Women In The Revolutionary Period

    All types of women contributed to the American Revolution in multiple ways. Like men, 
    women participated on both sides of the war. Among women, Anglo-Americans, African 
    Americans, and Native Americans also divided between the patriot and loyalist causes.
    While formal Revolutionary politics did not include women, ordinary domestic behaviors 
    became charged with political significance as Whig women confronted a war that 
    permeated all aspects of political, civil, and domestic life. Patriot women participated 
    by boycotting British goods, spying on the British, following armies as they marched, 
    washing, cooking, and tending for soldiers, delivering secret messages, and fighting 
    disguised as men. Above all, they continued the agricultural work at home to feed the 
    armies and their families.
    The boycott of British goods involved the willing participation of American women; the 
    boycotted items were largely household items such as tea and cloth. Women had to 
    return to spinning and weaving—skills that had fallen into disuse. In 1769, the women 
    of Boston produced 40,000 skeins of yarn, and 180 women in Middletown, Massachusetts, 
    wove 20,522 yards of cloth.
    A crisis of political loyalties could also disrupt the fabric of colonial America women’s 
    social worlds: whether a man did or did not renounce his allegiance to the king could 
    dissolve ties of class, family, and friendship, isolating women from former connections. 
    A woman’s loyalty to her husband, once a private commitment, could become a 
    political act, especially for women in America committed to men who remained loyal 
    to Great Britain.
    African Americans, both men and women, understood Revolutionary rhetoric as 
    promising freedom and equality. These hopes were not realized. Although both 
    British and American governments made promises of freedom for service throughout 
    the war and many slaves attempted to better their lives by fighting in or assisting the 
    armies, the war ultimately brought few changes for African American women both 
    slave and free. After the Revolution, gradual abolition occurred in the North, but slavery 
    expanded in the South and racial prejudice was near universal in the new nation.
    For Native Americans, the American Revolution was not a war of patriotism or 
    independence. Many Native Americans wished to remain neutral, seeing little value 
    in participating yet again in a European conflict, but most were forced to take sides. 
    During the war, Native American towns were often among the first to be attacked by 
    patriot militias, sometimes without regard to which side the inhabitants espoused. 
    One of the most fundamental effects of the war on Native American women was the 
    disruption of home, family, and agricultural life.
    Adams, Abigail (1744-1818) Wife, Mother, Home-maker: Abigail Adams received 
    no formal education, but was taught at home. Although she was never a published 
    author, much of her private correspondence with her husband, John, and her many 
    friends survives to this day, and represents the thoughts, attitudes, and lifestyles of 
    at least some women during the Revolutionary Period. Like many women of her 
    time and socio-economic status, Adams was concerned about the social and 
    political issues of her day. Like her cousin, the historian Mercy Otis Warren, she 
    felt that women were not given sufficient status and rights. Adams felt that girls 
    should receive a formal education similar to boys, so that they could be prepared 
    for their vital role as republican women. She was also an opponent of chattel 
    slavery. Her husband. John Adams, was the first vice-president and the second 
    president of the United States. Her son, John Quincy Adams, was the fifth 
    president of the United States. Her grandson, Charles Francis Adams, published 
    her letters in 1840.
    Anne Bailey, American Patriot (1742-1825)
    Anne Warner Bailey born in October 1758 in Grotton, Conn. Anne was brought up 
    by her uncle Edward Mills. She was married to Elijah Bailey. The Battle at Grotton 
    Heights was one thing she is famous for. It happened in Fort Grizzwald on Sept. 
    6,1781. After the fighting, Anne walked three miles to the Fort in search of her 
    uncle. She found him heavily wounded. Her uncle asked to see his wife and child 
    before he died. Anne hurried home. When she got there, she had to catch and 
    saddle the family's horse. Anne got the wife and child. and then returned to her 
    uncle . The wife rode the horse while Anne walked and carried the baby. She
    received the name "Mother Bailey" because of that trip. After she brought the 
    family to the dying uncle, Anne went around to help all others wounded.
    There was a flannel shortage at Grotton. Flannel was used to make cartridges for 
    muzzle loader guns. On July 13, 1813, Anne went door to door, collecting flannel
    for the soldiers. She even gave up her own flannel petticoat. It was this patriotic 
    act that gave her the name "Heroine of Grotton". The "Martial Petticoat" has 
    become celebrated in song and story. Anne died on January 10, 1851.
    Anne Trotter Bailey was born in Liverpool, England as Anne Hennis in 1742. She 
    went to live with relatives when her parents passed away in 1761. Her relatives 
    lived in Virginia near Staunton in the Shenandoah Valley, U.S.A. She married 
    Richard Trotter in 1765. She had one son named William. When William was 7 
    his father passed away. Richard was killed in a battle on October 19, 1774. After 
    he died, Anne left William with a neighbor named Mrs. Moses Mann. Then Anne 
    dressed like a man and joined the army. She went to many militia meetings to tell 
    the men to fight the British or the Indians.
    Anne had four nicknames. They were: "A Daughter of the Revolution", "The Pioneer 
    Heroine of the Great Kanawah shore", "Mad Anne" and "The White Squaw of 
    Kanawah". The most fascinating nickname she had was "Mad Anne". 
    The Indians named her that because they thought she was possessed by an evil 
    spirit and that she was insane. They thought that because she could ride through 
    Indian territory without harm. One time the Indians were chasing Anne. She knew 
    she couldn't out run them so, she jumped off her horse and hid in a hollow log. 
    Although the Indians looked everywhere, they couldn't find her so they took her 
    horse. Later that night, Anne snuck into their camp and stole her horse back. 
    She rode away and at a safe distance, she screamed and yelled like a wild woman.
