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Full text of "The eminent and heroic women of America"




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University of California Berkeley 

THE IRVING STONE COLLECTION 




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IF LQp[ 



&MACDJWITT. 




N EW YORK, 

M C MENAMY, HESS &. MAD DAVITT. 



THE 



EMINEM 1 AND HEROIC 



WOMEN OF AMERICA, 



BY 

ELIZABETH F. ELLET. 



NEW YORK: 

MeMENAMY, HESS & CO., 
735 BROADWAY. 



Entered according to act of Congress, in the year 1873, bv 

McMENAAIY, HESS & GO. 
In the Office of the Librarian of Coiigrusn, at Washington. 



LANGE, LITTLE & HILLMAN, 

HBINTKKS, ELECTROTYPER9 AND STE REOTYPKB8, 

108 TO 114 WOOSTES STREET, N. Y. 



asrx 

SARAH MAXWELL LUMMIS 



THIS WORK 



IS RESPECTFULLY AND AFFECTIONATE f. 7 INSCRIBES 



PREFACE, 



IN offering this work to the public, it is due to the reader 
no less than the -writer, to say something of the extreme diffi- 
culty which has been found in obtaining materials sufficiently 
reliable for a record designed to be strictly authentic. 
Three quarters of a century have necessarily effaced all 
recollection of many imposing domestic scenes of the Revo- 
lution, and cast over many a veil of obscurity through which 
it is hard to distinguish their features. Whatever has not 
been preserved by contemporaneous written testimony, or 
derived at an early period from immediate actors in the 
scenes, is liable to the suspicion of being distorted or dis- 
colored by the imperfect knowledge, the prejudices, or the 
fancy of its narrators. It is necessary always to distrust, 
and very often to reject traditionary information. Much of 
this character has been received from various sources, but I 
have refrained from using it in all cases where it was not 
supported by responsible personal testimony, or where it 
was found to conflict in any of its details with established 
historical facts. 

Inasmuch as political history says but little and that 
vaguely and incidentally of the Women who bore their part 



\i PREFACE. 

in the Eevolution, the materials for a work treating of them and 
their actions and sufferings, must be derived in great part from 
private sources. The apparent dearth of information was at 
first almost disheartening. Except the Letters of Mrs. Adams, 
no fair exponent of the feelings and trials of the women of 
the Revolution had been given to the public ; for the Letters 
of Mrs. Wilkinson afford but a limited view of a short period 
of the war. Of the Southern women, Mrs. Motte was the 
only one generally? remembered in her own State for the act 
of magnanimity recorded in history ; and a few fragmentary 
anecdotes of female heroism, to be found in Garden's collec- 
tion, and some historical works completed the amount of 
published information on the subject. Letters of friendship 
and affection those most faithful transcripts of the heart 
and mind of individuals, have been earnestly sought, and 
examined wherever they could be obtained. But letter- 
writing was far less usual among our ancestors than it is at 
the present day ; and the uncertainty, and sometimes the 
danger attendant upon the transmission of letters were not 
only an impediment to frequent correspondence, but excluded 
from that which did exist, much discussion of the all-absorb- 
ing subjects of the time. Of the little that was written, too, 
how small a portion remains in this as it has been truly 
called manuscript-destroying generation ! But while much 
that might have illustrated the influence of woman and the 
domestic character and feeling of those days, had been lost 
or obscured by time, it appeared yet possible, by persevering 
effort, to recover something worthy of an enduring record. 
With the view of eliciting information for this purpose, appli- 
cation was made severally to the surviving relatives of women 
remarkable for position or influence, or whose zeal, personal 



P R C F A t B Ml 

sacrifices, or heroic acts, had contributed to promote the estab- 
lishment of American Independence. 

My success in these applications has not been such as to 
enable me to fill out entirely my own idea of the work I 
wished to present to the reader. Some of the sketches are 
necessarily brief and meagre, and perhaps few of them do 
full justice to their subjects. There is, also, inherent diffi- 
culty in delineating female character, which impresses itself 
on the memory of those who have known the individual by 
delicate traits, that may be felt but not described. The 
actions of men stand out in prominent relief, and are a safe 
guide in forming a judgment of them ; a woman's sphere, on 
the other hand, is secluded, and in very few instances does 
her personal history, even though she may fill a conspicuous 
position, afford sufficient incident to throw a strong light upon 
her character. This want of salient points for description 
must be felt by all who have attempted a faithful portraiture 
of some beloved female relative. How much is the difficulty 
increased when a stranger essays a tribute to those who are 
no longer among the living, and whose existence was passed 
for the most part in a quiet round of domestic duties ! 

It need scarcely be said that the deficiency of material has 
in no case been supplied by fanciful embellishment. These 
memoirs are a simple and homely narrative of real occur- 
rences. Wherever details were wanting to fill out the picture, 
it has been left in outline for some more fortunate limner. 
No labor of research, no pains in investigation and none but 
those who have been similarly engaged can estimate the 
labor have been spared in establishing the truth of the 
statements. It can hardly be expected that inaccuracies have 
been altogether avoided in a work where he facts have to 



Till PREFACE. 

be drawn from numerous and sometimes conflicting authori- 
ties ; but errors, if discovered, may be hereafter corrected. 

The sketches contained in the first volume, illustrating pro- 
gressive stages of the war, are arranged with some obser- 
vance of chronological order ; while those in the second do 
not admit of such a distribution. 

Many authorities, including nearly all the books upon the 
Revolution, have been consulted, and reference is made to 
those to which I am under special obligations. For the 
memoir of Mrs. Bache, I am indebted to the pen of Mr. 
William Duane, of Philadelphia, and for that of Mrs. 
Allen, to Mr. Henry R. Schoolcraft, of Washington. My 
grateful acknowledgments are due also to Mr. Jacob B. 
Moore, Librarian of the New York Historical Society, for 
valuable advice, and for facilities afforded me in examining 
the books and manuscripts under his charge ; and to Dr. 
Joseph Johnson, the Rev. James H. Saye, and the Hon. 
Judge O'Neall, of South Carolina, who have obligingly aided 
me in the collection of authentic particulars connected with 
the war in that State. Others have rendered valuable assist- 
ance in the same way, and in affording me an opportunity of 
examining family papers in their possession. To them all 
and to those numerous friends who have encouraged me by 
their sympathy and kind wishes in this arduous but inter- 
esting task I offer most heartfelt thanks. If the work whose 
progress they have cherished should be deemed a useful con- 
tribution to American History, they will be no less gratified 
than myself that its design has been accomplished. 

E. F. E 






TME FJffiESEBmrS BBEDE. 



^^M^^S^fefS 




THE WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION 



ALL Americans are accustomed to view with inte- 
rest and admiration the events of the Revolution. Its 
scenes are vivid in their memory, and its prominent 
actors are regarded with the deepest veneration. But 
while the leading spirits are thus honored, attention 
should be directed to the source whence their power 
was derived to the sentiment pervading the mass of 
the people. The force of this sentiment, working in 
the public heart, cannot be measured ; because, amidst 
the abundance of materials for the history of action, 
there is little for that of the feeling of those times. And. 
as years pass on, the investigation becomes more and 
more difficult. Yet it is both interesting and important 
to trace its operation. It gave statesmen their influence, 
and armed heroes for victory. What could they have 
done but for the home-sentiment to which they appealed, 
and which sustained them in the hour of trial and 
success? They were thus aided to the eminence they 
gained through toils and perils. Others may claim a 
share in the merit, if not the fame, of their illustrious 



10 WOMEN OF .THE REVOLUTION. 

deeds. The unfading laurels that wreathe their brows 
had their root in the hearts of the people, and were 
nourished with their life-blood. 

The feeling which wrought thus powerfully in the 
community depended, in great part, upon the women. 
It is always thus in times of popular excitement. Who 
can estimate, moreover, the controlling influence of 
early culture! During the years of the progress of 
British encroachment and colonial discontent, when 
the sagacious politician could discern the portentous 
shadow of events yet far distant, there was time for 
the nurture, in the domestic sanctuary, of that love of 
civil liberty, which afterwards kindled into a flame, 
and shed light on the world. The talk of matrons, in 
American homes, was of the people's wrongs, and the 
tyranny that oppressed them, till the sons who had 
grown to manhood, with strengthened aspirations to- 
wards a better state of things, and views enlarged to 
comprehend their invaded rights, stood up prepared to 
defend them to the utmost. Patriotic mothers nursed 
the infancy of freedom. Their counsels and their 
prayers mingled with the deliberations that resulted in 
a nation's assertion of its independence. They ani- 
mated the courage, and confirmed the self-devotion of 
those who ventured all in the common cause. They 
frowned upon instances of coldness or backwardness; 
and in the period of deepest gloom, cheered and urged 
onward the desponding. They willingly shared inevit- 
able dangers and privations, relinquished without regret 
prospects of advantage to themselves, and parted with 



WOMEN OF THU REVOLUTION 

those they loved better than life, not knowing when 
they were to meet again. It is almost impossible now 
to appreciate the vast influence of woman's patriotism 
upon the destinies of the infant republic. We Have 
no means of showing the important part she bore in 
maintaining the struggle, and in laying the foundations 
on which so mighty and majestic a structure has arisen. 
History can do it no justice ; for history deals with the 
workings of the head, rather than the heart. And 
the knowledge received by tradition, of the domestic 
manners, and social character of the times, is too im- 
perfect to furnish a sure index. We can only dwell 
upon individual instances of magnanimity, fortitude, 
self-sacrifice, and heroism, bearing the impress of the 
feeling of Revolutionary days, indicative of the spirit 
which animated all, and to which, in its various and 
multiform exhibitions, we are not less indebted for na- 
tional freedom, than to the swords of the patriots who 
poured out their blood. 

" 'Tis true, Cleander," says a writer in one of the 
papers of the day,* " no mean merit will accrue to him 
who shall justly celebrate the virtues of our ladies! 
Shall not their generous contributions to relieve the 
wants of the defenders of our country, supply a column 
to emulate the Roman women, stripped of their jewels 
when the public necessity demanded them?" Such 
tributes were often called forth by the voluntary exer- 
tions of American women. Their patriotic sacrifices 
were made with an enthusiasm that showed the earnest 

* New Jersey Gazette, Otober llth, 1780. 



12 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION 

spirit ready on every occasion to appear in geneioul 
acts. Some gave their own property, and went from 
house to house to solicit contributions for the army. 
Colors were embroidered by fair hands, and presented 
with the charge never to desert them ; and arms and 
ammunition were provided by the same liberal zeal. 
They formed themselves into associations renouncing 
the use of teas, and other imported luxuries, and engag- 
ing to card, spin, and weave their own clothing. In 
Mecklenburgh _and Rowan counties, North Carolina, 
young ladies of the most respectable families pledged 
themselves not to receive the addresses of any suitors 
who had not obeyed the country's call for military 
service. 

The needy shared the fruit of their industry and 
economy. They visited hospitals daily ; sought the 
dungeons of the provost, and the crowded holds of 
prison ships ; and provisions were carried from their 
stores to the captives whose only means of recom- 
pense was the blessing of those who were ready to 
perish. Many raised grain, gathered it, made bread, 
and carried it to their relatives in the army, or in pri- 
sons, accompanying the supply with exhortations never 
to abandon the cause of their country. The burial of 
friends slain in battle, or chance-encounters, often de- 
volved upon them ; and even enemies would not have 
received sepulture without the service of their hands. 

When the resources of the country scarcely allowed 
the scantiest supply of clothing and provisions, and 
British cruisers on the coast destroyed every hope of 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 



13 



aid from merchant vessels ; when, to the distressed 
troops, their cup of misfortune seemed full to overflow- 
ing, and there appeared no prospect of relief, except 
from the benevolence of their fellow-citizens ; when 
even the ability of these was almost exhausted bj 
repeated applications then it was that the women o.' 
Pennsylvania and New Jersey, by their zealous exer 
tions and willing sacrifices, accomplished what had been 
thought impossible. Not only was the pressure of want 
removed, but the sympathy and favor of the fair daugh- 
ters of America, says one of the journals, " operated like 
a charm on the soldier's heart gave vigor to exer- 
tion, confidence to his hopes of success, and the ultimate 
certainty of victory and peace." General Washington, 
in his letter of acknowledgment to the committee of 
ladies, says, " The army ought not to regret its sacri- 
fices or its sufferings, when they meet with so flattering 
a reward, as in the sympathy of your sex ; nor can it 
fear that its interests will be neglected, when espoused 
by advocates as powerful as they are amiable." An 
officer in camp writes, in June, 1780: "The patriotism 
of the women of your city is a subject of conversation 
with the army. Had I poetical genius, I would sit 
down and write an ode in praise of it. Burgoyne, 
who, on his first coming to America, boasted that he 
would dance with the ladies, and coax the men to sub- 
mission, must now have a better understanding of the 
good sense and public spirit of our females, as he has 
already heard of the fortitude and inflexible temper of 
our men." Anothei observes : " We cannot appeal in 



WOMEN v F THE REVOLUTION. 

vain for what is good, to that sanctuary where all that 
is good has its proper home the female bosom." 

How the influence of women was estimated by John 
Adams, appears from one of his letters to his wife : 

"I think I have some times observed to you in conversa- 
tion, that upon examining the biography of illustrious men, 
you will generally find some female about them, in the 
relation of mother, or wife, or sister, to whose instigation 
a great part of their merit is to be ascribed. You will 
find a curious example of this in the case of Aspasia, 
the wife of Pericles. She was a woman of the greatest 

O 

beauty, and the first genius. She taught him, it is said, 
his refined maxims of policy, his lofty imperial eloquence, 
nay, even composed the speeches on which so great a 
share of his reputation was founded. 

" I wish some of our great men had such wives. By 
the account in your last letter, it seems the women in 
Boston begin to think themselves able to serve their 
country. What a pity it is that our generals in the 
northern districts had not Aspasias to their wives. 

"I believe the two Howes have not very great 
women for wives. If they had, we should suffer more 
from their exertions than we do. This is our good for- 
tune. A smart wife would have put Howe in possession 
of Philadelphia a long time ago." 

The venerable Major Spalding, of Georgia, writes, in 
reply to an application to him for information respecting 
the revolutionary women of his state : " I am a very old 
man, and have read as much as any one I know, yet I have 
never known, and never read of one no, not one ! 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 15 

who did not owe high standi'ng, or a great name, 10 his 
mother's blood, or his mother's training. My friend 
Randolph said he owed every thing to his mother. Mr. 
Jefferson's mother was a Randolph, and he acknow 
ledged that he owed every thing to her rearing. Gene- 
ral Washington, we all know, attributed every thing to 
his mother. Lord Bacon attributed much to his mo- 
ther's training. And will any one doubt that even 
Alexander believed he owed more to the blood and 
lofty ambition of Olympia, than the wisdom or cunning 
of Philip?" 

The sentiments of the women towards the brave 
defenders of their native land, were expressed in an 
address widely circulated at the time, and read in the 
churches of Virginia. " We know/' it says " that at 
a distance from the theatre of war, if we enjoy any 
tranquillity, it is the fruit of your watchings, your labors, 
your dangers. * * * * And shall we hesitate to 
evince to you our gratitude ? Shall we hesitate to wear 
clothing more simple, and dress less elegant, while at 
the price of this small privation, we shall deserve your 
benedictions ?" 

The same spirit appears in a letter found among some 
papers belonging to a lady of Philadelphia. It was 
addressed to a British officer in Boston, and written 
before the Declaration of Independence. The follow- 
ing extract will show its character : 

" I will tell you What I have done. My only brother 
I have sent to the camp with my prayers and blessings. 
1 hope he will not disgrace me ; I am confident he will 



16 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 



behave with honor, and emulate the great examples he 
has before him; and had I twenty sons and brothers 
they should go. I have retrenched every superfluous 
expense in my table and family ; tea I have not drunk 
since last Christmas, nor bought a new cap or gown 
since your defeat at Lexington ; and what I never did 
before, have learned to knit, and am now making stock- 
ings of American wool for my servants ; and this way 
do I throw in my mite to the public good. I know 
this that as free I can die but once ; but as a slave 1 
shall not be worthy of life. I have the pleasure to 
assure you that these are the sentiments of all my sister 
Americans. They have sacrificed assemblies, parties of 
pleasure, tea drinking and finery, to that great spirit of 
patriotism that actuates all degrees of people through- 
out this extensive continent. If these are the senti- 
ments of females, what must glow in the breasts of 
our husbands, brothers, and sons ! They are as with 
one heart determined to die or be free. It is not a 
quibble in politics, a science which few understand, that 
we are contending for ; it is this plain truth, which the 
most ignorant peasant knows, and is clear to the 
weakest capacity that no man has a right to take their 
money without their consent. You say you are no 
politician. Oh, sir, it requires no Machiavelian head 
to discover this tyranny and oppression. It is written 
with a sunbeam. Every one will see and know it, 
because it will make every one feel ; and we shall be 
unworthy of the blessings of Heaven if we ever submit 
to it. * * * * * 




M'rMENAMY, HESS &MA.CDJWITT. 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLU' JON. 



17 



* * * " Heaven seems to smile on us ; for in 
thf memory of man, never were known such quantities 
of flax, and sheep without number. We are making 
powder fast, and do not want for ammunition." 

From all portions of the country thus rose the expres 
sion of woman's ardent zeal. Under accumulated evils 
the manly spirit that alone could secure success, might 
have sunk but for the firmness and intrepidity of the 
weaker sex. It supplied every persuasion that could 
animate to perseverance, and secure fidelity. 

The noble deeds in which this irrepressible spirit 
breathed itself, were not unrewarded by persecution 
The case of the quakeress Deborah Franklin, who was 
banished from New York by the British commandant 
for her liberality in relieving the sufferings of the Ameri- 
can prisoners,was one among many. In our days of tran- 
quillity and luxury, imagination can scarcely compass the 
extent or severity of the trials endured ; and it is propor- 
tionately difficult to estimate the magnanimity that bore 
all, not only with uncomplaining patience, but with a 
cheerful forgetfulness of suffering in view of the desired 
object. The alarms of war the roar of the strife itself, 
could not silence the voice of woman, lifted in encourage- 
ment or in prayer. The horrors of battle or massacre 
could not drive her from the post of duty. The 
effect of this devotion cannot be questioned, though 
it may not now be traced in particular instances 
These were, for the most part, known only to those 
who were themselves actors in the scenes, or who 
lived in the midst of them. The heroism of the Revo- 



18 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION 



lutionary women has passed from remembrance with 
the generation who witnessed it ; or is seen only by 
faint and occasional glimpses, through the gathering 
obscurity of tradition. 

To render a measure of justice inadequate it musi 
be to a few of the American matrons, whose names 
deserve to live in remembrance and to exhibit some- 
thing of the domestic side of the Revolutionary picture 
is the object of this work. As we recede from fhe 
realities of that struggle, it is regarded with increasing 
interest by those who enjoy its results; while the 
elements which were its life-giving principle, too subtle 
to be retained by the grave historian, are fleeting 
fast from apprehension. Yet without some conception 
of them, the Revolution cannot be appreciated. We 
must enter into the spirit, as well as master the letter. 

While attempting to pay a tribute but too long with- 
held, to the memory of women who did and endured so 
much in the cause of liberty, we should not be insensi- 
ble to the virtues exhibited by another class, belonging 
equally to the history of the period. These had their 
share of reverse and suffering. Many saw their chil- 
dren and relatives espousing opposite sides ; and with 
ardent feelings of loyalty in their hearts, were forced to 
weep over the miseries of their families and neighbors. 
Many were driven from their homes, despoiled of 
property, and finally compelled to cast their lot in deso- 
late wilds and an ungenial climate.* And while their 

* The ancient Acadia, comprising Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, 
.vas settled by many of the refugee loyalists from the United States. 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 19 

, fortitude, and spirit of self-sacrifice were not 
less brightly displayed, their hard lot was unpitied, and 
they met with no reward. 

In the library of William H. Prescott, at his residence 
in Boston, are two swords, crossed above the arch of 
an alcove. One belonged to his grandfather, Colonel 
William Prescott, wno commanded the American 
troops in the redoubt at Bunkerhill. The other was 
the sword of Captain Linzee, of the royal navy, who 
commanded the British sloop of war The Falcon, 
then lying in the Mystic; from which the American 
troops were fired upon as they crossed to Bunkerhill. 
Captain Linzee was the grandfather of Mrs. Prescott. 
The swords of those two gallant soldiers who fought on 
different sides upon that memorable day now in the 
possession of their united descendants, and crossed an 
emblem of peace, in the library of the great American 
historian are emblematic of the spirit in which our 
history should be written. Such be the spirit in which 
we view the loyalists of those days. 



MARY WASHINGTON. 

THE MOTHER OF WASHINGTON! There needs no 
eulogy to awaken the associations which cling around 
that sacred name. Our hearts do willing homage to 
the venerated parent of the chief 

" Who 'mid his elements of being wrought 
With no uncertain aim nursing the germs 
Of godlike virtue in his infant mind." 

The contemplation of Washington's character natural 
iy directs attention to her whose maternal care guided 
and guarded his early years. What she did, and the 
blessing of a world that follows her teach impressively 
while showing the power the duty of those who 
mould the characters of the age to come. The princi- 
ples and conduct of this illustrious matron were closely 
interwoven with the destinies of her son. Washington 
ever acknowledged that he owed everything to his 
mother in the education and habits of his early life. 
His high moral principle, his perfect self-possession, his 
clear and sound judgment, his inflexible resolution and 
untiring application were developed by her training 



MARY WASHINGTON. <41 

and example. A believer in the truths of religiori> she 
inculcated a strict obedience to its injunctions. She 
planted the seed, and cherished the growth, which bore 
such rich and glorious fruit. La Fayette observed that 
she belonged rather to he age of Sparta or Rome, than 
to modern times; she was a mother formed on the 
ancient model, and by her elevation of character and 
matchless discipline, fitted to lay the foundation of the 
greatness of him who towered "beyond all Greek 
beyond all Roman fame." 

The course of Mrs. Washington's life, exhibiting her 
qualities of mind and heart, proved her fitness for the 
high trust committed to her hands. She was remarka- 
ble for vigor of intellect, strength of resolution, and 
inflexible firmness wherever principle was concerned. 
Devoted to the education of her children, her parental 
government and guidance have been described by those 
who knew her as admirably adapted to train the youth- 
ful mind to wisdom and virtue. With her, affection 
was regulated by a calm and just judgment. She was 
distinguished, moreover, by that well marked quality of 
genius, a power of acquiring and maintaining influence 
pver those with whom she associated. Without inqui- 
ring into the philosophy of this mysterious ascendancy, 
she was content to employ it for the noblest ends. It 
contributed, no doubt, to deepen the effect of her instruc- 
tions. 

The life of Mrs. Washington, so useful in the domestic 
sphere, did not abound in incident. She passed through 
the trials common to those who lived amid the scenes of 
2 



22 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

the Revolutionary era. She saw the son whom she had 
taugnt to be good whom she had reared in the princi- 
ples of true honor, walking the perilous path of duty 
with firm step, leading his country to independence, and 
crowned with his reward a nation's gratitude ; yet in 
all these changes, her simple, earnest nature remained 
the same. She loved to speak, in her latter days, of 
her boy's merits in his early life, and of his filial affec- 
tion and duty; but never dwelt on the glory he had 
won as the deliverer of his country, the chief magis- 
trate of a great republic. This was because her ambi- 
tion was too high for the pride that inspires and rewards 
common souls. The greatness she discerned and ac- 
knowledged in the object of her solicitous tenderness 
was beyond that which this world most esteems. 

The only memoir of the mother of Washington extant, 
is the one written by George W. P. Custis, the grandson 
of Martha Washington, and published more than twenty 
years ago in his " Recollections" in the National Gazette. 
These reminiscences were collected by him in the 
course of many years ; and to them we are indebted for 
all that is known of the life and actions of this matron. 
According to these, she was descended from the re- 
spectable family of Ball, who came to this country and 
settled on the banks of the Potomac. In the old days 
of Virginia, women were taught habits of industry and 
self-reliance, and in these Mrs. Washington was 
nurtured. The early death of her husband involved 
her in the cares of a young family with limited resources, 
which rendered prudence and economy **cessary to 



MARY WASHINGTON. 23 

provide for and educate her children. Thus circum- 
stanced, it was left to her unassisted efforts to form in 
her son's mind, those essential qualities which gave tone 
and character to his subsequent life George was only 
twelve years old at his father's death, and retained 
merely the remembrance of his person, and his parental 
fondness. Two years after this event, he obtained a 
midshipman's warrant ; but his mother opposed the plan, 
and the idea of entering the naval service was relin- 
quished. 

The home in which Mrs. Washington presided, was 
a sanctuary of the domestic virtues. The levity of 
youth was there tempered by a well regulated restraint, 
and the enjoyments rational and proper for that age 
were indulged in with moderation. The future chief 
was taught the duty of obedience, and was thus pre- 
pared to command. The mother's authority never 
departed from her, even when her son had attained the 
height of his renown; for she ruled by the affection 
which had controlled his spirit when he needed a guar- 
dian ; and she claimed a reverence next to that due to 
his Creator. This claim he admitted, mingling the 
deepest respect with enthusiastic attachment, and yield- 
ing to her will the most implicit obedience, even to the 
latest hours of her life. One of the associates of his 
juvenile years, Lawrence Washington, of Chotank, 
thus speaks of his home : 

" I was often there with George, his playmate, school- 
mate, and young man's companion. Of the mother I 
was ten times more afraid than I ever was of my own 



24 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

parents ; she awed me in the midst of her kindness, foi 
she was indeed truly kind. And even now, when time 
has whitened my locks, and I am the grandparent of a 
second generation, I could not behold that majestic 
woman without feelings it is impossible to describe. 
Whoever has seen that awe-inspiring air and manner, 
so characteristic of the Father of his country, will re- 
member the matron as she appeared, the presiding 
genius of her well-ordered household, commanding and 
being obeyed." Educated under such influences, it is 
not to be wondered at that Washington's deportment 
towards his mother at all times, testified his appreciation 
of her elevated character, and the excellence of her 
lessons. 

" On his appointment to the command-in-chief of the 
American armies," says Mr. Custis, "previously to his 
joining the forces at Cambridge, he removed his mother 
from her country residence, to the village of Fredericks- 
burg, a situation remote from danger and contiguous to 
her friends and relatives. There she remained, during 
nearly the whole of the trying period of the Revolution. 
Directly in the way of the news, as it passed from north 
to south ; one courier would bring intelligence of success 
to our arms ; another, " swiftly coursing at his heels," 
the saddening reverse of disaster and defeat. While 
thus ebbed and flowed the fortunes of our cause, the 
mother, trusting to the wisdom and protection of 
Divine Providence, preserved the even tenor of her life ; 
affording an example to those matrons whose sons were 
alike engaged in the arduous contest ; and showing that 







ABDUCTION OF JENNIE McRAE. 



MARY WASHINGTON. ZO 

unavailing anxieties, however belonging to nature, were 
unworthy of mothers whose sons were combating for 
the inestimable rights of man, and the freedom and 
happiness of the world." 

When news arrived of the passage of the Delaware 
in December, 1776, the mother received calmly the 
patriots who came with congratulations; and while 
expressing pleasure at the intelligence, disclaimed for 
her son the praises in the letters from which extracts 
were read. When informed by express of the surrender 
of Cornwallis, she lifted her hands in gratitude towards 
heaven, and exclaimed, " Thank God ! war will now be 
ended, and peace, independence and happiness bless 
our country !" 

Her housewifery, industry, and care in the manage- 
ment of her domestic concerns, were not intermitted 
during the war. " She looketh well to the ways of her 
household," and "worketh willingly with her hands," 
said the wise man, in describing a virtuous woman; 
and it was the pride of the exemplary women of that 
day, to fill the station of mistress with usefulness as well 
as dignity. Mrs. Washington was remarkable for a 
simplicity which modern refinement might call severe, 
but which became her not less when her fortunes were 
clouded, than when the sun of glory arose upon her 
house. Some of the aged inhabitants of Fredericksburg 
long remembered the matron, " as seated in an old-fash- 
ioned open chaise she was in the habit of visiting, 
almost daily, her little farm in the vicinity of the town. 
When there, she would ride about her fields, giving her 



26 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

orders and seeing that they were obeyed." When on 
one occasion an agent departed from his instructions 
she reproved him for exercising his own judgment in 
the matter ; " I command you," she said ; there is noth- 
ing left for you but to obey." 

Her charity to the poor was well known ; and having 
not wealth to distribute, it was necessary that what her 
benevolence dispensed should be supplied by domestic 
economy and industry. How peculiar a grace does 
this impart to the benefits flowing from a sympathizing 
heart ! 

It is thus that she has been pictured in the imagina- 
tion of one of our most gifted poets.* 

" Methinks we see thee, as in olden time, 
Simple in garb, majestic and serene, 
Unawed by 'pomp and circumstance' in truth 
Inflexible and with a Spartan zeal 
Repressing vice, and making folly grave. 
Thou didst not deem it woman's part to waste 
Life in inglorious sloth, to sport awhile 
Amid the flowers, or on the summer wave, 
Then fleet like the ephemeron away, 
Building no temple in her children's hearts, 
Save to the vanity and pride of life 
Which she had worshipped." 

Mr. Custis states that she was continually visited and 
solaced, in the retirement of her declining years, by her 
children and numerous grandchildren. Her daughter, 

* Mrs. Sigourney, in her poetical tribute on the occasion of laying 
the corner-stone for the monument. 



MARY WASHINGTON. 27 

Mrs. Lewis, repeatedly and earnestly solicited her to 
remove to her house, and there pass the remainder of 
her days. Her son pressingly entreated her that she 
would make Mount Vernon the home of her age. But 
the matron's answer was : " I thank you for your affec- 
tionate and dutiful offers, but my wants are few in this 
world, and I feel perfectly competent to take care of 
myself." To the proposition of her son-in-law, Colonel 
Lewis, to relieve her by taking the direction of her 
concerns, she replied : " Do you, Fielding, keep my 
books in order ; for your eyesight is better than mine : 
but leave the executive management to me." Such 
were the energy and independence she preserved to an 
age beyond that usually allotted to mortals, and till 
within three years of her death, when the disease under 
which she suffered (cancer of the breast), prevented 
exertion. 

Her meeting with Washington, after the victory which 
decided the fortune of America, illustrates her character 
too strikingly to be omitted. "After an absence of 
nearly seven years, it was, at length, on the return of 
the combined armies from Yorktown, permitted to the 
mother again to see and embrace her illustrious son. So 
soon as he had dismounted, in the midst of a numerous 
and brilliant suite, he sent to apprize her of his arrival, 
and to know when it would be her pleasure to receive 
him. And now, mark the force of early education and 
habits, and the superiority of the Spartan over the Per- 
sian schools, in this interview of the great Washington 
with his admirable pareu t and instructor. No pa- 



28 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

geantry of war proclaimed his coming no trur peta 
sounded no banners waved. Alone, and on foot, the 
marshal of France, the general-in-chief of the com 
bined armies of France and America, the deliverer of 
his country, the hero of the age, repaired to pay his 
humble duty to her whom he venerated as the author 
of his being, the founder of his fortune and his fame. 
For full well he knew that the matron was made of 
sterner stuff than to be moved by all the pride that 
glory ever gave, or by all the ' pomp and circumstance' 
of power. 

" The lady was alone her aged hands employed in 
the works of domestic industry, when the good news 
was announced ; and it was further told, that the victor- 
chief was in waiting at the threshold. She welcomed 
him with a warm embrace, and by the well-remembered 
and endearing names of his childhood. Inquiring as 
to his health, she remarked the lines which mighty cares, 
and many trials, had made on his manly countenance- 
spoke much of old times, and old friends ; but of his 
glory, not one word! 

"Meantime, in the village of Fredericksburg, all 
was joy and revelry. The town was crowded with 
the officers of the French and American armies, and 
with gentlemen from all the country around, who has- 
tened to welcome the conquerors of Cornwallis. The 
citizens made arrangements for a splendid ball, to which 
the mother of Washington was specially invited. Sha 
observed, that although her dar cing days were pretty 



MARY WASHINGTON. 29 

wdl over, she should feel happy in contributing to the 
general festivity, and consented to attend. 

" The foreign officers were anxious to see the mother 
of their chief. They had heard indistinct rumors re- 
specting her remarkable life and character; but forming 
their judgment from European examples, they were 
prepared to expect in the mother, that glare and show 
which would have been attached to the parents of the 
great in the old world. How were they surprized when 
the matron, leaning on the arm of her son, entered the 
room! She was arrayed in the very plain, yet becom- 
ing garb worn by the Virginia lady of the olden time. 
Her address, always dignified and imposing, was court- 
eous, though reserved. She received the complimentary 
attentions which were profusely paid her, without evinc- 
ing the slightest elevation ; and at an early hour, wish- 
ng the company much enjoyment of their pleasures, 
and observing that it was time for old people to be at 
home, retired, leaning as before, on the arm of her 
son." 

To this picture may be added another : 

" The Marquis de La Fayette repaired to Fredericks- 
burg, previous to his departure for Europe, in the fall 
of 1784, to pay his parting respects to the mother, and 
to ask her blessing. Conducted by one of her grand- 
sons, he approached the house, when the young gen- 
tleman observed : ' There, sir, is my grandmother.' 
La Fayette beheld working in the garden, clad in do- 
mestic-made clothes, and her gray head covered with a 
plain straw hat the mother of ' his h^ro, his friend and 
2* 















30 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 






a country's preserver !' The lady saluted him kindly 










observing, ' Ah, marquis ! you see an old woman ; but 










come, I can make you welcome to my poor dwelling, 










without the parade of changing my dress/ " 










To the encomiums lavished by the marquis on his 










chief, the mother replied : " I am not surprised at what 










George has done, for he was always a very good boy." 










So simple in her true greatness of soul, was this remark- 










able woman. 










Her piety was ardent ; and she associated devotion 










with the grand and beautiful in nature. She was in 










the habit of repairing every day for prayer to a secluded 










spot, formed by rocks and trees, near her dwelling. 










After the organization of the government, Washing- 










ton repaired to Predericksburg, to announce to his 










mother his election to the chief magistracy, and bid her 










farewell, before assuming the duties of his office. Her 










aged frame was bowed down by disease ; and she felt 










that they were parting to meet no more in this world. 










But she bade nim go, with heaven's blessing and her 










own, to fulfil the high destinies to which he had been 










called. Washington was deeply affected, and wept at 










the parting. 










The person of Mrs. Washington is described as being 










of the medium neight, and well proportioned her fea- 










tures pleasing, though strongly marked. There were 










few painters in the colonies in those days, and no por- 










trait of her is in existence. Her biographer saw her 










but with infant eyes ; but well remembers the sister ol 










the chief. Of her we are told nothing, except that "she 











MARY WASHINGTON. 



31 



was a most majestic woman, and so strikingly like the 
brother, that it was a matter of frolic to throw a cloak 
around her, and place a military hat upon her head; 
and such was the perfect lesemblance, that had she 
appeared on her brother's steed, battalions would have 
presented arms, and senates risen to do homage to the 
chief." 

Mrs. Washington died at the age of eighty-five, re- 
joicing in the consciousness of a life well spent, and 
the hope of a blessed immortality. Her ashes repose 
at Fredericksburg, where a splendid monument has 
been erected to her memory. 



11 



ESTHER, REED. 

ESTHER DE BERDT was born in the city of London, on 
the 22d of October, 1746, (N. S.,) and died at Philadel- 
phia on the 18th of September, 1780. Her thirty-four 
years of life were adorned by no adventurous heroism : 
but were thickly studded with the brighter beauties of 
feminine endurance, uncomplaining self-sacrifice, and 
familiar virtue under trials, too, of which civil war is 
so fruitful. She was an only daughter. Her father, Den- 
nis De Berdt, was a British merchant, largely interested 
in colonial trade. He was a man of high character. 
Descended from the Huguenots, or French Flemings, 
who came to England on the revocation of the Edict 
of Nantes, Mr. De Berdt's pure and rather austere 
religious sentiments and practice were worthy of the 
source whence they came. His family were educated 
according to the strictest rule of the evangelical piety 
of their day the day when devotion, frozen out of 
high places, found refuge in humble dissenting chapels 
the day of Wesley and of Whitfield. Miss De 
Berdt's youth was trained religiously ; and she was to 
the end of life true to the principles of her education. 
The simple devotion she had learned from an aged 



ESTHER REED 



33 



father's lips, alleviated the trials of youth, and bright 
ened around her early grave. 

Mr. De Berdt's house in London, owing to his busi- 
ness relations with the Colonies, was the home of 
many young Americans who at that time were at- 
tracted by pleasure or duty to the imperial metropolis. 
Among these visitors, in or about the year 1763, was 
Joseph Reed, of New Jersey, who had come to London 
to finish his professional studies (such being the fashion 
of the times) at the Temple. Mr. Reed was in the 
twenty-third year of his age a man of education, in- 
telligence, and accomplishment. The intimacy, thus 
accidentally begun, soon produced its natural fruits ; 
and an engagement, at first secret, and afterwards 
avowed, was formed between the young English girl 
and the American stranger. Parental discouragement, 
so wise that even youthful impetuosity could find no 
fault with it, was entirely inadequate to break a connec 
tion thus formed. They loved long and faithfully how 
faithfully, the reader will best judge when he learns 
that a separation of five years of deferred hope, with 
the Atlantic between them, never gave rise to a wan- 
dering wish, or hope, or thought. 

Mr. Reed, having finished his studies, returned to 
America, in the early part of 1765, and began the prac- 
tice of the law in his native village of Trenton. His 
success was immediate and great. But there was a 
distracting element at work in his heart, which pre- 
vented him from looking on success with complacency ; 
and one plan after another was suggested, by which he 



34 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

might be enabled to return and settle in Great Britain 
That his young and gentle mistress should follow him 
to America, was a vision too wild even for a san- 
guine lover. Every hope was directed back to Eng- 
land ; and the correspondence, the love letters of five 
long years, are filled with plans by which these cherish- 
ed, but delusive wishes were to be consummated. How 
dimly was the future seen ! 

' Miss De Berdt's engagement with her American lover, 
was coincident with that dreary period of British his- 
tory, when a monarch and his ministers were laboring 
hard to tear from its socket, and cast away for ever, the 
brightest jewel of the imperial crown American colo- 
nial power. It was the interval when Chatham's voice 
was powerless to arouse the Nation, and make Parlia- 
ment pause when penny-wise politicians, in the happy 
phrase of the day, "teased America into resistance;" 
and the varied vexations of stamp acts, and revenue bills, 
and tea duties, the congenial fruits of poor statesman- 
ship, were the means by which a great catastrophe was 
hurried onward. Mr. De Berdt's relations with Govern- 
ment were, in some respects, direct and intimate. 
His house was a place of counsel for those who sought, 
by moderate and constitutional means, to stay the hand 
of misgovernment and oppression. He was the Agent 
of the Stamp Act Congress first, and of the Colonies 
of Delaware and Massachusetts, afterwards. And most 
gallantly did the brave old man discharge the duty which 
his American constituents confided to him. His heart 
was in his trust ; and we may well imagine the alterna- 



ESTHER REED. 



35 



tions of feeling which throbbed in the bosom of his 
daughter, as she shared in the consultations of thi^ 
almost American household ; and according to the 
fitful changes of time and opinion, counted the chances 
of discord that might be fatal to her peace, or of 
honorable pacification which should bring her lover 
home to her. Miss De Berdt's letters, now in the pos- 
session of her descendants, are full of allusions to this 
varying state of things, and are remarkable for the saga- 
cious good sense which they develope. She is, from 
first to last, a stout American. Describing a visit to 
the House of Commons, in April, 1766, her enthusiasm 
for Mr. Pitt is unbounded, while she does not disguise 
her repugnance to George Grenville and Wedderburn, 
whom she says she cannot bear, because " they are such 
enemies to America." So it is throughout, in every 
line she writes, in every word she utters ; and thus 
was she, unconsciously, receiving that training which 
in the end was to fit her for an American patriot's 
wife. 

Onward, however, step by step, the Monarch and his 
Ministry he, if possible, more infatuated than they 
advanced in the career of tyrannical folly. Remon- 
stra*nce was vain. They could not be persuaded that 
it would ever become resistance. In 1769 and 1770, 
the crisis was almost reached. Five years of folly had 
done it all. In the former of these years, the lovers 
were re-united, Mr. Reed returning on an uncertain 
visit to England. He found everything, but her faithful 
affection, changed. Political disturbance had had its 



36 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 



usual train of commercial disaster ; and Mr. De Berd 
had not only become bankrupt, but unable to rally or 
such a reverse in old age, had sunk into his grave. 
All was ruin and confusion ; and on the 31st of May, 
1770, Esther De Berdt became an American wife, 
the wedding being privately solemnized at St. Luke's 
Church, in the city of London. 

In October, the young couple sailed for America, ar- 
riving at Philadelphia in November, 1770. Mr. Reed 
immediately changed his residence from Trenton to 
Philadelphia, where he continued to live. Mrs. Reed's 
correspondence with her brother and friends in England, 
during the next five years, has not been preserved. It 
would have been interesting, as showing the impressions 
made on an intelligent mind by the primitive state of 
society and modes of life in these wild Colonies, some 
eighty years ago, when Philadelphia was but a large 
village when the best people lived in Front street, 01 
on the water-side, and an Indian frontier was within 
an hundred miles of the Schuylkill. They are, how- 
ever, all lost. The influence of Mrs. Reed's foreign 
connections can be traced only in the interesting cor 
respondence between her husband and Lord Dartmouth, 
during the years 1774 and 1775, which has been* re- 
cently given to the public, and which narrates, in the 
most genuine and trust-worthy form, the progress of 
colonial discontent in the period immediately anterior 
to actual revolution. In all the initiatory measures of 
peaceful resistance, Mr. Reed, as is well known, took a 
.arge and active share ; and in all he did, he had hit 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 37 

young wife's ardent sympathy. The English girl had 
grown at once into the American matron. 

And throughout this scene of varied perplexity, when 
the heart of the statesman was oppressed by trouble 
without disappointment, ingratitude all that makes 
a politician's life so wretched, he was sure to find his 
home happy, his wife smiling and contented, with no 
visible sorrow to impair her welcome, and no murmur to 
break the melody of domestic joy. It sustained him to 
the end. This was humble, homely heroism, but it did 
its good work in cheering and sustaining a spirit that 
might otherwise have broken. Let those disparage it 
who have never had the solace which such companion- 
ship affords, or who never have known the bitter sorrow 
of its loss. 

In May, 1780, Mrs. Reed's youngest son was born. It 
was of him, that Washington, a month later wrote, "I 
warmly thank you for calling the young Christian by 
my name," and it was he who more than thirty years 
afterwards, died in the service of his country,* not less 
gloriously because his was not a death of triumph. It 
was in the fall of this year, that the ladies of Philadel- 
phia united in their remarkable and generous contribu- 
tion for the relief of the suffering soldiers, by supplying 
them with clothing. Mrs. Reed was placed, by their 
united suffrage, at the head of this association. The 

George Washington Reed, a Commander in the U S. Navy, died a 
prisoner of war in Jamaica, in 1813. He refused a parole, because un- 
wi 'ling to leave his crew in a pestilential climate ; and himsell 
perished. 



38 ESTHER REED. 

French Secretary of Legation, M. de Marbois, in a letter 
that has been published, tells her she is called to the office 
as "the best patriot, the most zealous and active, and the 
most attached to the interests of her country." Notwith- 
standing the feeble state of her health, Mrs. Reed entered 
upon her duties with great animation. The work was 
congenial to her feelings. It was charity in its genuine 
form and from its purest source the voluntary out- 
pouring from the heart. It was not stimulated by 
the excitements of our day neither fancy fairs, nor 
bazaars ; but the American women met, and seeing the 
necessity that asked interposition, relieved it. They 
solicited money and other contributions directly, and 
for a precise and avowed object. They labored with 
their needles and sacrificed their trinkets and jewelry. 
The result was very remarkable. The aggregate 
amount of contributions in the City and County of 
Philadelphia, was not less than 7,500 dollars, specie; 
much of it, too, paid in hard money, at a time of the 
greatest appreciation. "All ranks of society," says 
President Reed's biographer, " seem to have joined in 
the liberal effort, from Phillis, the colored woman, with 
her humble seven shillings and six pence, to the Mar- 
chioness de La Fayette, who contributed one hundred 
guineas in specie, and the Countess de Luzerne, who 
gave six thousand dollars in continental paper." La Fay- 
ette's gentlemanly letter to Mrs. Reed is worth preserv- 
ing. 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 39 



HEAD QUARTERS, June theZSth, 1780 
MADAM, 

In admiring the new resolution, in which the fair ones of 
Philadelphia have taken the lead, I am induced to feel for those 
American ladies, who being out of the Continent cannot participate 
in this patriotic measure. I know of one who, heartily wishing 
for a personal acquaintance with the ladies of America, would 
feel particularly happy to he admitted among them on the present 
occasion. Without presuming to hreak in upon the rules of your 
respected association ; may I most humbly present myself as her 
ambassador to the confederate ladies, and solicit in her name that 
Mrs. President be pleased to accept of her offering. 

With the highest respect, I have the honor to be, 

Madam, your most obedient servant, 

LA FAYETTB. 

Mrs. Reed's correspondence with the Commander-in- 
chief on the subject of the mode of administering relief 
to the poor soldiers, has been already published,* and is 
very creditable to both parties. Her letters are marked 
by business-like intelligence and sound feminine common 
sense, on subjects of which as a secluded women she 
could have personally no previous knowledge, and 
Washington, as has been truly observed, "writes as 
judiciously on the humble topic of soldier's shirts, as on 
the plan of a campaign or the subsistence of an army." 

All this time, it must be born in mind, it was a feeble, 
delicate woman, who was thus writing and laboring, 
her husband again away from her with the army, and 
ner family cares and anxieties daily multiplying. She 

* Life and Correspondence of President Reed. 



40 ESTHER REED. 

writes from her country residence on the banks of 
Schuylkill, as late as the 22d of August, 1780 : " I am 
most anxious to get to town, because here I can do 
little for the soldiers." But the body and the heroic spirit 
were alike overtasked, and in the early part of the next 
month, alarming disease developed itself, and soon ran 
its fatal course. On the 18th of September, 1780 her 
aged mother, her husband and little children, the oldest 
ten years old, mourning around her she breathed her 
last at the early age of thirty -four. There was deep 
and honest sorrow in Philadelphia, when the news was 
circulated that Mrs. Reed was dead. It stilled for a 
moment the violence of party spirit. All classes united 
in a hearty tribute to her memory. 



in 



CATHARINE SCHUYLER. 

THE name of Philip Schuyler adds another to tho 
list of distinguished men indebted largely to maternal 
guidance. To his mother, a woman of strong and culti- 
vated mind, he owed his early education and habits of 
business, with that steadfast integrity, which never 
faltered nor forsook him. His wife the beloved com- 
panion of his maturer years cherished his social virtues 
and added lustre to his fame. Those who shared 'his 
generous hospitality, or felt the charm of his polished 
manners, were ready to testify to the excellence of her 
whose gentle influence was always apparent. A brief 
notice of her is all that can here be offered. 

Catharine Schuyler was the only daughter of John 
Van Rensselaer, called Patroon of Greenbush, a patriot 
in the Revolutionary struggle, and noted for his hospitali- 
ty, and for his kindness and forbearance towards the 
tenants of his vast estates during the war. It cannot 
be doubted that the recent anti-rent struggles, which 
have almost convulsed the State of New York, can be 
traced to the amiable but injudicious indulgence of this 
great landholder and his immediate heirs. 

The qualities which in some cases shone in remarka. 
3* . 



4:2 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

We acts, were constantly exercised by Mrs. Schuyler in 
the domestic sphere. At the head of a large family, 
her management was so perfect that the regularity with 
which all went on appeared spontaneous. Her life was 
devoted to the care of her children ; yet her friendships 
were warm and constant, and she found time for dis- 
pensing charities to the poor. Many families in poverty 
remember with gratitude the aid received from her; 
sometimes in the shape of a milch cow, or other article 
of use. She possessed great self-control, and as the 
mistress of a household, her prudence was blended with 
unvarying kindness. Her chief pleasure was in diffus- 
ing, happiness in her home. 

The house in which the family resided, near Albany, 
was built by Mrs. Schuyler, while her husband was in 
Erfgland, in 1760 and 1761. It had, probably, been 
commenced previously. The ancient family mansion, 
large and highly ornamented in the Dutch taste, stood 
on the corner of State and Washington streets, in the 
city. It was taken down about the year 1800. It was 
a place of resort for British officers and travellers of 
note in the French war. Fourteen French gentlemen, 
some of them officers who had been captured in 1758, 
were here entertained as prisoners on parole. They 
found it most agreeable to be in Schuyler's house, as 
he could converse with them in French ; and his kind- 
ness made them friends. In 1801, when Mrs. Schuyler, 
and some of her family visited Montreal and Quebec, 
they were received with grateful attention by the de- 
icendants of those gentlemen. 



CATHARINE SCHUYLER. 



43 



Near Saratoga, the scene of General Schuyler's tri- 
umph, he had an elegant country-seat, which was de- 
stroyed by General Burgoyne. It was one of the most 
picturesque incidents of the war, that the captive Brit- 
ish general with his suite, should be received and enter- 
tained, after the surrender at Saratoga, by those whose 
property he had wantonly laid waste. The courtesy 
and kindness shown by General and Mrs. Schuyler tc 
the late enemy, and their generous forgetfulness of their 
own losses, were sensibly felt and acknowledged. Ma- 
dame de Riedesel says their reception was not like that 
of enemies, but of intimate friends. " All their actions 
proved, that at sight of the misfortunes of others, they 
quickly forgot their own." This delicacy and gene- 
rosity drew from Burgoyne the observation to General 
Schuyler, " You are too kind to me, who have done so 
much injury to you." The reply was characteristic of 
the noble-hearted victor : " Such is the fate of war ; let 
us not dwell on the subject." 

The Marquis de Chastellux mentions, that just pre- 
vious to this visit, General Schuyler being detained at 
Saratoga, where he had seen the ruins of his beautiful 
villa, wrote thence to his wife to make every prepara- 
tion for giving the best reception to Burgoyne and his 
suite. " The British commander was well received by 
Mrs. Schuyler, and lodged in the best apartment in the 
house. An excellent supper was served him in the 
evening, the honors of which were done with so much 
grace, that he was affected even to tears, and sai d, with 
a deep sigh, ' Indeed, this is doing too much br the 



44 WOMEN OP THE REVOLUTION. 

man who has ravaged their lands, and burned then 
dwellings.' The next morning he was reminded of his 
misfortunes by an incident that would have amused 
any one else. His bed was prepared in a large room ; 
but as he had a numerous suite, or family, several mat- 
tresses were spread on the floor for some officers to 
sleep near him. Schuyler's second son, a little fellow 
about seven years old, very arch and forward, but very 
amiable, was running all the morning about the house. 
Opening the door of the saloon, he burst out a laughing 
on seeing all the English collected, and shut it after 
him, exclaiming, ' You are all my prisoners!' This in 
nocent cruelty rendered them more melancholy thai 
before." 

Thus were even the miseries of war softened by Mrs 
Schuyler's graceful courtesy ; while the military renown 
won by her husband's illustrious services, was associ- 
ated with remembrances of disinterested kindness be- 
stowed in requital for injury. In reverse, her resolution 
and courage had been proved equal to the emergency. 
When the continental army was retreating from Fort 
Edward before Burgoyne, Mrs. Schuyler went up her- 
self, in her chariot from Albany to Saratoga, to see to 
the removal of her furniture. While there, she received 
directions from the General, to set fire, with her own 
hand, to his extensive fields of wheat, and to request 
his tenants, and others, to do the same, rather than 
suffer them to be reaped by the enemy. The injunc- 
tion shows the soldier's confidence in her spirit, firm- 
ness, and patriotism. 



CATHARINE 8CHUYLER. 45 

Many of the women of this family appear to have 
been remarkable for strong intellect and clear judgment. 
The Mrs. Schuyler described in Mrs. Grant's memoirs, 
was a venerated relative of the General. He lost his 
admirable wife in 1803. Her departure left his last 
years desolate, and saddened many hearts in which yet 
lives the memory of her bright virtues. One of her 
daughters, Mrs. Alexander Ham'lton, now resides in 
Washington. D. 0., and another at Oswego. 



IV. 



CATHARINE GREENE. 

CATHARINE LITTLEFIELD, the eldest daughter of John 
Littlefield and Phebe Ray, was born in New Shoreham, 
on Block Island, 1753. When very young, she came 
with her sister to reside in the family of Governor 
Greene, of Warwick, a lineal descendant of the founder 
of the family, whose wife was her aunt. The house in 
which they lived, twelve or fourteen miles south of 
Providence, is still standing. It is situated on a hill, 
which commands a view of the whole of NarragansettBay, 
with its islands. Mount Hope, associated with King 
Philip, and the Indian traditions, fills the back-ground, 
rising slightly above the line of the horizon. It was 
here that Miss Littlefield's happy girlhood was passed ; 
and it was here also that she first knew Nathanael 
Greene. She often went on a visit to her family at 
Block Island. Nathanael would come there to see her; 
and the time was spent by the young people in amuse- 
ments particularly in riding and dancing, of which the 
future general was remarkably fond, notwithstanding 



CATHARINE GREENE. 47 

his father's efforts to whip out of him such idle propen - 
sities. He was not discouraged by the example of his 
fair companion from any of these outbreaks of youth- 
ful gaiety ; for the tradition of the country around, and 
the recollections of all who knew her, testify that there 
never lived a more joyous, frolicsome creature than 
" Kate Littlefield." In person, she was singularly lovely. 
Her figure was of the medium height, and light and 
graceful at this period, though in after years she was in- 
clined to embonpoint. Her eyes were gray, and her com- 
plexion fair; her features regular and animated. The 
facilities for female education being very limited at that 
period, Miss Littlefield enjoyed few advantages of early 
cultivation. She was not particularly fond of study, 
though she read the books that came in her way, and pro- 
fited by what she read. She possessed, moreover, a mar- 
vellous quickness of perception, and the faculty of com- 
prehending a subject with surprising readiness. Thus 
in conversation, she seemed to appreciate every thing 
said on almost any topic ; and frequently would as- 
tonish others by the ease with which her mind took 
hold of the ideas presented. She was at all times an 
intelligent listener. On one occasion, when the con- 
versation turned on botany, she looked over the books 
and f collection of a Swedish botanist, making remarks 
from time to time which much interested him, and 
showed her an observer of no common intelligence. 
This extraordinary activity of mind, and tact in seizing 
on points, so as to apprehend almost intuitively, distin- 



48 WOMEN OP THE REVOLUTION 

guished her through life. It enabled her, without ap- 
parent mental effort, to apply the instruction conveyed 
in the books she read, to the practical affairs of life, 
and to enrich her varied conversation with the know- 
ledge gained from them, and her observation of the 
world. This power of rendering available her intellec- 
tual stores, combined with a retentive memory, a lively 
imagination, and great fluency in speech, rendered her 
one of the most brilliant and entertaining of women. 
When to these gifts was added the charrn of rare 
beauty, it cannot excite wonder that the possessor of 
such attractions should fascinate all who approached 
her. 

How, when, or by what course of wooing, the youth- 
ful lover won the bright, volatile, coquettish maiden, 
cannot be ascertained ; but it is probable their attach- 
ment grew in the approving eyes of their relatives, and 
met with no obstacle till sealed by the matrimonial vow. 
The marriage took place July 20th, 1774, and the 
young couple removed to Coventry. Little, it is likely, 
did the fair Catharine dream of her future destiny as a 
soldier's wife; or that the broad-brimmed hat of her 
young husband covered brows that should one day be 
wreathed with the living laurels won by genius and pa- 
triotism. We have no means of knowing with how 
much interest she watched the over-clouding of the 
political horizon, or the dire advance of the necessity 
that drove the Colonies to armed resistance. But when 
her husband's decision was made, and he stood forth a 
determined patriot, separating himself from the ccmmu- 



CATHARINE GREENE. 49 

nity in which he had been born and reared, by embrac 
ng a military profession, his spirited wife did her part 
to aid and encourage him. The papers of the day fre 
quently notice her presence, among other ladies, at head- 
quarters. Like Mrs. Washington, she passed the active 
season of the campaign at home. Hers was a new es- 
tablishment at Cov.entry, a village in Rhode Island, 
where her husband had erected a forge, and built himself 
what then passed for a princely house on the banks ot 
one of those small streams which form so beautiful a 
feature in Rhode Island scenery. When the army be- 
fore Boston was innoculated for the small pox, she gave 
up her house for a hospital. She was there during the 
attack on Rhode Island ; and every cannon on the hard 
fought day which closed that memorable enterprise, 
must have Awakened the echoes of those quiet hills. 
When the army went into winter quarters, she always 
set out to rejoin her husband, sharing cheerfully the nar- 
row quarters and hard fare of a camp. She partook of 
the privations of the dreary winter at Valley Forge, in 
that "darkest hour of the Revolution;" and it appears 
that, as at home, her gay spirit shed light around her 
even in such scenes, softening and enlivening the gloom 
which might have weighed many a bold heart into 
despondency. There are extant some interesting little 
notes of Kosciusko, in very imperfect English, which 
show her kindness to her husband's friends, and the 
pleasure she took in alleviating their sufferings. 

How much her society was prized by General Greene 
arid how impatiently he bore separation from her, mar 



50 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 



be seen in his letters.* When about to start for the 
South, in October, 1780, he waits for her arrival to join 
him, expecting she will overtake him at camp, or in 
Philadelphia; and expresses the greatest anxiety that 
she should avoid the dangerous route by Peekskill. 
His fears for her safety at last impel him to request her 
not to encounter the risk. Mr. Hughes, who knows 
the feelings of the anxious wife, detains the letters : and 
afterwards, confessing the unwarrantable liberty for 
which he " deserved to appear before a court-martial" 
says : " But if I do, I will plead Mrs. General Greene." 
Again he writes : " Give me leave to say that your lady, 
if possible, without injury to herself, must see you. My 
God! she will suffer a thousand times as much by a 
disappointment, as she can by going ten times the 
distance !" . t 

Notwithstanding her ardent wish to accompany the 
General, it seems that Mrs. Greene was prevented from 
doing so. Mrs. Washington' writes to her from Mount 
Vernon, to say that General Greene was well, and 
had spent the evening at Mount Vernon, on his way 
to Richmond. General Weedon, in a letter to her, 
announces that the General had stopped for the night 
at his house in Richmond ; and invites Mrs. Greene, 
if she should come as far as Virginia, to quarter 
under his roof. A letter from the Commander-in-chief, 
written from New Windsor on the 15th of December, 

* The letters quoted or referred to in this sketch are from the MS 
correspondence of General Greene, in the possession of his grandson, 
Prof George W. Greere, of Providence, R. I., late Consul at Rome 



CATHALINE GREENE. 51 

encloses Mrs. Greene a letter from her husband, and 
offers to forward hers. 

"Mrs. Washington," he says, "who is just arrived at 
these my quarters, joins me in most cordial wishes for 
your every felicity, and regrets the want of your com- 
pany. Remember me to my namesake. Nat, I sup- 
pose, can handle a musket." 

The " namesake" alluded to, was the eldest son, who 
was afterwards drowned in the Savannah River. His 
mother never recovered her spirits after this shock. 

Mrs. Greene joined her husband in the South after 
the close of the active campaign of 1781, and remained 
with him till the end of the war. residing on the islands 
during the heats of summer, and the rest of the time at 
head-quarters. In the spring of 1783, she returned to 
the North where she remained till the General had com 
pleted his arrangements for removing to the South 
They then established themselves at Mulberry Grove 
on a plantation which had been presented to Greene by 
the State of Georgia. 

Mrs. Greene's first impressions of southern life and 
manners are painted in lively colors in her letters to 
northern friends. The following passage is from one to 
Miss Flagg : 

" If you expect to be an inhabitant of this country, 
you must not think to sit down with your netting pins , 
but on the contrary, employ half your time at the toilet, 
one quarter to paying and receiving visits ; the other 
quarter to scolding servants, with a hard thump every 
now and then over the head ; or singing, dancing, read 



52 WOMEN OF THE RLVOLUTION. 

ing, writing, or saying your prayers. The lattei is here 
quite a phenomenon ; but you need n ot tell how you 
employ your time." 

The letters of General Greene to his wife breathe the 
most entire confidence and affection. His respect for 
her judgment and good sense is shown in the freedom 
with which he expresses his thoughts and unfolds his 
hopes and plans. He evidently looked to her for sup- 
port and sympathy in all his cares and troubles. His 
lighter hours, even in absence, were shared with her. 
Sometimes his youthful gaiety breaks forth in his de- 
scriptions of adventures and persons encountered in his 
travels. And regard for his interests was plainly above 
every other thought in the mind of his wife. After his 
death, she writes to Mr. Wadsworth, his executor, Sep- 
tember 19th, 1788, "I consider 

debts of honor, and would starve, rather than they 
should not be paid." " I am a woman unaccus- 
tomed to any thing but the trifling business of a family ; 
yet my exertions may effect something. If they do not, 
and if I [sacrifice] my life in the cause of my children, 
I shall but do my duty, and follow the example of my 
illustrious husband." 

It was while on a visit to Savannah with his wife, 
that General Greene was seized with the disease which 
in a few days closed his brilliant career. They were 
then preparing to return and pass the summer at the 
North. The weight of care that fell on Mrs. Greene in 
consequence of this event, would have crushed an or- 
dinary min.d; but she struggled nobly through it all 



CATHARINE GREENE. 53 

Some years afterwards, thinking that some lands she 
owned on Cumberland Islawd offered greater advantages 
than Mulberry Grove, she removed there with her 
family ; dividing her time between her household duties 
and the cares of an extensive hospitality; occasionally 
visiting the North in the summer, but continuing to look 
upon the South as her home. It was while she lived at 
Mulberry Grove, that she became instrumental in intro- 
ducing to the world an invention which has covered 

with wealth the fields of the South. 

% 

Late in 1792, her sympathies were enlisted in behalf 
of a young man, a native of Massachusetts, who having 
come to Georgia to take the place of private teacher in 
a gentleman's family, had been disappointed in obtain- 
ing the situation, and found himself without friends or 
resources in a strange land. Mrs. Greene and her fami- 
ly treated him with great kindness. He was invited to 
make his home in her house while he pursued the study of 
the law, to which he had determined to devote himself. 
According to the account of some, his attention was at- 
tracted to the cotton plant growing in the garden, and 
to Mr. Miller's observation that cotton of that sort could 
be cultivated as a staple, provided some method could 
be found of cleaning it from the seed. According to 
others, a party of gentlemen on a visit to the fam .ly 
spoke of the want of an effective machine for separating 
ihe cotton from the seed, without which, it was allowed, 
there could be no profitable cultivation of this more pro- 
ductive species. Mrs. Greene spoke of the mechanical 
genius of her young protege; introduced him to the 



54 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

corrpany, and showed little specimens of his skill, m tam- 
bour frames and articles for the children. Eli Whitney, 
for that was the name of the young student, was strong- 
ly impressed with the conversation. He examined the 
cotton, and communicated his plans to Mrs. Greene and 
Mr. Miller, who gave him warm encouragement. A 
basement room, into which no one else was admitted, 
was appropriated for his work. He labored day after 
day, making the necessary tools ; and persevering with 
unwearied industry. By spring the COTTON GIN was 
completed, and exhibited to the wonder and delight of 
planters invited from different parts of Georgia to wit- 
ness its successful operation. 

Mr. Phineas Miller entered into an agreement with 
Whitney, to bear the expense of maturing the invention, 
and to divide the future profits. He was a man of re- 
markably active and cultivated mind. Mrs. Greene 
married him some time after the death of General 
Greene. She survived him several years dying just 
before the close of the late war with England. Her re- 
mains rest in the family burial-ground at Cumberland 
Island, where but a few years afterwards, the body of 
one of her husband's best officers and warmest friends 
the gallant Lee was brought to moulder by her side. 
She left four children by her first marriage three 
daughters and one son of whom the son and second 
daughter are still living. 

Mrs. Miller related to a lady residing in New 
York, the incident of Colonel Aaron Burr's requesting 
permission to stop at her house, when he came South, 



7ATARINE GREENE. 55 

after his fatal duel with General Hamilton. She would 
not refuse the demand upon her hospitality, but his vic- 
tim had been her friend ; and she could not receive as a 
guest, one whose hands were crimsoned with his blood. 
She gave Burr permission to remain ; but at the same time 
ordered her carriage, and quitted her house ; returning 
as soon as he had taken his departure. This little 
anecdote is strongly illustrative of her impulsive and 
generous character. The lady who mentioned it to me 
had herself experienced, in time of the illness of one dear 
to her, Mrs. Miller's sympathy and active kindness ; and 
described her manners as gentle, frank and winning. 
Her praise, were I at liberty to mention her name, 
would do the highest honor to its object. 

The descendants of Mrs. Greene regard her with af- 
fectionate reverence. She was a loved and honored 
wife, and a tender yet judicious mother. Her discipline 
was remarkably strict, and none of her children ever 
thought of disobeying her. Yet she would sometimes 
join with child-like merriment in their sports. A lady 
now living in Providence states, that one day, after the 
close of the war, passing General Greene's house in 
Newport, she saw both him and his wife playing " puss 
in the corner," with the children. 

She loved a jest, and sometimes too, a hearty laugh 
upon her friends. On one occasion, while living at 
Newport after the close of the war, she disguised her- 
self like an old beggar-woman, so effectually that she 
was not recognized even by her brother-in-law. In this 
dress she went round to the houses of her friends to ask 



56 WOMEN OP THE REVOLUTION 

charity telling a piteous tale of losses and sufferings 
At one house they were at the card-table ; and one of 
her most intimate friends, as she ordered her off, desired 
the servant to look well as she went out and see that she 
did not steal something from the entry. At another 
the master of the house was just sitting down to supper 
and though an old acquaintance and a shrewd man, was 
not only deceived, but so moved by- her story, that he 
gave her the loaf he was on the point of cutting for him- 
self. When she had sufficiently amused herself with 
this practical test of her friends' charity, she took off her 
disguise, and indulged her merriment at their expense 
reminding them that with the exception of the loaf, she 
had been turned away without any experience of their 
liberality. 

Mrs. Greene's power of fascination, described as ab- 
solutely irresistible, may be illustrated by a little anec- 
dote. A lady, who is still living, had heard much of 
her, and resolved as young ladies sometimes will when 
they hear too much about a person that she would not 
like her. One day she chanced to be on a visit at the 
late Colonel Ward's in New York, where she saw a 
lady dressed completely in black, even to the head 
dress, which was drawn close under the throat who 
from her seat on the sofa was holding the whole com- 
pany in breathless attention to the lively anecdotes of 
the war, and the brilliant sketches of character, which 
she was drawing so skillfully and in a tone so winning, 
that it was impossible not to listen to her. Still the 
young girl's resolution was not shaken. She might be 



CATHARINE GREENE. 57 

compelled to admire, but the liking depended on herself; 
and she took a seat at the opposite side of the room. 
How long she remained there she was never able to tell ; 
but her first consciousness was of being seated on a 
stool at the old lady's feet, waning upon her knee, and 
looking up in her face as confidingly as if she had been 
her own mother 



MERCY WARREN 

THE name of Mercy Warren belongs to American 
listory. In the influence she exercised, she was perhaps 
the most remarkable woman who lived at the Revolu- 
tionary period. She was the third child of Colonel 
James Otis, of Barnstable, in the old colony of Plymouth; 
and was born there, September 25th, 1728.* The Otis 
family came to the country in 1630 or 1640, and settled 
first in Hingham. 

The youth of Miss Otis was passed in the retirement 
of her home, in a routine of domestic employments, and 
the duties devolving upon her as the eldest daughter in 
a family of high respectability. Her love of reading 
was early manifested ; and such was her economy of 
time, that, never neglecting her domestic cares or the 
duties of hospitality, she found leisure not only to 
improve her mind by careful study, but for various 
works of female ingenuity. A card-table is preserved 
by one of her descendants in Quincy, as a monument 
of her taste and industry. The design was her own, 

* Thia date, with that of her death, is takei from the entries a 
the family Bible at Plymouth 




/< t I -I (/ /ra / / ^ / 



MFRCY WARREN. 59 

the patterns being obtained by gathering and pressing 
flowers from the gardens and fields. These are copied 
in worsted work, and form one of the most curious and 
beautiful specimens to be found in the country. 

At that period, the opportunities for female education 
were extremely limited, but perhaps the more prized on 
that account. Miss Otis gained nothing from schools. 
Her only assistant, in the intellectual culture of her 
earlier years, was the Rev. Jonathan Russell, the minis- 
ter of the parish, from whose library she was supplied 
with books, and by whose counsels her tastes were in a 
measure formed. It was from reading, in accordance 
with his advice, Raleigh's " History of the World," that 
her attention was particularly directed to history, the 
branch of literature to which she afterwards devoted 
herself. In later years, her brother James, who was 
himself an excellent scholar, became her adviser and 
companion in literary pursuits. There existed between 
them a strong attachment, which nothing ever impaired. 
Even in the wildest moods of that insanity, with which, 
late in life the great patriot was afflicted, her voice had 
power to calm him, when all else was without effect. 

These favorite employments of reading, drawing and 
needle work, formed the recreation of a quiet life, in the 
home which Miss Otis rarely quitted. A visit to 
Boston, at the time of her brother's graduation at Har- 
vard College, in 1743, was the occasion of her first 
absence for any length of time. 

When about twenty-six, she became the wife of 
James Warren, then a merchant of Plymouth, Massa- 



60 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

chusetts. In him she found a partner of congenial mind. 
Her new avocations and cares were not allowed to 
impair the love of literature which had been the delight 
of her youth. It was while residing occasionally for a 
few weeks with her husban^ and children on a farm 
a few miles from the village, to which she gave the 
name of " Clifford," that most of her poetical produc- 
tions were written. On the other hand, attached as 
she was to these pursuits, she never permitted them to 
interfere with household duties, or the attention of a 
devoted mother to her children. Her attainments fitted 
her to give them valuable instruction ; and the lessons 
of her loving spirit of wisdom were not lost. 

With this fondness for historical studies, and the 
companionship of such a brother and husband, it is not 
strange that the active and powerful intellect of Mrs. 
Warren should become engaged with interest in political 
affairs. These were now assuming an aspect that 
engrossed universal attention. Decision and action 
were called for on the part of those inclined to one or 
the other side. How warmly Mrs. Warren espoused 
the cause of her country how deeply her feelings were 
enlisted appears in her letters. Her correspondence 
with the great spirits of that era, if published, would 
form a most valuable contribution to our historical 
literature. This rich correspondence has been preserved 
by her descendants ; and affords the material for the 
present memoir. It includes letters, besides those from 
members of her own family, from Samuel and John 
Adams, Jefferson, Dickinson, Gerry, Knox and others 



MERCY WARREN. 61 

These men asked her opinion in political matteis, ar.d 
acknowledged the excellence of her judgment. Refer- 
ring to some of her observations on the critical state of 
affairs after the war, General Knox writes : " I should 
be happy, Madam, to receive your communications 
from time to time, particularly on the subject enlarged 
on in this letter. Your sentiments shall remain with 
me." Mrs. Warren herself thus writes to Mr. Adams, 
before the meeting of the first Congress : 

" Though you have condescended to ask my senti- 
ments, in conjunction with those of a gentleman 
qualified both by his judgment and integrity, as well as 
his attachment to the interest of his country, to advise 
at this important crisis, yet I shall not be so presump- 
tuous as to offer, any thing but my fervent wishes that 
the enemies of America may hereafter for ever tremble 
at the wisdom and firmness, the prudence and justice 
of the delegates deputed from our cities, as much as did 
the Phocians of old at the power of the Amphyctions 
of Greece. But if the Locrians should in time appear 
among you, I advise you to beware of choosing an 
ambitious Philip as your leader. Such a one might 
subvert the principles on which your institution is 
founded, abolish your order, and build up a monarchy 
on the ruins of the happy institution.* 

Letter, July 14th, 1774. All the extracts from letters in this 
memoir, are from the manuscript correspondence of Mrs. Warren, in 
the possession of her daughter-in-law, who resides at Plymouth. This 
lady is herself a descendant of Governor Winslow, whose family intei 
married with the Warrens in the fourth and sixth generations. One of 
the curiofities of her parlor is an easy chair belonging to Goverror 



Q2 WOMEN CF THE REVOLUTION. 

Colonial difficulties, and the signs of the times, formed 
subjects of communication continually between Mrs 
Warren and her female friends. Mrs. Adams says to 
her, in 1773, " You, madam, are so sincere a lover of 
your country, and so hearty a mourner in all her mis- 
fortunes, that it will greatly aggravate your anxiety to 
hear how much she is now oppressed and insulted. To 
you, who have so thoroughly looked through the deeds 
of men, and developed the dark designs of a " Rapatio " 
soul, no action, however base or sordid, no measure, 
however cruel and villanous, will be matter of any sur- 
prise. The tea, that baneful weed, is arrived : great, 
and I hope effectual opposition, has been made to the 
landing." 

The friendship that existed between these two gifted 
women was truly beautiful and touching. Commenced 
hi early youth, it continued unchanged through the 
vicissitudes of a long and eventful life unshaken by 
troubles, unchilled by cares, unalienated by misunder- 
standing. Their thoughts were communicated to each 
other with perfect freedom and openness ; and they 
found in joy and sorrow, a solace, or an added pleasure, 
in each other's sympathy and affection. The sister of 
Abigail Adams, who married Mr. Shaw, was also 
warmly attached to Mrs. Warren. 

Winslow, which was brought over in the Mayflower. The iron 
staples are still attached, by which it was fastened to the cabin flooi 
of the Pilgrim ship; and its present covering is the dress of white 
brocade richly embroidered, worn by Mercy Warren on the day aftei 
her marriage. Some of the ancient china also remains ; several pieces 
one hundred and fifty years old, are of surpassing beauty 



MERCY WAAREN. 63 



For many yeais oefore her death Mrs. Warren was 
afflicted with the failure of her sight ; but she submit- 
ted to the trial with pious resignation, continuing to 
receive with cheerfulness the company that frequented 
her house, and to correspond with her friends by means 
of a secretary. A passage from a letter to one of her 
sons, written in 1799, amidst the convulsions that agi- 
tated Europe, may serve to show that she still oc- 
casionally indulged in the elaborate style so much in 
vogue : 

" The ices of the Poles seem to be dissolved to swell 
the tide of popularity on which swim the idols of the 
day ; but when they have had their day, the tide will 
retire to its level, and perhaps leave the floating lumber 
on the strand with other perishable articles, not thought 
worth the hazard of attempting their recovery." 

Towards the close of her protracted life, her influ- 
ence did not diminish ; for her mental superiority was 
still unimpaired and acknowledged. Seldom has one 
woman in any age, acquired such an ascendency over 
the strongest, by the mere force of a powerful intellect. 
She is said to have supplied political parties with their 
arguments ; and she was the first of her sex in America 
who taught the reading world in matters of state policy 
and history. 

By her own relatives and connections she was reve- 
renced and beloved in a degree that affords the best 



64 WOMEN OP THE REVOLUTION. 

testimony to her elevated character, and the faithful 
ness with which she had discharged her duty towards 
them. The influence commanded by her talents was 
enhanced by her virtues, and by the deep religious feel- 
ing which governed her throughout life. Her descend- 
ants are still taught to cherish her memory with reve- 
rent affection. 

The portrait from which the engraving is taken, was 
painted by Copley. A lady who visited Mrs. Warren 
in 1807, describes her as at that time erect in person, 
and in conversation full of intelligence and eloquence. 
Her dress was a steel-colored silk gown, with short 
sleeves and very long waist ; the black silk skirt being 
covered in front with a white lawn apron. She wore a 
lawn mob-cap, and gloves covering the arm to the 
elbows, cut off at the fingers. 

In her last illness, her constant fear was that she 
might lose her mental faculties as death approached. 
She prayed to be spared this ; and her prayer wa? 
granted. With an expression of thankfulness upon her 
lips that reason was clear, and the vision of her spirit 
unclouded she passed to the rest that awaits the faith- 
ful Christian, October 19th, 1814, in the eighty-seventh 
. year of her age. 




DEBORAH SIMPSON PRESENTING THE LETTER TO GENERAL WASHINGTON. 



VI. 



MARY DRAPER. 

WHEN the news reached Connecticut that blood had 
been shed, Putnam, who was at work in the field, left 
his plough in the furrow, and started for Cambridge 
without delaying to change his apparel. Stark was 
sawing pine logs without a coat; he shut down the 
gate of his mill, and commenced the journey to Boston 
in his shirt-sleeves.* The same spirit prevailed far and 
near. The volunteers waited not to be supplied with 
arms, but seizing on whatever rude weapons were at 
hand, hastened away to fight for home and liberty. The 
women, lacking not their share of patriotic zeal, were 
active in preparations to encourage, assist, and sustain 
them. Among many whose persevering exertions 
were ready and efficient, Mrs. Draper is still remem- 
bered with admiration by those who knew her.f She 
was the wife of Captain Draper, of Dedham, Massa- 
chusetts, and lived on a farm. Her house, which was 

* Sabine. 

fThe facts were communicated by a lady who was well acquainted 
with Mrs. Draper, and has often heard her relate particulars of the 
war. 



G6 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION 

always a home for the destitute while occupied by 
her, is yet standing, and is owned by one of her descen. 
dants. It was her abode to the age of one hundred 
years. 

Mrs. Draper felt the deepest sympathy for the hard- 
ships inevitably encountered by the newly raised troops, 
and considered the limited means she possessed not as 
her own property, but belonging to her distressed 
country. When the first call to arms sounded through- 
out the land, she exhorted her husband to lose no time 
in hastening to the scene of action ; and with her own 
hands bound knapsack and blanket on the shoulders of 
her only son, a stripling of sixteen, bidding him depart 
and do his duty. To the entreaties of her daughter 
that her young brother might remain at home to be 
their protector, she answered that every arm able to 
aid the cause belonged to the country. " He is wanted 
and must go. You and I, Kate, have also service to 
do. Food must be prepared for the hungry ; for before 
to-morrow night, hundreds, I hope thousands, will be on 
their way to join the continental forces. Some who 
have travelled far will need refreshment, and you and 
I, with Molly, must feed as many as we can." 

This undertaking, though of no small labor, was 
presently commenced. Captain Draper was a thriving 
farmer ; his granaries were well filled, and his wife's 
dairy was her special care and pride. All the resources 
at her command were in requisition to contribute to 
her benevolent purpose. Assisted by her daughter and 
the domestic ; she spent the whole day and night, and 



MARY DRAPER. 67 

the succeding day, in baking brown bread. The ovens 
of that day were not the small ones now in use, but 
were suited for such an occasion, each holding bread 
sufficient to supply a neighborhood. By good fortune 
two of these monster ovens appertained to the establish- 
ment, as is frequently the case in New England. These 
were soon in full blast, and the kneading trough was 
plied by hands that shrank not from the task. At that 
time of "hurry and confusion, none could stop long 
enough to dine. The people were under the influence 
of strong excitement, and all were in such haste to join 
the army, that they stayed only to relieve the cravings 
of hunger, though from want of food, and fatigue, many 
were almost exhausted. With the help of a disabled 
veteran of the French war, who had for years resided in 
her family, Mrs. Draper had soon her stores in readiness 
A long form was erected by the road-side ; large pans 
of bread and cheese were placed upon it, and replenished 
as often as was necessary; while old John brought 
cider in pails from the cellar, which, poured into tubs, 
was served out by two lads who volunteered their 
services. Thus were the weary patriots refreshed on 
their way. Mrs. Draper presided at the entertainment; 
and when her own stock of provisions began to fail, 
applied to her neighbors for aid. By their contributions 
her hospitable board was supplied, till in a few days 
the necessity for extraordinary exertion had in a 
measure passed, and order and discipline took the place 
of popular tumult. When each soldier carried his 



68 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION 

rations, the calls on private benevolence weie less 
frequent and imperative. 

But ere long came the startling intelligence, after the 
battle of Bunker Hill, that a scarcity of ammunition 
had been experienced. General Washington called 
upon the inhabitants to send to head-quarters every 
ounce of lead or pewter at their disposal, saying that 
any quantity, however small, would be gratefully 
received. 

This appeal could not be disregarded. It is difficult 
at this day to estimate the value of pewter as an orna- 
mental as well as indispensable convenience. The more 
precious metals had not then found their way to the 
tables of New Englanders ; and throughout the coun- 
try, services of pewter, scoured to the brightness of 
silver, covered the board, even in the mansions of the 
wealthy. Few withheld their portion in that hour of 
the country's need ; and noble were the sacrifices made 
in presenting their willing offerings. Mrs. Draper was 
rich in a large stock of pewter, which she valued as 
the ornament of her house. Much of it was precious 
to her as the gift of a departed mother. But the call 
reached her heart, and she delayed not obedience, thank- 
ful that she was able to contribute so largely to the re- 
quirements of her suffering country. Jler husband 
before joining the army had purchased a mould for 
casting bullets, to supply himself and son with this 
article of warfare. Mrs. Draper was not satisfied with 
merely giving the material required, when she could 




' 



MRS. POND. 69 

possibly do more ; and her platters, pans, and dishes 
were soon in process of transformation into balls. 

The approach of winter brought fears that the re- 
sources of the country would hardly yield supplies for 
the pressing wants of the army. Mrs. Draper was one 
of the most active in efforts to meet the exigencies of 
the times ; and hesitated at no sacrifice of personal 
convenience to increase her contributions. The supply 
of domestic cloth designed for her family was in a 
short time converted by her labor, assisted by that of her 
daughter and maid, into coats for the soldiers : the sheets 
and blankets with which her presses were stored, were 
fashioned into shirts ; and even the flannel already 
made up for herself and daughter, was altered into men's 
habiliments. Such was the aid rendered by women 
whose deeds of disinterested generosity were never 
known beyond their own immediate neighborhood ! 

ANOTHER anecdote may here be mentioned, illustrative 
of the spirit that was abroad. On the morning after 
the battle of Lexington, a company of nearly a hun 
dred halted before the house of Colonel Pond of West 
Dedharn. They had marched all night, and were cov- 
ered with dust, and faint from fatigue and want of food 
Their haste was urgent, and the mistress of the house 
whose hospitality they claimed, was unprepared for thr 
entertainment of so large a party. Her husband was 
absent with the army, and she had only one female 
assistant and a hired man: But the willing heart can 
do wonders. In a few minutes she had a large brass 



70 WOMEN OP THB REVOLUTION. 

kettle holding ten pails full, over the fire, filled witli 
watei and Indian meal for hasty pudding. In the barn- 
yard were ten cows ready to contribute their share to 
the morning meal. Near the farm-house was a store 
well supplied with brown earthen dishes, and pewter 
spoons tied in dozens for sale. The military guests 
volunteered their aid. Some milked the cows, others 
stirred the pudding ; while the two domestics collected 
all the milk in the neighborhood. Thus, in the short 
space of an hour, by the energetic efforts of one kind- 
hearted woman, a hundred weary, hungry soldiers were 
provided with refreshment. They ate, and marched 
on to the place of their destination ; receiving encour- 
agement, it cannot be doubted, from this simple mani- 
festation of good- will, which was not soon forgotten 



ra 



FREDERICA DE RIEDESEL. 

GENERAL WILKINSON, who was personally acquainted 
with Madame de Riedesel, published fragments of her 
journal in his Memoirs. He calls her " the amiable, 
accomplished, and dignified baroness. " " I have more 
than once," he says, " seen her charming blue eyes be- 
dewed with tears, at the recital of her sufferings.'' The 
regard she inspired, however, was not due entirely to 
admiration of her loveliness; for others in the Ameri- 
can ranks, as well as in Europe, were deeply interested 
in her account of her adventures. 

Frederica Charlotte Louisa, the daughter of Mas 
sow, the Prussian Minister of State, was born in Bran 
denburgh, in 1746. Her father was Intendant General 
of the allied army at Minden, where, at the age of 
seventeen, she married Lieutenant Colonel Baron de 
Riedesel. In the war of the Revolution, he was ap- 
pointed to the command of the Brunswick forces in the 
British service in America, and his wife followed him 
in 1777, with her three young children. Her journal, 
and letters addressed to her mother, describe her travels 
with the camp through various parts of the country 



72 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

and the occurrences she witnessed. These papers, in- 
tended only for a circle of the writer's friends, wers 
first published by her son-in-law in Germany in 1801, 
shortly after the death of General Riedesel. Portions 
having been copied into periodicals, and read with inte- 
rest, the whole was translated, and presented to the 
American public. It forms an appropriate appendix 
to the history of the period, with its graphic pictures of 
scenes in the war and the state of society, and its 
notices of distinguished men. But it is still more valu- 
able as exhibiting an example of female energy, forti- 
tude, and conjugal devotion. The moral is the more 
striking as drawn from the experience of a woman of 
rank, subjected to dangers and privations from which 
the soldier might have shrunk. The readiness with 
which she hastened to cross the ocean that she might 
bear her husband company through toils or want, or 
suffering, or death, the courage with which she encoun 
tered perils, and the cheerful resignation displayed unde 
trials felt the more severely for the sake of those she 
loved, present a touching picture of fidelity and tender 
viess. After she has joined her husband in Canada, 
and is again separated from him, she thinks only of joy 
at being permitted at last to follow the army. Oblig- 
ed to pass the night on a lonely island, where the only 
shelter is a half-finished house, and the only couch a 
cluster of bushes over which the traveller's cloaks 
t.re spread, she utters no murmur, nor complains of 
the scarcity of food. " A soldier," she says, " put a pol 
to the fire. I asked him what it contained. ' Some 



FREDERICA DE RIEDESEL. 73 

potatoes/ quoth he, 'which I brought with me,' 1 
threw a longing glance at them ; but as they were few 
it would have been cruel to deprive him of them. At 
last my desire to have some for my children overcame 
my diffidence ; and he gave me half his little provision 
(about twelve potatoes), and took at the same time from 
his pocket two or three ends of candles, which I ac- 
cepted with pleasure ; for my children were afraid to 
remain in the dark. A dollar which I gave him made 
him as happy as his liberality had made me." 

With her three children, the Baroness proceeded to 
meet her husband at Fort Edward. When the army 
broke up the encampment, she would not remain be- 
hind. Her spirits rose at the observation of General 
Burgoyne on the passage across the Hudson " Britons 
never retrograde." The action at Freeman's Farm took 
place in hor hearing, and some of the wounded were 
brought to the house where she was. Among them 
was a young English officer, an only son, whose suffer- 
ings exci(/l her deepest sympathy, and whose last 
moans ?la heard. A calash was ordered for her further 
progres with the army. They marched through ex- 
tensive forests, and a beautiful district, deserted by 
the inh ibitants, who wtre gone to re-inforce General 
Gates. 

The Diary gives a touching account of the scenes 
passed "hrough at the memorable conclusion of Bur- 
goyne s campaign, with the battles of Saratoga. " On 
the swv'tnth of October," she says, "our misfortunes be- 
gan " Generals Burgoyne, Phillips, and Frazer, with 
6 



74 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

the Baron, were to dine with her on that day. Sh* 
had observed in the morning an unusual movement, in 
the camp ; and had seen a number of armed Indians in 
their war dresses, who answered "War! war!" to her 
inquiries whither they were going. As the dinner hour 
approached, an increased tumult, the firing, and the yell- 
ing of the savages, announced the approaching battle 
The roar of artillery became louder and more incessant. 
At four o'clock, instead of the guests invited, General 
Frazer was brought in mortally wounded. The table, 
already prepared for dinner, was removed to make room 
for his bed. The Baroness, terrified by the noise of the 
conflict raging without, expected every moment to see 
her husband also led in pale and helpless. Towards 
night he came to the house, dined in haste, and desired 
his wife to pack up her camp furniture, and be ready 
for removal at an instant's warning. His dejected 
countenance told the disastrous result. Lady Ackland, 
whose tent was adjoining, was presently informed that 
her husband was wounded, and a prisoner! Thus 
through the long hours till day, the kind ministries of 
the Baroness were demanded by many sufferers. " I 
divided the night," she says, " between her I wished to 
comfort, and my children who were asleep, but who I 
feared might disturb the poor dying General. Several 
times he begged my pardon for the trouble he thought 
he gave me. About three o'clock I was informed he 
could not live much longer ; and as I did not wish to 
be present at his last struggle, I wrapped my children 



FEEDERICA DE RIEDESEL. 75 

m b.ankets, and retire^, into the room below. At eight 
in the morning he expired." 

Ah day the cannonade continued, while the me., 
lancholy spectacle of the dead was before their eyes 
The women attended the wounded soldiers who were 
brought in, like ministering angels. In the afternoon 
the Baroness saw the house that had been built for hei 
in flames. 

Frazer's last request had been that he should be buried 
at six in the evening, in the great redoubt on the hill ; 
and the retreat was delayed for this purpose. The 
generals, with their retinues, followed the honored corpse 
to the spot, in the midst of a heavy fire from the Amer- 
icans ; for General Gates knew not that it was a funeral 
procession. The women stood in full view of this im- 
pressive and awful scene, so eloquently described by 
Burgoyne himself: 

" The incessant cannonade during the solemnity ; 
the steady attitude and unaltered voice with which the 
the chaplain officiated, though frequently covered with 
dust which the shot threw up on all sides of him ; the 
mute but expressive mixture of sensibility and indig- 
nation upon every countenance ; these objects will re- 
main to the last of life upon the mind of every man 
who was present." 

The deepening shadows of evening closed around the 
group thus rendering the last service to one of their 
number, while each might anticipate his own death in 
the next report of artillery. A subject was presented 



76 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 



for the pencil of a master. An appropriate side-piece 
to the picture might represent the group of anxious 
females who shared the peril, regardless of themselves* 
" Many cannon-balls," says Madame de Riedesel, " flew 
close by me ; but I had my eyes directed towards the 
mountain where my husband was standing amidst the 
fire of the enemy and of course I did not think of my 
3wn danger." 

That night the army commenced its retreat, leaving 
the sick and wounded ; a flag of truce waving over the 
hospital thus abandoned to the mercy of the foe. The 
rain fell in torrents all day of the 9th, and it was dark 
when they reached Saratoga. The Baroness suffered 
cruel suspense as to the fate of her husband. She had 
taken charge of some valuables belonging to the officers, 
and having no place to change her drenched apparel, 
ay down with her children upon some straw by the 
fire. Her provisions were shared the next day with the 
officers ; and being insufficient to satisfy their hunger, 
she made an appeal to the Adjutant-General in their 
behalf. Again the alarm of battle, and reports of mus- 
kets and cannon, drove them to seek shelter in a house, 
which was fired at under the impression that the gene- 
rals were there. It was occupied by women and crippled 
soldiers. They were obliged at last to descend into the 
cellar, where the Baroness laid herself in a corner, 
supporting her children's heads on her knees. The 
night was passed in the utmost terror and anguish ; and 
with the morning the terrible cannonade commenced 
anew. So it continued for several davs. But in the 




THE NAVY IN THE WAR. 



FREDERICA DE RIEDESEL. 77 

midst of the dreadful scenes, when the Baron spoke of 
sending his family to the American camp, the heroic 
wife declared that nothing would be so painful to her as 
to owe safety to those with whom he was fighting. He 
then consented that she should continue to follow the 
army. " However," she says " the apprehension that 
he might have marched away, repeatedly entered my 
mind ; and I crept up the staircase more than once to 
dispel my fears. When I saw our soldiers near their 
watchfires, I became more calm, and could even have 
slept." 

" The want of water continuing to distress us, we 
could not but be extremely glad to find a soldier's wife 
so spirited as to fetch some from the river, an occupa- 
tion from which the boldest might have shrunk, as the 
Americans shot every one who approached it. They 
told us afterwards that they spared her on account of 
her sex. 

" I endeavored to dispel my melancholy by continu- 
ally attending to the wounded. I made them tea and 
coffee, and often shared my dinner with them. One day 
a Canadian officer came creeping into our cellar, and 
was hardly able to say that he was dying with hunger. 
I felt happy to offer him my dinner, by eating which he 
recovered his health, and I gained his friendship." 

At length the danger was over. 

" A gallant army formed their last aray 
Upon that fiel 1, in silence and deep gloom, 
And at their conquerors' feet 
Laid their war weapons down. 



78 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

" Sullen and stern disarmed but not dishonored; 
Brave men but brave in vain they yielded there; 
The soldier's trial task 
Is not alone ' to die.' " 

On the seventeenth, the capitulation was carried into 
effect. The generals waited upon Gates, and the troops 
surrendered themselves prisoners of war. " At last/' 
writes the fair Riedesel, " my husband's groom brought 
me a message to join him with the children. I once 
more seated myself in my dear calash ; and while 
driving through the American camp, was gratified to 
observe that nobody looked at us with disrespect ; but 
on the contrary, greeted "us, and seemed touched at the 
sight of a captive mother with three children. I must 
candidly confess that I did not present myself, though so 
situated, with much courage to the enemy. When I 
drew near the tents, a fine-looking man advanced 
towards me, helped the children from the calash, and 
kissed and caressed them. He then offered me his 
arm, and tears trembled in his eyes. " You tremble, 
madam," said he ; " do not be alarmed, I beg of you." 
" Sir," cried I " a countenance so expressive of bene- 
volence, and the kindness you have evinced towards my 
children, are sufficient to dispel all apprehension." He 
then ushered me into the tent of General Gates, whom 
I found engaged in friendly conversation with Generals 
Burgoyne and Phillips. General Burgoyne said to me 
" You can now be quiet and free from all apprehension 
of danger." I replied that I should indeed be reprehen- 



FREUERICA DE REIDESEL. 



79 



sible, if I felt any anxiety, when our general was on 
such friendly terms with General Gates. 

