Guards at Camp Security 13: Martin Cronmiller

Martin Cronmiller's pension application mentioning guarding prisoners at York Courtesy of National Archives and Records Administration

Martin Cronmiller’s pension application mentioning guarding prisoners at York
Courtesy of National Archives and Records Administration

Time to get back to the series of posts on records found at the National Archives and Pennsylvania State Archives for the York County Militiamen who guarded the British prisoners at Camp Security during 1781, 1782 and 1783.

As mentioned in previous posts it was June 1832, nearly 50 years after the end of the Revolutionary War, before the U.S. Congress passed a bill that allowed surviving rank and file to apply for a pension. They also had to prove at least six months active duty. Tours of duty for militia guards at Camp Security were usually two months, so they had to cobble together a tour or two there with other active duty. Martin Cronmiller/Cronemiller was one who was successfully in obtaining a pension of $33.33 per year.

Cronmiller was 72 and living in West Buffalo Township, Union County, Pennsylvania when he appeared before a judge there on September 24, 1832 to make his declaration:

In the year seventeen hundred and seventy-six, in harvest time he went out in the militia under Captain Rudolph Spangler and continued under him two months. The Lieutenant’s name was George Shook. I was living in York, York County, Pennsylvania at the time I entered the service.

In September seventeen hundred and seventy-six, he enlisted in the militia under Captain Michael Smyser. Michael Swope was Colonel and William Bailey Major. He also remembers that Jacob Barnitz was the Ensign of the company, and one Wentz was ensign of another company out at the same time. The said Jacob Barnitz was afterwards Register of York County and State of Pennsylvania.

The petitioner remembers that they marched to Trenton in the state of New Jersey, that he marched from thence to Princeton, Brunswick, Elizabethtown, Woodbridge, Newark, Hackinsack Ferry, crossed over to Bordentown, afterwards retired to Trenton, crossed the Delaware—was on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware attending to the fires when the battle of Trenton was fought on second Christmas morning. Then again crossed the river and was two of three miles off when the battle of Princeton was fought, went to Princeton, followed the English on to Brunswick, went next either to Amboy or Woodbridge, cannot recollect which and by this time he thinks his six months had expired. He never received any pay. He has no documentary evidence of my statement. I left my rifle on leaving the service.

Some years after, but forgets in what year, the petitioner served under Captain Peter Fort at York in the State of Pennsylvania to guard prisoners during two months. He thinks William Bailey was Major then and Peter Swartz Ensign.

Even with the court clerk jumping back and forth from third person to first person, we get the idea that Cronmiller did a good job of remembering where he and his fellow York countians served. Pennsylvania State Archives records show Martin Cronmiller as a corporal at Camp Security under Captain Peter Ford. Peter Swartz is listed as ensign in the company, and William Bailey was the major in charge.

Cronmiller died in early 1838 and is buried at Mifflinburg Cemetery in Union County. Descendants have posted his biography on Find a Grave and donated more information on the family to the York County Heritage Trust Library/Archives.

The public is invited to visit the Camp Security archaeology dig in progress on Friday June 17. Click here for more information.

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