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Northampton County, PA
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Oath of Allegiance
Among the papers housed at the Northampton County Records and Archives Center at Easton, PA., is a 61 page list of those white male inhabitants of Northampton County over eighteen years of age who subscribed to the Oath of Allegiance to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania between the years of 1777 and 1784. The list contains 4172 names.
Swearing allegiance to the State was made necessary by a provision in a general militia law passed by the Legislature on June 13, 1777. The act stated "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, 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 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."
Severe penalties were imposed by law on all who neglected or refused to take the oath. Once branded a traitor, the person not taking the oath was liable to have his property and estate confiscated. (For information on people who forfeited estates in the various counties of Pennsylvania, see the Pennsylvania Archives, 6th Series, Volumes 12 and 13.) The commissioners for Northampton County appointed on October 21, 1777 to seize the personal effects of traitors were Conrad Krider, Paul Balliet, Daniel Depuy, Jacob Kechlein, and Robert Levers. (See Pennsylvania Archives, 2nd Series, Volume 3, page 617)
Upon swearing or affirming to the Oath, the subscriber received a certificate, which he was compelled to show on demand as proof of his loyalty. Any person not having such a certificate was liable to be arrested as a spy if he should leave the city or county of his residence.
Greathouse kith and kin oaths of allegiance found in the county:
1778, Jun 2 - Oath of Allegiance: Upper Saucon Township
Analysis: These entries provide evidence that the listed Owen men resided near William Grothouse. Jacob Morry was a resident of Upper Saucon Township. It is logical to believe he adminstered the oath to men residing in Upper Saucon Township or an adjacent Township. Upper Saucon is bounded by the townships of Lower Saucon, Salisbury and Upper Milford.
1778, Jul 1 - Oath of Allegiance: Plainfield Township
Analysis: Lewis Stacher is believed to have been a resident of Plainfield Township. He was Captain of the 4th & 6th companies of 2nd Battalion, Northampton County Militia, under which William Grothous served as a Corporal from 1780-1783. It is logical to assume this William Grothous was also a resident of the Plainfield Township or surrounding area when he took the oath in 1778.
1778, Jul 7 - Oath of Allegiance: Plainfield Township
Pennsylvania Archives, 2nd Series, Vol 3, Names of Persons Who Took the Oath of Allegiance to the State of Pennsylvania Between the Years 1776 and 1794. Page 4: http://www.footnote.com/image/3072053; Page 5: http://www.footnote.com/image/3072057.
Upper Saucon Township, Northampton County, PA. Oath of Allegiance: Return of Jacob Morry. David Owen and William Grothouse, line 236-237. Online: http://www.footnote.com/image/228573983
Ibid., Jacob Morry. David Owen and Tho's Owen, line 242 and 265. Online: http://www.footnote.com/image/228574011
Plainfield Township, Northampton County, PA. Oath of Allegiance: Return of Lewis Stacher. William Grothous, line 135. Online: http://www.footnote.com/image/228574078
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