This is the story of a young patriot during the founding of America. He served as a Minute Man (1775), a Militia Man (1776-1777-1779), as a member of the NY Line (1778), and in the Levi's (1780).
Joesph Elder was of Scotch Irish ancestry....who his father was, is something our family has looked for for over 75 years.... without success. Our best guess was that he was born in 1757 in Ulster County New York. He died in 1829 and his gravestone still exists today, not far from Montgomery, New York. The Medallion above is the one pictured below on the gravestone in a 1944 picture.
Recent DNA testing has shown the Joseph Elder is a descendant of the Paxtang Elders of Paxtang PA. One of their notable descendants is "The fighting Parson" John Elder who likely was an uncle. Joseph Elders maternal side included the Scotch Presbyterian Minister Joseph Houston (d1740) of the Goodwill Church in Montgomery NY. So a church connection is not unsurprising.
maintained by Scott Elder
tallredleg2 (at) gmail (dot) com
revised April 20 2014
Grave of Pvt. Joesph Elder 1757-1829
Dedicated to George W Elder 1930-2014 the inspiration for this website.
The War of the Revolution
Most people don't have the chronology of the War of the Revolution at their fingertips.
George Washington, Paul Revere, Benedict Arnold, and "The British are coming"....are back in our school years. While tracing Joseph Elder's footsteps during this time it has also created a fine illustration of the sequence of events during the War.
"Go he must or be called a tory....."
The year of Paul Revere and "the British are coming".... The British are in Boston along with the local inhabitants, some loyalist, some patriot. As hostilities erupt with Lexington and Concord, one of the early American organizations was Minutemen...first responders made up of 20-25% of the local Militia troops. As word of hostilities in Boston spread other states took up the idea of minutemen even though there were no British troops in their area. Additionally, local communities were splitting up accordingly whether they were going to be loyalists or patriots. In lower New York State there were "Committee's of Safety". There were members of the communities who signed up to Committee of Safety and those who did not sign were noted as well. This was an early indicator of who was going to be either Patriot or Tory.
click for transcribed roll, * indicates related on family tree
Joseph Elder is the 11th name counting from the bottom center. The column he is listed under is "Those who turned out minutemen and did not serve at New Windsor NY". The upper left header is "those who turned out and served", and the right is "those who haven't turned out for minute men". These records are contained in the national archives in Washington D.C. There was no particular military activity in New York in 1775, the British were still in Boston.
The red line follows Joseph Elder's travels in 1776, it is possible he made it as far south as Long Island.
In March of 1776 the British left Boston. They knew they could not win the War being based in Boston. Their grand plan was to take New York City, have their forces move up the North River (now called the Hudson), and have their northern forces (mainly Burgoyne) come down from Canada through Lake Champlain and come south down the North River. Once the forces met this would effectively divide the colonies, splitting New England from the everything southwest of New York City, and thus the rebellion in the colonies would fail.
The British landed their forces in Staten Island and Long Island in late June and early July 1776. They gathered in Brooklyn across the East River from lower Manhattan. On August 27, 1776 the largest battle of the war called Battle of Long Island left George Washington with most of his troops trapped in the area of the present day Brooklyn Bridge. Washington managed to evacuate all of his troops across the East River at night without losing a man. On September 15, the British Commander General Howe landed about 12,000 men on lower Manhattan, quickly taking control of New York City. The Americans withdrew to Harlem, where they skirmished the next day, but held their ground. Rather than attempting to dislodge Washington from his strong position a second time, Howe again opted for a flanking maneuver. Landing troops with some opposition in October in Westchester County, he sought once again to encircle Washington. To defend against this move, Washington withdrew most of his army to White Plains, where after a short battle on October 28 he retreated further north. This isolated the remaining Continental Army troops in upper Manhattan, so Howe returned to Manhattan and captured Fort Washington in mid November, taking almost 3,000 prisoners. Four days later, Fort Lee, across the Hudson River from Fort Washington, was also taken. Washington brought much of his army across the Hudson into New Jersey, but was immediately forced to retreat by the aggressive British advance.
