PLUNKET, WILLIAM, M.D., frequently called Lord Plunket, was a native of Ireland, born about 1720. Little is accurately known of his early life, saved that he studied medicine, graduating from the university of Dublin, and migrated to America. He first settled at Carlise, where he practiced his profession until probably the breaking out of the French and Indian war, into which service he entered. He was commissioned lieutentant in Capt. John Hambright’s company in Col. William Clapham’s battalion, June 12, 1756. In the Bouquet campaign of 1764 he was surgeon of the Second battalion, commanded by Col. Arthur Clayton, his commission bearing date September 7, 1763. For this service he participated in the Provincial land grants on the West Branch, receiving from the Proprietaries six hundred acres of land in Buffalo Valley. About 1770 he removed to what was subsequently Northumberland county, locating a little above Chillisquaque creek, which he termed "The Soldier’s Retreat," and became possessed of a large estate. He was one of the leaders in the so-called Pennamite war at the outset of the Revolution. A brief account of his expedition to Wyoming is found in "Annals of Buffalo Valley," by Hon. John Blair Linn, pp.87-8. At the beginning of the war for independence he entered heartily into the contest, and was commisssioned colonel of the Second battalion of Northumberland county associators in March, 1776, but for some cause or another, possibly at the instigation of his Wyoming enemies, he was arrested as being inimical to the principles of the Revolution. He was afterwards released as nothing treasonable could be proved against him. Sabine, in his "American Loyalists," imputes crimes to Colonel Plunket which he had neither fact or foundation for. At the close of the war he removed to Sunbury, where he died in the early part of May, 1791.
Dr. Plunket married Esther Harris, daughter of John Harris, of Harris’Ferry, and sister of the founder of Harrisburg. Of a large family of childen only four daughters reached maturity. Of these, Elizabeth married Samuel Maclay, afterwards a senator in Congress and a brother of William Maclay, who married his cousin, Mary Harris. Isabella Plunket married William Bell, of Elizabeth, N.J. Margaret Plunket married Isaac Richardson, of New York State, and Esther Plunket married her cousin, Col. Robert Baxter, of the British army. Descendants of the first named have been prominent in public affairs in Pennsylvania for at least a century.
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