" All the Generals remained to dine with the Amer- 
ican commander. The gentleman who had received 
me with so much kindness, came and said to me : 
" You may find it embarrassing to be the only lady in 
so large a company of gentlemen. Will you come 
with your children to my tent, and partake of a frugal 
dinner, offered with the best will?" " You show me so 
much kindness," replied I, " I cannot but believe that 
you are a husband and a father." He informed me that 
he was General Schuyler. The dinner was of excel- 
lent smoked tongues, beefstakes, potatoes, fresh butter, 
and bread. Never did a meal give me so much plea- 
sure. I was easy after many months of anxiety, and I 
read the same happy change in the countenances of 
those around me. That my husband was out of dan- 
ger, was a still greater cause of joy. After our dinner, 
General Schuyler begged me to pay him a visit at his 
house near Albany, where he expected that General 
Burgoyne would also be his guest. I sent to ask my 
husband's directions, who advised me to accept the in- 
vitation. We were two days' journey from Albany, 
and as it was now five o'clock in the afternoon, he 
wished me to endeavor to reach, on that day, a place 
distant about three hours' ride. General Schuyler car- 
ried his civilities so far as to solicit a well-bred French 
officer to accompany me on that first part of my jour- 
ney As soon as he saw me safely established in the 



80 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 



house where I was to remain, he went bfck to tlft 
General. 

" We reached Albany, where we had so often wished 
ourselves ; but did not enter that city, as we had hoped, 
with a victorious army. Our reception, however, from 
General Schuyler, and his wife and daughters, was not like 
the reception of enemies, but of the most intimate 
friends. They loaded us with kindness ; and they 
behaved in the same manner towards General Burgoyne, 
though he had without any necessity ordered their 
splendid establishment to be burnt. All their actions 
proved that at the sight of the misfortunes of others, 
they quickly forgot their own. Burgoyne was so much 
affected by this generous deportment, that he said to 
Schuyler : * You are too kind to me who have done 
you so much injury." " Such is the fate of war," he 
replied ; " let us not dwell on this subject." We remain- 
ed three days with that excellent family, and they 
seemed to regret our departure." 

General Riedesel, who brooded continually on the late 
disastrous events, and upon his captivity, was not able 
to bear his troubles with the spirit and cheerfulness of 
his wife. He became moody and irritable; and his 
health was much impaired in consequence of having 
passed many nights in the damp air. " One day," says the 
Baroness, " when he was much indisposed, the American 
sentinels at our doors were very noisy in their merri- 
ment and drinking ; and grew more so when my husband 
sent a message desiring them to be quiet ; but as soon 
as I went myself, and <>ld them the General was sick, 



FREDERICA DE RIEDE8EL. 81 

they were immediately silent. This proves that the 
Americans also respect our sex." 

The prisoners at length reached Boston ; and after a 
stay of three weeks, were transported to ' Cambridge, 
where Madame de Riedesel and her family were lodged 
in one of the best houses of the place.* None of the 
officers were permitted to enter Boston ; but Madame 
de Riedesel went to visit Mrs. Carter, the daughter ol 
General Schuyler, and dined with her several times 
Boston she describes as a fine city ; but the inhabitants 
as " outrageously patriotic." The captives met in some 
instances with very different treatment from that 
which they had before encountered ; and the worst, she 
says, from persons of her own sex. They gazed at 
her with indignation, and testified contempt when she 
passed near them. Mrs. Carter resembled her parents 
in mildness and goodness of heart; but the Baroness has 
no admiration for her husband " this wicked Mr. Carter, 
who, in consequence of General Howe's having burnt 
several villages and small towns, suggested to his 
countrymen to cut off our generals' heads, to pickle 
them, and to put them in small barrels ; and as often as 
the English should again burn a village to send them 
one of these barrels." She here adds some sad stories 
of American cruelty towards the loyalists. 

On the third of June, 1778, Madame de Riedesel 

* Or. me of the windows of this house the name " Riedesel," written 
on the glass with a diamond, is still to be seen. In front are several 
beautiful lime-trees, and the view is a lovely one. The house near it, 
which Washington occupied as his head-quarters, is now the resi/leuca 
of the poet Longfellow. 
6* 



82 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

gave a ball and supper to celebrate her husband's birth 
day. The British officers were invited, with Mr. and 
Mrs. Carter, and General Burgoyne. of whom the fair 
hostess records that he sent an excuse after he had 
made them wait till eight o'clock. " He had always 
some excuse," observes she " for not visiting us, until 
he was about departing for England, when he came 
and made me many apologies; to which I made no 
other reply than that I should be extremely sorry if he 
had put himself to any inconvenience for our sake." 
The dance and supper were so brilliant, and so numer- 
ously attended, and the toasts drunk with such enthu- 
siasm, that the house was surrounded with people, who 
began to suspect a conspiracy. The Baroness here 
notices the American method of telegraphing by lighting 
torches on surrounding heights, when they wish to call 
troops together. When General Howe attempted to 
rescue the troops detained in Boston, the inhabitants 
planted their torches, and a crowd of people without 
shoes or stockings their rifles on their shoulders, 
flocked together ; so that the landing would have been 
attended with extreme difficulty. Towards the ap- 
proach of winter the prisoners received orders to set 
out for Virginia. The ingenuity of Madame de Riedesel 
devised means of preserving the colors of the German 
regiments, which the Americans believed they had 
burned. A mattress was made under her direction, 
into which the honorable badges were introduced. 
Captain O'Connel, under pretence of some commission, 
took the mattress to New York; and the Baronesi 



FREDERICA DE RIEDESEL,. 



83 



received it again at Halifax, on their voyage from Nevs 
York to Canada, and had it placed in her cabin. 

A rascal on no small scale was the cook of Madame 
la Baronne. She had given him money for the daily 
expenditure but he had paid nobody ; and while prepa- 
rations for the journey were going on, bills were 
presented to the amount of a thousand dollars. The 
cook was arrested ; but escaping, went into the service 
of General Gates, who finding him too expensive, he 
entered into the employment of General La Fayette. 
The Marquis used to say, " that he was a cook only fit 
for a king." 

The Baroness had the accommodation of an English 
coach in commencing her journey to Virginia, Novem- 
ber, 1778. The provisions followed in the baggage 
wagon ; but as that moved more slowly, they were 
often without food, and were obliged to make a halt 
every fourth day. At Hartford, General La Fayette 
was invited to dine by the Baron, somewhat to the 
perplexity of his wife,, who feared she would have diffi- 
culty in preparing her provisions so as to suit one who 
appreciated a good dinner. The Marquis is mentioned 
with great respect; but Madame de Riedesel thinks the 
suspicions of the Americans were excited by hearing 
them speak French. 

tc We reached one day a pretty little town ; but our 
wagon remaining behind, we were very hungry 
Seeing much fresh meat in the house where we stopped, 
I begged the landlady to sell me some. "I have,'' 
quoth she, "several sorts of meat; beef, mutton and 















to 
84 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION 






lamb." 1 said, "let me have some; I will pay you 










liberally." But snapping her fingers, she replied; ''You 










shall not have a morsel of it ; why have you left your 










country to slay and rob us of our property? Now 










that you are our prisoners, it is our turn to vex you.' 










" But," rejoined I, " see those poor children ; they are 










dying of hunger." She remained still unmoved ; but 










when at length my youngest child. Caroline, who was 










then about two years and a half old. went to her, seized 










her hands, and said in English : " Good woman, I am 










indeed very hungry," she could no longer resist; and 










carrying the child to her room, she gave her an egg. 










" But," persisted the dear little one, " I have two sisters." 











Affected by this remark, the hostess gave her three 










eggs, saying, " I am loth to be so weak, but I cannot 










refuse the child." By-and-by she softened, and offered 










me bread and butter. I made tea : and saw that the 










hostess looked at our tea-pot with a longing eye; for 










the Americans are very fond of that beverage ; yet they 










lad stoutly resolved not to drink any more, the tax on 










,ea, as is well known, having been the immediate cause 










of the contest with Great Britain. I offered her, how 










ever, a cup, and presented her with a paper case full of 










tea. This drove away all clouds between us. She 










begged me to go with her into the kitchen, and there 1 










found her husband eating a piece of pork. The woman 










went into the cellar to bring me a basket of potatoes. 










When she returned into the kitchen, the husband offered 










iier some of his dainty food she tasted it, and returned 










,o him what remained. I was disagreeably struck with 











FREDERICA DE RIEDESEI 



85 



this partnership; but the man probably thought I was 
envious of it, on account of the hunger I had manifested ; 
and presented me with the little both had left. I feared 
by refusing, to offend them, and lose the potatoes. 1 
therefore accepted the morsel, and having kept up the 
appearance as if I ate, threw it secretly into the fire. 
We were now in perfect amity ; with the potatoes and 
some butter I made a good supper, and we had to our- 
selves three neat rooms, with very good beds." 

On the banks of the Hudson, in a skipper's house, 
they were not so fortunate in finding good accommo- 
dations being given the remnants of breakfast aftei 
the hostess, children, and servants had finished theii 
meal. The woman was a staunch republican, and 
could not bring herself to any courtesies towards the 
enemies of her country. They fared a little better 
after crossing the river. When the aids-de-camp who 
accompanied them to the house where they were to 
lodge, wished to warm themselves in the kitchen, the 
host followed, and taking them by their arms, said, " Is 
>t not enough that I give you shelter, ye wretched 
loyalists?" His wife, however, was more amiable; 
and his coarseness gradually softened, till they became 
good friends. 

They stopped one night on the road, at the house of 
a Colonel Howe, to whom the Baroness meant to pay a 
compliment by asking him if he was a relative of the 
general of that name. " Heaven forbid !" replied he, in 
great anger; "he is not worthy of that honor." Ma 
dame de Riedesel is amusingly indignant at the saD 



86 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 



guinary temper of this gentleman's daughter, who wan 
very pretty and only fourteen years of age. " Sitting 
with her near the fire, she said on a sudden, staring at 
the blaze, ' Oh ! if I had here the king of England, 
with how much pleasure 1 could roast and eat him!' 
I looked at her with indignation, and said, ' I am almost 
ashamed to belong to a sex capable of indulging such 
fancies !' I shall never forget that detestable girl." 

Passing through a wild, grand, and picturesque coun- 
try, they at length arrived in Virginia. At a day's dis- 
tance from the place of destination, their little stock of 
provisions gave out. At noon they reached a house, 
and begged for some dinner ; but all assistance was 
defied them, with many imprecations upon the royal- 
ists. " Seizing some maize, I begged our hostess to give 
me some of it to make a little bread. She replied that 
she needed it for her black people. ' They work for us/ 
she added, ' and you come to kill us.' Captain Edmon- 
stone offered to pay her one or two guineas for a little 
wheat. But she answered, ' You shall not have it even 
for hundreds of guineas ; and it will be so much the 
better if you all die !' The captain became so enraged at 
these words, that he was about to take the maize ; but I 
prevented him from doing it, thinking we should soon 
meet with more charitable people. But in this I was 
much mistaken ; for we did not see even a solitary hut. 
The roads were execrable, and the horses could hardly 
move. My children, starving from hunger, grew pale, 
and for the first time lost their spirits. Captain Edmon- 
.stone, deeply affected at this, went about asking some- 



FREDERICA DE RIEDESEL. 87 

thing for the children ; and received at last from one of 
ihe wagoners who transported our baggage, a piece of 
stale bread, of three ounces weight, upon which many 
a tooth had already exercised its strength. Yet to my 
children it was at this tii.ie a delicious morsel. I broke 
it, and was about giving the first piece to the youngest, 
but she said, ' No, mamma ; my sisters are more in 
want of it than I am.' The two eldest girls, with no 
less generosity, thought that little Caroline was to have 
the first piece. I then distributed to each her small 
portion. Tears ran down my cheeks ; and had I ever 
refused to the poor a piece of bread, I should have 
thought retributive justice had overtaken me. Captain 
Edmonstone, who was much affected, presented the 
generous wagoner who had given us his last morsel, 
with a guinea ; and when we were arrived at our place 
of destination, we provided him, besides, with bread for 
a part of his journey homewards." 

The place of their destination was Colle, in Virginia, 
where General Riedesel, who had advanced with the 
troops, already expected them with impatient anxiety 
This was about the middle of February, 1779. They 
had passed, in the journey, through the States of Con- 
necticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and 
Maryland ; and in about three months had travelled 
six hundred and twenty-eight miles. They hired a 
house belonging to an Italian who was about leaving 
the country. The troops were at Charlottesville, three 
hours' ride distant the road thither running through a 
fine wood 



88 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 



The life of Madame de Riedesel and her family in 
Virginia was not. an unhappy one, though they suffered 
from the heat during the summer. The General was 
brought home one day with a coup de soltil, which foi 
years afterwards affected his Health. His physician and 
acquaintances advised him to go to Frederic Springs 
It was there that he and his wife became acquainted 
with General Washington's family, and with some other 
amiable persons attached to the American cause. 

While at Frederic Springs. General Riedesel re- 
ceived the news that he and General Phillips, with their 
aids-de-camp, were expected in New York, where 
they were to be exchanged for American prisoners 
He returned to Colle, to place the troops during his 
absence, under the care of Colonel Specht. In August, 
1779, the Baroness left the Springs to join her husband 
in Pennsylvania, stopping near Baltimore to pay a visit 
to one of the ladies with whom, though of opposite 
political opinions,, she had formed a friendship at the 
Springs. This visit was a charming episode in the 
troubled life of Madame de Riedesel. She remembered 
long after, with gratitude, the hospitality and kindness 
received. " The loyalists," she says, " received us with 
frank hospitality, from political sympathy ; and those of 
opposite principles gave us a friendly welcome, merely 
from habit ; for in that country it would be con- 
sidered a crime to behave otherwise towards stran- 
gers." 

At Elizabethtown they met with many friends to 
their cause. They were exulting in the anticipatios 



FREDERICA DE R1EDESEL. 89 

of an exchange, and restoration to freedom, when an 
officer arrived, commissioned by Washington to deliver 
to General Phillips a letter containing an order to re- 
turn to Virginia Congress having rejected the proposal 
of a cartel. The disappointment was excessive, but 
unavoidable ; and after a day's halt, they commenced 
their journey back. On reaching Bethlehem, the two 
Generals, Riedesel and Phillips, obtained permission to 
remain there till the difficulties respecting the cartel 
should be removed. Their bill, after six weeks' lodg- 
ing for the party, with the care of their .horses, amount- 
ed to thirty-two thousand dollars in paper money, cor- 
responding to about four hundred guineas in specie. A 
traveller who bought silver coin, gave them eighty dol- 
lars in paper money for every dollar in silver, and thus 
enabled them to leave the place, when at last permitted 
to go to New York. 

Arrived at New York, a soldier went before the 
travellers " from the gate of the city," to show the way 
to their lodging. This proved to be the house of the 
Governor, General Tryon, where the Baroness made 
herself at home with her children and attendants, under 
the belief that they had been conducted to a hotel. She 
received visits here from General Patterson, the Com- 
mandant of the city ; and also from Generals Corn- 
wallis and Clinton ; and had a romantic introduction to 
her host, who did not announce his name at the first 
visit, nor till she had expressed a wish to become per- 
gonally acquainted with him. 

Madame de Riedesel went from the city to Genera 



90 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

Clinton's country-seat, a mile distant, where her chi*. 
dren were innoculated for the small-pox. When the 
danger of infection was over, they returned and spent 
the winter in New York. The charming country-seat 
was aga.in their residence in the summer of 1780. 
The situation was uncommonly beautiful ; around the 
house were meadows and orchards, with the Hudson at 
their feet ; and they had abundance of delicious fruit. 
General Clinton visited them frequently, and the last 
time was accompanied by Major Andre, the day before 
he set out on his fatal expedition. 

The breaking out of a malignant fever, which made 
dreadful ravages in the city and neighborhood, dis- 
turbed their pleasure. In the house no less than twenty 
were laboring under the disease. The Baron himself 
was dangerously ill ; and the cares and nursing devolved 
on his wife, who was worn out with anxiety. " We 
were one day," she says, "in anxious expectation of 
our physician from New York, my husband's symptoms 
having become of late more and more threatening. He 
was continually in a lethargic stupor, and when I pre- 
sented him the sago water, which the physician had 
ordered for him, he turned round, desiring me to let 
him die quietly. He thought his end must be near. 
The physician having entered the room at that mo- 
ment, I urgently begged him to tell me the truth, and to 
let me know if there was any hope of my husband'? 
recovery. He had scarcely said ' Yes,' when my chil 
dren, on hearing this merciful word, sprang from under 
a table where they had lain concealed in dreadful ex- 



FREDERICA DE RIEDESEL. 91 

pectation of the doctor's sentence, threw themselves at 
his feet, and kissed his hands with rapturous feelings 
of gratitude. Nobody could have witnessed the scene 
without sharing my deep emotion." * * " Out of 
thirty persons of whom our family consisted, ten only 
escaped the disease. It is astonishing how much the 
frail human creature can endure ; and I am amazed 
that I survived such hard trials. My happy tempera- 
ment permitted me even to be gay and cheerful, when- 
ever my hopes were encouraged. The best health is 
often undermined by such sufferings ; still I rejoice to 
think I had it in my power to be useful to those who 
are dearest to me ; and that without my exertions, I 
might have lost those who now contribute so much to 
my felicity. At length all my patients were cured." 

In the autumn Generals Phillips and Riedesel were 
exchanged ; although the rest of the army who surrender- 
ed at Saratoga still remained prisoners. General 
Clinton wished to replace the Baron in active service, 
and appointed him Lieutenant General, investing him 
with the command at Long Island. A second danger- 
ous attack of fever so impaired his health, that the 
physicians thought he could never recover as long as he 
resided in that climate. But he would not leave the 
army, nor ask a furlough. 

In the following spring, the Baroness was established 
on Long Island. Her husband's health mended slowly , 
and his thoughts being often fixed on the remnant of his 
late regiments, which had remained in Canada, General 
Clinton at length consented that he should pay them a 



92 WOMEN OP THE REVOLUTION 

visit. Being about to depart in July, Madame de 
Riedesel sent the residue of their wood about thirty 
cords to some poor families, and took but a few articles 
of furniture, returning the rest to the commissary oi 
the army. They at last embarked for Canada, and 
reached Quebec after a journey of about two months, 
in September, 1781. 

Madame de Riedesel gives a pleasing description of 
her life in Canada, which seems to have been very 
agreeable. She had an opportunity of observing the 
habits of the Indians, some of whom were under her 
husband's command. Before she joined him on her 
first arrival in Canada, one of the savages, having heard 
that M. de Riedesel was ill, that he was married, and 
felt uneasy on account of the delay in his wife's arrival, 
came with his own wife, and said to the General ; " I 
love my wife but I love thee also ; in proof of which I 
give her to thee." The Indian seemed distressed and 
almost offended at the refusal of his gift. It is some- 
what remarkable that this man was by birth a German, 
who had been taken prisoner by the savages when 
about fifteen years of age. 

In the summer of 1783, the General having received 
news of the death of his father, became impatient to 
return to Europe. They made all necessary arrange- 
ments for the voyage, and after the troops had embarked, 
were accompanied by many of their friends to the 
vessel. 



VIII. 



DOROTHY HANCOCK. 

MRS. HANCOCK was one of those who, at Cambridge, 
extended courtesies to the ladies of Burgoyne's army, 
when under the convention of surrender. She was the 
daughter of Edmund Quincy, of Massachusetts, and 
was born in 1750. At the age of twenty-four she was 
married to one of the greatest men of the age. The 
honor that encircled the name of John Hancock, 
received added lustre from the fair partner of his 
fortunes. Moving in the best circles of society, and a 
leader in taste and fashion, she filled her illustrious 
station with dignity, and dispensed with grace the 
hospitalities of her house. There might be seen at hei 
table all classes ; the grave clergy, the veteran and the 
gay and the gifted in song, or anecdote, or wit. 'The 
social customs of the day savored of profusion. It 
was a practice in families of respectability, te have a 
tankard of punch made in the morning, of which visitors 
during the day were invited to partake. Dinners ana 
suppers were frequently interchanged : ami the tables 
were loaded with provision. The dinner hour was at 
one or two o'clock ; and three was the latest for formal 



94 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

occasions. The evening amusement was usually a game 
at cards ; and dancing was much in vogue. There 
were concerts; but theatrical amusements were pro- 
hibited. Much attention was paid to dress ; and coats 
various in color were worn 

Mrs. Hancock was not only admirable in the pleasing 
duties of mistress of her household, but in hours of 
disease and pain soothed her husband and calmed his 
sensitive and irritable temper. She had her share, too, 
in the terrors and dangers of the war. When the 
British made their attack at Lexington and Concord, 
she was at the latter place with Mr. Hancock, and fled 
with him to Woburn. Many a scene of Revolutionary 
days, in which she was herself an actor or a spectator, 
she was accustomed to depict in after years. She would 
often describe the appearance and manners of the 
British officers who had been quartered in Boston, 
dwelling particularly on the military virtue of Earl 
Percy, who slept in a tent among his soldiers encamped 
on the Common in the winter of 1774-5, and whose 
voice could be heard at the dawn of day, drilling his 
troops. 

During the life of her husband, Mrs. Hancock was 
of necessity much in the gay world, in which she occu- 
pied a position so distinguished. After his death she 
married Captain Scott, with whom she passed a less 
brilliant, yet not a less happy life. Her later years 
were spent in seclusion. She was still, however, sur- 
rounded by friends who were instructed and charmed 
by her superior mind, and cheerful conversation. She 



SARAH HULL. 95 

went but little into society, and whenever she appeared, 
was received with great attention. La Fayette, on his 
visit to this country, called upon her, and many spoke 
of the interesting interview witnessed between "the 
once youthful chevalier and the splendid belle." 

She died in her seventy-eighth year. Several anec- 
dotes are told of her sprightliness, good sense, and 
benevolence, but unfortunately cannot be obtained in a 
form sufficiently authentic for this sketch. 



SARAH HULL, the wife of Major William Hull, was 
one of those women who followed their husbands to 
the camp, resolved to partake their dangers and priva- 
tions. She was with the army at Saratoga, and joined 
the other American ladies in kind and soothing atten- 
tions to the fair captives after the surrender. She was 
the daughter of Judge Fuller, of Newton, Massachu- 
setts, and was born about 1755. At the close of the 
war she returned home ; and when her gallant husband 
was appointed general of the county militia, did the 
honors of his marquee, and received guests of distinc- 
tion with a grace, dignity, and affability that attracted 
general admiration. For several years General Hull 
held the office of Govern6r of Michigan Territory. 
In her eminent station, Mrs. Hull displayed so much 
good sense, with more brilliant accomplishments, that 
she improved the state of society in her neighborhood, 
without provoking envy by her superiority. The influ- 
ence of a strong intellect, with cultivated taste and 
7 



90 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

refinement, presided in her circle. Those who visited 
the wild country about them found a generous wel- 
come at her hospitable mansion, and departed with ad- 
miring recollections of her and her daughters. 

But it was in the cloud of misfortune that the energy 
of Mrs. Hull's character was most clearly shown. Gov- 
ernor Hull having been appointed Major General in the 
war of 1812, met with disasters which compelled his 
surrender, and subjected him to suspicions of treason. 
His protracted trial and his defence belong to history. 
His wife sustained these evils with a trustful serenity, 
hoping that the day would yet come when all doubts 
should be cleared away, and her husband restored to 
public confidence. The loss of her son in battle was 
borne with the same Christian fortitude. Her quiet, 
calm demeanor exhibited no trace of the suffering that 
had wrung her heart. She lived to see her hopes 
realized in the General's complete vindication ; ard died 
in 1826, in less than a year from his decease. 




THE AQUEDUCT NEAR THE BATTLE-FIELD OF CHAPULTEPEC. 



IX. 



HAKRIET ACKIAND. 

THE sto:y of female heroism, fidelity, and piety, with 
which the name of Lady Harriet Ackland is associated, 
is familiar to the readers of American history. To the 
fairer page where such examples of virtue are recorded, 
we delight to turn from the details of military achieve- 
ment. The presence that shed radiance on the sunny 
days of hope and success, relieved and brightened the 
season of disaster. Her offices of mediation softened 
the bitterness of political animosity. The benevolent 
and conciliating efforts are known by which this heroine 
endeavored to settle differences that arose between the 
captive British soldiers and their conquerors, at the 
time the troops were quartered at Cambridge after the 
surrender. 

Lady Harriet was the wife of Major Ackland, an 
officer in Burgoyne's army. She accompanied him to 
Canada in 1776, and in the disastrous campaign of the 
following year, from Canada to Saratoga. Beautiful 
and admired as she was, and accustomed to all the 
luxuries and refinements incident to rank and fortune, 
her delicate frame ill calculated to sustain the various 



98 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

hardships to be undergone, she yet shrank not from her 
husband's perils and privations in traversing the dreary 
wilderness. When he lay i. at Chambly, in a miser- 
able hut, her attention was assiduous, in defiance of 
fatigue and discomfort. V hen he was wounded at 
Hubbardton, she hastened from Montreal, where she 
had been at first persuaded to remain, and crossed Lake 
Champlain, resolved to leave him no more. Her vehicle 
of conveyance on the march of the army, was part of 
the time a small two- wheeled tumbril, drawn by a single 
horse, over roads almost impassable. The women fol- 
lowed in the rear of the artillery and baggage; but 
heard all the uproar in encounters with the enemy. 

On the advance of the army to Fort Edward, the 
lent in which Lady Ackland lodged took fire, the light 
being pushed over by a pet Newfoundland dog ; and 
she and her husband made their escape with the utmost 
difficulty. . But no hazards dissuaded the wife from her 
purpose. She was not only the ministering angel of 
him she loved so devotedly, but won the admiration ol 
the army by her amiable deportment ; continually mak- 
ing little presents to the officers belonging to his corps, 
whenever she had any thing among her stores worth 
acceptance ; and receiving in return every kind atten- 
tion which could mitigate the hardships she had daily 
to encounter.* 

In the decisive action of the seventh of October, 
Lady Ackland was again in the tumult of battle. Dur- 

* Burgoyne's Campaign ; Thacher's Military Journal ; and othei 
nthorities. 



HARRIET ACKLAND. 



99 



ing the heat of the conflict, tortured by anxiety, she 
took refuge among the wounded and dying. Her hus- 
band, commanding the grenadiers, was in the most 
exposed part of the battle, and she awaited his fate in 
awful suspense. The Baroness Riedesel, and the wives 
of two other field officers, were her companions in ap- 
prehension. One of the officers was brought in wounded, 
and the death of the other was announced. In the 
midst of the heart-rending scenes that followed, intel- 
ligence came that the British army was defeated, and 
that Major Ackland was desperately wounded and a 
prisoner. 

The unhappy lady, sustained by the counsels of her 
friend the Baroness, determined to join -her husband in 
the American camp. She sent a message to General 
Burgoyne, through his aid-de-camp, Lord Petersham, to 
ask permission to depart. The British commander was 
astonished at this application. He was ready to believe 
patience and fortitude most brightly displayed in the 
female character ; but he could hardly understand the 
courage of a woman, who after suffering so long the 
agitation of suspense, exhausted by want of rest and 
want of food, was ready to brave the darkness of night 
and the drenching rain for many hours, and to deliver 
herself to the enemy, uncertain into what hands she 
might fall ! " The assistance I was able to give," he 
says, " was small indeed. I had not even a cup of wine 
to offer her. All I could furnish was an open boat, and 
a few lines written on dirty and wet paper to Genera* 
Gates, recommending her to his protection." 



100 



WOMEN OF THE REVC LUTION. 



How picturesque is the grouping of scenes \ve have 
at this point, and how do woman's strength of character 
and ardent affection shine amid the surrounding gloom ! 
The army on its retreat the sick and wounded aban- 
doned to the mercy of the victors the state of confusion 
following disasters so fatal to British power the defeated 
general appealing in behalf of the suffering wife, by his 
tribute, written in haste and agitation, to her grace and 
excellence, and his expression of compassion for her haid 
fortune and her own forgetfulness of danger, in hasten- 
ing to her husband's aid ! 

She obtained from the wife of a soldier the refresh- 
ment of a little spirits and water, and set out in an open 
boat, accompanied by the British chaplain Brudenell, 
her own waiting-maid, and her husband's valet, who 
had been severely wounded in the search for his mas- 
ter when first missing from the field of battle. They 
went down the river during a violent storm of rain and 
wind, and arrived at the American out-posts in the 
night, having suffered much from wet and cold. The 
sentinel of the advance-guard heard the sound of oars, 
and hailed the boat. What must have been his surprise 
to hear that a woman had braved the storm on such an 
errand! He sent for Major Dearborn, the officer of 
the guard, before he would permit the passengers to 
land. Major Dearborn invited Lady Ackland to his 
guard-house, offered her a cup of tea, and every accom- 
modation in his power, and gave her the welcome intel- 
ligence of her husband's safety. In the morning she 
experienced the kindness of General Gate?, who treated 



HARRIET ACKLAND. 



101 



her with the tenderness of a parent, bestowing every 
attention which her sex and circumstances required. 
She was conveyed, under a suitable escort, to the 
quarters of General Poor on the heights, to her wounded 
husband; and there remained till he was taken to Al- 
bany. Her resolution, and devotion to him, touched 
the feelings of the Americans, and won the admiration 
of all who heard her story. 

It is related that Major Ackland showed his sense of 
the generous treatment he had received, by doing all in 
his power, while in New York on parole, to alleviate 
the condition of American prisoners of distinction. 
After his return to England, he lost his life in defence 
of American honor. At a dinner of military gentle- 
men, a Lieutenant Lloyd threw out sneering remarks 
upon the alleged cowardice of the American troops. 
This was an indirect aspersion on the bravery of the 
unfortunate officers who had been taken captive with 
Burgoyne's army, and was felt and resented by Major 
Ackland. High words ensued, and a d lei was the con- 
sequence, in which Ackland fell at the first fire. The 
shock of his death deprived Lady Harriet of reason, 
and she remained two years in that sad condition. 
After her recovery she quitted the gay world, and gave 
her hand to the Rev. Mr. Brudenell, who had accom- 
panied her on that gloomy night to the camp of Gen- 
eral Gates. She survived him many years, and died at 
an advanced age. 



X. 



HANNAH ERWIN ISRAEL. 

ABOUT the close of the year 1777, while the coin- 
mander-in-chief of the British forces was in possession 
of Philadelphia, a foot passenger might have been seen 
on the road leading from Wilmington to that city. He 
was a young man of tall figure and powerful frame, 
giving evidence of great muscular strength, to which a 
walk of over thirty miles, under ordinary circumstances, 
would be a trifle. But the features of the traveller 
were darkened by anxiety and apprehension ; and it 
was more the overtasking of the mind than the body 
which occasioned the weariness and lassitude under 
which he was plainly laboring. His dress was that of 
a simple citizen, and he was enveloped in a large cloak, 
affording ample protection against the severity of the 
weather, as well as serving to conceal sundry parcels 
of provisions, and a bag of money, with which 
he was laden. It was long after dark before he 
reached the ferry; but renewed hope and confidence 
filled his heart as he approached the termination of his 
journey. 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION 103 



Sir William Howe, it will be remembered s haa entered 
the capital towards the end of September, after much 
manoeuvring and several battles Washington having 
made ineffectual efforts to prevent the accomplishment 
of his object. He was received with a welcome, 
apparently cordial, by the timid or interested citizens. 
His first care was to reduce the fortifications on the 
Delaware, and remove the obstructions prepared by the 
Americans to prevent the British fleet from ascending 
the river. While Fort Mifflin at Mud Island, and 
Fort Mercer at Red Bank, were occupied by their 
garrisons, he could have no communication with his 
fleet, and was in danger of being speedily compelled 
to evacuate the city. Count Donop, detached with 
the Hessian troops to take possession of the fort at 
Red Bank, was repulsed and mortally wounded. The 
invader's fortune, however, triumphed ; and the A meri- 
cans were finally driven from their posts. Their water 
force was compelled to retire from the fire of the 
batteries ; and the British at length gained free com- 
munication, by way of the Delaware, between their 
army and the shipping. Thus the reverses in New 
Jersey and Pennsylvania had cast a gloom over the 
country, which could not be altogether dispelled even 
by the brilliant victories of Saratoga and the capture 
of Burgoyne and his army. The condition of the 
American army, when it retired into winter quarters at 
Valley Forge, was deplorable enough to change hope 
into despair, and presented truly a spectacle unparalleled 



104 HANNAH ERWIN ISRAEL. 



in history. "Absolute destitution held high court ; and 
never was the chivalric heroism of patriotic suffering 
more tangibly manifested than by that patriot-band 
within those frail log huts that barely covered them from 
the falling snow, or sheltered them from the keen wintry 
blasts." This privation of necessary food and clothing 
during one of the most rigorous winters ever experi- 
enced in the country this misery the detail of which 
is too familiar to need repetition, was endured by the 
continental soldiers at the same time that the English 

O 

in the metropolis were revelling in unrestrained luxury 
and indulgence.* Many whig families, meanwhile, 
who remained in Philadelphia, plundered and insulted 
by the soldiers, wanted the comforts of life, and received 
assistance clandestinely from their friends at a distance. 

To return to our narrative. When the traveller 
arrived at the ferry, he was promptly hailed by the sen 
tinel, with " Who goes there ?" 

" A friend," was the reply. 

" The countersign !" 

The countersign for the night was promptly given. 

* Marshall's MS. Journal says, December 28th, 1777, " Our 
affairs wear a very gloomy aspect. Great part of our army gon? into 
winter quarters ; those in camp wanting breeches, shoes, stocKings 
[and] blankets, and by accounts brought yesterday, were in want of 
flour." * * * " Our enemies revelling in balls, attended 
with every degree of luxury and excess in the city ; rioting and 
wantonly using our houses, utensils and furniture; all this [and] a 
numberless number of other abuses, we endure from that handful ot 
banditti, to the amount of six or seven thousand men, headed by that 
monster of rapine, General Howe." 




HANNAH ERWIN ISRAEL SAVING THE CATTLE. 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 105 

" Pass, friend !'* said the soldier ; and the other went 
on quickly. 

Israel Israel was a native of Pennsylvania. He had 
left America at twenty-one, for the island of Barbadoes; 
and by nine or ten years of patient industry had amass- 
ed considerable property. He returned rich to his 
native country.; but in a few months after his marriage 
the war broke out, and his whole fortune was lost or 
sacrificed by agents. He had resolved, with his bro- 
ther, at the commencement of the struggle, to take up 
arms in the cause of freedom. But the necessity was 
imperative that one should remain for the protection of 
the helpless females of the family ; and their entreaties 
not to be left exposed to a merciless enemy without a 
brother's aid, at last prevailed. Israel and Joseph drew 
lots to determine which should become a soldier. The 
lot fell upon the younger and unmarried one. At this 
period the residence of Israel was on a small farm near 
Wilmington, Delaware. His mother had removed with 
her family to Philadelphia, her house at Newcastle being 
thought too much exposed in the vicissitudes of war 
After the occupation of the capital by the British, they 
endured severe hardships, sometimes suffering the want 
of actual necessaries. Israel watched over their wel- 
fare with incessant anxiety. 

The knowledge that his beloved ones were in, want 
of supplies, and that his presence was needed, deter- 
mined him to enter the city at this time, notwithstand- 
ing the personal hazard it involved. One of his tory 
neighbors, who professed the deepest sympathy for hia 



106 HANNAH ERWIN ISRAEL. 

feelings, procured for him the countersign for the night. 
He had thus been enabled to elude the vigilance of the 
sentinel. 

When arrived at his mother's dwelling, Mr. Israe. 
found that it was in the possession of several soldiers, 
quartered upon the family. Among them was a savage- 
looking Hessian, with aspect of itself quite enough to 
terrify timid women. But all annoyances, and the fa- 
tigues of his long walk, were forgotten in the joyful 
meeting. A still more pleasing surprise was reserved 
for him; his young brother, Joseph, was that very 
hour on a secret visit to the family. For some hours of 
the evening the household circle was once more com- 
plete. 

But such happiness, in those times of peril, was 
doomed to be short-lived. At eleven o'clock, while the 
family were seated at supper, the tramp of horses wa? 
heard without ; and the rough voices of soldiers clamored 
at the door. Within, all was confusion ; and the terrified 
women entreated the brothers to fly. They followed 
the younger with frantic haste up the stairs, where he 
left his uniform, and made his escape from the roof of 
the house. The knocking and shouting continued be- 
low ; Israel descended, accompanied by the pale and 
trembling females, and himself opened the door. The 
intruders rushed in. At their head was the Hessian 
sergeant, who instantly seized the young man's arm, 
exclaiming, " We have caught Kim at last the rebel 
rascal ! w 

Mr. Israel's presence of mind never forsook him 



WOMEN OP THE REVOLUTION. 



107 



under the most appalling circumstances. He was sen- 
sible of the imminence of his own danger, and that his 
brother's safety could be secured only by delay. He 
shook off the grasp of the officer, and calmly demanded 
what was meant, and who it was that accused him of 
being a rebel. 

" There he is !" replied the Hessian, pointing to Caesar, 
a slave Mr. Israel had brought from the West Indies, 
and given his mother for a guard. 

The master fixed upon the negro his stern and pene- 
trating look so steadfastly, that Caesar trembled and 
hung his head. " Dare you, Caesar, call me rebel ?" he 
exclaimed. " Gentlemen" the muscles of his mouth 
worked into a sneer as he pronounced the word " there 
is some mistake here. My brother Joe is the person 
meant, I presume. Let me fetch the uniform ; and 
then you can judge for yourselves. Caesar, come with 
me." 

So saying, and taking the black by the arm with a 
vice-like grasp, he led him up stairs. " Not one word, 
you rascal," was whispered in his ear, " or I kill you 
upon the spot." The negro drew his breath hard and 
convulsively, but dared not speak. The uniform was 
produced and exhibited ; and Israel made efforts to put 
it on before his captors. The person whom it fitted 
being short and slight in figure, its ludicrous dispropor- 
tion to the towering height and robust form of the elder 
brother, convinced the soldiers of their mistake ; and 
the sergeant made awkward apologies, shaking the hand 
of the man he had so lately called a rebel, assuring him 



108 



HANNAH EVlWIN ISRAEL. 



ne had no doubt he was an honest and loyal subject ; 
and that he would take care his fidelity should be men- 
tioned in the proper quarter. 

" And now," he said, " as your supper is ready, we 
will sit down." He seated himself beside his host, 
whose resentment at the familiarity' was tempered by 
the thought that his brother was saved by the well- 
timed deceit. The ladies also were compelled to take 
their places, and to listen in silence to the coarse re- 
marks of their unwelcome guest. With rude protes- 
tations of good will, and promises of patronage, he 
mingled boastful details of his exploits in slaughtering 
" the rebels," that caused his auditors to shudder with 
horror. Mr. Israel used to relate afterwards that he 
grasped the knife he was using, and raised it to strike 
down the savage ; but that his mother's look of ago- 
nized entreaty withheld the blow. The Hessian con- 
tinued his recital, accompanied by many bitter oaths. 

"That Paoli affair," cried he, "was capital! I was 
with General Grey in that attack. It was just after 
midnight when we forced the outposts, and not a noise 
was heard so loud as the dropping of a musket. How 
the fellows turned out of their encampment when they 
heard us! What a running about barefoot and half 
clothed and in the light of their own fires ! These 
showed us where to chase them, while they could not 
see us. We killed three hundred of the rebels with the 
bayonet ; I stuck them myself like so many pigs one 
after another till the blood ran out of the touchhole oi 
my musket." 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 



109 



The details of the Hessian were interrupf.ed by Mr. 
Israel's sfarting to his feet, with face pale with rage, 
convulsed lips, and clenched hands. The catastrophe 
that might have ensued was prevented by a faint shriek 
from his young sister, who fell into his arms in a swoon. 
The sergeant's horrible boastings thus silenced, and 
the whole room in confusion, he bade the family good 
night, saying he was on duty, and presently quitted the 
house. 

The parting of those who had just gone through so 
agitating a scene was now to take place. Ceesar was 
sternly questioned, and reprimanded for his perfidy ; 
but the black excused himself by pleading that he had 
been compelled to do as he had done. For the future, 
with streaming eyes, he promised the strictest fidelity ; 
and to his credit be it said, remained steadfast in the 
performance of this promise. 

Having bidden adieu to his family, Mr. Israel set 
forth on his journey homeward. He arrived only to 
be made a prisoner. The loyalist who had given him 
the countersign, had betrayed the secret of his expe- 
dition. He and his wife's brother were immediately 
seized and carried on board the frigate Roebuck, lying 
in the Delaware, a few miles from the then borough of 
Wilmington and directly opposite his farm in ordei 
to be tried as spies. 

Being one of the " Committee of Safety," the posi- 
tion of Mr. Israel, under such an accusation, was ex- 
tremely critical. On board the ship he was treated with 
the utmost severity. His watch, silver shoe-buckles, 



HO HANNAH ERWIN ISRAEL. 

and various articles of clothing were taken from him 
his bed was a coil of ropes on deck, without" covering 
from the bitter cold of the night air ; and to all appear- 
ances his fate was already decided. The testimony of 
his tory neighbors was strong against him. Several 
were ready to swear to the fact, that while the loyal 
population of the country had willingly furnished their 
share of the provisions needed by the ships of war, he 
had been heard to say repeatedly, that he " would sooner 
drive his cattle as a present to General Washington, 
than receive thousands of dollars in British gold for 
them." 

On being informed of this speech, the commander 
gave orders that a detachment of soldiers should pro- 
ceed to drive the rebel's cattle, then grazing in a mea- 
dow in full view, down to the river, and slaughter them 
in the face of the prisoners. 

What, meanwhile, must have been the feelings of the 
young wife herself about to become a mother when 
her husband and brother were led away in her very 
sight ? The farm was a mile or more from the river ; 
but there was nothing to intercept the view the ground 
from the meadow sloping down to the water. Mrs. 
Israel was at this period about nineteen years of age ; 
and is described as of middle height, and slight but 
symmetrical figure ; of fair complexion, with clear 
blue eyes and dark hair ; her manners modest and retir- 
ing. She was devoted to her family and her domestic 
concerns. It needed the trying scenes by which she 
surrounded, to develop the heroism which, in times 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. Ill 

more peaceful, might have been unmarked by those who 
knew her most intimately. 

From her position on the look-out, she saw the sol- 
diers land from the ships, shoulder arms, and advance 
towards the meadow. In an instant she divined their 
purpose; and her resolution was taken. With a boy 
eight years old, whom she bade follow her at his utmost 
speed, she started off, determined to baffle the enemy, 
and save the cattle at the peril of her life. Down went 
the bars, and followed by the little boy, she ran to drive 
the herd to the opening. 

The soldiers called out repeatedly to her to desist, 
and threatened, if she did not, to fire upon her. 

" Fire away !" cried the heroic woman. They fired ! 
The balls flew thickly around her. The frightened cat- 
tle ran in every direction over the field. 

" This way !" she called to the boy, nothing daunted ; 
" this way, Joe ! Head them there ! Stop them, Joe ! 
Do not let one escape !" 

And not one did escape ! The bullets fired by the 
cowardly British soldiers continued to whistle around 
her person. The little boy, paralyzed by terror, fell to 
the ground. She seized him by the arm, lifted him over 
the fence, and herself drove the cattle into the barn- 
yard. The assailants, baffled by the courage of a wo- 
man, and probably not daring, for fear of the neighbors, 
to invade the farrn-houses, retraced their steps, and re. 
turned disappointed to the ship. 

All this scene passed in sight of the officers of the 
"Roebuck" and the two prisoners. The agony of 



HANNAH ERWIN ISRAEL. 



suspense and fear endured by the husband and brother, 
when they saw the danger to which the wife exposed 
herself, may be better imagined than described. It may 
also be conceived how much they exulted in her 
triumph. 

The trial was held on board the ship. The tory wit- 
nesses were examined in due form ; and it was but too evi- 
dent that the lives of the prisoners were in great danger. 
A kind-hearted sailor sought an opportunity of speaking 
in private with Mr. Israel, and asked him if he were a 
freemason. The answer was in the affirmative. The 
sailor then informed him that a lodge was held on ship- 
board, and the officers, who belonged to it, were to 
meet that night. 

The prisoners were called up before their judges, and 
permitted to answer to the accusations against them 
Mr. Israel, in bold but respectful language, related his 
story; and acknowledged his secret visit to Philadelphia, 
not in the character of a spy, but to carry relief to his 
suffering parent and her family. He also acknowledged 
having said, as was testified, that " he would rather give 
his cattle to Washington, or destroy the whole herd 
than sell them for British gold." This trait of magna- 
nimity might not have been so appreciated by the 
enemies of his country, as to operate in his favor, but 
that watching his opportunity, he made to the com- 
manding officer the secret sign of masonic brotherhood. 
The effect was instantly observable. The officer's stern 
countenance softened ; his change of opinion and that 
of the other judges, became evident ; and after some 




ff AHDlffilKSAlf Iffll 

I N I83O . 



WOMEN OF THE REVO1 UTION. 113 

further examination, the court was broken up. The 
informants, and those who had borne testimony against 
the prisoners, hung their heads in shame at the severe 
rebuke of the court, for their cowardly conduct i 
betraying, and preferring charges against an honorable 
man, bound on a mission of love and duty to his aged 
mother. The acquitted prisoners were dismissed, 
loaded with presents of pins, handkerchiefs, and other 
articles not to be purchased at that time, for the intrepid 
wife ; and were sent on shore in a splendid barge, as a 
mark of special honor from the officer in command. 

Such was the adventure in which the courage and 
patriotism of the subject of this notice was displayed. 
The records of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, of 
which Mr. Israel was Grand Master for many years, 
bear testimony to his having been saved from an igno- 
minious death by masonry. Mrs. Israel's family name 
was Erwin; her ancestors were Quakers who came 
with Penn, her parents native Americans; and she 
herself was born in Wilmington, Delaware. 



XI. 



LYDIA DARK AH.* 

DN the second day of December, 1777. late in the 
afternoon, an officer in the British uniform ascended the 
steps of a house in Second street, Philadelphia, imme- 
diately opposite the quarters occupied by General Howe, 
who, at that time, had full possession of the city. The 
nouse was plain and neat in its exterior, and well known 
to be tenanted by William and Lydia Darrah, members of 
the Society of Friends. It was the place chosen by 
the superior officers of the army for private conference, 
whenever it was necessary to hold consultations on 
subjects of importance ; and selected, perhaps, on ac- 
count of the unobtrusive character of its inmates, whose 
religion inculcated meekness and forbearance, and for- 
bade them to practise the arts of war. 

The officer, who seemed quite familiar with the man- 

* Sometimes spelled Darrach. This anecdote is given in the first 
number of the American Quarterly Review, and is said to be taken from 
Lydia's own narration. It is mentioned or alluded to by several othei 
authorities, and in letters written at the time. The story is familiar to 
many persons in Philadelphia, who heard it from their parents ; so 
that there appears no reason to doubt its authenticity. 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 115 

sion, knocked at the door. It was opened ; and in the 
neatly-furnished parlor he met the mistress, who spoke 
to him, calling him by name. It was the adjutant- 
general ; and he appeared in haste to give an order. 
This was to desire that the back-room above stairs 
might be prepared for th- reception that evening of 
himself and his friends, who were to meet there and 
remain late. " And be sure, Lydia," he concluded, 
" that your family are all in bed at an early hour. I 
shall expect you to attend to this request. When our 
guests are ready to leave the house, I will myself give 
you notice, that you may let us out, and extinguish the 
fire and candles." 

Having delivered this order with an emphatic man- 
ner which showed that he relied much on the prudence 
and discretion of the person he addressed, the adjutant- 
general departed. Lydia betook herself to getting all 
things in readiness. But the words she had heard, es- 
pecially the injunction to retire early, rang in her ears ; 
and she could not divest herself of the indefinable feel- 
ing that something of importance was in agitation. 
While her hands were busy in the duties that devolved 
upon her, her mind was no less actively at work. The 
evening closed in, and the officers came to the place of 
meeting. Lydia had ordered all her family to bed, and 
herself admitted the guests, after which she retired to 
her own apartment, and threw herself, without undress- 
ing, upon the bed. 

But sleep refused to visit her eyelids. Her vague ap- 
prehensions gradually assumed more definite shape 



116 LYDIA D AKRAH. 

She became more and more uneasy, till her nervous 
restlessness amounted to absolute terror. Unable longei 
to resist the impulse not of curiosity, but surely of a far 
higher feeling she slid from the bed, and taking off her 
shoes, passed noiselessly from her chamber and along the 
entry. Approaching cautiously the apartment in which 
the officers were assembled, she applied her ear to the 
key-hole. For a few moments she could distinguish 
but a word or two amid the murmur of voices ; yet 
what she did hear but stimulated her eager desire to 
learn the important secret of the conclave. 

At length there was profound silence, and a voice 
was heard reading a paper aloud. It was an order for 
the troops to quit the city on the night of the fourth, 
and march out to a secret attack upon the American 
army, then encamped at White Marsh. 

Lydia had heard enough. She retreated softly to her 
own room, and laid herself quietly on the bed. In the 
deep stillness that reigned through the house, she could 
hear the beating of her own heart the heart now throb- 
bing with emotions to which no speech could give utter- 
ance. It seemed to her that but a few moments had 
elapsed, when there was a knocking at her door. She 
knew well what the signal meant, but took no heed. It 
was repeated, and more loudly ; still she gave no an- 
swer. Again, and yet more loudly, the knocks were 
repeated ; and then she rose quickly, and opened the 
door. 

It was the adjutant-general, who came to inform 
her they were leady to depart. Lydia let them out, 




INDEPENDENCE HALL, PHILADELPHIA, WHERE THE DECLARATION OF INDEPEN- 
DENCE WAS SIGNED. 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 



117 



fastened the house, and extinguished the lights and fire 
Again she returned to her chamber, and to bed ; but re- 
pose was a stranger for the rest of the night. Her 
mind was more disquieted than ever. She thought of 
the danger that threatened the lives of thousands of her 
countrymen, and of the ruin that impended over the 
whole land. Something must be done, and that imme- 
diately, to avert this wide-spread destruction. Should 
she awaken her husband and inform him ? That would 
be to place him in special jeopardy, by rendering him a 
partaker of her secret ; and he might, too, be less wary 
and prudent than herself. No ; come what might, she 
would encounter the risk alone. After a petition for 
heavenly guidance, her resolution was formed ; and she 
waited with composure, though sleep was impossible, 
till the dawn of day. Then she waked her husband, 
and informed him flour was wanted for the use of the 
household, and that it was necessary she should go to 
Frankford to procure it. This was no uncommon oc- 
currence ; and her declining the attendance of the 
maid-servant excited little surprise. Taking the bag 
with her, she walked through the snow ; having stop- 
ped first at head-quarters, obtained access to Gen- 
eral Howe, and secured his written permission to pass 
the British lines. 

The feelings of a wife and mother one whose reli- 
gion was that of love, and whose life was but a quiet 
round of domestic duties bound on an enterprise so 
hazardous, and uncertain whether her life might not be 
the forfeit, may be better imagined than described 



118 



LYDIA DARRAH. 



Lydia reached Frankford, distant four or five miles, and 
deposited her bag at the mill. Now commenced the 
dangers of her undertaking ; for she pressed forward 
with all haste towards the outposts of the American 
army. Her determination was to apprise General 
Washington of the danger. 

She was met on her way by an American officer 
who had been selected by General Washington to gain 
information respecting the movements of the enemy. 
According to some authorities, this was Lieutenant- 
Colonel Craig, of the light horse. He immediately 
recognized her, and inquired whither she was going. 
In reply, she prayed him to alight and walk with her; 
which he did, ordering his men to keep in sight. To 
him she disclosed the secret, after having obtained 
from him a solemn promise riot to betray her individu- 
ally, since the British might take vengeance on her and 
her family. 

The officer thanked her for her timely warning, and 
directed her to go to a house near at hand, where she 
might get something to eat. But Lydia preferred 
returning at once ; and did so, while the officer made 
all haste to the commander-in-chief. Preparations were 
immediately made to give the' enemy a fitting recep- 
tion. 

With a heart lightened and filled with thankfulness 
the intrepid woman pursued her way homeward, carry- 
ing the bag of flour which had served as the ostensible 
object of her journey. None suspected the grave 
demure Quakeress of having snatched from the English 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 



119 



their anticipated victory. Her demeanor was, as usual, 
quiet, orderly, and subdued, and she attended to the 
duties of her family with her wonted composure. But 
her heart beat, as late on the appointed night, she 
watched from her window the departure of the arrny 
on what secret expedition bound, she knew too well ! 
She listened breathlessly to the sound of their footsteps 
and the trampling of horses, till it died away in the 
distance, and silence reigned through the city. 

Time never appeared to pass so slowly as during the 
interval which elapsed between the marching out and 
the return of the British troops. When at last the 
distant roll of the drum proclaimed their approach; 
when the sounds came nearer and nearer, and Lydia, 
who was watching at the window, saw the troops pass in 
martial order, the agony of anxiety she felt was too 
much for her strength, and she retreated from her post, 
not daring' to ask a question, or manifest the least 
curiosity as to the event. 

A sudden and loud knocking at her door was not 
calculated to lessen her apprehensions. She felt that 
the safety of her family depended on her self-possession 
at this critical moment. The visitor was the adjutant- 
general, who summoned her to his apartment. With 
a pale cheek, but composed, for she placed her trust in 
a higher Power, Lydia obeyed the summons. 

The officer's face was clouded, and his expression 
stern. He locked the door with an air of mystery 
when Lydia entered, and motioned her to a seat. Aftei 
a moment of silence, he said 



120 LYDIA DARRAH. 

" Were any of your family up; Lydia, on the night 
when I received company in this house ?" 

" No." was the unhesitating reply. " They all retired 
at eight o'clock." 

" It is very strange" said the officer, and mused a 
few minutes. " You, I know, Lydia, were asleep ; for 
I knocked at your door three times before you heard me 
yet it is certain that we were betrayed. I am 
altogether at a loss to conceive who could have given 
the information of our intended attack to General 
Washington! On arriving near his encampment we 
found his cannon mounted, his troops under arms, and 
so prepared at every point to receive us, that we have 
been compelled to march back without injuring our 
enemy, like a parcel of fools." 

It is not known whether the officer ever discovered 
to whom he was indebted for the disappointment. 

But the pious quakeress blessed God for her preserva- 
tion, and rejoiced that it was not necessary for her to 
utter an untruth in her own defence. And all who 
admire examples of courage and patriotism especially 
those who enjoy the fruits of them, must h-'ror the 
name of Lydia Darrah. 




JOHN ADAMS, SECOND PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. 



XII. 



REBECCA FRANKS. 

"THE celebrated Miss Franks" so distinguished lot 
intelligence and high accomplishment, in Revolutionary 
times, could not properly be passed over in a series of 
notices of remarkable women of that period. In the 
brilliant position she occupied in fashionable society, 
she exerted, as may well be believed, no -slight 
influence ; for wit and beauty are potent champions in 
any cause for which they choose to arm themselves. 
That her talents were generally employed on the side 
of humanity and justice, that the pointed shafts of her 
wit, which spared neither friend nor foe, were aimed to 
chastise presumption and folly we may infer from the 
amiable disposition which it is recorded she possessed. 
Admired in fashionable circles, and courted for the 
charms of her conversation, she must have found many 
opportunities of exercising her feminine privilege of 
softening asperities and alleviating suffering as well 
as of humbling the arrogance of those whom military 
success rendered regardless of the feelings of others. 
Though a decided loyalist, her satire did not spare 



122 REBECCA FRANKS. 

those whose opinions she favored. It is related of her, 
that at a splendid ball given by the officers of the 
British army to the ladies of New York, she ventured 
one of those jests frequently uttered, which must have 
been severely felt in the faint prospect that existed of 
a successful termination to the war. During an interval 
of dancing, Sir Henry Clinton, previously engaged in 
conversation with Miss Franks, called out to the musi- 
cians, "Give us 'Britons, strike home.'" "The com- 
mander-in-chief," exclaimed she, " has made a mistake ; 
\e meant to say, 'Britons go hame.'" 

x The keenness of her irony, and her readiness at 
repartee, were not less promptly shown in sharp tilting 
with the American officers. At the festival of the 
Mischianza, where even whig ladies were present, 
Miss Franks had appeared as one of the princesses. 
She remained in Philadelphia after its evacuation by 
the British troops. Lieutenant-Colonel Jack Steward 
of Maryland, dressed in a fine suit of scarlet, took an 
early occasion to pay his compliments ; and gallantly 
said "I have adopted your colors, my princess, the 
better to secure a courteous reception. Deign to smile 
on a true knight." To this covert taunt Miss Franks 
made no reply : but turning to the company who sur- 
rounded her, exclaimed " How the ass glories in the 
lion's ,skin !" The same officer met with another 
equally severe rebuff, while playing with the same 
weapons. The conversation of the company was inter- 
rupted by a loud clamor from the street, which caused 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 123 

them to hasten to the windows. High head dresses 
were then the reigning fashion among the English belles. 
A female appeared in the street, surrounded by a crowd 
of idlers, ragged in her apparel, and barefoot; but 
adorned with a towering head-dress in the extreme of 
the mode. Miss Franks readily perceived the intent 
of this pageant ; and on the lieutenant-colonel's observ- 
ing that the woman was equipped in the English fashion, 
replied, " Not altogether, colonel ; for though the 
ityle of her head is British, her shoes and stockings are 
in the genuine continental fashion !"* 

Many anecdotes of her quick and brilliant wit are 
extant in the memory of individuals, and many sarcastic 
speeches attributed to her have been repeated. It is 
represented that her information was extensive, and 
that few were qualified to enter the lists with her 
General Charles Lee, in the humorous letter he address- 
ed to her a jeu esprit she is said to have received 
with serious anger calls her " a lady who has had every 
human and divine advantage." 

Rebecca Franks was the daughter and youngest child 
of David Franks, a Jewish merchant, who emigrated to 
this country about a century since. He married an 
Englishwoman before coming to America, and had 
three sons and two daughters. The eldest daughter 
married Andrew Hamilton, brother to the well-known 
proprietor of " The Woodlands." After the termination 
of the war, Rebecca married General Henry Johnson, 
a British officer of great merit, and accompanied him 

* Garden. 



124 



REBECCA FRANKS. 



t^ England. He distinguished himse by some act of 
gallantry in one of the outbreaks of rebellion in Ireland, 
and received the honor of knighthood. Their residence 
was at Bath, where their only surviving son still lives. 
The other son was killed at the battle of Waterloo. 

The lady who furnished the above details, informed 
me that her brother was entertained in 1810, at Lady 
Johnson's house in Bath, where she was living in ele- 
gant style, and exercising with characteristic grace the 
duties of hospitality, and the virtues that adorn social life. 
He described her person as of the middle height, rather 
inclining to embonpoint ; and her expression of coun- 
tenance as very agreeable, with fine eyes. Her man- 
ners were frank and cheerful, and she appeared happy 
in contributing to the happiness of others. Sir Henry 
was at that time living. 

It is said that Lady Johnson, not long after this 
period, expressed to a young American officer her peni- 
tence for her former toryism, and her pride and pleasure 
in the victories of her countrymen on the Niagara fron- 
tier, in the war of 1812. It has been remarked that favor- 
able sentiments towards the Americans are general among 
loyalists residing in England ; while, on the other hand, 
the political animosity of Revolutionary times is still ex- 
tant in the British American Colonies. A loyal spinster 
of four-score residing in one of these, when on a visit to 
one of her friends, some two years since, saw on the walls, 
among several portraits of distinguished men, a print 
of " the traitor Washington." She was so much trou- 
bled at the sight, that her friend, to appease her, ordered 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 125 

it to be taken down and put away during her visit. A 
story is told also of a gentleman high in office in the samt 
colony, on whom an agent of the " New York Albion" 
called to deliver the portrait of Washington which the 
publisher that year presented to his subscribers. The 
gentleman, highly insulted, ordered the astonished agent 

to take " the thing" out of his sight, and to strike 

his name instantly from the list. 

Miss Franks, it has been mentioned, was one of the 
princesses of the Mischianza. This Italian word, sig- 
nifying a medley or mixture, was applied to an enter- 
tainment, or series of entertainments, given by the 
British officers in Philadelphia as a parting compliment 
to Sir William Howe, just before his relinquishment of 
command to Sir Henry Clinton, and departure to Eng- 
land. Some of his enemies called it his triumph on 
leaving America unconquered. A description of this 
singular fete may be interesting to many readers ; I 
therefore abridge one written, it is said, by Major 
Andr6 for an English Lady's Magazine. 

I have seen a fac simile of the tickets issued, in a 
volume of American Historical and Literary curiosities 
The names are in a shield, on which is a view of the sea 
with the setting sun, and on a wreath the words " Luceo 
discedens, aucto splendore resurgam." At the top is 
General Howe's crest, with the words " Vtve vale."' 
Around the shield runs a vignette ; and various military 
trophies fill up the back-ground. 

The entertainment was given on the 18th of May, 
7778. It commenced with a grand regatta, in three 



126 



REBECCA FRANKS. 



divisions. In the first was the Ferret galley, on board 
of which were several general officers and ladies. In 
the centre, the Hussar galley bore Sir William and Lord 
Howe, Sir Henry Clinton, their suite, and many ladies. 
The Cornwallis galley brought up the rear General 
Knyphhausen and suite, three British generals, and 
.adies, being on board. On each quarter of these gal- 
leys, and forming their division, were five flat boats 
Mned with green cloth, and filled with ladies and gentle- 
men. In front were three flat boats, with bands of 
music. Six barges rowed about each flank, to keep off 
the swarm of boats in the river. The galleys were 
dressed in colors and streamers ; the ships lying at 
anchor were magnificently decorated ; and the trans- 
port ships with colors flying, which extended in a line 
the whole length of the city, were crowded, as well as 
the wharves, with spectators. The rendezvous was at 
Knight's wharf, at the northern extremity of the city. 
The company embarked at half-past four, the three divi- 
sions moving slowly down to the music. Arrived oppo- 
site Market wharf, at a signal all rested on their oars, 
and the music played " God save the king," answered 
by three cheers from the vessels. The landing was at 
the Old Fort, a little south of the town, and in front of 
the building prepared for the company a few hundred 
yards from the water. This regatta was gazed at from 
the wharves and warehouses by all the uninvited popu- 
lation of the city. 

When the general's barge pushed for shore, a salute 
of seventeen guns was fired from his Majesty's ship 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 127 

Roebuck ; and after an interval, seventeen from the 
Vigilant. The procession advanced through an avenue 
formed by two files of grenadiers, each supported by a 
line of light-horse. The avenue led to a spacious lawn, 
lined with troops, and prepared for the exhibition of a 
tilt and tournament. The music, and managers with 
favors of white and blue ribbons in their breasts, led 
the way, followed by the generals and the rest of the 
company. 

In front, the building oounded the view through a 
vista formed by two triumphal arches in a line with the 
landing place. Two pavilions, with rows of benches 
rising one above another, received the ladies, while the 
gentlemen ranged themselves on each side. On the 
front seat of each pavilion were seven young ladies as 
princesses, in Turkish habits, and wearing in their 
turbans the favors meant for the knights who contended 
The sound of trumpets was heard in the distance ; ana 
a band of knights in ancient habits of white and red 
silk, mounted on gray horses caparisoned in the same 
colors, attended by squires on foot, heralds and trumpet- 
ers, entered the lists. Lord Cathcart was chief of these 
knights ; and appeared in honor of Miss Auchmuty. 
One of his esquires bore his lance, another his shield ; 
and two black slaves in blue and white silk, with silver 
clasps on their bare necks and arms, held his stirrups. 
The band made the circuit of the square, saluting the 
ladies, and then ranged themselves in a line with the 
pavilion in which were the ladies of their device. Their 
herald, after a flourish of trumpets, proclaimed a chal- 



128 REBECCA FRANKS. 

lenge; asserting the superiority of the ladies of the 
Blended Rose, in wit, beauty and accomplishment, and 
offering to prove it by deeds of arms according to the 
ancient laws of chivalry. At the third repetition of the 
challenge, another herald and trumpeters advanced 
from the other side of the square, dressed in black and 
orange, and proclaimed defiance to the challengers, in 
the name of the knights of the Burning Mountain. 
Captain Watson, the chief, appeared in honor of Miss 
Franks ; his device a heart with a wreath of flowers ; 
his motto Love and Glory. This band also rode 
-ound the lists, and drew up in front of the White 
Knights. The gauntlet was thrown down and lifted ; 
the encounter took place. After the fourth encounter, 
the two chiefs, spurring to the centre, fought singly, till 
the marshal of the field rushed between, and declared 
that the ladies of the Blended Rose and the Burning 
Mountain were satisfied with the proofs of love and valor 
already given, and commanded their knights to desist. 
The bands then filed off in different directions, saluting 
the ladies as they approached the pavilions. 

The company then passed in procession through 
triumphal arches built in the Tuscan order, to a garden 
in front of the building ; and thence ascended to a 
spacious hall painted in imitation of Sienna marble. 
In this hall and apartment adjoining, were tea and 
refreshments ; and the knights, kneeling, received their 
favors from the ladies. On entering the room appropri- 
ated for the faro table, a cornucopia was seen filled with 
fruit and flowers ; another appeared in going out, shrunk. 



WOMEN 0V THE REVOLUTION. 129 

reversed and empty. The next advance was to a baP 
room painted in pale blue, pannelled with gold, with 
dropping festoons of flowers; the surbase pink, with 
drapery festooned in blue. Eighty-five mirrors, decked 
with flowers and ribbons, reflected the light from thirty- 
four branches of wax lights. On the same floor were 
Ibu drawing-rooms with sideboards of refreshments, 
also decorated and lighted up. The dancing continued 
till ten ; the windows were then thrown open, and the 
fire- works commenced with a magnificent bouquet of 
rockets. 

At twelve, large folding doors, which had hitherto 
been concealed, were suddenly thrown open, discover- 
ing a splendid and spacious saloon, richly painted, and 
brilliantly illuminated ; the mirrors and branches deco- 
rated, as also the supper table ; which was set out 
according to Major Andre's account with four hundred 
and thirty covers, and, twelve hundred dishes. When 
supper was ended, the herald and trumpeters of the 
Blended Rose entered the saloon, and proclaimed the 
health of the king and royal family followed by that 
of the knights and ladies ; each toast being accompanied 
by a flourish of music. The company then returned to 
the ball-room ; and the dancing continued till four o'clock. 

This was the most splendid entertainment ever given 
by officers to their general. The next day the mirrors 
and lustres borrowed from the citizens were sent home, 
with their ornaments. The pageant of a night was 
over; Sir William Howe departed. 



XIII. 



ELIZABETH FERGUSON. 

THE old building called the Carpenter Mansion, the 
site of which is now occupied by the Arcade in Phila- 
delphia, was the residence of Doctor Thomas Graeme, 
the father of Mrs. Ferguson. He was a native of Scot- 
land ; distinguished as a physician in the city ; and for 
some time was colonial collector of the port. He mar- 
ried Anne, the daughter of Sir William Keith, then 
Governor of Pennsylvania. 

More than thirty years before the Revolution, when 
these premises were occupied by Governor Thomas, 
the fruit-trees, garden, and shrubbery often allured the 
townsfolk to extend their walks thither. The youth of 
that day were frequently indebted to the kindness of 
the Governor's lady, who invited them to help them- 
selves from a long range of cherry-trees ; and when 
May day came, the young girls were treated to bou- 
quets and wreaths from the gardens. After the death 
of Dr. Graeme, in 1772, the property passed succes- 
sively into different hands. In time of the war, the 
house was appropriated for the use of the sick Ameri- 
can soldiery, who died there in hundreds, of the camp 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 131 

fever. The sufferers were supplied with nourish mer 
by the ladies of Philadelphia ; and General Washington 
himself sent them a cask of Madeira, which he had 
received as a present from Robert Morris. The man- 
sion was the scene, moreover, of a most touching spec- 
tacle, on one occasion, when the mother of a youth from 
the country came to seek her son among the dead in 
the hospital. While mourning over him as lost to her 
for ever, she discerned signs of life, and ere long he was 
restored to consciousness in her arms.* 

While occupied by Dr. Graeme, the house was long 
rendered attractive and celebrated, not only by his exu- 
berant hospitality, but by the talents and accomplish- 
ments of his youngest daughter. She was the centre 
of the literary coteries of that day, who were accus- 
tomed to meet at her father's residence. Even in early 
life she discovered a mind richly endowed with intel- 
lectual gifts. These were cultivated with care by her 
excellent and accomplished mother. She was born in 
1739. In her youth she passed much time in study ; 
for which, and the cultivation of her poetical talents, 
opportunities were afforded in the pleasant retreat where 
her parents spent their summers Graeme Park, in 
Montgomery county, twenty miles from Philadelphia. 
It is said that the translation of Telemachus into Eng- 
lish verse the manuscript volumes of which are in the 
Philadelphia Library was undertaken by Elizabeth 
Graeme, as a relief and diversion of her mind from the 
suffering occasioned by a disappointment in love. After 

* f PP Watson's Annals of Philadelphia . 



132 



ELIZABETH FERGUSON. 



this, the fcilure of her health induced her father to send 
her to Europe. Her mother, who had long been declin- 
ing, wished her much to go, and for a reason as sin 
gular as it is touching.* She believed the time of her 
death to be at hand ; and felt that the presence of her 
beloved daughter prevented that exclusive fixing of her 
thoughts and affections upon heavenly things, which in 
her last hours she desired. This distrust of the heart is 
not an uncommon feeling. Archbishop Lightfoot wish- 
ed to die separated from his home and family. A 
mother, some years ago, in her last moments said to her 
daughter, who sat weeping at her bedside, " Leave me, 
my child ; I cannot die while you are in the room." 
Something of the same feeling is shown in an extract 
from one of Mrs. Graeme's letters, written to be deliver- 
ed after her death : " My trust," she says, " is in my 
heavenly Father's mercies, procured and promised by the 
all-sufficient merits of my blessed Saviour ; so that what- 
ever time it may be before you see this, or whatever 
weakness I may be under on my death-bed, be assured 
this is my faith this is my hope from my youth up 
until now." 

Mrs. Graeme died, as she expected, during the ab- 
sence of her daughter ; but left two farewell letters to 
be delivered on her return. These contained advice 
respecting her future life in the relations of wife and 

See Hazard's Pennsylvania Register, vol. iii., p. 394, for a memoii 
of Mrs. Ferguson, first published in the Port-Folio, from which are 
derived these particulars of her personal history. Some of her letter* 
appeared in the Port-Folio. 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 



133 



mistress of a household ; and the most ardent expres- 
sions of maternal affection. Elizabeth remained a year 
in England, under the guarcKanship of the Rev. Dr. 
Richard Peters, of Philadelphia, whose position enabled 
him to introduce her into the best society. She was 
'sought for in literary circles, attracted the attention 
of distinguished persons by her mental accomplishments, 
and was particularly noticed by the British monarch. 
The celebrated Dr. Fothergill, whom she consulted as a 
physician, was during his life her friend and corre? 
pondent. 

Her return to Philadelphia was welcomed by a 
numerous circle of friends, who came to condole with 
her upon her mother's death, and to testify their affec- 
tionate remembrance of herself. The stores of infor 
mation gained during her visit to Great Britain, where 
she had been " all eye, all ear, tind all grasp," were dis- 
pensed for the information and entertainment of those 
she loved. She now occupied the place of her mother 
in her father's family, managing the house and presid- 
ing in the entertainment of his viskors. During several 
years of their winter residence in the city, Saturday 
evenings were appropriated for the reception of their 
friends, and strangers who visited Philadelphia with in- 
troductions to the family of Dr. Graeme. The mansion 
was, in fact, the head-quarters of literature and refine- 
ment ; and the hospitality of its owner rendered it an 
agreeable resort. Miss Graeme was the presiding ge- 
Her brilliant intellect, her extensive and varied 



nius. 



knowledge, her vivid fancy, and cultivated taste, offered 



134 



ELIZABETH FERGUSON. 



attractions which were enhanced by the charm of her 
graceful manners. 

It was at one of these evening assemblies that she 
first saw Hugh Henry Ferguson, a young gentleman 
lately arrived in the country from Scotland. They 
were pleased with each other at the first interview, be- 
ing congenial in literary tastes, and a love of retire- 
ment. The marriage took place in a few months, not- 
withstanding that Ferguson was ten years younger-than 
Miss Graeme. Not long after this event her father 
died, having bequeathed to his daughter the country- 
seat in Montgomery county, on which she and her hus- 
band continued to reside. 

The happiness anticipated by Mrs. Ferguson in 
country seclusion and her books, was of brief duration. 
The discontents were increasing between Great Britain 
and America, which resumed in the war of Independence. 
It was necessary for Mr. Ferguson to take part with 
one or the other ; and he decided according to the pre- 
judices natural to his birth, by espousing the royal 
cause. From this time a separation took place between 
him and Mrs. Ferguson. 

Her connection with certain political transactions 
expose'd her for a time to much censure and mortifi- 
cation. But there is no reason to doubt the sincerity 
of her declarations with regard to the motives that 
influenced her conduct. Many of her unobtrusive 
charities testify to her sympathy with her suffering coun- 
trymen. She not only visited the 'cottages in her 
neighborhood with supplies of clothi:;g, provisions, or 
9 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION 135 

medicines for the inmates, but while General Howe 
had possession of Philadelphia, she sent a quantity of 
linen into the city, spun with her own hands, and di- 
rected it to be made into shirts for the benefit of the 
American prisoners taken at the battle of Germantown. 

Another instance of her benevolence is character- 
istic. On hearing, in one of her visits to the city, that 
a merchant had become reduced, and having been im- 
prisoned for debt, was suffering from want of the com- 
forts of life, she sent him a bed, and afterwards visited 
him in prison, and put twenty dollars into his hands. 
She refused to inform him who was his benefactor ; 
but it was discovered by his description of her person 
and dress. At this time her annual income, it is said, 
was reduced to a very limited sum. Many other secret 
acts of charity, performed at the expense of her personal 
and habitual comforts were remembered by her friends, 
and many instances of her sensibility and tender sym- 
pathy with all who suffered. 

Her husband being engaged in the British service, 
she was favored by the loyalists, while treated with 
respect at the same time by the other party as an 
American lady who occupied a high social position.* 



XIV. 



MARY PHILIPSE. 

IN 1756, Colonel George Washington, then Com- 
mander-in-chief of the Virginia forces, had some diffi- 
culties concerning rank with an officer holding a royal 
commission. He found it necessary to communicate 
with General Shirley, the commander-in-chief of His 
Majesty's armies in America ; and for this purpose left 
his head-quarters at Winchester, and travelled to 
Boston on horse-back, attended by his aids-de-camp. 
On his way, he stopped in some of the principal cities. 
The military fame he had gained, and the story of his 
remarkable escape at Braddock's defeat, excited general 
curiosity to see the brave young hero ; and great atten- 
tion was paid to him. While in New York, says his 
biographer, Mr. Sparks, "he was entertained at. the 
nouse of Mr. Beverley Robinson, between whom and 
himself an intimacy of friendship subsisted, which 
indeed continued without change, till severed by their 
opposite fortunes twenty years afterwards in the Revo- 
lution. It happened that Miss Mary Philipse, a sister 



MARY PHILIPSE. 



137 



of Mrs. Robinson, and a young lady of rare accomplish- 
ments, was an inmate in the family. The charms of 
this lady made a deep impression upon the heart of the 
Virginia Colonel. He went to Boston, returned, and 
was again welcomed to the hospitality of Mrs. Robinson. 
He lingered there till duty called him away ; but he was 
careful to entrust his secret to a confidential friend, 
whose letters kept him informed of every important 
event. In a few months intelligence came that a rival 
was in the field, and that the consequences could not be 
answered for, if he delayed to renew his visits to New 
York." 

Washington could not at this time leave his post, 
however deeply his feelings may have been interested 
in securing the favor of the fair object of his admiration. 
The fact that his friend thought fit to communicate 
thus repeatedly with him upon the subject, does not 
favor the supposition that his regard was merely a 
passing fancy, or that the bustle of camp-life, or the 
scenes of war, had effaced her image from his heart. 
Mr. Sparks assures me that the letters referred to, which 
were from a gentleman connected with the Robinson 
family, though playful in their tone, were evidently 
written under the belief that an attachment existed on 
Washington's part, and that his happiness was concern- 
ed. How far the demonstrations of this attachment had 
gone, it is now impossible to ascertain ; nor whether 
Miss Philipse had discouraged the Colonel's attentions 
so decidedly as to preclude all hope. The probability 



138 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 



is, however, that he despaired of success. He nevei 
saw her again till after her marriage with Captain Roger 
Morris, the rival of whom he had been warned. 

Mary Philipse was the daughter of the Hon. Frede- 
rick Philipse, Speaker of the Assembly. He was lord 
of the old manor of Philipsborough, and owned an im- 
mense landed estate on the Hudson. Mary was born 
at the Manor Hall, on the third of July, 1730. No 
particulars relating to her early life can be given by her 
relatives; but the tradition is, that she was beautiful 
fascinating, and accomplished. A lady now living in 
New York, who knew her after she became Mrs. Mor- 
ris, and had visited her at her residence near the city 
tells me that she was one of the most elegant women 
she had ever seen ; and that her manners, uniting dig- 
nity with affability, charmed every one who knew her. 
The rumor of Washington's former attachment was 
then current, and universally believed. Her house was 
the resort of many visitors at all seasons. She removed 
to New York after her marriage, in 1758; with Roger 
Morris, who was a captain in the British army in the 
French war, and one of Braddock's aids-de-camp. A 
part of the Philipse estate came by right of his wife 
into his possession, and was taken from him by confis- 
cation, in punishment for his loyalism. Mrs. Morris 
was included in the attainder, that the whole interest 
might pass under the act.* The rights of her children, 

* The authentic facts relating to Captain Morris and Colonel Robin- 
Bon, and to their wives, have been preserved by Mr. Sabine in his 
" American Loya K sts." He visited the relatives of the family in New 
Brunswick. 



MARY PHILIPS E. 139 

however, as time showed, were not affected ; and the 
reversionary interest was sold by them to John Jacob 
Astor. 

The descendants of Mrs. Robinson, the sister of 
Mary Morris, speak of her with warm praise, as one 
who possessed high qualities of mind, and great excel- 
lence of character. To one of these, a gentleman high 
in office in New Brunswick, the author of the 'Loyal- 
ists' once remarked in conversation, that there was 
some difference to his aunt, between being the wife 
of the Commander-in-chief the first President of the 
United States, and the wife of an exile and an outlaw 
herself attainted of treason. The tables were turned 
upon him by the reply, that Mrs. Morris had been re- 
markable for fascinating all who approached her, and 
moulding every body to her will ; and that had she mar- 
ried Washington, it could not be certain that she would 
not have kept him to his allegiance. " Indeed, Wash- 
ington would not, could not have been a traitor with 
such a wife as Aunt Morris." Without dwelling on 
the possibilities of such a contingency, one can hardly 
think, without some degree of national shame, that a 
lady whom we have e#ery reason to believe had been 
the object of Washington's love, "should be attainted 
of treason for clinging to the fortunes of her hus- 
band." 

Mrs. Morris died in England in 1825, at the ad- 
vanced age of ninety-six. The portrait of her is en- 
graved from an original painting taken after her mar- 
riage, and n">w in the possession of her namesake and 



140 WOMEN OP THE REVOLUTION. 

grandniecc, Mrs. Governeur, who resides at " Highland 
Grange," 'Philipstown, in the Highlands. It is stated in 
the History of Westchester County, that Miss Mary 
Philipse was the original of the lovely character of 
Frances, in Mr. Cooper's novel of " The Spy :" this is 
incorrect. 



SUSANNAH, the sister of Mary Philipse, was the wife 
of Beverley Robinson of New York. There is some 
ground for the belief that she actually exercised over 
her husband's mind some portion of the influence said 
to have been possessed by her sister ; for it appears that 
he was at first disinclined to take any active part in the 
contest between the Colonies and Great Britain. He 
was so much opposed to the measures of the ministry, 
that he would not use imported merchandise ; but was 
at length prevailed on by his friends to enter the royal 
service. .As before-mentioned, he and Washington 
were intimate friends before they were separated by 
difference of political opinion. " The Robinson house," 
which had been confiscated with the lands, was occu-. 
pied by Arnold as his head-quarters, and by Washing- 
ton at the time of Arnold's treason. 

When Colonel Robinson gave up the quiet enjoy- 
ment of country life, his wife took her share of the out- 
lawry that awaited him ; she, as well as her sister, 
being included in the act of confiscation. After their 
removal to England, they lived in retirement. She 
died near Bath, at the age of ninety-four, in 1822. Hei 



MARY PHILTPSE. 141 

descendants in New Brunswick preserve, among other 
relics of the olden time, a silver tea-urn, of rich and 
massive workmanship, said to be the first of such 
articles used in America 



XV. 



SARAH REEVE GIBBES. 

THE failure of the British commissioners to conclude 
an amicable adjustment of differences between the two 
countries and the ill success of the effort to gain their 
ends by private intrigue and bribery annihilated the 
hopes of those who had desired the acceptance by Con- 
gress of terms of accommodation. War was now the 
only prospect ; the reduction of the Colonies to obedi- 
ence by force of arms, or the establishment of national 
Independence by a protracted struggle. The move- 
ments and expeditions which succeeded the battle of 
Monmouth the incursion of the Indians and tories 
under Colonel John Butler and Brandt, for the destruc- 
tion of the settlement in the lovely valley of Wyoming 
the terrible tragedy of July, with the retaliatory ex- 
peditions against the Indians and the repetition of 
the barbarities of Wyoming at Cherry Valley, in No 
vember were the prominent events that took place in 
the middle and northern sections of the country during 
the remainder of 1778. The scene of important action 
was now changed to the South. In November, Count 
D'Estaing, with the French fleet, sailed for the West 



SARAH REEVE GIBBES. 



143 



Indies, to attack the British dependencies in that quar- 
ter. General Sir Henry Clinton, on his part, despatched 
Colonel Campbell from New York, on an expedition 
against Georgia, the feeblest of the southern provinces. 
His troops landed late in December near Savannah, 
which was then defended by the American general, 
Robert Howe. Hi& small force being enfeebled by 
sickness, defeat was the consequence of an attack ; and 
the remnant of the American army retreated into 
South Carolina. The British having obtained posses- 
sion of the capital of Georgia, the plan of reducing 
that State and South Carolina was vigorously prose- 
cuted in 1779, while the armies of Washington and 
Clinton were employed in the northern section of the 
Union. Soon after the fall of Savannah, General Pre- 
vost, with troops from East Florida, took possession of 
the only remaining military post in Georgia ; and join- 
ing his forces to those of Colonel Campbell, assumed 
the chief command of the royal army at the South. 
The loyalists who came along the western frontier of 
Carolina to join his standard, committed great devas- 
tations and cruelties on their way. General Lincoln, 
who commanded the continental forces in the southern 
department, sent a detachment under General Ashe 
across the Savannah, to repress the incursions of the 
enemy, and confine them to the low country near the 
sea coast. The surprise and defeat of this detachment 
by Prevost, completed the subjugation of Georgia. But 
in April General Lincoln entered the field anew, and 
leaving Moultrie to watch Prevost's movements, com- 



144 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION 



menced his march up the left bank of the Savannah 
and crossed into Georgia near Augusta, with the inten 
tion of advancing on the capital. Prevost attacked 
Moultrie and Pulaski, compelling them to retreat ; and 
then hurried to place himself before Charleston. From 
this position, however, he was obliged to withdraw on 
Lincoln's approach. He proceeded to the island of St. 
John's, separated from the mainland by an inlet called 
Stono River ; and leaving a division at Stono Ferry, 
retired with a part of his force towards Savannah. On 
the 20th June, Lincoln attacked the division at Stono 
Ferry, but was repulsed. The British soon after estab- 
lished a post at Beaufort, and the main body of the 
army retired to Savannah. For some months the hot 
and sickly season prevented further action on either 
side. 

The siege of Savannah under D'Estaing and Lincoln 
took place early in October, 1779. The Americans 
were repulsed, the gallant Pulaski receiving his death- 
wound ; and the enterprise was abandoned. The French 
fleet departed from the coast ; and General Lincoln re- 
treated into South Carolina. A cloud of despondency 
hung over the close of this year. The flattering hopes 
inspired by the alliance with France had not been re- 
alizecl. The continental army reduced in numbers and 
wretchedly clothed the treasury empty the paper 
currency rapidly diminishing in value distress was 
brought oi\ all classes, and the prospect seemed more 
than ever dark and discouraging. On the other hand, 
Britain displayed new resources, and made renewed exer- 



MIR S, IE FI..]BXXTET. 




SARAH KEEVE GIBBES. 



145 



(ions, notwithstanding the formidable combination 
against her. Sir Henry Clinton determined to make 
the South his most important field of operations for the 
future, and planned the campaign of 1780 on an ex 
tensive scale. He arrived in Georgia late in January, 
and early in the succeeding month left Savannah for 
the siege of Charleston, then defended by General Lin- 
coln. The fleet of Arbuthnot was anchored in the har- 
bor, and the British overran the country on the left 
side of the Cooper river. The surrender of Charleston 
on the twelfth of May, seemed to secure the recovery 
of the southern section of the Union ; and Clinton im- 
mediately set about re-establishing the royal govern- 
ment. 

The foregoing brief glance at the course of events 
during the two years succeeding the evacuation of 
Philadelphia, is necessary to prepare the reader for the 
southern sketches that follow. 



A FEW hundred yards from a fine landing on Stone 
River, upon John's Island, about two hours' sail from 
Charleston, stands a large, square, ancient-looking man- 
sion, strongly built of brick, with a portico fronting the 
river. On the side towards the road, the wide piazza 
overlooks a lawn ; and a venerable live oak, with aspen, 
sycamore, and other trees, shade it from the sun. 
On either side of the house, about twenty yards distant, 
stands a smaller two story building, connected with the 
mam building by a neat open fence. In one of these 



146 WOMEN OP THE REVOLUTION. 

is the kitchen and out-offices ; the other was formerly 
the school-house and tutor's dwelling. Beyond are the 
barns, the overseer's house, and the negro huts apper- 
taining to a plantation. The garden in old times was 
very large and well-cultivated, being laid out in wide 
walks, and extending from the mansion to the river. 
The " river walk," on the verge of a bluff eight or ten 
feet in height, followed the bending of the water, and 
was bordered with orange-trees. Tall hedges of the 
ever- green wild orange- tree divided the flower from the 
vegetable garden, and screened from view the family 
burial-ground. The beautifully laid out grounds, and 
shaded walks, gave this place a most inviting aspect, 
rendering it such an abode as its name of " Peaceful 
Retreat" indicated. 

At the period of the Revolution this mansion was 
well known throughout the country as the seat of hos- 
pitality and elegant taste. Its owner, Robert Gibbes, 
was a man of cultivated mind and refined manners 
one of those gentlemen of the old school, of whom South 
Carolina has justly made her boast. Early in life he 
became a martyr to the gout, by which painful disease 
his hands and feet were so contracted and crippled that 
he was deprived of their use. The only exercise he 
was able to take, was in a chair on wheels, in which he 
was placed every day, and by the assistance of a ser- 
vant, moved about the house, and through the garden. 
The circuit through these walks and along the river, 
formed his favorite amusement. Unable, by reason of 
flis. misfortune, to take an active part in the war, hia 



SARAH REEVE GIBBES. 147 

feelings were nevertheless warmly enlisted on the 
republican side ; and his house was ever open for the 
reception and entertainment of the friends of liberty. 
He had married Miss Sarah Reeve, she being at the 
time about eighteen years of age. Notwithstanding 
her youth, she had given evidence that she possessed a 
mind of no common order. The young couple had a 
house in Charleston, but spent the greater part of their 
time at their country-seat and plantation upon John's 
Island. Here Mrs. Gibbes devoted herself with earnest- 
ness to the various duties before her; for in consequence ol 
her husband's infirmities, the management* of an 
extensive estate, with the writing on business it required 
devolved entirely upon her. In addition to a large 
family of her own, she had the care of the seven orphan 
children of Mrs. Fen wick, the sister of Mr. Gibbes, who 
at her death had left them and their estate to his guard- 
ianship. Two other children one her nephew, Robert 
Barnwell were added to her charge. The multiplied 
cares involved in meeting all these responsibilities, with 
the superintendence of household concerns, required a 
rare degree of energy and activity ; yet the mistress of 
this well ordered establishment had always a ready 
and cordial welcome for her friends, dispensing the 
hospitalities of "Peaceful Retreat," with a grace and 
cheerful politeness that rendered it a most agreeable 
resort. 

It was doubtless the fame of the luxurious living at 
this delightful country-seat which attracted the atten- 
tion of the British during the invasion of Prevost, while 



148 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

the royal army kept possession of the seaboard. A 
hattalion of British and Hessians, determined to quarter 
themselves in so desirable a spot, arrived at the landing 
at the dead of night, and marching up in silence, sur- 
rounded the house. The day had not yet begun to 
dawn, when an aged and faithful servant tapped softly 
at the door of Mrs. Gibbes' apartment. The whisper 
" Mistress, the redcoats are all around the house," was 
the first intimation given of their danger. "Tell no 
one, Caesar, but keep all quiet," she replied promptly ; 
and her preparations were instantly commenced to 
receive the intruders. Having dressed herself quickly, 
she went up stairs, waked several ladies who were 
guests in the house, and requested them to rise and dress 
with all possible haste. In the mean time the domestics 
were directed to prepare the children, of whom, with 
her own eight and those under her care, there were 
sixteen ; the eldest being only fifteen years old. These 
were speedily dressed and seated in the spacious 
hall. Mrs. Gibbes then assisted her Husband, as was 
always her custom to rise and dress, and had him 
placed in his rolling chair. All these arrangements 
were made without the least confusion, and so silently, 
that the British had no idea any one was yet awake 
within the house. The object of Mrs. Gibbes was to 
prevent violence on the enemy's part, by showing them 
at once that the mansion was inhabited onlv by those 
who were unable to defend themselves. The impres- 
sive manner in which this was done produced its effect 
The 'nvaders had no knowledge that the inmates were 



SARAH REEVE GIBBES. 



149 



awa:e of their presence, till daylight, when they heard 
the heavy rolling of Mr. Gibbes' chair across the great 
hall towards the front door. Supposing the sound to be 
the rolling of a cannon, the soldiers advanced, and stood 
prepared with pointed bayonets to rush in, when the 
signal' for assault should be given. But as the door 
was thrown open, and the stately form of the invalid 
presented itself, surrounded by women and children, 
they drew back, and startled into an involuntary expres- 
sion of respect presented arms. Mr. Gibbes addressed 
them yielding, of course, to the necessity that could 
not be resisted. The officers took immediate possession 
of the house, leaving the premises to their men, and 
extending no protection against pillage. The soldiers 
roved at their pleasure about the plantation, helpirtg 
themselves to whatever they chose ; breaking into the 
wine room, drinking to intoxication, and seizing upon 
and carrying off the negroes. A large portion of the 
plate was saved by the provident care of a faithful 
servant, who secretly buried it. Within the mansion 
the energy and self-possession of Mrs. Gibbes still pro- 
tected her family. The appearance of terror or confu- 
sion might have tempted the invaders to incivility ; 
but it was impossible for them to treat otherwise than 
with deference, a lady whose calm and quiet deport- 
ment commanded their respect. Maintaining her 
place as mistress of her household, and presiding at hei 
table, she treated her uninvited guests with a dignified 
courtesy that ensured civility while it prevented pie 
sumptuous familiarity. The boldest and rudest among 



150 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

them bowed involuntarily to an influence which fear or 
force could not have secured. 

When the news reached Charleston that the British had 
encamped on Mr. Gibbes's plantation, the authorities in 
that city despatched two galleys to dislodge them. 
These vessels ascended the river in the night, and 
arriving opposite, opened a heavy fire upon the invaders' 
encampment. The men had received strict injunctions 
not to fire upon the house, for fear of injury to an} of 
the family. It could not, however, be known to Mr. 
Gibbes that such a caution had been given ; and as 
soon as the Americans began their fire, dreading some 
accident, he proposed to his wife that they should take 
the children and seek a place of greater safety. Their 
horses being in the enemy's hands, they had no means 
of conveyance ; but Mrs. Gibbes, with energies roused 
to exertion by the danger, and anxious only to secure 
shelter for her helpless charge, set off to walk with the 
children to an adjoining plantation situated in the 
interior. A drizzling rain was falling, and the weather 
was extremely chilly ; the fire was incessant from the 
American guns, and sent in order to avoid the house 
in a direction which was in a range with the course of 
the fugitives. The shot, falling around them, cut the 
bushes, and struck the trees on every side. Exposed 
each moment to this imminent danger, they continued 
their flight with as much haste as possible, for about a 
mile, till beyond the reach of the shot. 

Having reached the houses occupied by the negro 
.a borers on the plantation, they stopped for a few 



SARAH REEVE GIBBES. 151 

moments to rest. Mrs. Gibbes, wet, chilled, and exhaust- 
ed by fatigue and mental anxiety, felt her strength 
utterly fail, and was obliged to wrap herself in a blanket 
and lie down upon one of the beds. It was at this 
time, when the party first drew breath freely with 
thankfulness that the fears of death were over that 
on reviewing the trembling group to ascertain if all 
had escaped uninjured, it was found that a little boy, 
John Fenwick, was missing. In the hurry and terror 
of their flight the child had been forgotten and left 
behind! What was now to be done? The servants 
refused to risk their lives by returning for him ; and in 
common humanity, Mr. Gibbes could not insist that 
any one should undertake the desperate adventure. 
The roar of the distant guns was still heard, breaking at 
short intervals the deep silence of the night. The 
chilly rain was falling, and the darkness was profouna. 
Yet the thought of abandoning the helpless boy to 
destruction, was agony to the hearts of his relatives. 
In this extremity the self-devotion of a young girl inter- 
posed to save him. Mary Anna, the eldest daughter of 
Mrs. Gibbes then only thirteen years of age, determin- 
ed to venture back in spite of the fearful peril alone 
The mother dared not oppose her noble resolution, 
which seemed indeed an inspiration of heaven ; and 
she was permitted to go. Hastening along the path 
with all the speed of which she was capable, she reached 
the house, still in the undisturbed possession of the 
enemy; and entreated permission from the sentinel to 
enter: persisting, in spite of refusal, till by earnest 
10 



152 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

importunity of supplication, she gained her object 
Searching anxiously through the house, she found the 
child in a room in a third story, and lifting him joyfully 
in her arms, carried him down, and fled with him to 
the spot where her anxious parents were awaiting her 
return. The shot still flew thickly around her, frequently 
throwing up the earth in her way ; but protected by the 
Providence that watches over innocence, she joined the 
rest of the family in safety.* The boy saved on this 
occasion by the intrepidity of the young girl, was the 
late General Fenwick, distinguished for his services in 
the last war with Great Britain. " Fenwick Place," still 
called " Headquarters," was three miles from " Peaceful 
Retreat." 

