Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
John Adlum Papers, 1794-1808

James S. Schoff Collection

Finding aid created by
Robert S. Cox; re-processed by Philip Heslip, August 2009

Summary Information
Title: John Adlum papers
Creator: Adlum, John, 1759-1836
Inclusive dates: 1794-1808
Extent: 16 letters, 9 volumes, and 1 publication
Abstract:
The Schoff Revolutionary War Collection contains the papers of John Adlum, private in the Revolutionary War, Major in the Provisional Army, Brigadier General in the Pennsylvania Militia, surveyor, and viticulturalist. The collection includes 16 items written between 1773 and 1784, and 2 drafts of his memoirs, 1773-1784.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu


Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

Donated by James S. Schoff, 1961. M-1168.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

Copyright:

Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the "We the People" project.

Alternate Format:

Adlum's memoirs were partially published as the Memoirs of the life of John Adlum in the Revolutionary War. Edited by Henry H. Peckham and published for the William L. Clements Library Associates by the Caxton Club in 1968.

Preferred Citation:

John Adlum papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Arrangement

The correspondence series is organized chronologically.

This collection has been processed according to minimum processing standards and may be expanded or updated in the future.


Biography

John Adlum (April 29, 1759-March 14, 1836) was born in York, Pennsylvania, to Joseph and Catherine Adlum. Adlum volunteered for service in the Pennsylvania militia at the beginning of the American Revolution, and joined Washington's forces near New York. The main body of Washington's troops withdrew, however, leaving Adlum's regiment among those left to defend Fort Washington against superior British forces. After the British captured Ft. Washington, Adlum was taken as a prisoner of war and held in New York City for over a year. Upon his release, he worked as a surveyor in central and northern Pennsylvania, and later reentered the Army to become a major in the Provisional Army and Brigadier General in the Pennsylvania Militia. Later in life, Adlum also became a well known viticulturist and author on winemaking.


Collection Scope and Content Note

The Schoff Revolutionary War Collection contains the papers of John Adlum, private in the Revolutionary War, Major in the Provisional Army, Brigadier General in the Pennsylvania Militia, surveyor, and viticulturalist. The collection includes 16 items written between 1794 and 1808, and 2 drafts of his memoirs, 1773-1784.

Of the letters, three deal with Adlum's activities surveying the upper Susquehanna River in 1794. The ten items from 1799 relate primarily to his service with the Provisional Army, 11th Regiment. In these letters, Adlum describes his meetings with the Seneca Chief, Cornplanter, who insisted that if the Seneca did not receive annuity payments due them, they would have to resort to hostilities. The 1807 and 1808 items are personal letters from Abel Marple and the undated/unidentified letter discusses relations between whites and Indians.

The memoirs, composed during and shortly after the Revolutionary War, are an account of Adlum's early years and of the period during which he was an active soldier in the war. Writing as a young private taken prisoner at the fall of Fort Washington, he describes British-held New York City from November 1776, until his parole in late 1777. The memoirs also offer glimpses of Nathanael Greene, George Washington, Wilhelm Knyphausen, Ethan Allen, and Hugh Gaine.

Subject Terms

    Subjects:
    • Cornplanter, Seneca chief, 1732?-1836.
    • New York (City)--History--Revolutionary War, 1775-1783.
    • Seneca Indians--New York (State)
    • Surveying--Pennsylvania.
    • United States--History--Revolutionary War, 1775-1783.
    • United States--History--Revolutionary War, 1775-1783--Personal narratives.
    • United States--History--Revolutionary War, 1775-1783--Prisoners and prisons.
    Genre Terms:
    • Letters (correspondence)
    • Memoirs.
    Contents List
       Container / Location    Title
    Box   1  
    Correspondence [series]:
     
    Adlum to Thomas Mifflin,  August 8, 1794
     
    Adlum to Thomas Mifflin,  August 31, 1794
     
    Adlum to John Wilkins,  September 7, 1794
     
    James McHenry to Adlum,  January 10, 1799
     
    Anon. re Adlum,  June 8, 1799 (New York)
     
    Reuben Rice, DS,  August 6, 1799
     
    Thomas L. Moore to Adlum,  August 24, 1799
     
    Abraham R. Ellery to Adlum,  September 9, 1799
     
    Abraham R. Ellery to Adlum,  October 4, 1799
     
    Abraham R. Ellery to Adlum,  October 12, 1799
     
    Abraham R. Ellery to Adlum,  October 29, 1799
     
    Abraham R. Ellery to Adlum,  November 1, 1799
     
    Abraham R. Ellery to Adlum,  November 26, 1799
     
    Abel Marple to Adlum,  August 29, 1807
     
    Abel Marple to Adlum,  February 29, 1808
     
    Adlum ADf,  undated
    Box   2  
    Memoirs [series]:
     
    Memoirs No. 1
     
    Memoirs No. 2
     
    Memoirs No. 3
     
    Memoirs No. 1 early draft
     
    Memoirs No. 2 early draft
     
    Memoirs No. 3 early draft
     
    Memoirs No. 4 early draft
     
    Memoirs No. 5 early draft
     
    Memoirs No. 5 early draft(later part)
     
    Publication [series]:
     
    Kent, Donald H. and Merle H. Deardorff.John Adlum on the Allegheny: Memoirs for the Year 1794 . Reprinted fromThe Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, 1960.
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Related Materials

    Two additional Adlum documents can be found in the James McHenry papers: an official War Department letter (LS) from April 1, 1799, and a field officer circular (LS) from July 13, 1799.

    The Clements Library also holds a number of books and one map by John Adlum:

    Adlum, John. Adlum on making wine .1826.

    Adlum, John.A memoir of the cultivation of the vine in America, and the best mode of making wine. 1823, 1828.

    Adlum, John.Memoirs of the life of John Adlum in the Revolutionary War . Edited by Howard H. Peckham. 1968.

    Adlum, John, and John Wallis.A map exhibiting a general view of the roads and inland navigation of Pennsylvania, and part of the adjacent states. 1791.

    The Pennsylvania State Archives also has a collection of John Adlum papers, 1794-1836.