    The ride in 1791 was what Anne is most famous for. A runner was sent from Point 
    Pleasant to Ft. Lee to say Indians were going to attack with a large army force 
    within a few days. The ammunition was low in Ft. Lee at the time. They needed 
    ammunition so they could fight off the Indians. Anne rode a very dangerous trail 
    alone. She rode 100 miles to Lewisburg across wilderness without roads to get 
    the gun powder. She returned with the much needed supply of ammunition. Anne 
    died in November 1825 of old age. A poem was written in 1861 by Charles Robb 
    about this ride. It was called " Anne Bailey's Ride". 
    Anne Bailey, "the white Squaw of the Kanawha", is the heroine of border warfare 
    days in the Kanawha Valley. She is said to have been born in Liverpool, England. 
    She came to America about 1761 and settled near Staunton, Va. Here she married 
    Richard Trotter, who was killed in the Battle of Point Pleasant. Immediately upon 
    learning of her husband's death, Anne became "Mad Anne" and, clothing herself 
    in the garb of a frontiersman, set out to avenge her loss.
    She became a scout and as such did her bit in the region of present Charleston 
    during the American Revolution and the Indian wars that followed. After they 
    ended she resumed her civilian life and customs, having meanwhile married 
    John Bailey. Her remaining years were spent at Gallipolis, Ohio, where she died.
    Sarah Franklin Bache (1743-1808)
    Sarah Franklin Bache, a revolutionary war Patriot and daughter of Benjamin 
    Franklin led an active public life according to the standards of womanhood in the 
    late eighteenth century. As the daughter of Benjamin Franklin she had an unusual 
    access, for a woman, to the political life in revolutionary Philadelphia. Although her 
    primary role was of caretaker of her family and home, Bache played an active role 
    in the Revolution through her relief work and as her father's political hostess.
    Sarah Franklin Bache was born in Philadelphia on 11 September 1743 to Benjamin 
    Franklin and Deborah Read. Sarah, know as Sally throughout her life, had a typical 
    education for a girl of her status in eighteenth-century Philadelphia. She had a great 
    love of reading and music and was considered a skilled harpsichordist. 
    On 29 October 1767 Sally married Richard Bache in spite of her family's misgivings 
    about his financial situation. It was Franklin's wish that Sally not marry Bache until 
    his financial situation stabilized out of fear that Bache was only marring for money. 
    Nevertheless, Sally was devastated and Deborah Franklin allowed the wedding to 
    take place against Franklin's wishes. I was not until Sally gave birth to her first child 
    and Franklin met Bache that he truly accepted the marriage. Bache never became 
    a successful businessman even though Franklin gave the couple several loans and 
    helped them set up several stores in Philadelphia. Franklin was forced to support 
    Sally and her family that included eight children (Benjamin, William, Betsy, Louis, 
    Deborah, Richard and Sarah) for the rest of his life.
    Throughout her life, Sally was interested in political matters and thought of herself 
    as a committed Whig. She closely followed the events leading up to the revolution 
    and through her relief work supported the war by helping to raise money for the 
    Continental army. She is best known for her involvement in the Ladies Association 
    of Philadelphia. She took over leadership of the association in 1780 and supervised 
    the sewing of 2,200 shirts or the American soldiers. 
    In 1785 Benjamin Franklin returned to Philadelphia and spent his remaining years 
    in the care of Sally and her family. When Franklin died he left most of his estate to 
    Sally and her husband, including a miniature portrait of Louis XVI surrounded by 
    diamonds, which she sold, against his wishes, to finance a trip to London. In 1794 
    the family moved to a farm outside of Philadelphia on the Delaware River, but Sally 
    missed the city and returned in 1807 for medical treatment. She died the following 
    Martha Bratton
    BRATTON, Martha, patriot, born in Rowan County, North Carolina; died near Yorkville, 
    South Carolina, in 1816. Her husband, William Bratton, was a colonel in the revolutionary 
    army. In June, 1780, a party of British cavalry under Capt. Huck called at her house, 
    and vainly, though with threats of death, tried to obtain information as to her husband's 
    whereabouts. Even when a reaping-hook was held to her throat her mien was bold 
    and fearless. On that same evening Col. Bratton arrived with seventy-five men, and, 
    taking the royalists by surprise, totally defeated them. Mrs. Bratton received the 
    wounded of both sides, and showed them impartial attention. Just before the fall of 
    Charleston, Governor Rut-ledge intrusted to Mrs. Bratton's care a quantity of powder, 
    and she blew it up when it was in danger of being captured by the British. 
    Margaret Cochran Corbin
    Margaret Cochran Corbin fought alongside her husband in the American Revolutionary 
    War and was the first woman to receive pension from the United States government 
    as a disabled soldier. She was born Nov. 12, 1751 near Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, 
    U.S.A., orphaned at the age of five and was raised by relatives. When she was twenty-one 
    she married John Corbin. John joined the Continental Army when the American 
    Revolution started four years later and Margaret accompanied her husband. 
    Wives of the soldiers often cooked for the men, washed their laundry and nursed 
    wounded soldiers. They also watched the men do their drills and, no doubt, learned 
    those drills, too. 
    On November 16,1776, while they were stationed in Fort Washington, New York, the 
    fort was attacked by British and Hessian troops. John was assisting a gunner until the 
    gunner was killed. At this point John took charge of the cannon and Margaret assisted 
    him. Sometime later, John was killed also. With no time to grieve, Margaret continued 
    loading and firing the cannon by herself until she was wounded by grapeshot which 
    tore her shoulder, mangled her chest and lacerated her jaw. Other soldiers moved her 
    to the rear where she received first aid. The fort was captured by the British, but the 
    wounded American soldiers were paroled. They were ferried across the river to Fort 
    Lee. Margaret was then transported further in a jolting wagon all the way to 
    Philadelphia. She never recovered fully from her wounds and was left without 
    use of her left arm for the rest of her life. 
