Lewis, James A. Neptune's Militia: The Frigate South Carolina during the American Revolution, (The Kent State University Press, 1999.)
Steinmetz, Mary Owen, copier. Pension Applications of Revolutionary Soldiers Who Served Berks Co., Pennsylvania and a Number Who Died Outside of the State or County, (Genealogical Society of Utah, 1938.)
n. a. "Military Accounts: Militia", Records of the Comptroller General, entry for Adam Gramling, (Pennsylvania State Archives, no date.)
n. a. "Revolutionary War Soldier Graves, 2013: Burials in Berks and Lebanon Counties", (Sons of the American Revolution, Gov. Joseph Hiester Chapter, Pennsylvania Society, 2013.)
Pension Application of Jacob Fleisher S2214
Pension Application of John Fox S2219
Pension Application of Michael Spatz S3957
If one refers back to the post entitled "'Just a Name on the Roster' - Individuals on board the Frigate South Carolina with No 'Position' Indicated: A Re-visitation" and dated "04/21/2015", the reader can see the opening statement concerning the "flesh and blood life" of a ship-of-war in the Age of Sail. As stated then, and reaffirmed now, it is the belief of the writer of this blog that the lives of these crew men and marines on board this ship-of-war constitute the life of the frigate. It was their interactions with each other and their efforts on behalf of the patriot Cause that brought success in the American Revolution. For some of these crewmen and marines, there exists a plethora of information concerning their lives, both before, during and after the American Revolution. For most of the men who walked the decks of the frigate South Carolina, there is enough information to, at the very least, make their lives a bit more meaningful to those of us who have followed them after the passage of almost two hundred and fifty years. Yet, some of these crew men and marines still remain only an isolated name on the roster of the frigate South Carolina. Nothing more is known of their lives other than their names on a lengthy list followed by a blank space in the column labelled "Position". Thus, it has been a stated goal of the writer of this blog to attempt to locate information on these men in order "...to make them a bit more real...". The focus of this specific post will be to make one more man who served on board the frigate South Carolina "...a bit more real..." by citing recently located information on his life.
In Lewis's work, Neptune's Militia, section entitled "Appendix: Crew and Marines of the South Carolina", on page 149, the following entry appears:
Adam Grambling (Gramlin) no "position" cited
Adam Grambling (or Gramlin, which may be the proper German spelling of his last name) was one of those individuals who this writer thought was fated to remain known by his name alone. But, quite accidentally, additional information came to light concerning him and his service during the American Revolution.
This information was located in Steinmetz's work, Pension Applications of Revolutionary Soldiers Who Served Berks Co., Pennsylvania and a Number Who Died Outside of the County or State, page 31. It would appear to approximate information contained in the supporting evidence for Jacob Fleisher's pension application, "Pension Application of Jacob Fleisher S2214". This supporting evidence was provided by Jacob Fleisher's two friends, John Fox and Michael Spatz, who also served on board the frigate South Carolina. According to the "Pension Application of Jacob Fleisher S2214" document, the exact quote was "...the officers of the Ship called South Carolina was commanded by a Capt. Gillon and Scull and John Joiner..." while the exact quote from Steinmetz's work, was "...John Fox and Michael Spatz swear to above facts and state South Carolina commanded by a certain Gillon and Scull and John Joiner...". This phrase is followed closely by the statement that "...Adam Gramling 80 years also on S.C. Apr. 3, 1832.". The writer of this blog interprets this information in full text to read as "Adam Gramling, presently 80 years old, also served on board the South Carolina, April 3, 1832". On April 3, 1832, Adam Gramling would have been about 75 years old, being born in 1757 (according to other documents related to the life of Adam Gramling, as will be seen later in this post).
Further on in the same document referenced above as Pension Applications of Revolutionary Soldiers, pages 39-40, the following information concerning Adam Gramlin is found:
"Berks County, August 20, 1819 S.2246
Adam Gramlin of Cumru Township, 62 years old, enlisted in 1778 for one year in Town of Lebanon, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, in a Company of Artillery Artificers Commanded by Captain Mink (Minsk), Colonel Benjamin Flowers regiment, remained there one year term of enlistment as appears by discharge annexed.