Joseph Elder, and the militias of Ulster County marched August 7th and proceeded from
Newburg New York, sailed on sloops to Peekskill, and then on foot to Kingsbridge.
Joseph Elder's wife was applying for a pension in the 1830's.... since actual muster/pay records were often incomplete or missing, it was common practice to have other soldiers provide affidavits of service to account for their time. These have been transcribed from their 1800 hand written format to what you see here. The one following here is from Robert McGlouchlan giving a deposition for Joe Elder covering the time from Newburg to Kingsbridge until leaving New York City to White Plains, and then discharge at Fort Constitution opposite West Point.
The following Muster Roll shows Joseph Elder in Harlem on August 26th 1776, a 5'11" Blacksmith from Ulster County. A detachment had left the Militia in Kings Bridge and marched south. It is speculation and a bit of an educated guess if Joseph Elder made it further south, however once one would have been assigned to a detachment moving south of the main force, it would seem logical that they remained together as a unit.
The night of August 29th, was when Washington evacuated his troops from the Eastern side of the Brooklyn Bridge to Manhattan.
Washington and the army were surrounded on Brooklyn Heights with the East River to their backs. As the day went on, the British began to dig trenches, slowly coming closer and closer to the American defenses. By doing this, the British would not have to cross over open ground to assault the American defenses as they did in Boston the year before. Despite this perilous situation, Washington ordered 1,200 more men from Manhattan to Brooklyn on August 28. The men that came over were two Pennsylvania regiments and Colonel John Glover's regiment from Marblehead, Massachusetts."
It is a guess if Joseph Elder made it south of Harlem as a reinforcement to the Battle of Brooklyn or as part of the evacuation, however one of his contemporaries in the same unit, Elnathan Sears, has an affidavit stating that he (Elnathan) made it to Long Island.
The following affidavit is one from Elnathan Sears for Robert McGloughlan and one from John McMicheal for Robert McGloughlan covering the same time period. Robert McGloughlan gave the previous affidavit (above) saying that Joseph Elder was with him. So this is two other soldiers saying that Robert was with them. They were discharged on Constitution Island on December 25th 1776 (from another affidavit) after serving almost 6 months on a 5 month callout. Elanathan Sears states "said company being stationed at or near Kingsbridge a detachment was taken from said regiment of which this deponent was on and taken to Long Island a few days before the retreat from Long Island"...
The Battle of Harlem Heights was September 16, as Washington retreated North up Manhattan.
Washington retreated north up Manhattan leaving 3,000 troops at Fort Washington (the western end of the present day George Washington Bridge), and took his main army and the New York, New England militias to White Plains. After the Battle of White Plains where Joseph, Robert, and Elnathan were, George Washington took his troops to Peekskill, on the east side of the river below West Point. George Washington split off the New England and New York state militias and left them to defend the river. George Washington crossed the river and headed to Trenton for his famous Christmas raid.
The milita men left behind guarded the river and assisted in building fortifications. Joseph and company were in Peekskill from mid November, and made their way to Constitution Island in December. As Elnathan states "to guard against two British frigates and a tender"... Robert McGlochlan, Elnathan Sears, and Joseph Elder were discharged here on Christmas Day 1776. Because of ice in the river they debarked at Moodna Creek, not New Windsor, and walked back to their homes. Hardy souls.
The following picture is looking east from the west shore of the North River (Hudson)...West Point is in the fore ground on the West side (Hence the name West Point)...Constitution Island is the wooded area surrounded by Marsh across the river. The white is ice in the river.
This is the West shore of the Hudson about 7 miles north of West Point looking North. They were supposed to debark from their small boats in New Windsor further north a few miles on the West side. Because of ice in the river they debarked at the Moodna creek which is just behind the tree in the foreground.
