Patriot Ancestors of the Revolutionary War That Did Not Fight

Micajah Covell is my 6th great grandfather. He lived from 1746 to 1832. Born in Connecticut, he lived most of his life in New York. Although he was the right age to have perhaps served in the Revolutionary War (1775-1783), I did not at first consider him a likely candidate for a Patriot Ancestor. I found nothing that was even a hint of military service. In addition, his religion was the Society of Friends, often called Quakers, a group of renowned pacifists. It was unlikely he ever raised arms to fight anyone.

However, Micajah Covell is indeed a Patriot Ancestor, even though he did not fight in the Revolutionary War. He paid a Supply Tax in 1779 in Albany County, New York. The purpose of that Supply Tax was to raise revenue to support the cause of American Independence.

For membership in SAR or DAR, the Patriot Ancestor must qualify as someone who “rendered acceptable service in the cause of American Independence.” The Supply Tax is acceptable service, as the tax was paid to help pay for the war. The SAR has some detailed information online about taxes that are acceptable proof.

I found Micajah Covell on a Tax List with the Empire State Society of the Sons of the American Revolution. This is basically a New York chapter of the SAR. The names on these lists are not indexed or searchable. I knew where he lived, searched the list, and found his name.

This Tax List is now the documentation I need to prove Micajah Covell is a Patriot Ancestor. If you are a descendant of Micajah Covell, you can use this evidence, along with proof of your complete lineage, to claim him as a Patriot Ancestor on either a Primary Application or a Supplemental Application for membership in SAR or DAR.

This idea can be applied to any Patriot Ancestor. The important thing to remember is the Patriot Ancestor did not need to fight in the Revolutionary War. A military record is not the only way to obtain membership in SAR or DAR. The Patriot needed only to support the cause of American Independence. Payment of an acceptable tax is one method of proof.

Bonus hint: Micajah Covell married Sarah Soule, a descendant of George Soule, a Mayflower passenger. If you are a descendant of Micajah Covell and Sarah Soule, you qualify for membership in both SAR/DAR and the Mayflower Society.

Find Your Revolutionary Roots

Family Tree Magazine had an excellent article about how to “Find Your Revolutionary Roots” in their July/August 2019 issue. The article was written by Shelley Bishop, a professional genealogist and member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). She gives some excellent resources and ideas in the article, based in part on her experience researching her own American Patriot.

I subscribe to the paper hard copy edition, but the magazine is available as a digital edition online.

Enjoy your search!

George Hoffman; Patriot?

My wife’s paternal line goes back to George Hoffman, born in Germany in 1736. Her grandfather kept a journal every day he was in college, starting in 1912. It includes stories of how he met his wife, and train travel to New York state to get married. After college, he kept journal entries on a less often weekly, and later only monthly, basis. But in the back of the journal is a Hoffman family tree. He got the info from his aunt; we don’t know where she got her information. But most of the tree, so far, seems to be fairly accurate, even though it has no sources.

Other documents have verified much of what is in the Hoffman journal family tree. Found out George Hoffman was born Johann Georg Hoffman, German for John George Hoffman. He Americanized his name after coming to Pennsylvania. The names of his wife and children are confirmed in other documents, including his will, written in 1801 in Cumberland, Pennsylvania.

[Pennsylvania, Wills and Probate Records, 1683-1993; George Hoffman will of 1801; Pennsylvania County, District and Probate Courts, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. Wills, Volume F, 1795-1803, pp. 294-300, images 506-509 of 542, images and database online, Ancestry.com : accessed 18 November 2018).]

Now, another user on Ancestry has made the claim that George Hoffman fought in the American Revolutionary War. They do not substantiate that claim with sources. I have sent an ancestry message to this person asking what sources they have, how can they prove their claim, and they have not responded. If George did fight in the American Revolutionary War, he is an American Patriot that would qualify my wife for membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).

So, another thing on the Research To Do list is to answer the research question, did this George Hoffman actually fight in the American Revolutionary War? I am actively searching for information; if you have any tips, let me know. When I find an answer, I’ll post it here.