Proceedings of Committee

Reading, December 5, 1774

Pursuant to advertisements dispersed through the County, a respectable number of the inhabitants met this day at the Court House, in this Town, and proceeded, by ballot, to the election of a Committee, as recommended by the Congress, when the following gentlemen were duly chosen:

Edward Biddle, Christopher Schultz, Doctor Jonathan Potts, William Reeser, Balsar Gehr, Michael Bright, John Patton, Mark Bird, John Jones, John Old, Sebastian Levan, George Nagel, Christopher Witman, Jacob Shoemaker, and James Lewis.

To the Farmers of Berks County


Reading, January 16, 1775

The Committee of the County of Berks, having considered the Association of the Butchers of this Town not to kill any Sheep whatsoever till the first day of May next, take the liberty earnestly to recommend to the inhabitants of this County, not to sell any Sheep whatsoever to any Butcher from Philadelphia, or elsewhere, till the first day of May. The preserving of wool being an object of the greatest consequence, the Committee flatter themselves that the Farmers will cheerfully observe this recommendation; and as the Committee will meet in Reading, on Tuesday, the 14th day of February next, if any inhabitants have any objections to make to the measure hereby recommended, such inhabitants are requested to attend the Committee to make their objection, that the same may be maturely considered.

Any person having wool, which he cannot dispose of in the country, may bring it to the house of Mr. Mark Bird, in Reading, who will give fourteen Pence per found for any quantity.

By order of the Committee.

Jonathan Potts, Secretary


Reading, January 20, 1776

At a meeting fo the Standing Committee for Berks County, held this day, Mark Bird, Esq., in the chair.

The Committee taking into their consideration the present state of the Association in this county, and being persuaded of the pressing necessity of being prepared for defence, do earnestly recommend it to their brethren to sign the Articles of Association formed by the House of Assembly at their last meeting; this committee trusting that such amendments will be made, at the next sitting of Assemby, as will make the Association not only more effectual, but more consonant to the principles of justice and equality.

And afterwards, at a meeting fo the Committee, on the 30th, of the same month,

Resolved, unanimously, That it is the opinion of this Committee, that it will be highly requisite, in case the Assembly should not think proper to make the necessary amendments in the said Association that a Provincial Convention be held for that purpose; and they do, accordingly, appoint Edward Biddle, Mark Bird, Jonathan Potts, Daniel Brodhead, Baltzer Gheer, Collinson Read, Esquires, and Messrs. Valentine Eckert, Nicholas Lutz, Sebastian Levan, and Richard Tea, to attend the said Convention, in behalf of this County.

By order of the Committee.

Collinson Read, Secretary


Reading, January 30, 1776

The Committee of Berks County being justly alarmed at the attempts of the enemies of America, in the different parts of this Province, to depreciate the Continental Currency, and having received information that Gaius Dickenson, a publick Friend, has been one of the instruments in propagating so fatal a measure, the Committee, being determined to support the said Currency, sent for the said Gaius Dickenson, who, being brought before them, made the following Declaration, which was noted satisfactory:

Whereas, I, the subscriber, have unfortunately been guilty of endeavouring to depreciate the Continental Currency, but now being convinced and satisfied that such a conduct is highly unbecoming the duty of an American, and tends immediately to obstruct the measures calculated to preserve the liberties of this country from the cruel and unrelenting oppressions of the British Court, do most sincerely acknowledge the heinousness of such offence, do beg pardon of my offended countrymen, and do also solemnly engage and promise not to be guilty of a like offence in the future, but to conform to such measures as shall be adjudged necessary for the preservation of the rights of America, trusting and confiding that nothing will be expected from me inconsistent with the religious principles of the Society with which I profess. And as a further atonement for my misconduct, I request this acknowledgment to be made publick, in hopes it may deter others from committing the like offence.
Witness my hand, this thirtieth day of the first month, in the year of our Lord 1776.
Gaius Dickenson.

At the same time, one William Gilliland, who had been some time in confinement by order of the Committee was brought up and discharged, after subscribing the following acknowledgment of his misconduct:

Whereas, I the subscriber, have been so very wicked and abandoned as to speak at sundry times disrespectfully of the honourable the Continental Congress, and also have endeavoured to depreciate their Currency, for which detestable conduct I have, deservedly, been confined in the jail of this County by the Committee of said County, but being now fully convinced of the heniousness and horrid tendency of such conduct, do hereby, in the fullest manner, most sincerely beg pardon of my justly incensed countrymen, and do promise hereafter never to be guilty of the like, but in all instances to conform to such rules and regulations as may be instituted by that very respectable body for the preservation of our invaluable, but invaded, rights and liberties; and do further request that this my acknowledgement may be made publick, that others may be deterred from following my shameful and wicked practices.
In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, this thirtieth day of January, in the year of our Lord 1776.
William Gilliland.

By order of the Committee:

Mark Bird, Chairman


Committee of Correspondence to the Pennsylvania Delegates

Reading, February 4, 1776

Gentlemen: A number of English soldiers who were lately taken in Canada have arrived here, with their wives and children. The Committee were immediately assembled, and, although they were much surprised at so large a party being ordered here without any previous notice, and without any person attending them to supply them with necessaries, yet, understanding it was the pleasure of Congress the said soldiers should be quartered here, they immediately appointed Mr. Henry Haller, a member of the Committee, to provide houses, fire-wood, and provisioins for the party, who must have otherwise suffered much at this severe season. As we are totally unacquainted with the pleasure of the honourable Congress as to the particular quantities of provisions to be allowed these prisioners, we have despatched an express to you, gentlemen, desiring you will, by his return, be pleased to procure and send to us the directions of Congress to govern us in the matter.

