Category:Revolutionary War

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1840 census of Rev. War pensioners

The Militia

From the time of the earliest settlers colonists were required to form companies of militia for their own defense. The colonial militia, drawn from the general male population, was organized into companies known by the names of their commanders. All male inhabitants from 15 to 55 were legally obligated to be enrolled in militia companies. By the 1700s the New York militia was organized by county, and the royal government appointed officers.

The laws in different colonies varied, but usually a settlement would form its own company, or if the settlement was too small it could band with other settlements. The companies consisted of from 65 to 200 men. After the French and Indian War the militia generally fell into a state of neglect, and units were usually poorly armed by the time of the Revolution.

The militia normally provided support in skirmishes and battles in their area, and controlled areas that would of otherwise have fallen to the British. They could be called upon at any time, for any length of time, but could be required to serve only three months out of state. Any able-bodied man had to serve when “warned” unless he was incapacitated. If incapacitated, he had to contribute toward furnishing and equipping another man.

Associated Exempts

In 1778 the Associated Exempts were created. This group consisted of invalids and elderly, (all persons who were under the age of sixty who had held a military or civil commission and all others between fifty and sixty). They were a reserve to be called out only in time of invasion by the enemy.


Levies were raised from the militia ranks for the purpose of defending the frontiers. These drafted militiamen, serving for a period of eight months or less, were posted at outlying blockhouses and forts.

Committees of Safety

In November 1774 the Albany Committee of Correspondence, Safety, and Protection was formed to execute the orders given by the First Continental Congress. Members were named from each of the city’s wards, from Rensselaerwyck, and from other outlying districts. Local committees were organized in each district with the responsibility of the safety and protection of the local populace. The committees were made up of the more prominent and respected community leaders. The local committee was responsible for the raising of troops and funds required for maintaining them. Committee functions evolved so that during the Revolution it became the principal organ of local government.

Schoharie Committee of Safety

The Schoharie Committee of Safety, organized as a sub-committee of the Albany Committee, represented the Schoharie and Duanesburg districts and regularly sent delegates to its conferences. The area that is now included in the various Hilltowns was part of the Rensselaerwyck district.


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Media in category "Revolutionary War"

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