Samuel Van Leer

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Samuel Van Leer
Captain in American Revolutionary War
Personal details
Born(1747-01-07)January 7, 1747
Marple Township, Province of Pennsylvania, British America
DiedOctober 15, 1825(1825-10-15) (aged 78)
East Nantmeal, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Resting placeSt. Mary's Episcopal Church, Elverson, Pennsylvania, U.S.
SpouseHannah Wayne
RelativesBernardhus Van Leer (father)
Isaac Van Leer (son)
Isaac Wayne (father in-law)
Anthony Wayne (brother in-law)
Florence Van Leer Earle (granddaughter)
George Earle II (grandson)
NicknameCapt Samuel
Military service
Allegiance United States of America
Branch/service Continental Army
U.S. Army
Years of service1777–1781
Rank Captain 1775–1781
Lieutenant 1780–1781
CommandsSeventh Company, Fifth Battalion, Chester County Militia
Chester County Light Horse Volunteers

Captain Samuel Van Leer (January 7, 1747 – October 15, 1825) was a military officer from Pennsylvania who served as a captain in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War and as a lieutenant in the Chester County Light Horse Volunteers from 1781 to 1785. After his retirement from the military, he owned the Reading Furnace ironworks.

He was a member of the influential Van Leer family. His father Bernardhus Van Leer was an early settler of the Province of Pennsylvania. He married the sister of American Revolutionary War General Anthony Wayne. His son Isaac Van Leer was a U.S. Congressman.

Early life[edit]

Van Leer was born in 1747 in Marple Township, Province of Pennsylvania, British America to Mary (Branson) and Bernardhus Van Leer.[1][2] His maternal grandfather is William Branson who was an ironworks pioneer and owned the historical home Warrenpoint.[3]

In 1770, Samuel married Hannah Wayne, daughter to Isaac Wayne and sister to Anthony Wayne.[4]

American Revolutionary War[edit]

Van Leer was commissioned captain of the Seventh Company, Fifth Battalion of the Chester County Militia on May 17, 1777.[5] He fought with Anthony Wayne during the Battle of Paoli, the Battle of Brandywine and the Battle of Germantown.[2] All of his brothers were military officers during the war.[5]

He was a commanding officer in the 4th Battalion 1780 under Lt. Col. John Bartholomew.[6] He served as lieutenant of the Chester County Light Horse Volunteers from 1780 to 1781.[7]

Later life and death[edit]

Reading Furnace Mansion

After his retirement from the military, Captain Samuel went on to grow his Iron business in Reading Furnace, formerly owned by his grandfather William Branson.[5] He lived in the historical mansion on site with his wife Hannah.[8]

He inherited two plantations in East Nantmeal, Pennsylvania from his brother, Dr. Branson Van Leer, and died there in October, 1825.[5]


Van Leer and his family owned several historic properties including the Van Leer Cabin in Tredyffin Township, Pennsylvania, the Mortonson–Van Leer Log Cabin, an underground railroad station in Swedesboro, New Jersey[9][10][11] and the Van Leer Pleasant Hill Plantation in West Nantmeal, Pennsylvania.[12]

Samuel had eight children with his wife Hannah. On 10 July 1786, Hannah gave birth to twin girls and died due to birth complications. After her death, Anthony Wayne offered to have Van Leer's children stay with his family. Van Leer declined the offer and kept his children at his home and never remarried.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Smith Futhey, J. (2007). "History of Chester County, Pennsylvania, Biographies". History of Chester County, Pennsylvania, Biographies. pp. 687–688. ISBN 9780788443879.
  2. ^ a b c "Samuel Van Leer". Van Leer Archives. Retrieved 16 July 2022.
  3. ^ Lansing, D. I. (1970). "The medical Van Leer family of Pennsylvania and New Jersey". Transactions & Studies of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. 38 (1): 44–6. PMID 4916432.
  4. ^ Futhey, J. Smith; Cope, Gilbert (2007). History of Chester County with Genealogical and Biographical Sketches - Volume 2. Heritage Books. pp. 752–753. ISBN 9780788443879. Retrieved 16 July 2022.
  5. ^ a b c d Jordan, John W., ed. (1911). Colonial and Revolutionary Families of Pennsylvania; genealogical and Personal Memoirs, Volume III. Lewis Publishing Company. pp. 1320–1323. Retrieved 3 January 2020.
  6. ^ "Chester County Revolutionary War Militia". Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission.
  7. ^ The Pennsylvania-German Society, Volume 17. Lancaster, Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania-German Society. 1908. p. 373. Retrieved 17 July 2022.
  8. ^ "PHMC Historical Markers". Historical Marker Database. Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission. Retrieved December 20, 2013.
  9. ^ Southwell, Priscilla L. Cox. "Dating the Van Leer Cabin". Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society. Retrieved 17 July 2022.
  10. ^ "Valley Forge Historical Society". 1962.
  11. ^ Lepley, Kristin (20 December 2022). "The Charming Small Town In New Jersey That Is Home To One Of The State's Oldest Log Cabins And Churches". OnlyInYourState®.
  12. ^ "National Historic Landmarks & National Register of Historic Places in Pennsylvania" (Searchable database). ARCH: Pennsylvania's Historic Architecture & Archaeology. Retrieved 2012-11-02. Note: This includes Estelle Cremers and Dorothy Adams (April 1982). "National Register of Historic Places Nomination: Pleasant Hill Plantation / Isaac Van Leer house" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-11-17.

External links[edit]