General Daniel Brodhead


GEN. DANIEL BRODHEAD, of Revolutionary fame, was born in Marbletown, Ulster Co., N.Y., in 1736, and died and was buried in Milford, Pa., Nov. 15, 1809. He was the great-grandson of Capt. Daniel Brodhead, of the English army, who came to this country in 1664, as a member of the expedition commanded by Col. Richard Nichols, in the service of King Charles II, after the Restoration. After the surrender of Stuyvesant Captain Brodhead was sent up to Albany, in September, 1664, and was a witness to the treaty made with the Indians there in that month. He was afterward promoted to the command of the military forces of Ulster county, by commission from King Charles, dated Sept. 14, 1665, which position he held till his death in 1670. He left one daughter and two sons--Ann, Charles, and Richard.

Richard Brodhead was born at Marbletown, N.Y., in 1666, and was the grandfather of General Brodhead. He had two sons, Richard, Jr., and Daniel, the latter born in Marbletown, Ulster Co., N.Y., in the year 1698. He died at Bethlehem, Pa., in the year 1755. This Daniel Brodhead, the General's father, removed with his family from Ulster County, N.Y., in the year 1737, to Danville, Pa., while his son Daniel was but an infant. The latter was the youngest of his three sons who reached maturity and married. Inured to the dangers of the Indian frontier from his very cradle, the impression made as he grew up among the scenes of Indian barbarities, and the outrages of the savages, helped to form his future character and to mold him into the grand, successful soldier and Indian fighter which his subsequent history proved him to be.

General Brodhead first appeared prominently in public life when he was elected a deuty from Berks County to a provincial meeting which met at Philadelphia, July 15, 1774, and served on a committee which reported sixteen resolutions, one of which recommended the calling of a Continental Congress and acts of non-importation and non-exportation from Great Britain. These were among the first steps toward the Revolution which followed. At the beginning of the war of the Revolution he was commissioned by the assembly of Pennsylvania at Philadelphia as colonel of the 8th Regiment, Pa. Colonial Troops. He first participated in the battle of Long Island. Before the close of this battle he commanded the whole of the Pennsylvania contingent troops, composed of several battalions. He was especially mentioned by Washington in his report to Congress on this battle, for brave and meritorious conduct. He also participated in several other battles of the Revolution. Having received the approbation of Washington he was sent by him, in June, 1778, with his troops to Fort Muncy, where he rebuilt that fort formerly destroyed by the Indians, which command he held until Washington, in the following spring, recommended his selection to Congress for the command of the Western department. Washington, being personally acquainted and warmly attached to him, knew well his qualifications as a brave, judicious and competent general. Washington, with the sanction of Congress, issued an order, dated March 5, 1779, directing him to proceed to Fort Pitt, Pa., to take charge of the Western department, extending from the British possessions, at Detroit, on the north, to the French possessions (Louisianna) on the south, a command and responsibility equal to any in the Revolutionary army.

General Brodhead established the headquarters of his department at Fort Pitt, now Pittsburgh, Pa. He had under his command the posts of Fort Pitt, Fort McIntosh, Fort Laurens, Fort Tuscarora, Fort Wheeling, Fort Armstrong, and Fort Holliday's Cove. He made a number of successful expeditions in person against the Indians with a large part of his command. In 1779 he executed a brilliant march up the Allegheny with 605 men, penetrating into New York, overcoming almost insurmountable difficulties, through a wilderness without roads, driving the Indians before him, depopulating and destroying their villages all along the route, killing and capturing many. This expedition began Aug. 11 and ended Sept. 14, 1779, between three hudred and four hundred miles in thirty-three days, through a wilderness without a road. General Brodhead received the thanks of Congress for this expedition, and the following acknowledgement from General Washington: "The activity, perseverance and firmness which marketed the conduct of General Brodhead, and that of all the officers and men of every description in this expedition, do them great honor, and their services entitle them to the thanks and to this testimonial of the general's acknowledgement."

A great number of the thrilling Indian stories of which we read in the present day occurred under General Brodhead's command. The famous Captain Brady was a captain in General Brodhead's 8th Regiment, and seldom ever went out on a scout but by orders from the General. General Brodhead's devotion to the cause of liberty was untiring. He never doubted the result of the war, and his letters of encouragement to General Washington and others are part of the history of our country. In one, lamenting the coldness of some former patriots, he writes: "There is nothing I so much fear as a dishonorable peace. For Heaven's sake, let every good man hold up his hands against it. We have never suffered half I expected we should, and I am willing to suffer much more for the glorious cause for which I have and wish to bleed."

General Brodhead had a treble warfare to wage-a warfare which required the genius and daring of a soldier, the diplomacy of a statesman and the good, hard sense and clear judgment of an independent ruler over an extensive country composed of a variety of elements. He waged war upon the unfriendly Indians, and held as allies in friendship several friendly nations. He watched and controlled, to a great extent, the British influence upon the Indians in the direction of Detroit. He kept in subjection a large Tory element west of the mountains in sympathy with Great Britain, and punished them by confiscating their surplus stores and provisions for the benefit of his starving soldiers, when they had refused to sell to his commissary officers on the credit of the government; but he never resorted to this punishment until his starving soldiers paraded in a body in front of his quarters and announced they had had no bread for 5 days.

