VALLEY FORGE
Revisited
Submitted by Ethel Nielsen

      Daniel Wigner served under General George Washington during the fateful winter of 1777-1778 at Valley Forge. It was here where 1,500 to 2,000 men perished and were buried without grave markers so that the British could not determine the numbers of casualties that the Americans had suffered. “ Despite an opinion division of his staff for a location for winter quarters in 1777, Washington selected Valley Forge where he could be relatively safe, yet keep an eye on British-occupied Philadelphia. He sat on his white horse and grieved at the sight of his men hobbling into camp with bleeding feet. He wrote Congress that, without help, his army would dissolve. He stayed in a tent until his soldiers could build huts, only then did he move into the stone house of Isaac Potts. (Washington’s tent is now on display in the park headquarters museum at Valley Forge.)” (Quoted from the 2000 Encampment newsletter.)

      Daniel Wigner, according to his pension application, was born within 26 miles of Philadelphia on the last day of July 1755 and moved to Harrison County when he was about forty-four years of age.

      Harrison County families (according to children listed in his will) who are descendants of Daniel Wigner and wife Elizabeth Emig are: 1. CATHERINE (married ADAM ASH one of first settlers on Gregory Run—this line would include Swiger, Davis, Hammond, Mines, Morrison’s and many others); 2.ELIZABETH (married an ELLIOTT); 3. SARAH (married a CUNNINGHAM); 4. POLLY (married a WADDEL); 5. SUSANNA ,(married a WHITE); 6. BARBARA (married a NEWCOMER); 7. NANCY; 8. JOHN; 9. JOSEPH; 10. DANIEL,Jr.; 11. JACOB; and 12. HENRY.

      In his application for a pension in 1835, ( Washington, D.C. --# S-3605) Daniel stated:

      “That he entered the service of the United States under the following named officers and served as herein stated, that is to say that some time about harvest time, the day not recollected, in the year 1776, at Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania where he then resided, he enlisted among the troops called the Flying Camp for a period of five months in the company commanded by Capt. Valentine Up in Col. MacCallister’s (?McCollister) Regiment; that they marched for Long Island and when they arrived within about thirty miles of that place that there was a battle for eight------(?) when they received orders and marched to Amboy in the Jerseys that they remained in and about that place from three to four months when they were marched to Fort Lee and soon retreated across the Delaware to Trenton where he continued in the service until about the first of March under the afsd enlistment when he was discharged by writing under the hand of Lieut. Trumbower, that previous to this time Capt. Up had resigned and the company was commanded by Capt. Saml Dean who had also prior to that time resigned, leaving the company under the command of. Said Lieutenant (Trumbower) that he served as first serjeant in that company during said service, that about the first of June, 1777, at Philadelphia Co. (?Coryell) afsd where he still resided he volunteered in a company of militia commanded by Capt. Jacob Shupe who was under the command of General Potter to serve for two months that they marched to the Delaware River, were at Trenton Conells Ferry from which place they went with (?) boats up the river about ten miles that they returned back to Conells Ferry where his afsd term of service expired when we again received a written discharge from his afsd Capt. That after he joined the last named Company he was required to take the oath of allegiance which he did and rec’d certificate thereof dated 13th June 1777, signed by Joseph Sackett in which he is discribed as Dan’l Weigner, Soldier, which is forwarded with this declaration.

      That shortly after he returned home perhaps two months, the time is not exactly remembered, he volunteered in the service and was placed to driving a team which was sometimes employed in drawing provisions from the head of Elk River to Valley Forge and forrage from the back Country to the same place, that he served driving this team for twelve months when he was dismissed by Nicholes Weaver who was Captain over the Waggons of Waggon Master but rec’d no written discharge as he recollects of. That in the latter part of the month of September 1781 at the County afsd he was drafted for a tour (?) of two months in the company commanded by Capt. Jacob Peterman, the superior officers not recollected, that he served his tour….rec’d a discharge from his said Capt. In writing dated 27th Nov. 1781….” Signed August 11, 1832, Daniel Wigner.”

      The above pension file was obtained from the Genealogical Record of the Schwenkfelder Families by Brecht. Daniel is a descendant of the Schwenkfeldian Exiles and the Schwenkfelder Library is located in Pennsburg, Pa 18073-1804. Daniel’s grandmother, Susanna (Seibt) Wiegner with her 8 children was with the Schwenckfelders aboard the St. Andrew when it landed in Philadelphia, September 22, 1734.

      Descendants of Daniel Wigner might be interested in joining the Society of Descendants of Washington’s Army at Valley Forge. If so, an application can be obtained from Dr. Arthur E. Chapman, 1239 Mariposa Avenue #7, Coral Gables, Florida 33146-3258.

      The first meeting of this Society was held in Washington’s Headquarters at Valley Forge on Ocober 23, 1976 as part of a military ceremony prior to the opening of the Washington Memorial Chapel Library. The launching of the Society was a federally registered Bicentennial project and its first Encampment took place on Washington’s Birthday Weekend in 1978 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Encampment of the Continental Army. This is an annual event.

      This year 2,000 the Emcampment will be held June 2-4. Additional information can be had by writing to Box 915, Valley Forge, Pa. 19482-0915. Tours will include visits to the David Library of the American Revolution, worship at the historic Great Valley Presbyterian Church founded prior to 1710, as well as a visit to historic Philadelphia.


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