The Society Of the Cincinnati in The State of Connecticut

The Capture of the Hessians at Trenton, December 26, 1776-1828. Left: Jonathan Trumbull Jr. (1740-1809) - Speaker of the Us House of Representatives. Right: Jonathan Trumbull Sr. (1710-1785) - Governor of Connecticut
The Battle of Bunker's Hill, June 17, 1775. Right: William Hull (1753-1825) - Lieutenant-Colonel in the Continental Army
The Resignation of General Washington, December 23, 1783. Left: Thomas Y. Seymour (1757-1811) - Lieutenant in the 2nd Continental Regiment of the Dragoons
The Death of General Mercer at the Battle of Princeton, January 1777

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  • Captain Abijah Savage

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    2 July 1744 in Middletown, Middlesex County, Connecticut. Connecticut Town Birth Records, pre-1870 (Barbour Collection), Middletown Vital Records 1651-1854, p. 172


    9 June 1825. Connecticut, Church Record Abstracts, 1630-1920, Volume 22 Cromwell, Cromwell First Congregational Church, 1715-1875, p. 132


    Martha Strickland Torrey; 20 August 1765. Rev. Frederic W. Bailey, ed., Early Connecticut Marriages as Found on Ancient Church Records, Prior to 1800, Book 6, p. 94.


    14; Charles Collard Adams, Middletown Upper Houses: A History of the North Society of Middletown, Grafton Press, 1908, p. 643.




    French and Indian War, 1761-1763. Second Lieutenant of 4th Company, Spencer’s Regiment for Quebec Expedition, captured 31 December 1775 (p. 91); Captain of Colonel Henry Sherburne’s Additional Continental Regiment, appointed 25 February 1777 following his release from British captivity in a prisoner exchange; retired 1 June 1780 (p.253); Connecticut Cincinnati Society, 1783 (p. 375). Henry P. Johnston, ed. The Record of Connecticut Men in the Military and Naval Service during the War of the Revolution, 1775 – 1783, Hartford, 1889.


    Founding member of the Society of the Cincinnati.


    Shipwright (Adams, p. 643).


    Following in his father’s footsteps, Abijah, at the age of seventeen, joined the British forces with three of his brothers, and participated in the French and Indian War from 1761 to 1763. Returning home, Abijah married Martha Torrey in 1765; the couple celebrated the birth of the first of many children, Joseph, named for Abijah’s father, in 1767.

    On 1 May 1775, following Concord, Abijah joined the militia surrounding Boston and, as a result of his earlier experience, was appointed a lieutenant in General Spencer’s 2d Regiment. Washington assumed command of the militia forces soon after the Battle of Bunker Hill and began planning a two-pronged invasion of Canada and capture of Quebec to be conducted by Montgomery and Arnold. Lieutenant Savage answered the call for volunteers and joined Arnold’s expedition, subsequently assigned to Captain Oliver Hanchett’s company. The force departed Cambridge and sailed from Newburyport on 19 September to the Maine coast; a historical marker in Danvers, Massachusetts commemorates Arnold’s expedition. By the time that Arnold reached the Saint Lawrence River in November, his force which numbered 1,300 when it departed Cambridge, was reduced to 600 starving men. Finally assaulting Quebec on December 31, the battle was a devastating loss for the Americans; Montgomery was killed, Arnold was wounded, and 350 men were captured, including Lieutenant Savage. He remained a prisoner until January 1777, when he was released in a prisoner exchange after thirteen months of captivity. In March, he was appointed a Captain in Colonel Sherburne’s Regiment of the Continental Army. The 1778 Muster Rolls of Sherburne’s Regiment indicate that Abijah Savage was serving as a company commander. The Continental Congress established this regiment as an “additional” regiment in reserve, formed out of companies from several colonies. One of Captain Savage’s duties during this period was service as “an officer in the guard” of French general, Marquis de Lafayette.

    Eight letters from Captain Savage, all written during the war, are found in George Washington’s papers. Most written while he served as a quartermaster are requesting supplies; the letter of May 1780, composed in Morristown, New Jersey stands out as it reflects the sorry state of the Continental Army. His regiment had been disbanded, and Captain Savage remained without support or any form of compensation. He requests discharge to attend to the needs of his family.

    Following the war, Abijah was an original member of the Society of the Cincinnati. In 1792, he received land on the Hocking River in Athens County, Ohio, in payment for his service. His daughter Chloe and her husband, Elisha Hurlbut, relocated there. When Lafayette visited the United States in 1824, Abijah Savage entertained him in his home in Middletown; he died the following year.

    Biography of Captain Abijah Savage by Colonel (Ret.) Michael J. Blyth.