At the end of 1776 the British were in full possession of New York City and they did not leave until November 25, 1783. Referred to as "Evacuation Day". It was celebrated in New York until World War I when America renewed their relations with the British. However in 1777, the British had New York City and had designs on controlling the North River all the way to Canada.
This is Joseph Elders travels for 1777.
After being discharged on December 25 1776, Joseph Elder serves in January February and March defending the New York / New Jersey border, then marching back through Ft Clinton presumably to assist in building fortifications.
In 1777 the British made a number of excursions north of the city in preparation for joining with their Canadian forces. The Americans were going to defend the North River (the Hudson) at the narrow gap of the Peekskills. Forts Clinton and Montgomery on the West shore near present day Bear Mountain, and Fort Constitution on the east shore. Two chains were laid on floating rafts by Fort Montgomery, and the "Great Chain" went from West Point to Fort Constitution. There were a number of alarms during the summer of 1777 as the British came near the Peekskills.
The following is an excerpt from "Evacuation Day" (November 25 1783). It was written to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Evacuation Day. It is only about 55 pages, and a worthy read. It starts with the British taking New York City, describes how the patriots left the city and went to the countryside and their eventual return to New York City. This excerpt addresses their arrival in the countryside, and the Battle of Fort Montgomery, 3,000 British and Hessians vs 600 patriots.
Murdner's Creek, or Murderer's Creek, now called Moodna Creek (Dutch for Murder), is on the west side of the Hudson between West Point and New Windsor, and flows from the "W" in Windsor on the map above into the Hudson. The VanArsdale party sailed from the "N" in New York (City), to the mouth of the Moodna (north of West Point), and then up near the "W" in Windsor. It was then a 12 mile walk to Tuenis VanArsdales forge. It's the same creek referenced in the 1776 affidavit for their place of discharge for service in 1776.
Joseph Elder came home with bullet holes in his jacket and hat.........
Joseph Elder would have come from the north by the lake at the top of this map with Tuenis and another apprentice.....Tuenis escaped by getting down to the river and across to the east side. It is unknown how Joseph Elder escaped, however his apprentice partner was killed.
Orange County History - Russel Headly - 1908
The last paragraph describes Teunis VanArsdales forge as a meeting place for the patriots.
As I write this it is Sunday October 7, 2012. I spent yesterday at the reenactment of the Battle of Fort Montgomery, held on its 235th anniversary. I have this picture in my files so I thought on the anniversary of Tuenis's return home from the Battle it would be appropriate to post it here.
The gravestone of Teunis and Jane Van Arsdale (dutch spelling Van Orsdol).
Jane is the person being interviewed by the writer of Evacuation Day. The writer was also related to some of the battles participants, and is of the same family that named and lived on Rikers Island.
from Evacuation Day ...
"Then Gov. Clinton told them to escape for their lives, when many fought their way out, or scrambled over the wall, and so got away. It must have fared badly with the rest, as the enemy after entering the fort continued to stab, knock down and kill our soldiers without pity. Favored by the darkness, Tunis attempted to escape through one of the entrances, though it was nearly blocked up by the assailing column, and the heaps of killed and wounded; but presently, as an English soldier held a militiaman bayoneted against the wall, Tunis, stooping down, slipped between the Briton's legs, and escaped around the fort toward the river. He said he had gone but a little way, when a cry of distress, evidently from a young person, arrested his attention. A poor boy, in making his escape, had fallen into a crevice in the rocks, and was unable to extricate himself. Tunis, at no little risk, crept down to where the lad was and drew him out, but in doing so hurt himself quite badly, by scraping one of his legs on a sharp rock. He then gained the river and found a skiff, in which he and two or three others crossed over. Then a party of them travelled in Indian file, through the darkness and cold drizzling rain, stopping once at the house of a friendly farmer, where they got some food, and as the day broke entered Fishkill; whence they crossed to New Windsor, and there met Gov. Clinton and many more who had made good their escape. All felt greatly [Pg 34]dispirited, but the Governor tried to cheer them, remarking: "Well, my boys, we've been badly beaten this time, but have courage, the next time the day may be ours."
