Archives of Maryland
(Biographical Series)

Reuben Jeffers
MSA SC 3520-18115

Biography:

Reuben Jeffers enlisted as a private in Maryland’s Fourth Independent Company on January 28, 1776 under Captain James Hindman. Hindman’s company took part in an effort spearheaded by Maryland’s Council of Safety designed to protect the Chesapeake Bay from potential British invasions. Originally stationed at Oxford in Talbot County, Hindman's company traveled to New York to reinforce the Continental Army in preparation for a British invasion. The Fourth Independent Company arrived in New York by August 1776. [1]

On the morning of August 27, 1776, American forces faced British troops at the Battle of Brooklyn (otherwise known as the Battle of Long Island). While several companies engaged the British Army on the Gowanus Road and the nearby Gowanus Creek, taking severe losses in the process, the Fourth Independent Company was largely spared, suffering only three casualties. Captain Hindman defended his actions during the battle to the Council of Safety, arguing that rumors referring to the Fourth Independent Company’s “very ill” behavior were unfounded. Hindman instead declared that “the company [he] had the honor to command...behaved themselves as well as in the service, notwithstanding the dark insinuations...thrown out to their prejudice.” The Fourth Independent Company later fought at the Battle of White Plains in October 1776. Jeffers's enlistment ended by December, 1776. [2]

In January 1777, Reuben Jeffers enlisted in Maryland’s Second Regiment as part of Captain Archibald Anderson’s Fourth Company. Jeffers once again fought alongside many of the same people from the Fourth Independent Company, including Anderson, who had previously been Jeffers's first lieutenant in Hindman's company. Jeffers’s company remained in the northern theater and participated in combat at locations including Staten IslandBrandywine, and Germantown before he was discharged in January 1780. [3]

Multiple people with the name “Reuben Jeffers” lived in the Queen Anne’s County, Maryland area in the late 1700s and early 1800s, making it difficult to pinpoint exactly what happened to Reuben Jeffers after the war. [4]

-James Schmitt, Maryland Society Sons of the American Revolution Research Fellow, 2019

Notes:

[1] Muster Rolls and Other Records of Service of Maryland Troops in the American Revolution, Archives of Maryland Online, vol. 18, p. 24; Mark Andrew Tacyn, “‘To the End:’ The First Maryland Regiment and the American Revolution” (PhD diss., University of Maryland College Park, 1999), pp. 33-34, 44-45.

[2] Tacyn, pp. 52-67; James Hindman to Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer, 12 October 1776, Journal and Correspondence of the Maryland Council of Safety July 7, 1776 to December 31, 1776, Archives of Maryland Online, vol. 12, pp. 345-346.

[3] Archives of Maryland Online, vol. 18, p. 126; Tacyn, pp. 98-109, 186-215; Compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army during the Revolutionary War, NARA M881, from Fold3.com.

[4] Inventory of Reuben Jeffers, 1794, Queen Anne's County Register of Wills, Inventories, Liber CD no. 1, p. 295-296 [MSA C1412-9, 2/2/4/036]; Deed, John Keets to Reuben Jeffers et al., 1807, Queen Anne's County, Land Records, Liber STW no. 9, p. 190 [MSA CE143-27]. One Reuben Jeffers died in Queen Anne’s County in 1794. Another Reuben Jeffers was alive in Queen Anne's County during the early 1800s. Both individuals were related to a woman named Ann Jeffers. Both were also modest farmers, owning some property.

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