    In 1779, the Continental Congress granted her a pension ("half the pay and 
    allowances of a soldier in service") due to her distinguished bravery. She continued 
    to be included on regimental muster lists until the end of the war in 1783. Margaret 
    Cochran Corbin died near West Point, New York prior to her fiftieth birthday. 
    In 1926, the Daughters of the American Revolution had her remains moved from an 
    obscure grave and re-interred with other soldiers behind the Old Cadet Chapel at West 
    Point where they also erected a monument to her. Near the place of the battle, in Fort 
    Tryon Park in New York City, a bronze plaque commemorates Margaret Corbin "the
    first American woman to take a soldier's part in the War for Liberty". 
    The Polly Cooper Shawl is one of the greatest relics of the Oneida People. 
    Linked to it is the story of George Washington's sick and starving army wintering 
    at Valley Forge in 1777-78. The suffering was relieved by an Oneida gift of corn 
    organized by Chief Skenandoah. An Oneida woman, Polly Cooper, stayed to help 
    the soldiers and to teach them how to prepare the nutritional and medicinal food. 
    Refusing to take money in payment, Cooper did accept this shawl in token of 
    Washington's gratitude.
    This story is at the heart of Oneida oral tradition passed down through the generations. 
    It expresses the unswerving friendship and timely aid offered by the Oneidas in the 
    most perilous hour of the United States.
    It also symbolizes the relationship between the Oneidas and the United States. In 
    times past, any agreement of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) was accompanied by 
    a gift; usually it was wampum but it might be an animal skin or textile also. The gift 
    was tied to the words of the message and the object underlined the truth and 
    importance of the words. so it is with the shawl. As memorial to the American 
    acknowledgment of Oneida help and sacrifice, the Polly cooper Shawl testifies to a 
    pact of the Revolutionary War in the traditional Haudenosaunee way.
    The Shawl is also an icon of neglected and little known history. From non-Native 
    documentary sources it is clear that the Oneidas contributed greatly to the birth 
    of the American nation. Oneidas played a key role in the most important American 
    victory of the war, the repulse of British invasions at Fort Stanwix and Saratoga in 
    1777. they certainly aided Washington's army at Valley forge. 
    To date, non-Native written sources neither confirm nor deny the Polly Cooper story. 
    However, we do know that an Oneida woman called Polly Cooper by English speakers 
    was alive during the Revolution and did serve again as a cook in the American cause 
    during the War of 1812. Later, they fought beside New York soldiers in several battles 
    of the Mohawk Valley. The sacrifices they made in the American cause of liberty 
    were enormous.
    They lost the lives of perhaps a third or more of their people. After losing their homes, 
    they lived as refugees for four years enduring hunger, smallpox, and lack of adequate 
    clothing and shelter. We also know that the tradition of Polly Cooper is 
    very old locally and goes back to those with living memory of those times. 
    William Honyost Rockwell (1870-1960), an important Oneida leader earlier in this 
    century, heard the story of his ancestor Polly Cooper when he was a small child. 
    Chief Rockwell knew the tradition of Skenandoah, corn, and Valley Forge but he
     emphasized parts of the story which held the richest meaning for him. He stressed 
    Cooper's bravery and selflessness in a righteous cause. Above all, he understood 
    it as a parable for the traditional matriarchal wisdom of his people.
    Chief Rockwell wrote about his ancestor Polly Cooper several times between the 
    1930's and 1950's. The following account has been compiled from his two longest 
    passages on the subject. The unpublished Rockwell Papers are owned by the 
    Oneida Indian Nation.
    George Washington is called the father of this country; an Indian woman of the 
    Oneida Nation should be called the mother of this country. Her name was Polly 
    Cooper. She cooked for George Washington and his staff of officers when they 
    were located in Philadelphia. Polly Cooper would not accept cash payment for her 
    part in the Revolutionary War.
    So the wives of the officers invited Polly Cooper to take a walk downtown with 
    them. As they were looking in the store windows, Polly saw a black shawl on 
    display that she thought was the best article. When the women returned to 
    their homes, they told their husbands what Polly saw that she liked so well. 
    Money was appropriated by congress for the purpose of the shawl, and it was 
    given to Polly Cooper for her services as a cook for the officers of the continental 
    Whenever she had a chance between the hours of cooking duty, Polly would 
    roll up her sleeves and take two pails of water, one container in each hand, 
    and go into the battlefield. She would give water to quench the dry throats of 
    the soldiers on either side and she walked on both sides of the firing line 
    without fear of harm. Polly Cooper gave water to the enemy soldiers as well 
    as to the men in the colonial army because she believed the war was not over 
    water or food. She knew that, when the war was over, people would continue to 
    have all the water and food they needed no matter which side won. Polly knew 
    the war was about freedom in thought, to develop principles for the good of all 
    living and the coming generations.
    Polly Cooper's thoughts were that all men, no matter what country they were 
    fighting for, they all had mothers. And the mothers didn't send their sons out to 
    kill other mothers' sons. Mothers carried the child before it was born. They 
    nursed and cared for it in every way so that the infant knew the hands that 
    held it were a dependable love.
    Before the Europeans came into the country, the Iroquois women were the heads 
    of domestic affairs. Since they took upon themselves the responsibilities of the 
    home, it was therefore very natural they should have the right to govern home affairs.
    Nancy Morgan Hart 
    Nancy Morgan Hart is the only woman to have a Georgia county named for her. 