No wonder he was tired and fell off the horse at home on the Tuesday after the Battle. Thankyou Teunis, Elnathan, James, Alexander, John, Jane, Joseph et al....... Happy Anniversary..
Elanthan Sears and John Van Arsdale (brother of Teunis, Joseph's Blacksmith mentor) were captured at Fort Montgomery, Elnathan, after being shot in one leg and bayoneted in the other, they spent 10 months as prisioners of the British.
from Evacuation Day...
"When the battle had ended, and the enemy had set a guard, Corporal Van Arsdale, who had shown great spirit in the fight, and was among the last to cease firing, resolved not to be made a prisoner, and managed to escape from the fort; but he had only gone a short distance when he was shot in the calf of the leg, and seized by a British soldier while in the act of crossing a fence. He was conducted back into the fort, under a torrent of abuse from his captor, who threatened to take his life, and he himself expected instant death. His gun was demanded, and when delivered, the barrel was yet so hot from frequent firing that the soldier quickly dropped it, with another imprecation. Then the old musket, its last work so nobly done, was ruthlessly broken to pieces over the rocks. Van Arsdale and [Pg 40]the other prisoners, two hundred and seventy-five in all, including twenty-eight officers, were kept under guard for a day or two at the forts, then put on board the British transports and taken to New York. "......Van Arsdale was taken sick about the 20th of December, and had the good fortune to be sent to the hospital, where he had some care, and soon recovered. Shortly after going there he was joined by Sears, who was in a suffering and helpless condition, his feet and legs having been badly frozen in the prisonship. Fortunately Van Arsdale was getting better, so that he was of great service to his friend, and which also tended to divert his mind from his own misfortunes. ..." Words cannot portray the horrors of this prison, which was loathsome with filth and vermin, and where to the pangs of hunger and thirst, were aided the alternate extremes of heat and cold. Especially when the hatches were closed, as was always done at night, the heat and stench caused by the feverish breath of hundreds of prisoners became almost suffocating. Consequently dysentery, smallpox and jail fever made fearful ravages. The ghastly faces of the starved and sick, and the pale corpses of the dead, the groans of the dying, the commingled voices of weeping, cursing and praying, joined to the ravings of the delirious; such were the shocking scenes to which Van Arsdale was a witness, and which added to his personal sufferings, made his situation one of the most appalling to be conceived of. Fitly was this dungeon described by one of its inmates as "a little epitome of Hell!" Kept near to starvation, Van Arsdale, when allowed with other prisoners, a few at a time, to go up on the quarter deck, was glad to eat the beans or crusts he skimmed from the swill kept there to feed pigs, that he might partially relieve the gnawings of hunger! But we forbear further comment upon a fruitful topic, the cruel treatment of the American prisoners, and which has fixed a stain upon the perpetrators never to be wiped out!.......Van Arsdale had dragged out some two months of miserable existence in the Sugar House, and in all nine months and a half as a prisoner, when the day of happy deliverance arrived. Gen. Washington had long been trying to effect an exchange of prisoners, but to overcome the scruples of the British commander took months of negotiation. Terms were at length agreed upon by which some six hundred Americans were set at liberty. On July 20th, Van Arsdale was released from his dungeon, and taken with others in a barge down the bay, and via the Kills to Elizabethtown Point, where they landed, and were delivered up to Major John Beatty, the American Commissary. In marching from the Point two miles to the village of Elizabethtown, Van Arsdale was obliged to support his friend Sears, who was too feeble to walk alone. Now breathing the air of freedom, they set out together for their homes in Hanover Precinct, where Van Arsdale was heartily greeted by his numerous friends who received him as one risen from the dead, and found a warm welcome in the house of his brother Tunis. Emaciated to a degree, and suffering from scurvy, he was for some time under the doctor's care, but finally regained his health."
