County of Lycoming
On the fifth day of September Anno Domini one thousand eight hundred and thirty two, personally appeared in open court before the honorable Seth Chapman and his associate judges of the Court of Common Pleas now sitting Robert Crownover1 a resident of Mifflin Township2 in the county of Lycoming3 in the State of Pennsylvania aged 76 years, who being duly sworn according to law doth upon his oath make the following declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the Act of Congress passed June 7th, 1832-
That he entered the service of the United States under the following named officers and served as herein stated- In the autumn of 1776, he volunteered in the Rifle Company commanded by Captain Cookson Long in the Regiment commanded by Colonel James Murray4, he was then living at Fort Muncy5 in Northumberland County, he marched to Philadelphia, and then to Trenton6 in the State of New Jersey where they fought and defeated the Hessians, under the command of General George Washington7 about the twenty fifth of December 1776. He then marched to Princeton8 where they took three hundred Hessian prisoners, he then marched to Shanks Mills near the mouth of the Millstone River, near which they took from the enemy three hundred wagons loaded with plunder and forage- Then they marched to Morristown, where Washington stopped and ordered the volunteers to march to Piscataque, Shorts Hills, where the said applicant marched under the command of the said Captain Long9, Colonel Murray and remained there until they were discharged having been in actual service for four months-
He then volunteered in the company of Captain William Hepburn10 in the Battalion of Colonel Plunket11 in the spring of 1778, for the purpose of protecting the inhabitants from the depredations of the hostile Indians. He the applicant being well acquainted with the surrounding country and the location, strength and mode of warfare of the Indians, he was appointed by Captain Hepburn as leader of the scouting and spying parties, that were constantly on alert, and watching the movement of the enemy when the intelligence of the massacre at Wyoming12 reached the troops stationed at Sunbury, Colonel Hunter13 who had the command at said place issued orders to Captain Hepburn to remain at Sunbury, the said applicant carried the express to Antes Fort14 and they then went to Sunbury- They received reinforcements from the Eastern counties, and returned to Muncy and built a Garrison. Colonel Broadhead15 came to their assistance from Fort Pitt16, and there the Militia were drafted and taken from there- He the said applicant was commissioned by Colonel Broadhead as a guide to all the scouting parties- That he frequently guided scouting parties to Jenkins17 and also the Fort at Wyoming and carried expresses from said places to Colonel Hartley18 who succeeded Colonel Broadhead at Fort Muncy. After Colonel Hartley had completed the fortifications at Muncy, he read orders form Colonel Hunter to march to Tioga Point for the purpose of heading Butler20 who was carrying off the plunder from Wyoming, he the said applicant guided the troops under the command of Colonel Hartley to said point, where they met the enemy and took from them all their cattle and plunder and brought them back to Wyoming. He the said applicant was then sent (the peril of his life) with an express to the Fort at Muncy to warn them of a party of Indians that had pursued Colonel Hartley to Wyoming, and were then in the neighborhood that he was then sent from the Fort at Muncy to Sunbury with an express requesting an immediate reinforcement to defend the country and that he again returned to Muncy Fort with the information in reply, he then returned to Sunbury and met Colonel Hartley with troops there, that a reinforcement was dispatched and lead by the said applicant to Fort Muncy- The said applicant was out with scouting parties and etc at various times afterwards, at one time his party where every man was killed but himself, and that he alone escaped the massacre- In 1779, Colonel Hartley left the Fort at Muncy and joined in General Sullivan’s Campaign20, the fort was left on the care of Captain Hepburn, and the said applicant remained with the Captain Hepburn and defended the fort and protected the inhabitants against the savages, with a small body of men, the received intelligence of a superior force coming upon them and were compelled to retreat carrying with them the defenseless inhabitants to the Fort at Sunbury21. He was thus in actual service in the State troops of Pennsylvania for a term exceeding two years and in answer to interrogations prepared by the Secretary of War the said applicant saith as follows-
Question 1: Where and what year were you born?