    Hart County was carved from Elbert, Franklin and Wilkes counties in 1853 to honor 
    the legendary frontierswoman. 
    Nancy was born in North Carolina some time around 1735. She is said to be related 
    to pioneer Daniel Boone, Revolutionary War General Daniel Morgan and, by marriage,
    to Senators Henry Clay and Thomas Hart Benton. Her physical appearance was 
    both dramatic and imposing: She had red hair and freckles, was six foot tall and 
    cross-eyed with scars of small pox evident on her face. She was a hard swearer 
    and a sharpshooter who could handle a rifle as well as any man.
    When Nancy married Benjamin Hart, the couple migrated first to South Carolina 
    and then to the Georgia back country where they settled along the banks of the 
    Broad River in Wilkes County in 1771. A mother of eight children, Nancy’s 
    knowledge of frontier medicine made her a sought-after midwife.
    In the years of the Revolutionary War, most women and children were relocated 
    for their safety. Nancy, however, chose to remain with her husband. According to 
    legend, one day while Benjamin was working in fields some distance from their 
    house, five or six Tories appeared and demanded that Nancy prepare a meal for 
    them. In the course of preparing the meal she managed to seize the men’s rifles, 
    having made them tipsy on corn whiskey. When the men attempted to reclaim 
    their rifles, she killed one man and quickly picked up a second gun and wounded 
    another. Her husband and a few neighbors, who had rushed to the cabin upon 
    being summoned by one of the children, suggested shooting the remaining captives. 
    His wife, however, is reported to have said that shooting was too good for Tories. 
    They were taken to the woods and hanged. In 1912 a gang of workers grading a 
    railroad bed about half a mile from the site of the Hart cabin discovered what may 
    have been the remains of the hapless fellows when they dug up six skeletons.
    Nancy also acted as a spy for the local militia, boldly entering the British camp 
    disguised as a man to get information that helped General Elijah Clarke win the 
    Battle of Kettle Creek. According to one account, in order to get the location of 
    an enemy camp in Carolina for Georgia troops, Nancy crossed and then 
    re-crossed the Savannah River on a raft made of four logs tied together with 
    grapevines. Another famous story tells of her response to being spied on while 
    she was boiling lye soap in her cabin: when she caught sight of a Tory peering 
    through the chinks in the cabin wall, she threw the soap through the holes, blinding him. 
    Nancy’s boldness was well-known to her neighbors. Even the Cherokees knew her, 
    and gave her the name of “Wahatchee”—or War Woman. They also named a 
    creek after her.
    After the Revolution, the Harts moved to Brunswick, where Benjamin died. Nancy 
    then moved to Clarke County, Georgia, and finally to Kentucky, where she died in 
    1830. It was courage, steadfastness and a pioneering spirit such as Nancy’s that 
    helped turn a raw wilderness into a country.
    Sybil Ludington was the eldest of twelve children. Her father, Col. Ludington, had 
    served in the French and Indian war. As a mill owner in Patterson, New York, he 
    was a community leader, and he volunteered to serve as the local militia commander 
    as war with the British loomed.
    When he received word late on April 26, 1777, that the British were attacking Danbury, 
    Connecticut, Colonel Ludington knew that they would move from there into further 
    attacks in New York. As head of the local militia, he needed to muster his troops 
    from their farmhouses around the distict, and to warn the people of the countryside 
    of possible British attack.
    Sybil Ludington, 16 years old, volunteered to warn the countryside of the attack and 
    to alert the militia troops to muster at Ludington's. The glow of the flames would have 
    been visible for miles.
    She traveled some 40 miles through the towns of Carmel, Mahopac, and Stormville, 
    in the middle of the night, in a rainstorm, on muddy roads, shouting that the British 
    were burning Danbury and calling out the militia to assemble at Ludington's. When 
    Sybil Ludington returned home, most of the militia troops were ready to march to 
    confront the British.
    The 400-some troops were not able to save the supplies and the town at Danbury --
     the British seized or destroyed food and munitions and burned the town -- but 
    they were able to stop the British advance and push them back to their boats, in the 
    Battle of Ridgefield.
    Sybil Ludington's contribution to the war was to help stop the advance of the British, 
    and thus give the American militia more time to organize and resist. She was 
    recognized for her midnight ride by those in the neighborhood, and was also recognized 
    by General George Washington. 
    Sybil Ludington continued to help as she could with the Revolutionary War effort, in 
    one of the typical roles that women were able to play in that war: as a messenger. 
    In October, 1784, Sybil Ludington married lawyer Edward Ogden and lived the rest of 
    her life in Unadilla, New York. 
    Her hometown was renamed Ludingtonville in honor of her heroic ride. There is a 
    statue of Sybil Ludington, by sculptor Anna Wyatt Huntington, outside the Danbury 
    Jane McCrea, Revolutionary War Heroine 1752?-1777) 
    Jane McCrea was born about 1752 in Bedminster (now Lamington), New Jersey. 
    Jane McCrea, the daughter of the Rev. James McCrea, was born in 1751. Jane 
    had eight brothers and sisters: John, William, Samuel, Stephen, Philip, Catherine, 
    Creighton, James and Robert. She grew to be a tall, attractive woman with long 
    blonde hair, and she was courted by David Jones. In 1776 Jones was one of 
    several Tories in the area to join the British army. In the summer of 1777 the 
    approach of a large British force under General John Burgoyne down Lake 
    Champlain and the Hudson River valley and the consequent abandonment of 
    Fort Ticonderoga and Fort Edward by colonial defenders caused a panic among 
    the remaining settlers, who quickly began to evacuate southward. McCrea 
    declined to leave, however, because she had received a letter from Jones, by 
    then a lieutenant with Burgoyne, saying that he hoped soon to see her at Fort 
    Edward. Later legend has it that they were to be married at that time. 
