1.   Historical note

2.   Scope and content

3.   Provenance

4.   Processing note

5.   Inventory

6.   Subjects


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 Colonial Militia Collection


 Records, 1687-1774

 Size: 0.25 linear feet

 Catalog number: MSS 673 sg 1

 Processed by: Rick Stattler, September 1997


©Rhode Island Historical Society

Manuscripts Division



Historical note:


            Rhode Island supplied troops for all four major colonial wars: King Philip's War (1675-1676), Queen Anne's War (1702-1713), King George's War (1739-1748) and the French and Indian War (1754-1763). This collection consists mostly of official records from the French and Indian War, as well as some records relating to the small militia maintained during times of peace. Researchers interested in the earlier colonial wars should consult the list of related collections below.


            Researchers looking to document the war service of a particular ancestor should consult Rhode Island in the Colonial Wars: A List of Rhode Island Soldiers and Sailors in King George's War 1740-1748 and the Old French and Indian War 1755-1762 by Howard M. Chapin, published in 1930 and republished by the Genealogical Publishing Company in 1994. This volume does not contain citations for Chapin's original sources, but fortunately a card file of his notes can be found in the Howard M. Chapin Papers here in the Manuscripts Division. No similar efforts have been made to document soldiers in King Philip's War or Queen Anne's War.


            Many documents relating to colonial military affairs have been transcribed and published as part of a series of 66 pamphlets by the Society of Colonial Wars in Rhode Island. Documents in this collection are published in Nine Muster Rolls of Rhode Island Troops Enlisted During the Old Frech War (1915); A Bill of the Albany Hospital for the Care of the Men of the Rhode Island Regiment... (1950); and A Muster Roll of Newport County Troops Sent Toward Albany in 1757 (1961). The series as a whole is an essential starting point for any serious study of the subject.



Field, Edward, ed. State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations at the End of the Century: A History (Boston: Mason Publishing, 1902), vol. 1, p. 395-441.


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Scope and content:


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            The provenance of most of this collection is unknown. Nine of the French and Indian War pay lists were donated by Edwin M. Stone in 1875, as part of a collection of papers he rescued from a pulp mill. They were originally mounted in a scrapbook as part of the "Rhode Island Manascripts" collection until disbound in the 1970s. Two documents re the Warwick Train Band were donated by Frederick York in 1958. The only other item in the collection for which an accession record has been found is the 1687 Winthrop letter, which was donated by R.C. Winthrop Jr. and bears accession number #1900.15.2.


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Processing note:


            These records were for the most part found among the Rhode Island Military Papers, and separated out as a separate collection in 1997. All other known sources here relating to the war can be found in the "Related Collections" list below.


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1687, April 15.  Letter from William Hopkins to Col. John Fitz Winthrop, with accompanying list of "Solders beelongin to your Company of Malisha". Published in RIHS Publications, 1/1900.

1726, April 25.  Letter, Capt. Thomas Stafford to Corp. Richard Green of the Train Band of Warwick, mustering troops for review.

1730, April 9.  Letter copy, Gov. Richard Ward to Col. Seward. Order to call companies together for election of officers.

1739-1747.  Typescript list of soldiers serving in militia and aboard privateers. 17 pages. Not signed but possibly the work of Howard M. Chapin circa 1930.

1754-1756.  Summonses from Capt. James Arnold to the Train Band of Warwick, mustering troops for review. 3 items.

1755, March 22.  Summons to East Greenwich Train Band, with list of delinquents

1755, Sep. 5.  Resolution in House of Representatives, re Crown Point expedition

1755, Sept. 17.  List of eligible soldiers aged 16 to 50 in third district of Newport.

1755, December 12.  List of 23 soldiers of Rhode Island regiment sent home from Albany

1756.  "An account of stores furnished by the Colony of Rhode Island towards the Train of Artillery in the year 1756." No names.

1756.  Inventories of supplies in Fort William Henry (N.Y.). Two lists, May and November.

1756, Oct. 25.  Receipt from John Briggs to Preserved Pearce for enlisting in Pearce's place for Crown Point expedition.