'Major Garden, who after the war married Mary Anna Gibbet, 
nentions this intrepid action. There are a few errors in his account ; 
he calls the boy who was left, " a distant relation,'' and says the 
dwelling-house was fired on by the Americans. The accomplished 
lady who communicated the particulars to me, heard them from her 
grandmother, Mrs. Gibbes; and the fact that the house was not fired 
upon, is attested by a near relative now living. The house never 
bore any marks of shot; though balls and grape-shot have been often 
found on the plantation. Again Garden says the family "were 
allowed to remain in some of the upper apartments;" and were at 
last "ordered to quit the premises," implying that they were treated 
with some severity as prisoners. This could not have been the case ; 
as Mrs. Gibbes constantly asserted that she presided at her own table, 
and spoke of the respect and deference with which she was uniformly 
treated by the officers. Her refusal to yield what she deemed a right, 
ensured civility towards herself and household. 

The family Bible, from which the parentage of General Fenwick 
might have been ascertained, was lost during the Revolution, and only 
r*8tor*<l to the family in the summer of 1841. 



SARAH RHEVE GIBBES. 153 

Some time after these occurrences, when the family 
were again inmates of their own home, a battle was 
fought in a neighboring field. When the conflict was 
over, Mrs. Gibbes sent her servants to search among 
the slain left u^on the battle-ground, for Robert Barn- 
well, her nephew, who had not returned. They dis- 
covered him by part of his dress, which one of the 
blacks remembered having seen his mother making. 
His face was so covered with wounds, dust and blood, 
that he could not be recognised. Yet life was not 
extinct ; and under the unremitting care of his aunt and 
her young daughter, he recovered. His son, Robert W. 
Barnwell, was for some years president of the South 
Carolina College. Scenes like these were often witness- 
ed by the subject of this sketch, and on more than a 
few occasions did she suffer acute anxiety on account 
of the danger of those dear to her. She was accustom- 
ed to point out the spot where her eldest son, when only 
sixteen years old, had been placed as a sentinel, while 
British vessels were in the river, and their fire was 
poured on him. She would relate how, with a mother's 
agony of solicitude, she watched the balls as they struck 
the earth around him, while the youthful soldier main- 
tained his dangerous post, notwithstanding the entrea- 
ties of an old negro hid behind a tree, that he would 
leave it. Through such trials, the severity of which we 
who enjoy the peace so purchased cannot fully estimate, 
she exhibited the same composure, and readiness to meet 
every emergency, with the same benevolent sympathy 
for others. 



XVI. 



ELIZA WILKINSON. 

TBE letters of Eliza Wilkinson present a lively pic- 
ture of the situation of many inhabitants of that por- 
tion of country which was the scene of various skir- 
mishes about the time of Lincoln's approach to relieve 
Charleston from Prevost, the retreat of that comman- 
der, and the engagement at Stono Ferry. The de- 
scription given of occurrences, is not only interesting 
as a graphic detail, but as exhibiting traits of female 
character worthy of all admiration. It is much to 
be regretted that her records do not embrace a longer 
period of time. 

Her father was an emigrant from Wales, and always 
had much pride in his Welsh name, Francis Yonge. 
He had three children, Eliza and two sons ; and owned 
what is called Yonge's Island. He was old and infirm, 
and suffered much rough treatment at the hands of the 
British, from whom he refused to take a protection. 
Both his sons died one the death of a soldier ; and the 
old family name now lives in Charleston in the person 



ELIZA WILK[NSON. 155 

of Francis Yonge Porcher, great grandchi d of the sub- 
ject of this notice. 

Mrs. Wilkinson had been married ' only six months 
when her first husband died. At the period of the war, 
she was a young and beautiful widow, with fascinating 
manners, quick at repartee, and full of cheerfulness and 
good humor. Her place of residence, Yonge's Island, 
lies thirty miles south of Charleston. The Cherokee 
rose which still flourishes there in great abundance, 
hedging the long avenue, and the sight of the creek and 
causeway that separate the island from the mainland, 
call up many recollections of her. She bore her part 
in Revolutionary trials and privations, and was fre- 
quently a sufferer from British cruelty. 

Mrs. Wilkinson was in Charleston when news came 
that a large party of the enemy had landed near Beau- 
fort With a few friends, she went over to her father's 
plantation, but did not remain there long ; for upon re- 
ceiving information that a body of British horse were 
within five or six miles, the whole party, with the ex- 
ception of her father and mother, crossed the river to 
Wadmalaw, and went for refuge to the house of her 
sister. A large boat-load of women and children hur- 
rying for safety to Charleston, stayed with them a day 
or two, aqd presented a sad spectacle of the miseries 
brought in the train of war. One woman with seven 
children, the youngest but two weeks old, preferred 
venturing her own life and that of her tender infant, to 
captivity in the hands of a merciless foe. 



156 . WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

Mrs. Wilkinson remained at Wadmalaw for some 
time, and at length returned to her home on the island 
The surrounding country was waiting in a distressed 
condition for the coming of General Lincoln, to whom 
the people looked for deliverance. Many painful days 
of suspense passed before tidings were received. All 
trifling discourse, she says, was laid aside the ladies 
who gathered in knots talking only of political affairs. 
At last her brothers, with the Willtown troops, arrived 
from Charleston, and brought the joyful news of the 
approach of Lincoln. The dreaded enemy had not yet 
invaded the retirement of Yonge's Island ; although it 
was suspected that spies were lurking about, and boat- 
loads of red coats were frequently seen passing and 
re-passing on the river. Mrs. Wilkinson retreated with 
her sister to an inland country-seat. There they were 
called on by parties of the Americans, whom they 
always received with friendly hospitality. " The poor- 
est soldier," says one letter, " who would call at any 
time for a drink of water, I would take a pleasure in 
giving it to him myself; and many a dirty, ragged fel- 
low have I attended with a bowl of water, or milk and 
water : they really merit every thing, who will fight 
from principle alone ; for from wh at I could learn, these 
poor creatures had nothing to piotect, and seldom got 
their pay ; yet with what alacrity will they encounter 
danger and hardships of every kind !" 

One night a detachment of sixty red coats passed the 
gate with the intention of surprising Lieutenant Mor- 
ton Wilkinson at a neighboring plantation. A negr*i 



ELIZA WILKINSON. 157 

woman was thei; informer and guide ; but their attempt 
was unsuccessful. On re-passing the avenue early the 
next morning, they made a halt at the head of it, but a 
negro man dissuaded them from entering, by telling 
them the place belonged to a decrepit old gentleman, 
who did not then live there. They took his word for it, 
and passed on. 

On the second of June, two men belonging to the 
enemy, rode up to the house, and asked many questions, 
saying that Colonel M'Girth and his soldiers might be 
presently looked for, and that the inmates could expect 
no mercy. The family remained in a state of cruel 
suspense for many hours. The following morning a 
party of the whigs called at the gate, but did not alight 
One of them, in leaping a ditch, was hurt, and taken 
into the house for assistance ; and while they were 
dressing his wound, a negro girl gave the alarm that the 
" king's people" were coming. The two men mounted 
their horses and escaped : the women awaited the ene- 
my's approach. Mrs. Wilkinson writes to a friend : 

"I heard the horses of the inhuman Britons coming 
in such a furious manner, that they seemed to tear up 
the earth, the riders at the same time bellowing out the 
most horrid curses imaginable oaths and imprecations 
which chilled my whole frame. Surely, thought I, such 
horrid language denotes nothing less than death ; but I 
had no time for thought they were up to the house 
entered with drawn swords and pistols in their hands . 
indeed they rushed in in the most furious manner, cry 
mg out, ' Where are these women rebels ?' That was 
10* 



158 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 



the first salutation! The moment they espied us, of! 
went our caps. (I always heard say none but women 
pulled caps!) And for what, think you? Why, only 
to get a paltry stone and wax pin, which kept them on 
our heads ; at the same time uttering the most abusive 
language imaginable, and making as if they would hew 
us to pieces with their swords. But it is not in my 
power to describe the scene : it was terrible to the last 
degree ; and what augmented it, they had several armed 
negroes with them, who threatened and abused us 
greatly. They then began to plunder the house of 
every thing they thought valuable or worth taking ; our 
trunks were split to pieces, and each mean, pitiful 
wretch crammed his bosom with the contents, which 
were our apparel, &c.* 

" I ventured to speak to the inhuman monster who 
had my clothes. I represented to him the times were 
such we could not replace what they had taken from 
us, and begged him to spare me only a suit or two : but 
I got nothing but a hearty curse for my pains ; nay, so 
far was his callous heart from relenting, that casting his 
eyes towards my shoes, ' I want them Duckies,' said he ; 
and immediately knelt at my feet to take them out. 
While he was busy doing this, a brother villain, whose 
enormous mouth extended from ear to ear, bawled out, 
' Shares there, I say ! shares !' So they divided my 
buckles between them. The other wretches were em- 
ployed in the same manner ; they took my sister's ear- 

Letters of Eliza Wilkinson, arranged by Mrs. Gilman. 



ELIZA WILKINSON. 159 

rings from her ears, her and Miss Samuells' buckles ; 
they demanded her ring from her finger ; she pleaded 
for it, told them it was her wedding-ring, and begged 
they would let her keep it ; but they still demanded it ; 
and presenting a pistol at her, swore if she did not de- 
liver it immediately, they would fire. She gave it to 
them ; and after bundling up all their booty, they mount- 
ed their horses. But such despicable figures ! . Each 
wretch's bosom stuffed so full, they appeared to be all 
afflicted with some dropsical disorder. Had a party of 
rebels (as they call us) appeared, we should have seen 
their circumference lessen. 

" They took .care to tell us, when they were going 
away, that they had favored us a great deal that we 
might thank our stars it was no worse. I had forgot to 
tell you that upon their first entering the house, one of 
them gave my arm such a violent grasp, that he left the 
print of his thumb and three fingers in black and blue, 
which was to be seen very plainly for several days afte r- 
wards. I showed it to one of our officers who dined 
with us, as a specimen of British cruelty. After they 
were gone, I began to be sensible of the danger I had 
been in, and the thoughts of the vile men seemed worse 
(if possible) than their presence ; for they came so sud- 
denly up to the house, that I had no time for thought ; 
and while they stayed, I seemed in amaze quite stupid ! 
I cannot describe it. But when they were gone, and I 
had time to consider, I trembled so with terror that I 
could not support myself. I we it into the room, threv 



100 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

myself on the bed, and gave way to a violent burst of 
grief, which seemed to be some relief to my swollen 
heart." 

This outrage was followed by a visit from M'Girth'? 
men, who treated the ladies with more civility ; one of 
them promising to make a report at camp of the usage 
they had received. It was little consolation, however, 
to know that the robbers would probably be punished. 
The others, who professed so much feeling for the fair, 
were not content without their share of plunder, 
though more polite in the manner of taking it " While 
the British soldiers were talking to us, some of the 
silent ones withdrew, and presently laid siege to a bee- 
hive, which they soon brought to terms. The others 
perceiving it, cried out, ' Hand the ladies a plate of 
honey.' This was immediately done with officious 
haste, no doubt thinking they were very generous in 
treating us with our own. There were a few horses 
feeding in the pasture. They had them driven up. 
' Ladies, do either of you own these horses ?' ' No ; 
they partly belong to father and Mr. Smilie !' ' Well, 
ladies, as they are not your property, we will take 
them!"' 

They asked the distance to the other settlements ; 
and the females begged that forbearance might be shown 
to the aged father. He was visited the same day by 
another body of troops, who abused him and plundered 
the house. " One came to search mother's pockets, 
too, but she resolutely threw his hand aside. ' If you 
must see what's in my pocket, I'll show you myself;' 




THOMAS JEFFERSON, THIRD PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. 



ELIZ t WILKINSON. 161 

and she took out a thread-case, which had thread, 
needles, pins, tape, &c. The mean wretch took it from 
her." * * " After drinking all the wine, rum, &c. 
they could find, and inviting the negroes they had with 
them, who were very insolent, to do the same they 
went to their horses, and would shake hands with father 
and mother before their departure. Fine amends, to be 
sure!" 

After such unwelcome visitors, it is not surprising 
that the unprotected women could not eat or sleep ir 
peace. They lay in their clothes every night, alarmed 
by the least noise ; while the days were spent in anxiety 
and melancholy. One morning, when Mrs. Wilkinson 
was coming out of her chamber, her eyes fixed on the 
window for she was continually on the watch she 
saw something glitter through a thin part of the wood 
bordering the road. It proved to be the weapons of a 
large body of soldiers. As they came from the direc- 
tion of the enemy's encampment, she concluded they 
were British troops ; and every one in the house took 
the alarm. " Never was there such a scene of con- 
fusion. Sighs, complaints, wringing of hands one 
running here, another there, spreading the dreadful 
tidings ; and in a little time the negroes in the field 
came running up to the house with a hundred stories 
Table, tea-cups all the breakfast apparatus, were im- 
mediately huddled together and borne off; and we 
watched sharply to see which way the enemy (as we 
supposed them) took. But, oh ! horrible ! in a minute 
or two we saw our avenue crowded with horsemen in 



162 

uniform. Said 1, ' that looks like our uniform blue 
and red ;' but I immediately recollected to have heard 
that the Hessian uniform was much like ours ; so out 
of the house we went, into an out-house." Their ex- 
cessive fright prevented, the explanation attempted from 
being understood. While the officer was endeavoring 
to re-assure the terrified ladies, a negro woman came 
up, and tapping Mrs. Wilkinson on the shoulder, whis- 
pered, ' I don't like these men ; one of them gave me 
this piece of silver for some milk ; and I know our 
people don't have so much silver these times.' " 

Their dismay and terror were groundless ; for the 
horsemen were a party of Americans, under the com- 
mand of Major Moore. The one taken for a Hessian 
was a French officer. The mistake had been mutual ; 
the distress shown at sight of them having caused the 
officer in command to conclude himself and his men 
unwelcome visitors to some tory family. The discovery 
that they were friends changed fear into delight. " They 
then laughed at me," says Mrs. Wilkinson, M heartily 
for my fright saying that they really expected, by the 
time I had done wringing my hands, I would have no 
skin left upon them; but now they knew the reason 
they no longer wondered." 

Word was presently brought that a number of the 
enemy were carrying provisions from a plantation about 
two miles distant. The whigs marched to the place, 
and returned with seven prisoners. Two of these 
were of M'Girth's party, who had treated the ladies so 
cruelly ; yet notwithstanding the njuries received, the 



ELIZA WILKINSON. 



163 



kind heart ol Mrs. Wilkinson relented at the sight of 
them. She expressed pity for their distress, calling them 
friends, because they were in the power of her country- 
men ; and interceded for them with the captors. Enqui- 
ring if they would .ike any thing to drink, she supplied 
them with the water they craved, holding the glass to 
their lips, as their hands were tied behind them. Several 
of the American officers, who had gathered at the door 
and window, were smiling at the unusual scene. "In 
the meanwhile," she writes , " Miss Samuells was very 
busy about a wounded officer, (one of M'Girth's,) who 
had been brought to the house. He had a ball through 
his arm ; we could find no rag to dress his wounds, 
e\rery thing in the house being thrown into such con- 
fusion by the plunderers ; but (see the native tenderness 
of an American!) Miss Samuells took from her neck 
the only remaining handkerchief the Britons had left 
her, and with it bound up his arm." 

Their friends having left them, Mr. Yonge sent for 
his daughter to his own plantation. The ladies were 
obliged to walk three miles, the horses having been 
taken away ; but umbrellas were sent for them, and 
they were attended by two of Mr. Yonge's negro men 
armed with clubs. While crossing a place called the 
Sands, the blacks captured and wounded a negro be- 
longing to the loyalists, who came out of the woods 
Mrs. Wilkinson interfered to save his life; and to insure 
the safety of the poor creature who claimed her pro- 
tection, and who was dragged on rapidly by his captors 
they fearing pursuit was obliged to walk very fast. 



164 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

leaving tne others behind, till she was ready to faint 
from fatigue and the overpowering heat. They arrived 
safe at her father's, whence they were driven ere long 
by another alarm. This time their flight was in dark- 
ness, through bogs and woods, stumbling against the 
stumps or each other. In their new abode they had 
more security. Parties of friends were out continually, 
keeping the enemy quiet ; and sometimes in the night 
soldiers would ride up, and bid the negroes tell the 
ladies they might sleep soundly, for they were to main- 
tain a patrol during the night. 

At length the arrival of General Lincoln was an- 

O 

nounced ; and he was joyfully welcomed by the inmates 
of the house. That night two or three hundred men 
were quartered on the plantation some of the officers 
sleeping in the hall. They refused to have beds made. 
" Beds were not for soldiers ; the floor or the earth 
served them as well as any where else." At daybreak 
they moved to camp. Another alarm occurred, and Gen- 
eral Lincoln's defeat near Stono Ferry, caused the re- 
treat of the family to Willtown. Our writer's pen had 
thence to record only new aggressions and suffer- 
ings. 

The siege and capitulation of Charleston brought the 
evils under which the land had groaned, to their height. 
The hardships endured by those within the beleagured 
city the gloomy resignation of hope-* the submission 
to inevitable misfortune, have been described by abler 
chroniclers. The general feeling is expressed in a lettei 




THE MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE, GENERAL IN THE ARMY OF THE REVOLUTION, FROM 

A FRENCH PRINT. 



ELIZA WILKINSON. 165 

from a soldier to his wife, written twelve days befor 
the event : 

" Our affairs are daily declining ; and not a ray of 
hope remains to assure us of our success. * * I 
expect to have the liberty of soon returning to 
you ; but the army must be made prisoners of war. 
This will give a rude shock to the independence of 
America ; and a Lincolnade will be as common a term 
as a Burgoynade. * * A mortifying scene must be en- 
countered ; the thirteen stripes will be levelled in the dust ; 
and I owe my life to the clemency of the conqueror." 

After the surrender, Mrs. Wilkinson visited the city, 
went on board the prison-ship, and drank coffee with the 
prisoners awaiting an exchange. She saw the depar- 
ture of her friends who were driven into exile, and in- 
dulged herself occasionally in provoking her enemies by 
sarcastic sallies. " Once," she writes, " I was asked by 
a British officer to play the guitar. 

" ' I cannot play ; I am very dull.' 

" ' How long do you intend to continue so, Mrs. 
Wilkinson ?' 

" ' Until my countrymen return, sir !' 

" ' Return as what, madam ? prisoners or subjects ?' 

' ' As conquerors, sir.' 

" He affected a laugh. ' You will never see. that, 
madam !' 

" ' I live in hopes, sir, of seeing the thirteen stripes 
hoisted once more on the bastions of this garrison ' 

" ' Do not hope so ; but come, give us a tune on the 
guitar.' 



166 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION 

" ' I can play nothing but rebel songs.' 

" ' Well, let us have one of them.' 

" ' Not to-day I cannot play I will not play ; be* 
sides, I suppose I should be put into the Provost for 
such a heinous crime.' 

" I have often wondered since, I was not packed off, 
too ; for I was very saucy, and never disguised my sen- 
timents. 

" One day," she continues, " Kitty and I were going 
to take a walk on the Bay, to get something we wanted. 
J ust as we had got our hats on, up ran one of the Billets 
into the dining-room, where we were. 

" ' Your servant, ladies.' 

" ' Your servant, sir.' 

" ' Going out,- ladies ?' 

" ' Only to take a little walk.' 

" He immediately turned about, and ran down stairs. 
I guessed for what. * * * He offered me his 
hand, or rather arm, to lean upon. 

" ' Excuse me, sir,' said I ; ' I will support myself, if 
you please.' 

" ' No, madam, the pavements are very uneven ; you 
may get a fall ; do accept my arm.' 

" ' Pardon me, I cannot.' 

" ' Come, you do not know what your condescension 
may do. I will turn rebel !' 

" ' Will you ?' said I, laughingly ' Turn rebel first, 
and then offer your arm.' 

" We stopped in another store, where were several 
British officers. After asking for the articles I wanted. 



ELIZA WILKINSON. 



167 



I saw a broad roll of ribbon, which appeared to be of 
black and white stripes. 

" ' Go,' said I to the officer who was with us, ' and 
reckon the stripes of that ribbon ; see if they are thir- 
teen r (with an emphasis I spoke the word) and he 
went, too! 

" ' Yes, they are thirteen, upon my word, madam.' 

" ' Do hand it me.' He did so ; I took it, and found 
that it was narrow black ribbon, carefully wound round 
a broad white. I returned it to its place on the shelf. 

" ' Madam,' said the merchant, ' you can buy the black 
and white too, and tack them in stripes.' 

" ' By no means, sir ; I would not have them slightly 
tacked, but firmly united' The above-mentioned officers 
sat on the counter kicking their heels. How they gaped 
at me when I said this ! But the merchant laughed 
heartily." 

Like many others, Mrs. Wilkinson refused to join in 
the amusements of the city while in possession of the 
British ; but gave her energies to the relief of hei 
friends. The women were the more active when 
military efforts were suspended. Many and ingenious 
were the contrivances they adopted, to carry supplies 
from the British garrison, which might be useful to the 
gallant defenders of their country. Sometimes cloth 
for a military coat, fashioned into an appendage to 
female attire, would be borne away, unsuspected by the 
vigilant guards whose business it was to prevent smug- 
gling, and afterwards converted into regimental shape. 
Boots, " a world too wide" for the delicate wearer, were 



108 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 



often transferred to the partisan who could not procure 
them for himself. A horseman's helmet has been con- 
cealed under a well-arranged head-dress ; and epau- 
lettes delivered from the folds of a matron's simple 
cap. Other articles in demand for military use, more 
easily conveyed, were regularly brought away by some 
stratagem or other. Feathers and cockades thus se- 
cured, and presented by the fair ones as a trophy, had 
an inestimable value in the eyes of those who received 
them ; and useful apparel was worn with the greater 
satisfaction, that it had not been conveyed without 
some risk on the donor's part. 

It was after the return of Mrs. Wilkinson to Yonge's 
Island, that news was received of the glorious victory 
of Washington over Cornwallis. Her last letter which 
is of any public interest, contains congratulations on 
this event. 

The old family mansion has been removed from the 
island. But the burial-ground is still held sacred ; and 
the memory of Eliza Wilkinson is cherished in the 
hearts of her kindred. 




MRS. BRATTON HEROICALLY DEFYING CAPTAIN HUGE. 



XVII. 



MARTHA BRATTON. 

" THE memory of Mrs. Martha Bratton. In the 
hands of an infuriated monster, with the instrument 
of death around her neck, she nobly refused to betray 
her husband ; in the hour of victory she remembered 
mercy, and as a guardian angel, interposed in behalf of 
her inhuman enemies. Throughout the Revolution she 
encouraged the whigs to fight onto the last ; to hope on to 
the end. Honor and gratitude to the woman and 
heroine, who proved herself so faithful a wife so firm a 
friend to liberty !" 

The above toast was drunk at a celebration of 
Ruck's Defeat, given at Brattonsville, York District, 
South Carolina, on the twelfth of July, 1839. The 
ground of the battle that had taken place fifty-nine 
years before, was within a few hundred yards of Dr 
Bratton's residence, inherited from his father, one of 
the heroes of that day. He celebrated the anniversary 
of this triumph of the whigs. Tho cool spring of the 
battle-field, it is said, furnished the only beverage used 
on the occasion. 

The victory gained at this spot had the most irnpor 



170 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION 

tant effect on the destinies of the State. It was the first 
check given to the British troops the first time after 
the fall of Charleston, that the hitherto victorious enemy 
had been met. It brought confidence to the drooping 
spirits of the patriots, and taught the invaders that 
freemen are not conquered while the mind is free. The 
whigs, inspired with new life and buoyant hopes, began 
to throng together ; the British were again attacked and 
defeated ; a band of resolute and determined spirits took 
the field, and kept it till victory perched upon their 
banners, and South Carolina became an independent 
State. 

The year 1780 was a dark period for the patriots of 
Carolina. Charleston surrendered on the twelfth of 
May; and General Lincoln and the American army 
became prisoners of war. This success was followed up 
by vigorous movements. One expedition secured the 
important post of Ninety-Six; another scoured the 
country bordering on the Savannah ; and Lord Corn- 
wallis passed the Santee and took Georgetown Armed 
garrisons were posted throughout the State, which Jay 
at the mercy of the conqueror, to overawe the inhabi- 
tants, and secure a return to their allegiance. For 
several weeks all military opposition ceased ; and it was 
the boast of Sir Henry Clinton, that here, at least, the 
American Revolution was ended, A proclamation was 
issued, denouncing vengeance on all who should dare 
appear in arms, save under the royal authority, and 
offering pardon, with a few exceptions, to those who 
would acknowledge it, and accept British protection 



MARTHA BRATTON. 171 

The great body of the people, believing resistance 
unavailing and hopeless, took the offered protection, 
while those who refused absolute submission were 
exiled or imprisoned. But the fact is recorded that the 
inhabitants of York District never gave their paroles 
nor accepted protection as British subjects ; preferring 
resistance and exile to subjection and inglorious peace.* 
A few individuals, who were excepted from the benefits 
of the proclamation, with others in whose breasts the 
love of liberty W9s unconquerable, sought refuge in North 
Carolina. They were followed by the whigs of York, 
Chester, and some other districts bordering on that 
State, who fled from the British troops as they marched 
into the upper country to compel the entire submission 
of the conquered province. These patriot exiles soon 
organized themselves in companies, and under their 
gallant leaders, Sumter, Bratton, Wynn, Moffit and 
others, began to collect on the frontier, and to harass 
the victorious enemy by sudden and desultory attacks. 
At the time when this noble daring was displayed, the 
State was unable to feed or clothe or arm the soldiers. 
They depended on their own exertions for every thing 
necessary to carry on the warfare. They tabernacled 
in the woods and swamps, with wolves and other beasts 

* This fact is dwelt upon in the oration delivered on the occasion by 
Colonel Beatty. Dr. Joseph Johnson of Charleston, to whom I am 
indebted for some of the particulars in Mrs. Bratton's history, thinks it 
due to the circumstance that a large proportion of the settlers in that 
part of the State were of Irish origin, and derived their distrust ol 
British faith from traditions of violated rights, contrary to the stipula- 
tions of 'he treaty of Limejick. 



172 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 



of the forest ; and frequently wanted both for food and 
clothing. 

To crush this bold and determined spirit. British 
officers and troops were despatched, in marauding 
parties, to every nook and corner of South Carolina, 
authorised to punish every whig with the utmost rigor, 
and to call upon the loyalists to aid in the work of 
carnage. A body of these marauders, assembled at 
Mobley's Meeting-house in Fairfield District, were 
attacked and defeated in June by a party of whigs 
under the command of Colonel Bratton, Major Wynn, 
and Captain M'Clure. The report of this disaster being 
conveyed to Rocky Mount in Chester District, Colonel 
Turnbull, the commander of a strong detachment of 
British troops at that point, determined on summary 
vengeance, and for that purpose sent Captain Huck, at 
the head of four hundred cavalry, and a considerable 
body of tories, all well mounted, with the following 
order : 

" To CAPTAIN HUYCK 

" You are hereby ordered, with the cavalry under 
your command, to proceed to the frontier of the pro- 
vince, collecting all the royal militia with you on your 
march, and with said force to push the rebels as far as 
you may deem convenient."* 

It was at this time that the heroism of the wife of 
Colonel Bratton was so nobly displayed. The evening 

* The order was found in Huck's pocket after death, and is still 
preserved by one of his conquerors. His name is spelt as above in 
the manuscript 



M*M*namy,Hess a-Co.735 Broadway. N.Y 




MARTHA BRATTON. 173 

preceding the battle, Huck arrived at Colonel Bratton 's 
house. He entered rudely, and demanded where her 
husband was. 

" He is in Sumter's army/' was the undaunted reply. 

The officer then essayed persuasion, and proposed to 
Mrs Bratton to induce her husband to come in ana 
join the royalists, promising that he should have a com- 
mission in the royal service. It may well be believed 
that arguments were used, which must have had a 
show of reason at the time, when the people gene- 
rally had given up all hopes and notions of independ- 
ence. But Mrs. Bratton answered with heroic firm- 
ness, that she would rather see him remain true to 
his duty to his country, even if he perished in Sumter's 
army. 

The son of Mrs. Bratton, Dr. John S. Bratton, who 
was then a child, remembers that Huck was caressing 
him on his knee while speaking to his mother. On 
receiving her answer, he pushed the boy off so sud- 
denly, that his face was bruised by the fall. At the 
same time, one of Huck's soldiers, infuriated at her 
boldness, and animated by the spirit of deadly animosity 
towards the whigs which then raged in its greatest 
violence, seized a reaping-hook that hung near them 
in the piazza, and brought it to her throat, with inten- 
tion to kill her. Still she refused to give information 
that might endanger her husband's safety. There is no 
mention made of any interference on the part of Cap- 
tain Huck to save her from the hands of his murderous 
ruffian. But the officer second in command interposed 
11 



174 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

and compelled the soldier to release her. They took 
prisoners three old men, whom, with another they had 
captured during the day, they confined in a corn 
crib 

Huck then ordered Mrs. Hratton to have supper pre- 
pared for him and his troopers. Jt may be conceived 
with what feelings she saw her house occupied by the 
enemies of her husband and her country, and found 
herself compelled to minister to their wants. What 
wild and gloomy thoughts had possession of her soul, is 
evident from the desperate idea that occurred to her of 
playing a Roman's part, and mingling poison, which 
she had in the house, with the food they were to eat 
thus delivering her neighbors from the impending dan 
ger. But her noble nature shrank from such an ex- 
pedient, even to punish the invaders of her home. She 
weli knew, too, the brave spirit that animated her hus- 
band and his comrades. They might even now be 
dogging the footsteps of the enemy ; they might be 
watching the opportunity for an attack. They might 
come to the house also. She would not have them owe 
to a cowardly stratagem the victory they should win in 
the field of battle. Having prepared the repast, she re- 
tired with her children to an upper apartment. 

After they had supped, Huck and his officers went to 
another house about half a mile off, owned by James 
Williamson, to pass the night. His troops lay encamped 
around it A fenced road passed the door, and sen- 
tinels were posted along the road. The soldiers slept 
in fancied security, and the guard *ept negligent watch; 



MARTHA BRATTON. 175 

they dreamed not of the scene that awaited them ; 
they knew not that defeat and death were impending. 
Colonel Bratton, with a party chiefly composed of his 
neighbors, had that day left Mecklenburg County 
North Carolina, under the conviction that the royalists 
would shortly send forces into the neighborhood of 
their homes, to revenge the defeat of the tories at 
Mobley's Meeting-House. With a force of only 
seventy-five men for about fifty had dropped off on 
the way Colonel Bratton and Captain McClure, hav- 
ing received intelligence of the positjon and numbers 
of the enemy, marched to within a short distance of 
their encampment. The whigs arrived at night, and 
after concealing their horses in a swamp, Bratton him- 
self reconnoitered the encampment, advancing within 
the line of sentinels. The party of Americans divided 
to enclose the enemy ; one-half coming up the lane, 
the other being sent round to take the opposite direc- 
tion. Huck and his officers were still sleeping when 
the attack commenced, and were aroused by the roar 
of the American guns. Huck made all speed to mount 
his horse, and several times rallied his men ; but his 
efforts were unavailing : the spirit and determined 
bravery of the patriots carried all before them. The 
rout was complete. As soon as Huck and another 
officer fell, his men threw down their arms and fled.* 

* It is said that Huck was shot by John Carrol, who, as well as his 
brother Thomas, was a brave and daring soldier, his valor being always 
of the most impetuous kind. A brief, but characteristic description 
of him has been given by another Revolutionary hero: " He was a 



176 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 



Some were killed, or mortally wounded ; some perished 
in the woods ; the rest escaped, or were made prisoners 
In the pursuit the conflict raged around Bratton's house 
and Mrs. Bratton and her children, anxious to look out, 
were in some danger from the shots. She made hei 
little son, much against his will, sit within the chimney. 
While he was there, a ball struck against the opposite 
jam, and was taken up by him as a trophy. The battle 
lasted about an hour ; it was bloody, though brief; and 
it is stated that the waters of the spring, which now 
gush forth so bright and transparent, on that memorable 
spot, were then crimsoned with the tide of human life. 
About daylight, when the firing had ceased, Mrs. Brat- 
ton ventured out, anxious, and fearful of finding her 
nearest and dearest relatives among the dead and 
wounded lying around her dwelling. But none of her 
loved ones had fallen. Her house was opened alike to 
the wounded on both sides ; and she humanely at- 
tended the sufferers in person, affording them, indiscrim- 
inately, every relief and comfort in her power to 
bestow; feeding and nursing them, and supplying 
their wants with the kindest and most assiduous 
attention. Thus her lofty spirit was displayed no less 
by her humanity to the vanquished, than by her courage 
and resolution in the hour of danger. After the death 
of Huck in battle, the officer next in command became 
the leader of the troops. He was among the prisoners 
who surrendered to the whigs, and they were deter 

whig from the first he was a whig to the last ; he didn't believe in 
tb tories, and he made the tories believe in him " 



MARTHA BRATTOTV. 



177 



mined to put him to death. He entreated, as a last 
favor, to be conducted to the presence of Mrs. Bratton. 
She instantly recognized him as the officer who had in- 
terfered in her behalf and saved her life. Gratitude, as 
well as the mercy natural to woman's heart, prompted 
her now to intercede for him. She pleaded with an elo- 
quence which, considering the share she had borne in 
the common distress and danger, could not be withstood. 
Her petition was granted ; she procured his deliverance 
from the death that awaited him, and kindly entertained 
him till he was exchanged. There is hardly a situation 
in romance or dramatic fiction, which can surpass the 
interest and pathos of this simple incident. 

The evening before the battle, Huck and his troops 
had stopped on their way at the house of Mrs. Adair, 
on South Fishing Creek, at the place where the road 
from Yorkville to Chester court-house now crosses that 
stream. They helped themselves to every thing eatable 
on the premises, and one Captain Anderson laid a strict 
injunction on the old lady, to bring her sons under the 
royal banner. After the battle had been fought, Mrs. 
Adair and her husband were sent for by their sons and 
Colonel Edward Lacy, whom they had brought up, for 
the purpose of sending them into North Carolina for 
<=afcty- When Mrs. Adair reached the battle-ground, 
she dismounted from her horse, and passed round 
among her friends. Presently she came with her sons 
to a tent where several wounded men were lying An- 
derson among them. She said to him, " Well, Captain, 
you ordered me last night to bring in my rebel sons 



178 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

Here are two of them, and if the third had been 
within a day's ride, he would have been here also." 
The chagrined officer replied, " Yes, madam, I have 
seen them." Mrs. Adair was the mother of the late 
Governor John Adair of Kentucky. 

Instances of the noble daring of the women of that 
day, thus thrown " into the circle of mishap," and com- 
pelled to witness so many horrors, and share so many 
dangers, were doubtless of almost hourly occurrence 
But of the individuals whose faithful memory retain- 
ed the impression of those scenes, how few survive 
throughout the land ! Enquiries made on this subject 
are continually met by expressions of regret that some 
relative who has within a few years descended to the 
grave, was not alive to describe events of those trying 

times. " If you could only have heard or 

talk of Revolutionary scenes, volumes might have been 
filled with the anecdotes they remembered!" is the 
oft-repeated exclamation, which causes regret that the 
tribute due has been so long withheld from the memory 
of those heroines. 

The defeat of Huck had the immediate effect of 
bringing the whigs together ; and in a few days a large 
accession of troops joined the army of Sumter. The 
attack on the British at Rocky Mount was shortly 
followed by a complete victory over them at Hanging 
Rock. 

Another anecdote is related of Mrs. Bratton. Before 
the fall of Charleston, when effectual resistance through- 
out the State was in a great measure rendered impossible 



MARTHA BRATTON. 179 

by the want of ammunition, Governor Rutledge had 
sent a supply to all the regiments, to enable them to 
harass tne invading army. Many of these supplies 
were secured by the patriots in the back country, by 
secreting them in hollow trees and the like hiding-places; 
others fell into the hands of the enemy or were destroy- 
ed. The portion given to Colonel Bratton was in his 
occasional absence from home confided to the care of 
his wife. Some loyalists who heard of this, informed 
the British officer in command of the nearest station, 
and a detachment was immediately sent forward to 
secure the valuable prize. Mrs. Bratton was informed 
of their near approach, and was aware that there could be 
no chance of saving her charge. She resolved that the 
enemy should not have the benefit of it. She therefore 
immediately laid a train of powder from the depot to 
the spot where she stood, and, when the detachment 
came in sight, set fire to the train, and blew it up. The 
explosion that greeted the ears of the foe, informed 
them that the object of their expedition was frustrated. 
The officer in command, irritated to fury, demanded who 
had dared to perpetrate such an act, and threatened 
instant and severe vengeance upon the culprit. The 
ntrepid woman to whom he owed his disappointment 
answered for herself. " It was I who did it," she replied. 
" Let the consequence be what it will, I glory in having 
prevented the mischief contemplated by the cruel enemies 
rf my country." 



XVIIL 



JANE THOMAS. 

THE state of popular feeling after the occupation of 
Charleston by the British, and during the efforts made 
to establish an undisputed control over the State, might 
be in some measure illustrated by the life of Mrs. 
Thomas, were there materials' for a full narrative of 
incidents in which she and her neighbors bore an active 
or passive part. It is in wild and stirring times that 
such spirits are nurtured, and arise in their strength. 
She was another of the patriotic females in whose 
breast glowed such ardent patriotism, that no personal 
hazard could deter from service, wherever service 
could be rendered. She was a native of Chester County, 
Pennsylvania, and the sister of the Reverend John 
Black, of Carlisle, the first president of Dickinson 
College. She was married about 1740, to John Thomas, 
supposed to be a native of Wales, who had been brought 
up in the same county. Some ten or fifteen years 
after his marriage, Mr. Thomas removed to South 
Carolina. His residence for some time was upon 
Fishing Creek in Chester District. About the year 
1762, he removed to what is now called Spartanburg 



JANE THOMAS. 



181 



District, and settled upon Fairforest Creek, a few 
miles above the spot where the line dividing that district 
from Union crosses the stream. Mrs. Thomas was 
much beloved and respected in that neighborhood. She 
was one of the first members of the Presbyterian congre- 
gation organized about that time, and known as Fair- 
forest church, of which she continued a zealous and 
efficient member as long as she resided within its 
bounds. 

For many years previous to the commencement of 
the Revolutionary war, Mr. Thomas was a magistrate 
and a captain of militia. Before hostilities began, he 
resigned both these commissions. When Colonel 
Fletcher refused to accept a commission under the 
authority of the province of South Carolina, an election 
was held, and John Thomas was chosen Qolonel of the 
Spartan regiment. The proximity of this regiment to 
the frontier imposed a large share of active service on 
the soldiers belonging to it, and devolved great responsi- 
bilities upon its commander. Colonel Thomas led out 
his quota of men to repel the Indians in 1776, and 
shared the privations and dangers connected with 
the expedition under General Williamson into the heart 
of the Indian territory, in the autumn of that year. 
When that campaign terminated, and the Indians sued 
for peace, the protection of a long line of the frontier 
was intrusted to him. With diligence, fidelity and zeal 
did he perform this duty; and retainer 1 his command 
till after the fall of Charleston. 

<*.$ soon as the news of the surrender of that city 



182 WOMEN CF THE REVOLUTION. 

reachod the borders of the State, measures \\ere c<x.i 
certed by Colonels Thomas, Brandon and Lyslcs, for 
the concentration of their forces with a view to protect 
the country. Their schemes were frustrated by the 
devices of Colonel Fletcher, who still remained in the 
neighborhood. Having discovered their intentions, he 
gave notice to some British troops recently marched 
into the vicinity, and to a body of tory cavalry thirty 
miles distant. These were brought together, and sur- 
prised the force collected by Brandon at the point desig- 
nated, before the others had time to arrive. Within a 
short time after this event, almost every whig between 
the Broad and Saluda rivers was compelled to abandon 
the country or accept British protection. Numbers oi 
them fled to North Carolina. Colonel Thomjas, then 
advanced in life, with some others in like defenceless 



circumstances, took protection. By this course, they 
hoped to secure permission to remain unmolested 
with their families ; but in this supposition they were 
lamentably mistaken. It was not long before Colonel 
Thomas was arrested, and sent to prison at Ninety- 
Six. Thence he was conveyed to Charleston, where 
he remained in durance till near the close of the war. 
It was the policy of Cornwallis, whom Sir Henry 
Clinton, on his departure to New York, had left in 
command of the royal army, to compel submission by 
the severest measures. The bloody slaughter under 
Tarleton at Waxhaw Creek, was an earnest of what 
those who ventured resistance might expect. This 
course was pursued with unscrupulous cruelty, aTiif. the 



JANE THCMAS. 



183 



unfortunate patriots were made to feel the vengeance of 
exasperated tyranny. He hoped thus eventually to 
crush and extinguish the spirit still struggling and 
flashing forth, like hidden fire, among the people whom 
the arm of power had for a season brought under subjec- 
tion. But the oppressor, though he might overawe, 
could not subdue the spirit of a gallant and outraged 
people. The murmur of suffering throughout the land 
rose ere long into a mighty cry for deliverance. The 
royal standard became an object of execration. And 
while brave leaders were at hand while the fearless 
and determined Sumter could draw about him the 
hardy sons of the upper and middle country while the 
patriotic Marion, ever fertile in resource, could harass 
the foe from his impenetrable retreat in the recesses of 
forests and swamps; while the resolute and daring 
Pickens could bring his bold associates to join in the 
noble determination to burst the chains riveted on a 
prostrate land and others of the same mould, familiar 
with difficulties, accustomed to toil and danger, and 
devoted to the cause of their suffering country, were 
ready for prompt and energetic action hope could be 
entertained that all was not yet lost. The outrages 
committed by the profligate and abandoned, whose 
loyalty was the cover for deeds of rapine and blood, 
served but to bind in closer union the patriots whc 
watched their opportunity for annoying the enemy, and 
opening a way for successful resistance. 

One of the congenial co-operators in these plans of 
the British commander, was ColrneJ Ferguson. He 



184 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 



encouraged the loyalists to take arms, arid led them to 
desolate the homes of their neighbors. About the last 
of June he came into that part of the country where 
the family of Colonel Thomas lived, and caused great 
distress by the pillage and devastation of the bands of 
tories who hung around his camp. The whigs were 
robbed of their negroes, horses, cattle, clothing, bedding, 
and every article of property of sufficient value to take 
away. These depredations were frequent, the expedi- 
tions for plunder being sometimes weekly; and were 
continued as long as the tories could venture to show 
their faces. In this state of things, while whole families 
suffered, female courage and fortitude were called into 
active exercise; and Mrs. Thomas showed herself a 
bright example of boldness, spirit and determination. 

While her husband was a prisoner at Ninety-Six, 
she paid a visit to him and her two sons, who were his 
companions in rigorous captivity. By chance she 
overheard a conversation between some tory women, 
the purport of which deeply interested her. One said 
to the others : " To-morrow night the loyalists intend to 
surprise the rebels at Cedar Spring." 

The heart of Mrs. Thomas was thrilled with alarm 
at this intelligence. The Cedar Spring was within a 
few miles of her house ; the whigs were posted there, 
and among them were some of her cwn children. 

Her resolution was taken at once ; for there was no 
time to be lost. She determined to apprise them of the 
enemy's intention, before the blow could be struck. 
Bidding a hasty adieu to her husband and sons, she 



JANE THOMAS. 185 

was upon the road as quickly as possible; rode the 
intervening distance of nearly sixty miles the next day 
and arrived in time to bring information to her sons 
and friends of the impending danger. The moment 
they knew what was to be expected, a brief consultation 
was held ; and measures were immediately taken foi 
defence. The soldiers withdrew a short distance from 
their camp-fires, which were prepared to burn as brightly 
as possible. The men selected suitable positions in the 
surrounding woods. 

Their preparations were just completed, when the} 
heard in the distance, amid the silence of night, the 
cautious advance of the foe. The scene was one which 
imagination, far better than the pen of the chronicler, 
can depict. Slowly and warily, and with tread as 
noiseless as possible, the enemy advanced ; till they 
were already within the glare of the blazing fires, and 
safely, as it seemed, on the verge of their anticipated 
work of destruction. No sound betrayed alarm ; they 
supposed the intended victims wrapped in heavy 
slumbers ; they heard but the crackling of the flames, 
and the hoarse murmur of the wind as it swept through 
the pine trees. The assailants gave the signal for the 
onset, and rushed towards the fires eager for indis- 
criminate slaughter. Suddenly the flashes and shrill 
reports of rifles revealed the hidden champions of liberty. 
The enemy, to their consternation, found themselves 
assailed in the rear by the party they had expected to 
strike unawares. Thrown into confusion by this unex- 
pected reception defeat, overwhelming defeat, was 



186 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION 

the consequence to the loyalists. They were 
one hundred and fifty strong, while the whigs numbered 
only about sixty. The victory thus easily achieved 
they owed to the spirit and courage of a woman ! Such 
were the matrons of that day. 

Not merely upon this occasion was Mrs. Thomas 
active in conveying intelligence to her friends, and in 
arousing the spirit of Independence among its advo- 
cates. She did, as well as suffered much, during the 
period of devastation and lawless rapine. One instance 
of her firmness is well remembered. Early in the war 
Governor Rutledge sent a quantity of arms and ammu- 
nition to the house of Colonel Thomas, to be in readi- 
ness for any emergency that might arise on the frontier. 
These munitions were under a guard of twenty-five 
men ; and the house was prepared to resist assault. 
Colonel Thomas received information that a large party 
of tories, under the command of Colonel More of 
North Carolina, was advancing to attack him. He 
and his guard deemed it inexpedient ta risk an en- 
counter with a force so much superior to their own ; 
and they therefore retired, carrying off as much am- 
munition as possible. Josiah Culbertson, a son-in-law 
of Colonel Thomas, who was with the little garrison 
would not go with the others, but remained in the 
house. Besides him ard a youth, the only inmates 
were women. The tories advanced, and took up their 
station ; but the treasure was not to be yielded to their 
demand. Their call for admittance was answered by 
an order to leave the premises ; and their fire was r&- 



JANE THOMAS. 187 

ceived without much injury by the logs of the house, 
The fire was quickly returned from the upper story, 
and proved much more effectual than that of the assail- 
ants. The old-fashioned " batten door," strongly barri- 
caded, resisted their efforts to demolish it. Meanwhile 
Culbertson continued to fire, the guns being loaded as 
fast as he discharged them, by the ready hands of Mrs. 
Thomas and her daughters, aided by her son William ; 
and this spirited resistance soon convinced the enemy 
that further effort was useless. Believing that many 
men were concealed in the house, and apprehending a 
sally, their retreat was made as rapidly as their wounds 
would permit. After waiting a prudent time, and re- 
connoitering as well as she could from her position 
above, Mrs. Thomas descended the stairs, and opened 
the doors. When her husband made his appearance, 
and knew how gallantly the plunderers had been re- 
pulsed, his joy was only equalled by admiration of his 
wife's heroism. The powder thus preserved constituted 
the principal supply for Sumter's army in the battles at 
Rocky Mount and Hanging Rock. 

Mrs. Thomas was the mother of nine children ; and 
her sons and sons-in-law were active in the American 
service. John, the eldest son, rose during the war 
from the rank of captain till he succeeded his father in 
the command of the Spartan regiment. This he com- 
manded at the battle of the Cowpens, and elsewhere. 
He was with Sumter in several of his most important 
engagements. Robert, another son, was killed in Roe- 
buck's defeat. Abram, who was wounded at Ninety-Six 



188 



WOMEN OP THE REVOLUTION. 



and taken prisoner died in the enemy's hands. Wil 
liam, the youth who had assisted in defending his home 
on the occasion mentioned, took part in other actions. 
Thus Mrs. Thomas was liable to some share of the 
enmity exhibited by the royalists towards another 
matron, against whom the charge, " She has seven 
sons in the rebel army," was an excuse for depredations 
on her property. If she had but four sons, she had 
sons-in-law who were likewise brave and zealous in the 
cause. Martha, one of the daughters, married Josiah 
Culbertson, who was the most effective scout in the 
country. He fought the Indians single-handed and in 
the army ; was in nearly every important battle ; and 
killed a number of celebrated tones in casual encounter. 
He seems to have been a special favorite with Colonel 
Isaac Shelby, in whose regiment he served in the battle 
at Musgrove's Mill, King's Mountain, and elsewhere. 
To this officer his daring spirit and deadly aim with 
the rifle, especially commended him ; and he was em- 
ployed by Shelby in the execution of some important 
trusts. He received a captain's commission towards 
the close of the war. 

Ann was the wife of Joseph McJunkin, who entered 
the service of his country as a private, at the age of 
twenty, and rose to the rank of major before the close 
of 1780. He was in most of the battles be/ore March, 
1781, and contributed much to the success of those 
fought at Hanging Rock, Musgrove's Mill, Blackstock's 
Ford, and the Cowpens. This brave and faithful officer 
died in 1840. A sketch of his life, by the Rev. James 



JANE THOMAS. 



189 



H. Saye, of South Carolina, is in preparation, and nas 
in part been published. 

Jane, the third daughter, married Captain Joseph 
McCool ; and Letitia was the wife of Major James 
Lusk. Both these were brave and efficient patriots ; 
but the scenes of their exploits, and the success that 
attended them, are now remembered but in tradition. 
Of how many who deserve the tribute of their coun- 
try's gratitude, is history silent! Every member of this 
family, it will thus be seen, had a personal interest in 
the cause of the country. 

Not only was Mrs. Thomas distinguished for her in- 
domitable perseverance where principle and right were 
concerned, and for her ardent spirit of patriotism, but 
for eminent piety, discretion, and industry. Her daugh- 
ters exhibited the same loveliness of character, with the 
uncommon beauty of person which they inherited from 
her. All accounts represent Mrs. Culbertson as a wo- 
man of great beauty ; and her sister Ann is said to 
have been little inferior to her in personal appearance. 
Mrs. Thomas herself was rather below the ordinary 
stature, with black eyes and hair, rounded and pleasing 
features, fair complexion, and countenance sprightly 
and expressive. 

Soon after the close of the war, Colonel Thomas 
removed into Greenville district, where he and his wife 
resided till their death. But few of their descendants 
remain in the section of country where their parents 
lived, being scattered over the regions of the far West. 
To the gentleman already mentioned as the biographer 



190 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 



of McJunkin, I am indebted for all these details, ascei 
tained from authentic papers in his possession. 



A FEW anecdotes of other women in the regior. 
where Mrs. Thomas lived during the war, are of inte- 
rest as showing the state of the times. Isabella Sims, 
the wife of Captain Charles Sims, resided on Tyger 
River, six or seven miles below the scene of Brandon's 
defeat, above mentioned, on Fairforest Creek. When 
she heard of that disaster, she went up and devoted 
herself for several days to nursing the wounded soldiers. 
Daniel McJunkin shared her maternal care, and re- 
covered to render substantial service afterwards. 

On another occasion, having heard the noise of battle 
during the afternoon and night, she went up early in 
the morning to Leighton's. A scout consisting of eight 
whigs had been surrounded by a very large body of 
tories. Some of the scouts made their escape by charg- 
ing through the line ; four defended themselves in the 
house till after dark, when they surrendered. Mrs. 
Sims, on her arrival, found that John Jolly, a whig 
officer who belonged to the vicinity, had been shot in 
attempting to escape. She sent for his wife, and made 
the necessary arrangements for his decent burial. 
Sarah, his widow, was left with five children ; and for 
a time had great difficulty in procuring a subsistence. 
Her house was visited almost weekly by plundering 
parties, and robbed of food and clothing. At one tim< 





-Vs2^<*7 



MBS. SIMS *ND MRS. OTTERSON. 



191 



one 'f the robbers remained after the others had gone . 
and o an order to depart returned a refusal, with abu- 
sive and profane language. The exasperated mother 
seized a stick, with which she broke his arm, and drove 
him from the premises. 

Not long after the death of Jolly, the famous Cun- 
ningham, a tory colonel who acted a prominent part in 
the partisan warfare of Laurens, Newberry, and Edge- 
field districts, came with a squadron of cavalry to the 
house of Captain Sims, who was gone for safety to 
North Carolina. Calling Mrs. Sims to the door, Cun- 
ningham ordered her to quit the place in three days ; 
saying if he found the family there on his return, he 
would shut them in the house and burn it over them. 
Mrs. Sims fled with her family across the country to 
the house of a friendly old man ; and remained there 
till her husband came and took them to York District, 
and thence to Virginia. 

The wife of Major Samuel Otterson, a distinguished 
patriot, who lived also on Tyger River, chanced to 
know the place where a barrel of powder was con- 
cealed in the woods close at hand. She received mtel 
ligence one night that a party of tories would come for 
the treasure the next morning. Resolved that it should 
not fall into their .hands, she prepared a train imme- 
diately, and blew up the powder. In the morning came 
the enemy, and on their demand for it, were told by 
Mrs. Otterson what she had done. They refused to 
believe her, out cut off her dress at the waist, and drove 



192 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. .1 

her before them to show the place of deposit. The 
evidence of its fate was conclusive, when they reached 
the spot. 

Other instances of female intrepidity are rife in 
popular .memory. Miss Nancy Jackson, who lived in 
the Irish settlement near Fairforest Creek, kicked a 
tory down the steps as he was descending loaded with 
plunder. In a great rage he threatened to send the 
Hessian troops there next day; which obliged her to 
take refuge with an acquaintance several miles distant. 
On one occasion the house of Samuel McJunkin, a 
stout patriot, but too old for the battle-field, was visited 
by a party under the noted Colonel Patrick Moore. 
They stayed all night ; and when about to depart, strip- 
ped the house of bed-clothes and wearing apparel. 
The last article taken was a bed-quilt, which one Bill 
Haynesworth placed upon his horse. Jane, Mr McJun- 
kin's daughter, seized it, and a struggle ensued. The 
soldiers amused themselves by exclaiming, " Well done, 
woman !" " Well done, Bill !" For once the colonel's 
feelings of gallantry predominated ; and he swore if 
Jane could take the quilt from the man, she should have 
it. Presently in the contest, Bill's feet slipped from 
under him, and he lay panting on the ground. Jane 
placed one foot upon his breast and wrested the quilt 
from his grasp. 



XIX. 



DORCAS RICHARDSON.* 

FRUITFUL in noble spirits were those wild and gloomj 
iimes ; and woman's high truth and heroic devotion 
noured a solemn radiance over the dreary and appalling 
scenes of civil war. No pen has recorded the instances 
innumerable in which her virtues shone conspicuous ; 
they are forgotten by those who enjoy the benefits thus 
secured ; or but a vague recollection remains or an 
example is here and there remembered in family tra- 
dition. Even to these examples what meagre justice 
can be done by the few scattered and desultory anec- 
dotes which must take the place of a complete his- 
tory! 

Living in the midst of the storm and struggle, and 
bearing more than her own share of the terrible trials 
which fell to woman's lot, Mrs. Richardson afforded an 
example of modest heroism, and of humble, cheerful 
faith. Her residence was in Clarendon, Sumter Dis- 
trict. She was the daughter of Captain John Nelson, 

For the details of this sketch I am indebted to the kindness of 
DR JOSEPH JOHNSON', of Charleston, who has collected and pro 
served many inte-esting anecdotes of the war in South Carolina. 



194 WOMEN OF THE REVOTJTTTOV 

a native of Ireland, who married Miss Brownson, of 
South Carolina. The ferry over the Santee River, 
established and kept for several years by them, is still 
called Nelson's Ferry ; and many of their descendants 
continue to live on both sides of the river. It is said 
that Lord Cornwallis, on his march into the interior, 
after the fall of Charleston, established his head-quarters 
at this ferry, at the house of the widow Nelson. She 
received from him an assurance that her property 
should be protected. When a large quantity of plate 
which she had buried for security was discovered and 
claimed as a prize by the captors, she reminded his 
lordship of his promise ; but he refused to order the re- 
storation of the plate, saying that the protection he had 
pledged extended only to things above ground ! 

Dorcas was married at the age of twenty, in 1761, 
and removed to her husband's plantation, situated about 
twenty miles further up the river, on the east side, near 
the junction of the Congaree and Wateree. In this 
home of peace, contentment, and abundance, she en- 
joyed all the comforts of southern country life among 
the prosperous class, till the outburst of that .storm in 
which the fortunes and happiness of so many patriots 
were wrecked. 

At the commencement of the war Richard Richard- 
son was captain of a company of militia in the brigade 
of his father General Richardson ; and with him em- 
braced the quarrel of the Colonies, in defence of their 
chartered rights. Both were zealous, firm, and influ- 
ential officers. The captain was frequently called out 



DOftCAd RiCfiAKljdOft. 195 

with his company by order oi the new govcrnine 
and his first expedition was against the loyalists in the 
upper districts, incited by the royal governor, ' Lord 
William Campbell. General Richardson commanded, 
and was aided by Colonel William Thompson with his 
regiment of regulars called the Rangers. The enemy 
was dispersed, most of their leaders captured, and the 
arms and ammunition they had seized recovered. Cap- 
tain Richardson was appointed with his mounted men 
to guard the prisoners to Charleston. This occurrence 
took place at the close of 1775 ; and the winter having 
set in earlier than usual with uncommon severity, the 
young soldiers suffering much from the cold, sleet, and 
snow, it was called the Snow Campaign. 

When the three regiments of regulars were raised 
and officered in 1775, Captain Richardson and his 
lather were retained in the militia on account of their 
great popularity and influence; Edward, a younger 
brother, being appointed captain of the Rangers under 
Colonel Thompson. A second regiment of riflemen, 
however, was raised in March of the following year ; 
and Richard Richardson was appointed captain under 
Colonel Thomas Sumter. From this time, during the 
six succeeding years, he was able to be very little at 
home with his family. At i\\e surrender of Charleston 
he was taken prisoner with his father and brother. In 
violation of the terms of .capitulation, Richard was 
sent to a military station on John's Island, where he 
nearly fell a victim to the small-pox. The British hav- 
ing failed to observe the conditions on which he hac 
12 



196 



WOMF-V 



THE REVOLUTION. 



, as soon as he recovered sufficiently to 
move about, he made his escape ; and being disguised 
by the effects of the disease, returned to the neighbor- 
nood of his home, where he concealed himself in the 
Santee Swamp. This extensive swamp-land borders 
the river for many miles, presenting to the view a vast 
plain of dense woods which seem absolutely imper- 
vious. The recesses of those dark thickets, where the 
trees grow close together, and are interlaced by a luxu- 
riant growth of giant creepers, often afforded hiding- 
places for the hunted Americans. At this time the 
British troops had overrun the State ; and Colonel 
Tarleton had made the house of Captain Richardson, 
with some others, a station for his regiment of cavalry. 
They lived luxuriously on the abundance of his richly- 
stocked and well-cultivated plantation ; while Mrs. 
Richardson and her children, it is said, were restricted 
to a single apartment, and allowed but a scanty share 
of the provisions furnished from her own stores. Here 
was an occasion for the exercise of self-denial, that the 
wants of one dear to her might be supplied. Every 
day she sent food from her small allowance to her hus- 
band in the swamp, by an old and faithful negro, in 
whose care and discretion she could implicitly trust. 
She had expected the seizure of her horses and cattle 
by the British, and had sent Richardson's favorite 
n'ding-hoise into the swamp for concealment, with a 
few cattle which she wished to save for future need. 
Every thing that fell into the enemy's hands was con- 
mimed. The horse was shut up in a covered pen in 



DORCAS RICHARDSON. 



197 



me woods, which had om d been used for holding corn ; 
and he thence received the name of Corncrib. He 
was subsequently killed in the battle of Eutaw. 

Mrs. Richardson not only sent provisions to her hus 
oand in his place of shelter, but sometimes ventured to 
visit him, taking with her their little daughter. These 
stolen meetings were full of consolation to the fugitive 
soldier. The spot he had chosen for his retreat was a 
small knoll or elevation in the heart of the swamp, 
called " John's Island," by way of distinction from 
another in the neighborhood, occupied by other whigs, 
which bore the name of " Beech Island." On this 
many of their initials may still be seen, carved on the 
bark of the trees. 

It was not long before the British had information of 
Richardson's escape. They naturally concluded that 
he was somewhere in the vicinity of his family and 
relatives. A diligent search was instituted ; scouts 
were sent in every direction, and they watched to sur- 
prise him, or find some clue to his retreat. In secret 
and publicly rewards were offered for his apprehension ; 
but without success. One day an officer, caressing the 
little girl, asked when she had seen her papa ; the mo- 
ther grew pale, but dared not speak, for a short time 
only had elapsed since the child had been taken on a 
visit to her father. The thoughtless prattler answered 
promptly, that she had seen him only a few days before. 
" And where ?" asked the officer, eager to extract in- 
formation from innocent lips that might betray the 
patriot. The child replied without hesitation, "On 



198 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

John's Island." The officer knew of no place so called 
except the large sea island from which Richardson had 
escaped. After a moment's reflection, he came to the 
conclusion that the child had been dreaming, and re 
lieved the mother's throbbing heart by saying, " Pshaw, 
that was a long time ago !" It may well be believed 
that the little tell-tale was not trusted with another visit 
to the spot. 

Not unfrequently did the officers, in the most unfeel- 
ing manner, boast in the presence of the wife, of what 
they would do to her husband when they should cap- 
ture him. Once only did she deign the reply, "I do 
not doubt that men who can outrage the feelings of a 
woman by such threats, are capable of perpetrating any 
act of treachery and inhumanity towards a brave but 
unfortunate enemy. But conquer or capture my hus- 
band, if you can do so, before you boast the cruel ty 
you mean to mark your savage triumph ! And let me 
tell you, meanwhile, that some of you, it is likely, wili 
be in a condition to implore his mercy, before he will 
have need to supplicate, or deign to accept yours." 
This prediction was literally verified in more than one 
instance during the eventful remainder of the war. 

Tarleton himself was frequently present during these 
scenes, apparently a pleased, though generally a silent 
spectator. He would remark at times, in the way of 
self- vindication, "that he commiserated the trials, and 
wondered at the endurance, of this heroic woman ; but 
that his sanction of such proceedings was necessary to 
the success of His Majesty's cause." Weak cause, 



DORCAS JUCHARDSON. 



199 



indeed, that was constrained to wring the cost of its 
maintenance from the bleeding hearts of wives and 
mothers ! 

On one occasion some of the officers displayed in the 
sight of Mrs. Richardson, their swords reeking with 
blood probably that of her cattle and told her it was 
the blood of Captain Richardson, whom they had 
killed. At another time they brought intelligence that 
he had been taken and hanged. In this state of cruel 
suspense she sometimes remained for several successive 
days, unable to learn the fate of her husband, and not 
knowing whether to believe or distrust the horrible 
tales brought to her ears. 

One day, when the troops were absent on some expedi- 
tion, Captain Richardson ventured on a visit to his 
home. A happy hour was it to the anxious wife and 
faithful domestics, when they could greet him once 
more in his own mansion. But before he thought of 
returning to his refuge in the forest, a patrolling party 
of the enemy appeared unexpectedly at the gate. Mrs. 
Richardson's presence of mind and calm courage were 
in instant requisition, and proved the salvation of the 
hunted patriot. Seeing the British soldiers about to 
come in, she pretended to be intently busy about some- 
thing in the front door, and stood in the way, retarding 
their entrance. Tiie least appearance of agitation or 
fear the least change of color might have betrayed 
all by exciting suspicion. But with a self-control as 
rare as admirable, she hushed even the wild beating of 
her heart, and continued to stand in the way, till her 



200 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

husband had time to retire through the back door, into 
the swamp near at hand. The brave captain was not 
idle in his seclusion ; but collecting around him the 
whigs of his acquaintance who remained firm in their 
devotion to their native land, he trained them daily in 
cavalry exercise. When Tarleton ravaged the planta- 
tion and burnt the dwelling of his deceased father, 
General Richardson, he passed so near the ruins as to 
see the extent of the desolation. General Marion hap- 
pened at that time to be in a very critical situation, and 
unaware of the great superiority of the enemy's force 
close at hand. The gallant Richardson hastened to his 
aid ; joined him, and conducted the retreat of his army, 
which was immediately commenced and successfully exe- 
cuted. The British were not long in discovering that 
the captain had joined the forces of Marion ; and their 
deportment to his wife was at once changed. One and 
all professed a profound respect for her brave and 
worthy husband, whose services they were desirous of 
securing. They endeavored to obtain her influence 
to prevail on him to join the royal army, by promises 
of pardon, wealth, and honorable promotion. The high- 
spirited wife treated all such offers v/ith the contempt 
they deserved, and refused to be made instrumental to 
their purposes. They then despatched his brother 
Edward, who was a prisoner on parole upon the adjoin- 
ing plantation, to be the bearer of their offers. By him 
Mrs. Richardson also sent a message to her husband, 
It was to assure him that she did not join in British 
solicitations ; that she and her children were well, and 




& MAC, HAV 1TT 



DORCAS RICHARDSON. 



201 



provided with abundance of every thing necessary for 
their comfort. Thus with heroic 'art did she conceal 
the privations and wants she was suffering, lest her 
husband's solicitude for her and his family might tempt 
him to waver from strict obedience to the dictates of 
honor and patriotism. 

Edward went as directed to the American camp, 
took his brother into Marion's presence, and there faith- 
fully delivered both messages with which he had been 
charged. The specious offers from the enemy were ot 
course rejected, and the messenger, conceiving himself 
absolved from his parole by the treatment he had re- 
ceived, remained with Marion till the termination of 
hostilities in the State. 

Several times after this did Richard place his life in 
peril to visit his amiable family. Hearing that Tarle- 
ton's troop had been ordered away from his plantation, 
he obtained permission to go thither for a short time. 
He arrived in safety ; but had been seen on his way by 
a loyalist. A party of them was immediately assembled, 
and was soon to be seen drawn up in front of his house. 
Corncrib, the faithful steed, was hitched outside the 
gate ; his master hastily came forth, leaped on him, and 
galloping up the avenue, where the enemy were posted, 
passed through the midst of them without receiving 
either a shot or a sabre wound. Just as he passed 
their ranks, one of his well-known neighbors fired at 
him, but missed the aim. All this took place in the 
sight of his terrified family, who often afterwards de- 
scribed his danger and providential escape. His wife 



202 WOMEN OF THE EEVOLUTION. 

could only account for this by conjecturing that tne 
party had determined to take Richardson alive, and 
thus claim the reward offered for his apprehension ; and 
that when in their midst, they could not shoot, him 
without the risk of killing some of their comrades. His 
daring gallantry entirely disconcerted them, and saved 
his life. 

Some time after this, he again asked the indulgence 
of a visit to his family ; but General Marion in granting 
it, mindful of the danger he had before encountered, 
insisted that he should be accompanied by an escort. 
The party had scarcely reached the house of Richard- 
son, when, as before, a large body of British and tories 
was seen advancing rapidly down the avenue, eager to 
surprise their intended victims. - To remount in all 
haste their v/earied steeds, and rush down the bank at 
the rear of the house, seeking concealment in the swamp, 
offered the only chance for escape. In this they all 
succeeded, except a young man named Roberts, with 
whom Mrs. Richardson was well acquainted, and who 
was taken prisoner. In vain did she intercede for him 
with the British officers, and with streaming eyes 
implore them to spare the life of the unfortunate youth. 
They hanged him on a walnut tree only a few paces 
from her door, and compelled her to witness the revolt- 
ing spectacle ! When she complained with tears of 
anguish, of this cruelty to herself, and barbarity towards 
one who had offended by risking his life in defence of 
her husband, they jeeringly told her they " would soon 
have him also, and then she should see him kick like 



DORCAS RICHARDSON. 



203 



that fellow." To such atrocities could the passions of 
brutalized men lead them, even in an age and nation 
that boasted itself the most enlightened on earth! 

When peace returned to shed blessings over the 
land, Mrs. Richardson continued to reside in the same 
house, with her family. Tarleton and his troopers had 
wasted the plantation, and destroyed every thing movea- 
ble about the dwelling ; but the buildings had been 
spared, because they were spacious, and afforded a 
convenient station for the British, about midway be- 
tween Camden and Fort Watson on Scott's Lake. 
Colonel Richardson, who had been promoted for his 
meritorious service in the field, cheerfully resumed the 
occupations of a planter. His circumstances were 
much reduced by the chances of war ; but a competence 
remained, which he and his wife enjoyed in tranquillity 
and happiness, surrounded by affectionate relatives and 
friendly neighbors. Of their ten children, four died 
young ; the rest married and reared families. 

Mrs. Richardson survived her husband many years, 
and died at the advanced age of ninety-three, in 1834 
She was remarkable throughout life for the calm judg 
ment, fortitude, and strength of mind, which had sustain- 
ed her in the trials she suffered during the war, and pro- 
tected her from injury or insult when surrounded by a 
lawless soldiery. To these elevated qualities she united 
unostentatious piety, and a disposition of uncommon 
serenity and cheerfulness. Her energy and consola- 
tions, through the vicissitudes of life, were derived from 
religion ; it was her hope and triumph in the hour of death 
12* 



XX. 



ELIZABETH, GRACE, AND RACHEL MARTIN. 

THE daring exploit of two women in Ninety-Six 
District, furnishes an instance of courage as striking as 
any remembered among the traditions of South Carolina 
During the sieges of Augusta and Cambridge, the patri- 
otic enthusiasm that prevailed among the people prompt- 
ed to numerous acts of personal risk and sacrifice. This 
spirit, encouraged by the successes of Sumter and 
others over the British arms, was earnestly fostered by 
General Greene, whose directions marked at least the 
outline of every undertaking. In the efforts made to 
strike a blow at the invader's power, the sons of the 
Martin family were among the most distinguished for 
active service rendered, and for injuries sustained at 
the enemy's hands. The wives of the two eldest, during 
their absence, remained at home with their mother-in- 
law. One evening intelligence came to them that a 
courier, conveying important despatches to one of the 
upper stations, was to pass that night along the road, 
guarded by two British officers. They determined to 
waylay the party, and at the risk of their lives, to obtain 
possession of the papers. For this purpose the two 




GRACE AND RACHEL MARTIN ARRESTING TWO ENGLISH OFFICERS. 



ELIZABETH, GRACE, AND RACHEL MARTIN. 205 

young women disguised themselves in their husbands 
clothes, and being well provided with arms, took their 
station at a point on the road which they knew the 
escort must pass. It was already late, and they had 
not waited long before the tramp of horses was heard 
in the distance. It may be imagined with what anxious 
expectation the heroines awaited the approach of the 
critical moment on which so much depended. The 
forest solitude around them, the silence of night, and the 
darkness, must have added to the terrors conjured up 
by busy fancy. Presently the courier appeared, with 
his attendant guards. As they came close to the spot, 
the disguised women leaped from their covert in the 
bushes, presented their pistols at the officers, and demand- 
ed the instant surrender of the party and their despatches. 
The men were completely taken by surprise, and in 
their alarm at the sudden attack, yielded a prompt sub- 
mission. The seeming soldiers put them on their parole, 
and having taken possession of the papers, hastened 
home by a short cut through the woods. No time was lost 
in sending the important documents by a trusty messen- 
ger to General Greene. The adventure had a singular 
termination. The paroled officers, thus thwarted in 
their mission, returned by the road they had taken, and 
stopping at the house of Mrs. Martin, asked accommoda- 
tion as weary travellers, for the night. The hostess 
inquired the reason of their returning so soon after 
they had passed. They replied by showing their paroles, 
saying they had been taken prisoners by two rebel lads. 
The ladies rallied them upon their want of intrepidity 



206 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

''Had you no arms?" was asked. The officers answer 
ed that they had arms, but had been suddenly taken off 
their guard, and were allowed no time to use theii 
weapons. They departed the next moiring, having no 
suspicion that they owed their capturt to the very 
women whose hospitality they had claimed 

The mother of this patriotic family was a native of 
Caroline County, Virginia. Her name was Elizabeth 
Marshall, and she was probably of the same family with 
Chief Justice Marshall, as she belonged to the same 
neighborhood. After her marriage to Abram Martin 
she removed to his settlement bordering on the Indian 
nation, in Ninety-Six, now Edgefield District, South 
Carolina. The country at that time was sparsely 
settled, most of its inhabitants being pioneers from other 
States, chiefly from Virginia; and their neighborhood to 
the Indians had caused the adoption of some of their 
savage habits. The name Edgefield is said to have 
been given because it was at that period the edge or 
boundary of the respectable settlers and their cultivated 
fields. Civilization, however, increased with the popu- 
lation ; and in the time of the Revolution, Ninety-Six 
was among the foremost in sending into the field its 
quota of hardy and enterprising troops, to oppose the 
British and their savage allies. 

At the commencement of the contest, Mrs. Martin 
had nine children, seven of whom were sons old enough 
to bear arms. These brave young men, under the 
tuition and example of their parents, had grown up in 
ittachment to their country, and a/dently devoted to 



ELIZABETH, GRACE, AND RACHEL MARTIN. 207 

its service, were ready on every occasion to encountei 
the dangers of border "warfare. When the first call foi 
volunteers sounded through the land, the mother en- 
couraged their patriotic 'zeal. " Go, boys," she said ; 
" fight for your country ! fight till death, if you must, but 
never let your country be dishonored. Were I a man 
I would go with you." 

At another time, when Colonel Cruger commanded 
the British at Cambridge, and Colonel Browne in 
Augusta, several British officers stopped at her house 
for refreshment ; and one of them asked how many sons 
she had. She answered eight ; and to the question, 
where they all were, replied promptly : " Seven of 
them are engaged in the service of their country." 
"Really, madam," observed the officer, sneeringly, 
" you have enough of them." " No sir," said the matron, 
proudly, "I wish I had fifty." 

Her house in the absence of the sons was frequently 
exposed to the depredations of the tories. On one 
occasion they cut open her feather 'beds, and scattered 
the contents. When the young men returned shortly 
afterwards, their mother bade them pursue the marauders. 
One of the continental soldiers having been left at the 
house badly wounded, Mrs. Martin kindly attended and 
nursed him till his recovery. A party of loyalists who 
heard of his being there, came with the intention of 
taking his life , but she found means to hide him from 
their search. 

The only daughter of Mrs. Martin, Letitia, married 
Captain Edmund Wade, of Virginia, who fell with his 



208 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

commander, General Montgomery, at the siege o! 
Quebec. At the time of the siege of Charleston by Sh 
Henry Clinton, the widow was residing with her mothei 
at Ninety-Six. Her son Washington Wade was then five 
years old, and remembers many occurrences connected 
with the war.* The house was about one hundred miles 
in a direct line west of Charleston. He recollects walking 
in the piazza on a calm evening, with his grandmother. 
A light breeze blew from the east ; and the sound of 
heavy cannon was distinctly heard in that direction. f 
The sound of cannon heard at that time, and in that 
part of the State, they knew must come from the besieg- 
ed city. As report after report reached their ears, the 
agitation of Mrs. Martin increased. She knew not 
what evils might be announced ; she knew not but the 
sound might be the knell df her sons, three of whom 
were then in Charleston. Their wives were with her, 
and partook of the same heart-chilling fears. They 
stood still for a few minutes, each wrapped in her own 
painful and silent reflections, till the mother at length, 
lifting her hands and eyes towards heaven exclaimed 
fervently : " THANK GOD, THEY ARE THE CHILDREN OF 
THE REPUBLIC!" 

Of the seven patriot brothers, six were spared through 
all the dangers of partisan warfare in the region of 
the " dark and bloody ground." The eldest, William 

* Most of the particulars relating to this family were furnished by 
him to DR. JOHNSON, of Charleston, who kindly communicated thec; 
to me, with additional ones obtained from other branches of the family 

t This statement has been repeatedly confirmed by others in th 
neighbotl ood. 




DEATH OP MONTGOMERY AT QUEBEC. 



ELIZABETH, GRACE, AND RACHEL MARTIN. 



209 



M. Martin, was a captain of artillery ; and after hav- 
ing served with distinction in the sieges of Savannah 
and Charleston, was killed at the siege of Augusta, 
just after he hud obtained a favorable position for his 
cannon, by elevating it on one of the towers con- 
structed by General Pickens. It is related that not 
long after his death, a British officer passing to Fort 
Ninety-Six, then in possession of the English, rode out 
of his way to gratify his hatred to the whigs by carry- 
ing the fatal news to the mother of this gallant young 
man. He called at the house, and asked Mrs. Martin 
if she had not a son in the army at Augusta. She 
replied in the affirmative. " Then I saw his brains 
blown out on the field of battle," said the monster, who 
anticipated his triumph in the sight of a parent's agony. 
But the effect of the startling announcement was other 
than he expected. Terrible as was the shock, and 
aggravated by the ruthless cruelty with which her 
bereavement was made known, no woman's weakness 
was suffered to appear. After listening to the dreadful 
recital, the only reply made by this American dame 
was, "He could not have died in a nobler cause!" 
The evident chagrin of the officer as he turned and 
rode away, is still remembered in the family tradition. 

This eldest son married Grace Waring, of Dorchester, 
when she was but fourteen years of age. She was the 
daughter of Benjamin Waring, who afterwards became 
one of the earliest settlers of Columbia when established 
-*j the seat of government in the State. The principles 
<1 the Revolution had been taught her from childhood; 



210 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

and her efforts to promote its advancement were joined 
with those of her husband's family. She was one of 
the two who risked their lives to seize upon the de- 
spatches, as above related. Her husband's untimely 
death left her with three young children two sons and 
a daughter ; but she never married again. 

Her companion in that daring and successful enter- 
prise was the* wife of Barkly Martin, another son. She 
was Rachel Clay, the daughter of Henry Clay, Jun., of 
Mecklenburg County, Virginia, and first cousin to 
Henry Clay, of Kentucky. She is said to be still liv 
ing in Bedford County, Tennessee ; is about eighty-six 
years of age, and never had any children. Her sister 
married Matthew, another of the brothers, and removed 
to Tennessee. Their family was large and of high 
respectability. One of the sons is the Hon. Barkly 
Martin, late member of Congress from that State. His 
father lived to a great age, and died in Tennessee in 
October, 1847, about seventy-six years after his first 
battle-field. The decendants of the other brothers are 
numerous and respectable in the different southern 
States. 



A TRIBUTE is due to the fortitude of those who suffered 
when the war swept with violence over Georgia. After 
Colonel Campbell took possession of Savannah in 1778, 
the whole country was overrun with irregular marau- 
ders, wilder and more ruthless than the Cossacks of the 
Don. As many of the inhabitants as could retire from 



MRS. SPALDING. 211 

the storm did so, awaiting a happier time to renew the 
struggle. One of those who had sought refuge in 
Florida, was Mr. Spalding, whose establishments were 
on the river St. John's. He had the whole Indian 
trade from the Altamaha to the Apalachicola. His 
property, with his pursuits, was destroyed by the war ; 
yet his heart was ever with his countrymen, and the 
home he had prepared for his wife was the refuge of 
every American prisoner in Florida. The first Assem- 
bly that met in Savannah re-called him and restored 
his lands; but could not give back his business, nor 
secure the debts due ; while his British creditors, with 
their demands for accumulated interest, pressed upon 
the remnant of his fortune. Under these adverse circum- 
stances, and distressed on account of the losses of her 
father and brothers, who had taken arms in the Ameri- 
can cause, Mrs. Spalding performed her arduous du- 
ties with a true woman's fidelity and tenderness. She 
followed her husband with her child, when flight be 
came necessary ; and twice during the war traversed 
the two hundred miles between Savannah and St. 
John's River in an open boat, with only black servants 
on board, when the whole country was a desert, without 
a house to shelter her and her infant son. The first of 
these occasions was when she visited her father and 
brotheis while prisoners in Savannah ; the second, 
when in 1782, she went to congratulate her brothers 
and uncle on their victory. This lady was the daugh- 
ter of Colonel William Mclntosh, and the niece of 



212 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION 

General Lachlan Mclntosh. Major Spalding, of Geor- 
gia, is her son. 

Mrs. Spalding's health was seriously impaired by the 
anxieties endured during the struggle, and many year*- 
afterwards it was deemed necessary for her to try the 
climate of Europe. In January, 1800, she, with hei 
son and his wife, left Savannah in a British ship of 
twenty guns, with fifty men, built in all points to resem- 
ble a sloop of war, without the appearance of a cargo. 
When they had been out about fifteen days, the captain 
sent one morning at daylight, to request the presence 
of two of his gentlemen passengers on deck. A large 
ship, painted black and showing twelve guns on a side, 
was seen to windward, running across their course. 
She was obviously a French privateer. The Captain 
announced that there was no hope of out-sailing her, 
should their course be altered ; nor would there be hope 
in a conflict, as those ships usually carried one hundred 
and fifty men. Yet he judged that if no effort were 
made to shun the privateer, the appearance of his ship 
might deter from an attack. The gentlemen were of 
the same opinion. Mr. Spalding, heart-sick at thought 
of the perilous situation of his wife and mother, and 
unwilling to trust himself with an interview till the 
crisis was over, requested the captain to go below and 
make what preparation he could for their security. 
After a few minutes' absence the captain returned to 
describe a most touching scene. Mrs. Spalding had 
placed her daughter-in-law and the other inmates of 
the cabin for safety in the two state-rooms, filling the 



MRS. SPALDING. 213 

berths with the cots and bedding from the outer cabin. 
She had then taken her own station beside the scuttle, 
which led from the outer cabin to the magazine, witn 
two buckets of water. Having noticed that the two 
cabin boys were heedless, she had determined herself 
to keep watch over the magazine. She did so till the 
danger was past. The captain took in his light sails, 
hoisted his boarding nettings, opened his ports, and stood 
on upon his course. The privateer waited till the ship, 
was within a mile, then fired a gun to windward, and 
stood on her way. This ruse preserved the ship. The 
incident may serve to show the spirit of this matron, 
who also bore her high part in the perils of the Revo 
lution. 



XXI. 



DICEY LANGSTON. 

THE portion of South Carolina near the frontiei 
watered by the Pacolet, the Tyger, and the Ennoree, 
comprising Spartanburg and Union Districts, witnessed 
many deeds of violence and blood, and many bold 
achievements of the hardy partisans. It could also 
boast its full complement of women whose aid in vari- 
ous ways was of essential service to the patriots. So 
prevalent was loyalism in the darkest of those days, so 
bitter was the animosity felt towards the whigs, and so 
eager the determination to root them from the soil, that 
the very recklessness of hate gave frequent opportu- 
nities for the betrayal of the plans of their enemies. 
Often were the boastings of those who plotted some 
midnight surprise, or some enterprise that promised rare 
pillage uttered in the hearing of weak and despised 
women unexpectedly turned into wonder at the secret 
agency that had disconcerted them, or execrations upon 
their own folly. The tradition of the country teems 
with accounts of female enterprise in this kind of ser- 
vice, very few instances of which were recorded in the 
military journals. 



DICEY LANGSTON. 215 

The patriots were frequently indebted for important 
information to one young girl, fifteen or sixteen years 
old at the commencement of the war. This was Dicey, 
the daughter of Solomon Langston of Lauren s District. 

O o 

He was in principle a stout liberty man, but incapa- 
citated by age and infirmities from taking any active 
part in the contest. His son was a devoted patriot, 
and was ever found in the field where his services were 
most needed. He had his home in the neighborhood, 
and could easily receive secret intelligence from his 
sister, who was always on the alert. Living surrounded 
I y loyalists, some of whom were her own relatives, Miss 
L<xngston found it easy to make herself acquainted with 
their movements and plans, and failed not to avail her- 
self of every opportunity to do so, and immediately to 
communicate what she learned to the whigs on the 
other side of the Ennoree River. At length suspicion 
of the active aid she rendered was excited among the 
tory neighbors. Mr. Langston was informed that he 
would be held responsible thenceforward, with his pro- 
perty, for the conduct of his daughter. The young 
girl was reproved severely, and commanded to desist 
from her patriotic treachery. For a time she obeyed 
the parental injunction ; but having heard by accident 
that a company of loyalists, who en account of their 
ruthless cruelty had been commonly called the " Bloody 
Scout," intent on their work of death, were about to 
visit the "Elder settlement" where her brother and 
some friends were living, she determined at all hazards 
to warn them of the intended expedition. She had 



216 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 



none in whom to confide ; but was obliged to leave her 
home alone, by stealth, and at the dead hour of 
night. Many miles were 10 be traversed, and the road 
lay through woods, and crossed marshes and creeks, 
where the conveniences of bridges and foot-logs were 
wanting. She walked rapidly on, heedless of slight 
difficulties ; but her heart almost failed her when she 
came to the banks of the Tyger a deep and rapid 
stream, which there was no possibility of crossing ex- 
cept by wading through the ford. This she knew to be 
deep at ordinary times, and it had doubtless been ren- 
dered more dangerous by the rains that had lately 
fallen. But the thought of personal danger weighed 
not with her, in comparison to the duty she owed her 
friends and country. Her momentary hesitation was 
but the shrinking of nature from peril encountered in 
darkness and alone, when the imagination conjures up 
a thousand appalling ideas, each more startling than the 
worst reality. Her strong heart battled against these, 
and she resolved to accomplish her purpose, or perish 
in the attempt. She entered the water ; but when in 
the middle of the ford, became bewildered, and knew 
not which direction to take. The hoarse rush of the 
waters, which were up to her neck the blackness of 
the night the utter solitude around her the uncei- 
tainty lest the next step should ingulph her past help, 
confused her ; and losing in a degree her self-possession, 
she wandered for some time in the channel without 
knowing whither to turn her steps. But the energy of a 
resolute will, under the care of Providence, sustained 



DICEY LANGSTON. 



217 



her. Having with difficulty reached the other side, sae 
lost no time in hastening to her brother, informed him 
and his friends of the preparations made to surprise 
and destroy them, and urged him to send his men in- 
stantly in different directions to arouse and warn the 
neighborhood. The soldiers had just returned from a 
fatiguing excursion, and complained that they were 
faint from want of food. The noble girl, not satisfied 
with what she had done at such risk to herself, was 
ready to help them still further by providing refresh 
ment immediately. Though wearied, wet, and shiver- 
ing with cold, she at once set about her preparations. 
A few boards were taken from the roof of the house, 
a fire was kindled with them, and in a few minutes a 
hoe-cake, partly baked, was broken into pieces, and 
thrust into the shot pouches of the men. Thus pro- 
visioned, the little company hastened to give the alarm 
to their neighbors, and did so in time for all to make 
their escape. The next day, when the "scout" visited 
the place, they found no living enemy on whom to 
wreak their vengeance. 

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 



218 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 



victim, was in their power. He could not escape or 
resist ; and he scorned to implore their mercy. One of 
the company drew a pistol, and deliberately levelled it 
at the breast of Lansgton. Suddenly a wild shriek waj 
heard ; and his young daughter sprang between her 
aged parent arid the fatal weapon. The brutal soldier 
roughly ordered her to get out of the way, or the con- 
tents 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 gen- 
erous 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. 

At another time the heroic maiden showed herself as 
ready to prevent wrong to an enemy as to her friends. 
Her father's house was visited by a company of whigs, 
who stopped to get some refreshment, and to feed their 
wearied horses. In the course of conversation one of 
them mentioned that they were going to visit a tory 
neighbor, for the purpose of seizing his horses. The 
man whose possessions were thus to be appropriated 
had been in general a peaceable citizen; and Mr 
Langston determined to inform him of the danger in 



DICEY LANGSTCW. 



219 



which his horses stood of having ur^eir ownership 
changed. Entering cordially into her father's design, 
Miss Langston set off immediately to carry the infor- 
mation. She gave it in the best faith ; but just before 
she started on her return home, she discovered that the 
neighbor whom she had warned was not only taking 
precautions to save his property, but was about to send 
for the captain of a tory band not far distant, so that 
the " liberty men" might be captured when intent on 
their expedition, before they should be aware of their 
danger. It was now the generous girl's duty to per- 
form a like friendly act towards the whigs. She lost 
no time in conveying the intelligence, and thus saved 
an enemy's property, and the lives of her friends. 

Her disregard of personal danger, where service 
could be rendered, was remarkable. One day, return- 
ing 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 respect- 
ing 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. 
13 



220 



WOMEN 9F THE REVOLUTION 



On one occasion, when her father's house was visited 
on a plundering expedition by the noted tory Captain 
Gray with his riflemen, and they had collected and 
divided every thing they thought could be of use, they 
were at some loss what to do with a large pewter basin. 
At length the captain determined on taking that also, 
jeeringly remarking, " it will do to run into bullets to 
kill the rebels." " Pewter bullets, sir," answered Miss 
Langston, " will not kill a whig." " Why not ?" inquired 
Captain Gray. "It is said, sir," replied she, "that a 
witch can be shot only with a silver bullet ; and I am 
sure the whigs are more under the protection of Provi- 
dence." At another time when a company of the 
enemy came to the house they found the door secured. 
To their demand for admission and threats of breaking 
down the door, Miss Langston answered by sternly 
bidding them begone. Her resolute language induced 
the company to "hold a parley;" and the result was, 
that they departed without further attempt to obtain an 
entrance. 

One more anecdote is given to illustrate her spirit 
and fearlessness. 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, one of them 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 



JHRS. DILLARF. 221 

cautiously she observed to them that their looks were 
suspicious ; that for aught she knew they might be a 
set of tories ; and demanded the countersign. One of 
the company answered that it was too late to make 
conditions; the gun was in their possession, and its 
holder, too. " Do you think so," cried she, cocking it, 
and presenting the muzzle at the speaker. " 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. 

After the war was ended, Miss Langston married 
Thomas Springfield, of Greenville, South Carolina. 
She died in Greenville District, a few years since. Of 
her numerous descendants then living, thirty-two were 
sons and grandsons capable of bearing arms, and 
ready at any time to do so in the maintenance of that 
liberty which was so dear to the youthful heart of their 
ancestor.* 



THE recollection of the courage and patriotism of 
Mrs. Dillard is associated with the details of a battle 
of considerable importance, which took place in Spar- 
tanburg District, at the Green Spring, near Berwick's 
iron works. The Americans here gained great honor. 

* The preceding anecdotes were furnished by Hon B. F. Perry, of 
Greenville, South Carolina, who received them from one of Mrs 
Springfield's family. 



222 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

Colonel Clarke, of the Georgia volunteers, joined with 
Captains McCall, Liddle, and Hammond, in all about 
one hundred and ninety-eight men having received 
intelligence that a body of tory militia, stated to be from 
two to five hundred, commanded by Colonel Ferguson, 
were recruiting for the horse service determined to 
attempt to rout them.* They marched accordingly; 
and hearing that a scouting party Was in advance of 
Ferguson's station, prepared to give them battle. 
Colonel Clarke, with his forces, encamped for the night 
at Green Spring. 

On that day the Americans had stopped for refresh- 
ment at the house of Captain Dillard, who was with 
their party as a volunteer. They had been entertained 
by his wife with milk and potatoes the simple fare which 
those hardy soldiers often found it difficult to obtain. 
The same evening Ferguson and Dunlap, with a party 
of lories, arrived at the house. They inquired of Mrs. 
Dillard whether Clarke and his men had not been there ; 
what time they had departed ; and what were their 
numbers ? She answered that they had been at the 
house ; that she could not guess their numbers ; and 
that they had been gone a long time. The officers 
then ordered her to prepare supper for them with all 
possible despatch. They took possession of the house, 
and took some bacon to be given to their men. Mrs. 
Dillard set about the preparations for supper. In 
going backwards and forwards from the kitchen, she 
overheard much of their conversation. It will be re 

* Mills' Statistics of South Carolina, p. 733 



MRS. 1JTLLARD. 223 

mcmbeied that the kitchens at the South are usually 
separate from the dwelling-nouses. The doovs and 
windows of houses in the country being often slightly 
constructed, it is also likely that the loose partitions 
afforded facilities for hearing what might be said within. 
Besides, the officers probably apprehended no danger 
from disclosing their plans in the presence of -a lonely 
woman. 

She ascertained that they had determined to surprise 
Clarke and his party ; and were to pursue him as soon 
as they had taken their meal. She also heard one of 
the officers tell Ferguson he had just received the infor- 
mation that the rebels, with Clarke, were to encamp 
that night at the Great Spring. It was at once resolved 
to sui*prise and attack them before day. The feelings 
may be imagined with which Mrs. Dillard heard this 
resolution announced. She hurried the supper, and as 
soon as it was placed upon the table, and the officers 
had sat down, slipped out by a back way. Late and 
dark as it was, her determination was to go herself and 
apprize Clarke of his danger, in the hope of being in 
time for him to make a safe retreat ; for she believed 
that the enemy were too numerous to justify a battle. 

She went to the stable, bridled a young horse, and 
without saddle, mounted and rode with all possible 
speed to the place described. It was about half an hour 
before day when she came in full gallop to one of the 
videttes, by whom she was immediately conducted to 
Colonel Clarke. She callej. to the colonel, breathless 
ndth eagerness and haste, " Be in readiness either to 



224 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

fight or run ; the enemy will be upon you immediately, 
and they are strong !" 

In an instant every man was uj . and no momenta 
were lost in preparing for action. The intelligence 
came just in time to put the whigs hi readiness. Fer- 
guson had detached Dunlap with two hundred picked 
mounted men, to engage Clarke and ke'-.p him employed 
till his arrival. These rushed in full charge into the 
American camp ; but the surprise was ovi their part. 
They were met hand to hand, with a firmness they had 
not anticipated. Their confusion was increased by the 
darkness, which rendered it hard to distinguish friend 
from foe. The battle was warm for fifteen or twenty 
minutes, when the tories gave way. They were pur- 
sued nearly a mile, but not overtaken. Ferguson came 
" too late for the frolic ;" the business being Anded. 
Clarke and his little band then returned to North Caro- 
lina for rest and refreshment ; for the whole of this 
enterprise was performed without one regular meal, 
without regular food for their horses. 