David Zerbe, Cumru Township has known Adam Grimling upwards of 30 years.
October 12, 1819 - served in different capacities making cartridge boxes, bayonet scabbards, belts and also exercised in his company.
Samuel Levan - April 16, 1832 - states A. Gramling is advanced to many years and his wife is deceased, he has with him a daughter, Sarah and a son Henry - both incapacitated.
Discharge date April 3, 1779.
Flying Camp Service - he enlisted [as a] soldier, July 4, 1776 - Brecknock Township - for 6 months in a company of Musketry commanded by Captain Ludwig, Colonel Haller, marched to Amboy, was in [the] Battle of Long Island in [the] latter part of August, and the Battle of White Plains, near the latter part of October. Continued his service until January 5, 1777, then honorably discharged at a certain place called Swamp, Pennsylvania.
Two credible witnesses, Nicholas Lott, a soldier of the Revolution, and Conrad Hertz of Brecknock, both in Flying Camp.
18 months service
6 months - Flying Camp
12 months - Captain Minsk.
Certificate of baptism states [he was] born in Pennsylvania 1757.
Peter Gramling, September 14, 1850 - states that he is executor of [Adam Gramlin's] will. Adam died on April 30, 1841 - left no widow, and children Adam, Jacob, John, Benjamin, Peter, Isaac, and Barbara [who is] married to Samuel Moyer.".
(Note: While doing the research for this post, the writer of this blog was almost certain that there two separate individuals, one named Adam Gramlin and the other named Adam Gramling, who were being "conflated" here. In the information cited immediately above, there is a page break at the first discharge date cited of April 3, 1779. This might offer a possible place for a transition between the two, separate individuals. But, there also exists evidence that only a single individual named either Adam Gramlin or Gramling lived and served in the stated military capacities during the American Revolution. For instance, both before the page break and afterwards, a mention of service in a company commanded by a "Captain Minsk" is made. Secondly, none of the cited dates of service during the American Revolution conflict with each other. Thirdly, a pension application number identical to the one cited above - S2246 - is associated with Adam Gramlin or Gramling. Fourthly, the application opens with a clear statement of the age of Adam Gramlin - sixty-two years old. If one takes the date of the application at the top of the first page - August 20, 1819 - as well as the date of his birth towards the end of the application - 1757 - then in 1819 Adam Gramlin would have indeed been sixty-two years old as initially stated in his pension application. Fifthly, the pension application was filed in Berks County, Pennsylvania and it is known that Adam Gramlin did indeed live in that county of that state. The only possibly discordant item is the children of Adam Gramlin. The first recitation of the children of Adam Gramlin states that he had "...a daughter, Sarah and a son Henry...". Yet, the second recitation by Peter Gramling, the executor of the will of Adam Gramlin, states that the children of Adam Gramlin were "...Adam, Jacob, John, Benjamin, Peter, Isaac, and Barbara married to Samuel Moyer...". Further research might possibly clear up this issue or shed light on this confusion.)
The above passage addresses the services provided to the patriot Cause by Adam Gramlin during the course of the American Revolution. There exists two other references to military services or duty being performed by Adam Gramlin. The first of these pieces of information is referred to as a "Revolutionary War Military Abstract Card File Item" and is cited above in the bibliography of this post as "Military Accounts: Militia", Records of the Comptroller General. According to this item of the Records of the Comptroller General, Adam Gramlin was a private in the Berks County militia. He was a member of Captain George Rihm's Company of the 6th Battalion of Militia. He was listed as being of the 7th Class of militia. The only remarks attached to this "card File Item" is an "absentee return" stating that Adam Gramlin was absent for a total of four muster days for the period between October to November 1782. The item has no definitive date attached to it and the heading of the item reads "Inactive Duty - Militia".
