphia 1st March 1779 and were discharged. Although he held the rank of 1st Lt., he performed the duties of Captain for this whole tour.
The Worcester Militia (to which James Bean now belonged) was called out under Captain Lowry the middle of July 1779. They were attached to Colonel Currys Regiment. They marched to New York and the North River; then to Philadelphia and were discharged the end of November 1779. [Pension Application of James Bean, #11747.]
In 1780 the Battalions were re-organized and the 5th Battalion became the 6th Battalion under Colonel Robert Curry and Major John Edwards. Captain Arnold Francis Company became the 8th Company and Captain John Lowrys Company was the 3rd Company.
3rd Company: Captain John Lowry (Worcester Township)
1st Class: Saml Sheen/Skeen: 1780 11
Samuel also appears on a 1780 list pleading he is disabled in his arms.12
3rd Company: Captain John Lowry (Worcester Township)
1st Lieutenant: James Bean, commissioned 12 May 1780;
5th Class: Paul Custard, B.S.; 6th Class: Paul Custard. 13
James Bean says that Jacob Vanfossen was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant at the same time John Lowry and he received their commissions. The company went out in June 1780 under Captain Lowry and marched through Trenton to Morristown and Elizabethtown, NJ. Most of this time they were at Staten Island acting as scouts. They were discharged and returned home the middle of October 1780.
The end of July 1781, the company went out under Captain Lowry and Colonel Curry and marched toward New York and remained around New York and New Jersey until their discharge the end of November 1781.
The company was called out again the end of August 1782 and returned home about the first of November. They were called up one last time the beginning of June 1783. They marched to Trenton where they remained a short time and returned home in July. There was fear the British would attack New York again. [Pension Application of James Bean.]
8th Company Capt. Francis Co., 1780, 6th Class: James Skeen, 8th Class: Peter, Abraham and Joseph Skeen; Joseph 8th Class; Peter, 8th Class, "Complained he has a pain in his breast unhealthy man at times cant follow his business."; Abraham, "The father appeared in behalf of his son says he lay at the time of marching sick." 14 Post Rev. War: 1785: A Return of the Male White Inhabitants of Providence includes Arnold Francis, Capt.- Samuel Skeen 3rd Class, James Skeen, 6th Class, Joseph, and Peter Skeen both 8th class. 1786 list also includes the 4 of them. 15
The Commissioned Officers of both the Militia and the Continental Army are listed as Officers on the national list [incomplete list].16 The following are included:
Bull, Thomas: Lt. Colonel Pennsylvania Battalion of the Flying Camp [Chester Co., son of Richard and Elizabeth Bull 17, father of Rev. Levi Bull], Pennsylvania Battalion of the Flying Camp; taken prisoner at Fort Washington, 16th November, 1776; was a prisoner two years. [His Pension application 18 was filed in East Nantmeal, Chester Co. 8 Sept. 1832 when he was 88 years of age. The only surviving witness who served under him was Lt. Hezekiah Davis, but Col. Caleb North and David Potts Jr. could attest to his service also. Andrew Currie and William Currie, Ensigns, of Montgomerys Pennsylvania Battalion of the Flying Camp, Chester Co. were also taken prisoner at Fort Washington 16 November, 1776.]
Bull, Thomas, Captain: 1st Lt. 6th Pennsylvania, 15th Feb. 1777; Captain, 1st November, 1778; Taken prisoner at Monmouth, 28th June, 1778; released February, 1780, and did not return to the army. (Died 1837). [Capt. Bull is also listed as having wintered at Valley Forge 1777. 19]
Pawling, Henry: Captain, Lewis Pennsylvania Battalion of the Flying Camp, July to December, 1776.
Rittenhouse, Benjamin: Captain Pennsylvania Militia, 1775-1777; also superintendent of a gun factory in Pennsylvania 1776 to close of war. (Died 1825.)
Shannon, Robert: Captain Pennsylvania Militia in 1777.
Shannon, Samuel: Lieutenant 2nd Pennsylvania Battalion of the Flying Camp; taken prisoner at Fort Washington, 16th November, 1776; Captain Pennsylvania Militia; taken prisoner by Indians in Ohio in August, 1781, and killed by them in October, 1781.
