RJO’s Ancestors in the American Revolution, 1775–1781

I am satisfied that one active campaign, a smart action, and burning of two or three of their towns, will set everything to rights.

—Major John Pitcairn, March 1775

This is one of a series of genealogical pages on my ancestors who served in early American wars, including the Pequot War (1637–1638), King Philip’s War (1675–1676), King William’s War (1689–1698), Queen Anne’s War (1702–1713), Dummer’s War (1723–1726) and King George’s War (1744–1745), the French and Indian War (1754–1763), the American Revolution (1775–1781), and Shays’ Rebellion (1786–1787). Ancestors who belonged to the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts (1637– ) are also noted, and an additonal page presents a special essay on Lexington and Concord and the Nineteenth of April.

The American Revolution (1775–1781)

[Engraving of ‘The Minuteman’ statue by Daniel Chester French] Hostilities began on 19 April 1775 when British troops marched from Boston to confiscate arms being collected by the local population at Concord. Militia companies through much of southern New England had been alarmed during the night and marched to Concord, driving the British troops back to Boston with heavy casualties, and then surrounding the city. The Americans attempted to displace the British from Boston by seizing Charlestown on 17 June 1775, but the British drove them off in the fiercely-fought Battle of Bunker Hill. American troops laid seige to Boston for the next nine months until the British evacuated the city on 17 March 1776. The evacuation of Boston ended the New England phase of the Revolution, but the war continued in many other theaters until the final surrender of Britain’s Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown in 1781. Paul Revere’s Ride by David Hackett Fischer is a brilliant account of the opening of the Revolution and of the Lexington Alarm which was answered by most of those listed below.


Butler, Caleb. 1848. History of the Town of Groton, Including Pepperell and Shirley, from the First Grant of Groton Plantation in 1655. Boston: T.R. Marvin.
Dodge, Joseph Thompson. [n.d.] Genealogy of the Dodge Family of Essex County, Mass., 1629–1894. Madison, Wisconsin: Democrat Publishing Company. [Facsimile edition published by the Dodge Family Association with new pagination.]
Fischer, David Hackett. 1995. Paul Revere’s Ride. New York: Oxford University Press.
Gross, Robert A. (ed.). 1993. In Debt to Shays: The Bicentennial of an Agrarian Rebellion. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia.
Hambrick-Stowe and Smerlas
Hambrick-Stowe, Charles E., and Donna D. Smerlas (eds.). 1976. Massachusetts Militia Companies and Officers in the Lexington Alarm. Boston: Society of Colonial Wars in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Harris, Roger Deane. 1960. The Story of the Bloods. Privately published.
Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors in the War of the Revolution.
Shattuck, Lemuel. 1855. Memorials of the Descendants of William Shattuck. Boston: Dutton and Wentworth.

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