The second reference is a rather oblique one contained in the supporting evidence for the pension application of Jacob Fleisher, "Pension Application of Jacob Fleisher S2214". It was supplied by Henry Augustus Philip Muhlenberg of the famous Muhlenberg family of Pennsylvania. According to the "Pension Application of Jacob Fleisher S2214", page 16, the following information is stated:
"I yesterday offered a resolution in the House instructing the Committee on Revolutionary Pensions to inquire into the expediency of restoring the names of John Fox, Jacob Fleisher, Michael Spatz and Adam Gramling to the pension roll... If I am correctly informed these men were struck from the pension roll because they were considered as not belonging to the Continental Establishment, but as State Troops -- the equipping &c of the South Carolina being however recommended & approved of by Congress.".
This passage indicates that Adam Gramlin or Gramling was initially placed on the pension roll for services performed during the American Revolution, as were the three other men, all from Pennsylvania, who were eventually struck from that same roll. The passage goes on to indicate that all four of these men served on board the frigate South Carolina. These men had contacted Muhlenberg and inquired if their case could be appealed to Congress. Muhlenberg wrote his defense of these men of Pennsylvania and his efforts appear to have been met with success in that the men were all reinstated under a later act of Congress.
The supporting document provided by Henry Augustus Philip Muhlenberg concludes with a poignant description of the then-current deplorable state of Adam Gramlin:
"The case of Adam Gramling is a particularly hard one. He was stricken from the pension-role [roll] because he did not file a schedule of his property: He owns a small mountain farm worth perhaps at the utmost $500, a single feel [field] of which say 10 to 12 acres, can be cultivated & which yields very little. The remainder is woodland & unproductive being too far from the market for a sale with any advantage. He is near 80 years of age & his wife not much younger. He has 2 children, a son who is deaf & dumb, & a daughter who is paralytic & entirely helpless. He is really poor, unfortunate & deserving of assistance. Being exclusive of what is called his property entitled to a pension I'll will hope that it may no longer be withheld.".
(Note: This supporting document written by Henry Augustus Philip Muhlenberg seems to indicate that Adam Gramling only had two children who were still living with him at the time of the writing of the supporting document - an unnamed son and daughter, both with handicapped conditions that prevented them from assisting Adam Gramling in making a living at such an advanced age. This may well reflect on the note entered a few paragraphs above which attempts to deal with the number of children Adam Gramling left behind when he died on April 30, 1841.)
A foot note at the end of the pension application seems to refer to Adam Gramlin and states that "Veteran was pensioned at the rate of $40 per annum commencing March 4, 1831, for service for one year in the Continental Navy.". It would seem that the efforts of Henry Augustus Philip Muhlenberg were successful in having Adam Gramlin reinstated to the pension roll of the patriot soldiers of Pennsylvania.
According to the document entitled "Revolutionary War Soldiers Graves - 2013: Burials in Berks and Lebanon Counties", the full name of this patriot was Johann Adam Gramling. The name of the wife of Johann Adam Gramling is unknown and she predeceased him at some point prior to April 16, 1832. Johann Adam Gramling is previously cited as dying on April 30, 1841. According to the document entitled "Revolutionary War Soldiers Graves - 2013", he was interred in Allegheny Church Cemetery, located in Berks County, Pennsylvania. Also, according to this document, his grave is clearly marked as being his final resting place.
