Captain William Harrison


I was a soldier who lost everything I owned in the Revolution.

I was born in Gloucester County, New Jersey, around 1720. My father was a farmer and a miller. In 1759, I married Abigail Thorne, who sadly died before we had any children. When I built a brick addition to my farmhouse in 1764, I had no wife’s initials to set in it, so I just put the date. I remarried in 1769, to Martha Bowlsby.

When the Revolution broke out, I was elected captain of the Gloucestertown militia company, part of Colonel Joseph Ellis’ 2nd Battalion. I fought in battles at Mount Holly and Petticoat Bridge in December 1776, and endured the winter encampment at Morristown in January 1777.

Later that year, in September, the war came to my county. The British occupied Philadelphia across the Delaware and we had to defend the forts in New Jersey. During the area fighting, the British burned down my house. We were not allowed to sell our crops, cattle, or lumber in Philadelphia, which would help the British, which was very hard on me. Though I was honored as a militia commander, I could not pay my debts, so in September, 1783, the sheriff seized my lands and began selling it off.

In April, 1787, I became sick and died suddenly, without writing a will to leave any of my remaining property to anyone.


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