Edward Coyan's Patriotic Service to the Cause of American Liberty
For several years, I have been researching information on our immigrant ancestor to America, Edward John Coyan. When I started this, no one was certain that Edward was indeed our common Coyan ancestor. We also didn't know when he came to America or if in fact he was born here after his OWN ancestors had come to America. Fortunately, with many hundreds of hours of my own hard work and the help of several others (Joy Coyan, Karl Hilbert, and Ruth Blackwell in particular) who have provided "clues" along the way, I have been able to answer these questions.
But after it was determined that Edward Coyan was indeed in America, and at least age 18, PRIOR to the beginning of the American Revolution, I sought answers to yet an even more significant question. As a Scotch-Irishman, did Edward actually PARTICIPATE in the cause of freedom and liberty that we are so fortunate to enjoy the fruits of today? I felt that the odds were good, considering his Northern Ireland heritage and their profound hatred of the British at the time. But "suspicion" and "proof" are two far different things.
In 1776, there were approximately 2.5 million people living in America, including about 500,000 negro slaves. Historians estimate that when the Declaration of Independence was proclaimed, approximately 1/3 of the citizens were FOR the cause of freedom, approximately 1/3 of the citizens were AGAINST the cause of freedom and loyal to the British crown, and approximately 1/3 of the citizens were "fence sitters" and "neutral" regarding their convictions.
Given approximately 2 million white citizens and 1/3 of them being for the cause of freedom, there were about 650,000 American citizens in favor of independence from Great Britain 1776. Assuming that perhaps only 1 in 4 of those citizens was an adult male, of age to actually participate in the "cause" (my assumption, subject to more research and obviously not accounting for the confirmed females who WERE "Patriots"), there were ONLY about 175,000 adult males in America in 1776 who were "candidates" for becoming Patriots of the American Revolution.
There are two documents I have discovered that were submitted with my application in order to become the first descendant of Edward Coyan to prove his Revolutionary War patriotism. Fortunately, my application was approved (first at the Maryland SAR local chapter, then the Maryland state level, and finally on July 3rd at the National SAR Convention). In 1776, Edward Coyan signed the Association of Freemen in Harford County, Maryland. Again in 1778, Edward signed the Oath of Fidelity and Allegiance, also in Harford county. Those two documents are more than sufficient to "prove" our Edward Coyan's patriotic service to the cause of the American Revolution.
This "paves the way" for all individuals with Coyan bloodlines to become members of either the prestigious Daughters of the American Revolution or Sons of the American Revolution. I would encourage you, if you are a direct descendant of Edward John Coyan, to consider becoming a member of one of these two non-political, non-denominational, non-private, civic-minded organizations that are dedicated to preserving our unique American heritage, especially among our current elementary school students. Please contact me if you are interested in joining. I would be honored to sponsor you!