Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Robert McCallen Papers, 1749-1826

Finding aid created by
Philip Heslip, December 2010

Summary Information
Title: Robert McCallen papers
Creator: McCallen family
Inclusive dates: 1749-1826
Extent: 84 items
The Robert McCallen papers are the personal and military documents of a captain in the Revolutionary War from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The collection contains letters, military records, a muster roll book, financial records, and legal documents. Of note is a letter from McCallen to his wife, giving his eyewitness account of the Battle of Trenton.
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:

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1967. M-1406.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

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

Preferred Citation:

Robert McCallen Papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


This collection is organized chronologically with undated items at the end.


Robert McCallen (1732-1800), son of Sarah McCallen, was a resident of Londonderry Township, Pennsylvania, in the county of Lancaster. He married Isabella Lock, the daughter of James and Agnes Lock. In 1776, McCallen captained the 3rd Battalion of the Pennsylvania militia from Lancaster under Colonel Bartrum Galbraith. Over the course of the Revolutionary War, McCallen also served in the 8th Co. of the 1st Battalion and saw action at the Battle of Trenton (1776) and the Battle of Brandywine (1777). McCallen's name also appears in the collection as McCallan and McCallon.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Robert McCallen papers (84 items) are the personal and military documents of a captain in the Revolutionary War from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The collection contains nine letters, 31 military records and accounts, six regimental orders, one muster roll book, 29 receipts and financial records, one town tax record, and six legal documents.

The letters contain both personal and military information and are addressed both to McCallen and to his wife Isabella.

Of note:

  • October 22, 1774: From Agnes and James Lock to Robert and Isabella McCallen, mentioning the "Indian War" in western Pennsylvania where over 2,000 men were stationed at a Shawnee town. Also mentioned is a massacred by the Cherokee of several families in Houston, Pennsylvania
  • October 19, 1776: From servant William Grear to his "Dear and loving Master and Mistress," written the Battle of White Plains while he was in Kingsbridge
  • December 26, 1776: From McCallen to his wife containing his eyewitness account of the Battle of Trenton
  • Undated: From Agnes Lock to her daughter Isabella McCallen concerning family life and remarriage

The military records relate primarily to outfitting, arming, and paying McCallen's Pennsylvania company. Included are five lists of firearms borrowed from the local citizenry, which detail the types, conditions, and owners of the weapons (May 15, 1776, and four undated items from 1776). Also of note is the pledge from McCallen's militia agreeing to join General Washington's army (December 7, 1776). The regimental orders contain instructions for troop movements in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and the 11-page muster roll book, kept by McCallen in the summer of 1776, is comprised of multiple lists of members of McCallen's regiment and an absentee roll.

The receipts and financial documents record McCallen's personal transactions for goods, land, and services, before and after the war. The tax collecting document for Lancaster, Pennsylvania, is made up of printed instructions for the tax collector and four pages of accounts of the person who paid the tax (August 12, 1778). Legal documents include the will of Sarah McCallen (Robert's mother) and documents related to Robert McCallen's estate, such as an inventory of his property and a record of sale of land by his executors William Boal and Robert Geddis. Of note is a broadside advertisement, in German, of the sale of a piece of Pennsylvania property owned by Thomas McCallen: "Oeffentliche Vendu. Dienstags, Den 30sten Dieses Instehenden Novembers, Wird Auf Dem Vermögen Selbst, öffentlich Verkauft Werden… (Lebanon, Pennsylvania, 1824).

Subject Terms

    • Pennsylvania--Militia.
    • Pennsylvania. Militia. Battalion, 3rd.
    • Trenton, Battle of, Trenton, N.J., 1776.
    • United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783.
    • White Plains, Battle of, White Plains, N.Y., 1776.
    • Bear, Samuel.
    • Bell, George.
    • Boal, William.
    • Clark, Thomas.
    • Cook, Jacob.
    • Cunningham, James.
    • Deyarmon, Joseph.
    • Donaldson, Robert.
    • Elleson, Samuel.
    • Galbraith, Bartrem.
    • Geddis, Robert.
    • Grear, William.
    • Hamilton, James.
    • Hay, William.
    • Hays, Hugh.
    • Hubley, A.
    • Kurtz, William.
    • Lock, Agnes.
    • Lock, James.
    • McCallen, Robert, 1732-1800.
    • McCallen Sarah.
    • McCallen, Thomas, d. 1823.
    • McQueen, David.
    • Morton, John.
    • Pennsylvania. General Assembly. House of Representatives.
    • Stephenson, John.
    • Verner, James.
    Genre Terms:
    • Accounts.
    • Estate inventories.
    • Legal documents.
    • Letters (correspondence)
    • Probate records.
    • Receipts.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Box   47, Small Collections  
    Robert McCallen papers [series]
    Folders   32-45  
     1749-1826 and  undated
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Related Materials

    The Clements Library's John Adlum papers also relate to Pennsylvania militias during the Revolutionary War.