As Mr. Haller has been an active member of this Committee, and is a very suitable person, we beg leave to recommend him to be continued as Commissary for the soldiers stationed here.

We are, gentlemen, your most obedient, humble servants.

By order of the Committee of Correspondence:

Mark Bird, Chairman.

To the Honourable the Delegates of the Province of Pennsylvania, in the Continental Congress at Philadelphia.


Berks County, May 11, 1776

Whereas, It has been proved before the Committee that I, the subscriber, have designedly thrown out many expressions to discourage the good people of this and the neighboring County of Northampton from taking up arms against Great Britain, and have also written several letters for that purpose: I do hereby acknowledge the truth of the said charge, and beg pardon of the publick for my conduct, and do promise and engage that I will support the present opposition, as much as in my power, against all the enemies of America, and for the future conduct myself in such a manner as shall give no offence to my neighbors concerned in the same, or in any wise prevent the prosecution of the measures of the honourable the Congress, or of any publick body acting under them.

Witness my hand this 11th of May, 1776.

Nicholas Hermany

Published by order of the Committe of Berks County:

Collinson Read, Secretary


Reading, June 8, 1776

At a meeting fo the Standing Committee of the County of Berks held this day, Mark Bird, Esquire, in the Chair.

Resolved, That as some people have declared that no obedience ought to be paid to the civil authority, because a Government will shortly be founded on the authority of the people in the room of the present Government; and as such a conduct will only serve to introduce confusion and disorder, and endanger the lives and properties of every individual in society, it is the opinion of this Committee, and they are determined to support the same to the utmost of their abilities, that the same obedience should be paid to the civil authority as used to be paid to it, till a new Constitution shall be formed by a Provincial Convention, and commissions shall be issued by virtue of the new legislative authority for the appointment of Courts and Magistrates, to preserve the peace and administer justice to the people; and then the authority of the present courts and Magistrates will cease of course.

By order of the Committee:

Collinson Read, Secretary.


Reading, June 15th 1776

At a meeting of the Standing Committee for Berks county, held this day.

Ordered, That the following Resolve of this Committee, and the Acknowledgements of John Ebeling, Matthias Rhodes, Jonathan Rhodes, and Henry Kettner, be published in the English and German Papers.

Collinson Read, Secretary.

Whereas, the Honourable the Continental Congress have recommended it to the several Assemblies, Conventions, Councils, and Committees of Safety of the several United Colonies, to cause all persons to be disarmed within their respective Colonies who are notoriously disaffected to the cause of America, or who have not associated and refuse to associate for the defence of these Colonies by arms against the hostile attempts of the British fleets and armies and that such of the said Arms as are fit for use, or which can be made so, be appraised, as by the said recommendation of Congress is directed; in pursuance whereof the Assembly of this Province have resolved that three shall be chosen by the inhabitants of every Township in the Province, who shall meet those chosen by the two adjoining Townships, to collect the arms from the disaffected persons and non-Associators aforesaid; and have further directed that the Committees of Inspection and Observation in each County shall take care that the said recommendation of Congress be effectually put in execution: And whereas some people in Berks County, in contempt of the said authority, have refused to deliver up their Arms to said collectors, and put the Committee to the disagreeable necessity of taking proper notice of their conduct; this publick notice is given, as well to the said disaffected persons and non-Associators as to the said collectors in this County, that the Committee will afford all the assistance in their power to the said collectors in procuring the Arms aforesaid; and in case of their neglect or refusal to do their duty, will take such notice of them, and such further measures as will answer the intention of the said resolves.


Whereas, It hath been proved before the Committee of Berks county, that we, the subscribers, have been guilty of spreading a report that the Officers of the Militia Company of Colebrookdale Township, in the said County, had sold their men to the Colonel of the Battalion to which they belonged. We do hereby acknowledge our misconduct, and beg pardon of the Officers of the said company for spreading the said report, and do promise for the future to conduct ourselves so as to give no offence to the said company or any other of the Associators of this county.

Witness our hands:

Matthias Roth
Jonathan Roth

June 15, 1776


Whereas, I, the subscriber, have greatly abused the persons appointed to collect the Arms of the non-associators in the Township of Berne, in Berks County, for which I was justly confined by the Committee of the said County; I do therefore beg pardon of the publick for my misconduct, and promise to behave myself for the future so as to give no offence to the publick, or opposition to the measures of the Congress, Assemblies, or Committees, acting by their authority.

Witness my hand:

Henry Kettner.

June 15, 1776


Whereas, I, the subscriber, have declared that no person who hath taken the oaths of allegiance to the king ought to be permitted to hold any office in the Militia, and that Henry Christ and Baltzer Gheer, Esq.'s were unfit persons to be Colonels for that reason; and whereas I am now convinced that if such an opinion should prevail it would occasion the removal of many worthy officers who have tken the said oaths before the same were dispensed with by the honourable Congress, and promote great disturbances among the Associators; I do therefore, hereby declare that I look upon the said opinion as unjustifiable and wrong, and beg pardon of Colonel Gheer for the disturbance my declaring the same hath produced in his battalion; and I do engage for the future not to mention the same, or any other matter which may tend to the disturbance of the Associators, or other persons engaged in the support of the publick measures necessary at this time.

Witness my hand:

John Ebeling.

June 15, 1776


Source: Pennsylvania in the War of the Revolution, Associated Battalions and Militia, 1775-1783. Pennsylvania Archives, Series 2, Volume XIV, William H. Egle, ed., Harrisburg: E.K. Meyers, State Printer, 1888, pp. 307-312.

Submitted by: Nancy.

Last Modified Sunday, 11-Jan-2009 12:17:25 EST

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