  • Major Jonathan Bigelow

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    November 20, 1739, Hartford, Connecticut


    June 26, 1780 Hartford, Connecticut


    Hannah Wadsworth who born on April 8, 1750 and died on February 26, 1801. They married on June 30, 1771.


    Four sons and one daughter. James born June 10, 1774; John born Dec 6, 1775; Henry born December 19, 1777; Richard born December 29, 1779. Nancy [no information to be found on her birth or death]. His son Richard was lost at sea in 1797.


    Information regarding his education is unknown.


    He first served as a volunteer under Benedict Arnold at Ticonderoga in May 1775. He was a captain in an independent company, Connecticut artillery, January – December 1776. Served subsequently as Major in the Connecticut artillery military. He supplied uniforms to officers in the State of Connecticut.


    Besides his military career there is no known occupation.


    He was taken prisoner by the British on July 8, 1777 in the West Indies. He was sent to New York under a flag of truce to negotiate an exchange of Capt. Judd of the Antelope for Capt. Manly of the Hancock. He was commissioned a Major in 1778 and appointed to oversee the manufacture of clothing for the soldiers of the Continental Army, and the same year appointed by the Governor and Council to purchase cloth suitable for officers in Connecticut. He held other positions of trust, according to Howe’s Bigelow genealogy, which does not specify. Major John Bigelow received a letter from George Washington and Alexander Hamilton. Both of these letters were in regard to the garments he was providing the soldiers of the war. His widow married James Tiley. She died February 26, 1801 at Windsor, Connecticut.


    Bigelow Family Genealogy, Volume I, page 85.

    Biographical information provided by Alfonso Ferrentino.

  • 2nd Lt Thomas Tanner

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    17 June 1743, Cornwall, Connecticut to Thomas Tanner, Sr. and Martha Borden.


    17 January 1817/18, Cooperstown, New York.


    30 October 1765, Cornwall, Connecticut to Anna Baldwin. She was born in October 1741, probably at Goshen, Connecticut, and died in 1821 or 1822, probably at Cooperstown, New York.


    4 sons and 3 daughters.


    2nd Lt. Thomas Tanner’s father was Thomas Tanner who was born about 1695, probably at Haddam, Connecticut, and who died before 19 June 1750. His mother was Martha Borden who was born on 11 September 1700 at Lyme, Connecticut, and died after 1753 at Cornwell, Connecticut. 2nd Lt. Thomas Tanner’s parent were married on 26 December 1727 at East Haddam, Connecticut.




    French and Indian War:

    Enlisted at age 18 (abt. 1761), and served 2 years.

    Revolutionary War:

    Second Lieutenant, Bradley’s Connecticut State Regiment, Captain Smith’s Company, 10 June 1776; Taken prisoner at Fort Washington, 16 November 1776; Billeted and paroled as a prisoner of war at Flat Bush, Long Island, New York; Released after 4 years a prisoner of war.


    First represented in 2017 by Ryan James Corker.


    From Genealogy of the Descendants of Thomas Tanner, Sr. ,(1893):

    “In October 1773, a war with England pending, he was made ensign of a “trainband” of his townsmen. In May [sic] 1776, he was appointed second lieutenant of Capt. Smith’s company, Col. Bradley’s battalion, Gen. Wadsworth’s brigade. He was in the Battle of Long Island, August 27, in the retreat to New York, Harlem, Washington Heights and into Fort Washington; where, with more than 2,000 Connecticut and Maryland troops, he was taken prisoner November 16. During the night, he and his comrades were marched through New York to Brooklyn, where he was held 4 years a prisoner, meanwhile following his carpenter trade for his support. Released then on parole, he returned to his family in Cornwall, to their great joy and relief. Soon after, in 1781, he moved with his family to New Lebanon, New York, where some of his brother William’s family had doubtless preceded him, and where he remained some twelve years, pursuing his trade, and where his two youngest children were born. In 1793, he removed to Cooperstown, where his two oldest sons had preceded him. Here in this young thriving town, he continued working at his trade till old coming on, he died in 1817, aged 74, and was buried in the old Christ Church cemetery. His wife, Anna, followed him some four years later. Of his moral and religious character, of his personal traits, habits and manners there is nothing known. Family tradition says he was a large, heavy man, while his wife was a quite slim and small woman; hence perhaps the medium size of most of his descendants. His army trunk, hair covered and iron bound, still exists in a great grandson’s family at South Cortland, N. Y.”


    Bates, Albert C., ed. Lists and Returns of Connecticut Men in the Revolution: 1775-1783, in Collections of the Connecticut Historical Society, Vol. XII. Hartford, CT: Case, Lockwood, & Brainard Company, 1909.