The British took the forts, the Americans never surrendered 300 of the 600 Americans were captured or killed. However this was all to late in the year for the northern British forces proceeding southward. Realizing that Admiral Howe, and General Howe, were not going to make it further north than Kingston (then the capital of New York), the northern forces surrendered at Saratoga Springs, regarded as the first American victory during the War. However, without local opposition in the lower Hudson Valley, the outcome in the North may not have been so certain.
Joseph Elder's travels for 1778 start on May 5 when the 2nd Ulster musters in Easton PA (20 miles east of present day Allentown). They march to Valley Forge (Dec 1777- June 1778), as reinforcements for Washington's troops who had wintered over. June 18th camp breaks and they had across New Jersey, paralleling the British. They meet at Freehold for The Battle of Monmouth Court House, the last major battle in the north.
Joseph Elder's muster roll for Camp Valley Forge
This is an example of "keep doing your research". Joseph has a muster record from Valley Forge, his next official record is one from White Plains. That leaves a lot of undocumented time in between. However, Joseph gave an affidavit for another soldier's pension, and it connects the two nicely.
Just to give you an idea what these affidavits look like in original form, below is what the above was transcribed from. Signed by Joseph Elder..... on his wife's affidavit it says "Margaret X Elder" and below it "her mark"......meaning the x ...so she could not write....I do not believe Joseph wrote this... I think it was done by a clerk of the court..... However Joseph's signature is unique to this document and I think its his.
At Valley Forge the 2nd New York Line was attached to the 1st New Hampshire. It was that way to White Plains. At White Plains the troops were reorganized again. His unit was refitted and marched to Ellenville, New York. At this time Ellenville down to Port Jervis was considered the "Indian Frontier". Joseph Elder had a 9 month term of enlistment for 1778, and he was discharged in February 1779 north of Ellenville New York. Many of the 9 month service men were discharged at this time. Men who had joined later (i.e. at White Plains) became part of the Sullivan Expedition.
And one other contemporary who was at Fort Montgomery and The Battle of Monmouth
Most of the major War events after 1779 were south of Philadelphia. After being discharged in February 1779 from his 1778 service, Joseph Elder did some other small amounts of service in this year. Many of his contemporaries talk of being on call to go to the Indian frontier at Ellenville about 35 miles west of Montgomery. There is no specific reference for Joseph Elder doing this except for his wife's affidavit which says he spent time on the "Indian Frontiers of Ulster County".
Another soldier giving an affidavit for Josephs widow during that time period.
Joseph Elder was discharged in February of 1779 after 9 months of Continental Line service, and then did local Militia service in 1779 in Ulster County. The soldiers in 1779 who had joined his Continental Line unit later than him who had more time left to serve to fulfill their 9 month term became part of the "Sullivan Expedition".
This campaign pushed the Indians under Joseph Brandt from Wilkes-Barre PA, to north of Albany NY. In 1780, partly in retribution for the Sullivan Campaign, Chief Brandt, Tories and British made numerous raids in the upper Hudson west of Albany, known as "the Bloody Mohawk".
Travels of 1780
Another affidavit for Joseph Elders widow...
This is Joseph Elders contemporary talking of his service on the Northern Frontier, which was longer than Joe's. It might also be noted that Elnathan Sears did this after 10 months of captivity as a POW.
On Feb 13th 1822 the court clerk certified Joseph
Elder's and Elnathan Sears affidavits for another soldier. Joseph and Elnathan had given depositions one day apart about 2 weeks prior for Alexander Moffat, who was captured an at Fort Montgomery, and was destitute after the war and qualified for the first pension authorizations.
Elnathan Sears did so much in these times I am compelled to include his petition to Congress for a pension. He returned to Wurstboro NY after his petition and died shortly thereafter of the flu he caught on his trip to Washington.
This is why the title is "A Walk through the War of the Revolution"...if you need to be reminded that aside from crossing the Hudson in sloops, that everything else was walking, then read this, from
"the History of Orange County" Ruttenber and Clark
pg 414 published 1881.
