American Revolution: Thomas Twiss

American Revolution: Thomas Twiss


Follow the life of a soldier through Revolutionary War papers.

Stories about American Revolution: Thomas Twiss

The life of Private Thomas Twiss.

The first mention of Thomas Twiss or Twist is in June 1778, when his name appears on a pay roll for Capt. William Judd's Company in the 3rd Continental Regiment commanded by Col. Samuel Wyllys. The pay period covered his service for the month of June, which amounted to 2 pounds. Apparently pay was given in British pounds, shillings and pence until October 1779, when it changed to dollars and cents - he then made $6.60 a month, in "lawful money". An undated document shows that he was issued 1 pair of woolen overhalls (sic), one hat, one pair of hose, and 2 pairs of shoes (or maybe just 2 shoes since they hadn't invented shoes for left or right feet yet). His inventory appears to be considerably less than many of the others on the same page, which means he likely brought much of his own "uniform" and equipment with him, or had it from a previous enlistment.

Thomas appears on the muster and/or pay rolls from then until March 1780, always as a private, always "on duty" while others in his unit transferred in and out or went on leave. Another private in his unit had the interesting name of Liverpool Wadsworth! In November, Liverpool was reported as being "sick in camp". That same month, Thomas signed his name with an X, indicating that he could not write his own name. Someone must have forged his signature in January and February because his name appears on two lists, in 2 different styles of handwriting! Some of the others on the list for January marked X beside their name. It was not uncommon for a person to be illiterate.

On the January Muster Roll, a notation beside Thomas' name indicates "on Comd Newark". Further research may lead to more information on exactly what that meant.

The first hint of trouble appears on the March 1780 Pay Roll. Even though "on duty" is marked by his name on the Muster Roll for that month (written 1 April), the Pay Roll says "dead since muster". The Muster Roll for April also indicates he had died.

Returns of the officers & men who belong to __ & those who have Died in Service Belonging to the 7 Company and Connecticut Regt in the Service of the United States Commanded by Col. Saml Wyllys & those who engaged for three years or During the War from the 1st Day of Jany 1780 to the 1st of Jany 1781 gives us the possibility of detailed information about Private Thomas Twiss and his fellow men. Information was requested on the town where they enlisted, term engaged for, date of their marriage, wages per month, commencement of service, expiration of service, whole time served, sum due for the whole term of time, state, town (presumable of death), balance due and remarks. Blanks on Thomas' line indicate they don't know where he enlisted, he enlisted for the duration of the war, he wasn't married, he was still making the same pay as when he enlisted, and he was "killed 28 Apl 1780".

The last record we have for Private Liverpool (or Leverpool) Wadsworth is dated 11 August 1780, when he is reported as "sick in camp" again.

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