It is obvious that the Scots/Ulster Scots played an important role in the American War of Independence and then in the birth of America as we know it. Many of these were Border Scots, running from the post-reiver persecution initiated by James IV to clean up the bad lands of the Anglo-Scottish border of his newly unified kingdom
The influence of the Scots came in part in their involvement in Congress, where they were highly respected for their pragmatic approach, soundly based on their moral philosophy. Although historians still debate the potential influence of the Declaration of Arbroath (1320) with regards the 1776 Declaration of Independence, it is a fair bet that this may have been an integral influence in its writing. The Scots, as history has shown, should be credited with having a huge impact on both American independence and the growth of the country as it is today, and for that we are all proud that our ancestors played their part.
The participation in the revolution itself by those of Scots heritage, is clearly reflected in the amount of Scots/Ulster Scots officers in Washington’s Continental Army, a post he was elected to hold as Commander in Chief in 1775.
Of Washington’s major-generals at the time of discharge, the following were Scottish: Henry Knox (Mass.); William Alexander (N. J.); Alexander MacDougall (N. Y.); and Arthur St. Clair (Pa.).
Of twenty-two brigadier-generals, there were some of Scottish blood: William Irvine (Pa.); Lachlan MacIntosh (Ga.); John Paterson (Mass.); Charles Scott (Va.); and John Stark (N. H.). Of English and Scottish decent : George and James Clinton (N. Y.); Edward Hand (Pa.); and Anthony Wayne (Pa.). T
Other generals of Scottish blood during the Revolutionary period were: John Armstrong (Pa.); Francis Barber (N. J.); William Campbell (Va.); George Rogers Clark (Va.); William Davidson (N. C.); John Douglas (Conn.); James Ewing (Pa.); Robert Lawson (Va.); Andrew Lewis (Va.); William Maxwell (N. J.); Hugh Mercer (Pa.) ; James Moore (N. C.); John Nixon (Pa.); Andrew Pickens (S. C.); James Porter (Pa.) ; Joseph Reed (Pa.); Griffith Rutherford (N. C.); John Scott (N. Y.); Adam Stephen (Va.); and William Thompson (Pa.).
To add to this are Robert Erskine, geographer and chief engineer on General George Washington’s staff, was a son of Ralph Erskine of Dunfermline, Scotland (N.J.). Thomas Leiper (1745-1825), a native of Strathaven, Lanarkshire, Scotland, and a resident of Philadelphia raised the First City Troop. William Moultrie (1731-1805), a distinguished patriot and one of the most prominent generals of the Revolution, was born in England, the son of Dr. John Moultrie of Culross, Fife.
This is not forgetting the father of the US Navy, Commodore John Paul Jones, the naval hero who was born in Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland. In 1779, the slim hot-tempered Jones commanded a five, warship flotilla that circled the British Isles, capturing seventeen merchant ships. He capped this performance by defeating the British man of war HMS Serapis off the English coast, while thousands of dismayed Englishmen watched from the shore.
Of our own Clan Carruthers, we are aware of at least one individual whose descendants fought on the Continental side during the American Revolution. Our Clan Commissioner (USA), Dana Caruthers Norton can trace her lineage back to James Carruthers, hailing from Annandale, who is the first documented Carruthers to land in what is now the United States.
He shows up in New Jersey on a land map prepared by John Clement from the West New Jersey Project. He further is documented in the Salem 10th. He married Lydia Roberts in 1733, and had 6 Children: James, Deliverance, Obadiah, Hannah, Richard and Samuel. As a devout Christian, James is listed in the members and contributors of the first Presbyterian Church of Greenwich in 1735, for which he donated £4.00 for its construction.
James’s son Richard, by now dropping an ‘r’ to become Caruthers, a surname handed down to Dana’s family, became an Adjutant in the 2nd Battalion, Cumberland County, New Jersey; Adjutant, Colonel Potters Regiment, State troops. He was listed on the Muster Roll of Light Infantry of Potters Brigade, in Bridgeton, N.J.
Potters Regiment, fought at the Battle of Trenton, Boxing day 1776, alongside General George Washington.
Battle of Trenton 26 December 1776 Americans: General George Washington Column: Major General Sullivan Brigade: Brigadier General Glover 3rd (Massachusetts) Continental Regiment (William Shepard)(18/26/4/169)1 19th (Connecticut) Continental Regiment (Charles Webb)(18/23/4/171) 14th (Massachusetts) Continental Regiment (John Glover)(27/23/3/124) 23rd (Massachusetts) Continental Regiment (John Bailey)(15/14/2/115) 26th (Massachusetts) Continental Regiment (Loammi Baldwin) (20/22/4/175) Brigade: Brigadier General St. Clair (strength ≈ 600±) New Hampshire Continental Regiment (Silas Newcomb) New Hampshire Continental Regiment (David Potter).
After the war, and based on his actions, Potter was recognised as an Officer of Distinction for his role. This further suggests that the troops under his command played an important part in the conflict, fighting with honour. Richards two older brothers James and Obidiah, also took part in the war and all three are listed in the Official Register on the; Jerseymen in the Revolutionary War.
Richard, having survived the war, married firstly in 1780 to Philenah Mills, born 1749 and the daughter of Ephraim Mills and Rebecca Maschel. They had two children; Obadiah c 1769 and then a daughter Rebecca in c 1771. Philenah sadly passed away in 1777 in Cumberland County, New Jersey. Richard married a second time to Mary Ewing. They had one son; Richard Ewing Caruthers, born in 1781. Dana has a direct lineage through this second marriage, via Richard Ewing Caruthers, to his father Richard Caruthers, war veteran and onto his father, James Carruthers one of the first of the West New Jersey Projects.
Dana is a very proud member of the daughters of the American Revolution through her pedigreed American heritage. We are proud to have her sit on the Executive Council of the Clan Carruthers Society as Vice Convenor and acting as the Clan Commissioner to the United States of America. Dana is also our Clan Genealogist and along with Gary Carruthers in Australia, we try to produce the evidenced facts that are required to progress your Society’s goals through honest and tenacious research.
In conversation with members of Council, all those working on your behalf are doing this freely and out of the intense love and belief in our family and for both their parents and their children and grandchildren, rather than themselves. Says it all really; Clan Carruthers Society International; building on an evidenced based past to ensure a strong, successful and proud future for our Clan and family, we simply couldn’t ask for anything more.
6 thoughts on “Clan Carruthers: Carruthers and the American Revolution”
Check the Pennsylvania Caruthers that later went to North Carolina and Tennessee. They gave good service also.
David any information you have email me and I’ll see what I can find
Any research on twins James and Andrew Carruthers, b. Ireland 1739? I am descended from Andrew.
Contact our genealogist through the fb page. Dana May be able to help
I would contact our genealogist on FB Dana Carothers Norton