1756, Nov. 6.  Promise to pay suppliers of R.I. regiment, by Commissary Rufus Hopkins.

1756, Dec. 20.  Pay list of Lt. Col. Samuel Angell's company, to 3/4/1757.

1756, Dec. 21.  Pay list of Capt. John Potter's company, to 3/2/1757.

1756, Dec. 21.  Pay list of Col. Christopher Harris' company, to 3/1/1757.

1756, Dec. 22.  Pay list of Capt. Ebenezer Jenckes' company, to 3/3/1757.

1757, Aug. 17.  Muster roll of Newport County regiment except for Bristol and Tiverton.

1757, Dec. 27.  Pay list of Capt. Ebenezer Jenckes' company, to 9/10/1757.

1758, Jan. 12.  Pay list of Capt. Daniel Wall's company, to 4/4/1757. 3 p.

            With 1759, Jan.10. Pay list of Capt. Ebenezer Jenckes' company, to 7/21/1757. 2 p.

1758, Oct. 26.  Account of men from Babcock's regiment in hospital in Albany. With photograph. Published by the Society of Colonial Wars, 1950.

1759, Dec. 26.  Pay list of Capt. Burkett and Eddy's company, to 5/29/1760.

1760, Apr. 26.  Pay John Gardner 400 pounds to pay soldiers wages, bounties and bills and charge the same to the Colony, Committee of War to Thomas Richardson, General Treas.

1760, October.  Rhode Island soldiers on the H.M.S. Pembroke

1760/[12?].  Pay list of Col. Christopher Harris' company, to 2/1761.

1761,  circa May. Muster roll of Maj. Peck's company. Photostat.

1762.  Muster roll of troops enlisted at Newport by Lt. Col. Hargill, Capt. Thomas Tew and Lt. William Fryer.

1762.  Research correspondence dated 1898, regarding expedition to Havana.

1774,  March 12. Notice re desertion of Abner Flint from company at Windham, by George Dorrance.

1774,  and undated. Kentish Guard records as follows:

            5 undated lists of names

            Undated proposal by William Johnson

            Undated letter, William Johnson to Gideon Mumford, treasurer

            1774 draft of agreement with William Johnson to train company.

            Undated bill from James M. Varnum.



Related collections:


            The following collections may also be of interest to scholars of the colonial wars:


King Philip's War

John Allen (MSS 9001-A)  Letter to Richard Smith, August 8, 1675 (original); and to Peleg Sanford, 1685 (photostat), both re King Philip's War. Allen was writing as a Connecticut official.


William Harris (MSS 9001-H)  Report of King Philip's War, July-August 1676, in 10-page letter to William Blaythwait. See published edition, "A Rhode Islander Reports on King Philip's War," E83.67 H3.


Abigail Lay (MSS 9001-L)  Petition to Connecticut General Court, May 11, 1676, requesting payment to Maj. Cranston for caring for her son at Great Swamp Fight in 1675.


R.I.H.S.M., (MSS 9003) vol. 10  Several documents relating to King Philip's War, including April 7, 1676 Edward Rawson, "by order of the Committee", ADS, regarding King Phillip's War. (photostat) (page 124); September 19, 1675, Walter Clarke to ?, announcing that United Colonies are prepared to go against the Narragansetts (page 144); and [1676], Town of Warwick, "Copie of ye town's letter sent to ye governor in ye time of war" (page 152).


Queen Anne's War

Samuel Cranston (MSS 9001-C)  Copy of an address to Queen Anne regarding the arrival in Boston of Colonel Nicholson and Colonel Veatch and preparations for an expedition against the French in Canada and a copy of the cover letter signed by Governor Cranston, May 13, 1709.


King George's War

Howard Chapin Papers (MSS 344)  Includes card indexes used in Chapin's published lists of troops in King George's War, including source citations not in the published versions.


