About William Magill

Captain William Magill & the Bucks County Rangers

William Magill was the son of Robert Magill, a Scots-Irish immigrant born in the north of Ireland. Robert and his brother Henry arrived in America around 1760 and settled in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The brothers operated a mercantile business opposite Doyle’s’ Tavern.

William was Robert’s only child. He was only 7 years of age when his father died. His mother, Mary Doyle, later remarried Jacob Troxel. Robert had requested his only son be educated and apprenticed to a trade. Therefore, William was apprenticed as a clockmaker and followed that trade for many years, manufacturing large old-fashioned clocks. Itinerant schoolmasters and local teachers provided his education. As a young man, he operated his mother’s hotel, called the Mansion House, located at the corner of what is now State and Main Streets.

William married Mary Morris in March 1801. She was the daughter of Benjamin Morris, a next-door neighbor. They had five children.

During the War of 1812, William enlisted in the military and became Captain in a unit called the Bucks County Rangers. He recruited the rifleman for the 11th Company of the First Regiment of the Pennsylvania Volunteer Rifleman.

The day before the Rangers left Doylestown, the ladies of the vicinity met in the courthouse to finish and lace the clothing of the men. Before their departure, the company marched to the courthouse, in double-file, separating to the right and left as they entered, where, in the presence of a large audience, the Rev. Uriah DuBois provided a patriotic address. The Company marched from Doylestown, sixty-six strong in full uniform.

The muster roll reflects that the unit served under the command of Brigadier General Thomas Cadwalder and Colonel Thomas Humphrey. They were stationed at Camp Dupont, about three miles west of Wilmington, on November 13, 1814. They remained at Camp Dupont until November 30th. When all danger seemed to be distant, they were marched back to Philadelphia, and were disbanded on the 3rd of January 1815.

Marion T. Lane, Ed.D
Captain William Magill Chapter Organizing Historian, 2015-2018