MRS. ANGELICA NOTT, widow of the late Judge Noti 
of South Corolina, remembers some illustrative incident, 
which occurred in the section where she resided with 
tier aunt, Mrs. Potter, near the Grindal Shoal, a little 
south of Pacolet River. The whig population in this 
portion of the State, were exposed during part of 1780 
and 1781 to incredible hardships. The breezes of 
fortune which had fanned into life the expiring embers 



MRS. POTTER AND MRS. BECf.HAM. 225 

of opposition to English tyranny, had been so variable 
that the wavering hopes of the people were often tremb- 
ling on the verge of extinction. The reverses of the 
British arms hai exasperated the loyalists, and embitter- 
ed the enmity felt towards the stubborn people who 
refused to be conquered. Such was the state of feeling 
when the destiny of the South was committed to the 
hands of a soldier of consummate genius, in whom the 
trust of all was implicitly placed. 

When Tarleton was on his march against Morgan, 
just before their encounter at the Cowpens, a party of 
loyalists came to the place where Mrs. Potter lived, 
and committed some depredations. They burned the 
straw covering from a rude hut, in which the family 
lodged, while a relative ill of the small-pox occupied 
the house. Mrs. Potter and her children had built 
this lodge of rails, for their temporary accommodation. 
The soldiers attempted to take off her wedding-ring, 
which, as it had been worn for years, became imbedded 
under the skin, in the effort to force it from her 
finger. They swore it should be cut off, but finally 
desisted from the attempt. On the same march, Tarle- 
ton encamped at the house of John Beckham, whose 
wife was the sister of Colonel Henderson of the conti- 
nental army. Mrs. Beckham saw for the first time 
this renowned officer while standing in her yard, and 
ordering his men to catch frer poultry for supper. She 
spoke civilly to him, and hastened to prepare supper for 
riim and his suite, as if they had been honored guests. 
When about to leave n the morning, he ordered the 



226 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

house to be burnt, after being given up to pillage, 
but on her remonstrance, recalled the order. All her 
bedding was taken, except one quilt, which soon shared 
the same fate. At another time Mrs. Beckham went to 
Granby, eighty miles distant, for a bushel of salt, which 
she brought home on the saddle under her. The guinea 
appropriated for the purchase, was concealed in the 
hair braided on the top of her head. 

Mrs. Potter was visited by the famous tory, Colonel 
Cunningham, commonly called "Bloody Bill Cunning- 
ham," on one occasion, with a party of two hundred 
and fifty men. They arrived after dark ; and as green 
corn happened to be in season, encamped by one 
of her fields, fed their horses with the corn, built 
fires with the rails, and roasted the ears for themselves. 
>At that time, the family lived chiefly on roasted corn, 
without bread, meat, or salt. Hickory ashes were used, 
with a small quantity of salt, for preserving beef when 
it could be had. Leather shoes were replaced by 
woolen rags sewed round the feet; and of beds or 
bedding none were left. The beds were generally ripped 
open by the depredators, the feathers scattered, and the 
ticking used for tent-cloths. The looms were robbed 
of cloth found in them ; and hence the women of the 
country resorted to various expedients to manufacture 
clothing, and preserve it for their own use and that of 
their friends. A family residing on the Pacolet, built a 
loom between four trees in the forest, and wove in fair 
weather, covering the loom and web with cow-hides 
when it rained. 



XXII. 



ELIZABETH STEELE. 

THE long, arduous, and eventful retreat of General 
Greene through the Carolinas, after the battle of the 
Cowpens, that retreat on whose issue hung the fate 'of 
the South with the eager pursuit of Corn wallis, who well 
knew that the destruction of that army would secure 
his conquests is a twice-told tale to every reader. 
The line of march lay 1-hrough Salisbury, North Caro- 
lina; and while the British commander was crossing 
the Catawba, Greene was approaching this village. 
With the American army were conveyed the prisoners 
taken by Morgan in the late bloody and brilliant action, 
the intention being to convey them to Virginia. Several 
of these were sick and wounded, and among them were 
some British officers, unable, from loss of strength, to 
proceed further on the route. 

General Greene, aware of the objects of Cornwallis, 
knew his design, by a hurried march to the ford, to cross 
the Catawba before opposition could be made ; and 
had stationed a body of militia there to dispute the 
passage. Most anxiously did the General await their 
arrival, before he pursued his route. The day gradually 
13* 



228 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

wore away, and still no signs appeared of the militia ; 
and it was not till after midnight that the news reached 
him of their defeat and dispersion by the British troops, 
and the death of General Davidson, who had com- 
manded them. His aids having been despatched to 
different parts of the retreating army, he rode on 
with a heavy heart to Salisbury. It had been raining 
during the day, and his soaked and soiled garments and 
appearance of exhaustion as he wearily dismounted 
from his jaded horse- at the door of the principal hotel, 
showed that he had suffered much from exposure to the 
storm, sleepless fatigue, and harassing anxiety of mind. 
Dr. Reed, who had charge of the sick and wounded 
prisoners, while he waited for the General's arrival was 
engaged in writing the paroles with which it was neces- 
sary to furnish such officers as could not go on. From 
his apartment overlooking the main street, he saw his 
friend, unaccompanied by his aids, ride up and alight ; 
and hastened to receive him as he entered the house. 
Seeing him without a companion, and startled by his 
dispirited looks the doctor could not refrain from 
noticing them with anxious inquiries ; to which the 
wearied soldier replied : " Yes fatigued hungry alone, 
and penniless !" 

The melancholy reply was heard by one determined 
to prove, by the generous assistance proffered in a time 
of need, that no reverse could dim the pure flame of 
disinterested patriotism. General Greene had hardly 
taken his seat at the well-spread table, when Mrs. Steele, 
the landlady of the hotel, enteied the room, and care- 



ELIZABETH STEELE. 229 

fully closed the door behind her. Approaching her dis- 
tinguished guest, she reminded him of the despondent 
words he had uttered in her hearing, implying, as she 
thought, a distrust of the devotion of his friends, 
through every calamity, to the cause. Money, too, 
she declared he should have ; and drew from under 
her apron two small bags full of specie, probably the 
earnings of years. " Take these," said she, " for you 
will want them, and I can do without them." 

Words of kindness and encouragement accompanied 
this offering of a benevolent heart, which General 
Greene accepted with thankfulness. " Never," says 
his biographer, " did relief come at a more propitious 
moment ; nor would it be straining conjecture to sup- 
pose that he resumed his journey with his spirits cheered 
and lightened by this touching proof of woman's devo- 
tion to the cause of her country."* 

General Greene did not remain long in Salisbury; 
but before his departure from the house of Mrs. Steele, 
he left a memorial of his visit. He took from the wall 
of one of the apartments a portrait of George III., 
which had come from England as a present from a person 
at court to one of Mrs. Steele's connections attached to 
an embassy, wrote with chalk on the back, " O, George, 
hide thy face and mourn ;" and replaced it with the face 
to the wall. The picture, with the writing uneffaced, 
^s still in possession of a granddaughter of Mrs. Steele, 
a daughter of Dr. McCorkle, and may be seen in Char- 
lotte. 

* Greene's Life of Nathanael Greene. See also Foote's Sketche* 
if North Carolina, p 355. 



230 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 



Elizabeth Steele was distinguished not only for hef 
attachment to the American cause during the war, but 
for the piety that shone brightly in her useful life. 
Among her papers was found after her death a written 
dedication of herself to her Creator, and a prayer for 
support in the practice of Christian duty ; with a letter, 
left as a legacy to her children, enjoining it upon them 
to make religion the great work of life. She was a 
tender mother, and beloved for her constant exercise of 
the virtues of kindness and charity. She was twice 
married, and died in Salisbury, in 1791. Her son, the 
Hon. John Steele, conspicuous in the councils of the 
State and Nation, was one whose public services offer 
materials for an interesting biography. A collection of 
iis correspondence has lately been added to the trea- 
sures of the Historical Society of the University of 
North Carolina ; and il is to be hoped that under its 
auspices, justice will be done to his memory at no dis- 
tant period. Margaret, Mrs. Steele's daughter, was the 
wife of the Rev. Samuel E. McCorkle. 



Jt was in the same pursuit of Greene and Morgan 
by Cornwallis. that the British destroyed the property 
of the Widow Brevard, in Centre congregation. " She 
has seven sons in the rebel army," was the reason 
given by the officer for permitting her house to be 
burned and her farm plundered. One of her sons, 
Captain Alexander Brevard, took part in nine battles , 
and the youngest was at seventeen first lieutenant of a 



MRS. BREVARD. 



231 



company of horse. Ephraim Brevard, another son, 
having graduated at Princeton College, and completed 
a course of medical studies, fixed his residence at 
Charlotte. Mr. Foote says, "His talents, patriotism, 
and education, united with his prudence and practical 
sense, marked him as a leader in the councils that pre- 
ceded the convention held in Queen's Museum ; and 
on the day of meeting designated him as secretary and 
draughtsman of that singular and unrivalled DECLARA- 
TION, which alone is a passport to the memory of pos- 
terity through all time.'' 

It will be borne in mind that it was in Charlotte, the 
county town of Mecklenburg County, that the bold idea 
of National Independence was first proclaimed to the 
world. On the 19th May, 1775, an immense concourse 
of people was assembled in this frontier settlement all 
agitated with the excitement which had plunged the 
whole land into commotion ; on that day came the first 
intelligence of the commencement of hostilities at Lex- 
ington ; and when the convention and the people w r ere 
addressed, the universal cry was, " Let us be indepen- 
dent! Let us declare our independence, and defend it 
with our lives and fortunes !'' The resolutions drawn 
up by Dr. Brevard were discussed ; and by their unani- 
mous adoption, the day following, by the convention 
and the approving multitude, the citizens of Mecklen 
burg County declared themselves a free and indepen 
dent people. Due honor is awarded to him who toot 
so active a part in that memorable transaction ; but 
Vhere is the tribute that should be paid to the widowed 



232 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

mother who sowed the seeds which on that day yielded 
fruit who implanted in her son's mind those sterling 
principles, the guidance of which rendered his life one 
of eminent usefulness ? 

When the southern States became the arena of war, 
Dr. Brevard entered the army as surgeon, and was 
taken prisoner at the surrender of Charleston. In that 
city he was seized with a fatal disease, to which he fell 
a victim after being set at liberty, and permitted to 
place himself under the care of friends. 

The deplorable sufferings of the unfortunate prison- 
ers in Charleston, moved the sympathy of the inhabi- 
tants of Western Carolina ; for news came that many 
were perishing in captivity of want and disease. The 
men could not go thither to visit their friends and rela- 
tives, without insuring their own destruction ; but the 
women gathered clothing, medicines, and provisions, 
and travelled long journeys, encountering danger as well 
as hardship, to minister in person to those who so sorely 
needed their succor. Much relief was brought to the 
sufferers by these visits of mercy; although the lives 
preserved were spmetimes saved at the sacrifice of the 
noble benefactors. The mother of Andrew Jackson, 
returning to the Waxhaw, after a journey to Charleston 
to carry clothing and other necessaries to some friends 
on board the prison ship, was seized with the prison- 
fever, and died in a tent, in the midst of the wide, sandy 
wilderness of pines. Her lonely grave by the road- 
side, were the spot known, would speak mournfully of 
woma.n's self-immolating heroism. Mrs. Jackson, with 



" "JMGteiN^i 



. I^L , ^ ii ii ,i ., i. ., ,i i, n i, ,i i 1 11 lUtpfp <& T .<j^. H I, , i, , , ja-jSPJ 



,S,\\\ V ( S MX AC. ("Is , 







MRS. JACKSON. 233 

ner children, had quitted their home on the Waxhaw, 
where she had buried her husband, after the rout 
and slaughter of Buford's regiment by the forces of 
Tarleton, when the women and children fled from 
the ravages of the merciless enemy. They had found 
a place of refuge in Sugar Creek congregation, where 
they remained during part of the summer. Part of the 
the foundations of the log meeting-house where the 
congregation met for worship may still be seen. 

Other widowed mothers were there in North Caro- 
lina, who trained their sons to become zealous patriots 
and efficent statesmen. The names of Mrs. Flinn, 
Mrs. Sharpe, Mrs. Graham, and Mrs. Hunter, are 
worthy of remembrance. The great principles pro- 
claimed at the Mecklenburg Convention, were acted 
out in the noblest efforts of patriotism by their sons. 

Mr. Caruthers, the biographer of the Rev. David Cald- 
well, states, that while all the active men in his congre- 
gations were engaged with the army at the battle of Guil- 
ford Court-house, there were two collections of females, 
one in Buffalo, and the other in Alamance, engaged in 
earnest prayer for their families and their country ; and 
that many others sought the divine aid in solitary places. 
One pious woman sent her son frequently during the 
afternoon, to the summit of a little hill near which she 
spent much time in prayer, to listen and bring her word 
which way the firing came from the southward or the 
northward. When he returned and said it was going 
northward, " Then," exclaimed she, "all is lost! Greene 
is defeated." But all was not lost ; the God who hears 
prayer remembered his people. 



XXIII. 



MARY SLOCUMB. 

THE first expedition into North Carolina f rejected 
by Lord Cornwallis, was baffled by the fall of Colonel 
Ferguson at King's Mountain. The disaster at the 
Cowpens forbade perseverance in the second attempt 
and was followed by the memorable retreat of Greene. 
The battle of Guilford took place in March, 1781 ; and 
towards the end of April, while Lord Rawdon en- 
countered Greene at Hobkirk's Hill, Cornwallis set out 
on his march from Wilmington, bent on his avowed 
purpose of achieving the conquest of Virginia. On his 
march towards Halifax, he encamped for several days 
on the river Neuse, in what is now called Wayne 
County, North Carolina. His head-quarters were at 
Springbank, while Colonel Tarleton, with his renowned 
legion, encamped on the plantation of Lieutenant 
Slocumb. This consisted of level and extensive fields, 
which at that season presented a most inviting view of 
fresh verdure from the mansion-house. Lord Corn- 
wallis himself gave it the name of " Pleasant Green," 
which it ever afterwards retained. The owner of this 
fine estate held a subaltern's commission in the State 



MARY SLOCUMB. 



235 



line under Colonel Washington, and was in command 
of a troop of light horse, raised in his own neighbor- 
hood, whose general duty it was to act as Rangers, 
scouring the country for many miles around, watching 
the movements of the enemy, and punishing the loyal- 
ists when detected in their vocation of pillage and mur- 
der. These excursions had been frequent for two or 
three years, and were often of several weeks' duration. 
At the present time Slocumb had returned to the vicin- 
ity, and had been sent with twelve or fifteen recruits to 
act as scouts in the neighborhood of the British Gen- 
eral. The morning of the day on which Tarleton took 
possession of his plantation, he was near Springbank, 
and reconnoitered the encampment of Cornwallis, 
which he supposed to be his whole force. He then, 
with his party, pursued his way slowly along the south 
bank of the Neuse, in the direction of his own house, 
little dreaming that his beautiful and peaceful home, 
where, some time before, he had left his wife and child, 
was then in the possession of the terrible Tarleton. 

During these frequent excursions of the Rangers, 
and the necessary absence of her husband, the superin- 
tendence of the plantation had always devolved upon 
Mrs. Slocumb. She depended for protection upon her 
slaves, whose fidelity she had proved, and upon her 
own fearless and intrepid spirit. The scene of the 
occupation of her house, and Tarleton's residence with 
her, remained through life indelibly impressed on her 
memory, and were described by her to one who en- 
ioyed the honor of her intimate friendship. I am per- 



236 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION 

mitted to give his account, copied almost verbatim from 
notes taken at the time the occurrences were related by 
Mrs. Slocumb. 

It was about ten o'clock on a beautiful spring morn- 
ing, that a splendidly-dressed officer, accompanied by 
two aids, and followed at a short distance by a guard 
of some twenty troopers, dashed up to the piazza in 
front of the ancient-looking mansion. Mrs. Slocumb 
was sitting there, with her child and a near relative, a 
young lady, who afterwards became the wife of Major 
Williams. A few house servants were also on the 
piazza 

The officer raised his cap, and bowing to his horse's 
neck, addressed the lady, with the question 

"Have 1 the pleasure of seeing the mistress of this 
house and plantation !" 

" It belongs to my husband." 

"Is he at home?" "He is not." "Is he a rebel?' 
"No sir. He is in the army of his country, and 
fighting against our invaders ; therefore not a rebel." 
It is not a little singular, that although the people of that 
day gloried in their rebellion, they always took offence 
at being called rebels. 

"I fear, madam," said the officer, " we differ in opinion." 
A friend to his country will be the friend of the king, 
our master.'' 

" Slaves only acknowledge a master in this country," 
replied the lady. 

A deep flush crossed the florid cheeks of Tarleton, 
far he was the speaker ; and turning to one of his aids. 



MARY SLOCUMB. 237 

he ordered him to pitch the tents and form the encamp. 
ment in the orchard and field on their right. To the 
other aid his orders were to detach a quarter guard and 
station piquets on each road. Then bowing very low, 
he added : " Madam, the service of his Majesty requires 
the temporary occupation of your property ; and if it 
would not be too great an inconvenience, I will take up 
my quarters in your house." 

The tone admitted no controversy. Mrs. Slocumb 
answered: "My family consists of only myself, my 
sister and child, and a few negroes. We are youi 
prisoners." 

From the piazza where he seated himself, Tarleton 
commanded a view of the ground on which his troops 
were arranging their camp. The mansion fronted the 
east, and an avenue one hundred and fifty feet wide, and 
about half a mile in length, stretched to the eastern 
side of the plantation, where was a highway, with open 
grounds beyond it, partly dry meadow and partly sand 
barren. This avenue was lined on the south side by a 
high fence, and a thick hedge-row of forest trees. 
These are now removed, and replaced by the Pride of 
India and other ornamental trees. On the north side 
extended the common rail-fence seven or eight feet 
high, such as is usually seen on plantations in the low 
country. The encampment of the British troops being 
on that part of the plantation lying south of the avenue, 
t was completely screened by the fences and hedge-row 
from the view of any one approach ng from down the 
country. 



238 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

While the men were busied, different officers came u\ 
at intervals, making their reports and receiving orders 
Among others, a tory captain, whom Mrs. Slocumb im 
mediately recognized for before joining the royal army 
lie had lived fifteen or twenty miles below received 
orders in her hearing to take his troop and scour the 
country for two or three miles round. 

In an hour every thing was quiet, and the plantation 
presented the romantic spectacle of a regular encamp- 
ment of some ten or eleven hundred of the choicest 
cavalry of the British monarch. 

Mrs. Slocumb now addressed herself to the duty of 
preparing for her uninvited guests. The dinner set 
before the king's officers was, in her own words to her 
friend, " as a good dinner as you have now before you, 
and of much the same materials." A description of 
what then constituted a good dinner in that region may 
not be inappropriate. " The first dish, was, of course, 
the boiled ham, flanked with the plate of greens. 
Opposite was the turkey, supported by the laughing 
baked sweet potatoes ; a plate of boiled beef, another of 
sausages, and a third with a pair of baked fowk, formed 
a line across the centre of the table ; half a dozen dishes 
of different pickles, stewed fruit, and other condiments 
filled up the interstices of the board." The dessert, too, 
was abundant and various. Such a dinner, it may 
well bo supposed, met the particular approbation of the 
royal officers, especially as the fashion of that day 
introduced stimulating drinks to the table, and the peach 
brandy prepared under Lieutenant Slocumb's own 



MARY SLOCUMB. 239 

supervision, was of the most excellent sort. It received 
tne unqualified praise of the party ; and its merits were 
freely discussed. A Scotch officer, praising it by the 
name of whiskey, protested that he had never drunk as 
good out of Scotland. An officer speaking with a slight 
brogue, insisted it was not whiskey, and that no Scotch 
drink ever equalled it. " To my mind," said he, " it 
tastes as yonder orchard smells." 

" Allow me, madam," said Colonel Tarleton, to inquire 
where the spirits we are drinking is procured." 

" From the orchard where your tents stand," answered 
Mrs. Slocumb. 

"Colonel," said the Irish captain, " when we conquer 
this country, is it not to be divided out among us ?" 

" The officers of this army," replied the Colonel, " will 
undoubtedly receive large possessions of the conquered 
American provinces." 

Mrs. Slocumb here interposed. " Allow me tc 
observe and prophesy," said she, " the only land in these 
United States which will ever remain in possession of 
a British officer, will measure but six feet by two." 

"Excuse me, madam," remarked Tarleton. "For 
your sake I regret to say this beautiful plantation will 
be the ducal seat of some of us." 

" Don't trouble yourself about me," retorted the spirited 
lady. " My husband is not a man who would allow a 
duke, or even a king, to have a quiet seat upon his 
ground." 

At this point the conversation was interrupted by 
rapid volleys of fire-arms, appearing to proceed frotr the 



240 WOMEN OP THE REVOLUTION. 

wood a short distance to the eastward. One of the 
aids pronounced it some straggling scout, running from 
the picket-guard ; but the experience of Colonel Tarle- 
ton could not be easily deceived. 

" There are rifles and muskets," said he, " as well as 
pistols ; and too many to pass unnoticed. Order boots 
and saddles, and you Captain, take your troop in the 
direction of the firing." 

The officer rushed out to execute his orders, while 
the Colonel walked into the piazza, whither he was 
immediately followed by the anxious ladies. Mrs. 
Slocumb's agitation and alarm may be imagined ; for 
she guessed but too well the cause of the interruption. 
On the first arrival of the officers she had been impor- 
tuned, even with harsh threats not, however, by Tarle- 
ton to tell where her husband, when absent on duty, 
was likely to be found ; but after her repeated and 
peremptory refusals, had escaped further molestation on 
the subject. She feared now that he had returned 
unexpectedly, and might fall into the enemy's hands 
before he was aware of their presence. 

Her sole hope was in a precaution she had adopted 
soon after the coming of her unwelcome guests. Hav- 
ing heard Tarleton give the order to the tory captain 
as before-mentioned, to patrol the country, she imme- 
diately sent for an old negro, and gave him directions 
to take a bas of corn to the mill about four miles dis- 

o 

tant, on the road she knew her husband must travel if 
he returned that day. " Big George" was instructed to 
warn his master of the danger of approaching his 




THE FAMOUS CHARTER OAK AT HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT. 



MARY SLOCUMB. 



241 



nome. With the indolence and curiosity natural to his 
race, however, the old fellow remained loitering about 
he premises, and was at this time lurking" under the 
nedge-row, admiring the red coats, dashing plumes, and 
shining helmets of the British troopers. 

The Colonel and the ladies continued on the look-out 
from the piazza. " May I be allowed, madam," at 
length said Tarleton, " without offence, to inquire if 
any part of Washington's army is in this neighbor 
hood. 

" I presume it is known to you," replied Mrs. 
Slocumb, "that the Marquis and Greene are in this 
State. And you would not of course," she added, after 
a slight pause, " be surprised at a call from Lee, or 
your old friend Colonel Washington, who, although a 
perfect gentleman, it is said shook your hand (pointing 
to the scar left by Washington's sabre) very rudely, 
when you last met."* 

This spirited answer inspired Tarleton with appre- 
hensions that the skirmish in the woods was only the 
prelude to a concerted attack on his camp. His only 
reply was a loud order to form the troops on the right ; 
and springing on his charger, he dashed down the 
avenue a few hundred feet, to a breach in the hedge- 

* As I cannot distrust the authority on which I have received this 
anecdote, it proves that on more than one occasion the British colonel 
was made to feel the shaft of female wit, in allusion to the unfortunate 
battle of the Cowpens. It is said that in a close encounter between 
Washington and Tarleton during that action, the latter was wounded 
by a sabre cut on the hand. Colonel Washington, as is well known, 
figured in some of the skirmishes in North Carolina 



242 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 



row, leaped the fence, and in a moment was at the heac 
of his regiment, which was already in line. 

Meanwhile, Lieutenant Slocumb, with John Howell 
a private in his band, Henry Williams, and the brother 
of Mrs. Slocumb, Charles Hooks, a boy of about thir- 
teen years of age, was leading a hot pursuit of the tory 
captain who had been sent to reconnoitre the country, 
and some of his routed troop. These were first dis- 
cerned in the open grounds east and northeast of the 
plantation, closely pursued by a body of American 
mounted militia ; while a running fight was kept up 
with different weapons, in which four or five broad 
swords gleamed conspicuous. The foremost of the 
pursuing party appeared too busy with the tories to see 
any thing else ; and they entered the avenue at the 
same moment with the party pursued. With what 
horror and consternation did Mrs. Slocumb recognize 
her husband, her brother, and two of her neighbors, in 
chase of the tory captain and four of his band, already 
half-way down the avenue, and unconscious that they 
were rushing into the enemy's midst ! 

About the middle of the avenue one of the tories 
fell ; and the course of the brave and imprudent young 
officers was suddenly arrested by " Big George," who 
sprang directly in front of their horses, crying, " Hold 
on, massa ! de debbil here ! Look yon !"* A glance to 
the left showed the young men their danger : they were 
within pistol shot of a thousand men drawn up in order 
of battle. Wheeling their horses, they discovered a 
* Yon, for yonder. 



MARY SLOCUMB. 



243 



troop already leaping the fence into the avenue in their 
rear Quick as thought they again wheeled their 
horses, and dashed down the avenue directly towards 
the house, where stood the quarter-guard to receive 
them. On reaching the garden fence a rude structure 
formed of a kind of lath, and called a wattled fence 
they leaped that and the next, amid a shower of balls 
from the guard, cleared the canal at one tremendous leap, 
and scouring across the open field to the northwest, 
were in the shelter of the wood before their pursuers 
could clear the fences of the enclosure. The whole 
ground of this adventure may be seen as the traveller 
passes over the Wilmington railroad, a mile and a half 
south of Dudley depot. 

A platoon had commenced the pursuit ; but the 
trumpets sounded the recall before the flying Ameri- 
cans had crossed the canal. The presence of mind 
and lofty language of the heroic wife, had convinced 
the British Colonel that the daring men who so fear- 
lessly dashed into his camp were supported by a for- 
midable force at hand. Had the truth been known, 
and the fugitives pursued, nothing could have prevented 
the destruction not only of the four who fled, but of the 
rest of the company on the east side of the plan- 
tation. 

Tarleton had rode back to the frcmt of the house, 
where he remained eagerly looking after the fugitives 
till they disappeared in the wood. He called for the 
tory captain, who presently came forward, questioned 
nim about the attack in the woods, asked the names of 
14 



244 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

the American officers, and dismissed him to have his 
wounds dressed, and see after his men. The last part 
of the order was needless ; for nearly one-half of his 
troop had fallen. The ground is known to this day as 
the Dead Men's Field. 

As Tarleton walked into the house he observed to 
Mrs. Slocumb, "Your husband made us a short visit, 
madam. I should have been happy to make his acquain 
tance, and that of his friend, Mr. Williams." 

"I have little doubt," replied the wife, " that you will 
meet the gentlemen, and they will thank you for the 
polite manner in which you treat their friends." 

The Colonel observed apologetically, that necessity 
compelled them to occupy her property ; that they 
took only such things as were necessary to their sup- 
port, for which they were instructed to offer proper re- 
muneration ; and that every thing should be done to 
render their stay as little disagreeable as possible. 
The lady expressed her thankfulness for his kindness, 
and withdrew to her room, while the officers returned 
to their peach-brandy and coffee, and closed the day 
with a merry night. 

Slocumb and his companions passed rapidly round 
the plantation, and returned to the ground where the 
encounter had taken place, collecting on the way the 
stragglers of his troop. Near their bivouac he saw 
the tory captain's brother, who had been captured by 
the Americans, hanging by a bridal rein from the top 
of a sapling bent down for the purpose, and struggling 
m the agonies of death. Hastening to the spot, he 



MARY SLOCUMB. 



245 



severed the icin with a stroke of his sword, and with 
much difficulty restored him to life. Many in the lower 
part of North Carolina can remember an old man 
whose protruded eyes and suffused countenance pre- 
sented the appearance of one half strangled. He it 
was who thus owed his life and liberty to the humanity 
of his generous foe. 

Mr. Flocumb, by the aid of Major Williams, raised 
about two hundred men in the neighborhood, and with 
this force continued to harass the rear of the royal 
army, frequently cutting off foraging parties, till they 
crossed the Roanoke, when they joined the army of 
La Fayette at Warrenton. He remained with the 
army till the surrender at Yorktown. 

It need hardly be mentioned that "Big George" 
received his reward for this and other services. His 
life with his master was one of ease and indulgence. 
On the division of Colonel Slocumb's estate some years 
since, a considerable amount was paid to enable the 
faithful slave to spend the remnant of his days with his 
wife, who belonged to another person. 

Another anecdote, communicated by the same friend 
of Mrs. Slocumb, is strikingly illustrative of her resolu- 
tion and strength of will. The occurrence took place 
at a time when the whole country was roused by the 
march of the British and loyalists from the Cape Fear 
country, to join the royal standard at Wilmington 
The veteran Donald McDonald issued his proclamation 
at Cross Creek, in February, 1776, and having assembled 
nis Highlanders, marched across rivers and through 



246 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION 

forests, in haste t > join Governor Martin and Sir Henry 
Clinton, who were already at Cape Fear. But while 
he had eluded tne pursuit of Moore, the patriots of New- 
bern and Wilmington Districts were not idle. It was 
a time of noble enterprise, and gloriously did leaders 
and people come forward to meet the emergency. The 
gallant Richard Caswell called his neighbors hastily 
together ; and they came at his call as readily as the 
clans of the Scotch mountains mustered at the signal of 
the burning cross. The whole county rose in mass ; 
scarce a man able to walk was left in the Neuse region 
The united regiments of Colonels Lillington and Cas- 
well encountered McDonald at Moore's Creek ;* where, 
on the twenty-seventh, was fought one of the bloodiest 
battles of the Revolution. Colonel Slocumb's recollec- 
tions of this bravely-contested field were too vivid to 
be dimmed by the lapse of years. He was accustomed 
to dwell but lightly on the gallant part borne by himself 
in that memorable action ; but he gave abundant praise 
to his associates ; and well did they deserve the tribute. 
"And," he would say "my wife was there!" She 
was indeed ; but the story is best told in her own words : 
" The men all left on Sunday morning. More than 
eighty went from this house with my husband ; I looked 
at them well, and I could see that every man had 
mischief in him. I know a coward as soon as 1 set 
my eyes upon him. The tories more than once *ried 

* Moore's Creek, running from north to south, empties into the South 
River, about ;wenty miles above W'lmington. See sketch of Flora 
McDonald 



MARY SLOCUMB. 247 

to frighten me, but they always showed cowar; at the 
bare insinuation that our troops were about. 

" Well, they got off in high spirits ; every man stepping 
high and light. And I slept soundly and quietly that 
night, and worked hard all the next day; but I kept 
thinking where they had got to how far; where and 
how many of the regulars and tories they would meet ; 
and I could not keep myself from the study. I went to 
bed at the usual time, but still continued to study. As 
I lay whether waking or sleeping I" know not I had 
a dream ; yet it was not all a dream. (She used the 
words, unconsciously, of the poet who was not then in 
being.) I saw distinctly a body wrapped in my husband's 
guard-cloak bloody dead ; and others dead and 
wounded on the ground about him. I saw them plainly 
and distinctly. I uttered a cry, and sprang to my feet 
on the floor : and so strong was the impression on my 
mind, that I rushed in the direction the vision appeared, 
and came up against the side of the house. The fire in 
the room gave little light, and I gazed in every direction 
to catch another glimpse of the scene. I raised the 
light ; every thing was still and quiet. My child was 
sleeping, but my woman was awakened by my crying 
out or jumping on the floor. If ever I felt fear it was 
at that moment. Seated on the bed, I reflected a few 
moments and said aloud : ' I must go to him.' I told 
the woman I could not sleep and would ride down the 
road. She appeared in great alarm ; but I merely told 
her to lock the door after me, and look after the child 
I went to the stable, saddled my mare as fleet and easy 



248 -VOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

a nag as ever travelled ; and in one minute we wert 
tearing down the road at full speed. The cool night 
seemed after a mile or two's gallop to bring reflection 
with it ; and I asked myself where I was going, and for 
what purpose. Again and again I was tempted to turn 
back; but I was soon ten miles from home, and my 
mind became stronger every mile I rode. I should find 
my husband dead or dying was as firmly my presenti- 
ment and conviction as any fact of my life. When 
day broke I was s6me thirty miles from home. I knew 
the general route our little army expected to take, and 
had followed them without hesitation. About sunrise 
I came upon a group of women and children, standing 
and sitting by the road-side, each one of them showing 
the same anxiety of mind I felt. Stopping a few minutes 
1 inquired if the battle had been fought. They knew 
nothing, but were assembled on the road to catch intelli- 
gence. They thought Caswell had taken the right of 
the Wilmington road, and gone towards the north- 
west (Cape Fear). Again was I skimming over the 
ground through a country thinly settled, and very poor 
and swampy ; but neither my own spirits nor my beauti 
ful nag's failed in the least. We followed the well- 
marked trail of the troops. 

" The sun must have been well up, say eight or nine 
o'clock, when I heard a sound like thunder, which 1 
knew must be cannon. It was the first time I ever 
heard a cannon. 1 stopped still; when presently the 
cannon thundered again. The battle was then fighting 
What a fool ! my husband could not be dead last night, 




( /ft i t /rd ( / < ' 



MARY SLOCUMB. 



249 



and the battle only fighting now ! Still, as I am so 
near, I will go on and see how they come out. So 
away we went again, faster than ever ; and I soon found 
by the noise of guns that I was near the fight. Again 
I stopped. I could hear muskets, I could hear rifles, 
and I could hear shouting. I spoke to my mare and 
dashed on in the direction of the firing and the shouts, 
now louder than ever. The blind path I had been 
following brought me into the Wilmington road leading 
to Moore's Creek Bridge, a few hundred yards below 
the bridge. A few yards from the road, under a 
cluster of trees were lying perhaps twenty men. They 
were the wounded. I knew the spot ; the very trees ; 
and the position of the men I knew as if I had seen it 
a thousand times. I had seen it all night ! I saw all 
at once ; but in an instant my whole soul was centred 
in one spot; for there, wrapped in his bloody guard- 
cloak, was my husband's body! How I passed the 
few yards from my saddle to the place I never knew. 
I remember uncovering his head arid seeing a face 
clothed with gore from a dreadful wound across the 
temple. I put my hand on the bloody face; 'twas 
warm ; and an unknown voice begged for water. A 
small camp-kettle was lying near, and a stream of water 
was close by. I brought it ; poured some in his mouth ; 
washed his face ; and behold it was Frank Cogdell. 
He soon revived and could speak. I was washing the 
wound in his head. Said he, ' It is not that ; it is that 
nole in my leg that is killing me.' A puddle of blood 
was standing on the ground about his feet. I took his 



250 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 



knife, cut away his trousers and stocking, and found the 
blood came from a shot-hole through and through the 
fleshy part of his leg. I looked about and could see 
nothing that looked as if it would do for dressing wounds 
but some heart-leaves. I gathered a handful and bound 
them tight to the holes ; and the bleeding stopped. I 
then went to the others ; and Doctor ! I dressed the 
wounds of many a brave fellow who did good fighting 
long after that day ! I had not inquired for my husband ; 
but while I was busy Caswell came up. He appeared 
very much surprised to see me ; and was with his hat in 
hand about to pay some compliment : but I interrupted 
him by asking ' Where is my husband ?' 

" ' Where he ought to be, madam ; in pursuit of the 
enemy. But pray,' said he, ' how came you here ?' 

" ' Oh, I thought,' replied I, ' you would need nurses 
as well as soldiers. See ! I have already dressed many 
of these good fellows ; and here is one' going to 
Frank and lifting him up with my arm under his head 
so that he could drink some more water ' would have 
died before any of you men could have helped him.' 

" ' I believe you/ said Frank. Just then I looked 
up, and my husband, as bloody as a butcher, and as 
muddy as a ditcher,* stood before me. 

" ' Why, Mary !" he exclaimed, ' What are you doing 
there ? Hugging Frank Cogdell, the greatest reprobate 
in the army V 

* It was nis company that forded the creek, and penetrating the 
swamp, made the furious charge on the British left and rear, which 
decided the fate of fhe day. 



MARY SLOCUMB. 251 

" ' I don't care,' I cried. ' Frank is a brave fellow 
a good soldier, and a true friend to Congress.' 

" ' True, true ! every word of it !' said Caswell. 
' You are right, madam !' with the lowest possible 
bow. 

" I would not tell my husband what brought me 
there. I was so happy ; and so were all ! It was a 
glorious victory; I came just at the height of the en- 
joyment. I knew my husband was surprised, but I 
could see he was not displeased with me. It was night 
again before our excitement had at all subsided. Many 
prisoners were brought in, and among them some very 
obnoxious ; but the worst of the tories were not taken 
prisoners. They were, for the most part, left in the 
woods and swamps wherever they were overtaken. I 
begged for some of the poor prisoners, and Caswell 
readily told me none should be hurt but such as had 
been guilty of murder and house-burning. In the mid- 
dle of the night I again mounted my mare and started 
for home. Caswell and my husband wanted me to stay 
till next morning and they would send a party with me ; 
but no ! I wanted to see my child, and I told them they 
could send no party who could keep up with me. What 
a happy ride I had back ! .and with what joy did I em- 
brace my child as he ran to meet me !" 

What fiction could be stranger than such truth! 
And would not a plain unvarnished narrative of the 
sayings and doings of the actors in Revolutionary times, 
unknown by name, save in the neighborhood where 
they lived, and now almost forgotten even by their de- 
14* 



252 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

scendants, surpass in thrilling interest any romance 
ever written ! In these days of railroads and steam, it 
can scarcely be credited that a woman actually rode 
alone, in the night, through a wild unsettled country, 
a distance going and returning of a hundred and 
twenty-five miles ; and that in less than forty hours, 
and without any interval of rest! Yet even this fair 
equestrian, whose feats would astonish the modern 
world, admitted that one of her acquaintances was a 
better horsewoman than herself. This was Miss Esther 
Wake, the beautiful sister-in-law of Governor Tryon, 
after whom Wake County was named. She is said to 
have rode eighty miles the distance between Raleigh 
and the Governor's head-quarters in the neighborhood 
of Colonel Slocumb's residence to pay a visit ; re- 
turning the next day. Governor Tryon was here 
several days, at the time he made the famous foray 
against the Regulators. What would these women 
have said to the delicacy of modern refinement in the 
southern country, fatigued with a moderate drive in a 
close carriage, and looking out on woods and fields from 
the windows ! 

The physiologist may explain the vision that pro- 
duced an impression so powerful as to determine this 
resolute wife upon her nocturnal expedition to Moore's 
Creek. The idea of danger to her husband, which 
banished sleep, was sufficient to call up the illusion to 
her excited imagination ; and her actions were decided 
by the impulse of the moment, prompting her to hasten 
at once to his assistance. 



MARY SLOCUMB. 253 

This is not the place to record the Revolutionary 
services of Colonel Slocumb. The aid of one of hig 
descendants enables me to add some notice of the per- 
sonal history of his wife to the foregoing anecdotes. 
Her maiden name was Hooks. She was born in the 
county of Bertie, North Carolina, in 1760. When she 
was about ten years of age, her father, after a tour of 
exploration in search of a portion of country which 
combined the advantages of fertility and healthful air, 
removed his family to the county of Duplin. He was 
an open-hearted, hospitable man ; and was one of 
a number bearing the same character, who settled a 
region of country called Goshen, still famous in North 
Carolina for the frank simplicity of the manners of its 
inhabitants, and for their profuse and generous hospi- 
tality. Here were nurtured some of the noblest spirits 
of the Revolution. The names of Renau, Hill, 
Wright, Pearsall, Hooks, and Slocumb, among others, 
are remembered with pride. The constant presence 
of the loyalists or tories in the neighborhood, and their 
frequent depredations, called for vigilance as well as 
bravery. Many a tale of treachery and cruelty, enough 
to freeze the blood with horror, is this day told at the 
fireside. Sometimes the barn or dwelling of the doomed 
whig, wrapped in lurid flames, lighted up the darkness 
of the night ; sometimes his fate was to be hung to a 
sapling ; and not unfrequently these atrocities were in 
like manner avenged upon the aggressors. Accustomed 
to hear of such things, and inured to scenes of danger, 
it cannot be wondered, that the gay ard sprightly Mary 



254 



WOMEN OF THE REVO] UTION. 



Hooks should acquire a degree of masculine energy 
and independence, with many of the accomplishments 
of the bolder sex. She was at this time in the early 
bloom of youth, with slender and symmetrical form 
and pleasing features, animated by blue, expressive, 
laughing eyes. If not absolutely beautiful, her face 
could not fail to charm ; for it beamed with the bright 
soul that knew not what it was to fear. Her playful 
wit and repartee, rendered piquant by her powers of 
sarcasm, were rarely equalled. 

Soon after the removal of the family to Goshen, her 
mother died ; and in 1777, her father married the 
widow of John Charles Slocumb, who resided in the 
locality above-described, on the Neuse. At the time 
of their marriage, the parties had each three children 
Ezekiel Slocumb was the eldest son, and as the law 
then stood, inherited the whole of his father's real estate. 
Of the two plantations to which he was entitled, how- 
ever, he gave one to his brother. Though but; a youth 
of seventeen, the management of the property devolved 
on him ; while the other children of the united family 
lived together at Goshen. In due time for a " course of 
love," Ezekiel Slocumb and Mary Hooks were married, 
both being about eighteen years of age. The lovely 
and spirited bride immediately entered upon her duties 
at her husband's home on the Neuse ; but they were 
not allowed to remaia long in untroubled security. To 
prevent or punish the frequent depredations of the 
tories, the boy-husband joined a troop of light-horse, 
who, acting on their own responsibility, performed the 



MARY SLOCUMb 255 

duty of scouts, scouring the country wherever they had 
notice of any necessity for their presence. In these 
prolonged absences, Mrs. Slocumb took the entire 
charge of the plantation, being obliged to perform many 
of the duties which usually fall to the lot of the Tougher 
sex. She used to say, laughingly, that she had done in 
those perilous times all that a man ever did, except 
" mauling rails ;" and to take away even that exception 
she went out one day and split a few. She was a 
graceful and fearless rider ; and Die Vernon herself 
never displayed more skillful horsemanship in scamper- 
ing over the hills of Scotland, than did the subject of this 
memoir, in her excursions through the wild woods of 
Neuse. Not only was this southern accomplishment 
then in vogue among the women, but it was not thought 
unfeminine to chase the fox. Many a time and oft has 
our heroine been in at the death, and won the honor. 
Nor could the stag say confidently, ' this day he would 
not die,' if Mary Slocumb chanced to be mounted on 
" Old Roan," with her light unerring " Joe Manton" 
slung at her side! 

But those were not days for sport and pleasure alone 
In the knowledge how to spin, sew, and weave, our fair 
equestrian was perfect. She could also wash and cook 
and it was her pride to excel in all she did. In those 
days matrons of condition disdained not labor with their 
hands ; nor were affluent circumstances an excuse for 
idleness or extravagance. The results of her persever- 
ing industry and that of her domestics appeared at her 
death in curtains, quilts, and cloths of various sorts and 



256 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

% 

patterns, sufficient in quantity to furnish a country 
store. Let our indoleit fine ladies blush for themselves 
when they learn that a v/oman of mind and intelligence, 
whose rare powers of conversation charmed the social 
circle, actually carded, spun, wove, cut and made all 
the clothes worn by an officer of the army in active 
service during the southern campaign, including his 
guard-cloak ; and that the material of her own dress 
was manufactured by her own hands !* 

* The following picture of a housewife of the olden time 13 taken 
from the MS. " Remembrancer" of Christopher Marshall, Member of 
the Committee of Observation, &c., &c. These curious manuscript 
papers have been arranged by William Duane, jun., of Philadel- 
phia : 

" As I have in this memorandum taken scarcely any notice of my 
wife's employments, it might appear as if her engagements were very 
trifling ; the which is not the case, but the reverse ; and to do her 
that justice which her services deserved, by entering them minutely, 
would take up most of my time, for this genuine reason, how that 
from early in the morning till late at night, she is constantly employ- 
ed in the affairs of the family, which for four months has been very 
large ; for besides the addition to our family in the house, [is] a con- 
stant resort of comers and goers, which seldom go away with dry lips 
and hungry bellies. This calls for her constant attendance, not only 
to provide, but also to attend at getting prepared in the kitchen, bak- 
ing our bread and pies, meat, &c., and also on the table. Her clean- 
liness about the house, her attendance in the orchard, cutting and 
drying apples, of which several bushels have been procured ; add to 
which, her making of cider without tools, for the constant drink of 
the family, her seeing all our washing done, and her fine clothes and 
my shirts, the which are all smoothed by her ; add to this, her making 
of twenty large cheeses, and that from one cow, and daily using with 
milk and cream, besides her sewing, knitting, &c. Thus she looketh 
well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idle 



MARY SLOCUMB. 257 

Mrs. Slocumb's was a happy girlhood and youth. 
She always recurred to its history with delight ; and 
retained the fashion of dress then prevalent with a fond 
pertinacity amusing to others She scorned ever to 
wear any other than the long tight-waisted habit worn 
in her youthful days ; and however costly the material, 
it had to be cut in the good old way. For almost sixty 
years she never did, and never would, allow herself to 
vary one iota from the fashion of Seventy-Six. It was 
with her a matter of pride no less than taste ; it was a 
relic of the Revolution ; and it would have savored of 
ingratitude, if not of impiety, to cast it away. 

The true dignity of an American matron was shown 
in Mrs. Slocumb's reception and entertainment of the 
British officers, as already related. Her deportment 
was uniformly calm and self-possessed ; her lofty spirit 
gave to her slender and fragile form a majesty that 
secured the respect of all the officers, and protected her 
from the slightest approach towards insolent familiarity. 
She presided at her table with dignity and courtesy, 
extending open hospitality to all her unbidden guests. 
Her liberality was acknowledged by strict orders that 
no depredations should be committed on any thing 
belonging to the house or plantation. These orders 
were in general successfully enforced ; but even military 
authority could not save the farm-yard poultry or stock 
from a hungry soldiery. Not a feather was left, and 

ness ; yea, she also stretcheth out her hand, and she reacheth forth 
her hand to her needy friends and neighbors. I think she has not 
been above four times since her residence has been here, to visit her 
neighbors. 



258 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

rnanr a fine bullock was knocked in the head. But in 
other things the protection availed her. On the newa 
of the army's approach, she had taken the precaution to 
bury in the edge of a marsh near at hand, her plate and 
other valuables. The soldiers suspected the place of 
deposit, and plunged their pike-staffs into the ground 
about the spot, until they discovered the treasure. 
They were compelled to restore it to the rightful ownei 

Mrs. Slocumb's little son, at this time two or three 
years old, became a pet with several of the officers. 
The little fellow was permitted to share with them the 
pleasure and pride of prancing about on their splendid 
chargers. Perhaps to some of them his childish glee 
recalled their own domestic circles, and awakened in 
their stern hearts the holy feelings of home. They 
seemed delighted when the infant equestrian thus 
playing dragoon, would clap his little hands and shout 
in his innocent mirth. This child was the Hon. Jesse 
Slocumb, member of Congress, who died full of honors in 
early manhood. His remains rest in the Congressional 
burial-ground at Washington. The brother of Mrs 
Slocumb already mentioned, was at the same time a 
member from the Wilmington District. He died two 
or three years since in Alabama. 

When the British army broke up their encampment 
at the plantation, a sergeant was ordered by Colonel 
Tarleton to stand in the door till the last soldier had 
gone out, *o ensure protection to a lady whose noble 
bearing had inspired them all with the most profound 
respect. This order was obeyed; the guard brought 



MARY SLOCUMB. 



259 



up the rear of that army in their march notthward 
Mrs. Slocumb saw them depart with tears of joy ; and 
on her knees gave thanks, with a full heart, to the 
Divine Being who had protected her. A day or two 
afterwards, her husband returned to her arms and a 
happy home. They lived together for sixty years in 
unbroken harmony, the patriarchs of all that country, 
and looked up to by the inhabitants with unbounded 
love and respect. Many a traveller has been entertained 
at this hospitable mansion. A chapter might here be 
written on the subject of that ancient hospitality now 
so nearly obsolete in regions of country visited by the 
march of improvement. It was preserved in all its 
primitive exuberance in the house of Colonel Slocumb ; 
there was always provision in his larder, and a place 
at his board for the chance guest, who was certain of a 
cordial welcome, and wine which a connoisseur would 
have pronounced of the choicest vintage of Europe. 
If it be asked how this unbounded hospitality was sup- 
ported the answer is, every thing used was of home 
manufacture; nothing being purchased except those 
few essentials which are not the produce of our country. 
Mrs. Slocumb possessed a strong and original mind, 
a commanding intellect and clear judgment, which she 
retained unimpaired to the time of her death. Among 
her friends she was remarkable for vivid powers of con- 
versation, while those less familiarly acquainted thought 
her reserved, and some fancied her severe and sarcastic. 
In this respect she was misjudged, for her severity was 
aimed only at folly or misconduct. 



260 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION 

Her characteristic fortitude in the endurance of bodily 
pain so great that it seemed absolute stoicism should 
be noticed. In her seventy-second year she was afflicted 
with a cancer on her hand, which the surgeon informed 
her must be removed with the knife. At the time 
appointed for the operation she protested against being 
held by the assistants, telling the surgeon, "it was his 
business to cut out the cancer ; she would take care of 
her arm." He insisted, however, on her submitting to 
be held. At the first incision, one of the assistants 
complained of faintness ; Mrs. Slocumb bade him go 
away; and driving them off, braced her arm on the 
table, and never moved a muscle nor uttered a groan 
during the operation 

In her last years she was visited with a complication 
of disorders, enough to have broken the stoutest spirit ; 
but bore all with Christian patience, and at the age of 
seventy-six sank quietly to rest. She died on the sixth of 
March, 1836. Her venerable husband survived her 
about five years. Both now slumber together near 
the home where they lived and loved so long. Pleasant 
Green has passed into the hands of other owners; 
the noble old oaks that surrounded the mansion and 
lined the avenue, have been girdled, and seem to lift 
their bare arms in lamentation for their ancient pos- 
sessors. But the memory of those who dwelt there is 
linked with glorious recollections, which time can never 
efface from American hearts. 



ESTHER WAKE. 261 

MENTION has been made of Esther Wake, the sister 
of Lady Tryon. These two lovely and accomplished 
women exercised great influence, according to tradition, 
in matters of state.* The gallantry of a warm-hearted 
people perhaps inclined them to estimate the character 
of their governor by the grace, beauty and accomplish- 
ment that adorned his domestic circle. The governor's 
dinners were princely, and the fascination of the ladies 
irresistible. In his attempt to obtain an appropriation 
from the assembly for building a splendid palace, female 
genius and influence rose superior to his official conse- 
quence and political manoeuvres. Though the colony 
was poor, their management obtained a second grant. 
The admiration they commanded helped to sustain 
Governor Tryon's waning authority. When the royal 
government was annihilated, and the motion to change 
the name of Tryon County was under consideration, 
the resolution to alter that of Wake was rejected by 
acclamation. Thus the county in which the city of 
Raleigh is located, is consecrated to the memory of 
beauty and virtue. 
* Sabine's American Loyalists. Jones' Defence of North Carolina 



XXIV 



SARAH BACHE * 

SARAH, the only daughter of Benjamin Franklin, was 
born at Philadelphia, on the eleventh of September, 1744 
Of her early years no particulars can now be obtained ; 
but from her father's appreciation of the importance of 
education, and the intelligence and information that she 
displayed through life, we may presume that her studies 
were as extensive as were then pursued by females in 
any of the, American colonies. 

In 1764, she was called to part with her father, sent 
to Europe for the first time in a representative capacity. 
The people of Pennsylvania were at that time divided 
into two parties the supporters and the opponents of 
the proprietaries. The sons of Penn, as is known, 
had left the religion of their father, and joined the 
Church of England ; and the bulk of that persuasion 
were of the proprietary party. The mass of the 
Quakers were in opposition, and w'th them Franklin 
had acted. After having been for fourteen years a 

* Mr. William Duane, to whose pen the reader is indebted for this 
iketch is the grandson of Mrs Bache. 



SARAH BACHE. 263 

member of the Assembly, he lost his election to that 
body in the autumn of 1764, by a few votes ; but his 
friends being in the majority in the House, immediately 
elected him the agent of the province in England. The 
proprietary party made great opposition to his appoint- 
ment ; and an incident occurred in connection with it 
that shows us how curiously the affairs of Church and 
State were intermingled in those days. A petition or 
remonstrance to the Assembly against his being chosen 
agent, was laid for signature upon the communion-table 
of Christ Church, in which he was a pew-holder, and 
his wife a communicant. His daughter appears to 
have resented this outrage upon decency and the 
feelings of her family, and to have spoken of leaving 
the church in consequence ; which gave occasion to the 
following dissuasive in the letter which her father wrote 
to her from Reedy Island, November 8th, 1764, on his 
way to Europe : " Go constantly to church whoever 
preaches. The act of devotion in the common prayer- 
book is your principal business there ; and if properly 
attended to, will do more towards amending the heart 
than sermons generally can do; for they were com- 
posed by men of much greater piety and wisdom than 
our common composers of sermons can pretend to be ; 
and therefore I wish you would never miss the prayer 
days. Yet I do not mean you should despise sermons, 
even of the preachers you dislike, for the discourse* is 
often much better than the man, as sweet and clear 
waters come through very dirty earth. I am the more 
particular on this lead, as you seemed to express a lit- 



264 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

tie before I carne away some inclination to leave oui 
church, which I would not have you do."* 

The opinion entertained by many that a disposition 
to mobbing is of modern growth in this country is erro 
neous. In Colonial times outrages- of this character 
were at least as frequent as now. Dr. Franklin had not 
been gone a year before his house was threatened with 
an attack. Mrs. Franklin sent her daughter to Gov- 
ernor Franklin's in Burlington, and proceeded to make 
preparation for the defence of her " castle." Her letter 
detailing the particulars may be found in the last edition 
of Watson's Annals of Philadelphia. 

The first letter from Sarah Franklin to her father 
that has been preserved, was written after her return 
from this visit to Burlington. In it she says, ' The 
subject now is Stamp Act, and nothing else is talked 
of. The Dutch talk of the ' Stamp tack,' the negroes 
of the ' tamp' in short, every body has something to 
say." The commissions which follow for gloves, laven- 
der, and tooth-powder, give us a humble idea of the 
state of the supplies in the Colonies at that day. The 
letter thus concludes : " There is not a young lady of 
my acquaintance but what desnes to be remembered to 
you. I am, my dear, your very dutiful daughter, 

" SALLY FRANKLIN." 

.In a letter dated on the 23d of the lollowing March 
(1765), the Stamp Act is again mentioned : "We have 

* The manuscript letters from which extracts are made in this me 
moir, are in the possession of Mrs. Bache's descendants ir. Philadel 
ohia. 



SARAH BACHE. 



265 



heard by a round-about way that the Stamp Act is 
repealed The people seem determined to believe it, 
though it came from Ireland to Maryland. The bells 
rung, we had bonfires, and one house was illuminated. 
Indeed I never heard so much noise in my life; the 
very children seem distracted. I hope and pray the 
noise may be true." 

A letter to her brother, written September 30th, 1766, 
speaks thus of some political movements in Philadel- 
phia at that time : " The letter from Mr. Sergeant was 
to Daniel Wistar. I send you the Dutch paper, where 
I think there is something about it. On Friday night 
there was a meeting of seven or eight hundred men in 
Hare's brew-house, where Mr. Ross, mounted on a bag 
of grain, spoke to them a considerable time. He read 
Sergeant's letter, and some others, which had a good 
effect, as they satisfied many. Some of the people say 
he outdid Whitfield ; and Sir John says he is in a direct 
line from Solomon. He spoke several things in favor 
of his absent friend, whom he called the good, the wor- 
thy Dr. Franklin, and his worthy friend. After he was 
gone, Hugh Roberts stood up and proposed him in 
Willing's place, and desired those who were for him to 
stand up ; and they all 'rose to a man." 

On the 29th of October, 1767, Sarah Franklin was 
married to Richard Bache, a merchant of Philadelphia, 
and a native of Settle, in Yorkshire, England. After 
their marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Bache appear to have 
resided with Mrs. Franklii in the house built by her in 



266 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

the year 1765, upon ground over which Franklin Place 
now runs.* 

Mrs. Franklin died on the 19th of December, 1774, 
having been attacked by paralysis four days previously 
The mansion house continued .to be occupied by Mr. 
Bache and his family. In the garden a willow tree was 
planted by Mrs. Bache on the 4th of July, 1776. 

The approach of the British army through New 
Jersey in December, 1776, induced Mr. Bache to re- 
move his family to Goshen township in Chester County, 
from which place the following letter was addressed by 
Mrs. Bache to her father, who, in the previous October, 
had been sent to France by the American Congress. 
Mrs. Bache's eldest son accompanied him, and was edu- 
cated in France and Geneva under the supervision of 
his grandfather. 

" GOSHEN, February 23d, 1777. 
' HONORED SIR 

" We have been impatiently waiting to hear of 
your arrival for some time. It was seventeen weeks 
yesterday since you left us a day I shall never forget. 

* This house, in which Franklin died.^stood rather nearer to Chest- 
nut Street than to Market Street. The original entrance to it was 
over the ground upon which No. 112 Market Street is now built. On 
Franklin's return from Europe, he opened a new entrance to it be- 
tween Nos. 106 and 108, under the archway still remaining, the house 
No. 106, and that lately No. 103, being built by him. His house was 
torn down about the year 1813, when Franklin Court was built upon 
the ground occupied by it the court in front and the garden in th 
rear 



SARAH BACIIE. 2G7 

How happy shall we be to hear you are all safe arrived 
and well. You had not left us long before we were 
obliged to leave town. I never shall forget nor forgive 
them for turning me out of house and home in the mid- 
dle of winter, and we are still about twenty-four miles 
from Philadephia, in Chester County, the next plan- 
tation to where Mr. Ashbridge used to live. We have 
two comfortable rooms, and we are as happily situated 
as I can be separated from Mr. Bache ; he comes to 
see us as often as his business will permit. Your library 
we sent out of town well packed in boxes, a week be- 
fore us, and all the valuable things, mahogany excepted, 
we brought with us. There was such confusion that 
it was a hard matter to get out at any rate ; when we 
shall get back again I know not, though 'things are 
altered much in our favor since we left town. I think 
I shall never be afraid of staying in it again, if the 
enemy were only three miles instead of thirty from it, 
since our cowards, as Lord Sandwich calls them, are so 
ready to turn out against those heroes who were to 
conquer all before them, but have found themselves so 
much mistaken ; their courage never brought them to 
Trenton, till they heard our army were disbanded. I 
send you the newspapers ; but as they do not always 
speak true, and as there may be some particulars in 
Mr. Bache's letters to me that are not in them, I will 
copy those parts of his letters that contain the news. I 
think you will have it more regular. 

" Aunt has wrote to you, and sent it to town. She 
is very well, and desires her love to you and Temple. 



268 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

We have wished much for him here when we have 
been a little dull ; he would have seen some characters 
here quite new to him. It's lucky for us Mr. George 
Clymer's, Mr. Meredith's, and Mr. Budden's families 
are moved so near us. They are sensible and agreeable 
people, and are not often alone. I have refused dining 
at Mr. Clymer's to-day, that I might have the pleasure 
of writing to you and rny dear boy, who, I hope, be- 
haves so as to make you love him. We used to think 
he gave little trouble at home ; but that was, perhaps, 
a mother's partiality. I am in great hopes that the first 
letter of Mr. Bache will bring me news of your arrival. 
I shall then have cause to rejoice. I am, my dear papa, 
as much as ever, your dutiful and affectionate daughter. 

"S. BACHE." 

Mrs Bache returned home with her family shortly 
after, but in the following autumn the approach of the 
British army after their victory on the Brandywine, 
again drove them from Philadelphia. On the 17th of 
September, 1777, four days after the birth of her second 
daughter, Mrs. Bache left town, taking refuge at first in 
the hospitable mansion of her friend Mrs, Duffield, in 
Lower Dublin Township, Philadel. Co. They afterwards 
removed to Manheim Township in Lancaster County 
where they remained until the evacuation of Philadei 
phia by the British forces. The following extracts are 
from letters written to Dr. Franklin after their xeturn 
On the 14th July, 1778 Mr. Bache writes: "Once 
more I have the happiness of addressing you from this 



SARAH BACHE. 269 

dearly beloved city, after having been kept out of it 
more than nine months. * * * I found your house 
and furniture upon my return to town, in much better 
order than I had reason to expect from the hands of 
such a rapacious crew ; they stole and carried off with 
them some of your musical instruments, viz : a Welsh 
harp, ball harp, the set of tuned bells which were in a 
box, viol-de-gamba, all the spare armonica glasses and 
one or two spare cases. Your armonica is safe. They 
took likewise the few books that were left behind, the 
chief of which were Temple's school books and the 
History of the Arts and Sciences in French, which is 
a great loss to the public ; some of your electric appa- 
ratus is missing also a Captain Andre also took with 
him the picture of you which hung in the dining-room. 
The rest of the pictures are safe and met with no 
damage, except the frame of Alfred, which is broken to 
pieces."* 

Andre was quartered in Franklin's house during the 
sojourn of the British in Philadelphia. In the follow- 
ing letter from Mrs. Bache, his future acquaintance 
Arnold is mentioned. It is dated October 22, 1778, 
Mrs. Bache having remained at Manheim w? f h her 
children until the autumn. " This is the first opportunity 
I have had since my return home of writing to you. 
We found the house and furniture in much better order 
than we could expect, which was owing to the care the 

* The postscript to this letter is curious " I wish I could have sent 
to me from France two dozen of padlocks and keys fit for mails, and 
a dozen post-horns ; they are not to be had here." 



270 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

Miss Cliftons took of all we left behind; my being 
removed four days after my little girl was born, made 
it impossible for me to remove half the things we did in 
our former flight." After describing her little girl, she 
adds : ' I would give a good deal you could see her ; 
you can't think how fond of kissing she is, and gives 
such old-fashioned smacks, General Arnold says he 
would give a good deal to have her for a school mistress. 
to teach the young ladies how to kiss." * * * There 
is hardly such a thing as living in town, every thing is 
so high, the money is old tenor to all intents and 
purposes. If I was to mention the prices of the common 
necessaries of life it would astonish you. I have been 
all amazement since my return; such an odds have 
two years made, that I can scarcely believe I am in 
Philadelphia. * * * They really ask me six dollars 
ior a pair of gloves, and I have been obliged to pay 
fifteen pounds for a common calamanco petticoat 
vvithout quilting, that I once could have got for fifteen 
shillings." 

These high prices were owing to the depreciation of 
the Continental money, but it subsequently was much 
greater. The time came when Mrs. Bache's domestics 
were obliged to take two baskets with them to market, 
one empty to contain the provisions they purchased, 
uie other full of continental money to pay for them. 

On the 17th of January, 1779, after speaking of the 
continued rise of prices, she writes, that " there never 
was so much dressing and pleasure going on; old friends 
meeting again, the whigs in high spirits and strangeis 



SARAH BACHE. 271 

of distinction among us." Speaking of her having met 
with General and Mrs. Washington several times, she 
adds: "He always inquires after you in the most 
affectionate manner, and speaks of you highly. We 
danced at Mrs. Powell's on your birth-day, or night I 
should say, in company together, and he told me it was 
the anniversary of his marriage ; it was just twenty years 
that night." 

With this letter a piece of American silk was sent as 
a present to the Queen of France, Maria Antionette. 

Dr. Franklin in his reply seems to have expressed 
some dissatisfaction at the gaiety of his countrymen, 
which he considered unseasonable. Mrs. Bache thus 
excuses herself for participating in it in a letter dated 
September 14, 1779: "I am indeed much obliged to 
you for your very kind present. It never could have 
come at a more seasonable time, and particularly so as 
they are all necessary. * * * But h6w could 
my dear papa give me so severe a reprimand for wish- 
ing a little finery. He would not, I am sure, if he 
knew how much I have felt it. Last winter was a sea- 
son of triumph to the whigs, and they spent it gailv. 
You would not have had me, I am sure, stay away from 
the Ambassador's or General's entertainments, nor when 
1 was invited to spend the day with General Washing- 
ton and his lady ; and you would have been the last 
person, I am sure, to have wished to see me dressed 
with .singularity. Though I never loved dress so murh 
as to wish to be particularly fine, yet I never will go out 
when I cannot appear so as de credit to my family 



272 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

and husband. * * * 1 can assure my dear 
papa that industry in this country is by no means laid 
aside ; but as to spinning linen, we cannot think of that 
till we have got that wove which we spun three years 
ago. Mr. Duffield has bribed a weaver that lives on 
his farm to weave me eighteen yards, by making him 
three or four shuttles for nothing, and keeping it a secret 
from the country people, who will ndt suffer them to 
weave for those in town. This is the third weaver's it 
has been at, and many fair promises I have had about 
it. 'Tis now done and whitening, but forty yards of 
the best remains at Liditz yet, that I was to have had 
home a twelvemonth last month. Mrs. Keppele, who 
is gone to Lancaster, is to try to get it done there for 
me ; but not a thread will they weave but for hard 
money. My maid is now spinning wool for winter 
stockings for the whole family, which will be no diffi- 
culty in the manufactory, as I knit them myself. I only 
mention these things that you may see that balls are 
not the only reason that the wheel is laid aside. * 
* * This winter approaches with so man} 
horrors that I shall not want any thing to go abroad in, 
ii i can be comfortable at home. My spirits, which I 
have kept up during my being drove about from place 
to place, much better than most people's I meet with, 
have been lowered by nothing but the depreciation of 
the money, which has been amazing lately, so that home 
win De the place for me this winter, as I cannot get a 
common winter cloak and bat but just decent undei 
two hundred pounds ; as to gauze now, it is fifty dollars 



SARAH BACHE. 273 

a yard; 'tis beyond my wish, and I should think it not 
only a shame but a sin to buy it if I had millions. It 
is indeed, as you say, that money is too cheap ; for 
there are so many people that are not used to have it, 
nor know the proper use of it, that get so much, that 
they care not whether they give one dollar or a hun- 
dred for any thing they want; but to those whose 
every dollar is the same as a silver one, which is our 
case,, it is particularly hard ; for Mr. Bache could not 
bear to do business in the manner it has been done in 
this place, which has been almost all by monopolizing 
and forestalling." 

In the patriotic effort of the ladies of Philadel- 
phia to furnish the destitute American soldiers with 
money and clothing during the year 1780, Mrs. Bache 
took a very active part. After the death of Mrs. 
Reed, the duty of completing the collections and 
contributions devolved on her and four other ladies, 
as a sort of Executive Committee. The shirts 
provided were cut out at her house. A letter 
to Dr. Franklin, part of which has been published, 
shows how earnestly she was engaged in the work. 
The Marquis de Chastellux thus describes a visit which 
he paid her about this time : " After this slight repast, 
which only lasted an hour and a half, we went to visit 
the ladies, agreeable to the Philadelphia custom, where 
the morning is the most proper hour for paying visits. 
We began by Mrs. Bache. She merited all the anxiety 
we had to see her, for she is the daughter of Mr. Frank- 
in. Simple in her manners, like her respected father, 



274 WOMEN OP THE REVOLUTION. 

she possesses his benevolence. She conducted us into 
a room filled with work, lately finished by the ladies of 
Philadelphia. This work consisted neither of embroi- 
dered tambour waistcoats, nor of net-work edging, nor 
of gold and silver brocade. It was a quantity of shirts 
for the soldiers of Pennsylvania. The ladies bought 
the linen from their own private purses, and took a 
pleasure in cutting them out and sewing them them- 
selves. On each shirt was the name of the married or 
unmarried lady who made it ; and they amounted to 
twenty-two hundred. 

Mrs. Bache writes to Mrs. Meredith, at Trenton; 
" I am happy to have it in my power to tell you that 
the sums given by the good women of Philadelphia for 
the benefit of the army have been much greater than 
could be expected, and given with so much cheerful- 
ness and so many blessings, that it was rather a pleasing 
than a painful task to call for it. I write to claim you 
as a Philadelphia^, and shall think myself honored in 
your donation." 

A letter of M. de Marbois to Dr. Franklin, the 
succeeding year thus speaks of his daughter : " If 
there are in Europe any women who need a model of 
attachment to domestic duties and love for their country, 
Mrs. Bache may be pointed out to fhem as such. She 
passed a part of the last year in exertions to rouse the 
zeal of the Pennsylvania ladies, and she made on this 
occasion such a happy use of the eloquence which you 
know she possesses, that a large part of the American 
army was provided with shirts, bought with their 



SARAH BACHE. 275 

money, or made by their hands. In her applications 
for this purpose, she showed the most indefatigable 
zeal, the most unwearied perseverance, and a courage 
in asking, which surpassed even the obstinate reluctance 
of the Quakers in refusing." 

The letters of Mrs. Bache show much force of charac- 
ter, and an ardent, generous and impulsive nature. She 
has a strong remembrance of kindness, and attachment 
to her friends ; and in writing to her father her venera- 
tion for him is ever apparent, combined with the confi- 
dence and affection of a devoted daughter. Her beloved 
children are continually the theme on which her pen 
delights to dwell. Again and again the little family 
group is described to her father when abroad ; and it is 
pleasing to dwell on the picture of the great philosopher 
and statesman reading with parental interest domestic 
details like the following; "Willy begins to learn his 
book very well, and has an extraordinary memory. He 
has learned, these last holidays, the speech of Anthony 
over Cesar's body, which he can scarcely speak witn- 
out tears. When Betsy looks at your picture here, 
she wishes her grandpapa had teeth, that he might oe 
able to talk to her ; and has frequently tried to tempt 
you to walk out of the frame with a piece of apple pie, 
the thing of all others she likes best. Louis is remarka- 
ble for his sweet temper and good spirits." To her son 
she says : " There is nothing would make me happier than 
your making a good and useful mar.. Every instruction 
with regard to your morals and learning I am sure 
you have from your grandpapa : I shall therefore only 



276 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION 

add my prayers that all he recommends may be strictlj 
attended to." 

In September, 1785, after an absence of nearly seven 
years at the Court of France, Dr. Franklin returned to 
his home in Philadelphia. He spent the last years of 
his life amidst the family of his daughter and the de- 
scendants of the friends of his early years, the most of 
whom he had survived. 

In 1792, Mr. and Mrs. Bache visited England, and 
would have extended their tour to France, had it not 
been for the increasing troubles of the French Revo- 
lution. They were absent about a year. 

Mr. Bache, having relinquished commercial pursuits, 
removed in 1794 to a farm upon the river Delaware, 
sixteen miles above Philadelphia, which he named Settle, 
after his birthplace. Here they spent upwards of thir- 
teen years, making their residence the seat of hos- 
pi f ality. 

In 1807, Mrs. Bache was attacked by cancer, and 
removed to Philadelphia in the winter of 1807-8, for 
the benefit of medical attendance. Her disease proved 
incurable, and on the 5th of October, 1808, she died in 
the house in Franklin Court, aged sixty-four years. 
Her remains, with those of her husband, who survived 
her a few years only, are interred in the Christ Church 
bui ial-ground, beside those of her parents. 

In person, Mrs. Bache was rather above the middle 
heisrht, and in the latter years of her life she became 
very stout. Her complexion was uncommonly fair, 



SARAH BACHE. 



277 



with much color ; her hair brown, and her eyes blue, 
like those of her father. 

Strong good sense, and a ready flow of wit, were 
among the most striking features of her mind. Her 
otnevolence was very great, and her generosity and 
liberality were eminent. Her friends ever cherished a 
warm affection for her. 

It has been related that her father, with a view of 
accustoming her to bear disappointments with patience, 
was sometimes accustomed to request her to remain at 
home, and spend tne evening over the chess-board, 
when she was on the point of going out to some meet- 
ing of her young friends. The cheerfulness which she 
displayed in every turn of fortune, proves that this dis- 
cipline was not without its good effect. 

Many of her witticisms have been remembered, but 
inost of them, owing to the local nature of the events 
which gave rise to them and their mention of individ- 
uals, would not now bear beingr repeated. Her remark 
that " she hated all the Carolinians from Bee to Izard, 
would be excluded for the latter reason, but may per- 
haps be excused here', as it has already appeared in print. 
What offence Mr. Bee had given, is not known, but Mr. 
Izard's hostility to her father was of the most malignant 
character. 

She took a great interest through life in political 
affairs, and was a zealous republican. Having learnt 
that the English lady to whom some of her daughters 
were sent to school, had placed the pupils connected 
with persons in public life (her children among the num- 
ber), at the upper end of the table, upon the ground thai 









278 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 




*the young ladies of rank should sit together, Mrs. Bache 
sent her word that in this country there was no rank 
but rank mutton. 






Mrs. Bache had eight children, of whom her eldest 
daughter died very young, and her eldest son in 1798 of 
the yellow fever, then prevailing in Philadelphia. Thiee 
.sons and three daughters survived her. 




; 


* 







XXV. 



MARTHA WASHINGTON. 

NONE who take an interest in the history of Wash- 
ington can fail to desire some knowledge of her who 
shared his thoughts and plans, and was associated with 
him in the great events of his life. Few women have 
been called to move, in the drama of existence, amid 
scenes so varied and imposing ; and few have sustained 
their part with so much dignity and discretion. In the 
shades of retirement, or the splendor of eminent station, 
she was the same unostentatious, magnanimous woman ; 
through the gloom of adverse fortune she walked by 
the side of the Chief, ascending with him the difficult 
path Heaven had opened before him ; and when stand- 
ing with him on the summit, in the full light of his 
power and renown, the eyes of her spirit looked still 
upward, seeking in the smile of the Supreme a reward 
which earthly honors could not bestow. 

Though the life of Mrs. Washington was a change- 
ful onej and had its full measure oi sorrow and joy, it 
affords little material for the biographer. She moved 
in woman's domestic sphere, to which pertain not 
actions that strike the public eye, but uncomplaining 



280 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 



endurance, and continual, unnoted self-sacrifice. The 
best account of her is the memoir prepared for the 
National Portrait .Gallery, by her grandson, George 
Washington Parke Custis, of Arlington, D. C. Acpord- 
ing to this, Martha Dandridge was descended from an 
ancient family that migrated to the colony of Virginia 
and was born in the county of New Kent, in May, 
1732. Her education was only a domestic one, such 
as was given to females in those days, when there were 
few seminaries of instruction, and private teachers 
were generally employed. Her beauty and fascinating 
manners, with her amiable qualities of character, gained 
her distinction among the ladies who were accustomed 
to resort to WilKamsburg, at that time the seat of gov 
ernment. 

When but seventeen, Miss Dandridge was married 
to Colonel Daniel Parke Custis, of the same county. 
Their residence called the " White House," was on 
the banks of the Pamunkey River, where Colonel Cuslis 
became a highly successful planter. None of the chil- 
dren of this marriage survived the mother ; Martha, 
who arrived at womanhood, died at Mount Vernon, in 
1770 ; and John perished eleven yeaVs later, at the age 
of twenty-seven. 

Mrs. Custis was early left a widow, in the full bloom 
of beauty and " splendidly endowed with worldly bene- 
fits." As sole executrix, she managed with great ability 
the extensive landed and pecuniary business of the 
estate. Surrounded by the advantages of fortune and 
position, and possessing such charms of person, it may 



MARTHA WASHINGTON. 281 

well be believed that suitors for her hand and heart 
were many and pressing. 

" It was in 1758," says her biographer, '' that an 
officer, attired in a military undress, and attended by a 
body servant, tall and militaire as his Chief, crossed the 
ferry called Williams's, over the Pamunkey, a branch 
of the York River. On the boat touching the southern, 
or New Kent side, the soldier's progress was arrested 
by one of those personages who give the beau ideal of 
the Virginia gentleman of the old regime the very 
soul of kindness and hospitality." He would hear of 
no excuse on the officer's part for declining the in- 
vitation to stop at his house. In vain the Colonel 
pleaded important business at Williamsburg ; Mr. 
Chamberlayne insisted that his friend must dine with 
him at the very least. He promised, as a temptation, 
to introduce him to a young and charming widow, who 
chanced then to be an inmate of his dwelling. At last 
the soldier surrendered at discretion, resolving, however, 
to pursue his journey the same evening. They pro- 
ceeded to the mansion. Mr. Chamberlayne presented 
Colonel Washington to his various guests, among 
whom was the beautiful Mrs. Custis. Tradition says 
that the two were favorably impressed with each other 
at the first interview. It may be supposed that the con- 
versation turned upon scenes in which the whole com- 
munity had a deep interest scenes which the young 
hero, fresh from his early fields, could eloquently de- 
scribe ; and we may fancy with what earnest and 
rapt interest the fair listener " to hear did seriously in- 
1* 



282 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

cline ;" or how " the heavenly rhetoric of her eyes " 
beamed unconscious admiration upon the manly speaker 
The morning passed ; the sun sank low in the horizon. 
The hospitable host smiled as he saw the Colonel's 
faithful attendant, Bishop, true to his orders, holding his 
master's spirited steed at the gate. The veteran waited, 
and marvelled at the delay. " Ah, Bishop," says a fair 
writer describing the occurrence, " there was an urchin 
in the drawing-room more powerful than King George 
and all his governors ! Subtle as a sphynx, he had hid- 
den the important despatches from the soldier's sight, 
shut up his ears from the summons of the tell-tale clock, 
and was playing such mad pranks with the bravest 
heart in Christendom, that it fluttered with the excess of 
a new-found happiness !" 

Mr. Chamberlayne insisted that no guest ever left his 
house after sunset ; and his visitor was persuaded, with- 
out much difficulty, to remain. The next day was far 
advanced when the enamored soldier was on the road 
to Williamsburg. His business there being despatched, 
he hastened to the presence of the captivating widow. 

A short time after the marriage, which took place 
about 1759, Colonel and Mrs. Washington fixed their 
residence at Mount Vernon. The mansion was at that 
period a very small building compared with its present 
extent. It did not receive many additions before Wash- 
ington left it to repair to the first Congress, and thence 
to the command-in-chief of the armies of his country. 
He was accompanied to Cambridge by Mrs. Washing- 
ton, who remained some time with him, and witnessed 



MARTHA WASHINGTON 283 

the siege and evacuation of Boston. She then returned 
to Virginia. 

So prevalent at one time was the disaffection, as Mrs. 
Washington herself remarked, that on a visit to Phila- 
delphia, upon her way to camp one season, few of the 
ladies of the city called upon her. A passage from 
Christopher Marshall's manuscript diary for the year 
1775,* curiously illustrates the state of popular feeling 
at the breaking out of the war. Mrs. Washington 
arrived in the city on the twenty-first of November, on 
her journey to Cambridge. A ball was in preparation, 
to be given on the twenty-fourth ; and it was expected 
lhat both she and the wife of Colonel Hancock would 
grace the entertainment with their presence. But from 
some threats thrown out, it was feared that a commotion 
would be made, which might result in disturbance of 
the peace of the city. A large and respectable commit- 
tee was held at the Philosophical Hall, called together 
for the purpose of considering the propriety of allow- 
ing the ball to be given that evening ; and after 
mature consideration, it was concluded that no such 
entertainment should tak6 place, either then, or during 
the continuance of those melancholy times. A commit- 
tee was appointed to inform the managers that they 
must proceed no further in the preparations ; and also 
to wait upon ' Lady Washington/ and request her not 
to attend at the assembly to which she had been invited. 
The committee acted agreeatly to directions ; and 

* This passage may be found, quoted from the MS., in a note in tha 
Life and Corresoondeno? of President Reed. Vol. II., p 24. 



284 WOMEN O? THE REVOLUTION. 

reported that Lady Washington had received them 
with great politeness, thanked the committee for their 
kind care and regard in giving her timely notice, and 
assured them that their sentiments on this occasion 
were perfectly agreeable to her own. 

It was not often that the interest taken by Mrs. 
Washington in political affairs was evinced by any 
public expression. The address already mentioned, 
which was read in the churches of Virginia, and pub- 
jshed in the Philadelphia papers, June 1780, as " The 
Sentiments of an American Woman" was attributed 
it cannot be ascertained with what truth to her pen.* 
She passed the winters with her husband. Mr. Custis 
states that it was the habit of the Commander-in-chief to 
despatch an aid-de-camp, at the close of each campaign, 
to escort Mrs. Washington to head-quarters. Her 
arrival at camp was an event much anticipated; the 
plain chariot, with the neat postillions in their scarlet 
and white liveries, was always welcomed with great joy 
by the army, and brought a cheering influence, which 
relieved the general gloom in seasons of disaster and 
despair. Her example was followed by the wives of 
other general officers. 

It happened at one time while the ladies remained 
later than usual in the camp on the Hudson, that an 
alarm was given of the approach of the enemy from 
New York. The aids-de-camp proposed that the ladies 
should be sent away under an escort. To this Wash- 
ington would not consent. "The presence of our 

* Remembrancer, Vol. VIII. 



MARTH* WASHINGTON. 285 

wives," said hs, "will the better encourage us to a 
brave defence." The night was dark ; and the words 
of command from the officers, the marching of the 
troops, the dragging of artillery into the yard, and the 
noise of removing the windows of the house the house 
itself being filled with soldiers all gave " dreadful note 
of preparation." The enemy, however, finding them- 
selves mistaken in their hopes of a surprise, withdrew 
without coming to blows. 

Lady Washington, as she was always called in the 
army, usually remained at head-quarters till the opening 
of the succeeding campaign, when she returned to 
Mount Vernon. She was accustomed afterwards to 
say that it had been her fortune to hear the first cannon 
at the opening, and the last at the closing, of all the 
campaigns of the Revolutionary war. How admirably 
her equanimity and cheerfulness were preserved, through 
the sternest periods of the struggle and how inspiriting 
was the influence she diffused, is testified in many of 
the military journals. She was at Valley Forge in that 
dreadful winter of 1 777-8 ; her presence and submission to 
privation strengthening the fortitude of those who might 
have complained, and giving hope and confidence to the 
desponding. She soothed the distresses of many suf- 
ferers, seeking out the poor and afflicted with benevolent 
kindness, extending relief wherever it was in her power, 
and with graceful deportment presiding in the Chief's 
humble dwelling.* In a letter to Mrs. Warren she 
says, " The General's apartment is very small ; he has 

* Thacher's Journal and other authorities. 



286 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

had a log cabin built to dine in, which has made oui 
quarters much more tolerable than they were at first. 
Their table was but scantily furnished ; but the soldiers 
fared still worse, sitting down at a board of rough planks, 
set with horn spoons and a few tumblers ; the food 
being often salt herrings and potatoes, without other 
vegetables, or tea, coffee, or sugar. Their continental 
money was no temptation to the farmers to sell them 
produce. The stone jug passed round was filled with 
water from the nearest spring ; and rare was the privi- 
lege of toddy in which to drink the health of the nation. 
Yet here, forgetful of herself, the patriot wife anxiously 
watched the aspect of affairs, and was happy when the 
political horizon brightened. She writes to Mrs. War- 
ren " It has given me unspeakable pleasure to hear 
that General Burgoyne and his army are in safe quar- 
ters in your State. Would bountiful Providence aim a 
like stroke at General Howe, the measure of my happi- 
ness would be complete."* 

The Marquis de Chastellux says of Mrs. Washington, 
whom he met at the house of General Reed in Philadel- 
phia, "She had just arrived from Virginia, and was 
going to stay with her husband, as she does at the end 
of every campaign. She is about forty, or five-and- 
forty, rather plump, but fresh, and of an agreeable 
countenance." In another passage, he notices the 
camp life shared by her : " The head-quarters at New- 
burgh consist of a single house, built in the Dutch 
fashion, and neither large nor cor imodious. The largest 

* MS letter, March 7th, 1778 



MARTHA WASHINGTON. 287 

-oom in it, which General Washington has converted 
into his dining room, is tolerably spacious, but it has 
seven doors and only one window. The chimney is 
against the wall ; so that there is, in fact, but one vem 
for the smoke, and the fire is in the room itself. I found 
the company assembled in a small , room which served 
as a parlor. At nine, supper was served, and when 
bedtime came, I found that the chamber to which the 
General conducted me was the very parlor spoken of, 
wnerein he had made them place a camp-bed. We 
assembled at breakfast the next morning at ten, during 
which interval my bed was folded up; and my chamber 
became the sitting room for the whole afternoon ; for 
American manners do not admit of a bed in the room 
in which company is received, especially where there 
are women. The smallness of the house, and the 
inconvenience to which I saw that General and Mrs. 
Washington had put themselves to receive me, made 
me apprehensive lest M. Rochambeau might arrive on 
the same day. The day I remained at head-quarters 
was passed either at table or in conversation." 

The recollections of a veteran still living at Man- 
chester, Massachusetts, at the age of ninety-two, bear 
testimony to the kindness of Mrs. Washington towards 
those in the humblest sphere. One little incident oc- 
curred when she came to spend the cold season with 
her husband in winter-quarters. There were but two 
frame-houses in the settlement, and neither had a 
finished upper stjry. The General was contented with 
his rough dwelling, but. wished to prepare for his wife a 



288 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

more retired and comfortable apartment. He sent for 
the young mechanic, and desired him and one of his 
fellow-apprentices to fit. up a room in the upper story 
for the accommodation of Lady Washington through 
the winter. She herself arrived before the work was 
commenced. " She came," says the narrator, " into the 
place a portly-looking, agreeable woman of forty-five, 
and said to us : ' Now, young men, I care for nothing 
but comfort here ; and should like you to fit me up a 
beauffet on one side of the room, and some shelves and 
places for hanging clothes on the other.' We went to 
work with all our might. Every moining about eleven 
Mrs. Washington came up stairs with a glass of spirits 
for each of us ; and after she and the General had dined, 
we were called down to eat at their table. We worked 
very hard, nailing smooth boards over the rough and 
worm-eaten planks, and stopping the crevices in the 
walls made by time and hard usage. Then we con- 
sulted together how we could smoothe the uneven floor, 
and take out, or cover over some of the huge black 
knots. We studied to do every thing to please so plea- 
sant a lady, and to make some return in our humble 
way for the kindness of the General. On the fourth 
day, when Mrs. Washington came up to see how we 
were getting along, we had finished the work, made the 
shelves, put up the pegs on the wall, built the beauffet, 
and converted the rough garret into a comfortable 
apartment. As she stood looking round, I said, ' Madam, 
we have endeavored to do the best we could ; I hope 
we have suited you.' She replied smiling, ' 1 am as 




fW-tnnnrn i. .1 a IHI . H r u i > IT . n n . .1 ll in. liTJXy iN^tiiLrii [i I i I I I li m I n 



MARTHA WASHINGTON. 289 

tonished ! your work would do honor to an old master, 
and you are mere lads. I am not only satisfied, but 
highly gratified with what you have done for my com- 
fort/ " As the old soldier repeated these words, the 
tears ran down his furrowed cheeks The thrill of de- 
light which had seventy years before penetrated his 
heart at the approving words of his General's lady, 
again animated his worn frame, sending back his 
thoughts to the very moment and scene. 

At one time the head-quarters of the Commander-in- 
chief were at the house of Mrs. Berry, in New Jersey 
While he remained here Mrs. Washington arrived. 
When the carriage stopped, and a female in a plain 
russet gown, with white handkerchief neatly folded ovei 
her neck, was seen, Mrs. Berry imagined her to be a 
domestic. But she was undeceived when the General 
went forward to receive her, assisted her from the car- 
riage, and after the first greeting, began to inquire after 
his pet horses. A ball was given in honor of the arrival 
of "Lady Washington," at which her brave husband 
himself condescended to lead a minuet ; it being the 
first occasion in a long time on which he had been 
known to dance.* 

An anecdote illustrative of the heroic spirit of the 
lady whose house was the Chief's abode on this occa- 
sion, will not be here misplaced. Her husband was a.. 
Saratoga attending to some private business, when 
General Washington, with his officers and troops, went 
forth to battle. Mrs. Berry and the wives of the officers 

* Communicated by a friend of Mrs. Berry. 



290 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

who were with her, were busily occupied in preparing 
bandages and wrappings for the use of the army , 
every sheet and article of linen in the house having 
been torn up for that purpose. She was harassed with 
anxiety lest her husband should not return to assume 
his post before the departure of the troops. He did not 
arrive in time ; and she had the mortification of seeing 
another appointed to the command of his men. Some- 
time after they were gone, she heard the welcome 
sound of his horse's feet. He rode up hastily, and 
stopped only long enough to change his wearied horse 
for another. As he galloped down the lane leading 
from the house, he heard his wife's voice calling, " Sid- 
ney, Sidney !" She was leaning from a window, her 
hand stretched towards him, as if eagerly soliciting his 
attention. He turned and rode within hearing ; she 
wished but to give him her parting words. These 
were, " Remember, Sidney, to do your duty ! I would 
rather hear that you were left a corpse on the field, 
than that you had played the part of a coward !" 

Mrs. Wilson, a lady whose name is mentioned else- 
where in this book, has favored me with an account of 
Mrs. Washington's visit to her father's house at Union 
Farm, the last time she came to that part of New 
Jersey. She was escorted by Major Washington and ten 
dragoons. She remained a day and night at the house 
of Colonel Stewart, and spoke much with his daughter 
concerning house-keeping and her domestic affairs 
Her conversation is described as agreeable, and hei 
manners simple, easy, and dignified. Among other par- 



MARTHA WASHINGTO.V. 291 

ticulars, Mrs. Washington mentioned thai she had a 
great deal of domestic cloth made in her house, and 
kept sixteen spinning wheels in constant operation 
She showed Mrs. Wilson two dresses of cotton striped 
with silk, manufactured by her own domestics, and 
worn by herself; one weighing a pound and a half, the 
other rather less. The silk stripes in the fabric were 
made from the ravellings of brown silk stockings, and 
old crimson damask chair-covers. Her coachman, foot- 
man, and waiting-maid, were all habited in domestic 
cloth ; though the coachman's cuffs and collars, being 
scarlet, must have been imported. In the practice of this 
economy and moderation, as in the simplicity of her 
dress, Mrs. Washington appeared desirous of affording 
an example to others in inferior station. As late as 1796, 
Mrs. Wilson, inquiring for pocket handkerchiefs at a 
celebrated fancy store in Philadelphia, was shown some 
pieces of lawn, of which Mrs. Washington had just 
purchased. The information was added, that she paid 
six shillings for handkerchiefs for her own use, but went 
as high as seven shillings for the General's. 

The anniversary of the alliance with France was 
celebrated by an entertainment given in the camp near 
Middlebrook.* On this festive occasion Mrs. Washing- 
ton, Mrs. Greene and Mrs. Knox, and the wives of 
several officers were present ; and a circle of brilliants, 
the least of which, says the gallant journalist, was more 
valuable than the stone which the king of Portugal 
received for his Brazilian possessions. The ladies and 
Remembrancer, Vol. VI. 



292 WOMEN OP THE REVOLUTION. 

gentlemen from a large circuit around the camp, attended 
the celebration. It was opened by a discharge of can- 
non ; and dinnei was prepared in a building used for an 
academy. There was dancing in the evening, and a 
grand display of fire-works. The ball was opened by 
General Washington. As this was a festival given by 
men who had not enriched themselves by the war, the 
illuminations were on a cheap scale, being entirely of 
their own manufacture ; the seats were adorned with no 
armorial blazonry, but were the work of native, and 
rather unskillful artizans. " Instead of knights of differ- 
ent orders, such as pageants like the Mischfeinza could 
boast, there were but hardy soldiers ; happy, however, 
in the consciousness that they had contributed to bring 
about the auspicious event they had met to celebrate." 

Among the lively sallies of the belles of this entertain- 
ment, one is recorded, that caused no inconsiderable 
amusement. A young lady, when asked if the roaring 
of the British lion in his late speech had not somewhat 
depressed the spirit of the dance replied : " No, it should 
rather enliven it; for I have heard that such animals 
always increase their howlings when frightened." 

For Mrs. Washington a heavy cloud of sorrow hung 
over the conclusion of the glorious campaign of 1781. 
Her only child was seized with a fever while attending 
to his duties during the siege of Yorktown. He lived to 
behold the surrender of the British army, and expired in 
the arms of his mother, mourned for by Washington as. 
a son. The Marquis de Chastellux visiling Mount 
Vernon not long after this sad event says : " I had the 



MARTHA WASHIXGTOW. 



293 



pleasure of passing a day or two with Mrs. Washington 
at the General's house in Virginia, where she appeared 
to me one of the best women in the world, and beloved 
by all about her. She has no family by the General, 
but was surrounded by her grandchildren and Mrs. 
Custis, her son's widow. The family were then in 
mourning for Mr. Custis, whose premature death was a 
subject of public and private regret " 

After the close of 1783, General Washington had 
leisure for the superintendence of improvements in the 
building and grounds at Mount Vernon. This old 
mansion was always crowded with visitors. Social and 
rural pleasures winged the hours, and past dangers were 
pleasantly talked over. A letter never before published, 
of Mr. N.Webster, affords a passing glimpse of this period. 

" When I was travelling to the south in the year 1785, 
I called on General Washington at Mount Vernon. At 
dinner the last course of dishes was a species of pan- 
cakes, which were handed round to each guest, accom- 
panied with a bowl of sugar, and another of molasses for 
seasoning them, that each one might suit himself. 
When the dish came to me, I pushed by me the bowl of 
molasses, observing to the gentlemen present that I had 
enough of that in my own country. The General 
burst out with a loud laugh, a thing very unusual with 
him; 'Ah/ said he, 'there is nothing in that storj 
about your eating molasses in New England!' There 
was a gentleman from Maryland at the table, and the 
General immediately told a story, stating that during 
the Revolut'on, a hogshead of molasses was stove in al 



294 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION 

Westchester by the oversetting of a wagon ; a body o' 
Maryland troops being near, the soldiers ran hastily ana 
saved all they could by filling their hats or caps wit! 
molasses. 

" Near the close of the Revolutionary war, I think ir 
1782, I was at West Point, when the birth of a Dauphin 
in France was celebrated by the American troops at 
that place. The troops were arranged in a line along 
the hills on the west of the camp, on the point, and on 
the mountains on the east side of the Hudson. When 
the order was given to fire, there was a stream of firing 

o < ' 

all around the camp, rapidly passing from one end of 
the line to the other ; while the roar of cannon reverbe- 
rated from the hills, resounded among the mountains, and 
thousands of human voices made the atmosphere ring 
with a song prepared for the occasion. 'A Dauphin is 
born !' This was a splendid exhibition, closed with a 
handsome repast under a long arcade or bower formed 
with branches of trees. I have never seen any account 
of this celebration in print." 

