Adams’ Rangers was a Loyalist independent company raised for the British Army during the American Revolutionary war.
The unit was one of the smallest Loyalist Corps to serve on the ill-fated Burgoyne Expedition of 1777. Lead by Dr. Samuel Adams of Arlington, Adams’ Rangers was part of the scouting service during the campaign. Adams later stated that he had raised 70 men for the company. The men of the unit were recruited primarily from the New Hampshire Grants area (now Vermont), with the largest number coming from Arlington. Either late in the Burgoyne campaign or early 1778, Adams’ Company absorbed a body of men that served in the Bateaux service under Jeptha Hawley of Arlington.
Very little has been recorded concerning the activities of the unit during the campaign, but Loyalist claims made by men of the company describe piloting the army, running dispatches between commanders, raiding cattle from rebel farms and defending loyalist farms from Patriot foraging parties.
After the British Army’s defeat and surrender at Saratoga, Adams’ Rangers and other Loyalist units were allowed to retreat to the Province of Quebec. For the next three years Adams’ men, like most other Loyalist troops in Canada, were occupied serving garrison duty and being employed in work parties improving the defences of the Province. Several of the men of the unit and their families lived at the Machiche refugee camp near Trois-Rivières, Quebec. In early 1778, the company numbered 37 all-ranks – by mid-1780 their number had reduced to 27.
Frustrated by lack of prospects and dispersement of his men around the Province, Captain Adams demanded to be allowed to join his Company to Roger’s Rangers (2nd Battalion King’s Rangers) or go to New York to serve in the Central department. When his demands were refused, Adams disbanded his men in late October 1780.
Following the dissolution of the company, a few men from the company joined Roger’s Rangers, but a majority were absorbed into McAlpin’s Corps, a collection of under-strength Loyalist units. In November 1781 these units were consolidated into a new Provincial Regiment, the Loyal Rangers, commanded by Major Edward Jessup.
Following the war, a few of Adam’s men returned to the United States, some settled in Quebec around Sorel, but most were granted land in South-Eastern Ontario along the St Lawrence River. The largest concentration of former Adam’s Company men settled in Ernestown and Edwardsburg Townships.
Dr. Samuel Adams of Arlington, Vermont
Jeptha Hawley of Arlington, Vermont
Simpson Jenne of Clarendon, Vermont
Gideon Adams of Arlington, Vermont
(Information compiled by Christopher Armstrong, Duncan’s Coy, King’s Royal Yorkers.)
- Muster Roll of Captain Samuel ADAMS’s Company Raised by Order of Genl. BURGOYNE the 9th August 1777 for the Purpose of Rangers. Busherville 23d January 1778 Great Britain, British Library, Additional Manuscripts, No. 21827, folio 14.
- A Return of Men, Women and Children Belonging to Capt. ADAMS Corps of Loyalists at Machiche Augt. 10, 1780. Great Britain, Public Record Office, War Office, Class 28, Volume 10, folio 95.
- A Return of Captain Adam’s Corps of Loyalists. Mashish 6th March 1780. Great Britain, British Library, Additional Manuscripts, No. 21827, folio 193.
- Loyalist Settlements 1783-1789, New Evidence of Canadian Loyalist Claims. W. Bruce Antliff, The Archives of Ontario, Bicentential Publication from the Ministry of Citizenship and Culture Susan Fish, Minister.
- United Empire Loyalists. Evidence in Canadian Claims. Second Report of the Bureau of Archives for the Province of Ontario. B. Alexander Fraser. Parts 1 and 2. Genealogical Publishing Co. Inc.
- The Old United Empire Loyalist List, 1784-1884, Centenial, Rose Publishing Company, Toronto, Canada, 1885.
- Biographical sketches of Loyalists in the American Revolution. Gregory Palmer, Meckler Publishing, Westport Connecticut, 1984.
- American Loyalist claims Volume 1. Peter Wilson Coldham, National Genealogical Society, Washington DC 1980
Sources for More Information
- The On-line Institute for Advanced Loyalist Studies
- UELAC Directory of Loyalists
- The Old United Empire Loyalist List
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