My ancestor this week is my 6th great-grandfather, Levi Bridgewater, from my Mom’s side of the family. Levi was the son of Emanuel Bridgewater, but so far I have not been able to find out who his mother may have been, but I do know Levi had at least three older brothers, Samuel Bridgewater 1749-1827, Isaac Bridgewater ca. 1751 and Elias Bridgewater ca. 1755 and all four fought in the Revolutionary War. Levi Bridgewater was born in 1761, possibly in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. Everything points to him having been born in Fayette County and I know he enlisted in the Revolutionary War from there in 1776 when he was 15 years old and was married there in 1783 or 1785 when he was 22 or 24 years old, and he is also on the 1786 Fayette County, Pennsylvania, Septennial Census as well.
Here is what I do know for a fact, is that Levi enlisted January 20, 1776 according to his pension records in Uniontown, Fayette County, Pennsylvania under Captain James Neil, commanded by Colonel William Russell of the 13th Virginia Regiment for 3 years. Levi was only 15 years old at the time of his enlistment. Levi’s pension record goes on to say that early in the spring they marched down and joined General George Washington’s Army at the Cross Roads in Pennsylvania. He also says that he was discharged at Pittsburgh by Colonel Richard Campbell. Unfortunately he doesn't state any of the battles he may have been in, but after looking up information about his regiment online, I found that they fought at Brandywine, Germantown and Monmouth and they were at Valley Forge that terrible winter. I also found that Levi had become part of the 9th Regiment of Muhlenberg’s Brigade when he was at Valley Forge that winter. He was also a drummer boy and was standing guard in April of 1778 at Valley Forge before his company moved out. Levi’s company entered Valley Forge as part of Greene’s Division and left Valley Forge as part of Stirling’s Division. Levi ended up serving for three years and 2 months by the time he was discharged at Pittsburgh.
The following picture and info were found at: http://www.revolutionarywararchives.org/landon.html
Often dismissed as a minor function, the Regimental or Company drummer was a key and critical member of his unit. During the American Revolution, the drum served the same purpose as does the bugle today. It was the regimental drummer that transmitted the orders by means of his drum. Numerous drum calls existed. An officer could summon his officers, sergeants, or the entire Regiment just by having his drummer sound the appropriate drum beat. During battle, the sound of the drums actually communicated between different units engaged. A drum beat could order a withdrawal or an attack, it could speed the men up, or slow them down. It was most important.
Until I started writing this bio about my 6th great-grandfather, Levi Bridgewater, and a drummer boy to boot, I did not know he had been at Valley Forge, just like my 4th great-grandfather, Moses Woosley that I wrote about last week. I had never stopped and taken the time to research what battles or places Levi may have been in. It is so cool to know that I have two ancestors that were at Valley Forge that winter, one from my Mom’s side and one from my Dad’s side and to have found that out the month that has President’s Day in it is even better, since General George Washington was there with both of them. It makes me wonder if Levi and Moses could have meet and known each other while they were there and if they did I am sure neither of them could have ever fathomed the fact that they would share a granddaughter 180 years later.
I found the following picture and because there was a drummer boy in it I wanted to include it in this bio of Levi Bridgewater. I found it online at: http://pabook.libraries.psu.edu/palitmap/ValleyForge.html
George Washington astride his charger, as depicted by painter Edward P. Moran.
You can also go to the following website: http://valleyforgemusterroll.org/index.asp and put in my two ancestor’s names, Levi Bridgewater and Moses Woosley, to see what it says about both of them. By the way I just found this website myself, there are so many websites for searching that it is hard to keep up with all of them. The website I just mentioned above is dedicated to the men who were at Valley Forge and it has the following about that winter and spring. “There were no military battles fought here” is a sentiment expressed by many that know of and visit Valley Forge. However, that is only a part truth and misleading at best. Washington noted in his journal that he fully expected to be attacked by the British, a mere day’s march away in Philadelphia. What took place during the encampment at Valley Forge in the winter of 1777-1778 dramatically altered the future course of events in the fight for independence. On June 19, 1778 George Washington’s Continental Army marched out of the Valley Forge encampment, having endured six months of challenging hardships. Yet positive changes also took place during the winter encampment. The army was larger, more unified and officially trained for battle than when they arrived. The new newly trained army was prepared to engage the British Army that had departed Philadelphia and were now in retreat to New Jersey.” I am so proud of the service my ancestor gave to this growing country.