While the victorious general was thus merged in 
" the illustrious farmer of Mount Vernon," Mrs. Wash- 
ington performed the duties of a Virginia housewife, 
which in those days were not merely nominal. She 
gave directions, it is said, in every department, so that, 
without bustle or confusion, the most splendid dinner 
appeared as if there had been no effort in the prepara- 
tion. She presided at her abundant table with ease and 
elegance, and was indeed most truly great in her appro- 















MARTHA WASHINGTON. 295 






pnate sphere of home. Much of her time was occupied 










in the care of the children of her lost son. 










The period carr.e when this rural Eden, which had 










bloomed and flourished under their care, was to be ex- 










changed for new scenes. A few years of rest and 










tranquil happiness in the society of friends having 










rewarded the Chief's military toils, he was called by 










ihe voice of the nation to assume the duties of its 










Chief Magistrate. The call was obeyed. The estab- 










lishment of the President and Mrs. Washington was 










formed at the seat of government. The levees had 










more of courtly ceremonial than has been known since ; 










but it was necessary to maintain the dignity of office 










by forms that should inspire respect. Special regard 










was paid to the wives of men who had deserved much 










of their country. Mrs. Robert Morris was accustomed 










to sit at the right of the lady of the President, at the 










drawing-rooms ; and the widows of Greene and Mont- 










gomery were always handed to and from their car- 










riages by the President himself; the secretaries and 










gentlemen of his household performing those services 










for the other ladies. In this elevated station, Mrs 










Washington, unspoiled by distinction, still leaned on 










the kindness of her friends, and cultivated cheerfulness 










as a duty. She was beloved as few are in a superior 










condition. Mrs. Warren says, in reply to one of her 










letters, "Your observation may be true, that many 










younger and gayer ladies consider your situation as 










enviable ; yet I know not one who by general consent 























296 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 






would be more likely to obtain the suffrages of the sex 










even were they to canvass at elections for the elevated 










station, than the lady who now holds the first rank in 










the United States."* 










On the retirement of Washington from public life, he 










prepared to spend the remnant of his days in the retreat 










nis taste had adorned. It was a spectacle of wonder to 










Europeans, to see this great man calmly resigning the 










power which had been committed to his hands, and 










returning with delight to his agricultural pursuits. His 










Vife could justly claim her share in the admiration ; 










for she quitted without regret the elevated scenes in 










which she had shone so conspicuous, to enter with the 










same active interest as before upon her domestic em- 










ployments. Her advanced age did not impair her 










ability or her inclination to the discharge of house- 










wifely duties. But she was not long permitted to enjoy 










the happiness she had anticipated. It was hers too soon 










to join in the grief of a mourning nation for the death 










of Washington. 










Visits of condolence were paid to the bereaved lady 










by the President and others ; and from all quarters came 










tributes of sympathy and sorrow. She continued to 










receive the visitors who came to Mount Vernon, and 










gave the same attention to her domestic concerns. 










But in less than two years after her husband's death, 










she was attacked by a fever that proved fatal. When 










aware that the hour of her dissolution was approaching, 










she called her grandchildren to her bedside ; discoursed 










* Manuscript letter. 











MARTHA WASHINGTON. 297 

to tnem on their respective duties ; spoke of the happy 
influences of religion ; and then, surrounded by her 
weeping family, resigned her life into the hands of her 
Creator, in the seventy-first year of her age. Her 
death took place on the 22d of May, 1802. Her re- 
mains rest in the same vault with those of Washington, 
in the family tomb at Mount Vernon. 

Those who read the record of her worth, dwell with 
interest on the loveliness of her character. To a supe- 
rior mind she joined those amiable qualities and Chris- 
tain virtues which best adorn the female sex, and a 
gentle dignity that inspired respect without creating 
enmity. Her features are familiar to all, from the por- 
traits of her, taken at different ages, published in Sparks' 
Life of Washington, and the National Portrait Gallery 
These have been copied into different publications. 
VOL. n. 2 



XXVI. 



ABIGAIL ADAMS. 

THE Letters of Mrs. Adams are well known to 
American readers. Her history and character have 
been so well unfolded in these and in the memoir by her 
grandson, that an extended sketch of her would be 
superfluous. Only a brief notice, therefore, is here 
required. 

Abigail Smith was descended from the genuine stock 
of the Puritan settlers of Massachusetts. Her father, 
the Reverend William Smith, was for more than forty 
years minister of the Congregational Church at Wey- 
rnouth. The ancestors of her mother, Elizabeth Quincy, 
were persons distinguished in the sacred office, and 
first in honor among the leaders of the church. From 
this ancestry, it may be inferred that her earliest associa- 
tions were among those whose tastes and habits were 
marked by the love of literature. She was the second 
of three daughters, and was born at Weymouth, Nov. 
llth, 1744. Not being sent to any school, on account 
of the delicate state of her health, the knowledge she 
evinced in after life was the result of her reading and 
observation, rather tian of what is commonly Called 



ABIGAIL ADAMS. 



299 



education. The lessons that most deeply impressed her 
mind were received from Mrs. Quincy, her grandmother 
whose beneficial influence she frequently acknowledges 
Her marriage took place, October 25th, 1764. She 
passed quietly the ten years that succeeded, devoting 
herself to domestic life, and the care of her young 
family. In 1775 she was called to pass through scenes 
of great distress, amid the horrors of war and the 
ravages of pestilence. 

She sympathized deeply in the sufferings of those around 
her. " My hand and heart," she says, " still tremble at 
this domestic fury and fierce civil strife. I feel for the 
unhappy wretches, who know not where to fly for 
succor I feel still more for my bleeding countrymen, 
who are hazarding their lives and their limbs !" To the 
agonized hearts of thousands of women went the roar 
of the cannon booming over those hills! Many a 
bosom joined in breathing that prayer " Almighty God ! 
cover the heads of our countrymen, and be a shield to 
our dear friends." 

When the neighborhood was no longer the field 
of military action, she occupied herself with the manage- 
ment of the household and farm. Mr. Adams wa? 
appointed joint commissioner at the court of France, 
and embarked in February, 1778, with his eldest son, 
John Quincy. During the years in which Mrs. 
Adams was deprived of his society, she devoted 
herself to the various duties devolving on her, submit- 
ting with patience to the difficulties of the times 
In all her anxieties, her calm and lofty spirit never 



300 WOMEN OP THE DEVOLUTION. 

deserted her ; nor did she regret the sacrifice of hei 
own feelings for the good of the community. Aftei 
the return of peace, Mr. Adams was appointed the first 
representative of the nation at the Britisn court and 
his wife departed to join him ; moving from this time 
amidst new scenes and new characters, but preserving, 
in the variety and splendor of life in the luxurious cities 
of the old world, the simplicity and singleness of heart 
which had adorned her seclusion at home. In the 
prime of life, with a mind free from prejudice, her 
record of the impressions she received is instructive as 
well as interesting. She resided for a time in France, 
and visited the Netherlands, enjoying all she saw, with 
that delicate perception of beauty which belongs to apoetic 
spirit. When the official duties of Mr. Adams called 
him to the court of St. James, the unaffected republican 
simplicity, and exquisite union of frankness and refine- 
ment in her manners, charmed the proud circles of the 
English aristocracy. As was to be expected, neither 
she nor her husband were exempted from annoyances 
growing out of the late controversy. She writes to 
Mrs. Warren: "Whoever in Europe is known to have 
adopted republican principles must expect to have al 1 
the engines of every court and courtier in the world 
displayed against him.'** 

The aspect of independence she maintained, con- 
sidering what was due to her country, did not tend 
to propitiate the pride of royalty; yet notwithstanding 
the drawbacks that sometimes troubled her, her resi- 

* Unpublished letter 



ABIGAIL ADAMS. 



301 



Jence in London seems to have been an agreeable one 
Her letters to her sisters are a faithfu. transcript of hei 
feelings. She observed with mingled pleasure and pain 
the contrast between the condition of her own country 
and that of the prosperous kingdoms she visited. Writing 
to Mrs. Shaw she says, "When I reflect on the advan- 
tages which the people of America possess over the 
most polished of other nations, the ease with which 
property is obtained, the plenty which is so equally 
distributed, their personal liberty and security of life 
and property, I feel grateful to Heaven who marked out 
my lot in that happy land ; at the same time I deprecate 
that restless spirit, and that baneful ambition and thirst 
for power, which will finally make us as wretched as 
our neighbors."* 

When Mr. Adams, having returned with his family 
to the United States, became Vice President, his wife 
appeared, as in other situations the pure-hearted patriot 
the accomplished woman the worthy partner of his 
cares and honors. He was called to the Presidency, 
and the widest field was opened for the exercise of her 
talents. Her letter written on the day that decided the 
people's choice, shows a sense of the solemn responsi- 
bility he had assumed, with a spirit of reliance upon Divine 
guidance, and forgetfulness of all thoughts of pride in 
higher sentiments honorable to the heart of a Daughter 
of America. Well might the husband thus addressed bear 
the testimony he does in one of his letters, in the midst 
of the perils of war : " A soul as pure, as benevolent, as 

* Unpublished letter, 1787 



302 WOMEN OF THE DEVOLUTION. 

virtuous, and pious as yours, has nothing to fear, but everj 
thing to hope and expect from the last of human evils.' 

In her elevated position, the grace and elegance of 
Mrs. Adams, with her charms of conversation, were 
rendered more attractive by her frank sincerity. Her 
close observation, discrimination of character, and clear 
judgment, gave her an influence which failed not to be 
acknowledged. Her husband ever appreciated her 
worth, arid was sustained in spirit by her buoyant cheer- 
fulness and affectionate sympathy, in the multiplicity of 
his cares and labors. It was hers, too, to disarm the 
demon of party spirit, to calm agitations, heal the 
rankling wounds of pride, and pluck the root of bitter- 
ness away. 

After the retirement of her husband, Mrs. Adams 
continued to take a deep interest in public affairs, and 
communicated to her friends her opinions both of men 
and measures. Writing to Mrs. Warren, March 9th, 
1807, she says : " If we were to count our years by the 
revolutions we have witnessed, we might number them 
with the Antediluvians. So rapid have been the changes 
that the mind, though fleet in its progress, has been out- 
stripped by them, and we are left like statues gazing at 
what we can neither fathom nor comprehend. You 
inquire, what does Mr. Adams think of Napoleon ? If 
you had asked Mrs. Adams, she would have replied to 
you in the words of Pope, 

' If plagues and earthquakes break not heaven's design, 
Why then a Borgia or a Napoline ?' "* 

* Manuscript letter. 



MRS. SMITH. 



303 



Her health was much impaired ; and from this time 
she remained in her rural seclusion at Quincy. With 
faculties unimpaired in old age, her serenity and benign 
cheerfulness continued to the last ; the shadows of a life 
full of changes never deepened into gloom; she was 
still a minister of blessing to all within her influence, 
and in the settled calm of Christian contentment awaited 
the change that was to terminate her connection with 
the things of earth. To this she was summoned on the 
twenty-eighth of October, 1818. 

Her character is a worthy subject of contemplation 
for her countrywomen. With intellectual gifts of the 
highest order she combined sensibility, tact, anu' much 
practical knowledge of life. Thus was she qualified for 
eminent usefulness in her distinguished position as the 
companion of one great statesman, and the guide of 
another. Few may rise to such pre-eminence; but 
many can emulate the firmness that sustained, her in all 
vicissitudes, and can imitate her Christian virtues. 
These are pictured in her Letters, the publication of 
which was the first attempt to give tradition a palpable 
form, by laying open the thoughts and feelings of one 
who had borne an important part in our nation's early 
hi story. 



THE mother of Abigail Adams, it is said, took her 
.ast illness from a soldier who had served in her 
daughter's family, and whom she visited at Braintree, 
he having returned sick from the army. 



304 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

She was the daughter of the Hon. John Quincy, of 
Braintree, and died in 1775, at the age of fifty-three. 
Without the least tincture of what is called pride of 
family, she possessed a true dignity of character, with 
great kindness of heart ; and her efforts to relieve those in 
need extended to all objects of distress within her reach. 
Prudent and industrious in her own domestic manage- 
ment, she was attentive to provide employment for her 
poor neighbors ; and was mild, frank and friendly in her 
intercourse with the parishioners, who regarded her 
with unbounded esteem and affection. 

Another of her three celebrated daughters Elizabeth 
was remarkable in character and influence. She was 
born in 1750, and married the Rev. John Shaw of 
Haverhill. Her second husband was the Rev. Stephen 
Peabody, of Atkinson. Like her sister, she possessed 
superior powers of conversation, with a fine person, and 
polished and courtly manners. Her reading was 
extensive, and when speaking to youthful listeners on 
some improving topic, she would frequently recite 
passages from Shakspeare, Dryden, and the other 
English poets. Attentive to her domestic duties, and 
economical from Christian principle, to purity of heart 
and highly cultivated intellectual powers she united the 
most winning feminine grace. Her house at Haverhill 
was the centre of an elegant little circle of society for 
many years after the Revolution, and resorted to by the 
most cultivated residents of Boston and its vicinity. In 
Atkinson her gentle and friendly deportment won the 
lasting regard of the parishioners. She loved to instruct 



MRS SMITH MRS. SHAW. 



305 



the ignorant, feed the poor, and comfort the afflicted ; 
and the young were particularly the objects of her 
solicitude. Thus dispensing light and joy wherever she 
moved, she passed a useful, and therefore a happy life, 
which terminated at the age of sixty-six. 

Mrs. Peabody formed an early and enduring friend- 
ship with Mrs. Warren, for whose character and intel- 
lect her letters express the highest respect. Her corres- 
pondence contains frequent remarks upon the pros- 
pects of the country, and the movements of the army. 
" Lost to virtue," she says to John Adams " lost to 
humanity must that person be, who can view without 
emotion the complicated distress of this injured land. 
Evil tidings molest our habitations, and wound oui 
peace. Oh, my brother ! oppression is enough to make 
a wise people mad." 

On her road to Plymouth to visit Mrs. Warren, he) 
MS. journal mentions that she stopped at the house ol 
Dr. Hall, where she dined on salt bacon and eggs 
Three of the daughters were grown, and appeareo 
sensible as well as pretty. " But," she says, "in ordet 
to discover whether their sensibility reached further 
than their faces, I sat down after dinner, while they 
were quilting a very nice homespun bedquilt, and read 
in a book I had brought with me several detached 
pieces "Virtue and Constancy rewarded," "Zulima 
the Coquette, etc." This little memorandum throws iigli 
not only on the writer's character, but the manners 
of the time The result appeared satisfactory ; the 
2* 



306 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

young ladies being so well pleased with the reading that 
they begged their visitor to continue it. 

The eldest daughter, Mary, was married in 1762, to 
Richard Cranch, afterwards Judge of the Court of 
Common Pleas in Massachusetts. In 1775, the family 
removed from Boston to Quincy, then a part of Brain- 
tree, where they continued to reside till 1811. In 
October of that year both Mr. and Mrs. Cranch died, 
and were buried on the same day. The life of Mrs. 
Cranch was spent in deeds of charity and kindness 
She was remarkable for her cheerfulness and fortitude, 
with earnestness in the discharge of her Christian 
duties. The Hon. Judge William Cranch, of Washing- 
ton, is her son. 



IN those portions of the country which were, at dif- 
ferent periods, the scene of military operations, the 
energy, heroism, and magnanimity of woman were 
called by necessity into continual exercise. But there 
were other women whose more homely heroism was 
not without its effect; whose unacknowledged influ- 
ence extended widely into the future. Their sphere of 
action limited to the bosom of their own families, the 
influence wrought quietly and unmarked, yet sent forth 
an impulse and an energy, like the life-blood propelled 
from the heart, through our whole national system. 
The mothers, who through years of adverse fortune 
were true to American principles, and who kept them, 
pure in their homes in the season of prosperity, although 



ELIZABETH CLAY. 30? 

no brilliant acts illustrate their simple history, rendered 
real service to the country. Their duties during the 
war, or after the return of peace, were fulfilled in a 
spirit of self-sacrifice, without the wish or expectation 
of reward. The noblest reward, however, was theirs 
the sons in whose minds they had nursed the germs of 
patriotism and virtue, rose up to call them blessed. 

Our country offers abundant examples of men who 
have attained the highest eminence, ascribing all to 
early maternal influence and training For the mother 
of HENRY CLAY, that great man the pride and honor 
of his country has ever expressed feelings of profound 
affection and veneration. Though her life afforded no 
incidents of striking or romantic interest, she was what 
expresses the perfection of female character an excel- 
lent mother. She was the youngest of two daughters, 
who were the only children of George and Elizabeth 
Hudson. Her name also was Elizabeth. She was 
born in the county of Hanover, in Virginia, in 1750. 
Her early education was such as was attainable at that 
period in the colony. In her fifteenth year she was 
married to John Clay, a preacher of the Baptist denomi- 
nation, and became the mother of eight children. Mr. 
Clay died during the war of the Revolution. Some years 
afterwards, Mrs. Clay contracted a second marriage with 
Mr. Henry Watkins ; and in course of time eight chil- 
dren more were added to her family. The cares devolv- 
ing upon her, in the charge of so many children, and 
the superintendence of domestic concerns, of course 
occupied her time to the exclusion of participation in 



308 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

matters }f public interest. She must, however ; have 
borne her share in the agitations and dangers of the 
time, in behalf of those who claimed her maternal so- 
licitude and guidance. 

Her son, Henry, was separated from her when only 
thirteen years of age, having before that period been oc- 
casionally absent from home for months in going to school. 
In 1792, his step-father removed, with his mother and 
family, from Hanover County to Woodford County in 
Kentucky, leaving him at Richmond, in Virginia. He 
did not again see his mother till the fall of 1797, when 
he himself emigrated to Kentucky. His estimable and 
beloved parent died in 1827, having survived most of hei 
children, of whom there are now but four remaining 
two by her first, and two by her last marriage. 

She was from her youth a member of the Baptist 
Church, and eminent in piety. Her distinguishing 
traits of character were energy and industry ; and she 
was most faithful in the performance of all her domestic 
duties. 



XXVII. 



MARTHA WILSON. 

ONE of the representatives of those times, in which 
America must ever feel pride, is yet living at the Lake- 
lands, Lake of Otsego, near Cooperstown, New York. 
She not only retains an accurate and vivid recollection 
of scenes in the stormy and fearful infancy of the 
nation on whose vigorous manhood she is permitted to 
look, but has kept pace in intellectual cultivation, with 
the advancement of modern days. The grasp of mind 
that apprehends and appreciates the progress of her 
country's prosperity and power, gives a deeper interest 
to her thrilling recital of incidents belonging to its 
struggle for life. I am particularly favored in having 
received from her various anecdotes of persons with 
whom she was intimately acquainted at that period, her 
reminiscences of whom would form a most valuable 
contribution to the domestic history of the Revolu 
tion. 

The subject of this brief sketch is a daughter of the 
'ate Colonel Charles Stewart of New Jersey. She was 
oorn December 20th, 1758, at Sidney, the residence of 
her maternal grandfather, Judge Johnston, in the town- 



310 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 



ship of Kingwood, and county of Hunterdon, in that 
State. This old mansion was at that time one of the 
most stately and aristocratic of the colonial residences 
in this section of West Jersey. Constructed while the 
border settlements of the province were still subject t( 
treacherous visits from the Indian, its square and mas- 
sive walls and heavy portals had reference as well to 
protection and defence as to " the pride of life ;" and 
for many years, in its earlier days, it was not only the 
stronghold of the wealthy proprietor, his family and 
dependants, but the refuge in alarm, for miles around, to 
the settlers whose humbler abodes were more assailable 
by the rifle and firebrand of the red man.* " The big 
stone house," as it was designated in the common par- 
lance of the people, was thus long a place of note as a 
refuge from danger ; and not less, in later times, as one 
for a redress of wrongs, and tfie punishment of crime ; 
Judge Johnston having been, for more than thirty years 
previous to the Revolution, the chief magistrate of that 
section of the colony, holding a court regularly, on 
Monday of every week, in one of the halls of his dwell- 
ing. 

It stood in that region of undulating hill country, 
between the high mountains of North and the flat 
sands of South Jersey, of the beauty of which those 
who fly across the State by railroad at the present day 
can form no conception : where blue hills and tufted 
woodlands, winding streams and verdant valleys, often 
present to the eye in their varied forms and combi 
nations, a perfection of picturesque and rural beauty 



MARTHA WILSON. 



311 



which, while it seldom fails to attract the admiration of 
the passing traveller, fastens upon the heart of the resi 
dent with an enduring charm. Finely situated on an 
elevated terrace, at the confluence of the Capulong and 
a branch of the Raritan, overhung by extensive and 
park-like woods, with encircling waters and clusters of 
grove-covered islets behind, and wide-spread valleys in 
front, it was regarded in olden times as one of the 
choicest residences in the State. As the birthplace 
and home in childhood of the subject of this record, it 
has attractions of association and memory which cause 
her affections to revert warmly to it after a pilgrimage, 
amid other scenes, of well nigh a century. 

The old house was accidentally burned down some 
fifty years ago, and a new, though less imposing, dwell- 
ing erected on the same site, by a branch of the Coxe 
family. This, in its turn, became the resort, for many 
years, of a circle greatly distinguished for beauty, wit, 
and cultivated talent ; but now, for a long time, vicis- 
situdes of fortune, neglect, desertion, and decay, have 
accomplished in it their accustomed work ; and stripped 
of its embellishments of taste, despoiled of much of its 
fine woods, and its majestic single trees, it presents lit- 
tle indication of its former fortunes, and is fallen in its 
uses to the purposes of a common farm. 

Previous to the Revolution, Colonel Stewart resided 
chiefly at Landsdown, a beautiful property in King- 
wood, immediately adjoining the estate of his father-in-. 
law at Sidney. It was here that the later years of the 
childhood of his daughter were spent ; and here, at the 



bl2 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

early age of thirteen, she was bereaved of her mother 
a woman of strong and polished intellect, of a refined 
arid poetical taste, and said to have been the best read 
female in the province. Till within a short time of 
Mrs. Stewart's death, the education of her daughter 
had been exclusively at home. She had been but a 
brief period at a boarding-school, when summoned to 
the dying bed of the mother ; and it is no slight proof 
of the mental attainments and maturity of character 
which she already possessed, that her father, in his be- 
reavement, found her society too necessary to his hap. 
piness, and the maternal care which she was called to 
exercise over her sisters and brothers of a more tender 
age, too essential to their welfare, to permit her again to 
resume her place at school. It is chiefly, therefore, to 
the self-cultivation of an inquiring and philosophic 
mind, and to association at home and in society, with 
the intelligent and the wise, that are to be ascribed the 
rich stores of general information and wide-spread 
practical knowledge, for which, from early womanhood 
to the passing day, she has been so highly distinguished, 
and so justly and extensively honored. 

The hospitality of Colonel Stewart was unbounded. 
His friend Chief Justice Smith of New Jersey hasj 
expressed this trait of character in the epitaph ' upon 
his tomb " The friend and the stranger were almost 
compelled to come in." His house was the resort of 
the choice spirits in intellect and public influence, of the 
times ; and it was at his table and fireside that his 
daughter, called at the early age \ v e have mentioned 



MARTHA WILSON. 



313 



to the responsible position of female head cf his family, 
from 1771 to 1776, imbibed even in childhood from 
him and his compeers the principles of patriotism and 
the love of freedom which entitle her name and char 
acter to a prominent place among the Women of the 
Revolution. Colonel Stewart himself had been trained 
from infancy in the spirit of 1688. His grandfather, 
Charles Stewart, of Gortlee, a cadet of the Stewarts of 
Garlies, was an officer of dragoons in the army of 
William III., and acquitted himself gallantly, at the side 
of his monarch, in the battle of the Boyne. The 
demesne which he afterwards possessed, in the north of 
Ireland, was the reward of his valor; but, in transmitting 
to his son and his son's son the untrammelled spirit of 
a Scotch Puritan, who had periled his life in the cause 
of civil and religious liberty, he conferred upon them 
a better and more enduring heritage. 

It was the proud and honorable independence of the 
same indomitable principles, that led his descendant in 
early youth, ere he had fully attained his majority, to 
self exile in the new world. Energy of character and 
enlarged enterprise soon secured to him here both 
private fortune and public influence ; and the first 
breath of the spirit of " '76" which passed over the land, 
kindled within his bosom a flame of zeal for the freedom 
and honor of his adopted country, which no discourage- 
ment could dampen, and which neither toil, rx>r danger, 
nor disaster could extinguish. 

His daughte t r well recollects having been told by him, 
on his return from the first general meeting of the 



314 

patriots of New Jersey for a declaration of rights, an 
incident relating to himself, highly characteristic of the 
times. Many of the most distinguished royalists were 
his personal and intimate friends ; and when it became 
evident that a crisis in public feeling was about to occur, 
when disregarded remonstrance would be converted 
into open resistance, great efforts were made by some 
of those holding office under the crown, to win him 
to their side. Tempting promises of ministerial favor 
and advancement were made to induce him at least to 
withhold his influence from the cause of the people, 
even if he would not take part in support of the king ; 
and this with increased importunity till the very opening 
of the meeting. But when it was seen to have been 
in vain when he immediately rose and was one of the 
first, if not the very first, with the Stocktons, the Pat- 
tersons, and the Frelinghuysens of the day, in the spirit, at 
least, of the Declaration of 1776, boldly to pledge his 
" life, his fortune, and his sacred honor" in defence of 
the rights of freemen against the aggressions- of the 
throne the Attorney General, approaching and extend- 
ing his hand, said to him, in saddened tones, as if fore- 
telling a speedy doom " Farewell, my friend Charles ! 
when the halter is about your neck, send for me ! I'll do 
what I can to save you !" 

It was thus that the familiar confidence of the patriot 
father cherished and strengthened, in the bosom of his 
daughter, sympathies and principles corresponding with 
his own ; while io the accelerated movements of the 



I MARTHA' WILSON. 315 

Revolution, he successively and rapidiy became a 
member of the first Provincial Congress of New Jersey, 
Colonel of the First Regiment of minute-men of that 
State ; Colonel of the Second Regiment of the line 
and eventually, one of the staff of Washington, as 
Commissary General of Issues, by Commission of the 
Congress of 1776. 

In January of this year, Miss Stewart, at the age of 
seventeen, gave her hand in marriage to Robert Wilson, 
a young Irishman of the Barony of Innishowen, who, 
after being educated and trained for mercantile life in 
one of the first houses of his native land, had emigrated 
to America a few years before, and amassed a consider- 
able fortune. In her husband she made choice of one 
not less congenial in political sentiments and feeling 
than in intellectual culture and in winning manners. 
The first intelligence of the battle of Lexington had 
fired his warm blood into immediate personal action in 
the cause ; and he was one of the volunteers who, with 
his friend Colonel Reed, accompanied General Wash- 
ington from Philadelphia to the camp at Cambridge. 
A brief journal kept by him at this time shows that for 
six months he was at head-quarters, as muster-master- 
general, honored by the confidence of the Commander- 
in-chief, and often a guest at his table. He shared laigely 
in the exposures of the camp, and distinguished himself 
for daring intrepidity, in two or three instances, in the 
skirmishes and cannonading which occurred at times 
between the forces. But his health failing, he was obliged 



316 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

to forego the prospect of a military appointment pledged 
to him; and resigning his position sought the rnildei 
climate of the Jerseys. 

Among the officers in the British army were several 
near relatives of Mr. Wilson ; and it is a fact illustrative 
of the times, that a young cousin-german, who not long 
before the commencement of hostilities had visited 
the family of their common friend and relative, Colonel 
Stewart, at Kingwood, was now at Boston, in the gallant 
discharge of his duty in the enemy's ranks. He was 
afterwards wounded, at the battle of Germantown, and 
visited by Colonel Stewart under a flag of truce. 

It was on his return to Jersey that Mr. Wilson's 
marriage took place. Shortly afterwards, he, with his 
bride, became a resident of Hackettstown, near which 
he possessed a valuable property. During the year 1777, 
he was again in public service, as Assistant Commis- 
sary General of Purchases ; but, finding the duties of the 
station too arduous for his health, he resigned his appoint- 
ment and entered into mercantile pursuits in Philadel- 
phia. In these he was very extensively and successfully 
engaged greatly honored and beloved till his death, in 
1779. at the early age of twenty-eight. His wife had 
accompanied him to Philadelphia, and was established 
in much elegance there ; but on her widowhood thus 
in her twentieth year, she returned to her residence at 
Hackettstown where she remained till near the close of 
the war. 

During the whole Revolution, the situation of Mrs 
Wilson was as favorable, if not more so. for observatior 



MARTHA WILSON. 317 

and a know.edge of important movements and events, 
than that of any other lady in her native State. Her 
father, at the head of an important department, in the 
staff of the Commander-in-chief, became generally, and 
almost from necessity, familiarly acquainted with the 
principal officers of the army ; and head-quarters being 
most of the time within twenty or thirty miles of her 
residence, she not only had constant intercourse in 
person and by letter with him, but frequently ana 
repeatedly entertained at her house many of his military 
friends. Among these, with numerous others of less 
distinction, were Washington, La Fayette, Hamilton, 
Wayne, Greene, Gates, Maxwell, Lincoln, Henry Lee, 
.Stevens, Walter Stewart, Ethan Allen, Pulaski, Butler, 
Morgan, Sinclair, Woodward, Varnum, Paul Jones, 
Cochrane, Craik, &c. 

With General Washington she was on terms oi 
friendship. She first met him in Philadelphia, in 1775, 
when he was preparing to join the army at Cambridge 
He afterwards visited her at different times at her 
residence- in Hackettstown ; on the last occasion a year 
after her husband's death, and a short time after the 
execution of Major Andre. His approach, with Mrs. 
Washington and his staff, under the escort of a troop oi 
horse, was privately announced to Mrs. Wilson in time 
to have dinner in readiness for a party of thirty oi fort} 
persons. To one whose patriotism was so decided, ii 
must have been a pleasure indeed, thus to welcome tc 
her roof and table the leading spirits of the land. The 
party did not leave till after luncheon on the second day , 



318 



WOME1\ 01 THE REVOLUTION 



and knowing that they could not reach their destination 
till late at night, ample provision was made from hei 
larder and wine cellar, to furnish all needed refreshment 
by the way. 

Before these distinguished guests took their departure, 
a large concourse of people from the adjacent country 
and the towns in the vicinity had crowded round the 
house to catch a glimpse of the idolized Chief. A few 
members of the legislature and the prominent gentle- 
men of the neighborhood were admitted and formally 
introduced. Among these was Dr. Kennedy, the family 
physician, whose salutation, as Mrs. Wilson well recol- 
lects, was : " I am happy indeed to meet the rnan whom 
under God, I deem the saviour of our country." As it 
was impossible for the multitude to obtain entrance, a 
little stratagem was devised by one of the gentlemen, by 
which those without could begratified without subjecting 
the General to the annoyance of a mere exhibition of 
himself. Knowing his admiration of a fine horse, ho 
ordered an animal remarkable for its beauty to be 
brought into the street, and then invited him out to 
inspect it. Thus an opportunity was afforded to the 
whole assemblage to gaze upon and salute him with 
their cheers. 

Mrs. Wilson relates the following anecdote in rcoimec- 
tion with another of the visits of Washington to her : 

One Mrs. Crafts, a native of Germany, who had 
emigrated and settled in New Jersey, through the 
industry of herself and husband had become the owne: 



MARTHA WILSON. 319 

of a fine farm near Hackettstown, and \\ as in comfor 
table and easy circumstances. She was an excellent 
neighbor ; and though an araeut tory, was universally 
respected for her many kind and good qualities. On the 
morning of General Washington's departure, as on the 
visit, before described, Mrs. Wilson's house was surround- 
ed by a throng of persons eager to obtain a glance at 
him. In this state of things, Mrs. Crafts, tory as she 
was, repaired to the spot and sent a message to Mrs. 
Wilson in her parlor, requesting from her the privilege 
of seeing the General. A reply was sent, saying that 
General Washington was at the time surrounded by a 
crowd of officers ; but if Mrs. Crafts would station her- 
self in the hall till he passed through, her desire would 
be gratified. She accordingly took her post there, and 
patiently waited his appearance. When, at length, she 
obtained a full view of his majestic form and noble 
countenance, raising both hands, she burst into tears, 
uttering in her native tongue an exclamation expressive 
of intense astonishment and emotion ! Mrs. Crafts 
never afterwards ranked her^eil on the tory side. " The 
august and commanding presence of the father of his 
country," as Mrs. Wilson remarks, ''having alone 
inspired her with such profound veneration for the man 
as to produce an abiding respect for the cause of which 
he was leader." 

Mrs. Washington was several times the guest of Mrs 
Wilson, both at her own house and hat of her father 
These visits were made whe-'i on hei way to the camp. 



320 WOMEN OP THE REVOLUTION. 

Col. Stewart's house " Union Farm " in Lebanon was 
robbed by a company of bandit Tories in June, 1783. 
By daybreak, however, some three hundred were in pur- 
suit of the plunderers. Some of them were taken on 
suspicion, but could not be fully identified on account 
of the paint and disguises they had worn. The ring- 
leaders, Caleb and Isaac Sweezey, and one Horton, all 
Tories of the neighborhood, made their escape to New 
York, and though known, were not heard of till after 
the evacuation of the city by the British, when it was 
ascertained that they had purchased a vessel with the 
proceeds of this robbery, and sailed for Nova Scotia. 

Till the death of Colonel Stewart, in 1800, Mrs. 
Wilson continued at the head of his family the wise, 
benevolent, energetic and universally admired manager 
of a house proverbial in her native State, and exten- 
sively out of it, for generous and never changing hospi- 
tality. Among the many guests entertained at the 
Union, General Maxwell was a constant visitor. Mrs. 
Wilson expresses her regret that justice has not yet 
been done, in a full biography, to this valued friend. 
" As a soldier and patriot," is her testimony, " he had 
few superiors ; and in integrity, strength of mind, and 
kindness of heart but few equals." She saw him first 
in 1775, at a review of his regiment, the second raised 
in New Jersey, Lord Stirling being the commander of 
the first. Her father was intimately acquainted with 
him ; he was ever a welcome guest, and after the war, 
spent much of his time at their fireside.* 

It is unquestionably true that injustice has been done to this 



MARTHA WILSON. 321 

For a period of near fifteen years after the death of 
Colonel Stewart, much of the time of his daughter 
became necessarily devoted, as his sole administratrix, 
to the settlement of a large and widely scattered landed 
estate, including the disputed proprietorship of a portion 
of the valley of Wyoming, which the business habits and 
energy of her father had scarce disenthralled at his death 
from the effects of unavoidable neglect and inattention 
during the discharge of his official duties in the Revolu- 
tion. The strength of mind, clearness of judgment, 
practical knowledge, and firmness of purpose and charac- 
ter shown by Mrs. Wilson, secured her universal respect. 

officer his merits and services never having been properly repre- 
sented before the public. In early life he was an officer in the Colo- 
nial service ; fought on the field of the Monongahela and in other 
battles; and continuing in the army after the commencement of the 
Revolutionary war, was one of the most prominent patriots in New 
Jersey. He was at the storming of Quebec, and distinguished himself 
in the battles of Brandywine, Germantown, Monmouth, &c., &c. In 
numerous letters and journals of the day, testimony is borne to his 
high character and services. Less than two years before the close of 
the war, he resigned his commission in displeasure at the appoint- 
ment over him of an inferior officer. His death took place, probably 
in 1796, at the house of Colonel Stewart. He had escorted the young 
ladies on a visit, from which the whole party had returned early in 
the evening in fine spirits. The Colonel and the General had sat down 
to their usual evening amusement of backgammon, when Maxwell was 
suddenly taken ill. Supposing it to be a headache, which he had 
never experienced before, he rose to retire to his room. But the 
attack was fatal, and he expired about one o'clock the same night. 
Expresses were sent for his brothers, one of whom was an officer in 
the Revolution ; but they did not arrive until some hours after his 
death. His remains rest in the Presbyterian church-yard, at Green- 
wich, Warren County, New Jersey. 



XXVIII. 



REBECCA MOTTE. 

FORT MOTTE, the scene of the occurrence whioh sc 
strikingly displayed the patriotism of one of South Caro- 
lina's daughters, stood on the south side of the Cona;aree 

O ' O 

river. The height commands a beautiful view, several 
miles in extent, of sloping fields, sprinkled with young 
pines, and green with broom grass or the corn or cotton 
crops; of sheltered valleys and wooded hills, with the 
dark pine ridge defined against the sky. The steep 
overlooks the swamp land through which the river 
flows ; and that may be seen to a great distance, winding, 
like a bright thread, between the sombre forests. 

After the abandonment of Camden to the Americans. 
Lord Rawdon, anxious to maintain his posts, directed 
his first effort to relieve Fort Motte, at the time invested 
by Marion and Lee.* This fort, which commanded 
the river, was the principal depot of the convoys from 
Charleston to Camden and the upper districts. It was 
occupied by a garrison under the command of Captain 
M'Pherson, of one hundred and sixty-five men, having 
been increased by a small detachment of dragoons from 

* Ramsay's History of South Carolina: Moultrie's Memoirs : Lee' 
Memoirs of the War in the Southern Department, &.c. 



REBECCA MOTTE. 323 

Charleston, a few hours before the appearance of the 
Americans. The large new mansion-house belonging 
to Mrs. Motte, which had been selected for the estab- 
lishment of the post, was surrounded by a deep trench, 
along the interior margin of which was raised a strong 
and lofty parapet. Opposite, and northward, upon 
another hill, was an old farm-house, to which Mrs. 
Motte had removed when dismissed from her mansion. 
On this height Lieutenant Colonel Lee had taken posi- 
tion with his force ; while Marion occupied the eastern 
declivity of the ridge on which the fort stood ; the 
valley running between the two hills permitting the 
Americans to approach it within four hundred yards. 

M'Pherson was unprovided with artillery, but hoped 
o be relieved by the arrival of Lord Rawdon to dis- 
lodge the assailants before they could push their pre- 
oarations to maturity. He therefore replied to the 
summons to surrender which came on the 20th May, 
about a year after the victorious British had taken 
possession of Charleston that he should hold out to the 
last moment in his power. 

The besiegers had carried on their approaches rapidly, 
by relays of working parties ; and aware of the advance 
of Rawdon with all his force, had every motive for 
perseverance. In the night a courier arrived from 
General Greene, to advise them of Rawdon's retreat 
from Camden, and urge redoubled activity ; and Marion 
persevered through the hours of darkness in pressing 
the completion of their works. The following night 
Lord Rawdon encamped on the highest ground in the 



324 WOMEN OF THE RKVOLUTION. 

country opposite Fort Motte ; and the despairing gam 
son saw with joy the illumination of his fires; while 
the Americans were convinced that no time was to be lost 

The large house in the centre of the encircling trench, 
left but a few yards of ground within the British works 
uncovered ; burning the mansion, therefore, must com- 
pel the surrender of the garrison. This expedient was 
reluctantly resolved upon by Marion and Lee, who, 
unwilling under any circumstances to destroy private 
property, felt the duty to be much more painful in the 
present case. It was the summer residence of the 
owner, whose deceased husband had been a firm friend 
to his country, and whose daughter (Mrs. Pinckney) 
was the wife of a gallant officer, then a prisoner in the 
hands of the British. Lee had made Mrs. Motte's 
dwelling his quarters, at her pressing invitation, and 
with his officers had shared her liberal hospitality. Not 
satisfied with polite attention to the officers, while they 
were entertained at her luxurious table, she hnd attended 
with active benevolence to the sick and wounded, 
soothed the infirm with kind sympathy, and animated 
the desponding to hope. It was thus not without deep 
regret that the commanders determined on the sacrifice, 
and the Lieutenant Colonel found himself compelled to 
inform Mrs. Motte of the unavoidable necessity of the 
destruction of her property. 

The smile with which the communication was re- 
ceived, gave instant relief to the embarrassed officer. 
Mrs. Motte not only assented, but declared that she 
was " gratified with the opportunity of contributing to 



REilECCA MOTTE. 325 

the good of her country, and should view the ap 
preaching scene with delight." Shortly after, seeing 
by accident the bow and arrows which had been pre- 
pared to carry combustible matter, she sent for Lee, 
and presenting him with a bow and its apparatus, which 
had been imported from India, requested his substi- 
tution of them, as better adapted for the object than 
those provided. 

Every thing was now prepared for the concluding 
scene. The lines were manned, and an additional force 
stationed at the battery, to meet a desperate assault, if 
such should be made. The American entrenchments 
being within arrow shot, M'Pherson was once more 
summoned, and again more confidently for help was 
at hand asserted his determination to resist to the 
tast. 

The scorching rays of the noon day sun had prepared 
the shingle roof for the conflagration. The return of 
the flag was immediately followed by the shooting of the 
arrows, to which balls of blazing rosin and brimstone 
were attached. Simms tells us the bow was put into 
the hands of Nathan Savage, a private in Marion's 
brigade. The first struck, and set fire; also the second 
and third, in different quarters of the roof. M'Phersoa 
immediately ordered men to repair to the loft of the 
house, and check the flames by knocking off the shingles; 
but they were soon driven down by the fire of the six 
pounder ; and no other effort to stop the burning being 
practicable, the commandant hung out the white 
and surrendered the garrison at discretion. 



326 



WOMEN OF THK REVOLUTION. 



If ever a situation in real life afforded a fit subject for 
poetry, by filling the mind with a sense of moral gran- 
deur it was that of Mrs. Motte contemplating the 
spectacle of her home in flames, and rejoicing in the 
triumph secured to her countrymen the benefit to her 
native land, by her surrender of her own interest to the 
public service. I have stood upon the spot, and felt 
that it was indeed classic ground, and consecrated by 
memories which should thrill the heart of every Ameri- 
can. But the beauty of such memories would be marred 
by the le#st attempt at ornament ; and the simple narra- 
tive of that memorable occurrence has more effect to 
stir the feelings than could a tale artistically framed and 
plowing with the richest hues of imagination. 

After the captors had taken possession, M'Pherson 
and his officers accompanied them to Mrs. Motte's 
dwelling, where they sat down together to a sumptuous 
dinner. Again, in the softened picture, our heroine is 
the principal figure. She showed herself prepared, not 
only to give up her splendid mansion to ensure victory 
t*> the American arms, but to do her part towards sooth- 
ing the agitation of the conflict just ended. Her digni- 
fied, courteous, and affable deportment adorned the 
hospitality of her table ; she did the honors with that 
unaffected politeness which wins esteem as well as 
admiration; and by her conversation, marked with ease : 
vivacity and good sense, and the engaging kindness of 
her manners, endeavored to obliterate the recollection 
of the loss she had been called upon to sustain, and at 



REBECCA MOTTE. 



327 



the same time to remove from the minds of the prisoners 
the sense of their misfortune. 

To the effect of this grace and gentle kindness, is 
doubtless due much of the generosity exercised by the 
victors towards those who, according to strict rule, had 
no right to expect mercy. While at the table, " it was 
whispered in Marion's ear that Colonel Lee's men were 
even then engaged in hanging certain of the tory 
prisoners. Marion instantly hurried from the table, 
seized his sword, and running with all haste, reached 
the place of execution in time to rescue one poor wretch 
from the gallows. Two were already beyond rescue or 
recovery. With drawn sword, and a degree of indig- 
nation in his countenance that spoke more than words, 
Marion threatened to kill the first man that made any 
further attempt in such diabolical proceedings."* 

Other incidents in the life of Mrs. Motte, illustrate 
the same rare energy and firmness of character she 
evinced on this occasion, with the same disinterested 
devotion to the American cause. When an attack upon 
Charleston was apprehended, and every man able to 
render service was summoned to aid in throwing up 
intrenchments for the defence of the city, Mrs. Motte, 
who had lost her husband at an early period of the war, 
and had no son to perform his duty to the country > 
despatched a messenger to her plantation, and ordered 
down to Charleston every male slave capable of work. 
Providing each, at her own expense, with proper imple- 
ments, and a soldier's rations, she placed them at thr 

Simms' life of Marion, n 239 

VOL. n. 4 



328 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 



disposal of the officer in command. The value of this 
unexpected aid was enhanced by the spirit which 
prompted the patriotic offer. 

At different times it was her lot to encounter the pre- 
sence of the enemy. Surprised by the British at one 
of her country residences on the San tee, her son-in-law, 
General Pinckney, who happened to be with her at the 
time, barely escaped capture by taking refuge in the 
swamps. It was to avoid such annoyances that she 
removed to " Buckhead," afterwards called Fort Motte, 
the neighborhood of which in time became the scene ol 
active operations. 

When the British took possession of Charleston, the 
house in which she resided still one of the finest in the 
city was selected as the head-quarters of Colonels 
Tarleton and Balfour. From this abode she determined 
not to be driven ; and presided daily at the head of her 
own table, with a company of thirty British officers. 
The duties forced upon her were discharged with dig- 
nity and grace, while she always replied with becoming 
spirit to the discourteous taunts frequently uttered in 
her presence, against her " rebel countrymen." In 
many scenes of danger and disaster was her fortitude 
put to the test ; yet through all, this noble-spirited 
woman regarded not her own advantage, hesitating at 
no sacrifice of her convenience or interest, tc promote 
the general good. 

One portion of her history ill ustrating her singular 
energy, resolution, and strength of principle should 



REBECO MOTTE. '329 

be recoided. During the struggle, her husband had 
become deeply involved by securities undertaken for his 
friends. The distracted state of the country the pur- 
suits of business being for a long time suspended, 
plunged many into embarrassment ; and after the ter- 
mination of the war, it was found impossible to satisfy 
these claims. The widow, however, considered the 
honor of her deceased husband involved in the respon- 
sibilities he had assumed. She determined to devote 
the remainder of her life to the honorable task of paying 
the debts. Her friends and connections, whose acquain- 
tance with her affairs gave weight to their judgment, 
warned her of the apparent hopelessness of such an 
effort. But, steadfast in the principles that governed all 
her conduct, she persevered ; induced a friend to pur- 
chase for her, on credit, a valuable body of rice-land, 
then an uncleared swamp on the Santee built houses 
for the negroes, who constituted nearly all her available 
property even that being encumbered with claims 
and took up her own abode on the new plantation. 
Living in an humble dwelling and relinquishing many 
of her habitual comforts she devoted herself with such 
zeal, untiring industry, and indomitable resolution to the 
attainment of her object, that her success triumphed 
over every difficulty, and exceeded the expectations of 
all who had discouraged her. She not only paid her 
husband's debts to the full, but secured for her children 
and descendants a handsome and unincumbered estate 
Such an example of perseverance under adverse cir 



330 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION 



cumstances, for the accomplishment of a high and noble 
purpose, exhibits in yet brighter colors the heroism that 
shone in her country's days of peril ! 

In the retirement of Mrs. Motte's life after the war, 
her virtues and usefulness were best appreciated by 
those who knew her intimately, or lived in her ' house. 
By them her society and conversation were felt to be a 
valued privilege. She was accustomed to amuse and 
'nstruct her domestic circle with various interesting 
anecdotes of persons and events ; the recollection of 
which, however, at this distant period, is too vague to 
be relied on for a record. The few particulars here 
mentioned were received from her descendants. 

She was the daughter of Robert Brewton, an English 
gentleman, who emigrated to South Carolina, and set- 
tled in Charleston before the war. Her mother was a 
native of Ireland, and married Mr. Brewton after her 
removal to this country, leaving at her death three 
children Miles, Frances, and Rebecca. Miles Brew- 
ton took part with the first abettors of resistance to 
British oppression ; and their consultations were held 
at his house in Charleston. Early in the war he was 
drowned on his way to England with his family, whom 
he intended to leave there, while he should return to 
take part with the patriots. 

Rebecca Brewton was born on the 28th June, 1738.* 
She married Jacob Mottef in 1758, and was the 
* The dates are taken from the family Bible, recorded in Mrs 
Motte ; s own hand-writing. 

} A celebrated writer informs rr.e that the name is French, and 
was originally spellei/ Mothe. 



MRS. BREWTON. 331 

mother of six children, only three of whom lived to 
maturity. General Thomas Pinckney married in suc- 
cession the two elder daughters.* The third surviving 
daughter was married to the late Colonel William 
Alston, of Charleston. By the children of these, whose 
families are among the most distinguished in the State, 
the memory of their ancestor is cherished with pride 
and affection. Her fame is, indeed, a rich inheritance 
for of one like her the land of her birth may well be 
proud ! 

Mrs. Motte died in 1815, at her plantation on the 
Santee. The portrait from which . the engraving is 
taken is said to be an excellent likeness. 



SOME facts related to Major Garden by Mrs. Brewton 
who was an inmate of Mrs. Motte's family at the time 
of the destruction of her house, are interesting in this 
connection. She stated that Mrs. Motte and her fa- 
mily had been allowed to occupy an apartment in the 
mansion while the American forces were at a distance ; 
but when the troops drew near, were ordered to remove 
immediately. As they were going, Mrs. Brewton took 
up the quiver of arrows, and said to her friend that she 
would take those with her, to prevent their being de- 
stroyed by the soldiers. She was passing the gate with 

* It was the wife of Thomas Pinckney who dressed his wounds after 
the battle of Cainden, with her own hands, and fainted when the tasl 
was over 



332 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

the quiver in her hands, when M'Pherson asked what 
she had there, at the same time drawing forth a shaft, 
and applying the point to his finger. She sportively 
bade him be careful, " for the arrows were poisoned ;" 
and the ladies then passed on to the farm-house where 
they were to take up their abode. 

On several occasions Mrs. Brewton incurred the 
enmity of the British officers by her lively sallies, which 
were sometimes pointed with severity. Before the siege 
of Fort Motte, a tory ensign had frequently amused 
himself, and provoked the ladies, by taunts levelled 
against the whigs, sometimes giving the names of the 
prominent commanders to pine saplings, while he struck 
off their heads with his weapon. After the surrender, 
Mrs. Brewton was cruel enough, meeting this young 
man on the spot where he had uttered these bravadoes, 
to request, sportively, another exhibition of his prowess, 
and regret that the loss of his sword did not permit him 
to gratify her. 

Not long after this, Mrs. Brewton obtained permis- 
sion to go to Charleston, An officer in the city inquir 
ing the news from the country, she answered " that all 
nature smiled, for every thing was Greene, down to 
Monk's Corner." This bon mot was noticed by an 
order for her immediate departure ; she was obliged to 
leave the city at a late hour, but permitted to return 
the following day. Her ready wit procured her still 
further ill-will. An officer going into the country 
offered to take charge of letters to her friends. She 
replied, "I should like to write, but have no idea of hav- 



MRS. BREWTON. 333 

ing my letters read at the head of Marion's brigade." 
The officer returned in a few days on parole, having 
been taken prisoner by Marion, and called to pay his 
tfianks, as he said, to her for having communicated the 
"ntelligence of his movements. 

The society of this sprightly and fascinating widow 
appears to have been much sought by the more cul- 
tivated among the British, who enjoyed her brilliant 
conversation, while they winced under her sarcasm. 
One day when walking in Broad street, wearing deep 
mourning, according to the custom of the whig ladies, 
she was joined by an English officer. They were pass- 
ing the house of Governor Rutledge, then occupied by 
Colonel Moncrief, when taking a piece of crape thai 
nad been accidentally torn from the flounce of her 
dress, she tied it to the front railing, expressing at the 
same time her sorrow for the Governor's absence, and 
her opinion that his house, as well as his friends, ought 
to wear mourning. It was but a few hours after this 
act of daring, that the patriotic lady was arrested and 
sent to Philadelphia. 

NOTE. Mrs. Motte's arrows, which hai e become so famous in his- 
tory, had been given as a curiosity being ; oisoned by an East India 
captain to her brother, Miles Brewton. After his loss at sea, they 
were accidentally put among some household articles belonging to 
Mrs Motte, and in her several removals for quiet and security, 
chanced to he taken to " Buckhe^d" in the hurried transportation of 
her effects. 



XXIX. 



SUSANNAH ELLIOTT. 

THE presentation of a pair of colors, by the wife oi 
Colonel Barnard Elliott, is mentioned in several his- 
torical works. They were presented to the second 
South Carolina regiment of infantry, commanded b} 
Colonel Moultrie, on the third day after the attack on 
Fort Moultrie, Sullivan's Island, which took place June 
28th, 1776. These colors were very elegant, and both 
richly embroidered by Mrs. Elliott's own hand. One 
was of fine blue, the other of red silk. They were pre- 
sented with these words : " Your gallant behavior in 
defence of liberty and your country, entitles you to the 
highest honors ; accept these two standards as a reward 
justly due to your regiment ; and I make not the least 
doubt, under Heaven's protection, you will stand by 
them is long as they can wave in the air of liberty."* 

The colors having been received from the lady's 
hands by the Colonel and Lieutenant Colonel, she was 
thanked for the gift and a promise was made by the 
Colonel in the name of the soldiers that they should be 

* Moultrie's Memoirs; Ramsay's History of South Carolina; McCall'i 
History of Georgia. 



dUSA!NNAH ELLIOTT. 335 

nonorably supported, and. never tarnished by the second 
regiment. Never was pledge more nobly fulfilled. 
Three years afterwards, they were planted on the British 
lines at Savannah. Two officers, who bore them, lost 
their lives ; and just before the retreat was ordered, the 
gallant Sergeant Jasper, in planting them on the works, 
received a mortal wound and fell into the ditch. One 
of the standards was brought off in the retreat ; and 
Jasper succeeded in regaining the American camp. In 
his last moments he said to Major Horry, who had 
called to see him " Tell Mrs. Elliott I lost my life sup- 
porting the colors she presented to our regiment." The 
colors were afterwards taken at the fall of Charleston, 
and were deposited in the Tower of London. 

The maiden name of Mrs. Barnard Elliott was Susan- 
nah Smith. She was a native of South Carolina, and the 
daughter of Benjamin Smith, for many years Speaker 
of the Assembly of the province. Left young an 
orphan and an heiress, she was brought up by her aunt, 
Mrs. Rebecca Motte, with whom she lived till her 
marriage. Mrs. Daniel Hall used to say she was "one 
of the most busy among the Revolutionary women, and 
always active among the soldiers." It is known that 
her husband raised and maintained a regiment at his 
own expense. Among the papers in the possession of 
the family is a letter from General Gieene to Mrs. 
Elliott, expressive of high respect and regard, offering 
her a safe escort through the camp, and to any part ot 
the country to which she might desire to travel. 

While at her plantation called " The Hut," she had 
4* 



336 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

three American gentlemen as guests in the house 
Surprised one day by the sudden approach of the 
British, she hurried them into a closet, and opening a 
secret door, disclosed a large opening back of the 
chimney, known only to herself, and contrived for a 
hiding-place. Two entered ; but the third determined 
to trust to the fleetness of his horse, and his knowledge 
01 the woods. In leaping a fence he was overtaken^ 
and cut down within sight of the house. 

This was searched thoroughly for the others ; but no 
threats could induce Mrs. Elliott to reveal their place 
of retreat. The officers then demanded her silver; and 
pointing to some mounds of earth not far off, asked if 
the plate was buried there. Mrs. Elliott replied that 
those mounds were the graves of British soldiers who 
had died at her house. Not believing her, they ordered 
two of the soldiers to dig and see. The coffin in one 
of the graves was soon disinterred ; and on opening it 
the truth was at once made manifest. After the men 
had taken their departure, Mrs. Elliott released her two 
guests. The silver had been put in a trunk and buried 
in the marsh by a faithful servant, who after the close 
of the war came to Mrs. Elliott's son, requested assis 
tance to dig for it, and brought it out safe, though 
perfectly blackened. 

Mrs. Elliott was beautiful in person, with a counte- 
nance inexpressibly soft and sweet. Her portrait is in 
the possession of the family, defaced by the act of a 
British soldier a small sword having been run thro.ugh 



SUSANNAH ELLIOTT. 



337 



one eye. Her descendants reside in Charleston, and i& 
other parts of the State. 

A Revolutionary jeu d' esprit sent me by a friend in 
Charleston, containing allusions to some of the promi- 
nert whig ladies, mentions the name of Mrs. Elliott. It 
is a letter from Major Barry to "Mrs. G." and was 
found copied in the hand-writing of Bishop Smith. It 
appears to be a burlesque dedication of a poem, which 
unfortunately has not descended to posterity. It is 
somewhat curious to observe how the writer, with play- 
ful sarcasm, characterises women of the opposite party, 
while seeking ^ne who might fitly matronize his 
offspring. 

" The feathers which bedeck the head of Mrs. Fergu- 
son for a moment attracted my attention, but .right 
fearful was I lest the critics and poetasters of this age 
might infer a light foundation from so airy a superstruc- 
ture ; which most sorrowful event might at once over- 
throw both the patronized and patronizer. 

"Mrs. Savage and Mrs. Parsons called vociferously 
for notice ; but their zeal so shook the dagger and the 
bowl in their hands, that I deemed them unfit for the 
calm dignity of the tragic scene. Too much mildness, 
on the other hand, superseded the veteran Mrs. Pinck 
ney, when I beheld her smiling, sliding' gliding advance 
to meet the commissioners of sequestration. As for 
Mrs. Charles Elliott, she is only allied to such exalted 
spirits by the zeal of party perhaps in her case the 
'oo exuberant emanation of a delicate and susceptible 



338 WOMKN OF THE HEVOLUTION 

mind. And as the banners in the hand of Mrs. Barnard 
Elliott waved but for a moment, flimsy as the words 
that presented them, so slight a triumph could not 
entitle her to fame so pre-eminent as this. Tis in you 
alone, madam, we view united every concomitant ibi 
this most eminent distinction qualities which receive 
addition, if addition they can have, from the veteran 
and rooted honors of that exalted character, the General 
a character allied to you by all the warm as well a? 
tender ties. It is with pleasure I ever view the Wharf 
and Bridge, those works of his hands, which stand, like 
the boasted independence of your country, the crumb- 
ling monuments of his august repute. With what 
rapture do I behold him, in the obscure recesses of St. 
Augustine, attracting the notice of all mankind, and, as 
he traverses the promised land, planting deep in Hebrew 
ground the roots of everlasting fame, etc." 



Although not active in political affairs, the patriotic 
feeling and secluded, yet picturesque life of SABINA 
ELLIOTT, passed in the exercise of the domestic and 
Christian virtues, was not without its influence. By 
the early death of her parents, she was left in her eighth 
year, the eldest of several daughters, dependent on their 
relatives ; and was brought up by an aunt. Her personal 
beauty w.as remarkable ; and when she was about four- 
teen, arrested the attention of William Elliott, a wealthy 
widower, who had been twice married, but had no 
children. He saw her accidentally in the street, dressed 



WABINA ELLIOTT. 339 

n coarse apparel, and carrying a pitcher of water into 
the house ; and deeply impressed by her appearance, 
sought an early introduction to the aunt, and soon after 
married the object of his admiration. He then procured 
masters for her and her sisters, whom he took home 
and educated. All, except one, married from his house. 

When Mrs. Elliott was about twenty-eight, the sad 
event took place which cast a blight on her life. Her 
husband riding one day over his rice fields, on a low 
horse he commonly used, struck with his whip a dog 
lying by the roadside. The animal sprang upon him 
and tore his cheek. It was discovered soon after to be 
mad ; and Mr. Elliott calmly made preparations to meet 
his terrible and inevitable fate. So fearful was he that 
in the paroxysms of the disease he might injure some of 
his family, that he strictly commanded two of his 
stoutest men servants to bind him hand and foot upon 
the first symptom. At the end of forty days he died of 
hydrophobia. 

The grief caused by this misfortune, and the loss of 
three children, permanently impaired Mrs. Elliotts 
health. Two daughters remained to her; the eldest 
married Daniel Huger ; Ann, the youngest, was united, 
at the close of the war, to Colonel Lewis Morris, aid-de- 
camp to General Greene, and eldest son of Lewis 
Morris, of Morrisania, one of the signers of the Declara 
tion of Independence. 

Mrs. Elliott employed herself constantly in usefu 
domestic occupations ; and was remarkable for industry 
and economy of time. She superintended the manufac- 



340 WOMEN OF THE DEVOLUTION. 

mre of the wool and cotton worn by her slaves, to 
whom she was most kind and indulgent; and made 
salt on her plantation during the war. Some of the 
stockings knit by her are still extant having the date, 
1776, knit in the threads. 

Garden relates a pleasant anecdote of her wit. A 
British officer having ordered the plundering of her 
poultry houses, she afterwards observed, straying about 
the premises, an old muscovy drake, which had escaped 
the general search. She had him caught, and mounting 
a servant on horseback, ordered him to follow and 
deliver the bird to the officer with her compliments ; as 
she concluded that in the hurry of departure, it had 
been left altogether by accident. 

She took particular delight in improving the family 
seat, Accabee, seven miles from Charleston. This 
place, mentioned in history, was noted during the war 
as a place of refuge ; being unmolested because its 
mistress had no male relative to be obnoxious to the 
British. The mansion was of brick, solidly built : with 
a piazza in front, and a garden and lawn extending to 
the Ashley river. The grounds were covered with 
grass, on which the sheep owned by Mrs. Elliott might 
be seen lying under the magnificent live oaks decorated 
with the floating, silvery moss so beautiful in. the low 
country. The graceful fringe tree and magnolia grandi- 
flora, with other ornamental trees, grew in clumps in 
front and on either side. In the rear, a portico looked 
on an avenue of flowering locusts, nearly a mile in 
length. A circular stairs ascended from the spaciou? 



MUS. LEWIS MOKRI3. 341 

hall to Mrs. Elliott's study. This beautiful country seat 
now in ruins was the usual residence of Mrs. Elliott 
in the spring months ; the summers being spent at 
Johnson's Fort, on John's Island. It was there that 
she died. 



ANN ELLIOTT, the wife of Lewis Morris, was born 
at Accabee. In Charleston, while the city was occu- 
pied by the British, she wore a bonnet decorated with 
thirteen small plumes, as a token of her attachment to 
republican principles ; and for her patriotic spirit, was 
called " the beautiful rebel." Kosciusko was her ad- 
mirer and correspondent. An English officer the 
second son of a noble family who was billeted upon 
her mother, became so enamored of her that he sought 
the good offices of one of her female friends to inter- 
cede in his behalf; and even offered, if she would 
favor him, to join the Americans. Miss Elliott bade her 
friend say to him in reply, that to her former want of 
esteem, was added scorn for a man capable of betraying 
his sovereign for selfish interest. She had before de- 
clined the gift of a splendid English saddle-horse, of 
which he wished her acceptance. She would not 
attend church, as she had been accustomed, in Charles- 
ton, while prayers were offered there for the success of 
the British arms ; preferring to join in the service read 
it her mother's house, where petitions were put up for 
the downfall of the invaders. 

At one time, while Colonel Mori is, to whom she was 



342 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

then engaged, was on a visit to her at Accabee, the 
attention of the family was drawn to the windows by 
an unusual noise, and they perceived that the house was 
surrounded by the Black Dragoons, in search of the 
young officer, who had no time to escape. Ann went 
to one of the windows, opened it, and presenting herself 
to the view of the dragoons, demanded what they wanted. 

" We want the rebel !" was the reply. " Go and 

look for him in the American army !'* answered the 
young girl. "How dare you disturb a family under the 
protection of both armies ?" Her firmness and reso- 
lution conquered ; and the enemy departed without fur- 
ther molestation. 

Colonel and Mrs. Morris owned, among other pos- 
sessions, a cotton plantation on the Edisto River, about 
four miles from Charleston, called the Round O, which 
is mentioned in Lee's Southern War. They had also 
a residence upon Sullivan's Island. In September of 
one year there was so severe a gale that several houses 
were blown down. The house of Colonel Morris, 
which stood on a narrow part of the island, was under 
mined by the advance of the tide. There was only 
time to remove the family to a neighbor's, when the 
house fell, overthrown by the assault of wind and waves 

Mrs. Lewis Morris was one of the belles distinguished 
at the levees of the first President. Her residence during 
the last years of her life, was in Mcrrisania. She died 
<n New York the 29th of April, 1848 at the age of 
eighty-six. 



JANE VVASHI1HJGTON. 343 

THE incident of Jane Elliott's first acquaintance, with 
her husband might adorn a chapter in the romance of 
the real. She was the only child of Charles Elliott, of 
St. Paul's parish a staunch whig in principle, who ex- 
hibited his devotion to the cause by equipping a con- 
siderable body of troops at his own expense ; but fell a 
victim to disease ere the war had been waged in Caro- 
lina. His daughter having imbibed his opinions, en- 
deavored to serve the cause he had espoused, by the 
bestowal of a portion of her wealth for the relief of the 
wounded American soldiers, and to contribute to the 
establishment of hospitals for that purpose. Not satis- 
fied with this substantial aid, Miss Elliott gave her per- 
sonal supervision to certain wards in the hospital, which 
she visited to attend to the sufferers. It was on one 
of these ministering visits that she first saw Colonel 
Washington, who had been wounded and taken prisoner 
in the cavalry charge at Eutaw Springs, and sent to 
Charleston for surgical aid, arid for safe keeping. The 
interest with which the young girl heard the story of 
his perils, the sympathy given to his misfortunes, and 
the gratitude and admiration of the brave young sol- 
dier, may all be imagined, as leading to the reciprocal 
sentiment that soon grew up between them. Mis? 
Elliott was then in the early bloom of youth, and sur- 
passingly beautiful. Her manners were dignified, yet 
gentle and winning ; her perceptions quick, and her 
nature frank and generous. Homage had been paid to 
her charms by the conquerors, from which she turned 
to succor the defenders of her country. Major Barry 















344 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 






whose pen seems to have celebrated the charms of 










many rebel fair ones, addressed a poem " to Jane Elliott 










playing the guitar," which was lately found in the ruina 










of Accabee by a daughter of Mrs. Lewis Morris. 










These lines may serve as a specimen 










" Sweet harmonist ! whom nature triply arms 










With virtue, beauty, music : s powerful charms, 










Say, why combin'd. when each resistless power 










Might mark its conquest to the fleeting hour ?" 
















Colonel Washington was a gallant officer, imbued 










with the chivalric feeling of that period, ardent in 










patriotism, and covered with the brilliant renown of a 










successful soldier. It was not strange that two so con- 










genial should love each other, and become bound by a 










mutual pledge to unite their fortunes ; but the marriage 










did not take place till the spring of 1782. With the 










return of peace the soldier exchanged the fatigues of the 










camp for the quiet avocations of the planter, establishing 










himself at. the family-seat of his wife, at Sandy Hill, 










South Carolina. They had two children ; one of whom 










a daughter, is yet living. Mrs. Washington survived 










her husband about twenty years, and died in 1830, at 










t le age of sixty-six. 










ANNA, the wife of Charles Elliott, was a patriot by 










inheritance, being the daughter of Thomas Ferguson, one 










of the bravest and most zealous among the friends of 










liberty. It wis said of her that she " appeared to con- 










secrate every thought and every hour of existence to 












REJOICINGS AT FANEUIL HALL, BOSTON, AT THE CLOSE OF THE REVOLUTION. 



ANNA ELLIOTT. 345 

the interests of America." She received under her hos- 
pitable roof the sick and wounded, and gave them her 
personal attention and sympathy; she divided of her 
substance among those who needed aid; she was tne 
advocate and friend of such as were unjustly persecuted. 
The prisoners she visited at regular intervals received 
hope and strength from her presence, and were beguiled 
into forgetfulness of their sufferings by her conversa- 
tion. To the afflicted she was indeed an angel of 
blessing; and even the enemies of her country were 
influenced by the remarkable power of fascination she 
possessed, which few, even the most harsh and unbend- 
ing, could resist. This was acknowledged in the most 
satisfactory way the granting of privileges and favors 
by many British officers. What she would not have 
condescended to ask for herself, she solicited for the 
benefit of her countrymen. Major Garden says : " I 
do not know an officer who did not owe to her some 
essential increase of comfort." Yet her efforts in the 
cause of justice and clemency were not always success- 
ful ; she is said to have drawn up the petition addressed 
to Lord Rawdon, and signed by the ladies of Charleston, 
in behalf of the gallant and unfortunate Colonel Isaac 
Hayne. 

The following anecdote of Mrs. Elliott has been men- 
tioned. An officer of the royal army, noted for his 
cruelty and relentless persecution of those opposed to 
his political views, was one day walking with her in a 
garden where was a great variety of flowers. " What 
is this, madam?" he asked, pointing to the chamomile. 



346 



WOMEN or THE KCVOI.U'J JON, 



" The rebel flower," she replied. " And why is i . called 
the rebel flower ?" asked the officer. " Because," an- 
swered Mrs. Elliott, " it always flourishes most when 
trampled upon." 

One day an officer, in the house of Mrs. Elliott in 
Charleston, pointed out to her a young French officer 
of the legion of Pulaski, passing by. " There, Mrs 
Elliott," he cried, " is one of your illustrious allies ! He 
has a fine form and martial appearance. What a pity 
the hero is minus his sword!" She answered promptly 
and with spirit, " Had two thousand such men been here 
to aid in the defence of our city, I should not at this 
moment, sir, have been subjected to the insolence of 
your observation." 

Her impulsive and feeling nature is shown by another 
anecdote. When her father was arrested and put on 
board a transport ship to be sent into exile, Mrs. Elliott, 
who had received the intelligence in the country, has- 
tened to Charleston and solicited permission to bid him 
farewell. Her request was granted. She went on 
board the vessel in which he was a prisoner, but had 
scarcely entered the cabin, when, oppressed with grief, 
she fainted, and was laid upon a couch. The captain, 
in alarm, recommended a variety of remedies, and at 
last said " A cordial would revive her ; we have some fine 
French liqueur." On hearing this, Mrs. Elliott sprang 
from her couch in sudden excitement. ''The French!" 
she exclaimed ; " who speaks of the French ? God 
bless the nation !" Then turning to her father, she 
strove by her touching eloquence, to sustain him under 



ANNA ELLIOTT. 



347 



bis misfortunes, and inspire him. with hope for the future. 
" Let not oppression shake your fortitude," she said, 
" nor the hope of gentler treatment cause you for a 
moment to swerve from strict duty. Better times are 
in store for us ; the bravery of the Americans, and the 
friendly aid of France, will yet achieve the deliverance 
of our country from oppression. We shall meet again, 
my father, and meet with joy." 

The historian Ramsay bears heart-warm testimony 
to the patriotism of the Carolinian women, who gloried 
in being called " rebels ;" and did their utmost to sup- 
port the fortitude of their relatives. 

The wife of Isaac Holmes, one of the patriots sent 
into exile at St. Augustine, sustained his firmness by 
her own resolution, to the moment when the guard 
separated him from his family. Bidding him have no 
fears for those he left, her parting injunction was. 
" Waver not in your principles, but be true to your 
country." 

When the sons of Rebecca Edwards were arrested 
as objects of retaliation, she encouraged them to per- 
severe in devotion to the cause they had espoused. 
Should they fall a sacrifice, a mother's blessing, and 
the approbation of their countrymen, would go with 
them to the last ; but if fear of death ever prevailed on 
them to purchase safety by submission, they must for- 
get she was their parenl, for it would to her be misery 
to look on them again. 



348 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 



THE sufferings of the sick and wounded American 
prisoners after the fall of Charleston, appealed to female 
benevolence also among the loyalists. Though attach- 
ed to the royal cause, Mrs. SARAH HOPTON and her 
daughters were indefatigable in their attentions to the 
sufferers, whom many feared to visit in consequence of 
the prevalence of a contagious fever in the hospitals. 
The English were well supplied with necessary stores; 
the Americans were destitute, and therefore expe- 
rienced their kindness and bounty. Their servants 
were continually employed in carrying them nourish- 
ment and articles needed; and in some cases, they paid 
the hire of nurses, where personal services were indis- 
pensable. They soothed the death-bed of many with 
the consolations of religion, prayed with those who were 
in danger, and joined with the convalescent in returning 
thanks. These kind offices were rendered to men of 
whose political principles and acts they disapproved, 
while great bitterness of feeling existed between the 
opposing parties; but no prejudice could make these 
Christian women insensible to the claims of humanity. 

The lessons of piety and charity the great lessons 
of life taught by Mrs. Hopton to her daughters, were 
afterwards neither forgotten nor neglected. They were 
prominent in promoting the diffusion of religious educa- 
tion, arid devoted to such objects their energies and 
wealth. Two of them aided in the establishment of a 
charity school for the education of female orphans. 
Mrs. Gregorie, the eldest daughter, appropriated a fund 
to aid in the support of this school, with many other 
bequests to different religious association. 



XXX. 



HANNAH CALDWELL. 

FEW occurrences in the history of ancient or modern 
warfare have so strongly influenced the public feeling 
have excited so universal a sentiment of horror, 
_>r such deep resentment towards the authors of the 
c/ime as the deliberate and barbarous murder of Mrs. 
Caldwell. It was perpetrated not only as an act of 
vengeance upon an individual, but with the design of 
striking terror into the country, and compelling the 
inhabitants to submission. So far, however, from pro- 
ducing this effect, it but roused the indignation of the 
whole community, filling all with one spirit one desire 
to avenge the deed, and drive the invaders from their 
soil. It animated the brave with new energy, inspired 
the timid to feats of heroism, and determined the irreso- 
lute to throng to the standard of liberty. One of the 
journals of the day says : " The Caldwell tragedy has 
raised the resolution of the country to the highest pitch. 
They are ready almost to swear everlasting enmity to 
the name of a Briton." 

The Rev. James Caldwell, pastoi of the First Presby- 
terian church in Elizabethtown, New jersey, was 



:J50 HANNAH CALDWt^L. 

descended of a Huguenot family, and born in "Virginia. 
He married in 1763, Hannah, the daughter of John 
Ogden of Newark. Her mother was Miss Sayre, a 
descendant of the Pilgrims. Her brothers were all 
staunch whigs, with the exception of Jonathan, who 
subsequently held the offices of Surgeon General in the 
British army, and Judge of Newfoundland. 

Shortly after the settlement of Mr. Caldwell at Eliza- 
bethtown, the war broke out; and inheriting from his 
ancestors a feeling of opposition to tyranny, he warmly 
espoused the cause of his country. He acted as chaplain 
of those portions of the American army that successively 
occupied New Jersey; joined Colonel Dayton's regiment, 
and accompanied the Jersey brigade to the northern 
lines. He was stationed some time at Johnstown. 
New York, and was afterwards appointed assistant 
commissary to the army ; stood high in the confidence 
of Washington ; and by his eloquent and patriotic- 
appeals, contributed greatly, in times of despondency 
to excite and sustain the drooping spirits of the soldiers. 
All the influence commanded by his character and talents 
his energy, and his unbounded popularity in the com- 
munity was devoted to the cause of Americanfreedom. 

This zeal and activity did not fail to render hin> 
obnoxious to the enemy, and no effort was spared to do 
him injury. A price was set upon his head: and it 
is said that while preaching the gospel of peace tc 
nis people, he was often forced to lay his loaded pistols 
by his side in the pulpit. On account of the predatory 
noursions of the British, he was compelled to leave 



WOMEN OF THE REVJLUTION. 



351 



his home, for a temporary residence at Springfield, 
New Jersey. The parsonage thus deserted, and the 
church in which he preached, were used as a hospita 
for the sick and wounded of^ the American army. 
Its bell sounded the alarm through the town on the 
approach of the enemy:* the weary soldiers often 
slept upon its floor, and ate their hurried and scanty 
meals from the seats of the pews; so that worshippers 
on the Sabbath were not unfrequently compelled to 
stand through the service. Even of this shelter the 
British and tories, who cherished implacable enmity 
towards the pastor of the church, determined to deprive 
the soldiers; it was burnt, with the parsonage, on the night 
of January 25th 1780. 

Finding the situation at Springfield inconvenient, 
and the distance too great from his church, Mr. Cald- 
well again removed to "Connecticut Farms," four miles 
from Elizabethtown. It was during his residence at 
this place that the British troops from New York, under 
the command of the Hessian General Knyphausen. 
landed at Elizabethtown, before daylight, on the seventh 
of June. 

Their march into the interior was marked by cruelty 
and devastation. Several houses were fired, and the 
inhabitants left destitute jf provisions or shelter. When 
informed of the enemy's approach, Mr. Caldwell put his 
elder children mto a baggage waggon in his possession 
as commissary, and sent them to some of his friends 
for protection. Three of the younger ones Josiafr 
* See Notes concerning Elizabethtown, by Rov. Dr. Murray. 



C>0* rllNNAH CALDWELL. 

Flint, Elias Boudinot, and Maria, an infant about eight 
months old, remained with their mother in the house.* 
Mr. Oaldwell had no fears for the safety of his wife and 
young family; for he Relieved it impossible that resent- 
ment could be extended to a mother watching over her 
little ones. He had that morning taken an early break- 
fast, intending to join the force collecting to oppose 
the enemy. Having in vain endeavored to persuade 
his wife to go with him, he returned to make a last 
effort to induce her to change her determination ; but 
she remained firm. She handed him a cup of coffee, 
which he drank as he sat on hcrseback. Seeing the 
gleam of British arms at a distance, he put spurs to 
his horse, and in a few moments was out of sight. 

Mrs. Caldwell herself felt no alarm. She had hid 
several articles of value in a bucket and let it down 
into the well ; and had filled her pockets with silver 
and jewelry. She saw that the house was put in 
order, and then dressed herself with care, that should 
the enemy enter her dwelling, she might, to use her own 
expression " receive them as a lady." She then took 
the infant in her arms, retired to her chamber, the 
window of which commanded a view of the road, 
towards which the end of the house stood and seated 
herself upon the bed. The alarm was given that the 
soldiers were at hand. But she felt confidence that no 

* The nurse also remained, and a little girl named Abigail Lenning- 
ton, a soldier's daughter, whom Mr. Caldwell had taken into his family 
She is still living at Elizabethtown Immediately after the tragedy 
he with the nurse, gave deposition as to the facts before a magistrate 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 353 

one could have the heart to do injury to the helpless 
inmates of her house. Again and again she said 
" They will respect a mother." She had just nursed 
the infant and given it to the nurse, who was in the 
room. The girl, Abigail, was standing by the window. 
A soldier* left the road, and crossing a space of 
ground diagonally to reach the house, came to the 
window of the room, put his gun close to it, and fired. 
Two balls entered the breast of Mrs. Caldwell ; she fell 
back on the bed, and in a moment expired. f 

After the murder, Mrs. Caldwell's dress was cut open, 
and her pockets were rifled by the soldiers. Her remains 
were conveyed to a house on the other side of the road : 
the dwelling was then fired and reduced to ashes with 
all the furniture. The ruthless soldiers went on in 
their work of destruction, pillaging and setting fire to 
the houses, piling beds and clothing in the street and 
destroying them, till the village was laid waste. 

Let it be imagined what were the feelings of the 
husband, when the terrible news was communicated to 
him. It is said thai he overheard some soldiers in a 
house where he stopped, speaking of the occurrence ; 
and by questioning them, learned the truth. La Fayette, 
on his last visit to America, informed one of the 
family, that Mr. Caldwell was with him that morning 
on the heights near Springfield, and saw, by the aid of 

* He wore a red coat, and is generally supposed to have been a 
British soldier. Some have attributed the act to a refugee. 

t The little girl received in her face some of the glass when th 
,wo balls entered, both of which took such deadly effect. 



354 



HANNAH CAL1WELL. 



Ill 



* s P v "g' ass > tne smoke ascending from the burning houses. 
M Thank God," he exclaimed, " the fire is not in the 
direction of my house." He was fatally mistaken ! 

Mr. Josiah F. Caldwell, one of the sons the sixth of 
the nine children who were thus bereaved of a mother 
relates what he remembers of the event. He was at 
the time six years of age. About sunrise, when it was 
announced that the British were coming, he went into 
the street and joined the people who were driving their 
cattle to Springfield. There he saw his father with a 
*ield- piece a six pounder, which had formerly been 
ased as an alarm piece. Thence the little boy proceeded 
to Bottle Hill, and found his second sister, Hannah, at 
the house of Mr. Sayre ; and a day or two after, both 
the children set off on foot for Connecticut Farms, to 
see their mother. On their way, they were met by the 
nurse, Katy, with the two youngest children, in a chair 
belonging to Mr. Caldwell; she informed the young 
orphans of their mother's death, and insisted that they 
should return with her to Bottle Hill. The sister yielded, 
and was taken into the carriage ; the little brother 
refused to go till he had taken a last look at his beloved 
parent, and pursued his way to the Farms. On his 
arrival he was conducted to the house where his 
mother's remains were laid. His father, who had 
arrived a short time before, was standing beside the bed 
on which reposed the lifeless form of this victim of 
political hatred. What a meeting for the heart-stricken 
mourner, and the child scarce able to comprehend hif 
irreparable loss ! 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 



355 



Some attempts were made by the royalist party tc 
escape the odium of this sanguinary transaction, by 
pretending that Mrs. Caldwell had been killed by a 
chance shot.* The actual evidence, however, sets the 
fact beyond question that one of the enemy was the 
murderer ; and there is too much reason to believe that 
the deed was deliberately ordered by those high in 
command. A letter to General Knyphausen, published 
in the New Jersey Journal, in reproaching him for the 
outrages of his army, unhesitatingly casts the blame of 
the murder on him, as committed designedly by one of 
his men : and the various rumors that went abroad 
amidst the popular excitement on the subject, and 
were mentioned in the papers of the day, show that 
such was the prevalent opinion. f 

* Rivington's Royal Gazette, 1780. 

f The Hon. Samuel L. Southard, alluding to Mrs. Caldwell's death, 
in connection with a memorial presented to the U. S. Senate for the 
church and property destroyed, says " her children were baptized to 
piety and patriotism in a mother's blood." Mr. Caldwell himself pre- 
sented an address to the public,* showing that the murder of his wife 
had been a deliberate act, committed at the instigation of those in 
authority. " Mrs. Caldwell," he says, " was of so sweet a temper, and 
so prudent, benevolent and soft in her mnnners, that I verily believe 
she had not upon earth one personal enemy ; and whatever rancor the 
enemy felt against myself for my public conduct and political charac- 
ter, I have no ( reason to believe there was any person among them 
under the influence of any personal difference, or private revenge. I 
cannot therefore esteem it the private action of an individual N 
officer interfered to preserve the 'corpse from being stripped or burnt, 
nor to relieve the babes left thus desolate among them. Many officers, 
indeed, showed jheir abhorrence of the murder, and their tendernew 
* Pennsylvania Journal, Octobpr 4, 17SO 



356 HANNAH CALDWEI L. 

The children were lefc at different places, till Mr 
Caldwell bought a small farm at Turkey, now callec 
New Providence, where he collected his family together 
under the care of the faithful nurse, Katy. The re 
mains of Mrs. Caldwell were interred in the burial 
ground of the Presbyterian Church at Elizabethtown . 
and the congregation placed above the grave a neat 
freestone slab, on which is an inscription recording hei 
bright virtues, and her melancholy fate. The memory 
of this naartyr to American liberty will long be revered 
by the inhabitants of the land with whose soil her she<l 
blood has mingled ! 

Her personal appearance is described as conveying 
the abiding impression of benevolence, serenity, and 
peculiar sweetness of disposition. She was about the 
medium height, with dark gray eyes, auburn hair, and 
complexion of singular fairness ; of pleasing counte- 
nance, and quiet, gentle, and winning manners. 

The tragedy was not yet complete. On the 24th of 
November, 1781, Mr. Caldwell went to Elizabethtown 
Point for a Miss Murray, who came under the protec- 
tion of a flag of truce from New York, where she had 
shown great kindness to some of the sick soldiers. Mr 

for the babes ; why did they not set a sentinel over the corpse, till the 
neighboring women could have been called ? They knew she was a 
lady of amiable character and reputable family ; yet she was left half 
the day stripped in part, and tumbled about by the rude soldiery ; and 
at last was removed from the house before it was burnt, by the aid ol 
those who were not of the army. From this I conclude the army knew 
the will of their superiors; and that those who had benevolence dared 
not show it to this devoted lady." 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 357 

Caldwell conducted her to his gig, and then went bach 
into the boat for her bundle containing some articles of 
clothing As he came on shore he was challenged by 
the American sentinel, who demanded what " contra- 
band goods" he had there. Unwilling then to dispute 
the matter, he turned back to leave the bundle with 
the officer ; and at that moment was shot by a man 
named Morgan, who had just been relieved from duty 
as a sentinel. This man is supposed to have been 
bribed by British gold to the deed. Mr. Caldwell fell, 
pierced by two balls ; and his body was borne to Mrs. 
Noel's house in Elizabethtown. Morgan, who fired 
upon him, was afterwards tried, found guilty of murder, 
and executed. The remains of Mr. Caldwell were laid 
in the same grave-yard with those of his wife ; and the 
" CaMwell monument," at the inauguration ceremonies 
of which Dr. Miller and Hon. William L. Dayton de- 
livered their eloquent addresses in 1846, was erected to 
their memory. 

Mrs. Noel, the steadfast friend of the family, took the 
children under her protection, assembled their friends, 
and consulted upon measures to be taken for the care 
of them. All lived to become eminent and useful mem- 
bers of society. The eldest son, John Edwards, was 
taken by La Fayette to Prance, where he was edu- 
cated ; and in after years was foremost in New York in 
benevolent enterprises, and editor of one of the first 
religious periodicals in the country. The fifth son, 
Elias Boudinot, was taken by the Hon. Elias Boudinot, 
President of the first C >ngress; and was afterwards Clerk 



358 SUSAN LIVINGSTON. 

of* the United States Supreme Court, and one of the 
originators of the Colonization Society. Mrs. Noel 
adopted the youngest child a daughter who is still 
living in New York. 

The Rev Dr. Murray of Elizabethtown, who has 
thoroughly investigated the subject, has prepared an 
accurate account of the death of the devoted patriot 
and pastor, which will shortly be given to the public. 



ON the 28th of February, 1779, a party of British 
troops from New York landed at Elizabethtov/n Point, 
for the purpose of capturing the Governor of New 
Jersey, and surprising the force stationed in the village 
under General Maxwell. One detachment marched at 
night to " Liberty Hall," the residence of Governor 
Livingston, and forced an entrance ; but failed of their 
object for it happened that he had left home some 
hours previously. Disappointed in the expectation of 
securing his prisoner, the British officer demanded the 
Governor's papers. Miss Livingston assented to the 
demand ; but appealing to him as a gentleman, reque&ted 
that a box standing in the parlor, which she claimed as 
containing her private property, should be secured from 
molestation. A guard was accordingly stationed over 
it, while the library was thrown open to the soldiers, 
who filled their foraging bags with worthless law papers 
and departed. The box, which had been sedulously 
guarded, contained all the Governor's correspondence 
with Congress, with the Commander-in-chief, and the 



WOMEN OF TI1C REVOLUTION. 



359 



State officers ; the young lady's stratagem thus presexv 
ing what would have proved a most valuable prize t( 
the plunderers.* 

A repartee made by one of Lord Dorchester's aids tc 
Miss Susan Livingston, has been celebrated. When 
the British were evacuating New York, she expressed a 
wish to him that their departure might be hastened, " for 
among your incarcerated belles, the scarlet fever must 
rage till you are gone." Major Upham, the aid, replied 
that he feared, if freed from the prevailing malady 
"they would be tormented by a worse the blue devils.'' 

All the letters of Livingston to his daughters show 
the sympathy that existed between them, and his con- 
fidence in the strength of their republican principles 
His opinions and wishes on all subjects are openly ex- 
pressed to them. In a letter to the Earl of Stirling, he 
says he has entrusted to his daughter Catharine his 
despatches to his correspondents in Spain. He writes 
at one time to her, noticing the favor shown to the 
British captives " I know there are a number of 
flirts in Philadelphia, who will triumph in our over-com- 
plaisance to the red-coat prisoners lately arrived in 
that metropolis. I hope none of my connections will 
imitate them, either in the dress of their heads, or tlit, 
still more tory feelings of their hearts." . 

Catharine, the second daughter, afterwards married 
Matthew Ridley, of Baltimore. He was at Nantes in 
1778, in the American commission business. f She took 

Life oi' Livingston, by Theodore Sedgwick. 

f The following copy of an order sent to Nantes, rather curiouslj 



360 CATHARINE LIVINGSTON. 

A deep interest in public affairs. Her frienu, Lady 
Catharine Alexander, writes from Valley Forge, aftei 
the cheering news of the alliance with France " We 
have nothing heie but rejoicings ; every one looks happy 
and seems proud of the share he has had in humbling 
the pride of Britain, and of establishing the name of 
of America as a nation." The following note, addressed 
to her by Washington from the same place, has never 
before been published.* 

shows the precariousness of transportation in those times. It is ex- 
tracted from a MS. letter of John Jay, dated Madrid, Jan. 21st, 1782, 
which expresses a hope that one of the parcels may meet its des- 
tination : 

" Be pleased to send for Miss Kitty W. Livingston, to the care of 
lion. R. Morris, Esq., at Philadelphia, by the first three good vessels 
bound there, the three following parcels, viz : 

" JVo. 1 to contain 
2 White embroidered patterns for shoes. 
4 Pair silk stockings. 
A pattern for a negligee of light pink colored silk, with a set of 

ribbons suitable to it. 
6 Pair of kid gloves. 

6 Yards of catgut, and cap-wire in proportion. 
6 Yards of white silk gauze. 

"j\o. 2 to contain 

" The same as above, except that the silk for the neglige6 must not be 
pink-colored, but of any other color that Mrs. Johnson may think 
fashionable and prrtty. The shoes and ribbons may be adapted to it. 

"jVb. 3 to contain 

The same as above, except that the silk for the negligee must be of 
a different color from the other two, and the shoes and ribbons of a 
proper color to be worn with it." 

* The MS. correspondence of Miss Catharine Livingston, me iudmg 
this ncte, is in the possession of Mr. Theodore Sedgwick. 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION 361 

" General Washington having been informed latelj 
of the honor done him by Miss Kitty Livingston in 
wishing for a lock of his hair, takes the liberty o 

O 

inclosing one, accompanied by his most respectful 
compliments. 

" Camp, Valley Forge, 18th Mar., 1778." 

The wife of William Livingston was Susannah, the 
daughter of Philip French, and grand-daughter, by the 
mother's side, of Anthony Brockholst, Lieutenant Go- 
vernor, under Andross, of the Colony of New York, and 
subsequently its chief magistrate. Simple and unpre- 
tending in manners, she was endowed with a strong 
intellect and a warm and tender heart. The letters of 
her husband show his high respect as well as love for 
her. When the British troops made the memorable 
incursion into New Jersey by Elizabethtown, the 
Governor, being absent from his family, suffered intense 
anxiety on their account. But while the neighboring 
villages were seen in flames, the enemy respected 
' Liberty Hall," and treated its inmates with courtesy. 
A. correspondent of Rivington's Gazette accounts for 
this by saying that one of the British officers received a 
rose from Miss Susan Livingston on his visit to the 
house, as a memento of a promise of protection. An 
anecdote connected with this invasion has been tradi 
tiorially preserved, which, if proved authentic, would 
furnish curious evidence as to the agency concerned in 
the murder of Mrs. Caldwell. After a day of alarm, the 
flames of Springfield and Connecticut Farms being in 



362 SUSANNAH LIVINGSTON. 

view, and soldiers continually passing the house, Mrs 
Liffatrstori and her daughters were at a late hour sur- 

w O 

prised by the entrance of several British officers, who 
announced their intention of lodging there. Their 
presence was felt to be a protection, and the ladies 
retired. About midnight the officers left the house, 
called away by some startling news ; and not long after- 
wards a band of straggling soldiers, intoxicated, rushed 
with oaths and threats into the hall. " The maid ser- 
vant all the males in the establishment having taken 
refuge in the woods early in the day to avoid being 
made prisoners fastened herself in the kitchen; and 
the ladies crowding together like frightened deer, lockeJ 
themselves in another apartment. Their place of retreat 
was soon discovered by the ruffians ; and afraid to exas- 
perate them by refusing to come out, one of Governor 
Livingston's daughters opened the door. A drunken 
soldier seized her by the arm. She grasped the villain's 
collar, and at the very moment a flash of lightning illu- 
mining the hall and falling full upon her white dress 
he staggered back, exclaiming, with an oath ' It's Mrs. 
Caldwell, that we killed to-day !' One of the party was 
at length recognized, and the house by his intervention 
finally cleared of the assailants.*" 

The influence of Mrs. Livingston over her husband, 
in spite of his unyielding and irritable temper, is repeat- 
edly noticed by his biographer. This influence was 
secured by her strong good sense, her sympathy, and 
unselfish tenderness. She shared his thoughts in tin>~ 
Life of Livingston, p 353. 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 363 

of war, and his joy when allowed to relinquish his wan 
dering life, and return to his home ; to enter once more 
his deserted library, and superintend his long neglected 
garden. In his simple and rural occupations she was 
his constant and faithful companion; and his letters 
evince the solicitude with which he watched over her 
health, with the warm affection he cherished for hei 
through years of absence and absorbing occupation 
She died on the 17th of July, 1789. 



SARAH, LADY STIRLING, was the sister of Governor 
Livingston. She accompanied the Earl, her husband, 
who was Major General in the American army, to the 
camp. While the Earl was in the camp at White 
Plains, she paid a visit to New York then in posses- 
sion of the British with her youngest daughter, Lady 
Catharine Alexander, to visit her eldest daughter, whose 
husband, Robert Watts, had remained quietly in the 
city, taking no active part on either side. The letters 
of both mother and daughter descriptive of this visit are 
interesting as showing the situation and temper of those 
Americans who had continued in the city during its 
occupation by the enemy. Lady Catharine, who writes 
August, 1778 from Parsippany, the place where 
Governor Livingston's family had taken refuge after an 
invasion of Elizabethtown, is sanguine in her hope 
of soon seeing her relatives as zealous patriots as 
herself. Mr. Watts, she says, is among the numbei 
of those who are heartily sick of the tyranny witnessed; 



364 LADY STIRLING. 

and "as to Mary, her political principles are perfectly re- 
bellious. * * The sentiments of a great number 
have undergone a thorough change since they have been 
with the British army ; as they have many opportunities 
of seeing flagrant acts of injustice and cruelty of which 
they could not have believed their friends capable. 
This convinces them that if they conquer, we must 
live in abject slavery." Lady Stirling exhibits her 
disinterested patriotism by refusing to avail herself of 
the permission sent from Sir Henry Clinton, to take 
anything she pleased out of the city ; fearing " there 
would be a handle made of it," if she accepted the offer. 
" The last time I saw him (Mr. Elliott,) he told me 1 
must take a box of tea ; but I stuck to my text." 