The post up to this point has filled in some of the "gaps" in the life of Johann Adam Gramling and as a direct result, made his life "a bit more real" to us in the 21st century. But, it has not definitively answered one question - that of his "position" on board the frigate South Carolina. Until a document appears that specifically states the actual position occupied by Johann Adam Gramling on board the frigate South Carolina, we can never be absolutely certain of his role on board the patriot frigate. But, we can allow ourselves to make an "educated guess" at his position. According to the pension application of John Fox, "Pension Application of John Fox S2219", it states that while he and his friend, Michael Spatz, were going to enlist in an "Infantry Corps", they encountered an officer who "...said that his name was Scull that he was Enlisting man [men] in the Service of the United States on Continental establishment as Marines and that we should Enlist to him that our case would be easier to enter with him and prevailed upon us to comply...". Further down in the same passage, the text states that "...we then Remained in Reading and there was about 70 men who belonged to us as Marines we were marched to Wilmington where we entered on board a Ship the [there] called the Carolina [South Carolina]...". According to the supporting evidence provided for the pension application of Jacob Fleisher, "Pension Application of Jacob Fleisher S2214", the name of Johann Adam Gramling is associated with the names of John Fox and Michael Spatz along with that of Jacob Fleisher. This association seems to imply that Adam Gramling was recruited in the same time frame as the other three individuals named here and by the same recruiting officer, Edward Scull. Since Edward Scull's sole purpose in recruiting men was to enlist marines for the new contingent of the frigate South Carolina, it can be assumed that everyone he recruited was destined to be entered on board the patriot ship-of-war as a marine. John Fox's statement further on in his pension application states that they remained in Reading until there were "...about 70 men who belonged to us as Marines...". That at this point in time they were marched to Wilmington where they were entered on board the frigate South Carolina. The writer of this blog feels that it is relatively certain, though not with any absolute certainty, that Adam Gramling was recruited as a marine along with the other three youthful men whose names are recorded here.
So, the purpose of this specific post has been to make Johann Adam Gramlin (Gramling) a "...bit more real..." to the readers of this blog. It can be seen from the presented information that he was an experienced militia man as well as a skilled artisan, a leather worker, who served at least a couple of times in the militia of Berks County, Pennsylvania. He enlisted for a period of six months in the Flying Camp of Pennsylvania in July 1776, fought at Long Island and White Plains during that same year, and was honorably discharged in January 1777. He enlisted again in 1778 (month unspecified) for a period of one year in a Company of Artillery Artificers commanded by Captain Mink (Minsk), Colonel Benjamin Flowers Regiment. The next indication of a term of service in the militia that exists for Johann Adam Gramling is an undated "Card File Item" for the period between October and November 1782 indicating that Johann Adam Gramling was an inactive member of Captain George Rihm's Company of the 6th Battalion of Berks County Militia. But, this "Card File Item" does indicate that Johann Adam Gramling had been absent for four muster days in this specific time period. The final term of enlistment for Johann Adam Gramling is the appearance of his name on the roster of the crew members and marines of the frigate South Carolina. It can be assumed that he was among the "...about 70 men who belonged to us as Marines..." who had been successfully recruited by Edward Scull to serve on board the frigate South Carolina. But, what remains to be proven was whether or not he was on board the patriot frigate when it was captured just off the Capes of the Delaware on December 21, 1782 by the three British men-of-war. His name does not appear on any of the prisoners-of-war lists for any of the three British frigates that carried the captive crew members and marines into New York City harbor between December 24-25, 1782. He may have completed his service on board the frigate prior to her leaving the harbor of Philadelphia, PA at some point in late December 1782 and been discharged. This would have taken place prior to the frigate's unexpected meeting with the three British frigates on station off the Capes of the Delaware on December 20-21, 1782. It is also possible that his name was simply overlooked by the British when he was captured on board the patriot ship-of-war and spent the remainder of the rapidly concluding war in British custody, most likely on board on one of the prison "hulks" moored in Wallabout Bay, NY. In one, final reference to Johann Adam Gramling, his name turns up as one of four named men in a supporting document filed by Henry Augustus Philip Muhlenberg requesting that these four men being reinstated to the pension roll after they were stricken from the roll. The final foot note of that document seems to indicate that the request was fulfilled and Johann Adam Gramlin was successfully reinstated.
Even though we do not know everything concerning Johann Adam Gramlin's life, we have discerned a "...bit more..." about him, his service in the militia of Pennsylvania during the American Revolution, his family life after the cessation of hostilities, and something of his financial situation in his later years, and the final years of his life. We know that he was a private in the militia but, there is no indication that he ever rose above that rank, either in the militia or on board the frigate South Carolina. Yet, we know that he served on board the frigate South Carolina, even if we do not know any more than that fact. Thus, the life of Johann Adam Gramlin (Gramling) has been made "...a bit more real..." to those of us who have followed him in time. He, too, did his part in the winning of the independence of the United States of America and thus deserves the thanks of a grateful nation. Thank you and rest well, Johann Adam Gramlin (Gramling).