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Abstract

James Gettys was a Federalist, tried and true. From his role in the American Revolution to his final position as Vice Brigadier General during the War of 1812, James understood the necessity for “we the people” to remain united as one, power in numbers. He lived that way, worked that way, and built his town on that premise. Like most of the frontiersmen of his time, his life was difficult, and his rise to the top was not always met with valor. Much like his father, Samuel, James Gettys fought for everything he had, and his attainments were well earned. Until recently, discussion of James Gettys’ military career began with his 1781 role as a Cornet in a Light Horsemen of York County. While any role in the Revolutionary War was beneficial, his appeared fairly insignificant, as a Cornet was a lower ranked officer, and Gettys’ unit was never activated.1 Seemingly odd given his numerous promotions within the militia, James appeared to witness the fighting safely on the sidelines. New research, however, reveals, that this version of events is not entirely accurate. This article reviews that new evidence and narrates the postwar Revolutionary War life of Gettysburg’s founding father.

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