    On the morning of July 27, 1777, McCrea visited a friend, Sarah McNeil, who 
    was preparing to leave Fort Edward for safety. About noon the two women 
    were captured by some Native American scouts whom Burgoyne had employed 
    as an advance force. McNeil was delivered safely to British hands, but McCrea 
    was later discovered dead, several bullet wounds in her body, and scalped. Her 
    captors claimed she had been killed by a stray bullet from a colonial 
    detachment, but it was generally accepted that one of the scouts had killed 
    her. The murder and scalping sent a shock of horror through the colonies; it 
    was even felt in England, where in the House of Commons Edmund Burke 
    denounced the use of Indian allies. In America the deed galvanized patriotic 
    sentiment, swung waverers against the British, and encouraged a tide of 
    enlistments that helped end Burgoyne's invasion three months later. Tory 
    sympathizer Jane McCrea and a local family were massacred by Indians 
    during the British army's advance south from Canada. Patriot militia, outraged 
    that "Burgoyne's Indians" were allowed to rampage through the countryside, 
    swarmed to Saratoga in anger -- defeating Burgoyne and resulting in the turning 
    point of the American Revolution. Jane McCrea, though a Tory, inspired patriots 
    to fight because of her tragic death. The incident continued to be used as 
    propaganda against the English and the story was immortalized by John 
    Vanderlyn's painting, The Death of Jane McCrea, in 1804. The tale of Jane 
    McCrea became a favorite and was much romanticized in popular versions by 
    such authors as Philip Freneau, Joel Barlow, and Delia S. Bacon.
    Molly Pitcher
    "Molly Pitcher" was a nickname given to the women who brought water to the 
    artillery soldiers during the Revolutionary War. Two women have been identified 
    with the name, both with Pennsylvania connections. Margaret Cochran Corbin 
    followed her husband, John Corbin, into the Pennsylvania Artillery, where he 
    taught her the complex maneuvers necessary for firing heavy cannon. At Fort 
    Washington, New York, in November of 1776, John Corbin was killed by British 
    fire. Molly, as she was known, grabbed the pole and sponged the cannon in his 
    place. The British were victorious and found Molly lying by the cannon, wounded 
    with a mangled arm and damaged breast, when they overran the fort. She was 
    released by the British when she recovered, having no value in a prisoner of war 
    exchange. The Executive Council of Pennsylvania granted Molly a pension and 
    she died in 1789 and is buried near West Point. She insisted on being addressed 
    as "Captain Molly" and receiving her allotment of rum rations, her due as an 
    injured veteran.
    Mary Ludwig Hays McCauley, born in New Jersey in 1754, married a man 
    named John Hays, who enlisted in the army in 1775. They spent a hard 
    winter at Valley Forge. When her husband collapsed by his cannon at the 
    Battle of Monmouth in 1778, Molly loaded and fired the cannon throughout 
    the battle and is often depicted holding the large rammer. She is also credited 
    with nursing wounded soldiers, even carrying one from the battlefield. George 
    Washington made her a sergeant and she was later pensioned by the 
    Continental Army. "Sergeant Molly" died in 1832 and is buried in Carlisle, 
    Pennsylvania, where a flagstaff and cannon honor her gravesite.
    An Artillery wife, Mary Hays McCauly (better known as Molly Pitcher) shared the 
    rigors of Valley Forge with her husband, William Hays. Her actions during the 
    battle of Monmouth on June 28, 1778 became legendary. That day at Monmouth 
    was as hot as Valley Forge was cold. Someone had to cool the hot guns and 
    bathe parched throats with water. 
       Across that bullet-swept ground, a striped skirt fluttered. Mary Hays McCauly 
    was earning her nickname "Molly Pitcher" by bringing pitcher after pitcher of cool 
    spring water to the exhausted and thirsty men. She also tended to the wounded 
    and once, heaving a crippled Continental soldier up on her strong young back, 
    carried him out of reach of hard-charging Britishers. On her next trip with water, 
    she found her artilleryman husband back with the guns again, replacing a casualty. 
    While she watched, Hays fell wounded. The piece, its crew too depleted to serve 
    it, was about to be withdrawn. Without hesitation, Molly stepped forward and took 
    the rammer staff from her fallen husband’s hands. For the second time on an 
    American battlefield, a woman manned a gun. (The first was Margaret Corbin 
    during the defense of Fort Washington in 1776.) Resolutely, she stayed at her 
    post in the face of heavy enemy fire, ably acting as a matross (gunner). 
       For her heroic role, General Washington himself issued her a warrant as a 
    noncommissioned officer. Thereafter, she was widely hailed as "Sergeant Molly." 
    A flagstaff and cannon stand at her gravesite at Carlisle, Pennsylvania. A sculpture 
    on the battle monument commemorates her courageous deed.
    Betsy Ross
    Deborah Samson Gannett, American Patriot (1760-1827)
    Deborah Samson was born on Dec 17, 1760 to John and Deborah Samson in 
    Plympton, Massachusetts. The family could trace their lineage to the Mayflower 
    on both sides including such notables as Priscilla Alden and Myles Standish. 