On June 24, 1779, General Brodhead issued his famous order directing Colonel Bayard to proceed to Kittanning and erect a fort at that point for the protectin of all settlers desiring to settle in that vicinity, and for the better protection of the frontier. After the erection of this fort settlers took up land and built their houses around and in the vicinity of this fort, under its protection, until the accumulation of houses and homes in the vicinity transformed the Indian town of Kittanning into the present thriving capital of Armstrong County, which can only justly and truthfully be acknowledged the result of the fort erected by command of General Brodhead, and which he was too modest to have called after himself, regardless of the importunate efforts of Colonel Bayard, whom history shows to have earnestly entreated Brodhead to permit him to call it Fort Brodhead.

General Brodhead's untiring watchfulness of the settlements along the Allegheny, the building of his fort at Kittanning, his protection of the inhabitants in its vicinity until they became numerous enough to defend themselves, his modesty in not permitting the fort to be called after himself, justly entitle him to the credit of being founder of Kittanning, just as the erecting of every fort on our western frontier from that day to this has been the foundationof a city or town which invariably sprang from such a planting, as Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne, Leavenworth, Fort Dodge, Detroit, for never until that time had Kittanning any white inhabitants, and never from that time until the present has it been without white inhabitants.

In 1781 General Brodhead was given command of the 1st Pa. Colonial Regiment, and during that year received his full commission as general. His services extended through the entire war of the Revolution, and at its close he was elected by the officers assembled at the cantonment of the American army on the Hudson River, May 10, 1783, as one of a committee to prepare the necessary papers for the organization of the Society of the Cincinnati. In 1789 General Brodhead was elected by the Pennsylvania Assembly surveyor general of the State of Pennsylvania, which position he held for nearly twelve years.

For his services in the Revolution General Brodhead received several thousand acres of land, which he located in western Pennsylvania. Besides this he purchased largely of land through western Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Kentucky. He located much land in the vicinity of Kittanning and on the Allegheny, the scenes of his former exploits, which he never ceased to love. General Brodhead was twice married, and by his first wife, Elizabeth (Dupuy), had two children, Daniel and Ann Garton. The son, Daniel, Jr., was wounded at the battle of Long Island and captured, was exchanged, and died soon afterward. Like his father he was a member of the Society of the Cincinnati. The General's second marriage was to the widow of Gen. Samuel Mifflin. His only daughter, Ann Garton, married Casper Heiner, of Reading, Pa., a surveyor by profession and author of a series of mathematical works.

To Ann Garton Heiner and her children General Brodhead left all his lands and property. Ann Garton Heiner had but one son, John Heiner, who removed to Kittanning in 1812, and took possession of all the lands left him by his grandfather, General Brodhead. Capt. John Heiner died and was buried in Indiana, Pa., in 1833. He left but one son, Daniel Brodhead Heiner, late of Kittanning, Pa., and three daughters: Ann Eliza, who married John Mechling, sheriff of Armstrong County from 1845 to 1848; Margaret, who was twice married, first to a Mr. Carson, later to a Mr. Porterfield, and moved to Sidney, Ill.; and Catherine, wife of Gov. George W. Smith, of Lawrence, Kansas.

Ann Garton (Brodhead) Heiner had, besides her son John, four daughters. (1) Rebecca was the mother of Hon. Henry Johnson, of Muncy, Pa., presidential elector in 1848 on the Whig ticket, State senator of Pennsylvania from 1861 to 1864, and chairman of the Judiciary committee and author of the bill to entitle soldiers to vote in the field (after the Supreme court of Pennsylvania had decided their voting unconstitutional). She was the grandmother of Hon. Henry John Brodhead Cummings, colonel of the 39th Iowa Infantry during the war of the Rebellion, and member of Congress from the Des Moines district from 1877 to 1879. (2) Margaret married John Faulk, and was the mother of Hon. Andrew J. Faulk, governor of Dakota, from Aug. 4, 1866, to May 1, 1869, also superintendent of Indian Affairs for Dakota and member of the committee-with Gen. William T. Sherman, General SStanley and others-which made the famous treaty with the Sioux Indians at Fort Sully, Dak., in 1868. (3) Catherine married Colonel Brodhead, a distant cousin, descendant of a brother of Gen. Daniel Brodhead. General Brodhead's descendants by this marriage were the children of George Brodhead, of Kittanning; Mark Brodhead, of Washington; Mrs. Kate Van Wyke, wife of United States Senator Van Wyke, of Nebraska, and Mrs. Van Auken, wife of John Van Auken, member of Congress from Pike county from 1867 to 1871. (4) Mary married John Weitzel, of Reading, Pennsylvania.

Source: Pages 984-987, Armstrong County, Pa., Her People, Past and Present, J.H. Beers & Co., 1914
Transcribed December 1998 by Sharon Doyle-Dantzer for the Armstrong County Beers Project
Contributed for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (

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