Joe and his wife Margaret Thompson
This is a one page summary of Joseph Elders military service. It has been created from the pay records, books, pension affidavits and other miscellaneous records. By piecing these all together we have been able to recreate his footsteps through the War of the Revolution.
Private Joseph Elder - Military Service
Year Unit & Officers Service Ref. Months Location Detail
1.- Minute Man
1775 William Jackson Capt. /R/ 4 Mo P,A1,A2,A3 Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec New Windsor
August 22, 1775 the NY Provincial Congess authourizes Minutmen to be drawn from the Militia....one of every four.
2.- Ulster County 3rd Militia - Col. Levi Paul(d)ing Regiment
July 16th, 1776 NY provincial congress makes second (of 3) drafts instructing the Militia's of Orange and Ulster to supply/send troops for the defence of New York City.
1776* James Milliken Capt. 6 Mo Al, A5 July 2 -Enlisted Newburgh
A3, A5 August 7 Marched Peekskill
A5,A40, A48,A50 Kings Bridge # E. Bronx, NY
P Aug 26 Harlem # Battle Sep 16 Harlem Hts
A5, D Oct 28 White Plains
Attacked by British*
Saw British ships on river A Discharged Dec 25 Ft. Constitution or
3.- Ulster County 2nd Militia – Col. James McClaughry Regiment
1777 William Faulkner Capt/W/ 2 Mo A1, A3 Jan, Feb Ramapo
1 Mo. Al, A3 Mar Ft. Clinton
4.- Ulster County 2nd Militia – Col. Jonathon Hasbrouck Regiment
1777 Hendrick Vankeuren Capt 8 Days P. Al2 Jul 29 Ft. Montgomery
The pay record does not have a year noted; however, the year 1777 is supported by affidavit (Al2) for Alexander Moffat.
5.-Ulster County 2nd Militia – Col. James McClaughry /P/ Regiment
1777* Every man Days B3, A Oct. 6 Ft. Montgomery Bayonet Charge*
6.- The Continental Army - Gen. George Washington - Gen. Charles Lee /T/ The 1st NH Brigade - Brig. Gen. Enoch Poor The Continental Line NY 2nd Regiment - Col. Philip Van Cortland
1778* Charles Graham Capt./T/ 9 Mos. All, A1 May 5 Easton, PA Mustered
P, F, A3, A38 6-18 Valley Forge, 6-21 Coryell's Ferry
6-23 Hopewell, 6-25 Kingstown,
A11, B4,F Prince Town, 6-28 Battle of Monmouth,
Lafayette replaces Lee*
B4, B9 7-1 Spotswood Ck, 7-2-5 Brunswick
B4 7- 7 Springfield, 7-8 Wardsession,
B4 7-11-13 Paramust, NJ, 7-14 Kirkeat
B4 7-15 King’s Ferry 7-17 Peekskill Landing
P June (pay) North Castle - North of White Plains
P Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep White Plains
Jacob Wright Capt. P, F, A11 Oct 6 Camp Peekskill Reorganized units
ordered to the Indian frontier of P, F, A11 Nov,Dec,Jan ‘79 Camp Rochester Warsing,NY
Ellenville P Feb 3 or 16 Discharge Camp Rochester Warwarsing, NY
Camp Rochester was north of Ellenville
Note: The Continental Army as reorganized at Valley Forge (F) shows the NY 2nd & 4th NY Regiments attached to the 1st NH Brigade. The 15t. NY Regiment was attached to the 2nd PA Brigade. This arrangement was from Valley Forge to Camp Peekskill.
7.-The Continental Line NY 2nd Regiment – Col. Philip Van Cortland
1779 Charles Graham Capt. Days P Feb 3 or 16 Discharged (see above)
Muster and Pay Roll June 20 1779 at Jacob Plains, PA (Susquehanna River) reflects February 1779 discharge.
Joseph Elder and many others were split off at the end of the nine month service. They did not serve on Sullivan Expedition.
