William Reynolds, from British soldier to Colonial American Patriot

William Reynolds, from British soldier to Colonial American Patriot


William Reynolds was a soldier sent over with the Braddock Expedition in 1755 and survived at least two battles on the Pennsylvania frontier. He supported the Pennsylvania Provincials in defending against French and Indian attacks. We find that Reynolds came in direct contact with Colonel George Washington on one occasion to battle the French. Later, he took up the cause to fight with Washington at Valley Forge against the government he served 16 years earlier.

Stories about William Reynolds, from British soldier to Colonial American Patriot

A newspaper record of an 1889 family reunion passes the family legend down through the next generations.

  • Corry, PA, USA

The search for William Reynolds, the soldier, can be documented by identifying various sources of information, along with historical accounts of the time.  The key source of information given to the family comes from what has been handed down through the generations.  The legend of William Reynolds has lived on in our family in most part due to an article that appeared in The Flyer, a Corry, Pennsylvania newspaper dated October 9, 1889.  In this newspaper we read about a family reunion that took place.

To trace the beginnings of William Reynolds, we can break down some of the accounts given in the article:

“Wm. Reynolds, the first ancestor in this country was a British soldier stationed in Ireland.  He was sent in 1755 under Gen. Braddock to assist the colonists.”

We know that General Braddock sent two regiments to America that were stationed in Ireland by order of King George II.  The two regiments were Sir Peter Halkett’s 44th Foot and Thomas Dunbar’s 48th Foot.  These two battalions left Cork, Ireland with 520 men each.  The numbers in the regiment were raised by drawing men from regiments in Great Britain and Ireland.

If William Reynolds sailed to America with one of the regiments mentioned above, he could have taken part in the Battle of the Monongahela, or he could have remained in the rear party that moved supplies to support the front of the expedition.  At this time, we don’t have documentation on his whereabouts in July 1755.  However, based on the family’s account, it does seem likely that this expedition was the means by which he would have traveled to America from England.  The details of the Battle of the Monongahela and Braddock’s Expedition can be researched in great detail at a number of web sites that are beyond the scope of this summary.

The period of time between July 1755 and when Reynolds first appears with the 2nd Battallion of the Pennsylvania Regiment is an interesting era to research.  The following articles and future ones will trace the steps of Reynolds from his service as a Brisitsh soldier to the time that he joined the Revolutionary War and served at Valley Forge.

At the time of this writing Pittsburgh was celebrating it's 250th Anniversary.  For my family, it marks the 250th anniverary of the survival and discovery of my ancestor, William Reynolds, in the French and Indian War.

See all 8 stories…

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andrewcapets -Contributions private
26 Mar 2008
15 Apr 2012
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