Society Member Sue Vanzant Helps Researchers at Maryland Archives

It is timely during our celebration of our nation's independence, that SJGD member Sue Gaither Vanzant alerted us to an updated and expanded biography of Revolutionary War Captain, Colonel Henry Chew Gaither. The biography and an excellent account of Colonel Gaither’s life written by Burkely Herman is located on the Maryland State Archives site dedicated to the Maryland 400. Mr. Herman is a 2016 Maryland Society of the Sons of American Revolution Research Fellow. The blog and biography provide valuable insight into the times in which Colonel Gaither lived and his service to our country.

According to the biography on the Maryland State Archives site, Gaither participated in the Battle of Brooklyn, in which the Maryland First Regiment, later known as the Maryland 400, held off the British while the rest of the Continental Army escaped Long Island to safety. He served throughout the War, including Cowpens (1781), Guilford Courthouse (1781), spent the winters at Valley Forge, and Morristown, and rose in rank from Ensign to Captain. After the War, he rose in rank from Captain to Lieutenant Colonel, serving two years on the Western frontier in Ohio, seven years on the Georgian frontier, and two years in the Mississippi Territory. Colonel Gaither retired from the Army in 1802.

He was a successful plantation owner with land holdings in Washington, D.C.; Montgomery and Alleghany Counties, Maryland; and the Northwest Territory. Colonel Gaither died on June 25, 1811 at 61 years of age. His passing was “well honored” by the military and citizens alike.

Society member, Sue Vanzant, through her own research, played an important role in expanding the biography of Colonel Gaither. She said, “When researching the war and finding that the Battle of Brooklyn was Henry's first battle and the part the "400" [Maryland 400] played in it led me to the new site at the MSA [Maryland State Archives] regarding the 400. Seeing Captain Bowie's letter on the MSA "Finding the Maryland 400" and seeing Henry Chew Gaither's name as witness on the letter was the thing that confirmed that he was part of the battle.” Colonel Gaither was a witness to Captain Bowie’s last will prior to his death in the Battle of Brooklyn. Sue forwarded her research of War Department records to the team researching the “Maryland 400” at the Maryland State Archives, which resulted in the updated biography.

“I really like doing research and this is fun for me. I have finished Vol. I of my line of Gaithers up to the time we leave Maryland for Cincinnati. My next problem is finding all the people that I need permissions from to cite or quote their work,” said Sue Vanzant.

We'd like to hear about any family history research that you're doing.  Please add to the comments below.

4 thoughts on “Society Member Sue Vanzant Helps Researchers at Maryland Archives

  1. I believe Col. Henry Chew Gaither is a first cousin of mine. Please see relationship to me listed below.
    Henry Chew Gaither Lt. Col. Rev. War (1752 – 1811)
    1st cousin 6x removed
    Henry Gaither (1724 – 1783)
    father of Henry Chew Gaither Lt. Col. Rev. War
    Sarah Chew Burgess (1698 – 1769)
    mother of Henry Gaither
    John Gaither IV, Rev. War 1st Lt. Maryland Battalion (1713 – 1784)
    son of Sarah Chew Burgess
    John Rogers Gaither 1 Lt. Rev. War (1745 – 1825)
    son of John Gaither IV, Rev. War 1st Lt. Maryland Battalion
    James Wilson Gaither (1784 – 1866)
    son of John Rogers Gaither 1 Lt. Rev. War
    James Edward Gaither (1807 – 1855)
    son of James Wilson Gaither
    George Edward Gaither (1846 – 1930)
    son of James Edward Gaither
    Frances Mary Gaither (1882 – 1967)
    daughter of George Edward Gaither
    Frances Virginia Murphy (1914 – 1986)
    daughter of Frances Mary Gaither
    Kevin E. Keegan,Sr., Esq., 1st Lt. USAF
    You are the son of Frances Virginia Murphy.

    I am looking for information linking James Edward Gaither to his father James Wilson Gaither which I believe are father and son. Any help from any Gaithers would be very much appreciated.

    Thank you.

    Kevin E. Keegan

  2. I have a James Edward born 1814 to John (15 Mar 1786 AA Co, MD- 10 Jun 1818 AA Co, MD) and Margaret , grandson of Zachariah and Sarah Riggs Warfield. There seems to be conflicts about the birth years of James Edward which varies from 1807 to 1814. His tombstone shows 1807. Were he the son of Mary E Thompson and James Wilson, the mother would have been twelve at the time of birth. They had a son, James Wesley born 1824 but it was common to have sons of different mothers with same name. I do not have documentation at hand but would open this avenue of research to you.

  3. Hi Larry,
    Thanks for your helpful suggestion. Perhaps James Wilson had a son James Edward (my 2nd great maternal grandfather) by another woman. Right now I am considering the possibility that my 3rd great maternal grandfather may have been Edward Gater (Gaither) born 1745 and died 1811 in Elm Grove, Wheeling, West Virginia. My maternal grandmother, Frances Mary Gaither born 1882, died 1967, always told me her family was from Donegal and I always assumed she meant Donegal, Ireland. However, Edward Gater lived in Donegal Township, Washington County, Pennsylvania. Not much convincing evidence I know but I am grasping at straws somewhat I guess. I will try to do some more research along the lines you suggested. If you are interested my Keegan family tree is on
    Kindest regards,
    Kevin E. Keegan, Esq.

  4. Pingback: Writing for the Maryland State Archives – History Hermann

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