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A 1764 illustration of the Pennsylvania Associators assembling in Philadelphia after news of the Paxton Boys marching on the city
Country British America
 United States
Allegiance Great Britain
 United States
Branchcolonial militia, independent volunteers, military association, refugees, partisans, (auxiliary troops)
Typeinfantry, dragoons (mounted infantry), artillery
EngagementsMaryland Protestant Rebellion (1689)

King George's War (1744-1748) French and Indian War (1754-1763)

American Revolutionary War (1775-1783)
English Puritans in the Province of Maryland, known as "Protestant associators", revolted in the Maryland Protestant Rebellion; this was part of the Glorious Revolution of 1689. They were led by John Coode, who overthrew the colonial Catholic government within the colony
Benjamin Franklin, in 1747, during King George's War, wrote and published the pamphlet, Plain Truth, calling for a voluntary association to defend Philadelphia.
Joseph Brant, a Native American led Brant's Volunteers an irregular British Loyalist associators unit, of mixed Mohawk Indians and white soldiers raised during the American Revolutionary War who fought on the British side in the Province of New York.
2nd Battalion, "Associators", Pennsylvania National Guard, U.S. Army 111th Infantry Regiment insignia patch

Associators were members of 17th- and 18th-century volunteer military associations in the British American thirteen colonies and British Colony of Canada. These were more commonly known as Maryland Protestant, Pennsylvania, and American Patriot and British Loyalist colonial militias. But unlike militias, the associator military volunteers were exempt from regular mandatory military service. Other names used to describe associators were "Associations", "Associated", "Refugees", "Volunteers", and "Partisans".

The term Non-Associators was applied to American colonists who refused to support and sign "military association" charters. They were not affiliated with associators, or would choose instead, to pay a fine and suffer possible retaliation. During the American Revolutionary War, some associator units were said to operate more like, or were in fact loose-knit criminal gangs, taking advantage of the disruption of warfare.

The present-day U.S. Army 111th Infantry Regiment Pennsylvania Army National Guard's 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 28th Infantry Division is nicknamed the "Associators", helping to preserve the volunteer associators' ancestral legacy in Pennsylvania.

Maryland Protestant Associators[edit]

Philadelphia and Pennsylvania Associators[edit]

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] In 1755 these groups were re-established in response to Braddock's defeat.[2] The 103rd Engineer Battalion (United States) and the U.S. Army 111th Infantry Regiment Pennsylvania Army National Guard's 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 28th Infantry Division, nicknamed the "Associators", traces their lineages to these Pennsylvania Associators.

Associators in American Revolutionary War[edit]

American Patriot Associators[edit]

State of Connecticut[edit]

State of Maryland[edit]

State of New York[edit]

State of Pennsylvania[edit]

In 1776, Pennsylvania, Patriot, volunteer, military groups, in the tradition of earlier, colonial, associator militias, used the name the Pennsylvania Associators and in 1777, were renamed the Pennsylvania State Militia.

British Loyalist Associators[edit]

Many Loyalist irregulars who fought with the British in the American Revolutionary War were "associators". These units were sometimes commissioned by the commander in chief but could also be commissioned by the commander of a garrison or a royal colonial governor. 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 one of the most famous Loyalist associators was Colonel Tye, a former slave and leader of the infamous "Black Brigade". He was the first known black officer in North American military history.