8.-Ulster County 2nd Militia – Col. James McClaughry Regiment - Lt. Col. Jacob Newkirk in command
1779 Hendrick Vankeuren Capt 8 Days P. F
9.-Ulster County 2nd Militia – Col. James McClaughry Regiment - Lt. Col. Jacob Newkirk in command
1779 William Tilford Capt. 2 Mos. A3,A4 Sep 1 to Nov 1 Fishkill
10.-The Levies – Col. William Malcolm Regiment & Col. A. Paul(d)ing Regiment
(Malcolm transferred Drake and others to a slacking Company)
1780* Joshau Drake Capt./T/ 3 Mos. B1, B2 Jul 25 Walk to Albany, Missed the boat
P. A6, F Jul, Aug Albany
Capt. Drake (T,P. 9-26-80) Col. Harper Sep, Oct Schenectady Stone Roby (Ft Paris)
A6, F, A10 At-German Flats & Fts. Stanwix
Rome NY, Hunter,& Rensselaer*
11.-The Levies – Col. John Hawthorn Regiment
1785 William Tilford Capt. ? P Mar 8 William Trimble
12.-The Levies – Col. Fred Weissenfels Regiment
1787 Henry Brewster Capt. ? P,A7,F Mar 6 Served as Sergeant (A7 15)
Notes: References of (A) refer to Pension Affidavits, (B) to Books, (D) Detail records, (F) to Field records and (P) Payroll. The Payroll and Field records are interfiled in date sequence while the others have indexes to locate the exact item. The Bureau of Pensions dated 2-9-1896 response to Affidavit AOA, states items 1,2,3,6,9,&12 were allowed.
# Affidavits only indicate Kingsbridge. A pay record indicates Harlem, other members of the company made it to Brooklyn. From the current record, it is not possible to determine if Joseph made it as far south as Brooklyn.* Engaged enemy --/R/ - Resigned /W/ - Wounded /P/ - Prisoner /T/- Transferred JoeElder_MilService rev. 10/22/12
A simplified note on types of troop organizations.
"Militia" were troops called up to support the Continental Army, or for local defense, they were supposed to have limited operation outside of their state.
"Minutemen" - (in NY really only in August 1775, until June 1776) were the youngest, readiest etc, of the local militia, about 20-25% of the force.
"Line Troops" - George Washington realized he needed more troops than the Continental Army, so he petitioned to get militias to fight out of state. The Continental Congress authorized states to fill these quotas from the militia. New York was tasked with raising about 3,000. Joe Elder's service in 1778 was a nine-month call-up for service in "the New York Line", militia to fight out of state under command of the Continental Army.
"Levies" - troops again called out of the militia to fight in-state, but to be paid with federal dollars, more common in 1779-1783.
"The Continental Army", purely federal troops with 3 year, or duration of the war enlistment terms.
This is the only branch of service Joseph Elder did not serve in.
As a ongoing follow on project that was begun out of searching for Joseph Elder's father, we have looked at his contemporaries in the military service that may have had family relations. These people were tightly knit groups....brothers served together, neighbors, etc.... their families were in close quarters geographically. As we noticed a repetition of names in the military units, along with historical family tree information that we had, we began to realize that these people married each others brothers and sisters. Also, typically these people showed up as groups....i.e. "the Clinton Colony" in 1730 at Little Britain. In regards to that I have a "work in progress" of trying to use Ancestry.com to tree out fellow members of the 2nd Ulster Militia Regiment. It's not 100% correct, there are mistakes and errors....but it definitely creates a fabric of the local settlements and groupings of the soldiers and their inter-relations. Any interested parties feel free to forward additions and corrections...... * indicates related on family tree...(as best as can be determined)
Joseph Elder ... father of
William Elder...father of
George Elder....father of
George Clarence Elder....father of
George Sydney Elder...father of
George William Elder... father of
George Scott Elder
tallredleg2 (at) gmail (dot) com
The End - thank you for reading.
This can be done as a presentation for local history groups, schools etc.