    Deborah was the eldest of 3 daughters and 3 brothers. When Deborah was 
    about 5 yrs old, her father left to go to sea and was supposed to have died at 
    sea. Later day research shows that he simply walked out on his family and 
    created a new life in Maine. This left the Samson family with 6 mouths to feed 
    and Mrs. Samson was in poor health. She fostered the children for a while, 
    but at the tender age of 8 or 10 Deborah was placed in indentured servitude 
    with the kind, but large family of Jeremiah Thomas of Middlesborough. The 
    Thomas family had no girls, but lots of boys and Deborah was responsible for 
    taking care of them and getting them ready for school. She read the boys' 
    school books at night and succeeded in learning enough this way that when 
    she turned 18 and was freed she obtained a position as schoolteacher in 
    Middlesborough. All the time she spent with the Thomas Family and afterwards 
    was spent among the growing tension between the British and the Colonists. It 
    was during this time that the Stamp Act was placed into effect, and revolutionary 
    thinkers such as James Otis and Samuel Adams were starting to show the 
    colonists that they didn't need the British to protect them, that in fact the 
    colonies could protect themselves. Deborah watched as the British attempted 
    to halt the rebellious talk and acts by closing the port of Boston and quartering
    troops in private homes. She watched as the "intolerable acts" were put into 
    effect and she heard the news of the stand in Lexington and Concord that fateful 
    April day. She heard the reading of the Declaration of Independence and she 
    watched the young colonists get their first real taste of war. She was not 
    frightened by this, her only question was "Why can I not fight for my country 
    too?". Deborah finally decided that to do her duty to her country she would 
    dress up as a man and enlist. Her first attempt was in 1782 but after signing 
    the enlistment papers to join the American Army, she had a change of heart 
    and did not show up the next day. A while later in 1782 she firmed her resolve 
    and attempted again to enlist in the military. She, on May 20, 1782, signed 
    up to join the company of Captain Nathan Thayer, which later became a part 
    of the 4th Massachusetts Regiment using the name Robert Shurtleff. Although 
    General Cornwallis had already surrendered at Yorktown, there was still fighting 
    in New York.. Her disguise worked and she was mustered into Captain George 
    Webbs Co. Her local church hearing rumors of her "Unchristian" like behavior 
    of wearing men's clothing and joining the army, decided shortly after her 
    company left the Boston area, to excommunicate her. Such was often the 
    price for individualist thinking. Deborah's company though was going to lower 
    New York where while Washington held the area, many small guerilla attacks 
    were still happening. Deborah's company was charged with assisting to halt 
    those attacks. During one of the particularly bloody engagements in Tarrytown, 
    NY, Deborah, while attempting to retreat, was wounded in the head and then 
    the thigh. She was escorted to a field hospital where her head wound was treated. 
    She did not tell the doctor about the musket shot in her leg for fear of discovery. 
    She tried to treat the wound herself, but lacking the strength to dig the musket 
    ball out, she left it there and as such her leg never healed properly. She, after 
    many weeks, healed enough to return to active duty. During this time though 
    she was to come down with a fever and the doctor while treating her, discovered 
    her secret. He had her removed to his house and personally oversaw her 
    treatment, all the while keeping her secret. After Deborah was healed he 
    secretly passed her secret on to a General at Fort Knox who then honorably 
    discharged her on October 23, 1783, while publicly keeping her secret. 
    Deborah when talked about as Robert, was thought of as a great soldier, with 
    endurance and courage, something much needed in the military at that time. 
    The war had been long and hard. After the war she met and married Benjamin 
    Gannet. Although a good marriage, it was a poor marriage. The Gannets often 
    had to borrow money. Paul Revere, a good friend of Deborah, upon hearing this, 
    petitioned the Massachusetts government to provide her with back pay and 
    interest to the sum of 37 pounds. This was not enough to ease their financial 
    woes, so Deborah took to the lecture circuit. She was the first female lectern. 
    She would travel from city to city and give lectures about her experience as a 
    soldier in the war, wearing her uniform and such. This while better still was not 
    enough, so in the early 1800's she was awarded a veterans pension of 4 dollars 
    a month. This pension was eventually awarded to her husband as a survivor 
    pension after Deborah died on April 19, 1827 in Sharon, Mass. She was 67 
    years old and had 3 children. Deborah is now the official Heroine of the State 
    of Massachusetts and there is even a chapter of DAR named after her. She 
    was a true American Hero. 
    Laodicea "Dicey" Langston Springfield 
    Laodicea Langston 
    "Daring Dicey"
    A courageous young girl of about 16 years, was a rebel for the cause of Freedom 
    during the Revolutionary War. In fact, her Patriotism to the American cause was so 
    great, it earned her the pseudonym "Daring Dicey". She provided valuable information 
    to the Whigs and harassed the enemy during the entire war. This was Dicey Langston, 
    the daughter of Solomon Langston of Laurens District, South Carolina. 
    The Langstons lived in area concentrated with loyalists, many of whom were their 
    relatives, so it was easy for Dicey to hear what the Whigs were up to. She would 
    then cross the Enoree River and report to the Whigs. Eventually, the Tories became 
    suspicious of her actions and threatened Solomon, Sr., saying that they would hold 
    him accountable for Dicey's action. Solomon scolded her and for awhile she 
    discontinued her reports.  
    Bloody Bill Cunningham and his Scouts were a company of loyalists, so called 
    because of their "ruthless cruelty". When Dicey heard by accident that the Bloody 
    Scouts were about to visit the "Elder settlement" (a.k.a. the Elder settlement, or 
    Little Eden, Roster of South Carolina Patriots in the American Revolution) 20 miles 
    away where her brother James and some friends were living, she was determined 
    to warn them. She left home in the middle of the night and walked many miles, 
    crossing streams and marshes on foot, as there were no bridges. She crossed the 
    Tyger, which was swollen from the recent rains. She finally made it to her brother's 
    house and warned him of the Bloody Scout's intentions to destroy them. He and 
    his friends rushed to warn everyone, and the next day, when the 'scout' arrived, 
    they found the area deserted, no one was there for them to "wreak their vengeance." 