Province of Georgia[edit]

Province of Massachusetts[edit]

Province of Maryland[edit]

Province of New Jersey[edit]

Province of New York[edit]

Province of Pennsylvania[edit]

Province of Rhode Island[edit]

Other Loyalist Associators[edit]

Notable Associators[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Newland, Samuel J. The Pennsylvania Militia: Defending the Commonwealth and the nation, 1669-1870, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Dept. of Military and Veterans Affairs (2002), pp. 36-45
  2. ^ The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Volume 26. 1902. Retrieved February 27, 2010.
  3. ^ Jonathan D. Sutherland, African Americans at War, ABC-CLIO, 2003, pp. 420–421, accessed May 4, 2010
  4. ^ Black Loyalists: Our History, Our People. Canada's Digital Collection. Archived from the original on September 28, 2007.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Loyalist Institute: List of Loyalist Regiments". Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  6. ^ "Loyalist Institute: King's Militia Volunteers, Jail Break Notice". Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  7. ^ Adelberg, Michael S. (1997). Roster of the People of Revolutionary Monmouth County (New Jersey). ISBN 9780806346779. Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  8. ^ "Loyalist Institute: Index to Hazard's Corps of Refugees History". Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  9. ^ David M. Griffin, Lost British Forts of Long Island. Mount Pleasant, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2017. p. 93.
  10. ^ "Loyalist Institute: Index to Loyal Refugee Volunteers History". Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  11. ^ Todd Braisted, Thomas Ward and the Loyal Refugee Volunteers at Bergen Neck, 1779-1782. 1999.
  12. ^ Alexander Fraser, United Empire Loyalists: Enquiry Into the Losses and Services in Consequence of Their Loyalty. Evidence in the Canadian Claims, Ontario. Department of Public Records and Archives. Ottawa, ON: L.K. Cameron, 1905. p. 654–655.
  13. ^ James J. Gigantino, The American Revolution in New Jersey: Where the Battlefront Meets the Home Front Rivergate Regionals Collection. Rutgers, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2015. p. 73, 81, 83, 202, 206.
  14. ^ "Loyalist Institute: Index to Loyal Newport Associators History". Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  15. ^ Abiel Holmes, The annals of America: from the discovery by Columbus in the year 1492, to the year 1826, Volume 1. Cambridge, UK: Hilliard and Brown, 1829 p. 286.
  16. ^ Lorenzo Sabine, The American Loyalists; or, Biographical sketches of adherents to the British crown in the war of the revolution; alphabetically arranged; with a preliminary historical essay. Boston: C.C. Little and J. Brown, 1847. pp. 63, 269.
  17. ^ Samuel Greene Arnold, 1701-1790 Volume 2 of History of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. Providence, RI: Preston & Rounds, 1899. p 749.
  18. ^ William Field Reed, The Descendants of Thomas Durfee of Portsmouth, R.I., Volume 1. Washington D.C.: Gibson Bros., Printers, 1900 p. 207-208.
  19. ^ Lorenzo Sabine, Biographical Sketches of Loyalists of the American Revolution, Volume 3. Carlisle, MA: Applewood Books, 2009. p. 581.
  20. ^ Theodore Savas and J. David Dameron, Guide to the Battles of the American Revolution. Savas Beatie LLC, 2006. p. xliii.
  21. ^ Thomas N. Ingersoll, The Loyalist Problem in Revolutionary New England. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2016.
  22. ^ Christian M. McBurney, Spies in Revolutionary Rhode Island. Mount Pleasant, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2014.
  23. ^ Thomas Vernon, he diary of Thomas Vernon, a loyalist, banished from Newport by the Rhode Island general assembly in 1776. Providence, R.I.: S. S. Rider, 1881.


  • Farrelly, Maura Jane. Papist Patriots: The Making of an American Catholic Identity. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.
  • Newland, Samuel J. The Pennsylvania Militia: Defending the Commonwealth and the nation, 1669-1870. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Dept. of Military and Veterans Affairs, 2002.
  • Ryan, William R. The World of Thomas Jeremiah: Charles Town on the Eve of the American Revolution. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.
  • Seymour, Joseph. The Pennsylvania Associators, 1747-1777. Yardley, PA: Westholme Publishing, 2012.
  • Verenna, Thomas. "Explaining Pennsylvania's Militia", Journal of the American Revolution, June 17, 2014.
  • List of British Loyalist Associators - The On-Line Institute for Advanced Loyalist Studies

External links[edit]