Lady Catharine afterwards became the wife of the 
Hon. William Duer. A letter of condolence from Wash- 
ington to the Countess of Stirling upon her husband's? 
ieath has been preserved in the Historical Collections 
>f New Jersey. 



XXXI. 



DEBORAH SAMSON. 

WHEN the lapse of years shall have invested the 
period of the Revolution with the coloring of poesy, 
and the novelist shall seek his materials in the romance 
of American history, the heroism and deeds of the sub- 
ject of this notice will perhaps afford the ground-work 
of a tragedy or a novel. Something of the latter sort 
has already been constructed upon this foundation ; a 
production, half tale, half biography, entitled " The 
Female Review." published in Massachusetts about the 
commencement of the present century. I have not 
been able to find a copy ; but have been told that it was 
not in any measure reliable, and that the heroine had 
repeatedly expressed her displeasure at the represen- 
tation of herself, which she " did not at all recognize." 
The following facts respecting her, I received from a 
lady who knew her personally,* and has often listened 
with thrilling interest to the animated description given 
by herself of her exploits and adventures. 

A niece of Captain Tiadale, upon whom Robert attended in the 
army for some months 



366 



DEBORAH SAMSON. 



Though not comparable, certainly, to the " prophet 
sss" in whom France triumphed 

" The maid with helmed head, 
Like a war-goddess, fair and terrible " 

for the dignity with which the zeal of a chivalrous and 
superstitious age, and the wonderful success of her mis- 
sion invested her it cannot be denied that this roman- 
tic girl exhibited something of the same spirit with the 
lowly herdsmaid, who, amidst the round of her humble 
duties, felt herself inspired with resolution to go forth 
and do battle in her country's cause, exchanging her 
peasant's garb for the mail, and the helmet, and the 
sword. There is something moving and interesting in 
the aspect of the enthusiasm fostered in her secret soul, 
struggling with obstructions and depressions, and at 
length impelling her to the actual accomplishment ot 
what she had pondered in day-dreams ; while the igno- 
rance and error mingled with this enthusiasm, should 
increase our sympathy without diminishing the share 
of admiration we would bestow, had it been evinced in 
a more becoming manner. 

Several instances are mentioned in the history of the 
war, in which female courage was displayed by actions 
pertaining to the stronger sex. The resolution of Con- 
gress is on record, in which honorable mention is made 
of the services of Margaret Corbin.* The story of the 

* " Resolved That Margaret Corbin, wounded and disabled at the 
attack on Fort Washington, while she heroically rilled the post of her 
husband, who was killed by her side serving a piece of artillery, do 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 367 

gunner's wife, who took her husband's place when he 
was killed at the battle of Monmouth, and did such 
execution that after the engagement she was rewarded 
by a commission,* has been often related. And many 
examples were there of matrons, who, having suffered 
incredibly from the spoliations of the enemy, lost 
patience, and fought manfully for the last loaf of bread, 
or the last bed-quilt for their children. In the case be- 
fore us, the isolation from ordinary domestic and social 
ties favored the impulse that prompted to a course so 
extraordinary. 

Deborah Samson was the youngest child of poor 
parents, who lived in the county of Plymouth, Massa- 
chusetts. Their poverty, rendered hopeless by per- 
nicious habits, was the least of the evils suffered by the 
unfortunate children. Charity interposed to rescue 
them from the effects of evil example ; they were 
removed from their parents, and placed in different 
families, where a prospect was afforded of their receiv- 
ing proper care and instruction to fit them for main- 
taining themselves when arrived at a suitable age. 
Deborah found a home in the house of a respectable 
farmer, whose wife, a well-disposed woman, bestowed 
upon her as much attention as is common in such cases. 
The friendless and destitute girl was kindly treated, and 
provided with comfortable food and clothing ; but had 

receive during her natural life, or continuance of said disability, one- 
half the monthly pay drawn by a soldier in service of these States; 
and that she now receive out of public stores, one suit of clothe*, 01 
value thcieof in money." July, 1779. 
History of Scoharie County. 



368 DEBOBAFI SAMJON. 

no advantages of education. Her keen feelirg of this 
deprivation, and the efforts she made to repair the defi- 
ciency, show her possession of a mind naturally superior, 
and that judicious training might have fitted her to pro- 
mote in no insignificant degree the good of society. 
There was none to teach her; but she seized every 
opportunity for acquiring knowledge. She borrowed 
books from the children who passed the house in which 
she lived on their way to and from school, and perse- 
vered with untiring exertion in her private studies, till 
she had learned to read tolerably well ; but attempted 
no other branch of scholarship, until, on the completion 
of her eighteenth year, the law released her from her 
indentures. 

Her first arrangement on becoming the mistress 
of her own movements, was to secure herself the 
advantages of instruction. The only way in which she 
could do this was by engaging to work in the family ot 
a farmer one half the time, in payment for her board 
and lodging, and attending the common district school 
in the neighborhood. Her improvement was rapid 
beyond example. In a few months she had acquired 
more knowledge than many of her schoolmates had 
done in years ; and was by them regarded as quite a 
prodigy of industry and attainment. 

Meantime, the Revolutionary struggle had commenc- 
ed. The gloom that had accompanied the outburst of 
the storm, hung over the whole land ; ihe news of the 
carnage on the plain? of Lexington the sound of the 
cannon at Bunker's Hill, had reached every dwelling, 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION 



369 



and vibrated on the heait of every patriot in New Eng 
land. The zeal which had urged the men to quit their 
homes for the battle-field, found its way to a female 
bosom ; Deborah felt as if she would shrink from no 
effort or sacrifice in the cause which awakened all her 
enthusiasm. She entered with the most lively interest 
into every plan for the relief of the army, and bitterly 
regretted that as a woman she could do no more, and 
that she had not the privilege of a man, of shedding her 
blood for her country. 

There is no reason to believe that any consideration 
foreign to the purest patriotism, impelled her to the 
resolution of assuming male attire, and enlisting in the 
army. She -could have been actuated by no desire of 
gaining applause ; for the private manner in which she 
quitted her home and associates, entrusting no one with 
her design, subjected her to surmises of a painful nature ; 
and the careful preservation of her secret during the 
period of her military service, exonerates her from 
the least suspicion of having been urged to the step by 
an imprudent attachment. It. is very likely that her 
youthful imagination was kindled by the rumor of brave 
deeds, and that her visions of " the camp's stir and 
crowd and ceaseless 'larum" were colored richly by the 
hues of fancy. Curiosity to see and partake of this 
varied war-life, the restlessness of " a heart unsettled and 
solitary" the consuming of energies which had no 
object to work upon, may have contributed to the 
forming of her determination. It must be borne in 
mind, too, that she was restrained by no consideration 



370 DEBORAH SAMSON. 

(hat could interfere with the project. Alone in tho 
world, there were few to inquire what had become of 
her, and still fewer to care for her fate. She felt herself 
accountable to no human being. 

By keeping the district school for a summer term, she 
had amassed the sum oi twelve dollars. She purchased 
a quantity of coarse fustian, and working at intervals 
when she could be secure from observation, made up a 
suit of men's clothing; each article, as it was finished, 
being hid in a stack of hay. Having completed her 
preparations, she announced her intention of going 
where she could obtain better wages for her labor. Her 
new clothes, and such articles as she wished to take 
with her, were tied in a bundle. The lonely girl 
departed ; but went not far, probably only to the shelter 
of the nearest wood, before putting on the disguise she 
was so eager to assume. Although not beautiful, her 
features were animated and pleasing, and her figure, 
tall for a woman, was finely proportioned. As a man, 
she might have been called handsome ; her general 
appearance was extremely prepossessing, and her manner 
calculated to inspire confidence. 

She now pursued her way to the American army, 
where she presented herself, in October, 1778, as a young 
man anxious to join his efforts to those of his country- 
men in their endeavors to oppose the common enemy. 
Her acquaintances, meanwhile, supposed her engaged 
in service at a distance. Rumors of her elopement 
with a British soldier, and even of her death, were 
afterwards current in the neighborhood where she had 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 371 

resided ; but none were sufficiently interested to inane 
such search for her as might have led to a discovery. 

Distrusting her own constancy, and resolute to 
continue in the service, notwithstanding any change 
of her inclination, she enlisted for the whole term of the 
war. She was received and enrolled in the army by 
the name of Robert ShirtlifFe. She was one of the first 
volunteers in the company of Captain Nathan Thayer 
of Medway, Massachusetts ; and as the young recruit 
appeared to have no home or connections, the Captain 
gave her a home in his family until his company should 
be full, when they were to join the main army. 

We now find her performing the duties and enduring 
the fatigues of military life. During the seven weeks 
she passed in the family of Captain Thayer, she had 
time both for experience and reflection ; but in after 
years her constant declaration was that she never for 
one moment repented or regretted the step she had 
taken. Accustomed to labor from childhood, upon the 
farm and in out-door employment, she had acquired 
unusual vigor of constitution ; her frame was robust, 
and of masculine strength; and having thus gained a 
degree of hardihood, she was enabled to acquire great 
expertness and precision in the manual exercise, and to 
undergo what a female delicately nurtured would have 
found it impossible to endure. Soon after they had 
joined the company, the recruits were supplied with 
uniforms by a kind of lottery. That drawn by Robert 
did not fit . but taking needle and scissors, he soon 
altered it to suit him. To Mrs Thayer's expression of 



372 



DEBORAH SAMSON. 



surprise at finding a young man so expert in using the 
implements of feminine industry, the answer was that 
his mother having no girl, he had been often obliged to 
practice the seamstress's art. 

While in the house of Captain Thayer, a young gin 
visiting his wife was much in the society of Deborah, 
or as she was then called, Robert. Coquettish by 
nature, and perhaps priding herself on the conquest of 
the "blooming soldier," she suffered her growing par- 
tiality to be perceived. Robert on his part felt a curi- 
osity to learn by new experience how soon a maiden's 
fancy might be won ; and had no scruples in paying at- 
tentions to one so volatile and fond of flirtation, with 
whom it was not likely the impression would be last- 
ing. This little piece of romance gave some uneasi- 
ness to the worthy Mrs. Thayer, who could not help 
observing that the liking of her fair visitor for Robert 
was not fully reciprocated. She took an opportunity of 
remonstrating with the young soldier, and showed what 
unhappiness might be the consequence of such folly, and 
how unworthy it was of a brave man to trifle with a 
girl's feelings. The caution was taken in good part 
and it is not known that the " love passage" was con- 
tinued, though Robert received at parting some tokens 
of remembrance, which were treasured as relics in after 
years. 

For three years our heroine appeared in the charactei 

of a soldier, being part of the time employed as a waiter 

in the family of Colonel Patterson. During this time, 

and in both situations, her exemplary conduct, and tho 

G* 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 373 

fidelity with which her duties were performed, gained 
the approbation and confidence of the officers. She 
was a volunteer in several hazardous enterprizes, and 
was twice wounded, the first time by a sword cut on 
the left side of the head. Many were the adventures 
she passed through ; as she herself would often say, 
volumes might be filled with them. Sometimes placed 
unavoidably in circumstances in which she feared de- 
tection, she nevertheless escaped without the least sus- 
picion being awakened among her comrades. The 
soldiers were in the habit of calling her " Molly," in 
playful allusion to her want of a beard ; but not one of 
them ever dreamed that the gallant youth fighting by 
their side was in reality a female. 

About four months after her first wound she received 
another severe one, being shot through the shoulder. 
Her first emotion when the ball entered she described 
to be a sickening terror at the probability that her sex 
would be discovered. She felt that death on the battle- 
field were preferable to the shame that would overwhelm 
her, and ardently prayed that the wound might close 
her earthly campaign. But, strange as it may seem, she 
escaped this time also unsuspected ; and soon recovering 
her strength, was able again to take her place at the 
post of duty, and in the deadly conflict. Her immunity 
was not, however, destined long to continue she was 
seized with a brain fever, then prevalent among the 
soldiers. For the few days that reason struggled against 
the disease, her sufferings were indescribable ; and most 
terrible of all was the dread lest consciousness should 



374 



DEBORAH SAMSON. 



desert her, and the secret she had guarded so carefully 
be revealed to those around her. She was carried to 
the hospital, and there could only ascribe her escape to 
the number of patients, and the negligent manner in 
which they were attended. Her case was considered a 
hopeless one, and she perhaps received less attention on 
this account. One day the physician of the hospita), 
inquiring " How is Robert ?" received from the nurs- 
in attendance the answer "Poor Bob is gone." The 
doctor went to the bed, and taking the hand of the youth 
supposed dead, found that the pulse was still feebly 
beating ; attempting to place his hand on the heart, he 
perceived that a bandage was fastened tightly round the 
breast. This was removed, and to his utter astonish- 
ment he discovered a female patient where he had least 
expected one ! 

This gentleman was Dr. Binney, of Philadelphia. 
With a prudence, delicacy and generosity ever after- 
wards warmly appreciated by the unfortunate sufferer, 
he said not a word of his discovery, but paid her every 
attention, and provided every comfort her perilous con- 
dition required. As soon as she could be removed with 
safety, he had her taken to his own house, where she 
could receive better care. His family wondered not a 
little at the unusual interest manifested for the poor 
invalid soldier. 

Here occurred another of those romances in real life 
which in strangeness surpass fiction. The doctor had 
a young and lovely niece, an heiress to considerable 
property, whose compass' >n ate feelings led her to join 



N . WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 375 

her uncle in bestowing kindness on the friendless youth 
Many censured the uncle's imprudence in permitting 
them to be so much in each other's society, and to take 
drives so frequently together. The doctor laughed to 
himself at the warnings and hints he received, and 
thought how foolish the censorious would feel when the 
truth should come out. His knowledge, meanwhile, 
was buried in his own bosom, nor shared even with the 
members of his family. The niece was allowed to be 
as much with the invalid as suited her pleasure. Her 
gentle heart was touched by the misfortunes she had 
contributed to alleviate ; the pale and melancholy 
soldier, for whose fate no one seemed to care, who had no 
possession in the world save his sword, who had suffered 
so much in the cause of liberty, became dear to her. She 
saw his gratitude for the benefits and kindness received, 
yet knew by intuition that he would never dare aspire 
to the hand of one so gifted by fortune. In the confiding 
abandonment of woman's love, the fair girl made known 
her attachment, and offered to provide for the education 
of its object before marriage. Deborah often declared that 
the moment in which she learned that she had unwitting- 
ly gained the love of a being so guileless, was fraught with 
the keenest anguish she ever experienced. In return for 
the hospitality and tender care that had been lavished 
upon her, she had inflicted pain upon one she would have 
died to shield. Her former entanglement had caused 
no uneasiness, but this was a heart of a different mould ; 
no way of amends seemed ooen, except confession of 
her real character, and t) that, though impelled by 



376 DEBORAH SAMSON. 

remorse and self-reproach, she could not bring herself. 
She merely said to the generous girl, that they would 
meet again ; and tnough ardently desiring the possession of 
an education, that she could not avail herself of the noble 
offer. Before her departure the young lady pressed on 
her acceptance several articles of needful clothing, such 
as in those times many of the soldiers received from 
fair hands. All these were afterwards lost by the 
upsetting of a boat, except the shirt and vest Rober 
had on at the time, which are still preserved as relics ii. 
the family. 

Her health being now nearly restored, the physician 
had a long conference with the commanding officer of 
the company in which Robert had served, and this was 
followed by an order to the youth to carry a letter to 
General Washington. 

Her worst fears were now confirmed. From the 
time of her removal into the doctor's family, she had 
cherished a misgiving, which sometimes amounted 
almost to certainty, that he had discovered her decep- 
tion. In conversation with him she anxiously watched 
his countenance, but not a word or look indicated sus- 
picion, and sne had again flattered herself that she was 
safe from detection. When the order came for her to 
deliver a letter into the hands of the Commander-in-chief, 
she could no longer deceive herself. 

There remained no course but simple obedience. 
When she presented herself for admission at the head- 
quarters of W ashington. she trembled as she had never 
done before tne enemv's fire. Hei heart sank within 



WOMKN OF THE REVOLUTION. 377 

ner; she strove in vain to collect and compose herseh 
and overpowered with dread and uncertainty, was 
ushered into the presence of the Chief. He noticed her 
extreme agitation, and supposing it to proceed from diffi- 
dence, kindly endeavored to re-assure her. He then 
oade her retire with an attendant, who was directed to 
offer her some refreshment, while he read the commu- 
nication of which she had been the bearer. 

Within a short time she was again summoned into 
the presence of Washington. He said not a word, but 
handed her in silence a discharge from the service, put- 
ting into her hand at the same time a note containing a 
few brief words of advice, and a sum of money suffi- 
cient to bear her expenses to some place where she 
might find a home. The delicacy anu forbearance thus 
observed affected her sensibly. " How thankful" she 
has often said, " was I to that great and good man who 
so kindly spared my feelings ! He saw me ready to 
sink with shame ; one word from him at that niomenr 
would have crushed me to the earth. But he spoke no 
word and I blessed him for it." 

After the termination of the war, she married Benja- 
min Gannett, of Sharon. When Washington was 
President, she received a letter inviting Robert Shirtliffe, 
or rather Mrs. Gannett, to visit the seat of government. 
Congress was then in session, and during her stay at the 
capital, a bill was passed granting her a pension in addi- 
tion to certain lands, which she was to receive as an 
acknowledgment for her services to the country in a 
military capacity. She was invited 10 the houses of 



378 DEBORAH SAMSON. 

several of the officers, and to parties given in the city 
attentions which manifested the high estimation in 
which she \v;;s there held. 

In 1805 she was living in comfortable circumstances, 
the wife of a respectable farmer, and the mother of three 
fine, intelligent children, the eldest of whom was a youth 
of nineteen. The Dedham Register, dated December, 
1820, states that during the late session of the court, 
Mrs. Gannett had presented for renewal her claims for 
services rendered the country as a Revolutionary soldier. 
She was at that time about sixty-two; and is described 
as possessing a clear understanding and general know- 
ledge of passing events, as being fluent in speech, 
delivering her sentiments in correct language, with 
deliberate and measured accent ; easy in her deport- 
ment, affable in her manners, and robust and masculine 
in her appearance. She was recognized on her appear- 
ance in court by many persons belonging to the county, 
who were ready to testify to her services. A brief 
notice added of the life of this extraordinary woman, 
was copied into many of the papers of the day, and ap- 
pears in Niles' "Principles and Acts of the Revolution." 

It is but a few years since she passed from the stage 
of human life. The career to which her patriotism 
urged her, cannot be commended as an example ; but 
her exemplary conduct after the first step will go far to 
plead her excuse. 



XXXII. 



FLORA M'DONALD. 

"MASSACHUSETTS has her Lady Arabella, Viiginia 
her Pocahontas, North Carolina her Flora M'Doriald," 
says the eloquent author of the " Sketches" of that 
State. The residence of this celebrated heroine on 
the banks of Cape Fear River, and the part she took in 
the American Revolution, link her name as inseparably 
with the history of North Carolina, as it is with that of 
her own Scotland.* 

During those events which succeeded the rising in favor 
of the Pretender, Charles Edward the rebellion of 1745 
and led to the emigration of the colony of Highlanders 
who settled among the sandy forests on the Cape Fear, 
Flora M'Donald first makes her appearance a young 
and blooming maiden. After the battle of Culloden, which 
destroyed the power of the Highland "lairds," Prince 
Charles Edward sought concealment in the mountains of 
Rosshire, where he escaped capture by the generous self- 

* The reader is referred to the Sketches of North Carolina, by Rev 
William Henry Foote; see also "Memorials" of that State, by J. 
Seawell Jones ; and an article on Pichot's History of Charles Edward, 
in the North American Review, Jan. 1847 



380 FLORA M'DONALD. 

lacrifice of the chivalrous Mackenzie. Landing on the 
.sland of South Uist, he found a temporary shelter at 
Ormaclet with Laird M'Donald ; but being traced 
thither by the keen scent of his pursuers, it seemed that 
a miracle alone could save him from the net so closely 
drawn. After many projects for his escape had been 
proposed, and laid aside, the wife of the laird suggested 
the plan of disguising him in female attire, and passing 
him for a travelling waiting-maid; but it was difficult 
to find a lady willing to undertake the enterprise. Two 
who were appealed to, declined it from fear of the con- 
sequences. In this emergency she turned to the young 
and beautiful Flora M'Donald, the daughter of a petty 
laird in the same island, whose mother, after her father's 
death, had married an adherent of the government, 
Captain M'Donald, of Armadale, in the Isle of Skye 
This stepfather was then in command of a company of 
the clan M'Donald, in the service of King George, and 
searching for the Prince. Flora had come to visit her 
relations, on her return from Edinburgh, where she had 
just completed her education. She was a simple, kind- 
hearted girl, possessed of strong natural sense, and a 
resolution firm to accomplish whatever she decided to 
undertake. She had never seen the Prince ; but to the 
proposition made to her, and her kinswoman's question, 
"Will you expose yourself to this danger, to aid the 
Prince's escape from his enemies ?" she replied at once, 
" I am willing to put my life in jeopardy to save his 
Royal Highness from the dangers that beset him." In 
this heroic determination, she was actuated not so much 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 381 

by attachment to the house of Stuart, as by r; gen- 
erous wish to succor the distressed. 

O'Neill, ah officer to whom Lady M'Donald entrusted 
the business, and MacEachen, accompanied Flora to 
Carradale, a rocky, wild, sequestered place, where the 
royal fugitive had his place of concealment in a damp 
and unwholesome cavern. They found him alone, 
broiling a small fish upon the coals, for his solitary 
repast. Startled at their approach, he made ready to 
defend his life ; but soon discovered that the new 
comers were his friends, and entered with delight into 
their plan for his escape. The preparations for leaving 
the island being completed, the maiden secured a pass- 
port from her step-father for herself and companions, 
including a stout Irishwoman, whom she called Betsey 
Burke, pretending she had engaged her as an assistant 
in spinning for her mother in Armadale. On the 28th 
of June, 1746, the party set out from Uist in an open 
boat for the Isle of Skye. A violent storm overtook 
them, and they were tossed about all night ; the heroic 
girl, anxious only for the safety of her charge, encou- 
raged the oarsmen to exert their utmost strength, while 
the Prince sang songs he had learned round the High- 
land watctifires, and recited wild legends of the olden 
time. At dawn they approached the island. The 
sight of a band of soldiers drawn up on the shore, 
turned them back ; the soldiers fired after them, and 
vhile the balls were whistling past, they pursued their 
course eastwardly, landing about noon, near the resi- 
lence of Sir Alexander M'Donald, the Laird of Sleite 















382 FLORA M'DONALD. 






Concealing the Prince in a hollow rock on the beach, 










Flora repaired to the chieftain's house, the hall of which 










was full of officers in search of the royal fugitive. The 










Laird himself, at that time absent, was known to be 










hostile to his pretensions ; but Flora appealed not in 










vain to the generous enthusiasm of woman. Lady 










M'Donald's compassionate heart responded to her con- 










fidence ; she sent refreshments to the weary wanderer 










by the Laird of Kingsburg, her husband's Baillie, and 










as it was deemed safest to depart immediately, he 










accompanied them to Kingsburg. The country people 










whom they met returning from church looked with 










much curiosity at the coarse, clumsy, long-legged 










female figure with the Laird and the maiden ; but they 










reached unsuspected the place of their destination, and 










Kingsburg conducted tho Prince to his house, where he 










was to pass the night. His wife came to receive him 










and his guests, and it is said, was terrified on saluting 










the supposed Betty, at the rough beard which encoun- 










tered her cheek. The next morning Flora accom- 










panied the Prince to Portaree, and bade him adieu, 










as he was to embark for the Isle of Raarsay. At part- 










ing, he kissed her, and said, " Gentle, faithful maiden. I 










hope we shall yet meet in the Palace Royal." But the 










youthful heroine never again met the Prince who owed 










so much to woman's tenderness, and the loyal feelings 










of Scottish hearts. 










After the escape of Charles Edward to France, the 










indignation of the officers of the crown fell upon those 










who had aided his flight. Flora was arrested with 






- 





WOMEV OF THK REVOLUTION'. 



383 



others, and imprisoned in the Tower of London, to b 
tried for her life. The nobility of England became 
deeply interested in the beautiful and high-spirited girl, 
who, without any political or religious bias, had ex 
hibited such romantic devotion to the cause of royalty. 
Prince Frederick, the heir apparent, visited her in prison, 
and by his exertions at length succeeded in obtaining 
her release. After being set at liberty, she was intro- 
duced into the court society by Lady Primrose, a par- 
tisan of Charles Edward, and a person of wealth and 
distinction. It is said that Flora's dwelling in London 
was surrounded by the carriages of the aristocracy, 
who came to pay their respects and congratulate her on 
her release ; and that presents were showered upon her, 
more than sufficient to meet the expenses of her de- 
tention and return. The tradition in Carolina is, that 
" she received gold ornaments and coin enough to fill a 
half bushel." She was presented to George the Second : 
and when he asked how she dared render assistance to 
the enemy of his crown, she answered with modest 
simplicity, "It was no more than I would have done for 
your Majesty, had you been in a like situation." For 
her escort back to Scotland, she chose a fellow-prisoner, 
Malcolm M'Leod, who used afterwards to boast, " that 
he came to London to be hanged, but rode bnck in a 
chaise-and-four with Flora M'Donald." 

Four years after her return she married Allen M'Don- 
ald, son of the Laird of Kingsburg, and thus became 
eventually mistress of the mansion in which the Prince 
had passed his first night in the Isle of Skye. He> - e 



384 



FLORA W'iONALD. 



Doctor Johnson and Mr. Boswell were hosj itably enter- 
tained in 1773; at which time Flora, though a matron 
and a mother, was stil' blooming and graceful, and full 
of the enthusiasm of her yout.i. She put her distinguish- 
ed guest to sleep in the same bed which the unfortunate 
Charles Edward had occupied. It is mentioned in the 
tour to the Hebrides, that M 'Donald then contemplated 
a removal to America, on account of pecuniary em- 
barassments. 

Tn 1775, with his family and some friends, he landed 
in North Carolina, so long a place of refuge for the 
distressed Scottish families, and settled first at Cross 
Creek so called from the intersection of two streams 
the seat of the present town of Fayetteville. It was' 
a stormy period, and those who came to seek peace 
and security found disturbance and civil war. The 
Colonial governor summoned the Highland emigrants 
to support the royal cause ; General Donald M'Donald, 
a kinsman of Flora's, who was the most influential 
among them, erected his standard at Cross Creek, and 
on the first of February, -1776, sent forth his proclama- 
tion, calling on all his true and loyal countrymen to 
join him Flora herself espoused the cause of the 
English monarch w'th the same spirit and enthusiasm 
she had shown thirty years before in the cause of the 
Prince she saved. She accompanied her husband when 
he went to join the army, and tradition even says she' 
was seen among the soldiers, animating their courage 
when on the eve of their march. Though this may be 
an exaggeration, there is no doubt that her influence 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 449 

the first, man who approached her. All were tenor* 
struck ; for Nancy's obliquity of sight caused each to 
imagine himself her destined victim. At length one of 
them made a movement to advance upon her ; and true 
to her threat, she fired and shot him dead! Seizing 
another musket, she levelled it instantly, keeping the 
others at bay. By this time Sukey had returned fiom 
the spring ; and taking up the remaining gun, she carried 
it out of the house, saying to her mother " Daddy and 
them will soon be here." This information much in- 
creased the alarm of the tories, who perceived the im- 
portance of recovering their arms immediately ; but 
each one hesitated, in the confident belief that Mrs. 
Hart had one eye at least on him for a mark. They 
proposed a general rush. No time was to be lost by 
the bold woman ; she fired again, and brought down 
another of the enemy. Sukey had another musket in 
readiness, which her mother took, and posting herself in 
the doorway, called upon the party to surrender " their 

d tory carcasses to a whig woman." They agreed 

to surrender, and proposed to " shake hands upon the 
strength of it." But the victor, unwilling to trust their 
word, kept them in their places for a few minutes, till 
her husband and his neighbors came up to the door. 
They were about to shoot down the tories, but Mrs. 
Hart stopped them, saying they had surrendered to her; 
and her spirit being up to boiling heat, she swore that 
"shooting was too good for them." This hint was 
enough ; the dead man was dragged out of the house ; 
and the wounded tory and the others were hung. 



XL 



REBECCA BIDDLE. 

THE husband of this lady, Colonel Clement 
was among the first of those who took an active part on 
the breaking out of the war, resolved to sacrifice every 
thing in the cause. Both he and his wife were members 
of the Society of Friends, and as a consequence of his 
taking up arms he was "read out of meeting" by that 
peace-loving community ; while Mrs. Biddle, as ardent a 
patriot expressing her approval of the war, and en- 
couraging her husband in his course was subjected to 
similar discipline. 

Mrs. Biddle gave up the comforts of home to join the 
army with her husband, and was with the camp during 
the greater part of the war. With Mrs. Greene and 
Mrs. Knox, who were also with the army, she formed a 
lasting friendship, and was intimate with Mrs. Wash- 
ington being moreover on terms of personal friendship 
with the Commander-in-chief, for whom she entertained 
the highest respect and admiration. His letters to her 
husband, with whom a correspondence was kept up 
during his life, are still in the possession of her children. 
This intimacy, with the unusual facilitie? she enjoyed 



REBECCA DIDDLE. 



451 



for observing the events of the war, and the characters 
of the distinguished men engaged in it, render it a mat- 
ter of regret that the spirited anecdotes and graphic de- 
tails, so well worthy of being embodied in history, with 
which her conversation abounded in after life, should 
not have been recorded as they fell from her lips. One 
or two of these, however, received from a member of 
her family, may illustrate her character. 

When the American army was encamped near the 
Brandy wine, Mrs. Biddle was informed by an aid of 
Washington, that a large British foraging party was 
within the distance ofj a few miles ; that orders had been 
issued for a party to start before day for the pur- 
pose of cutting off their retreat, and that, as an en- 
gagement might be expected, the women were directed 
to leave the camp. Mrs. Biddle, not willing to consider 
herself included in the order, told General Washington, 
when an opportunity of addressing him occurred, that as 
the officers would return hungry and fatigued from the 
expedition, she would, if allowed to stay, make provision 
for their refreshment. He assured her she might remain 
in safety, but recommended that she should hold herself 
in readiness to remove at a moment's warning, promis- 
ing, in the event of any disaster, to send her timely 
information. She immediately despatched her servant 
through the neighborhood to collect provisions; and all 
the food cooked that day in the camp was thus procured 
by her. The enemy, informed by spies of the move- 
ment against them, made a hasty retreat, and at a late 
hour the American troops returned aftei a fatiguing 



452 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

march. Mrs. Biddle had the pleasure of giving the din- 
ner she had provided to at least a hundred officers ; each 
remarking, as he entered, " Madam, we hear that you 
feed the army to-day," which she really did till not a 
crust remained. 

Among her guests on that occasion was the gallant 
La Fayette, who on his last visit paid his respects to 
her in Philadelphia. One of the Revolutionary remi- 
niscences which they talked over in the presence of 
her deeply interested children and friends, was that en- 
tertainment, to which the General alluded with marked 
satisfaction. He also recalled to Mrs. Biddle's memory 
the suffering condition of the army at Valley Forge, 
where the want of provisions was at one time provi- 
dentially supplied by a flight of wild pigeons in such 
vast numbers, and so near the ground, that they were 
killed with clubs and poles. Even the officers were at 
that time so destitute of decent clothing, that it was 
jocosely remarked, that a single suit of dress uniform 
served them all for dining in, when invited by turns to 
headquarters, where the repast consisted of pigeons 
prepared in as many ways as the cook could devise. 

In no instance did the enthusiasm and patriotic spirit 
which animated the heroines of that day, shine more 
brightly than in this high-minded woman. The purest 
and most disinterested love of country induced a cheer- 
ful submission, on her part, to all the inconveniences 
hardships, and losses rendered inevitable by a protracted 
war ; and often, in subsequent years, did her detail of 
those difficulties serve for the amusement of her family 



MRS. GRAYDON. 



453 



circle. Her at.achment to General Washington and 
his family continued through life ; and during their resi- 
dence in Philadelphia, she and Colonel Biddle were 
always honored guests at their table. She survived her 
husband many years, living till upwards of seventy, and 
to the last retaining in all their strength and freshness, 
the faculties and feelings of her prime. She ever loved 
to dwell on the signal display of the hand of Providence 
in the contest with the mother country, and whenever 
allusion was made to the Revolutionary war, it was a 
source of new delight to her children to hear her " fight 
her battles o'er again." 



MRS. GRAYDON has been made known to us in her 
son's "Memoirs" of his own life and times. She was 
the eldest of four daughters ; was born in the island of 
Barbadoes, and when but seven years old came with her 
family to Philadelphia. Her father was a German who 
had been engaged in trade in Barbadoes her mother a 
native of Glasgow ; but notwithstanding the want of 
national affinity, and the still greater differences of 
dialect and religion, there was no lack of harmony in 
their judgment with respect to the training of their 
children, who were brought up in strict principles, and 
after good exarr.ple in both parents. The mother died 
before the commencement, of hostilities, and it is not 
ascertained at what time the subject of this notice mar- 
ried Mr. Graydon. She was pronounced by one of her 
acquaintances (Dr. Baird), who has transmitted the 



454 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 



record to posterity, to be " the finest girl in Philadelphia, 
having the manners of a lady bred at court." Her 
house was the seat of hospitality, and the resort of 
numerous guests of distinction, including officers of the 
British army. The Baron de Kalb was often there; 
and among persons of rank from the mother country, 
were Lady Moore, the wife of Sir Henry Moore, and 
her daughter ; Lady Susan O'Brien and her husband ; 
Major George Etherington, and others. Sir William 
Draper, who attained the rank of general in the British 
army, and, in 1779, was appointed Lieutenant Governor 
of Minorca, was also a frequent guest. 

The account of Mrs. Graydon's visit to her son 
Alexander, who had been taken prisoner at the battle 
of Fort Washington, has interest as exhibiting the 
strength of her maternal affection, with a fortitude and 
patriotic spirit worthy of an American matron. After 
having addressed a letter to General Washington, who 
could do nothing to accomplish the release of her son, 
she resolved on going herself to New York, notwith- 
standing the opposition of her friends on account of the 
difficulties of travelling, for the purpose of soliciting his 
freedom on parole, from the British commander. She 
accordingly purchased a horse and chair, and set out 
for Philadelphia, her residence being ihen at Reading. 
On her arrival in the city, one Fisher, a distant relative, 
was officious in tendering his service to drive her to 
New York, and the offer was accepted ; but when they 
had nearly reached Princeton, they were overtaken, to 
their great astonishment, by a detachment of American 



MHS GRAYDON. 

cavalry Fisher, it seems, being a loyalist. The lady 
found in such evil company was taken also in to custody 
and after some delay, was obliged to retrace her road to 
Philadelphia, under an escort of horse. When they 
reached Bristol on their return, means were found for 
the prisoner to go on without the chair, and Mrs. Gray- 
don was accompanied by Colonel M'llvaine, an old 
friend, to the head quarters of the American army, 
where proper measures could be taken for her proceed- 
ing within the British lines. After being conducted 
to the lines, she was committed to the courtesy of some 
Hessian officers. It happened, during the ceremony 
of the flag, that a gun was somewhere discharged 
on the American side. This infringement of military 
etiquette was furiously resented by the German offi- 
cers; and their vehement gestures, and expressions 
of indignation, but imperfectly understood by the lady, 
alarmed her not a little. She supported herself as 
well as she could, under this inauspicious introduc- 
tion into the hostile territory, and had her horse led 
to the quarters of the general who commanded in 
Brunswick, where she alighted, and was shown into 
a parlor. Weary and faint from fatigue and agitation, 
she partook of some refreshment offered her, and then 
went to deliver a letter of introduction she had received 
from Mr. Vanhorne of Boundbrook to a gentleman in 
Brunswick. Five of the Misses Vanhorne, his nieces, 
were staying at the house, and with them Mrs. Graydon 
became well acquainted, as they avowed whig principles. 
Their uncle had been compelled to leave Flatbush on 



456 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

account of his attachment to the American cause ; but 
was permitted not long afterwards to return to his 
house there, accompanied by Mrs. Vanhorne and he? 
daughters. 

After a detention of a week or more at Brunswick, 
Mrs. Graydon embarked in a sloop or shallop for New 
York. The vessel was fired upon fiom the shore, but 
no one was injured, and she reached in safety the 
destined port. Mr. Bache allowed Mrs. Graydon to 
occupy his part of Mr. Suydam's house during her 
stay at Flatbush. Here, in the society of her son, her 
accustomed flow of good spirits returned: she even 
gave one or two tea drinkings to the " rebel clan," and 
"learned from Major Williams the art of making Johnny 
cakes in the true Maryland fashion." These recreations 
did not interfere with the object of her expedition, nor 
could her son dissuade her from her purpose of proving 
the result of an application. When she called in New 
York on Mr. Galloway, who was supposed to have 
much influence at headquarters, he advised her to 
apply to Sir William Howe by memorial, and offered 
to draw up one for her. In a few minutes he produced 
what accorded with his ideas on the subject, and read 
to her what he had written, commencing with 
" Whereas Mrs. Graydon has always been a true and 
faithful subject of His Majesty George the Third ; and 
whereas her son, an inexperienced youth, has been 
ieluded by the arts of designing men " 

" Oh, sir," cried the mother " that will never do ! 
ny son cannot obtain his release on those terms/ 



MRS. GRAYDON. 



457 



"Then, madam" replied the officer, somewhat peevishly 
" I can do nothing for you !" 

Though depressed by her first disappointment, Mrs. 
Graydon would not relinquish her object ; but continued 
to advise with every one she thought able or willing to 
assist her. In accordance with the counsel received from 
a friend, she at length resolved upon a direct application 
to General Howe. 

After several weeks of delay, anxiety and disappoint- 
ment, through which her perseverance was unwearied, 
the design was put in execution. Without having in- 
formed her son of what she meant to do, lest he might 
prevent her, through his fear of improper concessions 
on her part, she went one morning to New York, and 
boldly waited upon Sir William Howe. She was shown 
into a parlor, and had a few moments to consider how 
she should address him who possessed the power to 
grant her request, or to destroy her hopes. He entered 
the room, and was near her, before she perceived him. 

" Sir William Howe I presume ?" said Mrs. Gray- 
don, rising. He bowed ; she made known her business 
a mother's feelings doubtless giving eloquence to her 
speech and entreated permission for her son to go 
home with her on parole. 

" And then immediately to take up arms against us, I 
suppose !" said the General. 

" By no means, sir ; I solicit his release upon parole ; 
that will restrain him until exchanged ; but on my own 
part 1 will go further, and say that if I have any influ- 
ence over him, he shall never take up arms again " 



458 WOMEN OF THE kEVOlLTION. 

' Here," says Graydon, " the feelings of the patriot were 
wholly lost in those of the 'war-detesting' mother." 
The General seemed to hesitate ; but on the earnest 
renewal of her suit, gave the desired permission. 

The mother's joy at her success was the prelude to 
a welcome summons to the prisoners, to repair to 
New York for the purpose of being transported in a 
flag-vessel to Elizabethtown. The captives having been 
kept in the dark on subjects concerning which they most 
desired information the state of the army and public 
affairs ^one of those left behind furnished Graydon with 
a kind of cypher, by which intelligence could be conveyed 
to him. The disguise consisted in the substitution of 
one piece of information for another ; for instance a 
lady named, was to signify the army ; if that was pros- 
perous, the fact was to be indicated by announcing the 
health and charming looks of the belle in question ; there 
being a scale in the key, by which intelligence might b$ 
graduated. 

After some adventures, the travellers reached Phila- 
delphia, where they dined at President Hancock's. He 
had opposed Mrs. Graydon's scheme of going to New 
York ; and though apparently pleased with her success, 
could not be supposed cordially gratified by an event 
which might give to the adverse cause any reputation 
for clemency. Such is the policy of war and so stern 
a thing is patriotism ! 



ALICE IZABD. 



459 



Alice Izard was the daughter of Peter De Lancey, and 
niece to James De Lancey, Lieutenant Governor of 
the province of New York. It is remarkable how 
many women of this distinguished family have mar- 
ried eminent men. Susan, the daughter of Colonel 
Stephen De Lancey, whose first husband was Lieu- 
tenant Colonel William Johnson, became the wife of 
Lieutenant General Sir Hudson Lowe, and was the 
beautiful Lady Lowe praised by Bonaparte. Charlotte 
De Lancey, who married Sir David Dundas, did not 
escape her share of trials during the war. When their 
house at Bloomingdale was burned, her mother hid her- 
self in a kennel, and not being able on account of her 
deafness to discover when the enemy departed, nar- 
rowly escaped death. On a visit afterwards from a 
party of soldiers, the young girl was put into a bin for 
concealment by the servants, and covered with oats, into 
which the soldiers, who were in search of a prisoner they 
might hold as a hostage, plunged their bayonets repeat- 
edly, but luckily did not touch her. A Miss De 
Lancey was the wife of Sir William Draper. In later 
years one of this family married a distinguished Ameri- 
can, whose genius is the pride of his country.* 

Alice was married in 1767, to Ralph Izard ; and after 
some years accompanied him to Europe. After the 
breaking out of the war, her anxious -desire was to re- 
turn with him to this country ; but not being able to do 
so, she remained in France during his absence, devoting 
aerself t> the care and improvement of her children. 
J. Fenimor* Cooper. 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

On their arrival at home, after the establishment of 
peace, their estate was found in a state of iamentable 
dilapidation ; but the energy and good management of 
Mrs. Izard soon restored a degree of order, and rendered 
"the Elms" the old family residence the seat of 
domestic comfort and liberal hospitality. During her 
husband's illness, which lasted seven years, she was his 
devoted nurse, while the management of his large estate, 
embarrassed by losses sustained during the war, devolved 
upon her. She wrote all his letters of business, besides 
attending to the affairs of her family, then augmented 
by the addition of two orphan grandchildren ; yet found 
time to read to him several hours of every day. The 
charge of two other families of grandchildren was after- 
wards undertaken by her. Notwithstanding these mul- 
tiplied cares, each day was marked by some deed of 
unostentatious charity. Her piety, though deep and 
sincere, was cheerful, for a humble faith directed her 
steps, and taught resignation in trials the most severe 
the loss of many children. In the faithful performance, 
from day to day, of the duties before her, and the pro- 
motion of the good of others, her useful life was closed in 
1832, in the eighty-seventh year of her age. 



AN INTERESTING anecdote is related of another Mrs. 
Ralph Izard, a relative of the patriot, who resided near 
Dorchester, within the range of excursions made by the 
British, at that time in the neighborhood of Charleston. 
When the enemy ventured beyond their ines, th 



MRS. IZARD. 



461 



inhabitants of the country were frequently subjected to 
depredations. The plantation of Mr. Izard, who at that 
time acted as aid-de-camp to the commanding officei 
of the Light Troops, was often visited, but had been 
preserved from destruction by the prudent deportment 
of his wife. She invariably received the officers with 
polite attention, and by the suavity and gentle dignity 
of her manners, disarmed their hostility, and induced 
them to retire without disturbance. On one occasion 
her courage was put to a severe trial. Her husband 
was at home, when the alarm was suddenly given by 
the appearance of a party of British soldiers, from whom 
there was no way of escape, the house being surrounded. 
Mr. Izard hastily concealed himself in a clothes-press, 
while his wife awaited the entrance of his enemies, who 
had been informed of the visit of the master of the 
house, and were determined on his capture. A search 
was instituted, which proving unsuccessful, the soldiers 
threatened to fire the house, unless he surrendered 
himself. In their rage and disappointment, they pro- 
ceeded to outrages they had never before ventured upon ; 
Mr. Izard's wardrobe was robbed, and several of the 
marauders arrayed themselves in his best coats ; valuable 
articles were seized in the presence of the mistress of 
the mansion, and an attempt was even made to force her 
rings from her fingers. Through all this trying scene, 
Mrs. Izard preserved, in a wonderful manner, her firm- 
ness and composure ; her bearing, on which she knew 
her husband's safety depended, was marked with her 
accustomed courtesy and urbanity, and she betrayed no 



462 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

apprehension, notwithstanding the indignities offered, 
So calm, so dignified was her deportment, that the 
plunderers, doubting the correctness of the information 
they had received, and perhaps ashamed of their inso- 
lence, withdrew. No sooner were they gone, than Mr. 
Izard made his escape, and quickly crossing the Ashley, 
gave notice to the Americans on the other side of the 
river of the proximity of the enemy. Meanwhile, the 
British soldiers, returning to the house, again entered 
Mrs. Izard's apartment, and hurst open the press, which 
they had before forgotten to examine. Finding no one 
there, they retired ; but were speedily intercepted by a 
body of cavalry that had pushed across Bacon's bridge, 
and so completely routed, that but a few of their number 
returned within their lines to relate the disaster. The 
property taken from Mr. Izard's house was recovered, 
and restored by the conquerors to the owner, with a 
compliment to the matron whose strength of spirit 
had oroved the means of their obtaining the victory. 



ILL 



THE WOMEN OF KENTUCKY. 

MANY were the brilliant exploits of the pioneers of 
Kentucky, and among them many a tale of woman's 
fortitude, intrepidity, and heroism, lived long in the 
recollection of those who witnessed or mingled in the 
stirring scenes. No materials can be gathered for ex- 
tended memoirs of those dwellers in the forest, whose 
history, were it recorded, would throw so strong a light 
upon early western life ; but a few detached anecdotes 
illustrative of their trials in the times of civil war 
may be found interesting.* 

The wife of the distinguished pioneer Daniel Boone 

after whom Boone County was named and her 

daughters, were the first white women who stood upon 

<TD 

the banks of the Kentucky River. They removed to 
the new fort, afterwards known as Boonesborough, in 
the summer of 1775. This place soon became the 
central object of Indian hostilities. A cabin, not far 
distant, erected to found a new fort some years after- 
wards, was attacked by the savages, one man and his 
wife killed, and the other, Mr. Duree, mortally wounded. 
See Collir.s's Histo leal Sketches of Kentucky. 



464: WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

His wife, who had barred the door, grasped a rifle, and 
told her husband she would help him to fight, but 
received the answer that he was dying. Having pre- 
sented the gun through several port-holes in quick suc- 
cession, she sat down beside her husband with the 
calmness of despair, and closed his eyes in death. Some 
hours passed, in which nothing more was heard of the 
Indians, and taking her infant in her arms her son, 
three or four years older, following her, she sallied forth 
in desperation to make her way to the fort at White 
Oak Spring. Wandering in the woods, and running 
till she was nearly exhausted, she came at length to the 
trail, and pursuing it, met her father-in-law, with his 
wife and son, on their way to the new station. The 
melancholy tidings changed their course ; they led their 
horses into an adjoining cane brake, unloaded them of 
the baggage, and regained the White Oak Spring before 
daylight. 

The wife of Whitley, another of the enterprising 
hunters whose adventurous exploits have shed a coloring 
of romance over the early history of Kentucky, mani- 
fested a spirit of adventure and a love of independence 
equal to his own. To his observation that he had 
heard a fine report of Kentucky, and thought they 
could obtain a living there with less hard work her 
answer was "Then, Billy, I would go and see;" and 
in two days he was on his way with axe and plough, 
and gun and kettle. She afterwards collected his war- 
riors to pursue the Indians. This was on an occasion 
when the emergency called for prompt action the camp 



THE WOMEN OF KENTUCKY. 



465 



of an emigrant named M'Clure having been assaulted in 
the night and six whites killed. His wife fled into the 
woods with her four children ; but the cries of the infant 
she bore in her arms betrayed her place of retreat. She 
heard the savages coming towards the spot, eager to im- 
brue their hands in innocent blood; she could have 
escaped with three of the children by abandoning the 
youngest ; the night, the grass, and the bushes, offered 
concealment but how could the mother leave her 
helpless babe to certain destruction ? She resolved 
to die with it. The other affrighted little ones clung 
to her for protection ; she dared not bid them fly and 
hide themselves, lest the savages should discovei 
them ; she hoped her arms might shield them, should 
the inhuman enemy find them at her side. The 
Indians came, and quickly extinguished both hopes 
and fears in the blood of three of the children. The 
hapless mother and infant were taken to their camp 
where she was compelled to cook the meal on which 
the murderers feasted. In the morning they pursued 
their way, forcing her to accompany them, riding an 
unbroken horse. 

Whitley was not at home when the news of this out- 
rage was brought to his station. His wife immediately 
despatched a messenger for him, and sent, in the mean- 
time, to warn and assemble his company. When he 
returned, he found twenty-one men awaiting his orders. 
Directing his course to the war-path, he gained it in 
advance of the savages, who had stopped to divide their 
plunder; concealed his men, and opening a deadly fire 



466 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

apon them as they approached, soon dispersed them, 
and rescued the captives. 

The siege of Bryant's station, near Lexington, which 
took place in August, 1782, gave occasion for a brilliant 
display of female intrepidity. The garrison was supplied 
with water from a spring at some distance from the 
fort, near which a considerable body of the Indians had 
been placed in ambush. Another party in full view 
was ordered to open a fire at a given time, with the 
hope of enticing the besieged to an engagement without 
the walls, when the remaining force could seize the 
opportunity of storming one of the gates. The more 
experienced of the garrison felt satisfied that Indians 
were concealed near the spring, but conjectured that 
they would not unmask themselves, until the firing on 
the opposite side of the fort should induce them to 
believe that the men had come out and were engaged 
with the other party. The need of water was urgent, and 
yielding to the necessity of the case, they summoned all 
the women. "Explaining to them the circumstances 
in which they were placed, and the improbability that 
any injury would be offered them, until the firing had 
been returned from the opposite side of the fort, they 
urged them to go in a body to the spring, and bring up 
each a bucket full of water. Some, as was natural, 
had no relish for the undertaking, and asked why the 
men could not bring water as well as themselves, 
observing that they were not bullet-proof, and the 
Indians made no distinction between male and female 
scalps. To this it was answered, that the women were 



THE WOMEN OF KENTUCKY. 467 

in the habit of bringing water every morning to the 
fort ; and that if the Indians saw them engaged as usual, 
it would induce them to think their ambuscade was 
undiscovered ; and that they would not unmask them- 
selves for the sake of firing at a few women, when they 
hoped, by remaining concealed a few moments longer, 
to obtain complete possession of the fort. That if men 
should go down to the spring, the Indians would immedi- 
ately suspect something was wrong, would despair of 
succeeding by ambuscade, and would instantly rush 
upon them, follow them into the fort, or shoot them 
down at the spring. 

"The decision was soon made. A few of the 
boldest declared their readiness to brave the danger, 
and the younger and more timid rallying in the rear of 
these veterans, they all marched down in a body to the 
spring, within point blank shot of more than five hundred 
Indian warriors ! Some of the girls could not help 
betraying symptoms of terror ; but the married women, 
in general, moved with a steadiness and composure that 
completely deceived the Indians. Not a shot was fired. 
The party were permitted to fill their buckets, one after 
another, without interruption ; and although Uieir steps 
became quicker and quicker, on their return, and when 
near the fort, degenerated Into a rather unmilitary 
celerity, with some little crowding in passing the gate, 
yet not more than one-fifth of the water was spilled, 
and the eyes of the youngest had not dilated to more 
than double their ordinary size."* 

M'Clung's Sketches of Western Adventure 



468 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

At the siege of Logan's fort, while the men composing 
tne small garrison were constantly at their posts, 
engaged in a vigorous defence, the women were actively 
employed in moulding bullets. In 1779, General Simon 
Kenton owed his liberty to female compassion. He 
was one of the most celebrated pioneers of the west, 
and was honored by having his name given to one of 
the counties of Kentucky. In an expedition for taking 
horses from the Indians, he was captured, and for eight 
months suffered incredible cruelties at their hands, till 
at length, being transferred to a Canadian trader, he 
was delivered to the British commander at Detroit. 
Here, while he worked for the garrison, his hard lot 
excited the commiseration of Mrs. Harvey, the wife 
of an Indian trader. His exterior was calculated to 
interest in his fate the gentle and enthusiastic sex; he 
was but twenty-four years of age, and according to one 
who served with him, "was fine looking, with a digni- 
fied and manly deportment, and a soft, pleasing voice, 
being wherever he went a favorite among the ladies." 
He appealed to Mrs. Harvey for assistance, and she 
promised at his solicitation to aid him and two other 
Kentuckian prisoners in their escape, and to procure 
them rifles and ammunition, which were indispensable 
on a journey through the "wilderness. It was not long 
before she found opportunity to execute her benevolent 
design. A large concourse of Indians was assembled 
at Detroit, in western parlance, " to take a spree ;" and 
before indulging in their potations, several stacked their 
guns near Mrs. Harvey's house. As soon as it was 



THE WOMEN DF KENTUCKY. 469 

dark, she stole noiselessly out, selected three of the best 
looking, hid them quickly in her garden in a patch of peas, 
and, careful to avoid observation, hastened to Kenton's 
lodgings, to inform him of her success. Her directions 
were, that he should come at midnight to the back of 
the garden, where he would find a ladder, by means of 
which he could climb the fence and get the guns. She 
had previously collected such articles of ammunition, 
food and clothing, as would be necessary in their journey, 
and with Kenton's knowledge had hid them in a hollow 
tree some distance from the town. No time was lost 
by the prisoners in their secret preparations for flight. 
At the hour appointed, they came to the end of the 
garden ; the ladder was there, and Kenton climbing over, 
saw Mrs. Harvey already waiting for him, seated by 
the place where she had concealed the guns. No 
woman ever appeared half so beautiful in the eyes of 
the grateful young hunter. His thanks were expressed 
with the eloquence of true feeling ; but she would not 
suffer the fugitives to waste a moment; the night was 
far advanced, the shoutings of the Indians, in their 
drunken revelry, could be heard all around them ; a few 
hours would reveal their escape and the loss of the guns, 
and instant pursuit would be made. She bade him 
make haste to be gone ; and with a brief farewell Kenton 
joined his companions, with whom, hastening from the 
city, he travelled towards the prairies of the Wabash 
He never ceased to remember and acknowledge, in 
language glowing with gratitude and admiration, the 
kindness of the trader's wife; but when the lapse oi 



470 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

half a century had changed the aspect of the whole 
country, still delighted to dwell on this adventure, saying 
that he had seen her a thousand times in his reveries as 
he had last beheld her "sitting by the guns in the 
garden." 

The presence of mind, and cool deliberate courage of 
Mrs. Daviess, of Lincoln County, brought about the de- 
liverance of herself and family from the savages. Early 
one morning, her husband having left the house for a few 
moments, four Indians rushed into the room where she 
was still in bed with her children. They ordered her, 
by signs, to rise immediately ; and one of them inquired 
how far it was to the next house. She instantly com- 
prehended that it was important to make the distance 
appear as great as possible, for the purpose of detaining 
them at the house till her husband, who had evidently 
taken the alarm, should have time to bring assistance. 
Counting on her fingers, she made them understand that 
it was eight miles. She then rose and dressed herself; 
after which she showed the savages various articles of 
clothing one after another their pleased examination 
delaying them nearly two hours. Another Indian, who 
had been in pursuit of her husband, now entered the 
house, and holding up in her sight his hands stained 
with pokeberry juice, at the same time using violent 
gestures and brandishing his tomahawk, endeavored to 
persuade her that the fugitive had been slain. Her 
quick eye, however, at once discovered the deception; 
and she rejoiced in the evidence that hez husband had 
escaped uninjured. 



THE WOMEN OF KENTUCKY. 



471 



The house was now plundered of every thing that 
could be carried away, and the savages set out, taking 
with them Mrs. Daviess and all her children as prisoners. 
The mother's care was in requisition to provide for their 
safety, and she was obliged to make the two oldest carry 
the younger ones, for well she knew that death would be 
the penalty of any failure of strength or speed. The 
Indians watched them closely, that no twigs nor weeds 
were broken off, as they passed along, which might 
serve to mark the course they had taken. Even the 
length of Mrs. Daviess' dress interfering, as they 
thought, with their movements, one of them drew his 
knife and cut off some inches of it. 

Meanwhile this courageous woman was revolving 
projects for accomplishing a deliverance. She deter 
mined at length, if not rescued in the course of the day, 
to make a desperate attempt at night, when the Indians 
should be asleep, by possessing herself of their arms, 
killing as many as she could, and inducing the belief 01 
a night attack to frighten the others. To such ex- 
tremity was female resolution driven in those times. 
Those who knew Mrs. Daviess entertained little doubt 
that her enterprise would have succeeded ; but she was 
prevented from the perilous attempt being overtaken 
and rescued by nine o'clock, by her husband and a party 
of friends. 

Another act of courage displayed by Mrs. Daviess 
strikingly illustrates her character. A marauder who 
had committed extensive depredations on the property 
of Mr. Daviess and his neighbors, was pursued by them 



472 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 



with the purpose of bringing him to justice. During 
the pursuit, not aware that they were on his track, he 
came to the house, armed with gun and tomahawk, 
to obtain refreshment, and found Mrs. Daviess alone 
with her children. She placed a bottle of whiskey on 
the table, and requested him to help himself. While he 
was drinking, she went to the door, took his gun, which 
he had set there on his entrance, and placing herself in 
the doorway, cocked the weapon and levelled it at him. 
He started up, but she ordered him, on pain of instant 
death, to sit down, and remain quiet. The terrified 
intruder asked what he had done ; she replied that he 
had stolen her husband's property, that he was .her 
prisoner, and she meant to stand guard over him. She 
kept him thus, not daring to make the slightest move- 
ment towards escape, till her husband and his party re- 
turned and took him into custody. 

The wife of Joseph Russell, who, with her children, 
was taken captive, had the presence of mind, when on 
their march, to leave signs which might show the 
direction they had taken, by occasionally breaking oft* 
a twig and scattering along their route pieces of a white 
handkerchief which she had torn in fragments ; so that 
General Logan's party found no difficulty in the pursuit. 
At the house of Mr. Woods, near the Crab orchard in 
Lincoln County, a singular adventure occurred. He 
had gone one morning to the station, not expecting to 
return till night, and leaving his family, which consisted 
only of his wife, a young daughter, and a lame negro 
man. Mrs. Woods was at a short distance from her 



THE WOMEN OF KENTUCKY. 473 

cabin, when she saw several Indians approaching it. 
Screaming loudly to give the alarm, she ran to reach 
the house before them, and succeeded ; but before she 
could close the door, one of the savages had pushed his 
way into the house. He was instantly grappled with 
by the negro, a scuffle ensued, and both fell on the 
floor, the black man underneath. Mrs. Woods could 
render no assistance, having to exert all her strength in 
keeping the door closed against the party without ; but 
tne lame domestic, holding the Indian tightly in his 
arms, called to the young girl to take the axe from 
under the bed and despatch him by a blow on the head. 
Self-preservation demanded instant obedience, and after 
an ineffectual blow, the Indian was killed. The negro 
then proposed to his mistress to let in another of those 
still trying to force open the door, and dispose of him 
in the same manner ; but the experiment was thought 
too dangerous. Shortly after, some men from the 
station discovered the situation of the family, and soon 
scattered the besiegers. 

It was at the Blue Lick Springs, the most noted 
watering place in the west, that the bloody battle was 
fought with the Indians which shrouded Kentucky in 
mourning, and is only less famous than Braddock's de- 
feat, in the annals of savage warfare. A romantic inci- 
dent is related as having occurred after that fatal 
action.* Among the unfortunate captives who had 
survived the ordeal of the gauntlet, and had been paint- 

* Judge Robertson's Address on the Fourth of July, at Camp Madi- 
*on, in 1843 



474 WOMEN OP THE REVOLUTION. 

ed black by the savages, as devoted to torture and death, 
was an excellent husband and father. By some unac- 
countable freak of clemency, his life was spared when 
ail his fellow prisoners were butchered. For about a 
year his friends believed him numbered with the slain of 
that disastrous day. His wife was wooed by another ; 
but continued to hope against hope that he yet lived 
and would return to her. Persuaded, at length, through 
the expostulations of others, that her affectionate instinct 
was a delusion, she reluctantly yielded a consent to the 
second nuptials, which, however, she postponed several 
times, declaring that she found it impossible to divest 
herself of the belief that her husband lived. Again she 
submitted to the judgment of friends, and the day of her 
marriage was appointed. Just before the dawn of that 
day, when we may suppose her wakeful from reflection, 
the crack of a rifle was heard near her lonely cabin. 
Startled by the familiar sound, she leaped out "like a 
liberated fawn," exclaiming as she sprang towards the 
door, " That's John's gun !" and in an instant was 
clasped in the arms of her lost husband. In poetical 
justice to the disappointed suitor, it should perhaps be 
mentioned, that nine years afterwards the same husband 
was killed at " St. Glair's defeat" and that in proper 
time he obtained the hand of the fair widow. The 
scene of this occurrence was in Garrard County, 
Kentucky. 

An incident that occurred at a fort on Green River, 
shows the magnanimity which the dangers besetting the 
emigrants of that period often gave opportunity to exer- 



THE WOMEN OF KENTUCKY. 475 

cise. Several young persons belonging to the fort were 
pulling flax in one of the distant fields. They were 
joined by two of their mothers, the younger carrying 
an infant. The whole party was attacked by some In- 
dians, who rushed from the woods, and pursued them 
towards the fort, yelling and firing upon them. The 
elder of the two mothers, recollecting in her flight that 
the younger, a small and feeble woman, was encumber- 
ed with her child, turned back in the face of the enemy, 
who were still fifing, and. rending the air with hideous 
yells, snatched the babe from its almost exhausted 
mother, and ran with it to the fort. She was twice shot 
at when the foe was near, and one arrow passed through 
her sleeve : but she escaped without injury. 

The attack on the house of John Merrill, in Nelson 
County, Kentucky, is related differently in some particu- 
lars by different authorities ; but they agree in citing it 
as a remarkable instance of female heroism.* Merrill 
was alarmed at midnight by the barking of the dog, and 
on opening the door, was fired upon by several Indians. 
He fell back wounded, and the door was instantly closed 
by his wife, who, an Amazon in strength and courage, 
stood on guard with an axe, and killed or wounded 
four as they attempted to enter through a breach. 
They then climbed to the roof to come down the chim- 
ney. She hastily ripped a feather-bed, and threw it on 
the fire. The blaze and smoke brought down two In- 
dians, whom she despatched. 

* Drake's Book of the Indians. McClung's Sketches of Western 
Adventure, etc. 



XLII. 



ELIZABETH ZANE. 

THE name of Elizabeth Zane is inseparably associated 
with the history of one of the most memorable incidents 
in the annals of border warfare. The most reliable 
account of it is that prepared by Mr. Kiernan for the 
"American Pioneer," a Cincinnati journal devoted to 
sketches relative to the early settlement of the country. 
In this a full history is given of the establishment of 
Fort Fincasfrle afterwards called Fort Henry, in honor 
of Patrick Henry under the superintendence of Ebe- 
nezer Zane and John Caldwell. 

This fort stood on the left bank of the Ohio, a little 
above the mouth of Wheeling Creek, and near the foot 
of a hill that rose abruptly from the inner margin of the 
bottom land. Of this land, the portion next the river 
was cleared, fenced, and planted with corn. Between 
the fort and the base of the hill, the forest had also 
been cleared away, and there stood some twenty or 
thirty log houses ; a rude village, which, though of little 
importance then, was the germ of one of the fairest 
cities that now grace the domain of Virginia. The 
fort covered about three quarters of an acre of ground. 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 477 

and had a block house at each corner, with lines ot 
stout pickets about eight feet high, extending from one 
to the other. Within the enclosure were a number of 
cabins for the use of families, and the principal entrance 
was through a gateway on the side next to the straggling 
village. 

In May and June, 1777, a number of savage forays 
upon the settlements took place, and as the season 
advanced, these depredations became more bold and 
frequent. So imminent was the danger, that the people 
threw aside their private pursuits ; the troops were 
constantly in service, and civil jurisdiction gave place 
for months to martial law throughout the country. In 
September it was ascertained that a large Indian force 
was concentrating on the Sandusky River, under the 
direction of the notorious white renegade and tory, 
Simeon Girty. This savage host, numbering, according 
to various estimates, from three hundred and eighty to 
five hundred warriors, having completed the preparations 
for theii campaign, took up their line of march in the 
direction of Limestone, Kentucky ; and were brought 
by theii leader before the walls of Fort Henry, before 
the scouts employed by Colonel Shepherd were able to 
discover his real design. 

They were made aware of this in the night by seeing 
the smoke caused by the burning of a block-house 
twelve miles below ; and the inhabitants of the village 
and several families in the neighborhood betook them- 
selves to the fort for safety. At break of day, a man 
despatched to bring in some horses having been killed 



478 ELIZABETH ZANE. 

a party of fourteen was set to dislodge the savages 
from a corn-field near the fort. They found themselves 
unexpectedly and furiously assailed by the whole of 
Girty's army, and but two survived the skirmish. Others 
who had pressed to their relief, fell into an ambuscade, 
and two thirds of their number perished. The Indians 
then advanced with loud whoops to take their position 
before the fort. The garrison, which had at first 
numbered forty-two fighting men, was now reduced to 
twelve, including boys. Girty, having posted his forces, 
appeared with a white flag, and demanded their surrender 
in the name of His Britannic Majesty; but Colonel 
Shepherd promptly replied that he should only obtain 
possession of the fort when there remained no longer 
an American soldier to defend it. The little band had 
a sacred charge to protect ; their mothers, sisters, wives 
and children were assembled around them, and they 
resolved to fight to the last extremity, trusting in 
Heaven for a successful issue. 

For many hours, after the opening of the siege, the 
firing of the Indians, eager for butchery, was met by a 
sure and well-directed fire from the garrison, which was 
composed of excellent marksmen. But the stock of 
gunpowder in the fort was nearly exhausted ! A favor- 
able opportunity was offered by the temporary suspen- 
sion of hostilities, to procure a keg of powder known to 
be in the house of Ebenezer Zane, about sixty yards 
from the gate. The commandant explained the matter 
to his men, and, unwilling to order any one upon an 
enterprise so desperate, asked who would volunteer for 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 



479 



the perilous service. The person going and coming 
would necessarily be exposed to the danger of being 
shot down by the Indians ; yet three or four young men 
promptly offered to undertake it. The Colonel an- 
swered that only one man could be spared, and left it to 
them to decide who it should be. While they disputed 
every moment of time being. precious, from the danger 
of a renewal of the attack before the powder could be 
procured the interposition of a young girl put an end 
to their generous contention. Elizabeth, the sister of 
Ebenezer and Silas Zane, came forward, and requested 
that she might be permitted to go for the powder. Her 
proposition at first met with a peremptory refusal ; but 
she renewed her petition with steadfast earnestness ; nor 
would she be dissuaded from her heroic purpose by the 
remonstrances of the commandant and her anxious 
relatives. Either of the young men, it was represented, 
would be more likely than herself to perform the task 
successfully, by reason of greater familiarity with dan- 
ger, and swiftness in running. Her answer was that 
her knowledge of the danger attending the undertaking 
was her reason for offering to perform the service ; her 
loss would not be felt, while not a single soldier could 
be spared from the already weakened garrison. This 
argument prevailed ; her request was granted ; and 
when she had divested herself of such portions of 
clothing as might impede her speed, the gate was opened 
for her to pass out. 

The opening of the gate arrested the attention of 
several Indians straggling through the village, and it 



480 ELIZABETH ZANE. 

could be seen from the fort that the eyes of the savages 
were upon Elizabeth as she crossed the open space 
walking as rapidly as possible, to reach her brother's 
house. But probably deeming a woman's life not worth 
the trouble of taking, or influenced by some sudden 
freak of clemency, they permitted her to pass without 
molestation. 

In a few moments she re-appeared, carrying the pow 
der in her arms, and walked at her utmost speed 
towards the gate. One account says the powder was 
tied in a table-cloth, and fastened round her waist. The 
Indians doubtless suspected, this time, the nature of he 
burden ; they raised their firelocks, and discharged s 
leaden storm at her as she went on ; but the balls whis- 
tled past her harmless and the intrepid girl reached the 
fort in safety with her prize. 

The story of this siege has been preserved in the col- 
lections of Virginia as the most important event in the 
history of Wheeling, and is enumerated among the bat- 
tles of the Revolution. The brothers Silas and Ebene- 
zer Zane received honor for having contributed to its 
final success; nor did the courageous conduct of the 
women pass unacknowledged. The wife of Ebenezer. 
and others, undismayed by the bloody strife going on, 
employed themselves in running bullets and preparing 
patches for the use of the garrison, and by their presence 
at every point where they could perform useful service,; 
and their cneering encouragement of their defenders, 
inspired the soldiers with new energy for desperate 
resistance. 



XLIII. 



MORRIS. 

* IOURNAL which has never been published, but of 
wmch a few copies were printed for private circulation 
many years since kept during the Revolutionary war 
for the amusement of a sister, by Margaret Morris, of 
Burlington, New Jersey, presents a picture of the daily 
alarms to which a private family was liable, and of the 
persecution to which obnoxious individuals were sub- 
jected. The writer was a patriot in principle and feel- 
ing, but sympathized with the distresses she witnessed 
on both sides. She had, however, no liking for war 
being a member of the Society of Friends. Her maiden 
name was Hill. Her father, Richard Hill, had been 
engaged in the wine trade, and lived long with his 
family on the island of Madeira ; her brother, Henry, 
accumulated a large fortune in the same business, and 
died of the yellow fever in Philadelphia. Margaret was 
eminently pious, and cheerful through many years of 
illness and suffering. In this character she is best 
remembered by her grandchildren and connections, 
among whom she was greatly beloved and venerated 
for her example of Christian benevolence and humble 



482 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION, 

reliance on Providence in every trial. She was .eft a 
widow early in life, and died at the age of seventy-nine, 
at Burlington, in 1816. The sister for whom the 
journal was written was Milcah Martha Moore, the 
wife of Dr. Charles Moore, of Philadelphia. 

The following extracts are from the "Journal" 
DECEMBER 16th, 1776 : 

" About noon this day, a very terrible account of 
thousands coming into town, and now actually to be seen 
off Gallows Hill my incautious son caught up the spy- 
glass, and was running towards the mill to look at tnem. 
I told him it would be liable to misconstruction, but ne 
prevailed on me to allow him to gratify his curiosity. 
He went, but returned much dissatisfied, for no troops 
could he see. As he came back, poor Dick took the 
glass, and resting it against a tree, took a view of the 
fleet. Both were observed by the people on board, who 
snspected it was an enemy who was watching their 
motions. They manned a boat and sent her on shore 

" A loud knocking at my door brought me to it. I was 
a little fluttered, and kept locking and unlocking that I 
might get my ruffled face a. little composed. At last I 
opened it, and half a dozen men, all armed, demanded 
the key of the empty house. I asked what they wanted 
there ; they replied' To search for a d d tory who 
had been spying at them from the mill." 

" The name of a tory, so near my own door, seriously 
alarmed me ; for a poor refugee, dignified by that name, 
had claimed the shelter of my roof, and was at that 
very time concealed, like a thief in an augerhole. I 



MARGARET MORRIS. 483 

rang the bell violently the signal agreed upon if they 
came to search ; and when I thought he had crept into 
the hole, I put on a very simple look and exclaimed 
' Bless me ! I hope you are not Hessians !' 

"'Do we look like Hessians?' asked one rudely. 

" ' Indeed, I don't know.' 

" ' Did you never see a Hessian ?' 

"'No never in my life; but they are men; and you 
are men ; and may be Hessians for aught I know ! But 
I'll go with you into Colonel Cox's house ; though in- 
deed it was my son at the mill ; he is but a boy, and 
meant no harm ; he wanted to see the troops.' 

"So I marched at the head of them, opened the 
door, and searched every place ; but we could not find 
the tory. Strange where he could be ! We returned 
they greatly disappointed ; I pleased to think my house 
was not suspected. The Captain, a smart little fellow 
named Shippen, said he wished they could see the spy- 
glass. So Dick produced it, and very civilly desired his 
acceptance of it; which I was sorry for, as I often 
amused myself looking through it. 

" They left us and searched James Verree's and the 
two next houses ; but no tory could they find. This 
transaction reached the town, and Colonel Cox was 
very angry and ordered the men on board. In the eve- 
ning I went to town with my refugee, and placed him 
in other lodgings. 



XLIV. 



MISCELLANEOUS ANECDOTES. 

MANY incidents and scenes of Revolutionary time? 
are remembered, of the actors in which little is known 
beyond what is contained in the anecdotes themselves. 
A few of these are subjoined as aiding our general 
object of illustrating the spirit and character of the 
women of those days. Fragmentary as they are they 
have some interest in this light, and it seems a duty to 
preserve them as historical facts, which may possibly 
prove of service in future inquiries. 



THE county of Sussex in New Jersey, was noted ior 
its number of tories. A party of them one night attack- 
ed and broke into the house of Mr. Maxwell, the 
father of General William Maxwell. Their first assault 
was upon the old man, who was eighty years of age ; and 
having felled him with repeated blows, so that his skull 
was fractured, they left him for dead, and proceeded to 
plunder the house. Mrs. Maxwell was compelled to 
direct them to the place where her husband's money 
was kept, and to send a female domestic to show them 



ANECDOTES. 485 

tne way. They had determined, when their work 
should be finished, to make an attack on the house of 
Captain John Maxwell the General's brother, who lived 
about a mile distant, and whom they supposed to hare 
in his possession a large sum of money, he beir-g 
commissary in the army. But their design of obtaining 
the spoil was frustrated by the timely information given 
by the negroes, who, escaping from the old gentleman's 
house, gave warning to the family of the young officer. 
John afterwards arrested one of the robbers in the 
neighborhood, before he had time to change his bl- ody 
garments. The others succeeded in effecting iheir 
escape. 



SOME British officers quartered themselves at the 
house of MRS. DISSOSWAY, situated at the western end of 
Staten Island, opposite Amboy. Her husband was a 
prisoner; but her brother, Captain Nat. Randolph, 
who was in the American army, gave much annoyance 
to the tories by his frequent incursions. A tory colonel 
once promised Mrs. Dissosway to procure the release 
of her husband, on condition of her prevailing upon her 
brother to stay quietly at home. " And if I could," she 
replied, with a look of scorn, and drawing up her tall 
figure to its utmost height, " if I could act so dastardly 
a part, think you that General Washington has but one 
Captain Randolph in his army ?" 

The cattle and horses of many of the whig residents 
on Staten Island having been driven away by the loy- 



486 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

alists they had no means of attending divine worship 
After the establishment of Independence, one winter's 
day, when several families of those who had suffered 
during the war, were returning in their sleighs from 
" meeting," the word was given by Mr. Dissosway to 
stop before the house of a tory captain. He gave aloud 
thump with the handle of his whip at the door, and 
when the captain appeared, said "I called, sir, to in- 
form you that ' the rebels' have been to church ; it is 
their turn, now, to give thanks!" He then returned to 
his sleigh and drove on. 



AMONG the noble spirits whose heroism has never 
been known beyond the circle of their personal acquaint- 
ance, was Mrs. Jackson, who resided on a farm upon 
Staten Island. The island, as is known, was a "nest 
of tories;" and it was thought proper to banish her hus- 
band, on account of his zeal in the cause of his country, 
although he had not joined the army. He was nine 
months confined in the Provost, and the remainder of 
two years was on his parole on Long Island and in the 
vicinity. During his absence the house was for a great 
part of the time the abode of British officers and soldiers, 
who made themselves quite at home in the use of every 
thing. On one occasion a soldier, carrying through 
the house a tin pail, used for milking, was asked by 
the mistress what he meant to do with it. "My master 
wants to bathe his feet," was the insolent reply. "Car- 
7 it instantly back," said the resolute lady, authorita- 



ANECDOTES. 487 

lively ; " not for your master's master shall you touch 
what you have no business with!" By the exhibition 
of such firmness and spirit she saved herself muci 
inconvenience. 

This lady was in the habit of sending provisions from 
time to time, to the American army on the opposite 
shore. This she was obliged to do with tne utmost 
secrecy ; and -many a time would she set going the 
mill which belonged to her husband to allow the black 
man she employed to cross the water unsuspected by 
the watchful enemy. At one time ; having a calf which 
she was anxious to send to the suffering American sol- 
diers, she kept it concealed all day under her bed, hav- 
ing muzzled it to prevent its cries.* She sometimes 
came to New York, with friends, to visit prisoners in 
the Provost. They were received on such occasions at 
Whitehall by a gentleman, who, though of whig princi- 
ples, had been permitted to remain in the city the 
father of one whose genius has rendered his name illus- 
trious. He was in the habit of accompanying the ladies 
to the prison, and directed them, when they wished to 
convey money to the captives, to drop it silently as they 
went past, while he would walk just behind, so as to 
screen them from the observation of the stern provost- 
marshal. 

On one occasion, Mrs. Jackson received intelligence 

that one of the American generals was coming to her 

house in the night, to surprise and capture the enemy 

quartered there. She gave no information to her guests 

* These facts were given the writer by the daughter of Mrs. Jackson 



488 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 



of what awaited them, till there was reason to believe 
the whig force was just at hand. Then, unwilling to 
nave her house made the scene of a bloody contest, she 
knocked at each of the doors, crying out, " Run, gentle- 
men, run ! or you are all prisoners !" They waited for 
no second bidding, and made their escape. Mrs. Jack- 
son used afterwards to give a ludicrous description of 
their running off each man with his boots and clothes 
in his hands. 

Mr. Jackson's house was robbed after his return 
home. A knock was heard at the door one night, and 
on opening it he felt a pistol pressed against his breast, 
while a gruff voice bade him be silent, on pain of instan 
death. His little daughter uttered a terrified scream, 
and received a violent blow on the forehead with the 
pistol from the ruffian, which stretched her upon the 
floor. The house was then stripped of all that could be 
taken away ; and the path of the villains might have 
been traced next morning by the articles dropped as 
they carried off the plunder. The family believed this 
to have been done by tories, whom they found at all 
times much more cruel and rapacious than the British 
soldiers. 



MARY BOWEN, the sister of Jabez Bowen, Lieutenant 
Governor of Rhode Island, was celebrated for her cha- 
ritable efforts in behalf of those who suffered in the war. 
Through her influence and exertions a petition was 
addressed to the commandant at Providence for the 



ANECDOTES. 489 

lives of two soldiers brothers who had been jom- 
demned as deserters. The petition was successful, and 
the reprieve was read when the prisoners were on the 
scaffold. Miss Bowen was active in collecting charita- 
ble contributions for clothing for the army, and assisted 
in making up the material, exerting herself to interest 
others in the same good work. General La Fayette 
was one of her visitors, and maintained a correspon- 
dence with her. Her information was extensive, her 
manners gentle and pleasing; and she had the respect 
and affection of all who knew her. Her brother, who 
resided at Providence, was in the habit of entertaining 
persons of high distinction. Rochambeau occupied 
part of his house during his stay in the town. 



A GENTLEMAN residing in Charlottesville, to whom 
application was made for personal recollections of the 
Baroness de Riedesel, mentions the following instance 
of female patriotism. 

At the time that Tarleton with his corps of cavalry 
was making a secret and forced march to surprise and 
capture the Governor and Legislature of Virginia the 
latter then holding its session in Charlottesville several 
of the members chanced to be at the house of Colonel 
John Walker, distant some twelve miles from the town. 
This was directly on the route ; and the first intimation 
the family had of the enemy's approach, was the appear- 
ance of Tarleton's legion at their doors. Colonel 
Walker was at the time on service with the troops in 



490 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

Lower Virginia. Having made prisoners of one or 
two members of the Legislature, Colonel Tarleton ordered 
breakfast for himself and his officers and men. Mrs. 
Walker, who was a staunch whig, knew well that the 
design of her unwelcome guest was to proceed to 
Uharlottesville, and plunder and destroy the public 
stores there collected. She delayed as long as possible 
the preparations for breakfast, for the purpose of enabling 
the members who had escaped to reach the town, and to 
remove and secrete such portions of the stores as could 
be saved. Her patriotic stratagem gained time for 
this. Tarleton remained but a day or two at Charlottes- 
ville, and then hurried back to join the main army 
under Cornwallis. 

Of the same kind was the service rendered by Mrs. 
Murray, which Thacher has acknowledged in his 
Journal. 

On the retreat from New York, Major General Putnam 
with his troops, was the last to leave the city. To 
avoid any parties of the enemy that might be advancing 
towards it, he made choice of a road along the river 
from which, at a certain point, another road would 
conduct him in a direction to join the American army. 
It happened that a force of British and Hessians more 
than twice as large as his own, was advancing on the 
road at the same time, and but for a fortunate occur- 
rence, would have encountered that of General Putnam, 
before he could have reached the turn into the other 
road. In ignorance that an enemy was before them, 
the British officers halted their troops, and stopped 



ANECDOTES. 491 

at the house of Robert Murray, a Quaker, and friend to 
the whig cause. Mrs. Murray treated them with cake 
and wine, and by means of her refreshments and agreea- 
ble conversation, beguiled them to stay a couple of 
hours Governor Tryon jesting with her occasionally 
about her American friends. She might have turned 
the laugh upon him ; for one half hour, it is said, would 
have enabled the British to secure the road at the turn, 
and cut off Putnam's retreat. The opportunity was 
lost and it became a common saying among the officers, 
that Mrs. Murray had saved this part of the American 
army. 



THE following record of an instance of female patriot- 
ism has appeared in several of the journals. It is relied 
upon as fact by the friends of the family who reside in 
the neighborhood where the occurrence took place, and 
there is no reason to doubt its authenticity. A grand- 
nephew of the heroine is living near Columbia, South 
Carolina. 

"At the time General Greene retreated before Lord 
Rawdon from Ninety-Six, when he had passed Broad 
River, he was very desirous to send an order to General 
Sumter, then on the Wateree, to join him, that they 
might attack Rawdon, who had divided his force. But 
the country to be passed through was for many miles 
full of blood-thirsty tories, and it was a difficult matter 
to find a man willing to undertake so dangerous a 
mission. At length a young girl Emily Eeiger, pre- 



492 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

sented herself to General Greene proposing to act as his 
messenger; and the General, both surprised and delighted, 
closed with her proposal. He accordingly wrote a letter 
and gave it to her, at the same time communicating the 
contents verbally, to be told to Sumter in case of acci- 
dent. Emily was young, but as to her person or adven- 
tures on the way, we have no further information, 
except that she was mounted on horseback, upon a side- 
saddle, and on the second day of her journey was 
intercepted by Lord Rawdon's scouts. Coming from 
the direction of Greene's army, and not being able to 
tell an untruth without blushing, she was shut up ; and 
the officer in command having the modesty not to 
search her at the time, he sent for an old tory matron as 
more fitting for the purpose. Emily was not wanting 
in expedients, and as soon as the door was closed, she 
ate up the letter, piece by piece. After a while the 
matron arrived. Upon searching carefully, nothing was 
to be found of a suspicious nature about the prisoner, 
and she would disclose nothing. Suspicion being thus 
allayed, the officer commanding the scouts suffered 
Emily to depart whither she said she was bound. She 
took a route somewhat circuitous to avoid further detec- 
tion, and soon after struck into the road to Sumter's 
camp, where she arrived in safety. She told her 
adventure, and delivered Greene's verbal message to 
Sumter, who in consequence soon after joined the main 
army at Orangeburg. Emily Geiger afterwards married 
a rich planter on the Congaree. She has been dead 
thirty-five years, but it is trusted her name will descend 



ANECDOTES. 493 

to posterity among those of the patriotic females of the 
Revolution." 



IT is said that the first Governor Griswold, of Con- 
necticut, was once indebted to a happy thought of his 
wife for his escape from the British, to whom he was 
extremely obnoxious. He was at home, but expected 
to set out immediately for Hartford, to meet the legisla- 
ture, which had commenced its session a day or two 
previous. The family residence was at Blackball, 
opposite Saybrook Point, and situated on the point of 
land formed by Connecticut River on the east, and 
Long Island Sound on the south. British ships were 
lying in the Sound ; and as the Governor was known 
to be at this time in his own mansion, a boat was 
secretly sent on shore for the purpose of securing his 
person. Without previous warning, the family were 
alarmed by seeing a file of marines coming up from the 
beach to the house. There was no time for flight. 
Mrs. Griswold bethought herself of a large meat barrel, 
or tierce, which had been brought in a day or two 
before and was not yet filled. Quick as thought, she 
decided that the Governor's proportions which were 
by no means slight must be compressed into this, the 
only available hiding place. He was obliged to submit 
to be stowed in the cask and covered. The process 
occupied but a few moments, and the soldiers presently 
entered. Mrs. Griswold was of course innocent of all 
knowledge of her husband's whereabouts, though she 



494 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

told them she well knew the legislature was in session, 
and that business required his presence at the capital. 
The house and cellar having been searched without 
success, the soldiers departed. By the time their boat 
reached the ship, the Governor on his powerful horse 
was galloping up the road on his way to Hartford.* 
Blackball, in Lyrne, Connecticut, is still the residence 
of the Griswolds. 



A MAN named Hubbs, who had served with the 
bloody tory and renegade Cunningham in South Caro- 
lina, was an " outlier" during the war. At one time he 
proposed, with two confederates, to rob an old man of 
Quaker habits Israel Gaunt who was reputed to be 
in the possession of money. The three rode up one 
evening to the house and asked lodging, which was 
refused. Hubbs rode to the kitchen door in which 
Mrs. Gaunt was standing, and asked for water. He 
sprang in while she turned to get the water, and as she 
handed it to him she saw his arms. Her husband, 
informed of this, secured the doors. Hubbs presented 
his pistol at him ; but his deadly purpose was frustrated 
by the old man's daughter, Hannah. She threw up the 
weapon, and, being of masculine proportions and 
strength, grappled with, and threw him on the floor, 
where she held him, though wounded by his spurs in 
spite of his desperate struggles till he was disabled by 

* This traditional anecdote is communicated by a relative of th 
family, who believe it entirely authentic 



ANECDOTES. 495 

her father's blows. Gaunt was wounded through tho 
window by Hubbs' companions, and another ball grazed 
his heroic daughter just above the eye ; but both escaped 
without further injury. Hannah afterwards married a 
man named Mooney. The gentleman who relates the 
foregoing incident* has often seen her, and describes 
her as one of the kindest and most benevolent of 
women. She died about the age of fifty, and her 
grandson, a worthy and excellent man, is now living in 
the village of Newberry. 

The same company of marauders, with Moultrie, 
another of Cunningham's gang, visited Andrew Lee's 
house, at Lee's Ferry, Saluda River, for the purpose of 
plunder. Moultrie succeeded in effecting an entrance 
nto the house. Lee seized and held him, and they fell 
ogether on a bed ; when he called to his wife, Nancy, 
to strike him on the head with an axe. Her first blow, 
in her agitation, fell on her husband's hand ; but she 
repeated it, and stunned Moultrie, who fell on the floor 
insensible. Lee, with his negroes and dogs, then drove 
away the other robbers, and on his return secured 
Moultrie, who was afterwards hanged in Ninety-Six. 



IN the collections of the Maine Historical Society is 
an account of the exertions of the O'Brien family. The 

* The Hon. Judge O'Neall of South Carolina. He gives this incident 
and that of Mrs. Lee's exploit, in his " Random Recollections c f Revo- 
lutionary Characters and Incidents," published in the Southern Liter- 
ary Journal, 1838, pp. 104, 105. 



496 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

wife of one of a party who left Pleasant River settle 
ment, on an expedition, found a horn of powder after 
their departure, and knowing their want of it, followed 
them twenty miles through the woods for there were 
no roads to bring it to her husband. Hazard's Regis- 
ter* gives a notice of Margaret Durham, one of the 
early settlers of a portion of Pennsylvania, who shared 
largely in the toils and dangers of the war. When the 
thinly-scattered population fled before the savages, she 
was overtaken, scalped, and left for dead ; but recovered 
to be an example of Christian faith and virtue. The 
daughter of a miller in Queens County defended her 
father from his brutal assailants at the risk of her life, 
when men who witnessed the cruelty dared offer no 
assistance. " The death bed of Mercer was attended 
by two females of the Society of Friends, who, like 
messengers from heaven, smoothed his pillow, and 
cheered his declining hours. They inhabited the house 
to which he was carried, and refusing to fly during the 
battle, were there when he was brought, wounded and 
dying, to the threshold." 

When the wife of General Woodhull, who perished 
under the inhuman treatment he received at the hands 
of his captors, reached his bed-side, it was only in time 
to receive his last sigh. She distributed the wagon-load 
of provisions she had brought, for the relief of the 
other American prisoners. f Rebecca Knapp, who died 
recently in Baltimore, was one of those who relieved the 

Vol. IV., page 192. 

t Revolutionary Incidents of Queens County, by H. Onderdonk. Jr 



ANECDOTES. 497 

American prisoners in Philadelphia, by carrying them 
provisions from her own table. Others were associated 
in the same good work in New York. Mary Elmen 
dorf, who lived in Kingston, Ulster County, studied 
medicine, that, in the absence of the physicians, whc 
were obliged to be with the army, she might rendei 
assistance to the poor around her. Mrs. Speakman, ot 
Philadelphia, daily visited the soldiers who were brought 
into the city ill of the camp fever, and placed in empty 
houses carrying food and medicines, and ministering 
to their wants. Eleven in one house were restored 
through her kind attentions. 

The journal of Rev. Thomas Andross, who escaped 
from a prison ship through Long Island, alludes fre 
quently to female kindness and assistance. These prison 
ships were indeed store houses of pestilence and misery. 
A large transport the Whitby was the first anchored 
in the Wallabout ; she was moored October 20th, 1776, 
and crowded with American prisoners, whom disease, 
bad provisions, and deprivation of air and light, soon 
reduced to a pitiable condition. The sand-beach and 
ravine near were filled with graves, " scratched along the 
sandy shore." One of these ships of death was burned 
the following year fired, it is said, by the sufferers, who 
were driven to desperation.* Mr. Andross thus describes 
the old Jersey, in which he was a prisoner : " Her dark 
and filthy exterior corresponded with the death and despair 
reigning within. It is supposed that eleven thousand 
American seamen perished in her. None came to relieve 

* Thompson's History of Long Island 



498 WOMEN OP THE REVOLUTION. 

their woes. Once or twice, by order of a stranger on 
the quarter-deck, a bag of apples was hurled promiscu- 
ously into the midst of hundreds of prisoners, crowded 
as thick as they could stand and life and limbs were 
endangered in the struggle. The prisoners were secured 
between the decks by iron gratings ; and when the ship 
was to be cleared of water, an armed guard forced 
them up to the winches, amid a roar of execrations and 
reproaches the dim light adding to the horrors of the 
scene. Thousands died whose names have never been 
known ; perishing when no eye could witness their for- 
titude, nor praise their devotion to their country." 



A VERY interesting account is given in Dwight's 
Travels of the capture and escape of General Wads- 
worth. He had been for many years a member of 
Congress and was sent by the legislature of Massa- 
chusetts to command in the District of Maine. In 
February, 1781, he dismissed his troops, and made pre- 
parations for his return to Boston. His wife and her 
friend Miss Fenno, who had accompanied him, shared 
in the peril, when, by order of the commander of the 
British fort, an attack was made on the house where the 
General lodged. It was near midnight, the weather 
being severely cold, and the ground covered with snow, 
when the enemy came suddenly upon the sentinel, and 
forced an entrance into the guard-room. Another party 
of them at the same instant fired through the windows 
of Mrs. Wadsworth's apartment; a third forcing their 



ANECDOTES. 499 

way through the windows into Miss Fenno's room. 
The two terrified women had only time to dress hastily, 
when the intruders assailed the barred door of the 
General's chamber. He made a brave defence, but at 
length, being wounded in the arm, was compelled to 
surrender. 

With the most admirable self-command, Mrs. Wads- 
worth and her friend gave no expression to their own 
agitated feelings, intent only on relieving those of the 
wounded prisoner. The wife wrapped a blanket round 
him, and Miss Fenno tied a handkerchief round his arm, 
to check the effusion of blood. In this condition, his 
strength almost exhausted, he was carried off and the 
ladies were left behind in their desolated house. Not a 
window had escaped destruction ; the doors were broken 
down, two of the rooms set on fire, the floors drenched 
with blood; and an old soldier, desperately wounded, 
was begging for death, that he might be released from 
his sufferings. The neighboring inhabitants, who came 
to see what had happened, spared no labor so that the 
next day they could be more comfortable ; but the 
anxiety endured on the General's account could not be 
relieved by any kind attentions to themselves. 

In about two months, Mrs. Wadsworth and her friend 
obtained permission to visit the prisoner, in the gloomy 
solitude of his quarters at Bagaduce. Parting from him 
at the end of ten days. Miss Fenno contrived to give 
him an intimation of the knowledge she had gained that 
he was not to be exchanged, by saying in a significant 
manner, "General Wads\VDrth take care of yourself." 



500 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 



The General soon understood this caution, learning that 
he was regarded as a prisoner of too much consequence 
to be trusted with his liberty. The account of his im- 
prisonment, his remarkable escape, and his adventures 
wandering through the wilderness, before reaching the 
settlements on the river St. George, where he found 
friends has all the interest of the wildest romance, but 
would here be out of place. His wife and Miss Fenno 
had sailed for Boston before his arrival at Portland. 
They were overtaken by a violent storm, and barely 
escaped shipwreck being obliged to land at Portsmouth. 
There they had a new source of anxiety. The wife had 
left all her specie with her captive husband, and the 
continental bills had lost their currency. Without 
money, and without friends, after meditating on various 
expedients, she at last remembered that she had one 
acquaintance in the place. To him the wanderers 
applied receiving assistance which enabled them to 
return to Boston, where a happy reunion terminated 
the distresses of the family. It may be added that 
General Wadsworth was an ancestor of the distinguish- 
ed American poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. 



