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Associators were members of a Military Association, more commonly known as a militia.

Philadelphia Associators

During King George's War, Benjamin Franklin, in 1747, wrote and published the pamphlet, Plain Truth, calling for a voluntary association to defend Philadelphia. This was in line with his earlier formation of volunteer fire-companies. This organization was formed and approved by the Council and the officers would be commissioned by the Council President.[1] The 111th Infantry Regiment (United States) traces their lineage to these Associators. In 1755 these groups were re-established in response to Braddock's Defeat [2] and they were again started as revolutionary groups in 1776 before being renamed the Pennsylvania Militia in the following year.

Loyalist Associators

Loyalist irregulars who fought with the British in the American Revolutionary War were also known as Associators. They received no pay, and often no uniforms; they were usually issued provisions, but relied on labor or looting to earn money.

Loyalist Associators often served in mixed-race units, composed of whites, escaped slaves, and even American Indians.

Perhaps the most famous Associator was Colonel Tye; the first (depending on your definition) black officer in North American military history.

Associator units included:

  • Associated Loyalists
  • Brant's Volunteers (Technically a Mohawk company, but actually composed of 80% white Loyalists)
  • Hatfield's Company of Partisans
  • James Stewart's Company of Refugees
  • King’s Militia Volunteers
  • Loyal American Association
  • Loyal Associated Refugees
  • Loyal Irish Volunteers
  • Loyal Newport Associators
  • Loyal Refugee Volunteers
  • Maryland Royal Retaliators
  • Pepperell's Corps
  • Robins' Company of Partisans
  • Royal North British Volunteers
  • Sharp's Refugee Marines
  • Uzal Ward's Company of Refugees

These units were sometimes commissioned by the commander in chief, but could also be commissioned by the commander of a garrison or even a governor.

Further reading

  • Seymour, Joseph. The Pennsylvania Associators, 1747-1777. Westholme Publishing. 2012. ISBN 978-1594161605.


  1. Newland, Samuel J. The Pennsylvania Militia:Defending the Commonwealth and the nation, 1669-1870 Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Dept. of Military and Veterans Affairs (2002)pp36-45
  2. The Pennsylvania magazine of history and biography, Volume 26. Retrieved Feb 27, 2010. 

External links