In 1777, the Limerick Township Militia was included in the 6th Battalion of Philadelphia County under Colonel Frederick Antes. When the battalions were reorganized in 1780, the 6th Battalion became the 4th Battalion under Colonel Antes. This battalion included:
Isaiah Davis: Captain, 4th Battalion (formerly Sixth) Commissioned 5/10/1780 8th Company, Limerick.20
Pension Record of Capt. Benjamin Brook21 of Limerick Twp., son of James Brook and Mary (Evans), grandson of Owen and Mary (Davis) Evans:
State of Pennsylvania City and County of Philadelphia:
On this Seventeenth day of February- in their own proper persons appeared in open Court before the Court of Common Pleas now sitting in Philadelphia  David Brook of the age of Seventy Five years and Rebecca Thomas (widow of Reese Thomas) formerly Rebecca Brook of the age of Sixty eight years, who being duly affirmed according to Law do on their respective affirmations made the following declaration in order to obtain the arrearages of Pension due their father Captain Benjamin Brook under the act of Congress of the Seventh of June A.D. 1832 up to the time of his death on the Twenty second day of July Eighteen hundred and thirty four; they being his only surviving children and legal representatives, their mother, Anna Davis Brook having died some Ten years prior to the death of their said father; to wit- That their father Captain Benjamin Brook was born in the State of Pennsylvania in Limerick Township, Montgomery County in the year A.D. Seventeen hundred and fifty two and remained a citizen of the said State until his death on the 22nd day of July A.D. 1834- That in the month of March A.D. Seventeen hundred and seventy six for his Patriotism and valor was considered and Approved by the assembly of Pennsylvania under their seal, Lieutenant of a company of foot in the Third Battalion of Associators in the County of Philadelphia for the Defense of American Liberty a certified copy of which commission is hereto annexed (marked A) and that on the Twenty fifth day of April AD Seventeen hundred and seventy six, the said then Lieutenant Benjamin Brook and Anna Davis were lawfully married as appears by a certified copy of the certificate of said marriage which is hitherto annexed (Marked B) and the said then Lieutenant Brook acted in the capacity of Lieutenant as so considered and approved aforesaid up and until the Twelfth day of May A. D. Seventeen Hundred and Seventy Seven when he was considered and approved In the name and by the authority of the Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania by the Supreme Executive Council of the said Commonwealth under the Lesser (?) Seal of said Commonwealth Captain of a Company of Foot in the Sixth Battalion of Militia in the County of Philadelphia a certified copy of the said commission or certificate of appointment is hereunto annexed (marked C) that under and by virtue of said last commission he their said father went into active service, that he continued in command of his said company and was engaged in the different battles of the Revolution, among others the battles of Germantown and Brandywine and that during some part of his service he was stationed at Amboy in the State of New Jersey. That he the said Captain Benjamin Brook continued in active service until Peace was declared and the Independence of the United States of America was recognized by the Kingdom of Great Britain. Your applicants are not aware of his having received any regular certificate of his discharge but suppose and believe that he was mustered out of the service in which he was so engaged under the general discharge of its said officers and men.-
Affirmed and Subscribed in Open
court the Seventeenth Day of RebeccaThomas
February A.D. 1852 in Open Court [sic]
George L. Dougherty
Philadelphia May 17th, 1879
To the Hon. J.A. Bentley
Commissioner of Pensions
The undersigned being one of the grandchildren who are next of Kin of Benjamin Brook, deceased, who was a Lieutenant and Captain of the Montgomery County Troop in the Revolutionary War, hereby respectfully request that the two commissions of the said Benjamin Brooke on file in your office with claim #1240 made by the heirs of said decedent be delivered to Francis M. Brooke of the City of Philadelphia on his order. And I hereby consent to this order.
Witness at signing J Crawford Nyce J.N. Julia Ann Nyce
Are there other St. James patriots??
Anyone with data on St. James families serving in the Rev. War
is invited to send particulars to St. James Church
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