Monday, July 19, 2010

July 4th, 1811: "The first regiment of the Pennsylvania Cavalry--always ready in the defence of their country's rights!"

In my everongoing sleuthing on my ancestor Samuel Meeker, I have discovered that most likely he left the family home of the Westfields NJ for residence in Philadelphia as early as 1787, when he was 24. Why? Possibly to join the army! I now know that in that year he was a private in the 'First Company, Second City Battalion, Colonel James Read.' Within 6 years he started his own business (surely with the help of family money, his father [aka Captain Samuel Meeker] could be considered wealthy as he owned a travelling chair--no easy bank lending back then!), a partnership with Alexander Cochran who was the husband of Samuel's twin sister (my gt gt gt gt grandmother) Phebe.
Phebe was married to Mr. Alexander Cochran on Feb. 26, 1792 in the prominent “Second Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia.”
Notably the marriage, as many marriages of well-to-do citizens in Philadelphia at this time, was recorded in the “Centinel.”
Who knows which came first, Phebe's divorce or the breakup of this partnership, but in September of 1797 the Meeker Cochran business was dissolved. (I am descended from Phebe's second marriage to Brookfield). A new business partnership Meeker, Denman & Co was formed and located at No. 20 South Front St, Philadelphia.

Yet during all of these busy and tumultuous years, Meeker rose through the ranks to finally become captain of the Third City Troop, or "Volunteer Greens"--part of a voluntary cavalry consisting of nearly three hundred men, and a proud remnant of the revolutionary army. By the summer of 1811, with war against the mother country looming on the horizon (War of 1812, recall that Stuart's portrait of Washington was saved from being burned by the British by Dolly Madison!), the air was electrified with a military spirit. On the 4th of July, 1811, Captain Samuel Meeker proudly proclaimed in a toast in front of the troops:

"The first regiment of the Pennsylvania Cavalry--always ready in the defence of their country's rights!"

The Second Troop Philadelphia City Cavalry W. A. Newman Dorland
The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 54, No. 2 (1930), pp. 175-185


1 comment:

Maureen said...

As always, very interesting.

Site Meter