Frazer..Persifor, son of John Frazer, who dame from Scotland, was born near Newtown Square, Aug. 9, 1736l While yet a child his parents removed to Philadelphia, and when he grew up he was engagee in various active pursuits, as iron-works and mercantile business. He was one of the signers with the Philadelphia merchants of the pledge against the purchase and use of British goods when the difficulites with the mother country began. Oct, 2, 1766 he married Mary, dauhter of John and Sarah Worrall Taylor, a lady remarkahle for hir intelegence, patriotic spirit and energy of character. She was descended from the Taylors of Chester, early and distinguished immigrants, one of whom (Dr. John, her grand-father) was a respectable physician, an iron-master, and large, landed proprietor, and his uncle (Jacob) a well-known astronomer and almanac-maker in the days of "Poor Richard."
Soon after his marriage Persifor Frazer removed to the
farm inherited by Mrs. Frazer, in Thornbury township, where, in addition
to agriculture, he became concerned in iron-works on Chester Creek.
In December, 1774, we find him taking part in the political meetings of Chester County to counteract the oppressive measures of Great Britain.
In January, 1775, he was a delegate to the Provincial Convention. The proceedings were unanimous, and one of the first resolutions adopted was-in opposition to the policy of the mother-country-"to procure a law prohibiting the future importation of Slaves into this Province."
In the beginning of the year 1776 a fourth battalion, or regiment, of Pennsylvania troops was organized, to be commanded by Anthony Wayne, of Chester County, as lieutenant-colonel, and Nicholas Hausecker, of Lancaster County, as major. The regiment consisted of eight companies, with the following-named captains; Persifor Frazer, Thomas Robinson, of Chester County; John Lacey, of Bucks County; Caleb North, of Chester County; Thomas Church, of Lancaster County; Frederick Vernon, James Moore, James Taylor, of Chester County.
These were severally commissioned by the Continental Congress, Jan. 5, 1776.
Capt. Frazer was in his fortieth year when he entered the military service of his country, affording a fair presumption that he had maturely pondered his duties as a patriot.
The campaign of 1776 was passed by the Fourth Regiment at or near the fortess of Ticoderoga, on the Canadian frontier, during which (viz., September 24th) Capt. Frazer was appointed major, vice Hausecker, promoted.
In the spring of 1777 the Fourth Regiment-now in the brigade of Gen. Wayne-began its march towards Pennsylvania, and after some delay as a corps of observation in New Jersey, the brigade arrived at the camp near Wilmington, Del., September 4th. On Brandywine battle day (Sept. 11, 1777) Gen. Wayne, with his command, was stationed near Chadds' Ford until the retreat of the American troops from the principal battle-ground, near Birmingham Meeting-house, when the Americans retired to Chester and the British halted at Dilworthstown until the 16th.
Four days after the battle Majs. Frazer and Harper, while on a reconnoitring party, were captured by the enemy, and taken to the prison in Philadelphia when that city fell into the hands of the British.
Nov. 12, 1777, Maj. Frazer was commissioned
lieutenant-colonel of the Fifth Pennsylvania Regiment, to take rank from
Oct. 1, 1776, by resolution of Congress, then sitting at York, Pa.
The rigorous treatment of the American prisoners confined in the new jail in Philadelphia rendered it necessary, when practicable, that their families or friends should supply them with provisions and clothing to keep them from perishing. Mrs. Frazer and others were most exemplary in performing those duties. A pass from Lord Stirling is still preserved by the family, in the following words:
"Stirling M. G."
December 27, 1777."
After being some time a prisoner in the new jail, Col. Frazer was nominally allowed to go at large in the city on parole; but the terms of the parole were so rudely violated by the British officers that on March 17, 1778 (St. Patrick's day, while the Irish sentinels were drunk), he made his escape and rejoined the army, gallantly performing his duty in the battle of Monmouth, June 28, 1778.
In the autumn of 1778, Col. Frazer having requested permission to retire from the service, his resignation was accepted October 9th in that year, on which occasion the following letter was addressed to him by his old commander, Gen. Wayne:
In April, 1780, Col. Frazer was appointed commissioner of purchases of army clothing for Chester County, and although urged by Gen. Wayne to accept the office, he declined it. In the years 1781, 1782 and 1784 he was elected to the Legislature, and in May, 1782, he was appointed a brigadier-general of the militia of Pennsylvania.
In 1786 and 1790, Gen. Frazer was appointed register and recorder for Chester County, in which offices he departed this life, April 24, 1792, and his remains were interred in the burial-ground of Middletown Presbyterian Church, Delaware County.
He was the grandfather of Gen. Persifor F. Smith,
U.S.A., of Hon. P, Frazer Smith, Esq., of West Chester, and of Prof. John
F. Frazer, of the University of Pennsylvania, now deceased.