Alexander Milliner, widely regarded as the drummer boy for General George Washington, is interred along with his family on the glacially swept plain of the Mt. Hope Cemetery in Rochester, New York. His headstone sits prominently just a few paces from a corner at the intersection of Second and Elm Streets of this necropolis. There are 80 other Revolutionary War veterans buried across the haunting expanse of this 196-acre cemetery.
Milliner stands out among the veterans resting here because of his wartime service in the Life Guard, Washington’s personal security detachment, and the battles he witnessed at White Plains, Brandywine, Saratoga, Monmouth, and Yorktown. He served for over six years and was wounded in action at Monmouth in 1778.
After the war, Milliner said he “wandered ‘round” about the country until 1799, when he married Abigail Barton, 20 years his junior. He claimed to have served also in the U. S. Navy for five years, three of those on the U.S.S. Constitution during the War of 1812. There is, however, no record of his naval service. He and his wife made a living by farming and raised a family of nine children, just west of Rochester. The Reverand Elias Hillard interviewed Milliner at the age of 104 and included his profile along with five other living Revolutionary War vets in The Last Men of the Revolution. Milliner died in 1865.