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

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.