Answer: He was born near Princeton New Jersey, in the year of our Lord 1755.
Question 2: Have you any record of your age, and if so where is it?
Answer: The record of my age is in my father’s Bible that I have.
Question 3: Where were you living when called into service, where have you lived since the Revolutionary War, and where do you live now?
Answer: In Northumberland County in the State of Pennsylvania and have lived there in Lycoming County in the aforesaid State since the Revolutionary War.
Question 4: How were you called into service?
Question 5: State the names of some of the regular officers who were with the troops where you served, such as Continental and Militia regiments as you can recollect and the general circumstances of your service.
Answer: I state no more fully than in the foregoing declaration which therein made
Question 6: Did you receive a discharge from the service, if so by whom was it given, and what has become of it?
Answer: I received discharge from General Washington at expiration of the first 4 months of service I have never received any other, and that is now last
Question 7: State the names of persons to whom you know in your neighborhood, and we can testify as to your character for veracity and their belief of your services as a soldier in the Revolution-
Answer: John H. Grier the Clergyman of the Society at which I belong, Samuel Stewart who is my neighbor, Henry Antes and also Henry Hill.
End Notes1 Robert Covenhoven, Presbyterian, was born of low Dutch descent on December 27, 1755 in Monmouth County, New Jersey. Robert married Mary Kelsey Cutter of Province, New Jersey on February 22, 1778 and together, conceived eight children. Before the war, Robert was an avid hunter and axman throughout the West Branches of the Susquehanna Valley. According to the tax records of Northumberland County, Robert fell in the lower class of society. After the war, the fearless and brave Robert Covenhoven purchased a farm in “Level Corner” Lycoming County where his wife died in 1843. Following the death of his wife, Covenhoven moved in with his daughter in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania until his death. Robert Covenhoven, June 7, 1832, Revolutionary War Pension Application, S12547; William Henry Egle, Pennsylvania Women In the American Revolution (The University of Virginia: Polyanthos, 1972) 55-57; John F. Meginness, History of Lycoming County, Pennsylvania (Evansville, Indiana: Unigraphic, 1892); Tax Records, Northumberland County, 1785-1787, in Pennsylvania Archives ed. William Henry Egle (Harrisburg: State Printer, 1897), 19:623,705,781.
2 Mifflin Township is located in the western portion of Lycoming County, Pennsylvania. Created in 1803, Mifflin Township was named after Governor Thomas Mifflin, the first Governor of Pennsylvania. Being outside the western boundary of the Province of Pennsylvania, the colonial settlers within the township were not protected by any of the thirteen original colonies. These settlers, known as the Fair Play Men, established their own government known as the “Fair Play System.” John F. Meginness, History of Lycoming County, Pennsylvania (Evansville, Indiana: Unigraphic, 1892), 660-661.
3 In 1752, the area that is now Lycoming County originally was a part of Berks County. Twenty years later, the county of Northumberland was formed from Berks and Lycoming County was formed in 1795 from Northumberland County. At the time, Lycoming County consisted of sixteen different counties and the early inhabitants of Lycoming were Iroquoian-speaking Indians. John F. Meginness, History of Lycoming County, Pennsylvania (Evansville, Indiana: Unigraphic, 1892) 17-31.
4 Colonel James Murray, Presbyterian, was born of Scottish descent and immigrated to Northumberland County in 1732. In 1776, Murray served as a Captain of the Seventh Company of the 2nd Battalion. Murray also served as the Lieutenant Colonel under the company of Colonel William Plunkett. Following Colonel Plunket, Murray became the Colonel as Plunket’s sympathy weakened for the American cause after the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Herbert C. Bell, History of Northumberland County Pennsylvania (Mt. Vernon, Indiana: Windmill Publications, 1891), 1125-1126.