    This was posssibly the exploit that secured her place in history. 
    An expert shot and rider, Dicey made the trip, by night, and the longer she travelled, 
    the darker it seemed to get. The road ahead was barely discernible. And the creeks 
    and swamps held unseen tangers. But her greatest threat came while submerging in 
    the dark, rain-swollen icy waters of the Enoree river. It was difficult to cross in 
    daylight. Almost impossible in darkness. At times she had to fight the threatening 
    currents but subsequently she arrived at the encampment. The spirits of the men 
    were so low that she had boards torn from a roof to make a fire: she then baked 
    hoecakes for each soldier. Spirits lifted, the Bloody Scouts' attack was thwarted. 
    The whole community was saved. A dripping wet Dicey returned home in time to 
    cook breakfast for her father, never telling him that she was gone all night long. 
    At a later period of the war, the father of Miss Langston incurred the displeasure of 
    the loyalists in consequence of the active services of his sons in their country's 
    cause. They were known to have imbibed their principles from him; and he was 
    marked out as an object of summary vengeance. A party came to his house with 
    the desperate design of putting to death all the men of the family.  
    The sons were absent; but the feeble old man, selected by their relentless hate as 
    a victim, was in their power. He could not escape or res ist ; and he scorned to 
    implore their mercy. One of the company drew a pistol and deliberately leveled it 
    at the breast of Langston. Suddenly a wild shriek was heard; and his young 
    daughter sprang between her aged parent and the fatal weapon. The brutal 
    soldier roughly ordered her to get out of the way, or the contents of the pistol 
    would be instantly lodged in her own heart. She heeded not the threat, which was 
    but too likely to be fulfilled the next moment. Clasping her arms tightly round the 
    old man's neck, she declared that her own body should first receive the ball aimed 
    at his heart! There are few human beings, even of the most depraved, entirely 
    insensible to all noble and generous impulses. On this occasion the conduct of
    the daughter, so fearless, so determined to shield her father's life by the sacrifice 
    of her own, touched the heart even of a member of the "Bloody Scout. " Langston 
    was spared; and the party left the house filled with admiration at the filial affection 
    and devotion they had witnessed.  
    Dicey's disregard of personal danger, where service could be rendered was remarkable. 
    One day, returning from a Whig neighborhood in Spartanburg District, she was met 
    by a company of Loyalists, who ordered her to give them some intelligence they 
    desired respecting those she had just left. She refused; whereupon the captain of 
    the band held a pistol to her breast, and ordered her instantly to make the 
    disclosures, or she should "die in her tracks". Miss Langston only replied, with 
    the cool intrepidity of a veteran soldier: "Shoot me if you dare! I will not tell you," 
    at the same time opening a long handkerchief which covered her neck and bosom, 
    as if offering a place to receive the contents of the weapon. Incensed by her 
    defiance, the officer was about to fire, when another threw up his hand, and 
    saved the courageous girl's life. 
    Another time, her brother James had left a rifle in her care, which she was to keep 
    hid till he sent for it. He did so, by a company of "Liberty Men", who were to return 
    by his father's dwelling. On arriving at the house, the leader asked the young girl 
    for the gun. She went immediately, and brought it; but as she came towards the 
    soldiers, the thought struck her that she had neglected to ask for the countersign 
    agreed upon between her brother and herself. Advancing more cautiously, she 
    observed them that their looks were suspicious; that for aught she knew they might 
    be a set of Tories; and demanded the countersign. The leader answered that it was 
    "Too late. We have the gun now, and its holder, too!"  
    "Do you think so?" Dicey turned the barrel to his head and said, "No you don't. 
    And you won't unless you give me the sign!" she cried, cocking it, and presenting 
    the muzzle at the leader. "If the gun is in your possession, take charge of her!" 
    Her look and attitude of defiance showed her in earnest; the countersign was 
    quickly given; and the men, laughing heartily, pronounced her worthy of being the 
    sister of James Langston. As the men left, the leader lingered and looked back at 
    Dicey and smiled. She returned the smile. The leader, Thomas Springfield, 
    would become her husband after the war. 
    After the struggle with the mohter county ended, Dicey married Thomas and 
    moved into the Greenville District of South Carolina near Traveler's Rest. Here 
    she lived and died near Enoree Church and there one can see a monument today 
    honoring a girl that dared to risk her life because of her love for liberty." 
    Laodicea "Dicey" Langston Springfield 
    Greenville (SC) Mountaineer 
    June 10, 1837 
    Died on Tuesday, the 23rd ult., Mrs. Laodicea Springfield, aged 71 years, wife of Thomas 
    Springfield. The deceased was the daughter of Solomon Langston of Revolutionary 
    memory, whose family perhaps suffered more from the ruthless ravages of the Tories 
    and Indians than almost any other, and the subject of this remark took an active part in 
    the struggle and performed many daring deeds on behalf of her suffering country and friends. 
    She was the mother of 22 children and has left about 140 grand and great grand children. 
    She was a kind and affectionate wife, mother, and neighbor, and has left a large circle of 
    acquaintances to deplore her loss. 
    The grave site of Dicey Langston Springfield is located off Tigerville Road. One mile off 
    US 25 near Travelers Rest, SC. 
    From US 25 turn onto Tigerville Road. Go one mile to Langston Road. Turn right and go 
    until the end of the road.  The grave site is located in a Grove of trees just beyond the 
    end of the road to the right. It is on private property owned by a Mr. & Mrs. Charles Ivey. 
    There is a marker at the site erected by the D.A.R.
