SAR/DAR group hears talk about General Edward Hand

Submitted Photo Pictured from left are Benjamin Prescott Chapter DAR ladies – Carol Abell; Kari Wendel; Lisa Sedlmayer; Toni Sherman; Mercy Warren; Barbara Pietro; Brenda Johnson, Regent and Bonnie Larkin.

STOCKTON – A combined group of SAR and DAR members heard a talk by Doug Arters about General Edward Hand, a leader of Revolutionary War riflemen, mainly a commander of a Pennsylvania line and a medical doctor.

Meeting in a combined group, members of the Chautauqua County Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution and the Benjamin Prescott Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution met at the Stockton Hotel. The meeting was led by Jeff Crossley, SAR chapter vice-president.

Edward Hand, born in 1744 in Ireland, earned his medical certificate at Dublin, Ireland. He first entered the military with the 18th Royal Irish Regiment of Foot as a surgeon’s mate, which traveled to Philadelphia in 1767. He was commissioned an ensign in 1772, and marched with his unit to Fort Pitt. In 1774, he resigned his commission and began practicing medicine at Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

At the start of the Revolutionary War, he enlisted as a lieutenant colonel with the Pennsylvania Line, eventually participating in battles at Long Island, White Plains, Trenton and Princeton. Oftentimes, American riflemen were under his command, such as at Long Island and at the battle of Assunpink Creek, New Jersey. Against overwhelming odds, 25 of his crack riflemen held off some 4,000 British soldiers in the region of Manhattan’s Throg’s Neck Peninsula, and, later, his riflemen successfully skirmished against British General Charles Cornwallis’ oncoming army at Assunpink Creek.

Hand was not the only leader of American riflemen. There was 6’6” Col. William Campbell, King’s Mountain Battle, Captain Michael Cresap in NYC, Col. John Sevier, King’s Mountain Battle and first governor of Tennessee, Col. Francis “Swamp Fox” Marion, southern guerrilla leader, LTC. Daniel Boone, ancestor of actor and singer Pat Boone, Col. Dan Morgan, commander at the Battle of Cowpens in January 1781 and others.

Submitted Photo Jeff Crossley leading the SAR/DAR meeting.

Hand, as adjutant general, and his staff, played a significant role in preparing the regulations for the service of the siege of Yorktown, Virginia, resulting in the surrender of British General Charles Cornwallis in October 1781, the last major battle of the war.

On Sept. 30, 1783, Hand was promoted, by brevet, to major general, but without the corresponding pay. He then resigned from the Continental Army in early November 1783. He returned to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, resuming his medical practice.

Later, in 1785, Dr. Hand owned and operated Rock Ford Plantation, a 177-acre farm along the Conestoga River, a mile south of Lancaster, where he and his family resided in a Georgian style brick mansion. The farm is open to the public nowadays.

He died, age 58, in early September 1802, though the cause of death is not certain. Burial was at the St. James Episcopal Cemetery, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where he had served as a deacon.

In other business, Harry Lent gave a report on the treasury, applications, and the website, which is chautauquasar.org. Lent noted that one new application had been sent to national headquarters at Louisville, Kentucky.

Arters and member Frank Stow gave a brief report on Liberty’s Way, the organization which provides assistance to veterans, which is located at 4519 Miller Hill Road, Lander, Pennsylvania (mailing address is at Russell, Pennsylvania 16345), telephone number 814-757-4713, with website at www.libertysway.org.

The meeting concluded with the pledge to the SAR.

The next meeting is set for a noon luncheon, Jan. 6, at the Stockton Hotel, Route 380, Stockton. For more information, call the chapter president Steve Boothe, 574-7995, or the chapter vice-president Jeff Crossley at 969-4066 or the secretary, Doug Arters, at 490-3880.

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