On the Trail of Our Ancestors

Oath of Allegiance
Non-Associators Defined
by Donna Speer Ristenbatt

URL of this site: http://www.TrailofOurAncestors.com
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Oath of Allegiance/Revolutionary War/Pennsylvania

NOTE: Please be aware that the original signatures for these Oaths of Allegiance taken in Lancaster County are no longer extant. All of the lists are transcriptions.

During the Revolutionary War, the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed an act, dated
13 June 1777, that all men must sign the Oath or Affirmation of Allegiance, renouncing the authority of King George the III. This was passed by a general militia law and made full provision for the enrollment of all persons fit for miliatry duty and established a test and oath of allegiance.

The preamble and oath are as follows:

"Whereas, From sordid or mercenary motives, or other causes inconsistent with the happiness of a free and independent people, sundry persons have or may yet be induced to withhold their service or allegiance from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as a free and independent State, as declared by Congress:

And Whereas, Sundry other persons in their several capacities have, at the risk of their lives and fortunes, or both, rendered great and eminent services in defence and support of the said independence, and may yet continue to do the same, and as both these sorts of persons remain at this time mixed, and in some measure undistinguished from each other, and the disaffected deriving undeserved service from the faithful and well affected:

And Whereas, Allegiance and protection are reciprocal, and those who will not bear the former are not nor ought to be entitled to the benefits of the latter:

Therefore it is enacted, etc. That all white male inhabitants of the State, except of the counties of Bedford and Westmoreland, above the age of eighteen years, shall, before the 1st day of the ensuing July, and in the excepted counties before the 1st day of August, take and subscribe before some justice of the peace an oath in the following form:

I______, ________; do swear (or affirm) that I renounce and refuse all allegiance to George the Third, king of Great Britain, his heirs and successors; and that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as a free and independent State, and that I will not at any time do or cause to be done any matter or thing that will be prejudicial or injurious to the freedom and independence thereof, as declared by Congress, and also, that I will discover and make known to some one justice of the peace of said State all treasons or traitorous conspiracies which I now know or hereafter shall know to be formed against this or any of the United States of America."

Non-Associators Defined

In the year 1777, there were a large number of non-associators in the various townships of Lebanon County, PA, as well as some other counties, particularly Lancaster County. Many of these people were scrupulous of bearing arms, - Mennonites, Moravians, and a few Quakers. They were not disloyal, but disinterested spectators of the struggle. As long as they were not disturbed in their religious devotions it mattered little to them under whose dominion they were. Not everyone who was classed as a non-associator was unwilling to bear arms. Some were disabled by physical ailments, some beyond the age of fifty-three, who were exempt from military duty, and yet assessed with those first alluded to. As the war progressed those not really liable for service were heavily fined, three pounds ten shillings being the uniform rate.

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