American Revolutionary War era 1774-1782

Prior to the American Revolutionary War (War of Independence) a steady but unspectacular trickle of people had emigrated from Ireland to the US. However, this did lead to many Irish born people fighting against the British forces. I have come across references to a Timothy Buggy who fought in the Revolutionary War from two different publications. Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors in the Revolutionary War lists a Timothy Buggy from Beverly, MA and a Timothy Buggy from Hadley, MA.[1] The entries are:

BUGGY, TIMOTHY, Beverley. Return of men raised agreeable to resolve of Dec. 2, 1780; enlisted Aug. 15, 1781; enlistment, 3 years; also, Private, Capt. Simon Larned’s co., Col. William Shepard’s (4th) regt.; muster roll for Jan., 1782, dated York Hutts; enlisted Aug. 4, 1781; enlistment, 3 years; reported at Verplanck’s Point.

BUGGY, TIMOTHY, Hadley. Descriptive list of enlisted men dated July 28, 1780; Capt. Cook’s co., Col. Porter’s regt.; age, 40 yrs.; stature, 5 ft. 11in.; complexion, dark; residence, Hadley; nationality, Irish; mustered by John Chester Williams, 1st Major of 1st regt.; enlistment, 3 months; also, Private, Capt. Job Alvord’s co., Col. S. Murray’s (Hampshire Co.) regt.; enlisted July 13, 1780; discharged Oct. 10, 1780; service, 3 mos. 6 days; enlistment, 3 months; company raised to reinforce Continental Army.

A Timothy Buggey is also listed in a 1995 publication that transcribes Revolutionary War records. It reads:

BUGGEY, TIMOTHY: served as a private in Wood’s regiment of MA militia.[2]

The towns of Beverly and Hadley are about 105 miles apart, but the dates mentioned in their respective entries mean it could be possible that this is the same person. Timothy Buggy (Hadley) enlisted 13 July 1780 and was discharged 10 October 1780. Timothy Buggy (Beverly) was enlisted on 15 August 1781 and mustered January 1782. To date, I have not comes across the Buggy name, or similar names such as Buggie, Buggey etc.. in the 1790 or 1800 US census for the state of Massachusetts. I have also been unable to ascertain what happened to Timothy Buggy, whether it is one man or two, after the 1782 date.

Before the Revolutionary War, a quite unflattering entry for what could be the same Timothy Buggy is found in the book Earthbound and Heavenbent: Elizabeth Porter Phelps and Life at Forty Acres (1747–1817). Before the Revolutionary War, in 1774, the Phelps family of Forty Acres near Hadley, MA acquired a farm hand by the name of Timothy Buggy. A document drawn up by the overseers of the poor in Hadley cited Buggy as:

“a person of able body to work and labor and has no estate otherwise to maintain himself, yet lives idly, misspending his time in loitering and intemperance, and uses or exercises no daily lawful trade of business to get his living by”[3]

The town enacted laws to remove the burden of having to pay for unemployed transients. Buggy, who had lived in Hadley for several months, was to be sent to a ‘House of Correction’ or ‘Workhouse’ unless he went to work for people who were deemed suitable. As a result Timothy was sent to work for the estate of Charles Phelps at Forty Acres.[4]


[1] Ancestry.com. Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors in the Revolutionary War (Images Online) [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004. Original data: Massachusetts. Secretary of the Commonwealth. Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary War. Vol. 1-17. Boston, MA, USA: Wright & Potter Printing, 1896-1908.

[2] White, Virgil D. Index to Revolutionary War Service Records Volume I Waynesboro: The National Historical Publishing Company, 1995. Print. p.353.

[3] Carlisle, Elizabeth Pendergast. Earthbound and Heavenbent: Elizabeth Porter Phelps and Life at Forty Acres (1747–1817). New York: Scribner, 2007. Print. p.111.

[4] Ibid. p.111.

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