    Ford, Worthington Chauncey. “Prisoners of War: British and American, 1778,” The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography (1893): 11-12.

    Heitman, Francis B. Historical Register of Officers of the Continental Army During the War of the Revolution, April 1775 to December 1783, New, Revised and Enlarged Edition. Washington D. C.: The Rare Book Shop Publishing Company, Inc., 1914.

    Johnston, Henry Phelps, ed. Record of Connecticut Men in the War of the Revolution. Hartford, CT: The Case, Lockwood, and Brainard Company, 1889.

    Tanner, Elias F. Genealogy of the Descendants of Thomas Tanner, Sr. Lansing, MI: Darius D. Thorp, Printer and Binder, 1893.

    The National Archives. “Thomas Tanner: Bradley’s Regiment, Revolutionary War” in Compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutionary War. NARA M881, Record Group 93, Roll 363.

    ________. “A Pay Roll of Capt. Simeon Smith’s Company in Col. Philip B. Bradley’s Regiment” in Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783. NARA M246, Record Group 93, Roll 27, Folder 195. 10109216.

    ________. “Return of the American Officers and Other Prisoners on Parole on Long Island” in Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783. NARA M246, Record Group 93, Roll 136, Folder 6. https://www.fold

    Biographical information provided by Ryan James Corker.

  • Ensign William Fowler

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    Biography of Ensign William Fowler                                   4-July-2015 by Paul J. Lader


    Birth:         27 Sept. 1761, East Haddam (Middlesex), CT, son of Rev. Joseph Fowler and Sarah Metcalf          [Barbour, Vital Records, East Haddam, CT, p. 229; D.W. Fowler, Genealogical Memoir of Descendants of Captain William Fowler (Milwaukee: Starr & Son, 1870), p. 20].

    Death:       27 Feb. 1782, of smallpox at the “Connecticut Village” winter camp near Peekskill (Westchester),

    NY [Henry P. Johnston, Yale and Her Honor Roll in the American Revolution, 1775-1783 (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1888), p. 345; Franklin Bowditch Dexter, Biographical Sketches of the Graduates of Yale College, Volume IV (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1907), p. 145].

    Marriage:  Never married.

    Children:   Never sired any children.

    Education: Graduate of Yale College, Class of 1780.

    Military:    Ensign, 5th Regiment, Connecticut Line, 27 Feb. 1781 [Henry P. Johnston, ed., The Record of  

    Connecticut Men in the Military and Naval Service During the War of the Revolution 1775 – 1783

                      (Hartford: The Case, Lockwood & Brainard Co., 1889), pp. 343, 345 (hereinafter “CMWR”)].                         

    Cincinnati: Died in Service prior to the formation of the Society of the Cincinnati; first represented by a current

    Hereditary Member who joined in 2015.

    Occupation: Not known; he had graduated from college approximately seven months prior to his appointment

    as Ensign.

    Discussion: William Fowler received an appointment to the rank of Ensign on 27 February 1781, and was

    attached to the 5th Regiment, Connecticut Line, under the command of Lt. Col. Isaac Sherman.

    From there, he was assigned to the company of Capt. Nehemiah Rice and Lieut. Joshua Whitney

    [Johnston, CMWR, p. 345]. The 5th Connecticut participated in General Washington’s feint upon

    New York during the summer of 1781, and continued service along the Hudson River under

    Gen. Heath while events developed at Yorktown [Johnston, Yale and Her Honor Roll, p. 345].

    During winter camp at the “Connecticut Village” near Peekskill, New York, Ensign Fowler

    became ill with smallpox, and he passed away on or about 28 February 1782, almost exactly

    one year after his commission [Johnston, CMWR, p. 345; Johnston, Yale and Her Honor Roll,

    1. 345].  The Hartford Courant of 5 March 1782 reported on his passing as follows: “Died of

    the smallpox, at camp, last week, Ensign William Fowler, of East Haddam. He was a gentleman

    of a liberal education, and much esteemed by all his acquaintance” [Johnston, Yale and Her

                              Honor Roll, p. 345]. The Connecticut Journal, of New Haven, reported on his death as well,

    reiterating that Ensign Fowler was “much esteemed by all his acquaintance” [Dexter, Biographical

                              Sketches of the Graduates of Yale College, p. 145].


    Due to the fact that he never married or had any children, Ensign Fowler remained unrepresented         in the Society of the Cincinnati for 233 years after his death, until 2015. He is currently represented by Larry A. Scheurenbrand of Stratford, New Jersey.