William Greene Papers (MSS 1118)  Includes letters of marque issued to sloop Revenge 6/6/744 and Ship Triton, 4/16/1744; as well as other papers relating to the war. William Greene to the House of Deputies regarding raising troops for the expedition against Fort Louisburg, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Feb. 5, 1744.


R.I.H.S.M. (MSS 9003), vol. 11  On page 93 are typescript copies of three memoranda relating to King George's War, 1740-1745.


Rhode Island State Records (MSS 231 SG3)  Report to the R.I. General assembly to stop enlisting men for King George's War, signed by Peter Bours, John Cranston, Thomas Fry, Jr., June 19, 1740.


Richard Partridge (MSS 9001-P)  Petition re expenses incurred at Carthagena and Louisbourg, 1746. With related letter to Arthur Fenner, Sept. 21, 1749.


French and Indian War

Samuel Angell (MSS 9001-A)  2 letters re Crown Point expedition, dated September 9, 1755 and August 15, 1757


Obadiah Brown Papers (MSS 315)  Includes letter to Samuel Angell re Crown Point expedition, 9/8/1755; and records re trade during war.


Christopher Champlin (MSS 20)  Includes extensive records of mercantile trade during war.


Howard Chapin Papers (MSS 344)  Includes card indexes used in Chapin's published lists of troops in the French and Indian War, including source citations not in the published versions.


Esten Papers (MSS 408)  Includes volume of accounts re prize shares from the privateer Blackbird, 1762.


George Franklin (MSS 9001-F)  Suit to consider captured French sloop as war prize, 1755.


William Greene Papers (MSS 1118)  The majority of the documents in this collection pertain to the French and Indian War.


William Greene Papers (MSS 468)  Commission for William Greene as Ensign in the Second Company for the Town of Warwick signed by Gov. William Greene, 5/10/1757


Stephen Hopkins (MSS 492)  Includes account book giving list of soldier's bounties and military accounts in French and Indian war; and several other important documents relating to the war.


Marchant Papers (MSS 552)  Includes 1772 memorial seeking compensation for costs of 1756 Crown Point expedition.


Mason's Newport (MSS 554)  Includes commissary receipts of Christopher Champlin, 1755 (vol.4, pages 227 and 228); a letter dated June 25, 1755 from Stephen Greenleaf describing army at Nova Scotia (vol. 6, p. 344) and a letter from Elihu Lyman dated Albany, October 8, 1757 (vol. 6, p. 360).


John Nicoll (MSS 9001-N)  Account and bills for the disposition of prizes taken by the privateer ship Oliver Cromwell of New York and other vessels, 1758-1759.


Richard Partridge (MSS 9001-P)  Account of supplies furnished to R.I. troops, 1757-1758; and two letters re privateering, 1759.


R.I.H.S.M. (MSS 9003), vol. 14  On page 329 is a receipt for printing the Acts of the Committee of War, 1755.


Rhode Island State Records  (MSS 231 SG3)  Copy of letter from William Pitt to Governor Stephen Hopkins ordering the cessation of illegal trade with the French, August 23, 1760. Resolve to assess a tax of 8,000 pounds "for paying off the forces on their return from the present expeditions," August 28, 1762. Report from Committee of War to General Assembly recommending "that the soldiers at Fort Stanwix not be forgot", June 1763.


Shepley Collection (MSS 9006)  Volume 14, page 9 is a descriptive letter from Thomas Jenkins to William Arnold dated "Camp near Lake George", July 3, 1758.


Samuel Stoneman (MSS 9001-S)  Orderly book for Harris' regiment, Crown Point, September 8 to October 19, 1759. 130 pages.


Simeon Thayer Papers (MSS 27)  Includes an extract from Thayer's journal re hardships in captivity in 1755 in French & Indian War.


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Flint, Abner

Hopkins, William

Johnson, William

Kentish Guards

Rhode Island Military Papers

United States - History - King George's War, 1739-1748

United States - History - French and Indian War, 1755-1762

Varnum, James M.

Winthrop, John Fitz (1638-1707)


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