1730/35-1808 Married to (1) Elizabeth CRAIGHEAD, (2) Sarah LAMB, (3) Elizabeth


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William GILSON (1730/35-1808) - Revolutionary War Service



October 1777 He, along with his brother Richard, enlisted in the War of the Revolution and was in service in Captain James LAIRD's Company (then Lt. James FLOYD's, when the former was promoted), commanded by Col. Wm CHAMBERS. This was Third Battalion 3rd Class, Cumberland Co., PA., Associates and Militia in service Oct, 1777. Pvt. William GILSON, Richard GILSON, David BOYD.

[Penn. Archives, 5th Ser., Vol. VI, 201-10. "Muster Rolls, Associators and Militia of Cumberland Co."]

NOTE: "The Penn. Militia in 1777", by Roach and reprinted in Penn. Gen. Magazine (p.179), states that Cumberland Co. Battalion is mistakenly headed "Associators" in Penn. Archives.


Eastern Cumberland (Allen, Middleton & East Pennsboro Twp.)

Third Battalion - 1777

Col. Wm. Chambers (M)

Lt. Col. David Bell (E)

Major Samuel Irvine (M)

Co. 3 Captain James Laird (A)

[Military Unit organization, "Mother Cumberland", Bell.]

*Field Officers, Cumberland Co. Battalions

   Commissions dated 31 Jul 1777

Third Battalion: Col. Wm Chambers; Lt. Col. David Bell; Major Samuel Irwin

 *Company Captains, 3rd Class Cumberland Co.

    Commanded by Col. Wm. Chambers

      (Called up 23 Oct 1777)

  James Laird of 3rd Co., Third Battalion

*...The militia under (Gen.) Potter, which finally crossed the Schuykill to the east side the 1st of December (1777), included ... Cumberland Co.'s 3rd Class under Col. Wm. Chambers.

["Penn. Militia in 1777", by Roach. p.212,219.]

During the American Revolutionary War, (James Potter) led militia troops at the battles of Trenton, Princeton, Brandywine and Germantown. In April 1777, he was promoted to brigadier-general of the Pennsylvania militia. In 1777, with the troops under his command in the counties of Philadelphia, Chester, and Delaware, he obtained important information for George Washington, and prevented supplies from reaching the enemy. On 11 December, while the army under Washington was on its way to Valley Forge, after part of it had crossed the Schuylkill River at Matson's Ford, it was found that the enemy under Cornwallis were in force on the other side. "They were met," writes Washington, "by General Potter, with part of the Pennsylvania Militia, who behaved with great bravery, and gave them every possible opposition until he was obliged to retreat from their superior numbers." On this same day a group of Pennsylvania Militia under the command of General Potter defended the home of Thomas Wynne of Blockley from a band of British marauders.[1] The graves of three British soldiers killed are on the Wynnestay property.[2] After this day of service Potter took a leave of absence to care for his sick wife. Accompanying General Potter through the Revolutionary War was his servant Hero Wade.[3]


"The first horse I remember to ride alone, was one taken in the Revolution by William GILSON who then lived on the Conodoguinett creek, where Harlacher's mill now is - he was one of Hindman's Riflemen, and after the battle of Trenton, he being wounded in the leg, two of his brother soldiers were helping him off the field, they were pursued by three British Light Horsemen, across an old field and must be taken, they determined to sell themselves as dear as possible, GILSON reached the fence and propped himself against it, "now says he, "man for man, I take the foremost," he shot him down, the next was also shot, the third missed, the two horses pursued their course and were caught by GILSON and his companions and brought into camp; his blue dun lived to a great age; GILSON was offered 1500 pounds for him. GILSON removed to Westmoreland county; his wife was also a TRINDLE; he left a numerous and respectable family."

[letter from Thomas CRAIGHEAD, Jr.. 16 Dec 1845 from Whitehill. Rupps History of Dauphin, Cumberland, ... Co.]

  {Could the reference to Hindman's Riflemen, be to Col. Hindman of Maryland?}


Listing for Wm. GILSON, b.1730 d.1806 Pvt PA m1. Eliz. CRAIGHEAD, m2.Mrs. Sarah Trindle, m3.Mrs. Eliz Crawford.

[DAR Patriot Index.]

[Proceedings of Committee of Elizabethtown (Hagerstown) Distritc, 14 Sep 1775, Maryland Hist. Soc., Baltimore.]

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