5 Fort Muncy, built in 1778 by Colonel Thomas Hartley, was situated on a wealthy Quaker family’s property in Muncy Township, Lycoming County. The fort served as a safe post for the inhabitants of the West Branch Valley. John Franklin Meginness, Otzinachson: A History of the West Branch Valley of the Susquehanna (Williamsport, Pennsylvania: Gazette and Bulletin Printing House, 1889).
6 In the pension file, “Trenton” is referred to the Battle of Trenton. In 1776, the Continental Army, commanded by George Washington, led troops to Trenton to fight against the Hessian soldiers. After the American Army was defeated in the battles in New York, the Americans were forced to retreat to New Jersey where they defeated and captured the Hessian soldiers and their supplies. The Battle of Trenton boosted the confidence of the colonists by proving that the American Army could defeat the enemy. Robert Middlekauff, “The War of Posts,” The Glorious Cause the American Revolution 1763-1789 (United Kingdom: Oxford University Press, 2005) 363, 367, 368.
7 George Washington, born 1732 in Westmoreland County, Virginia, became one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Washington served as the Commander in Chief of the Continental Army in the Revolutionary War, and later served as America’s first president in 1789-1797. Edward G. Lengel, George Washington: A Military Life (New York, New York: Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2007), 3-19.
8 In the pension file, “Princeton” is referred to the Battle of Princeton. In 1777, George Washington led thousands of troops across the Delaware River to again, defeat the Hessian Army. Like the Battle of Trenton, the Battle of Princeton boosted the American morale and made them believe that they could win the war of Independence. Robert Middlekauff, “The War of Posts,” The Glorious Cause the American Revolution 1763-1789 (United Kingdom: Oxford University Press, 2005), 367, 368, 369.
9 Captain Long of Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, served as a Captain, Major, and a Colonel in the second and fourth Battalions in the Northumberland County Militia. He commanded troops in regards to the Indian invasions on the Susquehanna River. John F. Meginness, History of Lycoming County, Pennsylvania (Evansville, Indiana: Unigraphic, 1892; Herbert C. Bell, History of Northumberland County Pennsylvania (Mt. Vernon, Indiana: Windmill Publications, 1891).
10 Captain William Hepburn, Presbyterian born in 1753, became the Commander of his own company in the Northumberland County Militia. Hepburn was active in protecting the inhabitants residing on the frontier from the Indians of the Upper Susquehanna. In 1795, Governor Mifflin appointed Hepburn as one of the four associate judges of Lycoming County. The Scotch-Irish Society of America, the Scotch-Irish in America: Proceedings of the Scotch-Irish Congress (Cincinnati, Ohio: Robert Clarke and Company, 1889), 166.
11 Colonel William Plunkett served as a Militia officer and doctor during the Indian Wars in Pennsylvania. Plunkett provided aide to the settlers that were attacked by the Indians. Plunkett was a former Veteran of the Pennamite-Yankee War and in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania; “Plunkett Creek Township” is in tribute of the Colonel. Plunkett later sympathized with Tories for the rest of the American Revolution. Beach Nichols, Atlas of Lycoming County (Evansville, Indiana: Unigraphic, 1975), 73.
12 In 1778 near Wilkes Barre and Scranton, Pennsylvania, John Butler, a Connecticut Tory, led hundreds of Loyalists and Indians to attack the settlers of the land. As the dispute over land intensified, the Wyoming Valley Massacre resulted in a British-Iroquoian Victory. In celebration of their victory, the Indians and Tories scalped and executed many who were taken prisoners of war in the massacre. John B. Frantz and William Pencak, “Wyoming Valley,” Beyond Philadelphia (University Park, Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1998), 133-152; James R. Williamson and Linda A. Fossler, Zebulon Butler: Hero of the Revolutionary Frontier (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1995).
13 Colonel Hunter, born in Ireland on 1732, served as an officer at Fort Augusta in 1763. Hunter served in the First Battalion and in 1776, became the County Lieutenant. Hunter was appointed a member of the Committees of Safety located in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania in 1775 and in 1783, served as a member of the Council of Censors. John F. Meginness, History of Lycoming County, Pennsylvania (Evansville, Indiana: Unigraphic, 1892), 188-189.