Also found this map of Valley Forge to give you an idea where Levi and his regiment would have been encamped and I circled in red his company. ("Encampment at Valley Forge 1778" by George W. Boynton (engraving) - Sparkes, Jered "The Life of George Washington" Boston: Tappen & Dennet 1843" The Cooper Collections of American History" (uploader's private collection) Scanned by the uploader, Centpacrr.. Licensed under PD-US via Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Encampment_at_Valley_Forge_1778.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Encampment_at_Valley_Forge_1778.jpg)
On June 1, 1783 or 1785 both years are given in Levi’s pension records in Beesontown, later named Uniontown, Fayette County, Pennsylvania Levi married Patience Stillwell. I tend to believe the year of their marriage was 1785, because if the year of birth Patience gave in her widow’s pension is correct she would have only been 13 in 1783, but 15 in 1785. However if they were married in 1785, then their oldest child Elias Bridgewater was born a little over 3 months later, which by the way was not an uncommon occurrence. Patience also stated in her widow’s pension, that they had been married by Isaac Sutton a Minister of the Gospel and banns were published three weeks earlier. Patience I believe was the daughter of Joseph Stillwell and Patience Brewer (Brauer). I still need more research to verify this fact, but everything points to them as her parents. The following map of Pennsylvania shows the county that Levi and Patience lived in circled in yellow.
Levi and Patience lived in George’s Township in Fayette County, Pennsylvania at least until 1789 and had their first three children born there. By 1790 they had moved to Kentucky and settled in Nelson County where their next two children were born, then by 1794 they were over in Shelby County where the next two were born, then to Hardin County for another child’s birth, then to Jackson County for one more, then back up to Shelby County for the last three children’s births. The following map of Kentucky shows the counties they lived in circled in yellow.
Levi and Patience Bridgewater’s 12 children were: Elias Bridgewater 1785-1855, Eleanor (Ellen) Bridgewater 1787-before 1860 (my direct line ancestor), Jack Bridgewater 1789 - ? , Isaac Bridgewater 1790-1874, Daniel Bridgewater 1792 - after 1850, Polly Bridgewater 1794 – after 1822, Rebekah Bridgewater 1797 - after 1860, Joseph Bridgewater 1880-1881, Solomon B. Bridgewater 1803 - after 1850, twins Elisha Bridgewater 1805 - after 1829 and Elijah Bridgewater 1805 - after 1860 and John Bridgewater 1807 - after 1830.
By 1812 Levi and Patience and most of their children had moved up into Indiana and lived first in Clark County, then Scott County, then Orange County and Washington County. They were moving up in there while Shawnee Indians were raiding and killing settlers left and right. One of Levi’s nieces and her family were completely wiped out during the Pigeon Roost Massacre in 1812 in Scott County, their names were Kesiah Bridgewater, her husband Elias Payne and their seven children. The following map of Indiana shows the counties they lived in circled in yellow.
Levi received bounty land warrants for his service during the war, so until I can dig further into land records in Kentucky and Indiana I am not sure where exactly his land might have been located. In 1830 Levi and Patience were living in Orange County, Indiana according to the census records, but the pension record states Levi died on September 30, 1831 in Washington County, Indiana which is right next door to Orange County. Patience continued living in Orange County and was living with their son, Elijah Bridgewater in 1850, but sometime after September 1851 and before March 1852 Patience also died. The cemetery which Levi and Patience are both buried in, is the Trimble Cemetery in Northeast Township in Orange County, Indiana. Their son Isaac Bridgewater and his wife, Mildred Akers are also buried in this cemetery.
Thus ended the life of a drummer boy during the Revolutionary War and another American Patriot, my 6th great-grandfather, Levi Bridgewater, what a heritage to descend from.