Elijah Towner was a veteran of the Revolution and served in the American Army under Arnold. His name is on the rolls of Capt John St. John's Co. in the 5th Regiment, Connecticut Line, under Col. Philip Bradley in 1780. He was also one of the first Marines. His pension application says much of his experiences in the war:
Declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the act of Congress of the 7th of June 1832.
State of Pennsylvania Bradford County
On this Eleventh day of September, personally appearing before the Hon. Edward Herrick Esq., President of the 13th Judicial District for the County of Bradford, and his associates - the Hon. John McKean and Jonathan Stevens Esquire, Elijah Towner a resident of Rome Township, County of Bradford and State of Penn. - aged seventy three years, who being first duly sworn according to law, doth on his oath make the following Declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the provision made by the act of Congress passed June 7th 1832.
That he enlisted in the army of the United States on the first part of the month of October in the year One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy Five, at the Town of Danbury in the County of old Fairfield, Connecticut for the term of three months, in a company commanded by Capt. Eli Magget, Lieut. Paul Hamilton, and Ensign Salmon or Zalman Taylor. His company was attached to the regiment commanded by Colonel Chandler, whose given name he does not remember. The company formed at Danbury, and marched to New York, where they joined the regiment. He continued at the camp at New York during the term of his enlistment. The business was keeping demeanor and working on fatigue at what was then called the Grand Battery and old fort. At one time he went out with a party, and crossed over to Governors Island in the night, under the stern of the British Shipping, and worked at making an entrenchment on the island. After being there about twenty-four hours, his party was relieved by another party from the camp, and he and his party returned to New York. There was no important event happen about New York during his term of service, that he knows of; and at the end of the term of the enlistment, he received a written discharge from Col. Chandler. But the declarant has no knowledge or recollection what became of it. He was at that time only sixteen years of age and was thoughtless concerning it. The British ships that lay at New York at the time was the Asia Man of War, and two smaller vessels, the Phoenix of 40 guns, and another of 20 guns. He thinks that soon after his arrival at New York, General Putnam came on and took command of the troops there. After his three months tour to New York, the said Elijah Towner further states that he returned home to Danbury aforesaid, and remained there until about the first of April 1776, at which time he again enlisted into the United States Army at said Danbury for the term of nine months, and joined the company commanded by Capt. Jabez Botsford, Lieut. Ezra Star, and Ensign Jeremiah Botsford, a cousin to the captain. The company marched from Danbury to Skeensborough (since called Whitehall) at the head of Lake Champlain, and arrived there towards the last of June, as near as he can recollect, and there joined a part of Col. Swift's Regiment. The other part of the same Regiment being stationed at Fort Independence or Ticonderoga. Soon after his arrival at Skeensborough his company were ordered out to open and improve the road between the old Fort Edward and Fort Ann, so here they were engaged near two months, and then returned to Skeensborough. During which time, this declarant was with them. Soon after his return, he was with his company ordered to Ticonderoga to join the regiment there. Not to exceed four weeks after he arrived at Ticonderoga or Fort Independence, he was detached from his company and put on board the Galley Washington on Lake Champlain, to serve as a marine. After getting the vessel rigged, She sailed down the Lake to the west side of Cumberland bay. Her Captain was of the name of Hatcher of New Haven, Connecticut, the Lieut. Fairweather of Horseneck, Connecticut. The fleet was commanded by Benedict Arnold and Gen. Waterbury of Horseneck was second in command. The latter was on board of the same vessel with this declarant. The fleet remained at Cumberland Bay between an island called Schuylers Island and the western main shore about two months from the time of his arrival there. When on a Friday morning, the British Fleet under command of Gen. Carlton, came up and formed a line from the south point of the island to the main shore. About seven o'clock in the morning, a battle was commenced between the fleets, and continued during the day. At night the American fleet withdrew and sailed up the lake, and the next day was pursued by the British. The Galley Washington had been a good deal damaged in the action, and fell behind the other vessels, and on Sunday morning very early the British with a twenty gun ship and two schooners came up with her, and Gen. Waterbury refusing to surrender a battle ensued. Gen. Arnold, instead of coming to her assistance, ran his ship and the other vessels ashore, and blew them up and after a conflict 'til about half after ten o'clock A.M. the galley being much cut to pieces and many killed and wounded, Gen. Waterbury surrendered the crew and marines prisoners of war and caught them this declarant. And he together with the others were suffered to return home and go at large, on his parol, a writing for which, signed by Gen. Carlton, he received through the hand of Gen. Waterbury, and he immediately returned home. He thinks this was sometime in October, but cannot recollect with certainty. In the first battle on Friday, Lieut. Fairweather was killed by a double headed shot, and the same shot also killed a seaman by name of Taylor, so near this declarant that his flesh and brains struck him. Capt. Hatcher was badly wounded in his legs in the same battle by a shell. This declarant further saith that within a few days after his return home, he turned out a volunteer for a short expedition, and fought the Battle of White Plains in the company of militia commanded by Capt. Justus Barnum, contrary to his parol. But his enthusiasm, indu----ments, and age was such that he did not sufficiently consider his obligation of parol. He also turned out volunteer on an expedition to Fort Montgomery, and another in the winter to Kingsbridge. In April 1777, when the British took and destroyed Danbury, his chest and clothing, and also his written parol, which was in the chest, was taken and rifled, and he has never seen either since.
The said Elijah Towner further said that he has lived in what is now Bradford County, thirty seven years past, and he has not at this time, knowledge of any person living who can prove his service. He hereby relinquishes every claim whatever to a pension or an annuity except the present. And he declares that his name is not on the pension roll of any agency in any state.
Sworn to and subscribed the day and year aforesaid. We Joseph Kingsbury and Thomas Marshall residing in Sheshequin, adjoining the Township of Rome, and where the above named Elijah Towner resided for many years, do hereby certify that we are well acquainted with the said Elijah Towner, who has subscribed and sworn to the above and foregoing declaration. That we believe him to be as much as seventy three years of age. That he is referred and believed in the neighborhood where he resides to have been a soldier of the revolution, and that we fully concur in that opinion, and that we know ----- clergyman residing in said Rome or Sheshequin except that of said Elijah Towner.
Sworn to and subscribed in open court the 11th day of Sept 1832.