IMMEDIATELY before the battle of Bennington, General 
Stark, with several of his officers, stopped to obtain a 
draught of milk and water, at the house of Mr. Munro, 
a loyalist, who chanced to be absent. One of the 
officers walked up to Mrs. Munro, and asked where her 
husband was. She replied that she did not know; 






ANECDOTES. 501 

thereupon he drew his sword, and endeavored to 
intimidate her into a more satisfactory answer. The 
General, hearing the commotion, severely reproved the 
officer for his uncivil behavior to a woman ; and the 
offender went out, apparently much abashed. Mrs. 
Munro always remembered Stark's words "Come on, 
my boys," as they marched to battle. The firing con- 
tinued till late ; and after a sleepless night, Mrs. Munro 
and her sister repaired with the earliest dawn to the 
battle-field, carrying pails of milk and water and, wan- 
dering among heaps of slain and wounded, relieved the 
thirst of many sufferers, of whom some the Hessians 
were unable to express their thankfulness, save by the 
mute eloquence of grateful looks. Towards noon, 
wagons were sent to convey them to hospitals, and to 
bring away the dead for burial. This was not the only 
occasion on which Mrs. Munro was active in relieving 
distress, nor was her share of hardship and trial a light 
one.* 



A SPIRIT kindred to that of Mrs. Motte was exhibited 
by Mrs. Borden at a period when American prospects 
were most clouded. New Jersey being overrun by the 
British, an officer stationed at Bordentown,f endeavored 
to intimidate her into using her influence over her hus- 
band and son. They were absent in the American 
army when she was visited at her residence for this pur- 

* This fact is mentioned by a descendant of Mrs. Munro. 
t Said by Major Garden to be Lord Cornwallis. 



502 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

pose. The officer promised that if she would induce 
them to quit the standard they followed and join the 
royalists her property should be protected ; while in 
case of refusal, her estate would be ravaged and her 
elegant mansion destroyed. Mrs. Borden answered by 
bidding the foe begin the threatened havoc. " The sight 
of my house in flames" she said, " would be a treat to 
me ; for I have seen enough to know that you never 
injure what you have power to keep and enjoy. The 
application of a torch to my dwelling I should regard 
as a signal for your departure." 

The house was burned in fulfillment of the threat, and 
the property laid waste ; but as the owner had pre- 
dicted, the retreat of the spoiler quickly followed. 



THE case of Sir Charles Asgill, a young officer of the 
British Guards, selected by lot for execution in retalia- 
tion for the murder of Captain Huddy, was made 
the ground-work of a French tragedy by Sauvigny, 
represented in Paris, in 1789. The story of his im- 
prisonment the sufferings of his mother and family 
while the doom hung over him her appeal to the King 
and Queen of France their intercession, and the final 
relenting of Congress is one of deep and touching 
interest. It is included, with the letters of Lady Asgill, 
ID many of the books on the Revolution. 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION, 

XLV. 

ANNIS STOCKTON, 

MRS. STOCKTON is entitled to a prominent place 
among the women who lived at the period of the 
Revolution, as the wife of one of the signers of the 
Declaration of Independence, and the mother-in-law 
of another. Her life, passed in the quiet of the domes- 
tic circle, and varied by few incidents, affords little 
material for the biographer, but the elevated character 
and superior endowments which adorned her high 
position gave her an extended influence, and renders 
her an interesting subject of notice. Her maiden 
name was Annis Boudinot. She was descended ol 
a French family, her great-grandfather, Elias Boudi- 
not, being a French Protestant who fled from his 
country after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. 
The late Elias Boudinot, of Burlington, New Jersey, 
was her brother. The precise date of her birth can- 
not be ascertained, but it must have been some time 
in 1733. 



504 WOMEN OP THE REVOLUTION. 

From the period of her marriage she resided at Mr 
Stockton's seat near Princeton. When he visited 
England in 1766, she refused to go with him, being 
unwilling to leave her children. He says in one of 
his unpublished letters "I can never forget your re- 
fusing to accompany me in the various scenes of this 
delightful excursion, on their account. The answer 
you made me when I pressed you for your consent to 
go with me, still vibrates on my ear ; that you could 
not see your way clear, nor think it your duty to go, 
as you had no particular call of Providence to venture 
both their parents in one bottom." 

While she remained at home, occupied with mater- 
nal duties, her husband in his letters described what 
he saw and heard, his heart ever turning to her with 
an affection which seemed to "drag, at each remove, 
a lengthening chain" and fondly looking forward to 
the hour of their reunion. These letters were copied 
by her in a manuscript volume for her daughter. 
They exhibit the writer in a very amiable light, as 
the tenderest of husbands and fathers, and indirectly 
throw light upon the character of her to whom he was 
so devotedly attached. In one, dated London, August 
7th 1766, he writes " Notwithstanding the great vari- 
ety of amusing scenes in this country, I already feel 
that I shall be impatient for the time to arrive, when 
my business shall be done, and I again find myself 
within those delightful walls, where the voice of my 
dearest Emilia and her sweet babes, gives me the 
greatest earthly happiness." 




INDIANS ATTACKING THE EAKLY SETTLERS. 



ANNIS STOCKTON. 505 

Again, in November, he says : " Had you received 
a letter I wrote you from Dublin, and the one I wrote 
upon my return here, you would have laughed at 
those idle people at Philadelphia, who would persuade 
you that I would prefer the elegance of England to 
the sylvan shades of America. No ! my dearest 
Emilia, the peaceful retreat which God has blessed 
me with at Princeton, you, and the sweet children 
you have brought me, are the sources from which I 
receive my highest earthly joy^s ; joys which I prefer 
to the state of a prime minister, or a king upon the 
throne. I am entertained with the grandeur and vari- 
ety of these kingdoms, as you wish me to be, and as 
you know I am curious, new objects are continually 
striking my attention and engaging my fancy ; but 

' One thought of thee puts all the pomp to flight, 
Priests, tapers, temples, swim before my sight 

When the storm of civil war burst on the country, 
Richard Stockton had his full share of the peril, as well 
as the honor, awaiting those eminent men who had 
affixed their names to the Declaration. His beautiful 
residence at Princeton was directly in the route of 
the British army, on its triumphant march through 
New Jersey. "Warned of the approach of the victorious 
invaders, he had barely time to remove his wife and 
family to a place of safety. His eldest son, Richard, 
then a boy twelve years of age, with an old family 
servant, remained in the house, while everything was 
left to the mercy of the enemy. The house was pil- 



5 71 



506 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 



taged, the horses and stock were driven away, and the 
estate was laid waste. The furniture was converted 
into fire-wood ; the old wine, stored in the cellar, was 
drunk up. and the valuable library, with all the 
papers of Mr. Stockton, committed to the flames. 
The house became for some time the headquarters of 
the British general. The plate and other valuable 
articles belonging to the family had been packed in 
three boxes and buried in the woods, at some distance 
from the mansion. Through treachery it is said 
the place of concealment was discovered by the sol- 
diers., and two of the boxes were disinterred and rifled 
of their rich contents. The remaining one escaped 
their search and was restored to the family. The 
daughter of Mrs. Stockton residing in Princeton, has 
in her possession several pieces of silver that were in 
this box, and are now, of course, highly valued. She 
has also two portraits one of Mr. Stockton and the 
other of his wife, which wore in the house when occu- 
pied by the British, and found among some rubbish 
after their departure. Both were pierced through 
with bayonets. Some years since, they were entirely 
restored by the modern process, and now occupy their 
honored place in Mrs. Field's house. The portrait of 
Mr. Stockton is a very fine one, and understood to 
have been painted by Copley. 

When Mrs. Stockton heard of the destruction, of her 
noble library, she is said to have remarked that there 
were two books in it which she particularly valued 
the Bible and Young's Night Thoughts, 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 507 

It was Mrs. Stockton's custom to write annually 
an elegiac poem on the death of her husband, whom 
she survived many years. For some time before her 
death she resided at Whitehill, in Burlington County, 
the residence of Robert Field, who had married her 
youngest daughter, Abby. Here she died February 
6th, 1801. Her closing days were calm and peaceful, 
and she met the approach of death with Christian 
faith and joy. Just before she breathed her last, she 
repeated in a clear, firm voice the psalrn of "Watts 
beginning, 

" Lord, I am thine ; but thou wilt prove etc." 

She left two sons Richard and Lucius Horatio 
who became eminent in the profession of the law. 
Of her four daughters, Julia married Dr. Benjamin 
Rush, and lived to an advanced age ; Susan was 
married to Alexander Cuthbert, of Canada, and Mary, 
to the Rev. Dr. Andrew Hunter. 



XLYI. 



LUCY KNOX. 

IN preparing the brief notice of Mrs. Knox contained 
in Yolume First, I was not so fortunate' as to receive 
information from any of her surviving relatives. The 
account gathered from tradition was felt to be an in- 
adequate tribute to one so high in station and charac- 
ter. I have since been favored by her daughter with 
one more satisfactory. In offering this to the reader, 
I shall endeavor to avoid repeating what has been 
already recorded. 

Lucy Flucker was the daughter of Thomas Flucker, 
Secretary of the Province of Massachusetts under the 
royal government. Her first acquaintance with him 
who was afterwards her husband, and their courtship, 
had not a little of romance, and has lately formed the 
groundwork of a newspaper tale published in Boston, 
the heroine being represented as the daughter of a 
baronet, while the name of Henry Knox is given to 
the hero. It is not to be questioned that there existed 
such a difference, in point of station, between the 
young peopl^, as rendered the idea of their marriage a 
wild vision. The social position of Lucy's father, who 



WOMEN OP THE REVOLUTION. 509 

had long been high In office, was an elevated one ; his 
family was prominent among the aristocracy of the 
land, at a time when, distinctions in society were 
strongly marked, and clung to as a test of loyalty tc 
the government. The idea that a daughter of this 
family should favor the pretensions of one inferior to 
her, was not to be tolerated ; still less that she should 
look upon a lover branded with the name of " rebel." 
Henry Knox moved in a sphere comparatively humble. 
Bereaved of his father while yet a boy, his energies 
had early been called into action by the pressure of 
necessity ; he labored to supply the wants of an excel- 
lent mother, to whom he was devoted, and a young 
brother, to whom he supplied the place of a father as 
long as life continued. At this period he kept one of 
the few large book-stores of which Boston could boast. 
Miss Flucker was a young lady of literary taste, and 
it was natural that she should frequently visit the 
book-store, where she was not long in discovering that 
the fine figure she had so much admired in military 
costume, was not the only or chief recommendation to 
her favor possessed by young Knox. His well-stored 
and intelligent mind, his warm heart and engaging 
manners, were soon appreciated by her, and the favor- 
able impression produced by his captivating exterior 
was confirmed and strengthened. She found, too, that 
his views and feelings on most subjects coincided with 
her own. Education and associations had established 
some points of difference ; but the bonds of sympathy 
between them were strong, for nature had created 



510 LUCY KNOX. 

them. On the great and absorbing question which 
then agitated the public mind, and in which every 
member of the community felt, a deep interest, the 
two between whom the sentiment of regard was fast 
ripening into love, soon learned to think and feel alike. 
It is fair to suppose that the opinions of the young 
officer influenced those of the maiden at least so far 
as to induce a candid examination into the merits of 
the question, the result of which was, that with all 
the ardor of her enthusiastic nature, she espoused the 
cause of her oppressed country, and thenceforward 
identified herself with all its interests. 

The change could not remain unknown to the parents 
and friends of our heroine, who grieved sincerely over 
what they termed her " apostacy," and used both ar- 
guments and entreaties to dissuade her from a course 
which they believed must be destructive to all her 
worldly prospects. They had earnestly desired that 
she would favor the addresses of a British officer named 
Greorge, whose attentions had been assiduous, and 
whom they regarded as a suitor far more worthy of 
her choice. With the most flattering prospects, and 
the certainty of pleasing all her relatives on the one 
hand, Lucy saw on the other a lot of obscurity, perhaps 
of poverty, with separation from all her youthful heart 
held dear. The storm was gathering darkly in the 
political horizon ; the time had arrived when her deci- 
sion was to be made, and she cast her all upon the die 
that was to decide the nation's fate. Her father be- 
lieved she had consigned herself to an unworthy 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION 511 

destiny, and predicted that she would suffer in the 
troubles that were to come, while her sisters were 
enjoying the luxury and station she had unwisely 
renounced. How dimly did they discern the future ! 
The proud loyalists who had borne honors conferred by 
the British government, were compelled to fly from 
their country, forfeiting the wealth they deemed secure, 
or inadequately compensated for the sacrifice after 
long delay : the poor and self-denying patriots, who 
gave up affluence and ease for their country's sake, 
stand eminent in the light of her triumph, crowned 
with undying fame ! 

The separation from her nearest and dearest rela- 
tives involved in the choice of Mrs. Knox, caused her 
intense grief and a severe struggle, but the path of 
duty was plain before her, and she bore the trial with 
firmness, indulging the hope that when the unhappy 
contest was over, they would again be united. Mr. 
Flucker decided to remove with his family from the 
country, until what he deemed a hopeless rebellion 
should be crushed. The duties of Gren. Knox keep- 
ing him near the Commander-in-chief, his wife was 
much in the society of Mrs. Washington. She was 
even more constantly in camp with the army, and 
always located as near as possible to the scene of 
action, that she might receive the earliest intelligence, 
and be at hand should any accident render her pres- 
ence necessary. This was undoubtedly the most 
anxious and eventful period of her life. An ever- 
varying scene was it truly, of trouble and triumph, 



512 LUCY KNOX. 

disaster and rejoicing; many were its privations and 
trials, yet a certain wild pleasure was not wanting in 
the changeful camp life, when the mental faculties 
were kept in full play, and expectation was continu- 
ally excited as to what the morrow, or the succeeding 
iiour. would bring forth. Mrs. Knox often remarked 
that she lived more in one year at this period of in- 
tense excitement, than in a dozen of ordinary life. 
Painful and trying as were many scenes through 
which patriotic wives were called to pass, there were 
times when a brief repose was granted from the toils 
and terrors of grim war, and care was cast aside for 
the moment. General and Mrs. Knox were both of a 
sanguine and cheerful temperament, and felt strong 
confidence that all would eventually be well. The 
beneficial influence of Mrs. Knox in the camp, the 
deference shown to her superiority of intellect, and 
the courage, faith, and self-devotion with which she 
encountered hardships and perils, have been already 
mentioned. During the siege of Yorktown, she re- 
mained with Mrs. Washington at Mount Vernon, hav- 
ing with her her eldest son, then an infant. Often in 
after years did she describe to her children the agita- 
ting suspense of that momentous period, the alterna- 
tions of hope and fear they experienced, and the 
trembling that seized them on the arrival of the daily 
express. In the deep anguish Mrs. Washington was 
called to bear while the joy and gratitude of millions 
proclaimed her husband the savior of his country, 
she had the affectionate sympathy of her friend 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 513 

fated to have her own heart wrung too often by sim- 
ilar afflictions. 

After the establishment of peace, General and Mrs. 
Knox returned to Boston, the place of their nativity, 
and so long their beloved home. Of this return she 
was accustomed to speak as one of the most painfully 
interesting periods of her life. The changes produced 
by the lapse of a few years were striking indeed ; the 
whole aspect of society was altered, and while the 
outward appearance of the city was the same, few 
improvements having been made, the friends of their 
youth, with a few scattered exceptions, had given 
place to strangers, in whom they could feel no inter- 
est. The melancholy change brought to mind the 
truth expressed by the poet 

" Our very wishes give us not our wish." 

But grateful for the happy termination of the con- 
test, they had no disposition to indulge in useless 
regrets. Among those whom the events of the Revo- 
lution had brought forward in society, they found 
many agreeable acquaintances, and some worthy 
of esteem and affection. A remark made by a cousin 
of Mrs. Knox a single lady, whose pride of family 
had survived the shock of a change of government, 
and who could not be persuaded to associate with 
those she regarded as the parvenues of the day that 
"the scum had all risen to the top," is illustrative 
of the feeling prevalent among many who were loth 
to become republicans in practice. Mrs. Knox was 



514 MICY KNOX. 

little influenced by this feeling ; perhaps her connec- 
tion with one who owed his elevation to merit rather 
than birth, was sufficient to convince her of the real 
superiority of nature's nobility tc that conferred by 
accident or fortune. She became much attached to 
some of her new 'Boston acquaintances, and parted 
from them with regret when, after a year of com- 
parative quiet, her husband was again summoned to 
active duties, and took charge of the war department 
under the old confederation. On their removal to New 
York, then the seat of government, they found the 
community disposed to welcome the commencement 
of a new era with festivity. The sympathy of Mrs. 
Knox with the general confidence and joy was en- 
hanced by a personal feeling. Her intimacy with 
Mrs. Washington, to whom she had become warmly 
attached during her visit at Mount Yernon, was re- 
newed, and as they occupied adjacent houses in 
Broadway, constant opportunities occurred of enjoy- 
ing the society so much prized. A sincere and last- 
ing friendship was thus cemented between two persons 
who were, in some respects, widely dissimilar. 

The removal of the seat of government from New 
York to Philadelphia, was the signal for much hilarity 
among the citizens of the latter place. Their tri- 
umph over a rival city being attributed to the ex- 
ertions and influence of the Hon. Robert Morris, some 
of the New Yorkers took their revenge by lampooning 
this leader in an unpopular movement, and caricatures 
were circulated, representing the wealthy financier in 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 515 

the act of carrying off the whole body of Congress on 
his back, the words, " Stick to it. Bobby," being in- 
scribed underneath. The Philadelphians, on the other 
hand, were eager to show hospitality to the new 
comers. Entertainments of every description were 
the order of the day, and the prominent fashionables 
were emulous in gaiety. An acknowledged leader 
of the ton was Mrs. Bingham, daughter to one of the 
first merchants of the city. She had but recently 
returned from France, and her loveliness and accom- 
plishments drew around her the elite of the city, and 
rendered her house a most attractive place of resort. 
It was her ambition to give a new tone to society, 
and to introduce customs more congenial to the at- 
mosphere of Paris, than the simplicity of a young 
republic. One of these customs, for instance, was 
that of having the visitor's name taken at the door by 
a servant, and passed to others on the different land- 
ings of the stairs, till it reached the door of the re- 
ception room, where it was announced in a loud voice 
to call the attention of the lady of the house. This 
custom, which never prevailed extensively, occasioned 
many amusing blunders, one of which happened in 
the case of a distinguished person, afterwards Pre- 
sident of the United States. He gave his name as 
requested at the door, but was surprised to hear it 
reverberated in different tones, and could only suppose 
the calling meant to expedite his movements. " Com- 
ing !" he exclaimed ; and again, " Coming, coming !" 



516 LUCY KNOX. 

till at length, quite out of patience, he called out, 
" Coming, as soon as I can get my great coat off!" 

The position of G-en. Knox at this time, and pro- 
bably the inclinations of his wife, rendered her a 
leader in these gay circles, and their house was the 
favorite resort, not only of the fashionable, but the 
intellectual and cultivated. Her talents for the man- 
agement of life at the court, as some called it, were 
of great service to Mrs. Washington, who, retiring 
and domestic in her habits, relied on the guidance 
of her friend. It was not long after this period that 
Philadelphia received an accession of visitors, driven 
to this land by the French Revolution. Among these 
were many of the French nobility, hurled from afflu- 
ence to poverty, and compelled to convert those accom- 
plishments which had adorned their days of luxury 
into a means of subsistence. Sympathy and kindness 
were abundantly shown them by the citizens, and 
in many cases substantial aid. The house of Gren. 
Knox, where the first characters of the day were 
entertained, was open, and his hospitalities freely 
tendered to tnese unfortunate persons, and some of 
them were among his most cherished guests. In one 
of these the Due de Liancourt both he and Mrs. 
Knox became warmly interested ; and he afterwards 
passed several seasons with them in Maine. Their 
daughter remembers having heard him, while there, 
exclaim one day, after a fit of deep musing, " I have 
three dukedoms on my head" beating his head with 
violence " and not one coat to my back !" This 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 



517 



was literally true, and he was presented by the Gene- 
ral with a suit of clothes, of which he was actually 
in need. More fortunate, however, than most of his 
countrymen, he was afterwards restored to favor and 
fortune, and died in the possession of great wealth. 
Another visitor, both in Philadelphia and Maine, was 
the celebrated Talleyrand. It is mentioned as indica- 
tive of his well-known character, that he affected 
ignorance of the English language, and too great 
stupidity to acquire it, for the purpose, as a gentle- 
man who knew him assured Mrs. Knox, of observing 
the unguarded conversation of individuals who were 
not aware that he understood them. 

La Fayette visited them in Boston the year follow- 
ing the war At one time he officiated as godfather 
to the son of Mrs. Knox under circumstances some- 
what peculiar he being a Roman Catholic, General 
Greene, the other sponsor, of Quaker parentage, the 
mother an Episcopalian, and the father a Presby- 
terian. 

After eleven years service in the war office, General 
Knox decided on retirement from public life. His pri- 
vate affairs demanded attention, and the expenses 
inevitably attendant on his situation, and the main- 
tenance of his establishment, with his munificent hos- 
pitality, were enough to impair a private fortune. His 
wife's views coincided with his own, and she felt that 
it had become her duty to quit scenes in many respects 
so congenial to her habits and inclinations. She 
shared her husband's trials in resisting the solicitations 



518 LUCY KNOX. 

of his beloved chief to remain until the close of his 
own public career, and in parting with him and Mrs. 
Washington. She had other friends besides these en- 
deared ones, whom it cost her a pang to leave ; but 
though in the prime of life, the idea of retirement was 
not distasteful to her, for she had already tasted the 
bitter cup of affliction. A lovely boy, eight years of 
age, was suddenly taken from her, being thrown into 
convulsions from perfect health, by a stroke of the 
sun, which proved fatal after a succession of fits. He 
was a child of unusual depth and purity of character, 
and his loss was severely felt by both his parents ; yet, 
while grief disposed the bereaved mother to avoid gen- 
eral society, the sad dispensation showed her that 
amidst much frivolity and insincerity in the gay world 
about her, were some warm and kind and true hearts, 
ready to feel for the sufferings of others. The affec- 
tionate sympathy of the President and Mrs. Washing- 
ton was especially grateful, and from others she re- 
ceived proofs of cordial interest. General Hamilton 
was deeply affected at the funeral, where he walked 
as chief mourner with the daughter of Mrs. Knox, who 
felt herself unable to attend. 

It was in the spring of 1795, that she and the 
General took their final leave of Philadelphia, to enter 
upon a new life. Mrs. Knox, as the only one of her 
family entitled to inherit property in this country, 
owned one fifth of a large tract of land in the 
District of Maine, originally the property of her grand- 
father, General Waldo, and called the Waldo Patent 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 519 

From another branch of the family General Knox 
purchased a tract of equal extent, and determined to 
establish on this noble estate a new home, which 
should be a suitable abode for his wife and family, 
and an attraction to that portion of country, at that 
time little known. At Thomaston, at the head of 
St. Greorge's river, he built a splendid mansion, a 
palace in its dimensions, and called a chateau by 
French visitors. This he furnished with all the taste 
of modern luxury, built outhouses of every description, 
and set in motion various branches of industry rely- 
ing on the gradual rise of the property to repay the 
vast amount of expenditure. Montpelier, for that was 
the name given to the place, was indeed a princely 
abode, and a delightful retreat for the soldier and the 
scholar for the indulgence of literary tastes and the 
companionship of friends. Mrs. Knox was never more 
entirely pleased with her situation ; but her anticipa- 
tions of retirement were far from being realized. The 
hospitality of her husband was unbounded ; everything 
was provided that could contribute to the amusement 
or entertainment of the guests, and among the crowd 
of visitors were often entire strangers, whose visits 
were sometimes protracted beyond reason, 

Louis Philippe and his two' younger brothers, the 
Due de Montpensier, and Count de Beaujolois, were 
frequent visitors at the house of General Knox in Bos- 
ton, where the family then passed their winters. Mrs. 
Thatcher the lady to whom I am so much indebted 
says that "personal privations affected those young 



520 LUCY KNOX. 

men little in comparison with anxiety for the fate of 
their mother and sister, who were still in the power of 
the French Jacobins. Never shall I forget the delight 
expressed in their countenances, when, coming one 
day to dine at my father's, they tore the tricolored 
cockades, which they had hitherto worn, from their 
hats, and trampled them under their feet saying 
that they had just learned the escape of these beloved 
relatives into Spain, and no longer felt disposed to keep 
terms with the wretches who then bore sway in their 
beloved land." 

The second summer of their residence in Maine, a 
party from Philadelphia, consisting of Mr. and Mrs. 
Bingham, their two daughters, Miss Willing, the sis- 
ter of Mrs. Bingham, who was afterwards engaged to 
Louis Philippe during his residence in this country 
the Viscount de Troailles the brother-in-law of La 
Fayette and one of the most polished nobles of the 
French court Mr. Richards, an English gentleman 
and Mr. Baring, afterwards Lord Ashburton, passed 
six weeks at Montpelier, during which time the gen- 
tlemen made extensive excursions through the adja- 
cent country. Messrs. Bingham and Baring were 
induced to purchase a million of acres on the Kenne- 
bec, and a tract somewhat smaller east of the "Waldo 
Patent. 

While this gay party remained, the wilds of Maine 
were enlivened by the most brilliant of the society of 
the capital. Such intelligent companionship proved a 
solace to the depressed "spirits of Mrs. Knox ; for again 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 521 

she had been called to mourn the loss of her children, 
two of whom, seized with the scarlet fever, had in one 
day been consigned to the tomb. These repeated be- 
reavements were the great trial of her life. It was 
the will of (rod to take from her nine out of twelve 
children, and the anguish she endured, as one by ono 
those she so loved were withdrawn, showed that her 
heart was feelingly alive to the most tender and sacred 
claims of domestic affection. In these severe trials 
she could lean on the sympathy and support of her 
best earthly friend, who, equally strong in his affec- 
tions, was able sooner to rise above the pressure of 
sorrow, and to say with heartfelt submission, "It is the 
Lord; let Him do what seemeth to Him good." "I 
have heard my mother say," writes her daughter, 
" while bending over the bed of a darling dying child, 
' Bitter as is this cup, the time may come when I may 
look back upon this as a period of happiness !' And so 
indeed it proved ; for when the hour arrived that took 
from her the prop and stay on which she had so long 
leaned, then she realized that all previous trials were 
merged in this one great affliction." 

The sad event that closed the brilliant career of 
General Knox, almost overwhelmed the wife whose 
whole existence had been so devoted to him. Though 
she struggled painfully for resignation, her energies 
were crushed by the unexpected blow, nor did her 
mind ever fully recover its tone. Often, after the first 
agony had passed, did she express the difficulty she 
found in feeling interest in anything ; the charm was 



522 LUCY KNOX. 

gone from life, which henceforward \vas rather en- 
dured than enjoyed. Yet gratefully did she acknow- 
ledge the blessings spared, and clung with strong affec- 
tion to her few surviving children, finding her sweetest 
solace in their love. Her youngest daughter, whose 
delicate health had in her early years rendered her an 
object of peculiar solicitude, was, although married, 
fortunately still her mother's companion, and had the 
privilege of soothing her sorrows, and ministering to 
her comfort by the thousand nameless attentions 
prompted by affection, and so grateful to the stricken 
heart. The remaining days of Mrs. Knox were chiefly 
spent in the retirement then most congenial to her 
feelings, and in the spot endeared to her by so many 
interesting associations and remembrances of past 
happiness. The beauty that surrounded her was in 
Q. measure the creation of him she mourned, his 
taste and skill having done much to improve its 
natural advantages. His tomb was within view of the 
house, and it was a melancholy satisfaction to imagine 
that his spirit lingered near. 

During the eighteen years of her widowhood, Mrs. 
Knox continued hospitably to receive her friends, but 
found her chief pleasure in the exercise of benevolence 
So many affecting proofs of the uncertain tenure of 
earthly blessings had taught her to look beyond the 
passing scene, and to seek to lay up treasure in Hea- 
ven. Her fondness for reading was the solace of many 
a sad hour, and her sight was never impaired so as to 
require the aid of glasses, Her death took place on 



WOMEN OP THE REVOLUTION. 523 

the twentieth of June, 1824, at the age of sixty-eight 
She is described as having been, even at that age, a 
remarkably fine-looking woman, with brilliant black 
eyes and blooming complexion. Her style of dress, 
which was somewhat peculiar, and her dignified man- 
ners, gave her an appearance of being taller than she 
really was. It is a subject of regret with her family 
that no portrait of her remains that does her any 
justice. The one taken of General Knox, in the last 
year of his life, by the celebrated Stuart said to be 
a perfect likeness is now suspended in Faneuil Hall. 
The same artist had made considerable progress in one 
of Mrs. Knox ; but one day while working at it, 
became suddenly dissatisfied with what he had done, 
and rubbed it out. He was, as is well known, much 
governed by impulse, and could not be prevailed on 
to renew the attempt. 

Those who speak of Mrs. Knox, either from recollec- 
tion or tradition, concur in the testimony that she was 
u a remarkable woman." It cannot be doubted that 
she possessed a murl of a high and powerful cast, with 
such qualities of character as make a deep and abiding 
impression, and that her influence on all with whom 
she came into contact was very decided. The defer- 
ence mingled with the friendly regard of General and 
Mrs. "Washington, and the homage paid to her intel- 
lectual superiority by many persons of judgment and 
talent, show this influence to have been great and 
well founded ; in general society it was commanding, 
and gave a tone to the manners of tho time. It can 



524 LUCY KNOX. 

hardly be wondered at, that among tnose who could 
not properly appreciate such a character, injustice 
should have been done to her ; that dignity should 
have been called haughtiness, and the independence 
of a high and calm spirit represented as unfeminine 
boldness. Those who had the best opportunities of 
knowing her intimately, assure us that there was 
nothing masculine or bold in her appearance or deport- 
ment, although she may at times have seemed distant 
and haughty to visitors who presumed too much on 
her hospitality, and abrupt to those to whom her per- 
fect sincerity of character would not permit her to 
show favor. That she had a heart as well as a mind 
a heart full of warm sensibility all who knew her 
could testify. The strength of her domestic attach- 
ments, her devotion to husband and children, for whom 
she was ready, in the noon of life, to give up the 
delights of society in the metropolis the keenness of 
her suffering in those bereavements 

" That woke the nerve where agonies are born," 

show that all the deep and tender feelings which belong 
to feminine nature were hers in an eminent decree. In 

O 

the busiest scenes of her eventful life, the claims of 
maternal duty were never forgotten ; and the love and 
reverence of the children who survive her are the best 
evidence of the excellence of her who was the guide 
of their early years. 



XLVII. 



MARGARET WHETTEN, 

MARGARET TODD was born in the year 1736, in New 
York, and married William Whetten, a native of 
Devonshire, England. He had emigrated to this 
country when a boy, without his parents, before the 
French war, and after having commanded vessels 
trading with the "West Indies, settled in New York as 
a merchant. At the commencement of the Revolu- 
tion he was the owner of several vessels, which he 
sold, investing the greater part of the proceeds in the 
paper issues of the state government and Congress. 
When the British ship Asia fired upon the city, Au- 
gust 23d, 1776, he took the alarm like many of the 
inhabitants, and removed with his family to New 
Rochelle. Here, so far from finding a refuge from the 
perils of war, they soon discovered themselves to be 
in a situation of even greater danger. After the battle 
of Long Island, and the occupation of New York by 
the British, the American forces, contending the 
ground from one post to another, were for some time 
stationed within a few miles of the village, near which 
the troops of Lord Howe were posted. The residence 



526 MARGARET WHETTEN. 

of Capt. Whetten was thus midway between the hos- 
tile lines and during the movement of the two armies 
towards White Plains, devastation and famine marked 
the whole region of country through which they passed. 
Whetten was a zealous patriot, though prevented by 
infirm health from taking any active part ; yet he was 
often constrained to entertain loyalists as well as 
whigs. The alternate visits of friends and foes, talk- 
ing of the news of the day, or sitting down to the 
table spread by the liberal providence of Mrs. Whetten, 
gave rise occasionally to singular encounters. 

The Hessians, who had joined the British at New 
Rochelle, were the peculiar terror of the defenceless 
people, stories of their ferocity being circulated by 
both parties. Mrs. Whetten was perhaps the first to 
discover that such rumors might be exaggerated and 
that these mercenaries were sometimes less to be 
dreaded than soldiers speaking the English language. 
Observing one day that black colors were suddenly 
hoisted in an adjacent field, she asked a British officer 
who chanced to come in, what it meant. "Heaven 
help you, madam," was the reply ; " a Hessian camp 
is to be set up there." It turned out better than was 
anticipated. A good feeling was speedily established 
between her and the Hessians, who came almost daily 
to the house ; for her acquaintance with the low 
Dutch dialect then familiarly spoken in many families 
in New York, enabled her to converse readily with 
them. In consequence of this partiality her house 
was exempted from depredations to which many of 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 527 

her neighbors were subjected, and she was sometimes 
enabled to save their property from destruction. She 
often corrected the errors of these foreigners respecting 
the country. Hearing one of them boast that the next 
day they would be in Philadelphia, she informed him 
that two rivers were to be crossed, and a long journey 
accomplished, before they could reach that city. 

Among other interesting recollections of those days 
is that of a mother of her acquaintance, who melted all 
the pewter she had into bullets for her two sons, whom 
she sent from her hearth-stone to fight in the armies of 
their country. As she stood in the door to bid them 
farewell, one of the young men turned back, saying 
he had no gun. She urged him to go on, fearing 
naught, and trusting in (rod's protection, for he would 
find a gun to spare in the army. When she had lost 
sight of both, she wiped from her eyes the streaming 
tears, and went back into the house to pray for her 
devoted ones. 

The village of New Rochelle suffered by incursions 
of the enemy from the commencement of the war. At 
one time when it was laid waste, the house of Capt. 
Whetten escaped destruction, being protected by a 
guard set by the Hessian general, at that time quar- 
tered in it. Mrs. "Whetten, however, not trusting en- 
tirely to the enemy's favor, had sent away several 
articles of value for concealment. A family near 
them, compelled to fly and leave a dying father in 
their house, entreated her to take care of the helpless 
invalid, and if possible, save their property from the 



528 MARGARET WHETTEN. 

rapacious soldiers. The sacred trust was accepted and 
fulfilled, but she was not able to protect all the arti- 
cles left by the fugitives ; an iron chest that stood in 
the piazza was plundered while the old man was expir- 
ing, and while her cares and those of her daughters 
were in requisition for him. The following evening, 
Mrs. Whetten requested her daughters to go some dis- 
tance to the place where her store had been deposited, 
for clean sheets to furnish a bed for the Hessian officer. 
The young girls objected, expressing their opinion- 
for they supposed that the officer, who was present, 
could not understand English that what they had 
was good enough for their unwelcome guest. The 
discussion, after being continued some time, was ended 
by the officer's saying to the no small consternation 
of the ladies " Do not trouble yourself, Madam ; 
straw is a good enough bed for a soldier." It may be 
conjectured that there was no further delay in procur- 
ing the sheets. 

But the family was not always so much favored as 
to be exempted from aggression. On one occasion, 
when English soldiers came to the house to demand if 
any rebels were harbored there, the Hessians broke 
into the cellar and carried off a cider cask. At another 
time, after having plundered the house of Mrs. Todd, 
heaped her china together and broken it in one crash, 
they came to Mrs. Whetten's to finish their work. 
The ruffians snatched a handkerchief from the neck 
of her daughter J&argaret, for the purpose of tying up 
various articles they had found about the house. The 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 529 

young girl was crying with indignation and fright, 
when an officer, who just then entered, asked what 
was the matter. " The Hessians are plundering us," 
was the answer. " And what are you ?" demanded 
the officer. " We are whigs," replied the girl, but 
terrified at his fierce scowl and angry exclamation, she 
corrected herself, saying, " I am so confused, I knew 
not what I said, sir ; we are friends to government." 
This little ruse saved the house from spoliation ; the 
officer called off his men, who had taken as yet but 
little, and the family was left in peace. On another 
occasion, when the soldiers were robbing the house, a 
British officer interposed, beating off his men with his 
own sword. 

One day, returning from their grandmother's, two 
of the daughters of Mrs. Whetten were witnesses to a 
hostile encounter. Meeting an American captain of 
their acquaintance, they invited him home to dinner. 
They were watched by a redcoat in the adjoining field, 
who presently leaped the fence and advanced towards 
the captain. Both fired, and then closed in a struggle. 
In a few moments several other British came up ; some 
whigs who were cooking provisions in an orchard near 
at hand, hastened to join the fray, and a skirmish took 
place in presence of the frightened girls, who were 
glad, as soon as they could, to escape to the shelter of 
their home. 

One night, after the family had retired, Mrs. Whet- 
ten was awakened by a noise without, and called her 
husband, supposing some of the Americans had como 



530 MARGARET WHETTEN. 

to the village for provisions. The captain rose, and 
going to open the door was assailed by oaths and cries 
from British soldiers demanding entrance. To the 
question, " Are you king's man or rebel ?" he replied, 
" I am a friend to humanity." The intruders spread 
themselves through the house to seize whatever plun- 
der they might find. Several came into the chamber 
of Mrs. Whetten, who was keeping guard over her 
infant lying asleep on a pillow. They rudely snatch- 
ed the pillow, throwing off the child on the floor, and 
demanded money. The mother had put her purse in 
one of her pockets and hid it under the bolster. One 
of the robbers snatched a pocket from under the pillow, 
which she strove to get away from him. Her husband 
begged her to give it up, as it would certainly be 
wrested from her ; she answered that she would not ; 
but presently perceiving the man had not taken the 
pocket containing her purse, and that the one in his 
possession held only her snuffbox, she relinquished it 
after some further show of resistance. The soldier 
bore away his prize, while she took care to secrete her 
treasure. Meanwhile one of her daughters, who had 
some money in charge, fled from the house towards a 
neighbor's, fancying herself pursued by the enemy, 
though it was only her invalid father who was hasten- 
ing to protect her from danger. She reached the 
neighbor's door perfectly bewildered with fright, and 
when her father came up was beating against it and 
calling for admittance, in her agitation using the 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 



531 



soldiers' language that rung in her ears " Open., 
you d d rebels, or we'll blow you to pieces!" etc. 

The scarcity of provisions caused great suffering 
among the inhabitants of the village, supplies that 
might reach the continental troops being intercepted 
by the enemy. The little the people had was often 
taken from them. At one time Gren. Agnew sent 
word to Mrs. Whetten that she could have some milk, 
as he had been lucky enough to procure a cow. His 
offer to share the advantage with his neighbors did not 
long avail them ; by the next morning nothing was 
left of the cow but the head and skin, the Hessians 
having landed and left the usual tokens of their pre- 
sence. One of their female neighbors, leaving the 
village with a wagon loaded with different articles, 
met on the road a party of British soldiers whom she 
took for Americans. When questioned, she answered 
that she was carrying off her property to save it from 
British depredation. Her wagon was immediately 
seized and driven down to the river, while she was 
left to rue her unguarded speech. 

During the action at White Plains, Mrs. Whetten 
and her daughters heard the firing, and awaited, the 
result with deep anxiety, praying earnestly for the 
success of their countrymen. At one time, when the 
news was discouraging, and suspense was at its height, 
one of the daughters observed, despondingly, " Our 
people will be defeated and slaughtered !" " Not so !" 
exclaimed her sister Sarah afterwards Mrs. Bre- 
voort " the sword of the Lord and of Washington !" 



532 MARGARET WHETTEN. 

The difficulty of procuring provisions at New Ro- 
chelle at length compelled the Whettens to return to 
New York. The captain's health was declining rapidly, 
and he died a short time after the removal of his fami- 
ly. Its care in the midst of danger and disaster now 
devolved upon the widow, who proved herself equal to 
the charge. It has been mentioned that nearly all 
their property was in paper money, which Capt. Whet- 
ten had estimated as more valuable than gold, saving 
it as a sure provision for his family, while he paid all 
current expenses in specie. When the currency de- 
preciated, Mrs. Whetten was often urged to exchange 
ner paper for hard money, or to purchase land with it, 
but steadily refused. " I will never," she said, "un- 
dervalue the currency established by Congress !" 
The consequence of this disinterested patriotism was 
the loss of all ; but the high-spirited matron never 
regretted the sacrifice which she imagined could not 
have been avoided without casting a slight upon the 
honor of her country. 

For some time the family could not obtain possession 
of their own house ; but through the friendly offices 
of Andrew Elliot, collector of the port of New York 
under the crown, they were at length permitted to 
occupy it. This house stood in Cliff street, adjoining 
the rear of St. George's Chapel. A full account of 
their experience during their residence in the city for 
the succeeding years of the war, would present a 
graphic picture of the state of the times. Mrs. Whet- 
ten bore her part without shrinking, both in action 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 533 

and endurance. Her benevolent feelings prompted her 
to do good to all, but especially the oppressed whigs, for 
whom her house was always an asylum. The British 
were sometimes quartered upon her, and she was 
required to board many of the prisoners, who had rea- 
son to remember her generous kindness. Once, when 
some of her countrymen, having dined with her, asked 
what compensation was due she replied, " Nothing, 
if you all eat heartily ;" and such was the spirit of her 
dealings with them. She made it her daily business 
to prepare food for the American soldiers, and sent it 
regularly to the prisons, as well as mush to the hos- 
pitals, using thus all the Indian meal she could obtain. 
She went sometimes with her daughters to see the 
prisoners, and encouraged them by cheerful conversa- 
tion. Occasionally they visited that modern Bastile, 
the Provost, where the marshal the notorious Con- 
yngham would now and then show his displeasure 
by kicking over the baskets of food they brought, and 
beating the unfortunate prisoners with his keys. 
Sometimes he received them with a surly courtesy, 
making himself amends, however, by indulging in 
boastful language. Miss Margaret Whetten once went 
with a female friend to see a woman imprisoned here, 
and heard Conyngham brag of having dug up in a 
church yard at. New Rochelle various buried articles, 
which happened to be the property of the friend who 
accompanied her. The Provost stood in the Park, and 
the northeast apartment on the second floor, appro- 
priated for officers or persons of distinction, was used 



Od4r MARGARET WHETTEN. 

for the reception of visitors. It was called " Congress 
Hall," and the black fellow in attendance went by the 
name of " "Washington." Mrs. Whetten and her 
daughters continually provided not only provisions, but 
clothes for the use of the captive soldiers, not heeding 
the surliness of their gaolers or the risk of indignity 
to themselves. Conyngham told a gentleman that 
these ladies were " the d dest rebels in New York," 
but so true to the prisoners, he could not often refuse 
to let them come. Sometimes they went to a guard 
house close to the old sugar house, which adjoined the 
Middle Dutch Church in Nassau street, and the ser- 
geant permitted them to sit at the window while the 
prisoners came into the yard below and talked with 
them. The prisoners taken on Long Island were here 
confined, and almost starved. How many desponding 
hearts were comforted by such ministering visits, and 
the examples of constancy and heroism exhibited by 
these generous women ! 

Not satisfied with- such daily ministrations, Mrs. 
Whetten often had provisions conveyed to the unfortu- 
nate inmates of the prison ships. A boat was usually 
sent to receive the supplies, and it is said the prisoners 
were sometimes permitted to speak with the ladies. 
Nor did our heroine hesitate to risk her own safety by 
receiving persons suspected of serving the American 
cause. Several of her descendants remember a story 
of her having assisted in the escape of a spy. When 
a party of soldiers was sent to her house to arrest the 
suspected person, having notice of their approach, she 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 535 

had just time to slip a dressing-gown and night-cap 
upon her guest, place him in a large easy chair, and 
put a bowl of gruel into his hands. When the guard 
came, she showed them the seeming invalid, and they 
left, him, intending to return and take him as soon as 
he should be sufficiently recovered to accompany them. 
The officer was reprimanded, and immediately ordered 
back ; but by that time the object of suspicion had 
disappeared. Capt. Hunter, who often came with 
a flag to the city, was in the habit of sending and re- 
ceiving communications through Mrs. Whetten's fami- 
ly. On one occasion he was ordered to remain three 
or four days at her house, but finally permitted to 
depart. 

It was not long before Mrs. Whetten learned that 
she was suspected of harboring spies, and feeling some 
uneasiness, she was advised to address a letter to the 
British commander, soliciting his protection. She 
went herself to deliver it at his quarters, and her ab- 
sence till late in the afternoon greatly alarmed her 
daughters, who could suppose nothing else but that 
she had been arrested and sent to the Provost. She 
had only been detained by waiting for the aid-de-camp 
who had promised to favor her, to find an opportunity 
of presenting her letter. The dread of being persecu- 
ted as obnoxious, was no small part of their trials, for 
they knew how others had been treated under such 
circumstances. Some of the royalists once finding 
a military suit in a trunk belonging to one of their 
neighbors, their rage at the discovery was vented in 



536 MARGARET WHETTEN. 

the hearing of Mrs. Whetten's household. At another 
house where a British officer was billeted, he chose to 
take with him a female favorite, whose presence and 
caprices the lady was compelled to endure. Once 
having ventured to strike her lap-dog, she received 
from the virago not only a violent scolding, but a 
quantity of liniment thrown in her face. 

Mrs. Todd, the mother of Mrs. "Whetten, who accom- 
panied her in her removal to the city, had been obliged 
for a time to take up her residence in a cooper's shop. 
A member of Congress with whom she was acquainted 
requested her to occupy a house belonging to him ; 
but her removal thither seemed to give offence. A 
party of soldiers came the same night, plundered the 
house of several articles, and then seating themselves 
at the table, ordered supper. After drinking their 
punch, they would toss the cups and glasses they had 
emptied to the ceiling, breaking them to pieces. They 
would not permit the terrified women to leave the 
room, but compelled them to witness their brutal rev- 
elry. On their demand that the mistress of the house 
should give them a toast, she replied, " Why, we eat 
toast !" with so much simplicity that supposing her 
really ignorant of their meaning, they did not insist 
further. Her ingenuity in thus avoiding the necessity 
of pledging her enemies, was equalled by that of a tory 
lady, who once asked some whigs to join her in a. toast, 
and gave " the first two words of David's third " 
her guests not being aware, till they had leisure to 






ME S. A1LEX . W. IRATOIA1LL 




WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 537 

^ 

look into the Psalms, that they had drunk the health 
of " Lord Howe." 

Some of the British soldiers showed much courtesy 
to Mrs. Whetten and her daughters. Once, when they 
expressed uneasiness at having a quarter-guard sta- 
tioned opposite, they were assured that so far from 
being subjected to annoyance, they would be safer 
than before, and might leave their windows open by 
night as well as day. After the close of the war, one 
of this guard, passing the window, stopped to pay his 
compliments to one of the daughters. His hair was 
plaited on the top of his head in the usual fashion, 
and as he removed his high-pointed cap, he made bold 
to beg " Miss Peggy's" acceptance of his comb. The 
young lady declined the offered token of remembrance, 
but promised not to forget the polite guardsman. 

Early in August, 1778, a ship lying not far from 
the Long Island shore, having a large quantity of 
gunpowder on board, was struck by lightning and 
exploded. The shock was like an earthquake, causing 
great alarm, and several houses were injured ; St. 
George's Chapel, next door to Mrs. Whetten's, was 
violently shaken, some of its glass being shattered and 
the scuttles blown off 

The time approached which was to end these dan- 
gers and sufferings. It was announced that New 
York was speedily to be evacuated by the British. 
The rejoicing of patriotic families who had lived sc 
long in the midst of enemies, was of course great at 
the cheering prospect. One dame who lived near Mrs. 



538 MARGARET WHETTEN. 

Whetten's was rather premature in her joyful demon- 
strations. Hearing the news flying from mouth to 
mouth, and seeing preparations for the departure of 
the royal troops, she imagined that her countrymen 
had already taken possession, and forthwith hoisted in 
full view from the top of her house a flag bearing the 
thirteen stars. Not long after this feat, the family of 
Mrs. Whetten was startled by the report of a neighbor, 
who came running to inform her that the provost 
marshal, Conyngham, at the head of a party of soldiers, 
was marching towards her house. That was not, 
however, his destination : he was in pursuit of the 
woman who had dared to insult His Majesty by hoist- 
ing the flag. The woman, meanwhile, hearing of his 
approach, locked her doors, and when the soldiers came 
to get possession of the flag, not only refused them 
admission, but stood and berated them with all the 
force of her tongue, joined by a number of boys, who 
were glad of an opportunity to insult the British. 
Conyngham judged it most prudent to draw off his 
men, and retire from the shower of abuse, which at 
another time would probably have been returned with 
a shower of bullets. 

The house of Mrs. Whetten, called during the war 
"Rebel Headquarters," was the first in New York 
to which the news of peace was brought. A French 
gentleman a prisoner who boarded with her, re- 
ceived from the French ambassador at Philadelphia a 
letter containing the earliest account. After the es- 
tablishment of peace, the services of Mrs. Whetten to 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 539 

the American cause did not fail to receive thankful 
acknowledgment, and a letter was written to her by 
General Washington, expressing his warm gratitude 
on behalf of the country. He also desired leave to 
breakfast with her, and during the meal, while con- 
versing about the scenes through which she and her 
family had passed, he rose twice to thank her for the 
kindness she had shown the prisoners at such risk to 
herself, and the substantial aid she had rendered. 

Mrs. "Whetten was remarkable, like many other 
matrons of Revolutionary times, for quickness of rep- 
artee and a rather pungent humor. Once in conversa- 
tion with a British officer, the news of a signal victory 
gained by the Americans having just arrived, she asked 
with much archness " And did my countrymen run 
again this time ?" " Ay, in truth, madam," was the 
candid reply: "they did run; but it was after us." 
Some time after peace, being in the stage on the road 
to Hartford, she chanced to find herself in company 
with two Englishmen not remarkable for comeliness, 
who took pleasure in abusing everything American. 
She observed quietly, that in one respect her country 
appeared to have the advantage ; " we beat you," she 
said, "in handsome men." The Englishmen were 
good natured enough to join in the laugh this remark 
created among the passengers, and were aiterwards so 
much pleased with the lively conversation of their 
travelling companion, that they were sorry to part with 
her at her place of destination. 

Mrs. Whetten continued to live in New York till her 



540 



MARGARET WHETTEN. 



death, which took place in March, 1809. Her eldest 
daughter, Sarah, married Henry Brevoort. During the 
occupation of New York by the British, the relations 
of this gentleman with Mr. Elliot, who was highly 
esteemed by both parties for his integrity of character 
and urbanity of manners, had been very friendly Mr. 
Elliot's house adjoining his country-seat. This friend- 
ship was more lasting than the war. The son of Mr. 
Brevoort, on a visit to England many years afterwards, 
received a letter from Lady Cathcart, the daughter of 
Mr. Elliot, enquiring if he were related to the Brevoort 
who had been her father's friend, and his answer was 
followed by a pressing invitation to visit her. Marga- 
ret, the second daughter, married Capt. Dean whose 
romantic adventures have been made the subject of a 
pleasing tale by Miss Sedgwick. The naval career of 
Capt. John Whetten, who was for twenty years Presi- 
dent of the New York Marine Society, was a remark- 
able one. He often spoke of his excellent mother, 
whose pious counsels had such influence to restrain 
from vice and incite to virtue in the vicissitudes of his 
roving life. The fact is a curious one, that living to 
the age of eighty-two, and wandering in distant parts of 
rhe earth, his last resting place, in the family vault in 
the churchyard of St. George's chapel, was within half 
a cable's length of the spot where he was bora. 



XLVI1I. 



BLANDINA BKUYN. 

MANY are yet living in whose hearts is cherished the 
memory of Mrs. Bruyn, while the tradition of her 
virtues is familiar to the inhabitants of the neighbor- 
hood where she resided. Her days were chiefly passed 
in the seclusion of the family circle, remote from the 
show and bustle of public life, but her high social 
position, and attention to the duties of a widely-ex- 
tended and generous hospitality, brought her into 
contact with many of the leading minds of the period, 
and her exemplary discharge of the continual require- 
ments of charity and benevolence, made her known 
as the protector of the unfortunate, looked up to with 
reverent and grateful regard by all who experienced 
her bounty. 

Her father, Petrus Edmundus Elmendorf, was de- 
scended from the earliest settlers of Hurley, a small 
town on the bank of the Esopus, about three miles 
from Kingston, in Ulster County, New York. She 
was born at Kingston, then called Esopus, August 8th, 
1753. Losing her father when very young, she was 
left entirely to the care of her mother, Mary Elmen- 



542 BLANDINA BRUYN. 

dorf, a lady whose noble character, energy, and bene- 
volent exertions in the cause of the destitute and 
suffering, rendered her name widely known at that 
period, not only throughout a large portion of New 
York, but in the adjoining provinces of New Jersey 
and Pennsylvania. She was the Mrs. Elmendorf who, 
it is said, studied medicine that she might be quali- 
fied, while the men of the neighborhood were gene- 
rally absent in the defence of their country, and the 
physicians especially were in requisition in the army, 
to practise the healing art among the poor families in 
the country around her. She appears not only to 
have possessed a mind of superior order, but the 
advantages of cultivation. From this intellectual 
and accomplished parent the daughter received her 
early instruction, with the best means of education 
which, in that day, it was possible to enjoy. She 
was placed for some time under the care of Miss 
Blanche Beyeau, a teacher celebrated at that period, 
and had the advantage of being at a boarding-school 
in the city of New York. However limited may have 
been the range of mere accomplishments then taught, it 
does not appear that the more substantial and useful 
acquirements were neglected ; Blandina learned to 
write and speak, with ease and correctness, the Eng- 
lish, Dutch, and French languages, in each of which 
she had numerous correspondents at a later period 
of her life. These attainments must have caused her 
to be regarded as a learned lady at a time when even 
the privilege of a common country school was enjoyed 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 543 

by few, and so many of the daughters of the wealthy 
gained their only instruction from books at home. 

Miss Elmendorf 's youth passed in quiet occupations 
and amusements, till a short time before the rupture 
between Great Britain and the American Colonies. 
She then formed a matrimonial engagenent with 
Jacobus S. Bruyn, afterwards colonel in the American 
army, whose services to his country brought upon him 
the hardships of a long captivity. The tranquil hap- 
piness to which the young lovers looked forward was 
destined not yet to be their portion the duties of 
Col. Bruyn calling him to Quebec, and afterwards to 
other places. 

In the early part of October, 1777, the British 
General, Sir Henry Clinton, with the small force that 
could be spared from an important post left under his 
command, made an attack upon Forts Clinton and 
Montgomery. These forts were separated by a stream 
that came from the mountain, communicating by a 
bridge with each other. The British commander saw 
that his only prospect of securing them was by a 
coup de main in their then unguarded state, allowing 
no time for the arrival of succor. Sir James Wallace 
moved up to Peekskill Neck, to mask the only com- 
munication the Americans had across the river on 
that side of the Highlands. The attack on both forts 
succeeded at the same time, and Col. Bruyn, one of 
the officers engaged in the defence of Fort Mont- 
gomery, was taken prisoner. 

The sad separation from her affianced husband, the 



544 BLANDINA BRUYN. 

severest trial Miss Elmendorf had hitherto been called 
to undergo, was but the beginning of sorrows. The 
capture of Fort Montgomery was immediately suc- 
ceeded by the burning of Esopus. This town, it will 
be remembered, was one of the earliest Dutch settle- 
ments in New York said to be the third place set- 
tled, and commenced about 1618. It is beautifully 
situated on the fertile flats elevated above Esopus 
Creek. The Catskill Mountains are seen in the dis- 
tance. It had been in former times the scene of bat- 
tle and violence. In 1663, the Indians of that region, 
who had been for some time discontented with their 
Dutch neighbors, made an attack on the village, but 
were compelled to flee to the mountains by troops 
sent from New Amsterdam by Grov. Stuyvesant. A 
British account of the burning of this place is quoted 
in the postscript of a letter written by Sir William 
Howe to Lord Greorge Gfermain. He calls the affair 
" a very spirited piece of service." The report says, 
in the words of Major-General Vaughan " Esopus be- 
ing a nursery for almost every villain in the country, 
I judged it necessary to proceed to that town. On 
our approach they were drawn up with cannon, which 
we took and drove them out of the place. On our 
entering the town, they fired from the houses, which 
induced me to reduce the place to ashes, which I 
accordingly did, not leaving a house. We found a 
considerable quantity of stores of all kinds, which 
shared the same fate." The American account state? 
that one house was spared at the burning that of 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 545 

Mrs. Hammersly, who was acquainted with some of 
the British officers, and for that reason was favored 
with their protection. 

" Thus, by the wantonness of power," says the 
Connecticut Journal, Oct. 27, 1777, " the third town 
in the state for size, elegance, and wealth, is reduced 
to a heap of rubbish ; the once happy inhabitants, 
who are chiefly of Dutch descent, are obliged to solicit 
shelter among strangers, and those who possessed 
lately elegant and convenient dwellings, obliged to 
take up with such huts as they find can defend them 
from the cold blasts of approaching winter." But a 
faint idea can be formed from description of what was 
endured by the helpless inhabitants. An invasion at 
night, and the conflagration of the entire town, at a 
season when the cold must have been severely felt 
the distress caused by the destruction of so many 
homes, and the anguish of those who knew not the 
fate of their beloved ones form a scene whose horrors 
can scarcely be compassed by the most vivid imagina- 
tion. At this particular period, marked by the rever- 
ses that overspread with such gloom the prospects of 
the country, and the dreary picture of Valley Forge, 
there was hardly a ray of hope to cheer the most san- 
guine, or lighten the pressure of calamity. In this 
melancholy state of public affairs, individual misfor- 
tune was felt not the less keenly. The fate of Miss 
Elrnendorf seemed linked with that of her suffering 
country. By the destruction of her native town her 
mother's family was broken up, and the members for 



546 BLANDINA BRUYN. 

some time dispersed. Her own time was divided, 
after this, between Hurley, Albany, and Raritan in 
New Jersey, as duty called for her presence in either 
place, or as Providence directed her movements. Many 
incidents, both of an amusing and distressing cha- 
racter, which occurred during her journeys, were re- 
membered by her, and related afterwards to her chil- 
dren. An interesting light, would have been thrown 
upon the manners and life of that day by detailed 
accounts ; but for lack of a record, much that might 
have given expression and coloring to the outline pic- 
tures of history, is lost beyond recovery. 

Col. Bruyn was kept for some time in close confine- 
ment in a prison ship, where he could have no com- 
munication with his betrothed. The horrors of these 
abodes of suffering, despair, and death, have been 
often described. He was afterwards so fortunate as 
to obtain release, being transferred to Long Island on 
his parole. Yet he was still for three years doomed 
to endure the weariness of captivity, and to witness 
the struggles of his country for freedom without be- 
ing able to take part in the contest. During this long 
and painful separation, the faithful affection of his fair 
and gentle mistress remained unchanged. 

The season of disaster and trial was succeeded by 
brighter times, and in the spring of 1782 the lovers 
were restored to each other and united in marriage. 
After the close of the war, and until their death, they 
continued to reside at Kingston. 



XEIX. 



ANNE FITZHUGH, 

ANNE FRISBY, the daughter of Peregrine Frisby, 
of Cecil County, in Maryland, was born Sept. 5th, 
1727. Her first husband was John Rousby, and 
their only daughter married John Plater. On the 
7th Jan., 1759, Mrs. Rousby was united to Wm. Fitz- 
hugh, colonel in the British service. He won con- 
siderable distinction in his military career, and his 
services in the West India expedition. At the com- 
mencement of difficulties between the colonies and the 
mother country he was living on his half pay. The 
large estate, highly improved, on which he resided, lay 
at the mouth of the Patuxent River, in Maryland, and 
he had in operation extensive manufactories of differ* 
ent kinds. When discontent ripened into rebellion, 
though he was advanced in years, in feeble health, 
and had almost entirely lost his sight, neither the 
infirmities of age, nor any advantage to be derived 
from adhesion to the government, prevented his taking 
an open and active part with the patriots. On account 
of his influence in the community, he was offered a 
continuance of his half pay if he would remain neu- 



548 ANNE F1TZHUGH. 

tral, but he at once declined the offer, resigned his 
commission, and declared for the land that gave him 
birth. Unable himself to bear arms, he furnished his 
two sons Peregrine and William for the army, and 
dismissed them with his command to be true to the 
interests of their country. These were both officers, 
and served with distinction under the continental 
standard. Their father took his seat in the Execu- 
tive Council of Maryland, giving his vote and influence 
to the debates, till the political opinions of that bo;iy 
were no longer wavering. Not only thus did he ren- 

O iJ / 

der service, but he was seen and heard at every pub- 
lic meeting, going from place to place through the 
country, haranguing the people in stump speeches, 
and devoting all his energies to the task of rousing 
them to fight for their own rights. 

This active zeal for American freedom of course did 
not fail to render the venerable patriot obnoxious. He 
was often apprised of danger from British enmity, but 
no risk could deter him from the performance of duty 
At one time, when he had disregarded a warning from 
some unknown hand, Mrs. Fitzhugh was surprised in 
his absence by news of the near approach of a party 
of British soldiers. She instantly decided on her 
course in the emergency, and collected the slaves, 
whom she furnished with such arms as could be found 
Then taking a quantity of cartridges in her apron, she 
led the way out to meet the enemy, resolved that they 
should have at least a round of shots by way of wel- 
come. Finding preparations for resistance where they 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 



549 



probably expected none, the party retired from the 
grounds without doing any damage. 

At another time when they received information of 
a design on the enemy's part to attack the house that 
night, take the colonel prisoner, carry off what plun- 
der could be found, and lay waste the premises, Col. 
Fitzhugh was dissuaded by his anxious family from 
making any attempt at defence. Perhaps thinking 
that, meeting no opposition, they would be content 
with plunder, he reluctantly consented to leave the 
place with his household. The next morning nothing 
remained of the mansion but a heap of smoking ruins. 
The family then removed to Upper Marlboro', about 
fifty miles up the river, where they continued to reside 
till the close of the war. 

In the fall before peace was declared, a detachment 
of British soldiers having landed on the shore of the 
Patuxent, marched to the house of Col. Fitzhugh. 
It was about midnight when he and his wife were 
roused from sleep by a loud knocking at the door. 
The colonel raised a window and called out to know 
who was there. The reply was, "Friends." He ask- 
ed, " Friends to whom ?" " Friends to King Greorge !" 
was shouted in answer, with a peremptory order to open 
the door. Knowing well that remonstrance or resist- 
ance would be useless, and that delay would but irri- 
tate the intruders to acts of violence, the colonel 
assured them that his wife he being blind w r ould 
immediately descend and admit them Mrs. Fitz- 
hugh did not hesitate, though not smal was her dis- 



550 ANNE FITZHUGH. 

may and terror when, parting the curtains for an in- 
stant she saw the courtyard filled with armed men 
The night was cloudy, and a drizzling rain was falling, 
but by the faint moonlight their bayonets could be 
distinctly seen. Hastily lighting a candle, and put- 
ting on her slippers, she went down stairs, stopping 
only for a moment to give her sons, who happened to 
be in the house, their pistols, and warn them that 
they must lose no time in making their escape. They 
left the house by the back door as their mother with 
difficulty turned the ponderous key which secured the 
front. The intruders instantly rushed in, touching t 
her night dress with their bayonets as she turned to 
leave the door. She walked calmly before them into 
the parlor, and addressing the officer, said she hoped 
they intended to do the inmates of the house no harm. 
He replied that they did not, but he must see Col. 
Fitzhugh at once ; then, his attention being suddenly 
attracted by some articles of military dress, he de- 
manded quickly, " What officers have you in the 
house, Madam ?" " There is no one here but our own 
family," answered Mrs. Fitzhugh. The men spoke 
together in a low voice, and then the question was 
repeated, to which the same reply was given with 
perfect calmness. She noticed a smile on the counte- 
nance of the officer as he said, " We must take these, 
Madam," pointing to the cap, holsters, etc. It is pro- 
per to mention that nothing else was touched in the 
house, although the supper table, with plate upon it, 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 551 

was standing as it had been left at night, and the side- 
board contained several other articles. 

Mrs. Fitzhugh, in obedience to the order that her 
husband should come down, went to assist him in 
dressing, and returned with him, unmindful, in her 
anxiety for him, that she had taken no time to dress 
herself. The officer informed him that he was his 
prisoner, and must go with them to New York, then 
in possession of the British. Col. Fitzhugh replied 
that his age and want of sight made it scarce worth 
their while to take him, as he could neither do harm 
nor service, being unable, indeed, to take care of him- 
self. Such arguments, however, availed nothing, and 
he was hurried off immediately, the captors, it is 
likely, fearing a surprise. Mrs. Fitzhugh had made 
no preparations for a journey, but had too much deci- 
sion of character and courage to hesitate a moment. 
Walking up to her husband, she took his arm, and 
when the officer endeavored to persuade her to remain, 
saying she would suffer from exposure, she answered 
that Col. Fitzhugh was not able to take care of him- 
self, and that even if he were, she would not be sepa- 
rated from him. The officer then took down a cloak 
and threw it over her shoulders. With only this slight 
protection from the cold and rain, she left the house 
with the rest. Their boat lay off about half a mile, 
and going to the shore they had to walk through the 
mud, the ground being soaked with rain, but the ma- 
tron's resolute spirit did not fail her. An alarm was 
caused by the discharge of a gun, which the soldiers 



552 ANNE FITZHUGH. 

took to be the signal of a gathering in the neighbor- 
hood. They had already reached the boat, when they 
consented to permit Col. Fitzhugh to remain on his 
parole, which was hastily written out, and leaving 
the prisoner on shore, they pushed off as rapidly as 
possible. 

On their return to the nouse, the colonel and Mrs. 
Fitzhugh were much surprised to find all the negroes 
gone, except one little girl who had hid herself in the 
garret. They had evidently been taken or persuaded 
to go off in their absence, and there was ground for 
the suspicion that the enemy's real object had been to 
obtain possession of the slaves without any resistance 
that might alarm the neighbors. Many of these miss- 
ing ones returned to their master of their own accord, 
the fair promises made to allure them from his service 
not having been kept. 

Miss Plater, the granddaughter of Mrs. Fitzhugh, 
displayed much courage upon this occasion. After 
her grandparents had left the house in charge of the 
soldiers, one or two of the men came back to obtain 
some fire, and in carrying it from the room, let some 
fall on the carpet. The young girl started forward, 
put her foot upon it, and ask^d if they meant to fire 
the house ; then speaking of the outrage upon the old 
gentleman, expressed herself with so much dignity 
and feeling, that the hearts even of those rough sol- 
diers were touched, and they answered kindly, that 
the house should stand, and no harm come to her. 
They then asked for wine, which she ordered to be set 



WOMEN OP THE REVOLUTION. 553 

before them. They would not drink, however, fearing 
it might be poisoned, till she had tasted each bottle, and 
insisted on her doing so. This young lady was after- 
wards the wife of Col. Forrest. 

Capt. Peregrine Fitzhugh, one of the sons already 
mentioned, who was for some time aid to General 
Washington, married Miss Elizabeth Chew, of Mary- 
land, and removed in 1799 to Sodus Bay, on Lake 
Ontario, where he spent the remainder of his days 
His venerable widow still resides at Sodus Point, in 
the midst of her children and descendants, by whom, 
and a large circle of acquaintance, she is equally 
revered and beloved. She is one of the earliest and 
most highly esteemed friends of the writer of these 
memoirs. Col. William Fitzhugh married Miss Anno 
Hughes of Maryland, and removed to the vicinity of 
Greneseo, Livingston County, in the western part of 
New York. 



L. 



KATHARINE STEEL,* 

THIS heroine was of a stamp rarely seen or described 
in recent times. It needed a primitive country, a? 
well as unusual hardships and perils, to develop such 
lofty, yet unambitious heroism, such sagacity mingled 
with homely simplicity, such a spirit of patience, 
constancy and self-sacrifice, without an aspiration for 
praise, or a thought of reward. In one prominent 
character of that period we may see a type of many 
who lived and labored like her, unappreciated by those 
around them, unknown in the annals of their land, 
unconscious themselves of the influence they exercised, 
or the value of their freely-rendered services. The 
memory of these stout-hearted, high-souled matrons is 
well nigh swept from the earth; but here and there 
recollections survive by which we may learn how 
noble was the race that nursed the nation's infancy. 

It might be a subject for discussion, whether the 

* Most of the details of this memoir were received by Mr. StiK- 
eon from the daughter of Capt. Steel. Some incidents were related 
to her by her maternal grandmother, Mrs. Heard, who Ijved more 
than a century. I have already acknowledged my great obliga- 
tions o Mr. Stinson in this and the succeeding Southern sketches 



KATHARINE STEEL. 555 

matrons of the Revolutionary era were intrinsically 
superior to those of the present day in the strength of 
spirit that qualified for enterprise and endurance, or 
whether the same circumstances would now create 
such heroines. An English critic, noticing the " Wo- 
men of the American Revolution," thinks that the 
mere housewife, or the toy of luxury would hardly, on 
the outbreak of a storm, start up ready armed with 
self-command and self-sacrifice; that there could be 
no making a " Sidney's sister, Pembroke's mother," out 
of such by the force of circumstances. However it 
may be, it cannot be denied that the women of our 
country's early day were framed of admirable stuff, as 
well as trained to strength in the school of hardship, 
and that their influence on the age was very decided. 

Katharine Fisher was a native of Pennsylvania. 
When about twenty years old she was married to 
Thomas Steel, of the same State. Both belonged to 
the race called the Pennsylvania Irish, so many of 
whom emigrated to Carolina about the middle of the 
century. Katharine had this destination in view at 
the time of her marriage, and being of a mirthful dis- 
position, as well as romantic and fond of adventure, 
she looked upon it as quite a matter of frolic to lead 
the life of a pioneer on the borders of the wilderness. 
The young pair made their removal to South Carolina 
some time in 1745, to the upper, or what is called the 
granite region, of the State. Their first acquaintance 
in the country resided upon the eastern side of the 
river called Catawba, after the tribe of Indians who 



556 



KATHARINE STEEL. 



were located on its banks. He was a Scotchman 
named Daniel McDonald, one of the same people with 
themselves, and had lived some fifteen or twenty years 
in his present home among the Indians, in entire seclu- 
sion from any of the white race. The Catawbas were 
gentle in disposition, and lived in friendship with the 
settlers ; McDonald probably reaped some advantage 
from their protection, for he was the first pioneer into 
that district of country, had amassed considerable 
wealth, and reared a large family of sons and daugh- 
ters. The new comers into the wild crossed the river 
near his house, and fixed their residence close to Fish- 
ing Creek, about a mile from the Catawba. It was 
not long before the young wife began to understand 
what was to be the life of pioneers. She was too light- 
hearted, however, to be discouraged by hardships, and 
with the good humor which is the best philosophy, 
endeavored to find food for merriment in the various 
inconveniences they had to encounter. She spared not 
her own strength, 'not shrinking from her share of 
labor in the field or the woods ; she also learned in a 
short time the use of the rifle, and became an excel- 
lent shot. 

They were not long solitary ; the two currents of 
emigration, from Charleston and the sea coast on the 
one side, and Pennsylvania and Virginia on the other, 
meeting in this neighborhood, in the course of a few 
years several other families came -to settle near them. 
John Graston had taken up his abode a mile or so up 
Fishing Creek, on the west side, and other dwellings 



WOMEN OP THE REVOLUTION. 557 

rose at intervals in different directions. These fami. 
lies visited each other, going up and down the creek in 
canoes. In time, it became necessary to unite in 
their defence against the hostile Indians the Chero- 
kees giving them much trouble. The place owned by 
Mr. Steel was fortified as a block-house, to which the 
inhabitants could betake themselves when danger 
threatened. These block -houses were scattered over 
the country at convenient distances for the unprotected 
settlers. One at Landsford, near the spring, com- 
manded the river and a large extent of country, and 
was called Taylor's Fort, while the first-mentioned was 
named Steel's Fort, after the proprietor. While the 
men were out fighting the Cherokees, or engaged in 
providing for the defence and maintenance of their 
families, the women were in the habit of resorting on 
any alarm to this place of refuge. Mrs. Steel was 
chief and ruler among them, not merely by her right 
of ownership, or her superior firmness and courage, 
but by virtue of her hearty kindness and good humor. 
She was acknowledged master of the Fort, and was 
called familiarly, " Katy of the Fort." Possessing 
great influence, she could at once calm the fears of 
the women who had quitted their homes at the dead 
hours of night to flee thither ; they felt in fact a sense 
of security in her presence. She taught the young 
girls the use of the rifle, a useful accomplishment in 
those days, when no one knew what hour she might 
be compelled to wield that deadly weapon, relying on 
her skill in its use to save herself or her children from 



558 KATHARINE STEEL. 

the hands of bloody savages. For weeks together the 
females would occupy the fort in the absence of their 
husbands or fathers. Their place of public worship, 
the attendance on which was never willingly neglected, 
was the Waxhaw meeting-house, in after years the 
scene of so much suffering and such disinterested be- 
nevolence. 

Some thrilling incidents of peril and female prowess 
are related of this period, the settlers near the frontier 
being peculiarly exposed to Indian ravages. Late one 
night the alarm was given that the Indians were just 
upon them, and the helpless inhabitants of the neigh- 
borhood fled to the fort for protection. One young wo- 
man Mrs. Beard who had married an old man, 
bade her husband carry the child, while she bore the 
rifle, in readiness to use it for their defence. A young 
girl who lived with them *was unwilling to quit the 
house without taking some of her clothes ; she must 
"get on her blue skirt" at least. Mrs. Beard seized 
and dragged her from the house, exclaiming, "Very 
fine you would look, to be sure, with your blue skirt 
on and your scalp off!" At another time, on a Sab- 
bath day, while the people were listening to the preach- 
ing at Waxhaw church, an alarm came that the Indians 
were close at hand. The congregation was immedi- 
ately scattered, and the women fled to the block -house, 
where they remained several days, while the men 
were out scouring the country in every direction. This 
proved a false alarm. At other times the news of 
danger came so suddenly that the startled families 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 559 

were not able to make their way to the forts. The 
only resource in such emergencies was to hide in the 
woods or swamps nearest at hand, and wait till the 
foe was gone ; and not unfrequently the women had to 
remain all night in the canebrakes without covering 
or shelter. Mrs. Beard, relating her own experience, 
said: " On one occasion I indulged the impious wish 
that my children were dead ! I lay one night alone 
in a thick canebrake with my two little ones. I had 
them both at the breast, the elder as well as the babe, 
to keep them from crying ; I was quaking with fear 
that they would cry, and the Indians would find us 
out. In the morning, as soon as it was light enough 

to see there lay a large rattlesnake within a few 

feet of me !" The mother's repinings were turned to 
thankfulness for the wonderful preservation of hei 
children. The child of which she was then pregnam 
was marked with a rattlesnake ; she was Mary Beard 
the late Mrs. Sweet, of Charleston. 

In a few years the little settlement had spread over 
the rich lands on Fishing and Rocky Creeks, the 
dwellings being gathered into clusters, of which there 
were some three or four within a short distance of 
each other. Not a great way from Steel's and Tay- 
lor's Forts was another settlement consisting of a few 
families, among which were those of William McKenny 
and his brother James. These lived near Fishing 
Creek. In the summer of 1761, sixteen Indians, with 
some squaws of the Cherokee tribe, took up their 
abode for several weeks near what is called Simpson's 



560 



KATHARINE STEEL. 



Shoals, for the purpose of hunting and fishing during 
the hot months. In August, the two McKennys being 
absent on a journey to Camden, William's wife, Bar- 
bara, was left alone with several young children. One 
day she saw the Indian women running towards her 
house in great haste, followed by the men. She had 
no time to offer resistance ; the squaws seized her and 
the children, pulled them into the house, and shoved 
them behind the door, where they immediately placed 
themselves on guard, pushing back the Indians as fast 
as they tried to force their way in, and uttering the 
most fearful outcries. Mrs. KcKenny concluded it was 
their intention to kill her, and expected her fate every 
moment. The assistance rendered by the squaws, 
whether given out of compassion for a lonely mother, 
or in return for kindness shown them, proved efFec 
tual for her protection till the arrival of one of the chiefs, 
who drew his long knife and drove off the savages. 
The mother, apprehending another attack, went to some 
of her neighbors and entreated them to come and stay 
with her. Robert Brown and Joanna his wife, Sarah 
Ferguson, her daughter Sarah and two sons, and a 
young man named Michael Melbury, came in compli- 
ance with her request, and took up their quarters in 
the house. The next morning Mrs. McKenny ven- 
tured out alone to milk her cows. It had been her 
practice heretofore to take some of the children with 
her, and she could not explain why she went alone this 
time, though she was not free from apprehension; it 
seemed to be so by a special ordering of Providence 



WOMEN OP THE REVOLUTION. 



561 



"While she was milking, the Indians crept towards her 
on their hands and knees ; she heard not their ap- 
proach, nor knew anything till they seized her. Sen- 
sible at once of all the horror of her situation, she made 
no effort to escape, but promised to go quietly with 
them. They then set off towards the house, holding 
her fast by the arm. She had the presence of mind to 
walk as far off as possible from the Indian who held 
her, expecting Melbury to fire as they approached her 
dwelling. As they came up, he fired, wounding the 
one who held Mrs. McKenny ; she broke from his hold 
and ran, and another Indian pursued and seized her. 
At this moment she was just at her own door, which 
John Ferguson imprudently opening that she might 
enter, the Indians without shot him dead as he pre- 
sented himself. His mother ran to him and received 
another shot in her thigh, of which she died in a few 
days. Melbury, who saw that all their lives depended 
on prompt action, dragged them from the door, fastened 
it, and repairing to the loft, prepared for a vigorous 
defence. There were in all five guns ; Sarah Fergu- 
son loaded for him, while he kept up a continual 
fire, aiming at the Indians wherever one could 
be seen. Determined to effect their object of forcing 
an entrance, some of the savages came very near the 
house, keeping under cover of an outhouse in which 
Brown and his wife had taken refuge, not being able 
on the alarm, to get into the house. They had crept 
into a corner and were crouched there close to the 
boarding. One of the Indians, coming up, leaned 



562 K \THARINE STEEL. 

against the outside, separated from them only by a 
few boards, the crevices between which probably 
enabled them to see him. Mrs. Brown proposed to 
take a sword that lay by them and run the savage 
through the body, but her husband refused : he ex- 
pected death, he said, every moment, and did not wish 
to go out of the world having his hands crimsoned with 
the blood of any fellow creature. " Let me die in 
peace," were his words, " with all the world." Jo- 
anna, though in the same peril, could not respond 
to the charitable feeling. *" If I am to die," she 
said, " I should like first to send some of the red- 
skins on the journey. But we are not so sure we have 
to die ; don't you hear the crack of Melbury's rifle? 
He holds the house. I warrant you, that red-skin 
looked awfully scared as he leaned against the corner 
here. We could have done it in a moment." 

Mrs. McKenny, meanwhile, having failed to get into 
her house, had been again seized by the Indians, and 
desperately regardless of her own safety, was doing all 
in her power to help her besieged friends. She would 
knock the priming out of the guns carried by the sava- 
ges, and when they presented them to fire would 
throw them up, so that the discharge might prove 
harmless. She was often heard to say, afterwards, 
that all fear had left her, and she thought only of those 
within the building, for she expected for herself neither 
deliverance nor mercy. Melbury continued to fire 
whenever one of the enemy appeared ; they kept them- 
selves, however, concealed, for the most part, behind 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 563 

trees or the outhouse. Several were wounded by his 
cool and well-directed shots, and at length, tired of the 
contest, the Indians retreated, carrying Mrs. McKenny 
with them. She now resisted with all her strength, 
preferring instant death to the more terrible fate of a 
captive in the hands of the fierce Cherokees. Her 
refusal to go forward irritated her captors, and when 
they had dragged her about half a mile, near a rock vipon 
the plantation now occupied by John Gulp, she receiv- 
ed a second blow with the tomahawk which stretched 
her insensible upon the ground. When after some 
time consciousness returned, she found herself lying 
upon the rock, to which she had been dragged from 
the spot where she fell. She was stripped naked, and 
her scalp had been taken off. By degrees the know- 
ledge of her condition, and the desire of obtaining help 
came upon her. She lifted up her head, and looking 
around, saw the wretches who had so cruelly mangled 
her, pulling ears of corn from a field near, to roast for 
their meal. Sbe laid her head quickly down again, 
well knowing that if they saw her alive, they would 
not be slack in coming to finish the work of death. 
Thus she lay motionless till all was silent, and she 
found they were gone ; then with great pain and diffi- 
culty she dragged herself back to the house. It may 
be imagined with what feelings the unfortunate wo- 
man was received by her friends and children, and 
how she met the bereaved mother wounded unto death, 
who had suffered for her attempt to save others One 
of the blows received by Mrs. McKenny had made a 



564 KATHARINE STEEL. 

deep wound in her back ; the others were upon her 
head. "When her wounds had been dressed as well as 
was practicable, Melbury and the others assisted her 
to a bed. Brown and his brave wife having then 
joined the little garrison, preparations were made for 
defence in case of another attack ; the guns were all 
loaded and placed ready for use, and committing the 
house to the care of the Browns, Melbury sallied forth, 
rifle in hand, and took to the woods. He made his 
way directly, and as quickly as possible, to Taylor's 
Fort at Landsford. The men there, informed of what 
had happened, immediately set about preparations for 
pursuing the treacherous Indians who had thus vio- 
lated the implied good faith of neighbors by assailing 
an unprotected woman. The next morning a number 
of them, well armed, started for the Indian encamp- 
ment at the shoals. The Cherokees were gone ; but 
the indignant pursuers took up the trail, which they 
followed as far as Broad River. Here they saw the 
Indians on the other side, but did not judge it expe- 
dient to pursue them further, or provoke an encounter. 
In the meantime William McKenny had reason for 
uneasiness in his absence from home ; for he knew 
that the Indians had been at the shoals some time, nor 
was the deceitful and cruel character of the tribe un- 
known to him. He was accustomed long afterwards 
to tell of the warning conveyed to him while on his 
roaa to Camden ; two nights in succession he dreamed 
of losing his hat, and looking upon this as an omen of 
evil, became so uncomfortable that he could proceed nc 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 565 

further. Taking one of the horses out of the wagon, 
he mounted and rode homeward at his utmost speed. 
Reaching his own house a little after dark, he was ad- 
mitted 1 by the women as soon as he made himself 
known. The scene that greeted his eyes was one 
truly heart-rending; the slain man, John Ferguson, 
still lay there, and in the same apartment the dying 
mother and Mrs. McKenny, more like one dead than 
living, mangled almost past recognition the blood still 
gushing from her wounds, and drenching the pillows 
on which she lay. No fictitious tragedy could surpass 
the horrors of this in real life. The wounds in Mrs, 
McKenny's head never healed entirely ; but continued 
to break out occasionally, so that the blood flowing 
from them stained the bed at night, and sometimes 
'ragments of bone came off; nevertheless, she lived 
nany years afterwards and bore several children. She 
was at the time with child, and in about three months 
gave birth to a daughter Hannah, afterwards married 
to John Stedman and living in Tennessee in 1827. 
This child was plainly marked with a tomahawk and 
drops of blood, as if running down the side of her face. 
The families of McKenny and McFadden residing 
on Fishing Creek, are descended from this Barbara 
McKenny ; but most of her descendants have emigrated 
o the West. The above mentioned occurrence is nar- 
ated in a manuscript in the hand- writing of her grand- 
son, Robert McFadden. 

The night succeeding this, preparations for hostile 
action were going on also at Steel's Fort. The Cher 



566 KATHARINE STEEL. 

kees had passed over to Rocky Creek, and still intent 
on rapine and bloodshed, had stopped at the house of 
John McDaniel, whom they killed, with his wife, 
and carried away captive seven children, the eldest a 
girl fifteen years of age. The outraged settlers were 
not slow in collecting a party of ten or twelve men to 
pursue them. Thomas Steel, the leader, was well 
calculated for the service, having been an Indian 
trader, and being acquainted with their language.* 
When he set out, his little son John, a boy eleven 
years old, wished to accompany him, but the mother 
dissuaded the brave child by telling him it was his 
duty to stay and man the fort, for the protection of 
herself and his sisters. Steel's experience made him 
familiar with Indian wiles, and the party followed the 
trail almost to the borders of the Cherokee nation. 
They came upon the savages at length, in the dead of 
night, assaulted and completely routed then:, killing 
nearly all, and rescuing the seven children. One of 
the white men Thomas Grarett of Rocky Creek, 
chanced to kill the Indian who had tomahawked Mrs. 
McKenny, and actually found the scalp in his shot 
bag. Other bloody trophies were recovered, to carry 
back to the friends of the murdered, and then, placing 
the children on their horses, the men retraced their 
steps homeward. The joy of the poor little captives 

* His granddaughter, Mrs. Jane Thompson, has in her posses- 
sion a pipe found some fifteen years since near the fort. The 
coiled stem is not more than ten inches long, though the whole 
length is about ten feet. This was the well known calumet of 
peace used among the savage tribes. 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 567 

at the sight of familiar faces, was more than reward 
enough for their deliverers. They had no parents to 
welcome their return, but their uncle, Hugh McDaniel, 
received them. Such incidents were in those times of 
common occurrence, but this encounter was the last, 
the Cherokees venturing on no more incursions. Mrs. 
Steel had about this period some friends who lived on 
the Yadkin in North Carolina, ninety miles from her 
home. When she wished to visit them she was accus- 
tomed to take her child, a year old, twelve miles dis- 
tance, to the house of Robert Brown, the nearest neigh- 
bor she had in the direction of the Yadkin. Leaving 
the infant in their care, she would proceed alms, on 
horseback, making her way through the Catawba Na- 
tion, and travelling through a wild country which might 
be called uninhabited, for so sparse was the population 
that from Camden to the Catawba Nation a distance 
of sixty miles, there were but four houses of white set- 
tlers. She was unsurpassed in the qualities of a horse- 
woman, nor was she impeded by trifling inconveniences 
or dangers. She probably gave each of the four settlers 
a call as she passed to visit her friends, and on her 
return, though tradition preserves no instance of her 
needing their assistance or hospitality. A hardy race 
must the wives of the pioneers have been ! 

In 1763, Thomas Steel, with James Hemphill and 
Stephen White, left home on a trading expedition, 
taking with them packhorses, loaded with articles 
suited for traffic with the Indians. They were absent 
a year or more, going through the far west to the 



568 KATHARINE STEEL. 

Mississippi, where they took canoes and went down 
the river to New Orleans. On their way homeward 
they were taken by some Indians, who stripped them of 
everything, even their clothes ; but they escaped with 
their lives, and succeeded in getting back into the 
French settlements. White was a blacksmith, and 
worked at his business to procure clothes and food for 
himself and his companions. Having been thus refit- 
ted for the journey, they set out once again, travelling 
through the primitive forest. One morning, when 
they were about to resume their journey, Steel had 
chanced to walk out of sight. The others waited for 
his return, and after some time heard a gun dis- 
charged at a distance. They quitted their place of 
encampment to go in search of him ; but their search 
was fruitless, nor did their missing companion ever 
come back. They supposed he had been killed when 
they heard the shot, and that his body was either car- 
ried off by the murderer or so concealed in the woods 
that no search availed to find it. Certain of his death, 
they pursued their way home, bearing the sad news to 
his family. Mrs. Steel was now left alone with a 
family three daughters and two sons and she de- 
voted all her energies to their careful training, instruct- 
ing them in all things useful, and teaching them to 
labor not merely for their own benefit, but the good of 
the community. The sterling principles she instilled 
into their rninds produced their fruit in the actions of 
ifter years, when trials even more severe than any she 
Had undergone in early life, fell to her lot and theirs 



WOMEN OP THE REVOLUTION. 569 

Before the year 1780 she had given her daughters ia 
marriage Margaret to William Wylie ; Mary to Ro- 
bert Archer ; Nancy to Thomas Bell ; she living with 
John, now grown to manhood, and the youngest child, 
Thomas. She divided the land belonging to her de- 
ceased husband equally among the children giving 
to each of the daughters a valuable plantation. The 
lands on the Creek the finest then and even at this 
day in the district, she divided between John* and 
Thomas. It is worthy of note, that her eldest son, 
although by the law of primogeniture entitled to claim 
all the lands, confirmed his mother's acts, and con- 
tentedly received only the portion she assigned him in 
the distribution. The early recollections of this young 
man went back to the time of danger from Indian in- 
cursion, and it was natural he should be imbued with 
strong veneration for the high-spirited mother with 
whom he had so often been in the midst of peril, sus- 
tained by her firmness, encouraged by her boldness, 
and accustomed to be cheered by her in every despon- 
dency or privation. Always meriting her popular 
name, " witty Katy of the Fort," she would laugh 
away the fears of her timid companions, when sho 
oould not reason them into bravery. Her influence 
over her children, therefore, was not to be wondered 
at strengthened as it was by habit and affection 
when left to her sole care. 

The home of Mrs. Steel was at no great distance 
from that of John G-aston, whose family she and her 
children often visited, going in canoes up and down 



570 



KATHARINE STEEL. 



/he stream. She was in the habit of sending for the 
newspaper, by which she learned from time to time 
what was going on during the first years of the war. 
In their friendly meetings, she and the old Justice 
would read for one another the news of battles lost and 
won at the North, and converse on the subjects then 
absorbing the general attention. The sons of Graston 
were the companions of her son, and when there was 
a caU for men, John Steel was foremost in proffering 
his services. He was at the head of the company from 
Chester despatched against the Cherokee Indians in 
the Snow campaign of 1775. At the battle of Fort 
Moultrie, on Sullivan's Island, he was also engaged, 
with seven of the sons of Justice Graston. At the siege 
of Savannah, he took part in the charge made under 
the command of Count Pulaski, and was with the 
troops hovering around to annoy the British army 
during the siege of Charleston. After the fall of that 
city, when news came of the horrible butchery of Bu 
ford's men by Tarleton at the "Waxhaws, he was. 
among those assembled at the house of John Graston. 
appealing solemnly to the Grod of battles, and pledging 
their oath that they would never accept British pro- 
tection, nor lay down the arms they had taken up 
while there remained an enemy in the land. How 
must his mother have exulted in the knowledge 
that her .first-born displayed a spirit worthy of her, 
and did such honor to her lessoning ! 

On that memorable morning, when the devoted little 
band went forth from Justice Graston's to make the 



WOMEN OF THE DEVOLUTION. 



571 



attack upon the British, oil the spot where Beckharn- 
ville now stands,* Katharine Steel called upon her 
younger son, the only child remaining with her, and 
then about seventeen, to go out with the rest. " You 
must go now," she said to him, " and fight the battles 
of our country with John. It must never be said the 
old Squire's boys have done more for the liberty of 
their country than the Widow Steel's !" 

" It was a solemn morning," would John Steel say 
afterwards in telling of it. " Some of those who had 
come to join us over night, had gone off and left 
us, deeming it too perilous an enterprise for a hand- 
ful of men to attack two hundred many of them 
British soldiers. We had sworn solemnly before high 
heaven, and our resolution was like the law of the 
Medes and Persians not to be altered. As we started 
off, there came up eight men from Sandy River, who 
had been travelling all night. This was a bright spot 
like the sun coming out from under a cloud ! We 
felt that our men were true men." 

Capt. Steel who has been called " the Murat of 
Catawba River" was in every engagement during the 
summer of 1780. He commanded a company of 
mounted rangers, and at the taking of Carey Fort per- 
formed feats that drew the attention of Gren. Sumter 
to the brave young officer. During the retreat with 
the stores and prisoners captured from the British, he 
acted as a scout. The retreat was continued during 
the nights of August 16th and 17th. and at eleven 
* See memoir of Esther Walker. 



573 KATHARINE STEEL. 

o'clock on the morning of the 18th, Sumter's army 
was posted in the stronghold of Fishing Creek, two 
miles from its junction with the Catawba, where a 
bend in stream and river leaves a ridge of elevated 
ground between them from which both can be seon. 

o 

In front and rear of this space deep ravines run from 
the river and the creek, leaving a narrow strip along 
which the road passes, while below, the road left the 
ridge and entered a valley opening to the creek with 
steep hills on either side. In this position, certainly 
well chosen for its natural advantages, the army was 
encamped, fearing no enemy's approach. The par- 
ticulars of the memorable surprise that here took place, 
are not recorded in history. Mr. Stinson, whose resi- 
dence is near the spot, has collected them from sur- 
vivors of that day. (See Appendix.) 

Gren. Sumter had stripped off his coat and boots, for 
he was in need of repose, and was lying fast asleep 
under his marquee. None of his men perceived the 
approach of the British ; the first intimation given of 
their presence was a general fire from Tarleton's dra- 
goons, instantly followed by a bold charge into the 
midst of the camp. With the assault, resistance, and 
endeavors to escape, the wildest confusion of course 
ensued. In the moment of alarm Steel's first thought 
was for the General. "With admirable presence of 
mind, and thoughtless of his own safety, he ran 
directly to the marquee, caught Sumter in his arms, 
and had carried him out through the back part of the 
tent before he was fully awake. He had also seized 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 673 

the portmanteau in which, as he knew, valuable public 
papers were carried, and brought it along with him. 
He bore the General to a horse ready saddled, and 
hastily assisted him to mount, bareheaded as he was ; 
his rangers were already mounted and clustering 
around him, and under their protection Steel brought 
him through a shower of bullets, while in all directions 
around them the soldiers were running, as many as 
could catch horses mounting and making off. The 
British, knowing their chief prize was eluding their 
grasp, hotly pursued Capt. Steel ; but whenever the 
dragoons came too near he would order his rangers to 
wheel their horses about suddenly and fire upon them. 
As the foremost fell, their horses running loose were 
caught and mounted by the flying soldiers, and this 
proving a losing business, they soon abandoned the 
pursuit and returned to the disordered camp. One 
characteristic incident deserves mention. James Har- 
binson (the late Capt. Harbinson), one of Steel's com- 
pany, and at that time a noble-looking youth of 
eighteen, rode up by the side of Sumter, took off his 
hat, and with a gesture of graceful coui 'osy presented 
it to the General, tying a handkerchief around his own 
head. 

It cannot be ascertained how far Steel conducted 
General Sumter, or if he proceeded with him all the 
way to Charlotte. It was not long, however, before 
he was sent back by his order, with a force of some 
fifteen men, one of his objects being to find, if possible, 
the valise containing the public papers, which had beert 



574 



KATHARINE STEEL. 



by the man to whose care he entrusted it 
sh*r?Jy after they left the camp. It was supposed to 
b*re been lost somewhere in the woods, not more than 
s, mile from the place of the surprise. Every foot of 
the ground was familiar to Steel, for it was the home 
of his childhood. He was also commissioned to collect 
men wherever he could find them, and send them to join 
Sumter, who intended to rally his forces at Charlotte. 
On this mission he was traversing the country day and 
night. When he reached the place of the late disas- 
ter, he learned that the valise had been found by one 
of the tories from the Wateree, and carried to Hog- 
fork, on "Wateree Creek. Thither he proceeded and 
obtained it none of the papers having been taken 
out. On his way back he chanced to meet the wife of 
one of his acquaintances, and stopped to bid her tell 
her husband that all patriots were summoned to meet 
their General at Charlotte, and that he must come and 
join him the next morning at Neely's on Fishing 
Creek, whence he could go on with his party. Steel 
was not aware that the man to whom he sent this 
message had turned loyalist. The woman, of course, 
immediately carried the news to her husband, who set 
out to collect tories for the purpose of intercepting 
Capt. Steel, travelling all night through the neighbor- 
hood , for the attack was to be at Neely's on the follow- 
ing morning. 

