On the Fourth of July I often ponder my ancestors who supported the cause of American Independence in a variety of ways: the sacrifices, the choices, the consequences, the benefits, the costs. I have many direct ancestors with proven acts of patriotic service and duty. I have researched these ancestors diligently. For the most part, they chose sides well. When the dust cleared, they were still standing while the Brits were packing their bags for a hasty departure. I take pride in their victory. I’m grateful and appreciative for their service and for their good fortune to land on the winning side.
I like to shake my family tree to see what nuts will fall out. I’m always poking around for Revolutionary service for my ancestors that lack such. It must be out there somewhere in a hidey hole waiting to be discovered. So I shake, and prod, and poke. Something is usually hiding in the hidey hole. It’s not always exactly what I’m looking for.
One of my many distinguished and interesting great plus grandfathers is Philip Englar who sailed from Sweeden when he was ten with his brother Jacob and Uncle Adam who was a sea captain. They landed in Philadelphia in 1748, went to Chester County, Pennsylvania and then on to Maryland in 1764 where he settled in the Pipe Creek Community. The Genealogy of the Englar Famliy, [p 7] claims he was the first resident minister and associate founding of German Baptist faith in America.
Philip Engler led Pipe Creek Church from the end of the American Revolution to 1810. He was characterized as being stern, serious, strict, and pious. He held to the Church of the Brethren teachings against bearing arms. Philip Englar of Pipe Creek was fined 7 March 1776 6 ½ pounds for failure to appear for mandatory muster duty. He cannot be found in any records providing supplies, paying a supply tax, providing a substitute, serving in a civil or patriotic capacity during the Revolution. And paying a fine for refusing to attend muster duty is not valid service. This is anti-service.
Although I cannot fully understand the reasons for my forefather’s choice to turn his back on the cause of the American Colonists, I can image he made this choice based on his religious beliefs and the tenants of his faith. Ironically Philip’s new government held the basic human rights of personal liberty and freedom of religious beliefs in high regard. My American Revolution Patriots served and sacrificed so that fellow Americans like my Philip Englar would be free to exercise these basic rights. My Philip Engar was a non-enroller. He failed to fulfill his obligation to take up arms for the purpose of defending his new home. I like to think he stood up for his deep seated faith and held strong to his moral integrity. Something to think about on the 4th of July.
Read more about Philip Englar:
J. Maurice Henry, History of the Church of the Brethren in Maryland, pp 44-48.
Maryland Historical Magazine, 1916, vol 11, pp 248-249.
H. Austin Cooper, The Church of the Singing Bells: A Source Book on the Early Families, Places, Dates, Land Tracts & Events of Frederick, Carroll, Washington Counties, Maryland, pp 327, 331
Genealogy of the Englar Family: The Descendants of Philip Englar 1736-1817 Traced Down for Five Generations from 1736, pp 7-9