    The Stillwell Sisters
    Two stories are told of the Stillwell sisters, Rebecca and Sarah, daughters of Captain 
    Nicholas Stillwell of Beesley's Point, Cape May County, New Jersey. Rebecca prevented 
    a British raiding party from landing at Beesley's Point in the Upper Precinct by firing a 
    cannon filled with grapeshot at an approaching British sloop. Sarah was successful in 
    enlisting General Washington's aid in an exchange of prisoners, in order to rescue her 
    husband from a prisoner ship anchored at New York.
    At the time of the Revolutionary War, Rebecca Stillwell Willets, the wife of James 
    Willets, lived at her fathers's Ferry House at Beesley's Point. The privateers had 
    captured British supplies which they had stored near the Ferry House for the 
    Continental Soldiers which consisted of mostly food and clothing. All men and boys of 
    15 years or older had been ordered into the Army and the women were alone. The 
    Tories had learned about the supplies, where they were stored and that the Ferry 
    House was unguarded and had notified the British. The British decided to raid this 
    One day, looking across the bay through her spy glass toward Somers Point, 
    Rebecca saw a British ship approaching. It anchored not far away and lowered a 
    boat filled with sailors who began to row toward the Ferry House. Rebecca knew that 
    they were up to no good and that she must act to protect the others. A cannon was 
    standing in the front yard, loaded and ready for action. The loaded boat came closer 
    and closer. When she thought they were within range she fired the cannon and the 
    load of grapeshot went its way just above the heads of the Redcoats. The sailors 
    stopped rowing. The leaders decided that they must be mistaken, the Ferry House 
    was not deserted. They turned around, rowed back to their ship and sailed away. 
    The store house was saved.
    Capt. Moses Griffing was the husband of Sarah Stillwell. He and other Cape May 
    County maritime raiders fell into the hands of the British during the Revolutionary War. 
    Many of them, including Moses, were taken on board the prison ship Jersey, anchored 
    on the East River in New York. When Sally heard of his imprisonment, she reportedly 
    journeyed alone from Cape May County to Sir Henry Clinton's headquarters in New 
    York to win the release of her husband Moses Griffing. On the way to New York, 
    Sally visited General Washington's encampment and obtained from him the control 
    of a British officer of equal rank with her husband and proceeding in person to New 
    York, she exchanged him for her husband. 
    Mercy Otis Warren 
    "Warren, Mercy (1728-1814), American writer, sister of James Otis, was born at 
    Barnstable, Mass., and in 1754 married James Warren (1726-1808) of Plymouth, 
    Mass., a college friend of her brother. Her literary inclinations were fostered by 
    both these men, and she began early to write poems and prose essays. As 
    member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives (1766-1774) and its 
    speaker (1776-1777 and 1787-1788), member (1774 and 1775) and president
    (1775) of the Provincial Congress, and paymaster-general in 1775, James 
    Warren took a leading part in the events of the American revolutionary period, 
    and his wife followed its progress with keen interest. Her gifts of satire were 
    utilized in her political dramas, The Adulator (1773) and The Group (1775); 
    and John Adams, whose wife Abigail was Mercy Warren's close friend, 
    encouraged her to further efforts. Her tragedies "The Sack of Rome" and 
    "The Ladies of Castile," were included in her Poems, Dramatic and 
    Miscellaneous (1790), dedicated to General Washington. Apart from their 
    historical interest among the beginnings of American literature, Mercy 
    Warren's poems have no permanent value. In 1805 she published a History 
    of the American Revolution, which was colored by somewhat outspoken 
    personal criticism and was bitterly resented by John Adams (see his 
    correspondence, published by the Massachusetts Historical Society, 1878). 
    James Warren died in 1808, and his wife followed him on the 19th of October 
    Martha Dandridge Custis Washington (June 21, 1731 - May 22, 1802) was the 
    wife of George Washington, the first president of the United States, and therefore 
    is seen as the first First Lady of the United States (although that title was not 
    coined until after her death, she was simply known as "Lady Washington"). 
    She was born in New Kent County, Virginia, the daughter of John Dandridge and 
    his wife Frances Jones. Frances Jones was the daughter of Orlando Jones, the 
    founder of the first church in New Kent County, in 1669, until his death in 1688.
    Her first marriage was to Daniel Parke Custis, with whom she had four children, 
    two of whom survived to adulthood, John Parke Custis (1754-1781) and Martha 
    "Patsy" Custis. She also collected locks of hair from famous people instead of 
    a portrait.
    She married George Washington on January 6, 1759, two years after the death 
    of her first husband. Content to live a private life on Washington's Mount Vernon 
    estate, she nevertheless followed him to the battlefield. She opposed his election 
    as president and refused to attend his inauguration, but fulfilled her duties as the 
    official state hostess graciously.
    Martha and George Washington had no children together, but they raised Martha's 
    grandson, George Washington Parke Custis (April 30, 1781 - October 10, 1857) 
    after his father, John Parke Custis, was killed (while serving as an aide to Washington) 
    during the siege of Yorktown in 1781. 
    Martha Washington died at Mount Vernon, Virginia, and was buried on May 22, 
    1802 at Mount Vernon. Her remains were moved in 1831 from their original burial 
    site a few hundred feet to a brick tomb that overlooks the Potomac River.
    The Custis estate was eventually confiscated from George Washington Parke 
    Custis's son-in-law, Robert E. Lee, during the Civil War, and became Arlington 
    National Cemetery. (In 1882, after many years in the lower courts, the matter 
    of the ownership of Arlington National Cemetery was brought before the Supreme 
    Court of United States. The Court affirmed a Circuit Court decision that the 
    property in question rightfully belonged to the Lee Family. The United States 
    Congress then appropriated the sum of $150,000 for the purchase of the property 
    from the Lee Family.)

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