The Pennsylvania Militia, 1777-1783

The Pennsylvania Militia was organized under an act of March 7, 1777, which provided for compulsory enrollment of all able-bodied male whites between the ages of 18 and 53. Companies and Battalions of militia were set up on a geographical basis, so that normally a company consisted of men from a single township, while a battalion included several neighboring townships.[i]

During this time, David Ralston and family, as well as the family of Davidís father-in-law, Alexander Reid, were living in Milford Township, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania.Militia organization for Cumberland County included the following for Milford Township:[ii]

4th Battalion

7th Battalion




Township (if known)



Milford Township

1st Company:

8th Company

Capt. John Williams

Capt. James Harrell

Milford Township

3rd Company:

6th Company

Capt. John Elliott

Capt. Daniel McClelland


David Ralston was first called to active duty, March 25, 1778:[iii]

And again, March 14, 1781: [iv]

Note that the Battalion and Company numbers match those of Milford Township, were David lived (and was the only David Ralston there at the time.These documents prove active duty in the Pennsylvania Militia during the Revolutionary War.

Davidís father-in-law, Alexander Reid, Sr., and brother-in-law, Alexander Reid, Jr., also lived in Milford Township at this time.Following are their service records: [v]

[i] Revolutionary War Records Overview (

[ii] Cumberland County Revolutionary War Militia (