14 Lieutenant Colonel Henry Antes, builder of Fort Antes located near Jersey Shore, Lycoming County in 1778. The Fort provided refuge for the inhabitants of the Indian Land, the Fair Play Men, and the inhabitants located at the south side of the river. Henry Antes served as a Justice of the Peace and Sheriff of Northumberland County, Pennsylvania. Henry Mechior Muhlenberg Richards, Report of the Commission to Locate the Site of the Frontier Forts of Pennsylvania, (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: State Printer, 1896), 394-395.
15 Colonel Daniel Brodhead, born 1736, served as Lieutenant Colonel in the Eighth Pennsylvania Regiment of the Continental troops in 1776. Brodhead, in 1778, rebuilt the frontier outpost near Fort Muncy located in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania. In 1779, Brodhead became the commander of the Western Department and was in command of Fort Pitt located in modern day Pittsburgh. C Hale Sipe, The Indian Wars of Pennsylvania: Account of the Indian Events in Pennsylvania and the Indian Uprising from 1789-1795 (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Telegraph Press, 1931).
16 Fort Pitt, located in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania was built in 1764. Fort Pitt, during the American Revolution, served as headquarters for the Northwest Territories of the colonies. Brady Crytzer, “Daniel Brodhead: Fort Pitt and the Ohio Insurgency, Fort Pitt: A frontier History (Charleston, South Carolina: History Press, 2012), 151.
17 In 1778-1780, Fort Jenkins served as a refuge to the surrounding inhabitants. Fort Jenkins was located near Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania and was connected with other forts along the West Branch. The Fort burnt to the ground as Indians lit the fort on fire in 1780. In 1781, James Wilson a signer of the Declaration of Independence owned the land at which Fort Jenkins was located. F.C. Johnson, the Historical Record: The Early History of the Wyoming Valley (Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania: Press of the Wilkes Barre Record, 1893), 26. 18 Colonel Thomas Hartley, born 1748, was elected to the Provincial Meeting of Deputies in 1774. As the American Revolution started in 1775, the Committees of Safety of Pennsylvania recommended Hartley to Congress who later commissioned him as Lieutenant Colonel of the Sixth Pennsylvania Battalion in 1776. Later in 1779, Hartley was a member of the State Assembly and later was elected to the First Congress. William Henry Egle, Notes and Queries: Historical, Biographical and Genealogical: Relating to the Interior of Pennsylvania (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Harrisburg Publishing Company, 1895), 45. 19 In the pension file, “Butler” refers to John Butler. John Butler, Loyalist, born in 1728, served as a Captain in the British Army. Butler led his own group of Rangers and in 1778, participated in the Battle of Wyoming. Butler and his Rangers were active along the Northern Frontier. Butler was defeated in 1779, by the Sullivan Expedition. Richard Merritt, “On Common Ground: The ongoing Story of the Commons in Niagara-on-the-Lake,” The First Butler’s Rangers’ Barracks (Toronto: Dundurn Press, 2012), 49-55. 20 In 1779, the Sullivan Expedition, led by General John Sullivan and James Clinton, was a military campaign to defeat the Tories and the Indians located in the northern portion of the Pennsylvania and lower half of the New York frontier. Tiffany A. Norton, History of Sullivan’s Campaign against the Iroquois (Lima, New York: A.T Norton, 1879). 21 In the pension file, the Fort at “Sunbury” refers to Fort Augusta. In 1756, the construction of Fort Augusta, located in Shamokin, Pennsylvania, served as headquarters for the members of the American Army of the Upper Susquehanna. The Fort was strategically placed, and all military activity within the Northumberland County Militia took place at the fort. John F. Meginness, History of Lycoming County, Pennsylvania (Evansville, Indiana: Unigraphic, 1892).
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