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Jonathan Forman Papers



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Jonathan Forman's papers consist of a seven-page journal he kept during the march of the New Jersey militia to western Pennsylvania in 1794. Forman mentions various officers, mostly Revolutionary veterans, and describes the countryside and towns along the route. He remarks on Norristown, Reading, Harrisburg, Carlisle and Bedford, among others. The diary also mentions a dinner with President George Washington held in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, for the militia officers. Transcription drafts were created by staff at the Darlington Memorial Library in 1982 and 1985 and are maintained with the papers.

About Jonathan Forman

Jonathan Forman, a soldier, farmer, storekeeper, and public official, was born at Middleton Point, New Jersey, on October 16, 1755. He attended the College of New Jersey, now Princeton University, leaving in his senior year to become a lieutenant in the Monmouth County militia in 1775. The following year he was promoted to captain in the Brigade of State Troops and then transferred to the Continental army commanding the Fourth Battalion of the New Jersey Line. He accompanied General Sullivan on the expedition against the Six Nations in Pennsylvania and New York in the summer of 1779. By 1780, Forman joined the First Regiment of New Jersey Continentals and served in Virginia under Lafayette at the Battle of Yorktown. He was then promoted to major in the Third New Jersey Regiment. Forman spent the next few years stationed in New York State and was promoted to lieutenant colonel in the Second New Jersey Regiment in 1783, and was retained in the New Jersey Battalion.

During demobilization the Society of the Cincinnati was created in May of 1783 when a number of officers in the Continental army organized to express their discontent at not having been paid. Major General Henry Knox played a significant role in this national organization of officers exerting political pressure to protect their interests. State societies were established and have had the major role in the society where membership is passed down through families. Jonathan Forman was an original member of the New Jersey Society of the Cincinnati when it was formed at Elizabethtown on June 11, 1783.

Forman married Mary Ledyard of Groton, Connecticut. The couple settled on a farm in Middle Point, New Jersey, where they opened a general store. Forman was recalled to service to command the Third Infantry Regiment of New Jersey troops against the Whiskey Rebellion in western Pennsylvania.

Forman and his wife spent the remainder of their lives in Cazenovia, New York. Their daughter, Mary Forman Seymour, had six children, some of whom were involved in New York state politics, most prominently Governor Horatio Seymour. Mary Forman died in 1806 and Jonathan Forman died in 1809.

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