Meanwhile the brave captain, suspecting no treach- 
ery, reached his home late that night, and once more 
embraced the excellent mother who had trained him 



WOMEN F THE REVOLUTION 



575 



to his present career of duty. Early the' next room- 
ing he set off for Neely's, about four miles di?i?it 
Mrs. Steel accompanying him on horseback. Prorjd 
was she that the gallant son riding by her side had 
risked his life in the country's service, and by his 
courageous efforts saved his General from being cap- 
tured in the late attack ; proud also of his bold 
recovery of the papers, and his energetic appeal to his 
countrymen to arm themselves and rally round the 
standard of liberty. Her heart swelled with exulta- 
tion, as she saw men on all sides responding to the 
call, and if some anxiety for the safety of her children 
and neighbors mingled with her patriotic joy, she had 
before her eyes the battles of Rocky Mount and Hang- 
ing Rock, and had good hope that they would return 
to victory. No motives of ambition mingled with her 
enthusiasm, nor did the services of her son receive any 
reward save the consciousness of having nobly per- 
formed his duty. His name and his brave deeds, 
which should have been remembered and recorded 
with others in the Revolution, have been honored only 
in the section of country where he lived, and among the 
descendants of those who were his companions. 

When the party arrived at Neely's, Mrs. Neely and 
some of her daughters immediately busied themselves 
in preparing breakfast. The horses were hitched to 
trees in the yard, and two other daughters of the 
landlady went out into the cornfield to keep watch. 
All was silent for some time ; at length a man named 
Andrew Lock art left the premises, followed by David 



576 



KATHARINE STEEL. 



McCance, a young lad, to get his horse from the pas- 
ture. "While going through the field, he saw a body 
of tories, in "vwo divisions, approaching through the 
standing corn, ^he leader, whom he recognized as 
' 'oonrod HuntsucKer, one of his near neighbors and a 
noted loyalist, waved his hand at him in token that he 
should keep silence. Lockart paid no heed to the sig- 
nal, but halloed with all his might to give the alarm 
at the house. Thereupon another of the a^ancing 
party, one David Ferguson of Wateree, snapped his 
gun at him ; Lockart then taking deliberate aim at 
the leader, fired and cut off nis bridle reins, crippling 
one of his fingers, and st ^ping not to see the effect, 
turned and fled precipitately. In his flight he fell into a 
deep gully, which probably saved him, for the tories' 
sliots passed over him as he lay still. Coonrod's horse 
in the meantime taking fright, ran away with him be- 
fore he could recover his control of the bridle. This 
accident in all likelihood saved the party at the house. 
From the hollow where he lay, not venturing to move, 
Lockart heard firing at the house with the shouts of 
the tories, crying " Well done, Scoggins !" &c. When 
he found they were out of the way, he came out from 
his concealment, as far as the stream called Rocky 
Branch. Hearing steps approach, he took up a large 
stone to throw at the supposed foe ; but it proved to be 
only the boy David McCance, who narrowly escaped 
being killed by the missile. While the two stood 
there, they saw the whole body of tories going off, evi- 
dently disappointed of their expected prey ; ai.d sure 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 577 

of their friends' escape, both lost no time in catching 
their horses, and started at their utmost speed for 
Charlotte, not knowing but that a reinforcement of 
loyalists might suddenly arrive. 

At the time of the alarm, Mrs. Steel was engaged 
in combing the captain's hair. He boasted a remarka- 
bly fine head of hair ; it was very long and of raven 
blackness, and was usually worn tied in a queue be- 
hind. John's important services to the whig cause, 
employing him almost night and day, had of late left 
him little leisure for attention to his locks ; they had 
been long uncombed, and probably showed very plainly 
the neglect they had experienced. The personal ap- 
pearance of her son was a matter of pride to the 
matron, only less than her delight in his gallant con- 
duct ; she loved to see him look well, for he was a 
fairer image of herself. With her features he inherited 
her high qualities of mind and heart ; he regarded her 
with reverence as well as affection, and never once in 
his life had disobeyed her. She had instilled into him 
the principles which guided herself ; she had breathed 
into him her own romantic and unconquerable spirit. 
It was a common remark at the time and afterwards, 
that any one who might chance to overhear the con- 
versation between the mother and son, not knowing 
who they were, might suppose from its tone and tenor 
that two young men were discoursing upon some ani- 
mating theme. The disasters that from time to time 
had overtaken the American arms, could riot discourage 
their hopes, nor subdue their ardor. " We are in the 



578 CATHARINE STEEL. 

right," Mrs. Stee would repeat, and that knowledge 
was the source of confidence and comfort through 
every trial 

To retu while thus occupied, they heard the 
sharp crack of the rifle, followed immediately by Lock- 
art's warning shouts, and the screams of the young 
girls who had been stationed in the field. In a mo- 
ment after, several guns were fired in quick succession, 
and the girls were seen .running towards the house, 
while the two divisions of the enemy, at no great dis- 
tance behind them, could be perceived advancing 
through the standing corn. Not an instant was to be 

O o 

iost ; yet such was the effect of sudden surprise on the 
brave men who, only two days before, had been taken 
unawares on Fishing Creek, that they seemed utterly 
at a loss what to do. Mrs. Steel alone retained perfect 
self-possession. Starting up, she called to the men, 
" You must fight !" but directly after, seeing the con- 
fusion that prevailed, she shouted an order for them to 
" clear themselves" as fast as possible. She urged her 
son to mount his horse at once, and save the public 
papers in his charge, while she pulled down the bars 
to let out him and his men. John was quick in all his 
movements, and it may easily be conceived that no 
time was now wasted. First in the saddle, he 
spurred his noble horse towards the bars, which 
he cleared at a bound his mother having had no time 
yet to let them down and galloped off. He was fol- 
lowed by James Harbinson, and the greater numbed 
of his men, for whom Mrs. Steel removed the bars as 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 579 

fast as she could ; several, however, were slower ia 
getting off, and paid the penalty of their delay, being 
now exposed to the fire of the advancing tories. About 
fifty guns were discharged at the bars, and two of the 
whigs William Anderson and James Barber fell 
dead from their horses, bearing Mrs. Steel under them 
to the ground. Another received wounds of which 
he expired in a few days, and three others, 
also severely wounded, succeeded in making their 
way to the house of McFadden, one of the neigh- 
bors. Robert McFadden, who could not get his horse, 
in leaping the bars had part of his foot shot off; Sam- 
uel McCance, riding at full speed up the lane, received 
a shot in the hip, and John Lockart's hunting-shirt 
filling with the wind as he rode, was riddled through 
and through with bullets that missed his body. Capt. 
Steel, determined to cut his way through the assail- 
ants, rode foremost up the lane at full speed, his long 
hair, unfastened, streaming in the wind, his rifle in 
one hand, held high above his head in defiance of the 
foe. He was closely followed by those of his company 
who had escaped. The tories made no attempt to 
stop them ; but startled by the fury of their onset on 
their own party, gave way precipitately and scattered 
from the road, though they might have overpowered 
them by numbers ; nor were they able to rally till the 
fugitives were beyond their reach. The whigs who were 
taken prisoners were carried to Camden ; one or two 
died in the gaol there, while others languished for 
seven months, suffering incredible cruelties. 



580 



KATHARINE STEEL. 



How was it meanwhile with the matron, as she 
struggled to release herself from the weight of the 
dead bodies, rising from the ground covered with the 
blood of the slain, her dress pierced in different places 
with bullet holes ! Her first thought was for " John 
and the papers." When she heard they were safe, 
she burst into an exclamation of thankfulness, and as 
she was fortunately unhurt, turned her attention to 
the relief of others. The tories, meanwhile, enraged 
at their disappointment, and ascribing their failure to 
the energetic aid of Mrs. Steel, with one accord turned 
their course to her house. This they burned to the 
ground, and destroyed her property of every descrip- 
tion, wherever they could find anything belonging to 
her. This vindictive outrage was the strongest testi- 
mony they could give of their estimate of the impor- 
tance of her services to her friends. 

The captain often related this adventure, and said 
that when flying along the lane with his hair stream- 
ing, he thought of Absalom, and vowed, if he escaped his 
fate while passing under the trees, to sacrifice the hair 
which had brought him into such peril. This resolve was 
carried into effect ; for the Misses Hemphill afterwards 
ai his request cut it off. James Harbinson, who also 
wore his hair in a queue, lost it by a singular chance : 
it was cut off by a rifle ball as he leaped the bars. 
The vow he then made was different from the cap- 
tain's ; for he resolved to wear it long while he lived, 
in defiance of British or tories, and religiously kept his 
esolution for more than half a century. It is still 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 581 

remembered that at a large Fourth of July celebra- 
tion, this aged soldier appeared with his hair, then as 
white as cotton, tied up in a queue, and that he 
enlivened the festival with song after song and story 
after story of the Revolution. His voice was remarka- 
oly sweet and powerful, and he was a tall, strongly- 
built, and noble-looking old man, whose ripened age 
had redeemed the promise of his youth. He lived to 
see the national prosperity his stripling arm had 
helped to win, his death taking place about 1840. 

Captain Steel and those who escaped with him made 
their way that night to Charlotte. Andrew Lockart 
and his young companion became separated acciden- 
tally, and lay during the night in a thicket near the 
Nation Ford, neither knowing that the other was close 
in his neighborhood till the next morning, when they 
discovered each other, and went on together. Steel 
continued to act a distinguished part in the partisan 
service, was at Charlotte when Cornwallis advanced 
upon the place, and also at King's Mountain. He was 
afterwards with Col. Lacey when, after leaving 
Fishdam Ford, Sumter, aware of Tarleton's approach, 
made a hasty retreat, and took up his position at 
Blackstock's, near Tyger River. On the retreat, Sum- 
ter ordered his servant to dismount, gave the horse to 
Sergeant Rowan, and desired him to go back with Mr. 
Hannah, of York, to watch the enemy's movements. 
The two ere long discovered that two officers of Tarle- 
ton's kept in advance of the main body. Rowan 
offered his canteen of whiskey to Hannah, and took a 



582 KATHARINE STEEL. 

long draught himself, for he had much faith in that 
sort of inspiration ; he then proposed to " take a nigh 
cut and wait upon those two gentlemen." As the 
doomed officers came near the ambush, both were shot 
by the concealed whigs. Rowan rode back and 
secured the sword of his victim, and they brought Sum- 
ter information of the near approach of Tarleton's cav- 
alry. On this report the General prepared for immedi- 
ate action. The encounter, with its result, is detailed 
in history ; the Americans had the advantage, but 
Sumter received a severe wound, and was carried on 
a litter the same night into North Carolina. Capt. 
Steel returned home in November, and by the aid of 
his faithful rangers reduced the neighborhood to order, 
organizing the militia, bringing some of the tories to 
trial and execution for murder, driving others of the 
worst from the country, and pardoning less culpable 
offenders who promised reformation. The condition 
of the times demanded such summary measures ; 
a fatal disease threatened destruction to the bodv 
of the state, and it needed a sharp weapon and 
an unshrinking hand to eradicate it. Steel was 
encouraged in all he did by the counsels and approba- 
tion of his mother. She rejoiced in seeing the friends 
of liberty rally once more to recover the State, and e:t- 
nlted not a little when Morgan's and Davison's troops 
crossed the river near her residence.* In every mat- 
ter relating to the war she took a special interest. The 

* A record of all these military movements, is extant in a manu- 
sciipt written by George Wade, who at the time furnished the 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 5g3 

story of Col. "Washington's log cannon, she thought 
one of the best jokes she had ever heard. Early in 
December, 1780, this colonel, who had penetrated 
with a small force to the neighborhood of Camden, 
appeared in hostile array before the house of Col. 
Hugely, who had taken a commission in the British 
militia. He had surrounded his house with a stock- 
ade fort, and kept there one hundred and twelve men, 
who were under his command. Washington's cannon 
was a pine log, one end of which was stuck in the 
ground, while the other, elevated a few feet by its 
branches, was presented. The imagination of the gar- 
rison converting the harmless timber into a piece of 
artillery completely equipped with the apparatus of 
destruction they immediately surrendered. 

An anecdote of one of the " fighting men" of the 
neighborhood is illustrative. After the whigs had be- 
gun to re-establish themselves on the soil, John Graston 
the younger, having returned home, heard from 
Andrew Lockart the particulars of the affair at Nee- 
ly's, and the shout of the tories " Hurra for Scog- 
gins !" Resolved to visit the offence with summary 
punishment, he took his rifle, mounted his horse, and 
rode at full speed to Scoggins' house, which stood near 
the river, just below the spot where Sumter had been 
surprised. Scoggins saw him galloping that way in 
fiery haste, and conscious of his deserts for having 

American troops with corn and other provisions. He and the 
McDonalds were the wealthiest planters on the Catawba, and 
their fine lands along the river produced large supplies of corn. 



584 KATHARINE STEEL. 

conspired to entrap and murder his neighbors, was in 
no small trepidation. As Graston neared the. house, 
he fired at him, but missed his aim. Graston dashed 
on to the door, driving back Scoggins, cocked his 
weapon, presented it and fired, but also missed, the 
man dodging at the instant, and his own eyes being 
somewhat blinded with the smoke. Scoggins seized the 
opportunity to dart past his assailant, who, flourishing 
his empty gun, rushed after the fugitive, pursuing him 
along the river, and up and down the high hill at 
Cloud's fishtraps. The race continued for more than 
an hour, till Scoggins finally made his escape, either 
the anger or the strength of his pursuer being ex- 
hausted. No further attempt was made to punish 
him, for the fright and race for his life were considered 
as entitling him to immunity. 

John Steel continued in active service, and was en- 
gaged in every battle during the campaign of 1781. 
In the spring following, he was married to Margaret 
Beard, Esther Graston and Alexander Walker officiat- 
ing as bridesmaid and groomsman. Thomas Steel, 
the younger brother, afterwards married the sister of 
Margaret. John was accustomed jocularly to apolo- 
gise for the interruption in his military career, by pro- 
testing he had deferred to his bride's wish to have the 
marriage hastened ; he was willing to please her at 
inconvenience to himself, but being absent only on a 
furlough, was obliged to leave her directly and return 
to the camp. He laid his commands on the affianced 
lovers Esther and Alexander, that they should not be 




WILLIAM PITT, EARL OF CHATHAM. 



WOMEN OF. THE REVOLUTION. 



585 



wedded till he finally came home ; threatening punish- 
ment if they disobeyed his injunction. They chose, 
however, to be guided by their own judgment in so 
important a step, and as John's return was delayed till 
he had seen the British fleet leave his native shore, he 
found his friends comfortably settled in their new 
abode. He, for his part, had thoroughly enjoyed the 
soldier's life ; he was at home in the camp, and the 
ever fresh and varied excitement, with continual 
change of scene, suited his adventurous spirit. It is 
not a little remarkable that he was never wounded in 
all his battles, though he never shrunk from perilous 
enterprise, always exposing himself among the fore- 
most. His home was upon the old plantation, 
where his family grew up around him. The produce 
of his lands supplied his wants, and he never showed 
any desire to accumulate wealth. His disposition was 
amiable, and he seemed not to remember injuries he 
had received during the war, though others did not 
always show an equal readiness to forgive him. As 
an illustration of his placable nature, his daughter, 
Mrs. Jane Thompson, mentioned a singular fact that 
she never learned from her father who had been whig 
or tory among their neighbors. On one occasion when 
they were at a religious meeting, she noticed a man 
with his hand bound up, and asking her father what 
was the matter, was answered simply that it had been 
hurt. She learned from others that the man's 
hand had been wounded while he served with 
the loyalists, and that afterwards turning patriot he 



586 KATHARINE STEEL. 

was ashamed of his former conduct and unwiJing that 
it should be mentioned. This generosity on Steel's 
part will appear the more worthy of commendation 
when we consider the state of feeling then prevalent 
between opposite parties, throughout the country. 

"When peace returned to the country and order once 
more prevailed, Mrs. Steel's zealous efforts were not 
v/anting to heal breaches among the neighbors, and 
remove obstacles to a good understanding. Her oldest 
son the pride of her heart, was aided by her, when 
ths necessity for strong measures ceased, in holding 
out the hand of fellowship to the erring, reclaiming 
the depraved, and restraining the vindictive ferocity 
of her younger son and her sons-in-law. All she could 
influence were disposed to the exercise of a concilia- 
tory spirit, and to forgetfulness of past wrongs. It 
was no trifling part of woman's mission to reconcile 
the discordant elements left by the disorganizing rava- 
ges of civil war, and to build up a new and promising 
state of society. Mrs. Steel showed no less of the truly 
heroic in her character in her labors after the estab- 
lishment of peace, than in the darkest hour of the actual 
struggle. Her days were ended at the old fort in 1785. 
She was surrounded by her children, all of whom were 
married. Her eldest son, who had fought so many 
battles, was killed in 1812, by a fall from his horse. 
Even at an advanced age he was one cf the best riders 
in the country, and it is said he had scarce a rival in 
this martial accomplishment, in the American army. 
When making a charge, his massive eyebrows drawn 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 587 

down, his teeth set, and his whole aspect denoting 
iron determination, he was said to look like a commis- 
sioned demon of destruction. Yet in the social circle 
he showed himself one of the most jovial spirits in the 
world. His hair, which in youth had been such an 
ornament, at the time of his death had the same glossy 
blackness, and his fine countenance and powerful frame 
betokened no diminution of strength. All the sur- 
vivors of the Revolution in the region where he lived 
spoke with warm admiration of Capt. Steel, and among 
their descendants his memory is venerated as one of 
the bravest of the brave, and a benefactor to his native 
land. The mother to whom he owed so much, re- 
tained to the last of life the sprightliness and sweet- 
ness of disposition that had distinguished her in youth. 
She was always ready to enter into the lively conver- 
sation of those around her, and could laugh and jest 
with the merriest ; while all the tenderness of the 
woman, as well as an indomitable courage, marked 
her character. Her personal appearance was strik- 
ing and attractive, and her face bore the impress of 
the spirit that shone forth in so many noble actions. 

The descendants of the Steel family, with those 
of Mrs. Steel's sons-in-law, have removed to the 
west, and are scattered through different States. The 
only one remaining in South Carolina is Mrs. Jane 
Thompson, before montioned as the daughter of Capt 
Steel. 



LL 



NANCY GREEN, 

An interesting glimpse into the life and character of 
the Scotch-Irish patriots of South CarcMna at the pe- 
riod of the Revolution, is afforded in the history of 
Mrs. Green. She was the daughter of Robert Ste- 
phenson, (commonly called Stinson) a native of 
Scotland, and was born in the county of Antrim, Ire- 
kud, in 1750. The family was reared in the strictest 
te.nets of the covenanting faith, in the parish of BaJ- 
lymoney, under the pastoral care of the Rev. William 
Martin, who about the year 1773 emigrated to America 
and took up his abode on the banks of Rocky Creek, a 
branch of Catawba River, in the county, now district 
of Chester, South Carolina. Many of his congrega- 
tion quitted their country with him, following their 
pastor under the impulse of the same desire of 
" freedom to worship God." Among these emigrants 
were James, William and Elizabeth Stinson and their 
brother-in-law, William Anderson, who had married 
Nancy Stinson shortly before the sailing of the ship. 
Her wedded life thus commenced with a voluntary re- 
nunciation of home and the society of her early friends, 



NANCY GREEN. 589 

ti> 380k a new country encountering unforeseen pri- 
vations and difficulties. They were accompanied by 
an orphan girl Lizzy Craig a niece of Anderson, 
and his only relative who came to America. At this 
time bounty lands were bestowed by the government 
as inducements to emigration. Those who received 
such warrants, on their arrival took care to fix their 
location as near as possible to a central point, where 
it was their intention to build a meeting-house. The 
spirit was that of the ancient patriarchs, who, wherever 
they went, first built an altar unto the Lord. The 
spot selected for this purpose was the dividing ridge 
between Great and Little Rocky Creek. Here, in the 
summer of 1773, the pious covenanters might be seen 
from day to day, felling trees and clearing a space of 
ground, on which they reared a large log meeting- 
house, many of them living in tents at home, till a 
place was provided in which they could assemble for 
religious service. 

The land selected by William Anderson lay about 
two miles to the east, half a mile from what is now 
Rossville. near Great Rocky Creek. On a small ele- 
vation near the road leading to McDonald's Ferry, 
stood his tent, until the meeting house was completed. 
He then went to work for himself, and built a log 
cabin, clearing around it a patch of ground in which 
he planted Indian corn. He was ignorant of the man- 
ner of cultivating this grain, but the first settlers, or 
" country-borns," were ever ready to offer assistance, 
and took pains to instruct the Irish emigrants in its 



NANCY GREEN. 



oultara. The wants of a small family wc.-e supplied 
with small crops, for corn was then only used for mak- 
ing bread, the woods affording abundant supplies of 
grass, cane and wild pea vines, to serve their horses 
and cattle for provender the year round. The streams 
abounded in shad and various other fish in their sea- 
son, and the trusty rifle that hung on the rack over 
the door, was never brought back without having per- 
formed its duty in slaying the deer, the bear, or what- 
ever small game might be sought in the forest. Often 
have the old men who lived at that day spoken of the 
abundance that prevailed, and the ease with which 
money could be made ; a good hunter, when he chose 
making five dollars a day in deer skins and hams, 
while if generous he might give away the remainder 
of venison to the poor. The hams and skins were 
ser.t to Charleston and exchanged for powder, lead, 
and ether necessary articles. The wealth of these 
primitive planters consisted in stock, their labors in 
tilling the earth, felling the woods and fencing their 
folds, while they were disturbed by none of the -w^nts 
or cares created by a more advanced state of civiliza- 
tion. Such was the condition of the Covenanters who 
had left their native Ireland for the religious liberty 
found in these wilds. During seven years after their 
settlement in the woods, the Andersons enjoyed a life 
in which nothing of earthly comfort was wanting. 
Year after year the little patch of corn was enlarged, 
till it became a field of respectable dimensions, ten 
acres being then considered a good clearing for a farm. 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 



591 



stock, small in the beginning, had increased to 
numerous herd of cattle. William was now a man 
.. substance, well to do in the world, able to assist 
others, and now and then to show his kind feeling 
towards a countryman or old acquaintance by the 
present of a cow. Not only had their basket and 
Jbcre been blessed, but their dwelling was gladdened 
by the voice* of infancy. Of their three children tho 
>trst-born Mary was able to read and repeat th-3 
catechism to the minister ; Robert could read the. 
I3ible, and little "William was just able to walk. Every 
Sabbath morning the parents, in their Sunday clothes, 
with their neatly-dressed and well-behaved little ones, 
might be seen at the log church, their pocket Bibles 
containing the old Psalms, in their hands. Turning 
over the leaves, they would follow the preacher in ail 
the passages of Scripture cited by him, as he com- 
mented on his text. Thus their simple, trustful piety 
caused the wilderness to rejoice. 

But this happiness could not be lasting. The rumor 
of war had gone over the land ; it was heard even in 
th:s remote section, and these refugees who had found 
peace could not but sympathise with their oppressed 
brethren. The desolation that ravaged the North, ere 
Jong took its way southward. The attack on Sulli- 
van's Island startled many who had fancied themselves 
in security. Some persons from the Catawba region 
were at the scene of strife, and brought a report to 
those remaining at home, while several did their part 
by going out against the Cherokee Indians ; yet so far 



592 



NANCY GREEN. 



this pleasant neighborhood had been spared, and 
seemed likely to continue exempt from the miseries of 
civil war ; its families were unmolested, and the pure 
ordinances of the gospel were regularly administered, 
with none to make them afraid. This immunity was 
of short duration. John McClure, of Fishing Creek, 
coming home, brought intelligence of the surrender of 
Charleston, and his own defeat at Monk's Corner. 
Still worse was the news from across the river of the 
inhuman massacre of Buford's command by Tarleton's 
corps, at the Waxhaws. This event gave a more san- 
guinary character to the war. Directly after this ap- 
palling announcement, spread the rumor that a strong 
party of British was posted at Rocky Mount, that, the 
people of Wateree were flocking to take protection, and 
profess themselves loyal subjects of King Greorge, and 
that the conquerors were sending forces in every direc- 
tion to reduce the province to submission. Such was 
the aspect of affairs up to a certain Sabbath in June 
1780. 

On the morning of this memorable Sabbath the 
picture is drawn in no hues of fiction the different 
paths leading to the log meeting-house were unusually 
thronged. The old country folk were dressed with 
their usual neatness, especially the women, whose 
braw garments, brought from Ireland, were carefully 
preserved, not merely from thrift, but as a memorial 
of the green isle of their birth. They wore fur hats 
with narrow rims and large feathers their hair neatly 
braided, hanging over their shoulders, or fastened by 



WOMEN OP THE REVOLTJTTOlf. 593 

the black ribbon bound around their heads. The 
handsome dress of silk or chintz a mixture of wool 
.iTid flax or of Irish calico, fitted each wearer with 
marvellous neatness, and the collar or ruffles of linen 
white as snow, with the high-heeled shoes, completed 
rheir holiday attire. It was always a mystery to the 
dames who had spent their lives, or many years in the 
country, how the gowns of the late comers could be 
made to fit so admirably, their own, in spite of every 
effort, showing a sad deficiency in this respect. The 
secret of the difference probably lay in the circum- 
stance that the females from the old country wore 
stays well fortified with whalebone. The men, on 
their part, appeared not less adorned in their coats of 
fine broadcloth, with their breeches, large knee buckles 
of pure silver, and hose of various colors. They wore 
shoes fastened with a large strap secured with a 
buckle, or white topped boots, leaving exposed three 
or four inches of the hose from the knee downward. 
It must be acknowledged that this people, so strict in 
their religious opinions, were somewhat remarkable in 
their fondness for dress. They considered it highly 
irreverent to appear at church not clad in their best 
attire, and though when engaged in labor during the 
week they conformed to the custom of their neighbors, 
wearing the coarse homespun of their own manufacture, 
3n the Sabbath it was touching to see how much of 
decent pride there was in the exhibition of the fine 
clothes brought from beyond seas. As years rolled on, 
many of the dresses and coats began to show marks 



594 NANCY GREEN. 

of decay ; but careful repairing preserved the hoarded 
garments linked with such endeared associations, and 
only a few who had married with the " country -boras" 
had made any alteration in them. This peculiarity 
in dress gave the congregation assembled to worship 
in that rude sanctuary, a strange and motley appear- 
ance European finery being contrasted with tho 
homespun gowns, hunting-shirts and moccasins of the 
country people. It was always insisted on as a point 
of duty among the Covenanters, that children should 
be brought to church with their parents. The little 
ones sat between the elders, that they might be kept 
quiet during divine service, and be ready at the ap- 
pointed hour for the catechism. The strict deport- 
ment and piety of this people had already done much 
to change the customs formerly prevalent ; men and 
women wJio used to hunt or fish on the Sabbath now 
went regularly to meeting, and some notorious ones, 
whose misconduct had been a nuisance to the commu- 
nity left the neighborhood. The Strouds, Kitchens 
and Morrises, formerly regarded as the Philistines 
of the land were regular in their attendance upon di- 
vine worship. 

On this particular day, the whole neighborhood 
seemed to have turned out, and every face wore an ex- 
pression of anxiety. Groups of men might be seen 
gathered together under shade trees in every direction, 
talking in loud and earnest tones ; some laying down 
plans for the assent of their friends ; some pale with 
alarm, listening to others telling the news, and some, 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION 595 

transported with indignation, stamping the ground and 
gesticulating vehemently as they spoke. Everywhere 
the women mingled with the different groups, and ap- 
peared to take an active part in what was going on. 
At eleven o'clock precisely, the venerable form of Mar- 
tin, the preacher, came in sight. He was about sixty 
years of age, and had a high reputation for learning 
and eloquence. He was a large and powerful man, 
with a voice which it is said might have been heard at 
the distance of half a mile. As he walked from the 
place where he had hitched his horse, towards the 
tand, it being customary, when the congregation was 
too large to be accommodated in the meeting-house, 
to have the service in the open air, the loud and angry 
words of the speakers must have reached his ears. 
The voices ceased as he approached, and the congrega- 
tion was soon seated in silence upon the logs around 
the stand. 

When he arose to speak, every eye was fixed upon 
him. Those who had been most noisy expected a 
reproof for their desecration of the Sabbath, for their 
faithful pastor was never known to fail of rebuking 
those whose deportment was unsuited to the solemnity 
of the day. But at this time he too seBmed absorbed 
with the subject that agitated every bosom. " My 
hearers,'' he said, in his broad Scotch-Irish dialect 
" talk and angry words will do no good. We must 
fig/it ! As your pastor in preparing a discourse 
suited to this time of trial I have sought for all light, 
examined the Scriptures and other helps in ancient 



596 NANCY GREEN. 

and modern history, and have considered especially 
the controversy between the United Colonies and the 
mother country. Sorely have our countrymen been 
dealt with, till forced to the declaration of their inde- 
pendence and the pledge of their lives and sacred 
honor to support it. Our forefathers in Scotland made 
a similar one, and maintained that declaration with 
their lives ; it is now our turn, brethren, to maintain 
this at all hazards." After the prayer and singing of 
the Psalms he calmly opened his discourse. He cited 
many passages from Scripture to show that a people 
may lawfully resist wicked rulers ; pointed to historical 
examples of princes trampling on the people's rights ; 
painted in vivid colors the rise and progress of the 
reformation the triumph of truth over the misrule 
and darkness of ages and finally applied the subject 
by fairly stating the merits of the Revolutionary con- 
troversy. Griving a brief sketch of the events of the 
war from the first shedding of blood at Lexington, and 
warming with the subject as he went on, his address 
became eloquent with the fiery energy of a Demosthe- 
nes. In a voice like thunder, frequently striking with 
his clenched fist the clapboard pulpit, he appealed to 
the excited concourse, exhorting them to fight valiantly 
in defence of their liberties. As he dwelt on the recent 
horrid tragedy the butchery of Buford's men, cut 
down by the British dragoons while crying for mercy 
his indignation reached its height. Stretching out 
his hand towards Waxhaw " Gro see," he cried 
" the tender mercies of Great Britain ! In that church 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 597 

you may find men, though still alive, hacked out of 
the very semblance of humanity : some deprived of 
their arms mutilated trunks : some with one arm or 
leg, and some with both legs cut off. Is not this cruelty 
a parallel to the history of our Scottish fathers, driven 
from their conventicles, hunted like wild beasts ? 
Behold the godly youth, James Nesbit chased for 
days by the British for the crime of being seen on his 
knees upon the Sabbath morning !" etc. To this 
stirring sermon the whole assembly responded. Hands 
were clenched and teeth set in the intensity of feeling ; 
every uplifted face expressed the same determination, 
and even the women were filled with the spirit that 
threatened vengeance on the invaders. During the 
interval of divine worship they went about professing 
their resolution to do their part in the approaching 
contest ; to plough the fields and gather the crops in 
the absence of the men aye, to fight themselves, 
rather than submit. In the afternoon the subject was 
resumed and discussed with renewed energy while 
the appeals of the preacher were answered by even 
more energetic demonstrations of feeling. When the 
worship was concluded, and the congregation separa- 
ting to return homeward, the manly form of Ben Land 
was seen walking among the people, shaking hands 
with every neighbor and whispering in his ear the 
summons to the next day's work. 

As the minister quitted the stand, William Stroud 
slipped up to him. This man, with his sons, was 
p-*ted for strength and bravery. They were so tall in 



598 



NANCY GREEN. 



stature, that like Saul, they overlooked the rest of the 
congregation. He doubted not, he said, that Mr. Mar- 
tin had heard of his " whipping the pets." "I rather 
think/' he continued, " some people will be a little on 
their guard how they go to Rocky Mount for 'tection 
papers ! Yesterday I was down at old deaf Lot's still- 
house ; who do you think was there ? John and Dick 
Featherston ! John said he had been to Rocky Mount 
to see the fine fellows, and they were so good to him, 
to give him 'tection. Do, John, tell me what that is, 
I asked. He said it was a paper, and whoever had 
one was safe ; not a horse, cow or hog would the 
British take from him without paying two prices for 
it. So, John, says I, I know now who told the 
British about James Stinson's large stock of cows, 
which they drove off' yesterday, knocking down Mrs. 
Stinson for putting up old Brindle in the horse stable, 
so as to keep one cow to give milk for the children ! 
Now, John, as you have British 'tection, I will give 
you "Whig 'tection ! With that I knocked him down ; 
Dick came running up ; I just gave him a kick in 
front ; he doubled up ; John got up and ran for it, and 
Dick begged like a whipped boy. I told him he might 
carry the news that 'tection paper men should be whip- 
ped and have their cows taken from them to pay James 
Stinson for his. I think this is what you call the law 
of Moses ! and as for these Britishers, if I don't make 
old Nelly ring in their ears and be dad to them ! Ex- 
cuse me for swearing this time, if you please. Now, 
Mr. Minister, here is old Bill that is two ; then hera 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 599 

is young "Will, Tom, Jack, Hamp, Erby, Random, and 
Hardy ; and there are some girls, you know, and tlio 
baby, little Anzel. I have heard you say children are 
a crown to old men who sit at the gate." The man- 
ner in which this characteristic speech was delivered, 
may be imagined. Martin showed his acceptance of 
the proffered aid -by taking William's hand, and intro- 
ducing him to Capt. Land. 

On his way home from meeting William Anderson 
was unusually silent, as if some weighty matter en- 
gaged all his thoughts. Mrs. Anderson spoke first 
after she too had been reflecting. " I think, William, 
little Lizzy and I can finish the crop, and gather it in 
if need be, as well as take care of the stock. 1 ' "I am 
glad of that, Nancy," was the reply. " I was silent, 
for I did na ken how to let you know it, but to-mor- 
row morning I leave home. The way is now clear ; 
the word of God approves, and it shall ne'er be said 
that the Covenanters, the followers of the reformers of 
Scotland, would na lend a helpin' hand to the renewal 
of the Covenant in the land of America ! Now, Nancy, 
Capt. Land will be out before day, giving notice that 
up at the cross road hard by, he will drill the men 
who are willing to fight ; this was agreed upon as T 
left." Their conversation through the day was in the 
same strain. As they rose from dinner, Mrs. Ander- 
son said, " William, were you out at kirk in Bally- 
money on that Sabbath when Mary Martin, our minis- 
ter's first wife, lay a corpse in his house ? No one 
thought he could attend to preaching in his sore dis- 



600 NANCY GREEN. 

tress : but precisely at the striking of the hour he was 
seen walking down the long aisle to the pulpit. I 
never shall forget the sermon ! there was not a dry 
eye in the whole congregation ; old men and women 
fairly cried aloud. I thought of that, to-day, when 
after sermon old Stroud went up to him as if he had 
been one of the elders. Did you see the man of Grod 
clap Stroud on the back as if he were going to see 
him have a fair boxing match ? Our minister is a 
wonderful man ; he can persuade people to almost any- 
thing." William Anderson looked up quietly and 
asked, " Did he persuade you to marry him, Nancy, 
when he went to your father's a courting ?" 

" Na, indeed, William ; I could na think of an old 
man when I had you fairly in my net. But I did 
him a good turn in letting him know that Jenny 
Cherry was setting her cap for him, and sure enough 
he took my advice, and they were married. You 
know they called their first child for me Nancy a 
little older than our Mary." 

That Sunday evening wore away, and early on the 
Monday morning the plough stood still in the furrow, 
and the best horse, saddled and bridled, was at the 
door. Mrs. Anderson had been up since a little after 
midnight, making hoe cakes on the hoe, and corn 
dodger in the oven, and while the cooking of meats 
was going on, busily plying the needle, running up 
sacks and bags to hold provision for man and horse on 
a long journey. Grood " Ball," accustomed to range 
fur his food, when not at libertv could not do without 




GEN. ANDREW JACKSON, SEVENTH PRESIDENT. 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 601 

a few ears of corn. As soon as he had takyii his break 
fast, William Anderson, bidding his wife farewell, 
mounted and rode off. In about two hours she heard 
the firing of horsemen's pistols in the direction of the 
muster-ground, and soon William made his appearance, 
riding as fast as the horse could carry him. Passing 
around the house, he took the path to the spring, rode 
down the stream from the spring and crossed the creek 
at the cowford. Some British dragoons who had been 
in close pursuit, failing to overtake him, gave vent to 
their rage by plundering the house of the most valua- 
ble articles of furniture, and insulting Mrs. Anderson 
with gross and indecent language. Their visit brought 
the small pox ; and the poor mother's attention was 
soon too entirely absorbed by the sufferings of her 
children to leave time for distress on other accounts 
The brief glimpse she had of her husband as he fled 
was probably the last ; it is not known that he ever 
again came home, though he was not killed till two 
months after. She had only the assistance of Lizzy 
in nursing the three little ones, and was often com- 
pelled to leave them, to plough the cornfield and finish 
working the crop. Thus the sufferers had not proper 
attention, and it went hard with poor little Willie. 
For a long time the mother despaired of his life, and 
when he did at last recover, how altered was the beau- 
tiful boy whose fresh blooming face- had been her de- 
light ! This child was the late Col. William Anderson 
of Chester District. 

Before the return of the next Sabbath, Mrs. Ander 



602 NANCY GREEN. 

son's stock had been driven off by the enemy, and the 
log meeting-house was burned to the ground. Strip- 
ped now of almost everything within doors and with- 
out, she had no resource but to roast the ears of green 
corn, or dry the corn in the milk, and grate it on a 
rough stone into coarse meal, of which she made mush 
for herself and the sick children. Meanwhile her hus- 
band joined the forces of Sumter under Capt. John 
Steel, at Clem's Branch, on the east side of Catawba 
River. He was in the battle at Williamson's, at 
Rocky Mount, Hanging Rock, and Carey's Fort on the 
Wateree. He was shot by the tories in the attack on 
Steel's party at Neely's, mentioned in the preceding 
memoir. In the confusion his body and Barber's were 
left unburied during the day ; but at night Mr. Culp 
and one of his negroes dug a grave and interred them 
by the bars where they fell. Such was the end of a 
brave man, whose name deserves honor from his adopt- 
ed State. 

Mrs. Anderson was now a widow in peculiar circum- 
stances of desolation. Her brothers James and William 
were in the camp : the whigs had retired to North 
Carolina, and the neighborhood was in consequence 
left to the depredations of the tories. In two months 
great changes had taken place within the circuit of 
three miles : in this limited neighborhood were five 
newly made widows Mrs. Anderson Mrs. Land- 
Mrs. Boyd Mrs. James Barber and Mrs. Joseph 
Barber. Joseph had been taken at Fishing Creek, 
and carried to Camden gaol, where he died, probabl) 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 



603 



of starvation. Young William Stroud was taken by 
the British, and hung on the road it is said by 
Tarleton's orders for the crime of fighting the battles 
of his country when they chose to consider him a 
British subject. His body hung upon the tree three 
weeks during the month of August, a placard forbid- 
ding his burial being fastened to it and the loyalists 
passing on the road daily to Rocky Mount. At last a 
few friends bold enough to risk the vengeance threat- 
ened, came at night, and digging a hole in the earth 
under the suspended corpse, climbed the tree, cut the 
rope, and let it fall into the grave.* This happened 
about half a mile below Green's meeting-house. A 
strip of red clay about fifteen feet long the only 
patch of that color on the road, marked the last rest- 
ing place of one who, in the short space of two months 
had killed more soldiers of the royal army than proba- 
bly any one else during the whole war. It was not 
surprising that when taken, he should be punished so 
barbarously for the purpose of striking terror into 
others. 

The season for harvest now approached, and the 
wives of absent whigs, and the widows of those who 
were slain, were obliged to cut and gather in the corn 
for the use of their families. But what certainty had 
they exposed to cruel marauders that they wouid 
ever have a bushel of the grain for bread ? It was 
truly a dismal prospect, for in the state of the country 

* Other accounts state that Stroud was buried jby his sister. i 
was Capt. Dickson, of York District, who cut him down. 



604 NANCY GREEN. 

they had little to expect but nakedness and starva 
tion. 

At the proper season Mrs. Anderson pulled her flax, 
watered and put it through the break, then scuttled it 
with the hand-scuttle, and hackled it on the coarse 
and fine hackle. Day after day, and at night too, the 
humming of her busy little wheel might he heard as 
she spun the flax. She had now no stock to attend to 
except the old sorrel mare and colt. The corn, when 
gathered, was put for safe keeping into the crib of 
Samuel Ferguson, one of her neighbors, and other 
articles, which she thought might be taken from he*- 
on some marauding visit of the tories, she gave into 
the charge of his excellent wife Isabella. These pre- 
cautions were taken in view of her own approaching 
confinement, which took place in the winter. The 
child a boy called James Barber, after the unfortu- 
nate man who met his death at Neely's at the same 
moment with her husband, died in infancy of the 
scarlet fever. 

From time to time some whigs of the neighborhood 
venturing to visit their homes, would call to inquire 
after her, and assist her by doing little turns of service. 
such as cutting wood, and the like ; but a great part 
of the fuel she used, she gathered herself, and carried 
it home on her shoulders, or with the help of Lizzy. 
Her brother, William Stinson, had removed, some years 
before the war, to the vicinity of King's Mountain. 
He served in Capt. Barber's company, and was en- 
gaged in the battle of King's Mountain. He paid 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 605 

several visits to his sister, generally accompanied by 
Ben Rowan, a hero whose history has all the interest 
of a romance, and whose motto through life was 
" Never shrink from danger." Mrs. Anderson was en- 
couraged by both, and assured that should she be mal- 
treated, the offender would not escape the punishment 
Rowan was in the habit of inflicting upon tories who 
had distressed whig women. The food on which Mrs. 
Anderson and her children subsisted during the winter 
was chiefly bread, though occasionally a little meat 
was brought to her by patrolling whigs. In February 
when in a southern climate the winter begins to soften 
into spring she contrived to build up the rock dam 
at the place used for a fish trap, spending the whole of 
several days, while at work, in the water up to her 
knees. When the fish began to run, she went every 
morning with Lizzy to the trap, and carried home 
what had been taken. Some days she made several 
traps, and the gain was proportionate. These fish she 
dried in the wooden chimney, hanging them all the 
way up, and thus supplied herself with provisions 
against a time of need. Often has she been heard to 
say that her life at this period was not an unhappy 
one, though she suffered many privations. Incessant 
occupation kept her thoughts from dwelling on past 
Borrows, or anticipating distress, and her trust was 
placed in Him who has said to the faithful, " I will 
never leave thee nor forsake thee." She still mourned 
fur the brave man who had found a patriot's grave, but 
resigned herself to the decree of Providence, endeavor 



606 NANCY GREEN. 

ins to All his place in the care of her hrlpless children 
A.bout the time she began preparations for putting in 
a new crop of corn, an occurrence took place which 
brought about an event having much influence on her 
future life. 

One morning in April, 1781, long before the dav?n 
of day, she was startled by hearing the sound of a 
huntsman's horn, on the road leading towards the spot 
where the meeting-house had stood. She thought she 
recognized the sound of Littleton Esbel's horn, nd 
was not mistaken. Bsbel was a mighty hunter in 
those days. He had no scruples about taking horses, 
and was always in possession of a good one ; he was, 
moreover, fond of good liquor, and always carried a 
canteen of whiskey with him. Withal, he was a good 
soldier, had been much in camp, fought valiantly, and 
was esteemed an active and intelligent fellow. He 
often boasted of successful cunning, and was heard to 
say " any fool could take a horse, but it took a wise 
man to keep him." On this occasion it happened that- 
several other men, not so well mounted as himself, 
were in his company. As they rode, the merry hun- 
ter, in the exhilaration of spirits elevated by more than 
moderate draughts from the canteen, continually blew 
his horn. It chanced that a troop of British dragoons, 
from one of the royal posts below, were out that 
day, and hearing the continued blowing of the horn, 
they were induced to suppose there might be a general 
mustering of the rebels. They set off, accordingly, in 
the direction of the sound, and before Esbel had the 



WOMEN OF TKE REVOLUTION. 607 

least intimation of their approach, the tramp of theii 
horses showed they were within a short distance. He 
saw at once the danger of his situation, but with the 
quickness of lightning bethought himself how to 
remedy the difficulty. At once he commenced in a 
very loud tone giving the usual military orders to pre- 
pare for action, while in a lower voice he bade his 
party clear out instantly and be off on peril of 
their lives. The stratagem succeeded to admiration ; 
the dragoons halted, hearing the orders, and formed a 
line to face the expected attack, preparing to meet the 
enemy as well as they could. As soon as Esbel saw 
that his men were out of danger, putting spurs to his 
horse, he made for the road about a hundred and fifty 
yards to the left of the British, giving them a dis- 
charge of his rifle as he passed. The fire caused them 
to look in that direction, and seeing but a single foe, 
they started in pursuit. This was just what Esbei 
desired ; he was out of reach of pistol-shot, and knew 
well that he rode the swiftest horse in the country, 
having picked him out for his speed with a view to 
some such accident. " Butterfly," as he called him, 
had won more whiskey by his racing than would have 
sufficed to buy half the ponies in the land. He hfcd 
no fear, therefore, of being overtaken, and had a mind, 
for some sport with his pursuers. Rising high in his 
saddle, he made a gesture of contemptuous defiance ; 
then spurring his steed, galloped down the road, fol- 
iowed by a troop of redcoats at full speed. He enjoy- 
ed the sport exceedingly, hallooing and going through 



608 NANCY GREEN. 

the Indian warwhoop, which many of the men in that 
region had learned when in camp frorn the Catawbas 
The rage of the cheated dragoons was evinced by theii 
continually firing their pistols, without effect, how- 
ever, for the fugitive took care to keep beyond their 
reach, turning towards his pursuers at short intervals, 
and making various gestures intended to insult and 
irritate them. The race held on in this manner for 
about a mile and a half, and Esbel said it was " the 
prettiest race I ever had. I held in Butterfly, so as 
not to beat too much, you see; but just to keep about 
a hundred and fifty yards in advance." He was now 
passing the spot where the log meeting-house burnt 
the summer before had stood. The sight of the 
blackened space brought to his mind the last sermon 
he had heard preached there, and the words of the 
minister, " the race is not always to the swift, nor the 
battle to the strong," came forcibly to his recollection. 
Esbel had but little feeling on the subject of religion, 
nor had his deeds been such as he could always re- 
member with satisfaction. Yet conscience sometimes 
made its low voice heard, and at this moment the idea 
that after all, he might be given up to final perdition, 
that his time might be even then at hand that by 
some mischance his horse might stumble and throw 
him was far from agreeable. He knew well, from 
the example of Capt. Land and young Y/ill Stroud, 
what mercy he might expect, if captured. Possessed 
bv a sudden fear, he turned and took to the woods. 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. fiQQ 

resolved to throw Rocky Creek between him and hia 
pursuers. 

Mrs. Anderson heard the tramp of his horse as he 
came down the hill towards her house, for some time 
oefore he appeared. When he rode into her yard, he 
called out addressing her by name " I have chased 
fifty red coats ; no, I am not right there ; I have led 
them a chase like a pack of fools ! So here's the old 
canteen ; will you taste a little whiskey ? Now, isn't 
it good ? 'tis of Butterfly's winning. He has carried 
me bravely in this race, and I would have had these 
fellows all day at my heels to keep them out of worse 
business, but as I passed the burnt meeting-house it 
made me a little sorry, and then I thought about the 
minister's last sermon, and so I thought I would just 
leave them." By this time the distant sound of horses' 
feet gave notice that the dragoons were coming. Es- 
bel bade a hasty adieu to his neighbor, took to the 
ford, and having crossed, went a little way up the 
creek, to the top of the hill. There he blew a loud 
and long note on his horn. The redcoats came dovra 
to the creek, but not finding the ford readily, rode back 
to Mrs. Anderson's house to enquire of her if the rebels 
were in any considerable force. They had been cha- 
sing, they told her, a saucy fellow who, they no\v 
began to think, had been decoying them out of the 
way, as they judged from his extreme impudence. Ho 
would stop, they said, in the midst of his running, and 
call out to them, repeating his audacious defiance every 
little while. What was the result as far as the 



610 NANCY GREEN. 

troopers were concerned it is not our present business 
to inquire ; we have to do with another individual, 
whom their pursuit of Esbel brought upon the stage 
of action. 

On the road passed in this chase, north of Ragsdale's 
house, lived a man who had come to the country in 
the company of one Tom Morris. Morris had none of 
the best of characters, and the stranger's intimacy 
with him was not much to his credit in the neighbor- 
hood. None, however, knew anything to his disad- 
vantage, unless extreme poverty might be deemed so, 
and that was a complaint which the ravages of war 
rendered too common to be disreputable. He was so 
reduced that he owned not a hunting-shirt except one 
much the worse for wear, but he was willing to work, 
and readily engaged to do a certain quantity of labor 
for a new one. Mrs. Ferguson told her husband if he 
would give him the work, she would cut and make the 
garment out of some material she had in the house. 
The man accordingly undertook a stipulated quantity 
of grubbing, and was upon the last forty rods, when 
happening to look up, to his surprise he saw a horse- 
man Esbel, in fact galloping down the road, and 
shortly after, the dragoons following him at full speed 
and firing their pistols. Leaving his work, he ran to 
hide himself ; but after a while, finding all was still, 
he ventured out again and resumed his grubbing. 
Hardly had he begun, however, before he again heard 
the tramp of horses, and spied the redcoats coming 
swiftly up the road on their return. Again he was oft, 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 611 

lying hid all the afternoon and part of the night anu 
returning, finished his work by moonlight some time 
before day. The next morning, wearing the new 
hunting-shirt his labor had procured, he set off to fulfil 
a resolution he had formed after seeing the redcoatsr 
that he would go out into the range, take the first 
horse he could find, and make for the army under 
command of General Greene, then on the march 
towards Camden after the battle of Guilford. He had 
no doubt that he would soon find a horse, for while at 
work he had seen many in the range. This day, 
however, luck seemed to be against him, and he 
talked a'/out till near noon without seeing a horse 
grazing, or hearing the bell commonly worn by animals 
-hus at liberty. At last he heard the sound of a dis- 
.ant bell, and followed it np a small stream that bordered 
* cultivated field. In the midst of this space he saw 
a log cabin, with two or three little children playing 
on the sunny side of the house. Coming nearer, he 
perceived a very young girl letting down some bars to 
give entrance to a sorrel mare followed by a colt, and 
a woman of comely appearance, who by this time had 
noticed the approaching stranger, and was looking 
anxiously towards him, as if doubtful if he were friend 
or foe. As soon as he saw her, he walked directly up, 
ind asked if she had seen any other horse in the range 
esides her own. She replied in the negative, and 
Durteously invited the stranger to walk in. The in- 
itation was accepted, and in the conversation which 
snsued, the visitor learned that the dame was a widow, 



612 NANCY GREEN. 

and the mother of the children he had seen ; that the 
voting girl was an orphan she had taken to bring up, 
and that she had suffered not a little from the depre- 
dators infesting the country. He told her on his part 
that he hacf been grubbing for Mr. Ferguson, that he 
had resolved to join the army, having had a great fright 
on account of the redcoats, and what had been his busi- 
ness in the woods. " I suppose," said the dame in 
whom the reader will recognise an acquaintance 
" you are the soldier Tom Morris brought with him?" 
The reply- to this interrogatory introduced a prolonged 
and interesting conversation, which was interrupted 
by dinner. At the widow's hospitable solicitation the 
stranger sat down to the meal with the family, relin- 
quishing, for that day at least, his project of securing 
a horse. Of course he could not think of taking the 
only one belonging to a poor woman ! He was glad 
he had not seen the animal before, for had he taken 
her, she might not have found her way home after 
being turned out, or might have been seized by some 
one less scrupulous. Having parted from his new 
acquaintance, he took his course back to Ferguson's, 
much more thoughtful than he had come. The image 
of the sociable dame went with him ; her fair face 
and handsome features, set off by soft light hair of the 
hue poets call golden, with her fine form had made 
an impression which his admiration of the courage and 
resolution she had shown through so many trials, 
'Icepened and strengthened. Her lot in life was like 
r>i. own : she lived alone, with means sadly diminish* 1 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 



613 



by the troubles of war, and her little family depended 
on her labor for their subsistence from day to day. 
When he thought of the spirit she had shown, he re- 
membered with some mortification how he had liid 
himself from the redcoats. That night it may be sup- 
posed he slept but little, having such food for reflection. 
In the morning little Lizzy came to Mr. Ferguson's to 
shell a bag of corn. The stranger assisted her, and 
having finished shelling the corn, took the bag and put 
it on the horse, offering to carry it to mill for her if 
she would tell him the road. The little damsel was 
not so ready to trust a person she did not know, espe- 
cially as she had noticed what he said the day before 
on the subject of getting a horse, and prudently de- 
clined his offer, saying she had been bidden to go her- 
self, and she always obeyed her aunt. Her answer 
caused the man no little chagrin, for he had made the 
friendly proposal only that he might have a reasonable 
excuse for another visit to the cabin. His conclusion 
now was to go at all hazards, trusting for his welcome 
to fortune and the dame's kindly nature. 

It was not long before he was again at the fair 
widow's house, and to all appearance on a very com- 
fortable footing. His history was already pretty well 
known to Mrs. Anderson, for she had heard the details 
from Torn Morris himself. When at length he ven- 
tured the question, " I suppose, Madam, you think 
well of the fellows Tom has told you of?" the frank 
answer was : " I do ; my ain dear Willie died the 
death of a soldier." 



614 



" Then you would marry a soldier ?" 

" I have not thought about that ; but if I ever should 
marry if I think as I do now none but a soldier 
would I have." ' 

What turn the discourse took after this avowal tra- 
dition does not exactly inform us ; nor how the " round 
unvarnished tale" which the soldier had to tell con- 
cerning himself, was received by his gentle auditor. 
But it is certain that, some three or four days after 
this conversation, the associate of Tom Morris went to 
Ferguson's to borrow a horse, and that he, accompa- 
nied by Nancy Anderson mounted on the sorrel mare, 
was riding along the road on the way to the house of 
the old Justice, John Graston. After a short ceremony 
the Justice pronounced them man and wife, and re- 
ceived the fee of one dollar, all the money which the 
newly made husband possessed in the world. 

The sudden conversion of Mrs. Anderson into Mrs. 
Green, gave no small offence to many of her friends, 
who fancied they had an undoubted right to control 
her in a step involving her future prospects. Nut 
a single person of her acquaintance thought she had 
made a good or suitable match. They were especially 
scandalized that she had thought proper to dispense 
with formalities prescribed by the church and the cus- 
tom of their fathers, which required an intended mar- 
riage to be published by the minister on three succes- 
sive Sabbaths. It was impossible for her to comply 
with this requisition, there being no meeting for pub- 
lic religious service in those days of desolation, but the 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 615 

over-strict deemed this no sufficient excuse. Nancy, 
however, did not suffer herself to be rendered uncom- 
fortable by their disapprobation of her choice, or their 
censure of her hasty nuptials. She considered herself 
the most competent judge in the matter, and had de- 
cided that circumstances may modify cases to such an 
extent as to render proper a course which at a differ- 
ent time might have been ill-advised and unbecoming. 
She thought also that Daniel Green and herself had 
probably become better acquainted with each other's 
disposition and character in the five days preceding 
their marriage than many whose course of love is pro- 
tracted for years ; and knowing what it was to be 
alone and destitute, it was something to find one who 
could take care of her little property, aid in the main- 
tenance of her family, and defend her in case of need. 
Both she and her soldier had been tried in the crucible 
of the Revolution, and both came forth like gold re- 
fined. They were well suited, in all respects essential 
to the comfort of married life, and matched in personal 
appearance. Nancy had no inconsiderable share of 
beauty of that striking order which suited her rather 
tall and robust figure, and though mild and amiable, 
possessed great energy and firmness. Daniel Green 
might have been called one of nature's noblemen. 
His appearance was commanding, his powerful frame 
denoting great strength, and his open and honest 
countenance expressed the benevolence of his heart. 
Frank and honorable in all his dealings, he was dis- 
posed to trust, but sagacious in discerning character,, 



616 NANCY GREEN. 

his intellect being naturally keen and strong, and ex- 
perience, without book learning, having given him 
deep insight into men. It will not be inappropriate 
here, to give a brief sketch of his career, especially as 
part of it illustrates the benevolence of other women 
who lived in those days. He was born in New Jersey, 
about 1752. His parents were poor, and unable to 
send him to school, but a quick perception and reten- 
tive memory enabled him to gain knowledge ; when 
six years old, by hearing the sayings of Poor Richard 
read from the almanac, he soon got them by heart, 
and by close application learned to read, afterwards 
teaching himself to write. These maxims strongly 
impressed him ; throughout his long life he was in 
the habit of repeating them on all occasions, and 
might have been called a second edition of the philoso- 
pher who wrote them, so similar was the character of 
his mind. As soon as he was old enough to contri- 
bute to the support of the family, he hired himself out 
to service. In the beginning of the war he was 
drafted to go to Canada. He then went to Philadel- 
phia, about thirty miles from his home, and enlisted as 
a marine with Capt. Biddle. When entering the ser- 
vice, he informed Biddle that he had left his business 
at home in an unsettled state, and was promised a 
furlough before long, when he could have an opportu- 
nity of attending to it. Notwithstanding this promise 
leave of absence was refused on the ground that it had 
been granted to several married men, who should have 
the preference, and after applying four times in vain 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 617 

for permission to go home, the Andrea Doria getting 
ready to sail, Daniel, with one of his fellow marines, 
took his departure without leave, went back to New 
Jersey, settled his business, and returned to Philadel- 
phia. As he and his companion entered the city they 
met an acquaintance, who informed them they were 
advertised as deserters, and that it was in his power, 
had he not scorned such bad faith, to make ten pounds 
by arresting them. The handbills posted at the corners, 
offering a reward for their apprehension, confirmed this 
information. Green used afterwards to say, had the 
man attempted to secure them, he would have been 
killed, for both were resolved to perish on the spot 
rather than submit to be arraigned as deserters. Their 
resolution was soon taken, and going directly to the 
barracks where their guns had been left they de- 
spatched a message to Capt. Biddle, announcing their 
return, and requesting him to come on shore. The 
next morning a sergeant and guard were seen march- 
ing towards the barracks. The two delinquents stood 
ready, musket in hand, and when the guard camo 
within a short distance, Green called to them to halt, 
accompanying his order with a look of desperate de- 
termination that could not be mistaken. The sergeant 
informed them the captain had sent for them ; the 
answer was, that they had sent for the captain and 
did not mean to leave the barracks with any but him- 
self. At the sergeant's order to seize the prisoners, 
their muskets were presented, and the clicking of the 
cocks was the signal for the pro'mpt order " right about 



618 NANCY GREEN. 

face," which tKe guard instantly obeyed, being out of 
sight at the first corner. A few hours after, they saw 
Biddle approaching, and wheeling out of the room into 
the street as he came up, at the proper distance they 
presented arms. The captain returned their saluta- 
tion, and asked Green why he had thus treated the 
guard. The young man replied by reminding him of 
his promise of leave of absence, which was afterwards 
refused when solicited. His affairs required his atten- 
tion ; he had gone home to settle them, had returned 
of his own accord, and was now ready to serve his 
country. "You shall have justice, my brave fellow," 
said the captain ; then taking each marine by the 
hand, the three marched through the streets to the 
wharf, and were soon on shipboard. Every eye was 
upon them, the sergeant having given an account of 
his reception, and several were heard to say they 
would be put to death for desertion and resistance to 
the guard, or at least whipped severely for an example. 
When the marines mustered they fell into ranks, and 
answered to the calling of the roll. The captain then 
came forward and explained the whole matter, con- 
cluding by saying, " These men are not deserters ; 1 
was to blame. I am satisfied with them, and," turn- 
ing to the sergeant, " you, sir. and the guard must 
overlook what they did. Desperate men will do de? 
perate acts, and you in their situation might have doj. j 
the same. Let it pass, therefore, and see that every 
one hereafter does his duty." Thus did his humanity 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 619 

and candor prevent injustice and secure the confidence 
of his men. 

Green was afterwards transferred to the Randolph, 
which, after encountering a heavy gale at sea, put 
into the harbor of Charleston, to have a new mast 
made. This mast in a few days chanced to be struck 
by lightning and destroyed, and the- accident, which he 
regarded as ominous, so disturbed the sailor's mind 
that he went ashore, and finding a soldier willing to 
exchange places with him, enrolled himself in a regi- 
ment of continental regulars. Whenever the vessel 
came into port on returning from her voyages, Grreen 
always visited his old companions, being very kindly 
treated by the commodore, but always looked upon 
his exchange as providential the poor fellow who took 
his place never having returned. He served in the 
army, was taken prisoner May 12th, 1780, and em- 
ployed on board the prison ship as a boat hand to fetch 
water and provisions from land. In March, the follow- 
ing year, the boat was sent some distance up Cooper 
River for fresh water, two British soldiers acting as a 
guard. The prisoners seven in number suffered 
not the opportunity to pass ; they rose on the guard 
by a concerted movement, disarmed them, and effected 
their escape. After encountering many difficulties, 
they reached a plantation belonging to Col. Pinckney, 
and were received with the most cordial hospitality by 
Mrs. Pinckney, who, though alone her husband not 
daring to venture home, and plundered of everything 
by the royalists, so that she depended on her negroes 



620 NANCY GREEN. 

for daily supplies was ready to share what she had 
with them. From this place the fugitives made their 
way to " Buckhead," called Fort Motte, on the Conga- 
ree River, the residence of Mrs. Motte. This lady, 
whose patriotism was soon to be so signally displayed 
in the destruction, by her own consent, of her beauti- 
ful mansion, welcomed them kindly, and gave them 
lodging in an outhouse, where they were hid during 
the day, for it was thought unsafe to let the blacks on 
the premises know of their presence. Provisions were 
sent to them every day by Mrs. Motte, and she often 
paid them visits, accompanied by a young lady whose 
residence was on the north side of the river, and who 
was on a visit to her house. Her name, it is to be re- 
gretted, cannot be ascertained. Green, in relating the 
adventure, said, " These ladies were elegant and 
polished in their manners ; we were ragged, dirty, 
rough-looking fellows ; yet notwithstanding our for- 
lorn condition, they treated us as equals, spoke to us 
kindly, and made us feel that we had not served our 
country in vain. They made many inquiries about 
the situation of the prisoners, and informed us that all 
was not lost, as the British would fain have made us 
believe when trying to seduce us from our duty. 
* Yes,' said this lovely young lady, ' the Scotch-Irish of 
Chester, Lancaster and York refused British protec- 
tion and defended themselves ; they have fought many 
battles since you were 'immured in the prison ship, 
and though sometimes driven back, have rallied again. 
A few days ago, Sumter and his men swam the river 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 621 

in this very neighborhood. These are your country- 
men.' My comrades smiled, especially Tom Morris, 
whom the speaker addressed, for they were men of 
Chester and Lancaster. Then, with one of the 
sweetest looks I ever met, she said to me, ' Green, you 
keep good company,' and informed me that Gen. 
Greene had lately fought the enemy at Guilford." 

This young lady at length proposed to assist the 
men in getting across the river. She told them she 
and Mrs. Motte had decided that she was to go home 
the next day, and make arrangements to send some of 
her negroes to the riverside on the following night with 
canoes to convey them across. Accordingly on the 
appointed night, Mrs. Motte's trusty house servant 
came and conducted them to the landing. Several 
blacks were there with canoes; they were taken over 
the river, and led up to the overseer's house, where a 
table was set out, covered with abundance of provisions. 
Bedclothing was also furnished, so clean and fresh, 
that the hardy travellers would not soil the snow white 
sheets and quilts by sleeping in them, but stretched 
themselves before the fire. In the morning before they 
had all risen, breakfast was on the table, and they 
were invited to take for their journey as much as they 
could conveniently carry. " To think," said Green 
" of one so accomplished showing so much kindness 
and attention to us, of late so unused to humano 
treatment !" In taking leave of the overseer, he 
offered him the only dollar he had remaining of the 
money with which they had left the banks of Cooper 



622 NANCY GREEN. 

River. The overseer shook his head, saying he would 
not take it for the world : Miss would never for- 
give him. " Why, all day yesterday," he said, " after 
she came home, she was riding back and forward from 
the great house to the quarter, ordering the killing of 
a hog or a sheep, and late in the evening was here 
with several negroes, who brought baskets full of large 
loaves of bread and cake, with bedclothing ; and again, 
she herself set out the table, putting on the provisions, 
and all the time keeping me in the dark. At last she 
said I shall never forget her look ' I suppose you 
would like to know what all this is for ! I intend to 
send you seven men a little after dark, and you must 
do your best to make them comfortable. You see I 
have provisions pretty plenty. Mrs. Motte told me 
the giant Tom Morris was a great eater ; let them 
have plenty, and take with them in the morning. 
They have seen rough times ; they are very dirty ; but 
they are the finest looking men I have seen in a long 
time, and you know they are on our side.' No no 
s i r I can't take your money !" Grreen contented 
himself with sending by the overseer a message of 
heartfelt thanks to his mistress, and a wish that when 
she married, her husband might be as good a man as 
she was a woman. Two days afterwards he and Morris 
were safely sheltered in the house of Isabella Ferguson. 
Mr. and Mrs. Green found their troubles ended with 
the war. Prosperity attended them : they grew weal- 
thy, but had no children to bear the name. The chil- 
dren of Anderson were treated by Green as his own, 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 623 

With the wealth his industry acquired he did much 
good during his whole life. He repaired the church 
at Beckhamville, and built a wall around the burial- 
ground of cut granite well laid in lime, which is stil 1 
entire, and to all appearance will last for generations. 
For many years the church he rebuilt was used by the 
Presbyterians, though it has now passed into the hands 
of the Methodists, and is their place of worship. Green 
himself never belonged to any particular denomination, 
but was esteemed by the members of all the different 
religious societies as an excellent man and a sincere 
Christian. 

One who knew Nancy Green observed that if a 
woman ever lived who came up to Solomon's descrip- 
tion of the virtuous woman in Proverbs it was she. 
As her life was spent in quiet usefulness, so her end 
was peace, and her last moments were sustained by 
the hope which gives to a Christian the victory over 
death. Her earthly course was finished in June, 1857. 
The afternoon of the day of her burial, Green remarked 
to one of his friends that he and his late wife had 
lived together near fifty years and had tasted far 
more of real happiness than falls to the Jot of most 



mortals. ""We have been blessed," he said, " in our 
basket and our. store, flourishing like a green bay tree 
beside the waters ; but this is not our abiding place 
I have laid her at the head of her little granddaughter, 
Nancy Anderson. How soon I too may go the way of 
all living, I know not ; but when that time comes, lay 
my bones by her side, at the head of the grave of my 



.624 NANCY GREEN. 

granddaughter, Polly Anderson." He survived Mrs. 
Green but a few weeks. The fatigue of nursing and 
watching during her protracted illness, was in all pro- 
bability the exciting cause of a severe attack of fever, 
which shortly terminated his life. For many hours 
before the final yielding of the powers of nature, he 
was delirious, and the ruling passion of the soldier 
was strong in the mind's wandering ; all day he was 
mounting guard, and fighting over again the battles of 
the Revolution. The last words he uttered were an 
order to charge and break the ranks, and even when 
no longer able to speak, he would make the motion of 
thrusting with his hand, as if charging with the bay- 
onet. 

A singular circumstance occurred not many days 
before the death of Mrs. Green. "While she lay in so 
precarious a state, that every day was expected to be 
her last, the country was visited by one of the heavy 
rains common to a southern climate. The water, fall- 
ing almost in torrents, swept deep hollows even in 
nearly level ground ; the earth was washed away from 
the spot at Neely's bars, where, as already mentioned, 
William Anderson and James Barber were interred, 
and the bones, after the repose of almost half a century, 
were brought to the surface. Col. Anderson, the son, 
went up to Neely's place, collected the bones, and 
carried them to the burial-ground enclosed by Daniel 
Green, depositing them there beside the place where 
he expected soon to open a grave for his mother. It 
was thought that in her feeble state she could not beai 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 625 

to be informed of the occurrence, and her family re- 
frained from allusion to it in her hearing ; but the 
black nurse, having less prudence, told her what had 
happened. Mrs. Green expressed much regret that the 
bones had not been brought to her, anxiously desiring 
to see even one of the finger joints of the husband of her 
youth. Her last resting place is now a spot of remark- 
able interest. On either side repose the remains of her 
two warrior husbands : at her feet her son, Col. William 
Anderson her grandchildren and great grandchildren 
enlarging the circle of kindred dead, and around them 
is the granite wall which is a monument of the public 
spirit of her last chosen companion. To this solemn 
scene is not wanting a dirge of nature's own music ; 
the ceaseless roar of the great Falls of the Catawba. 
Here lofty mountains confine the river in a narrow 
channel, pent as it comes nearer within walls of rock, 
piled on either side. Rushing over large masses of 
rock, it precipitates itself down the falls, the troubled 
waters dashing from one descent to another a sheet 
of foam from shore to shore descending in the succes- 
sion of falls about one hundred and fifty feet, and abat- 
ing not their impetuosity till they have passed Rocky 
Mount. The wildness of the steep and rugged cliffs, 
the grandeur of the Falls, and the picturesque scenery 
around combine to render the spot an object of curi- 
osity to travellers. It is an appropriate place for the 
rest of those whose spirits were tried amid the fierce 
conflict of political opinions and human passions- 
wilder than the strife of the boiling; waters. 



LH. 



ESTHER WALKER, 

THE readers of American history must honor the 
memory of the noble patriot and martyr to liberty Dr. 
Alexander Gaston, the father of the late Judge Gas- 
ton, of North Carolina. Others of that family were 
conspicuous in Revolutionary times. One of the 
brothers of Alexander, the Rev. Hugh Gaston, was a 
Presbyterian clergyman of eminent piety and learning, 
and well known as the author of " Gaston's Concord- 
ance," a standard theological work. Another, John, 
had his share in the labors and dangers of the patriots 
in the heroic age of our country. He was born in 
Ireland, but his ancestors were French, and are no- 
ticed in history as distinguished and zealous adherents 
of the Huguenot cause in the early part of the seven- 
teenth century. They sought refuge in Ireland, after 
the revocation of the edict of Nantes. 

John Gaston, the father of the subject of this me- 
moir, emigrated to the United States about the year 
1730, and some time afterwards, married Miss Esther 
Waugh. At this time his residence was in Pennsyl- 
vania. How long he continued there is not definitel) 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 627 

known ; but it is believed that he left that colony 
about 1750 with some families of the Scotch-Irish, 
who came to South Carolina and settled upon the Ca 
tawba River. They gave to these new settlements 
the names of Chester and Lancaster, corresponding 
with those of the counties they had left. 

The homestead where Mr. and Mrs. Gaston resided, 
was on the south side of Fishing Creek, six miles from 
its junction with the Catawba now known, as it was 
then, by the' name of Cedar Shoals. At this place 
Esther was born, 1761. She was the eleventh of a 
family consisting of nine sons and three daughters. 
Her parents, who were strict members of the Presby- 
terian church, took pains to instil into the minds of 
their children those principles of piety which exercised 
an influence over her life. The father of this family 
was himself a devoted Christian, as the whole course 
of his life testified. The following singular clause in 
his last will and testament, written with his own hand, 
is characteristic : " I leave my soul to Almighty 
God, my Creator ; to Jesus Christ, my Redeemer, 
and to the Holy Ghost, my Sanctifier. I leave my 
body to be buried in a decent, Christian manner." 

John Graston was familiarly called Justice Graston, 
having been a justice of the peace under the British 
rule. He was also one of His Majesty's surveyors, 
and celebrated for the accuracy of his plats. When 
the separation took place between the Colonies and the 
Imperial Government, followed by the struggle for 
freedom, although advanced in years, he took an ao 



628 ESTHER WALKER. 

tive part in favor of the Americans. He was in the 
habit of sending one of his sons weekly to Camden, a 
distance of nearly fifty miles, for the only newspaper 
published in the State " The South Carolina and 
American General Gazette." A copy of this journal 
is in the possession of the widow of his youngest son, 
Joseph, and bears date February 23d, 1776. From 
this the old man learned from time to time the pro- 
gress of British encroachments, while he nourished that 
spirit of resistance to tyranny, which prompted him, 
when the oppressors of his country endeavored to en- 
force submission, to meet the crisis with firmness, tc 
maintain his own independence, and to urge his pa- 
triotic band of sons to a vigorous defence of their 
rights. 

The darkest period of the war for the South, when 
South Carolina was claimed by the Briton as a con- 
quered province, when the hopes of the people were 
prostrated, and they were compelled, almost every 
where, to accept protection by professing allegiance to 
the crown, did not extinguish the zeal of the patriots. 
The sons of John Graston, and his nephews, McClure, 
Strong, and Knox, often met to speak together of the 
aspect of affairs and consult as to what steps were to 
be taken. While they were talking of the disaster at 
Monk's Corner,* a messenger brought intelligence that 

* John McClure, ' a young veteran of twenty-two,' was with the 
company of mounted militia at Monk's Corner. They escaped 
with the loss of their horses, and had just reached home. He was 
at Justice Gaston's when the news came of BufrmTs defeat. 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 629 

Tarleton with his cavalry had pursued and overtaken 
Col. Buford near the Waxhaws, and refusing quarter, 
had slaughtered his men without mercy. The wounded 
had been carried to "Waxhaw Church as a hospital, 
while the tories had shown themselves active on either 
side the Catawba below Waxhaw and Fishing Creek 
settlements. At this news, the young men rose with 
one accord, and undaunted by reverse, grasped each 
other by the hand, and voluntarily pledged themselves 
to suffer death rather than submit to the invader. 
This spontaneous vow was confirmed by a solemn 
oath, and thence forward they continued in arms, Dr. 
James Knox being the surgeon of their company. 

Such were the spirits by whom Esther Gaston was 
surrounded. She was at this time about eighteen, 
tall and well developed in person, and possessed of 
great mental as well as physical energy. Determined 
to bear her part in the work that was to be done, she 
lost no time in repairing to Waxhaw church, accom- 
panied by her married sister Martha, and Martha's son 
John, a boy eight years of age. The temporary hos- 
pital presented a scene of misery. The floor was 
strewed with the wounded and dying American sol- 
diers, suffering for want of aid ; for men dared not 
come to minister to their wants. It was the part of 
woman, like the angel of mercy, to bring relief to the 
helpless and perishing. Day and night they were 
busied in aiding the surgeon to dress their wounds, 
and in preparing food for those who needed it ; nor did 
they regard fatigue or exposure, going from place to 



630 ESTHER WALKER. 

place about the neighborhood to procure such articles 
as were desirable to alleviate the pain, or add to the 
comfort, of those to whom they ministered. 

Meanwhile, the British were taking measures to 
secure their conquest by establishing military posts 
throughout the State. Rocky Mount was selected as 
a stronghold, and a body of the royal force was there 
stationed. Handbills were then circulated, notifying 
the inhabitants of the country that they were required 
to assemble at an old field, where Beckhamville now 
stands, to give in their names as loyal subjects of 
King George, and receive British protection. After 
this proclamation was issued, Col. Houseman, the 
commander of the post at Rocky Mount, was seen 
with an escort wending his way to the residence of old 
Justice Graston. He was met on the road by the old 
man, who civilly invited him into the house. The 
subject of his errand was presently introduced, and the 
Justice took the opportunity to animadvert, with all 
the warmth of his feelings, upon the recent horrible 
butchery of Buford's men, and the course pursued by 
the British government towards the American Colonies, 
which had at length driven them into the assertion of 
their independence. In despair of bringing to submis- 
sion so strenuous an advocate of freedom, Col. House- 
man at last left the house ; but presently returning, 
he again urged the matter. He had learned, he said, 
from some of His Majesty's faithful subjects about 
Rocky Mount, that Graston's influence would control 
the whole country ; he observed that resistance was 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 631 

useless, as the province lay at the mercy of the con- 
queror, and that true patriotism should induce the Jus- 
tice to reconsider his determination, and by his exam 
pie persuade his sons and numerous connections to sub- 
mit to lawful authority, and join the assembly on the 
morrow at the old field. To these persuasions the old 
man gave only the stern reply " Never !" 

No sooner had Houseman departed, than the aged 
patriot took steps to do more than oppose his passive 
refusal to his propositions. He immediately despatched 
runners to various places in the neighborhood, requir- 
ing the people to meet that night at his residence. 
The summons was obeyed. Before midnight, thirty- 
three men, of no ordinary mould, strong in spirit and of 
active and powerful frames men trained and used to 
the chase were assembled. They had been collected 
by John McClure, and were under his command. 
Armed with the deadly rifle, clad in their hunting- 
shirts and moccasins, with their wool hats and deer- 
skin caps, the otter-skin shot-bag and the butcher's 
knife by their sides, they were ready for any enter- 
prise in the cause of liberty. At reveille in the morn- 
ing, they paraded before the door of Justice Graston. 
He came forth, and in compliance with the custom of 
that day, brought with him a large case bottle. Com- 
mencing with the officers, John and Hugh McClure, 
he gave each a hearty shake of the hand, and then 
presented the bottle. In that grasp it might well 
seem that a portion of his own courageous spirit was 
communicated, strengthening those true hearted men 



632 ESTHER WALKER. 

tor tne approaching struggle. They took their course 
noiselessly along the old Indian trail down Fishing 
Creek, to the old field where many of the people wero 
already gathered. Their sudden onset took by sur- 
prise the promiscuous assemblage, about two hundred 
in number ; the enemy was defeated, and their well 
directed fire, says one who speaks from personal know- 
ledge, " saved a few cowards from becoming tories, 
and taught Houseman that the strong log houses of 
Rocky Mount were by far the safest for his myr- 
midons." 

This encounter was the first effort to breast the 
storm after the suspension of military opposition ; " the 
opening wedge," in the words of an eye witness,* " to 
the recovery of South Carolina." Before the evening 
of that day, Justice Graston was informed of the suc- 
cess of the enterprise, and judging wisely that his own 
safety depended on his immediate departure, his horse 
was presently at the door, with holster and pistols at 
the pommel of the saddle. The shot-bag at the old 
man's side was well supplied with ammunition, and 
his rifle, doubly charged, lay across the horse before 
him. Bidding adieu to his wife and grandchildren, 
and bestowing on them his parting blessing, he left 
home with his young son, Joseph, who was armed and 
mounted on another horse. On his way, he made a 
visit to "Waxhaw church, where his daughters Esther 
and Martha were still occupied with their labor of 

* Joseph Gaston. His account of the events of this period was 
written in 1836, and printed in a country newspaper of that tirpe. 




PALMETTO TREE, CHARLESTON, S. C. 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 633 

kindness, to carry the news that "the boys," as he 
called them, had done something towards avenging 
the injuries of the poor men who were dependent on 
their care. A shout of exultation from the women 
welcomed the intelligence, and many a wounded sol- 
dier felt his sufferings mitigated by the tidings. The 
Justice pursued his way till he could consider himself 
beyond the danger of pursuit. His son Joseph re- 
turned, and marching with a detachment of men from 
Mecklenburg, North Carolina, in a few days joined his 
brothers in arms under the gallant John McClure. 

Loud and long were the curses of Houseman levelled 
against old John Gaston. The arch rebel, he declared, 
must be taken, dead or alive, and the king's loyal sub- 
jects were called upon to volunteer in the exploit of 
capturing and bringing to Rocky Mount a hoary headed 
man, eighty years of age, for the crime of being the 
friend of his country and bringing nine sons into the 
field. Before the sun rose, about twenty redcoats were 
fording Rocky Creek, and wending their way along 
the Indian trail leading to Gaston's house. The thirst 
for revenge rankled in their hearts, and destruction and 
murder were in their purpose ; but the God who pro- 
tects those who place reliance on Him in all trial and 
danger, had opened a way of escape for the patriot's 
family. His wife and little Jenny, the daughter of 
his son William Gaston, providentially advised of the 
enemy's approach, had quitted the house. Their 
place of concealment was so near, that they could dis- 
tinctly hear the frightful oaths of the disappointed 



634 ESTHER WALKER. 

British soldiers, and could see the redcoats passing to 
and fro through the yard. Mrs. Graston, clasping her 
grandchild's little hands between her own, knelt upon 
the ground, and in that glen, sheltered by bushes, 
poured out her petition to the Grod of the widow and 
the fatherless. The prayer of this aged matron, the 
mother of a brave race of men and women, was not 
only for her husband and children, but for the liberty 
of her country and its deliverance from evil and blood- 
thirsty men, who had not the fear of their Creator be- 
fore their eyes. In the fervor of her supplication she 
prayed aloud. Her granddaughter, in describing the 
scene thirty years ago, said she might have been heard 
as far as the house, and it was fortunate that the 
soldiers did not discover her. 

Samuel McCreary, the grandson of Mrs. Gaston, 
who was employed at work not far from the spot, heard 
the noise of the soldiers, and ascended a steep bluff 
within a short distance of the house, where he was 
concealed from view by the thick foliage, while yet he 
could observe every movement. He heard the heavy 
strokes of their broadswords on the chair usually occu- 
pied by the Justice, with the diabolical wishes that he 
were in it to receive the cleaving blows. The house 
was plundered of everything, and the stock carried off. 
The only article saved was the Family Bible, which 
Mrs. Graston had taken with her in her flight. It is 
still kept in the family. She and her grandchildren 
spent the night at the house of Thomas Walker, the 
father of Alexander Walker, who was at that time the 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 635 

lover, and afterwards became the husband of Esthei 
Graston. 

On the next Sabbath the Rev. William Martin 
preached the discourse already mentioned at the log 
meeting-house. As steel sharpeneth steel, so did this 
minister, by his stirring words, rouse the spirit of his 
hearers, and prepare them to meet the coming storm 
by taking up arms. The effect of his eloquence was 
soon apparent. At an early hour on Monday morning, 
many of the conscientious Covenanters were seen dril- 
ling on the muster-ground seven miles from Rocky 
Mount, under the brave Capt. Ben Land, while two 
miles above this, at the shop of a negro blacksmith, 
some half a dozen more were getting their horses shod. 
Those at the muster-ground were charged upon by a 
party of British dragoons, having no previous notice of 
their approach, and dispersed.* Their captain being 
overtaken and surrounded by the dragoons, who at- 
tacked him with their broadswords, defended himself 
with his sword to the last, and wounded several of his 
enemies severely before he fell. The news of his death 
was carried to his wife, who shortly after gave birth to 
a son. It may be mentioned, as an instance of female 
patriotism illustrative of the general feeling, that in 
the anguish of her recent bereavement, while it seemed 
that the prospect was utterly dark, and the hope of 
national freedom crushed for ever, Mrs. Land called 

*The man who carried to the enemy the tidings of Martin's 
sermon, and the mustering of the Covenanters, "did not die in his 
bed." 



636 ESTHER WALKER. 

her child Thomas Sumter, in honor of the American 
general. 

The party at the blacksmith's shop was also surprised, 
and one man killed in the shop. The dragoons then 
crossed Rocky Creek, and soon found their way to the 
rude stone hut which was the preacher's dwelling. 
They found the old divine in his study, preparing a 
sermon which was to be a second blast, made him their 
prisoner, and carried him like a felon to Rocky Mount. 
Thomas Walker had already been arrested, and was 
also confined there. The country was daily scoured 
for the purpose of discovering and destroying the 
whigs, and the unoffending inhabitants were plun- 
dered. Meanwhile, the loyalists were collecting and 
strengthening the royal post. 

The victory at the Old Field was followed by a 
battle at Mobley's Meeting-House, and one at William- 
son's now Brattonsville July 12th, in which Huck* 
was defeated and slain. The attention of General 
Sumter, who was encamped near Nation Ford on the 
Catawba, was then directed to Rocky Mount. On the 
night of July 30th, the American soldiers marched 
near the residence of Esther Graston. She was in- 
formed, perhaps by one of her brothers, or her lover, 
Alexander Walker, who found time to call, that they 

* The name is thus printed in most historical books, although at 
the time spelt Huyck. It is commonly pronounced Hook through 
that region of country, and sometimes written Hoik. His first 
name was Christian. There seems to have been a Lieut. John 
Huyck in the army. See Hist. Suffolk Co., p. 99. 



WOMEN OP THE REVOLUTION. 637 

were advancing against the enemy's position. By the 
morning she was in readiness to follow, and riding 
about two miles to the house of her brother, John Gras- 
ton, she urged her sister-in-law to go with her to the 
scene of action. The two were soon mounted, and 
making their way at a quick gallop down the Rocky 
Mount road. The firing could be distinctly heard. "While 
these brave women were approaching the spot, they 
were met by two or three men, hastening from the 
ground, with faces paler than became heroes. Esther 
stopped the fugitives, upbraided them with their cow- 
ardice, and entreated them to return to their duty. 
While they wavered, she advanced, and seizing one of 
their guns, cried " Grive us your guns, then, and we 
will stand in your places !" The most cowardly of 
men must have been moved at such a taunt ; the run- 
away soldiers were covered with confusion, and for 
very shame dared not refuse to go back. "Wheeling 
about, they returned to the fight in company with the 
two heroines. During the action Esther and Jane 
Gaston were not merely idle spectators, but busied 
themselves diligently in rendering whatever services 
were required, assisting in dressing the wounds of the 
soldiers, and in carrying water to allay their burn- 
ing thirst. A Catawba Indian, severely wounded, 
was succored by them, and his last looks were turned 
in gratitude on those who had soothed his pain and 
supplied his wants. In these services, the training 
Esther had received at Waxhaw enabled her to do her 
part skilfully, and while she gave comfort to the dy- 



638 ESTHER WALKER, 

ing, her animating words encouraged the living to 
persevere. The gallant Col. Neil was here slain. The 
prisoners William Martin and Thomas Walker, were 
bound to the floor in one of the log huts. The enemy 
knew well what reason they had to dread the effect of 
Martin's stormy eloquence. He afterwards regained 
his liberty, and lived to about the age of ninety, dying 
in 1806. The gentleman who communicated this ac- 
count, remembers to have heard him preach, and was 
struck with his remarkable personal appearance. Nu- 
merous anecdotes are related of him. It was usually 
his practice, when reproving, to name the person who 
was the object of his displeasure. When the news 
came to him that the British had evacuated Charles- 
ton, he rode about the country to carry the intelligence 
to the neighbors, adding the comment, " The British 

have taken shipping, and may the d 1 go with 

them !" 

The action continued for a great part of the day. 
The sharp-shooters among the whigs concealed them- 
selves in the woods and behind rocks, and fired at 
every crevice of the log houses occupied by the ene- 
my's garrison. The British marksmen who went up 
to the loft to return the fire, were brought down every 
few minutes wounded or dead. The defence was 
made good from the buildings surrounded by an abatis, 
although the General offered a reward of four thou- 
sand dollars to any one who would fire them.* This 

* So says a MS. narrative by Rev. Samuel McCreary. It ap- 
pears to have been written in 1822. 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 639 

was attempted by throwing faggots from rocks to the 
nearest houses, but without effect. A more effectual 
measure was then adopted building brushheaps from 
the rocks to the houses, but this was frustrated by the 
rain which began to fall. An anecdote is told of one 
of Sumter's partisans, "hopping John Miller" (so 
called from being lame of a leg.) He took care to 
load his piece behind a rock, but would come out 
openly when about to shoot, always after deliberately 
taking aim, uttering the brief ejaculation, as he pull- 
ed the trigger, "May the Lord direct the bullet!" 
The same confidence in Providence and the justice 
of his cause, impelled him to a desperate attempt 
to dislodge the enemy. Assisted by a few others of 
his own stamp, he made a ' brush-pile by throwing 
brush over a rock that stood against the rear of the 
house. Having piled it so as to reach the house, 
Hopping Miller fired the heap, with a good prospect of 
burning out the garrison. This time, however, for- 
tune was in their favor ; for a heavy rain put out the 
fire, and late in the evening, Sumter drew off his 
men. With the retreat, Esther and her sister-in-law 
returned to their homes, through a heavy shower of 
rain, and a night so dark that it was impossible to dis- 
tinguish any one. 

In the following week, the Battle of Hanging Rock 
took place. Again the heroic maiden repaired to 
Waxhaw Church, where the wounded claimed the care 
of generous woman. Among the sufferers lay her 
youngest brother Joseph, a lad of sixteen, severely 



640 ESTHER WALKER. 

wounded in the face, pale as death, and exhausted 
from loss of blood. Heavy cause for mourning, in- 
deed, had the Graston family after that fatal encoun- 
ter, no less than three of Esther's brothers, Robert, 
Ebenezer, and David, being numbered with the dead 
Her cousin John McClure, too, was desperately wound- 
ed, and died not long afterwards. Another brother, 
Alexander Graston, who was a lieutenant in the regu- 
lar army, fell a victim to the small-pox in Sumter's re- 
treat from "Wright's Bluff. When news of the death 
of her sons was brought to Mrs. Gaston, it is said her 
words were " I grieve for their loss, but they could 
not have died in a better cause." Nor did grief for 
these bereavements prevent Esther from performing her 
melancholy duty. Her heart was wrung by the suffer- 
ing she witnessed, in many, too, whom she well knew as 
neighbors. Attentive only to the claims of the dis- 
tressed, and wasting no time in the indulgence of her 
own sorrow, she spared herself no exertion nor fatigue 
in helping her cousin, Dr. James Knox, who performed 
the duty of surgeon to the wounded soldiers. She re- 
mained for a considerable time in this hospital, and 
afterwards went with the wounded to Charlotte, where 
she continued her care of her brother, and other suf- 
ferers. 

When Justice Gaston quitted his home, his inten- 
tion was to go to his brother Alexander at Newbern, 
N. C., but finding his way blocked up by the loyalists 
on Cross Creek, he turned back, and remained a few 
weeks in Trede.ll and Mecklenburg Counties. After the 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 



641 



battle of Hanging Rock, he returned home, for he ob- 
served it was at best but a few days of life that could 
be murdered by his foes. It is said he always went 
armed with a brace of horseman's pistols and his trusty 
rifle, all well loaded and ready for use, being resolved, 
in case of attack, to defend to the death his house and 
his aged partner. The victories of his countrymen, 
however, acted as a check on those who might be dis- 
posed to molest him, and the only hostile demonstra- 
tion was the cutting out of his initials from a white oak 
that stood where the road to his house left that tc 
Rocky Mount. His useful life was closed in 1782, 
(his pistols, it is said, being still under his pillow, and 
the rifle beside him,) leaving the memory of his heroic 
acts as a proud inheritance to his children. Mrs. Gras- 
ton survived him seven years, surrounded by her 
children and grandchildren, by whom the memory of 
her excellence and piety is affectionately cherished * 



* Samuel and John McCreary, grandsons of Justice Gaston, losi 
their mother in childhood, and having a stepmother of a loyalist 
family, left their home and came to his house. Samuel, a lad of 
fifteen or sixteen, went out to battle with his uncles, and fought 
bravely. After the war he and his brother were taught to read by 
their grandmother, having few other advantages in the way of in- 
struction. Samuel became an able minister of the Baptist denomi- 
nation. He had a wonderful memory, could recall any event, and 
seemed to have the whole Bible by heart, besides being deeply 
read in many learned works. His constant remark was, " I owe 
everything to my grandmother." John was sheriff at an early pe- 
riod and for a great part of his life a member in the House of Re 
presentatives and Senate of his State, and a member of Congress 



642 ESTHER WALKER. 

Alexander "Walker was in service during the whole 
war. In 1775, when there was a call for men to go 
out against the Cherokees, in the Snow Campaign, 
Thomas Walker, his father, was drafted for the expe- 
dition, and Alexander, then only about fourteen, but 
tall and athletic beyond his years, went out in his 
place, serving through the campaign under the com- 
mand of Capt. Steel. He was also engaged with Steel 
at the siege of Savannah. Among the anecdotes he 
was accustomed to relate was one of Ben Rowan, of 
the infantry, being out on a foraging party and meet- 
ing at the dead of night a number of men, with whom 
they exchanged a fire before discovering that they 
were whigs. No harm was done ; but late on the fol- 
lowing morning, as they came towards the carnp, they 
were attacked by a body of British. Alexander was 
with the dragoons under the command of Count Pu- 
laski who were ordered to charge for the protection of 
the infantry. The gallant Count might be seen riding 
up and down the lines on his black charger, chapeau 
in hand, exclaiming every now and then in his imper- 
fect English, " I am sorry for your country ! I am 
sorry for your country !" " He was the noblest horse- 
man," Walker used to say, " I ever beheld, except 
Col. Davie, who was a splendid looking officer, unri- 
valled in eloquence, and with a voice that could be 
heard at a great distance. On one occasion when we 
were about to make a charge at night, after everything 

from the district of Pinckney. These two Revolutionary boys 
Belonged to the debating society established by John Brown. 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 643 

was ready, Davie in a penetrating voice gave the com- 
mand, to 'be silent as thought itself? For weeks 
this caution rang in my ears." 

At the battle of Hanging Rock, "Walker was in the 
division of Col. McClure, which made a furious onset 
on the tory camp. The account of this action, one of 
the most spirited and best fought during the Revolu- 
tion, belongs to another memoir. Whenever the army 
was in the vicinity of Justice Graston's, Alexander 
obtained leave of absence and visited Esther. They 
were married at the close of the war, and having both 
done and suffered so much for their country, now en- 
joyed the blessings of peace they had contributed to 
purchase. Their house was on the north side of Fish- 
ing Creek, nearly opposite the old homestead where 
Esther's father had lived. Her only child, a son, was 
named after this revered parent, John Graston. 

Mrs. Walker never lost her desire of being useful to 
those around her, nor refused to exercise, for the bene- 
fit of her neighbors, the medical knowledge her prac- 
tice during the war had given her. She was regarded 
as a skilful doctoress, and was consulted in most cases 
of disease occurring in her neighborhood. Women in 
delicate health were occasionally brought to her, some- 
times on litters when not able to travel, and left under 
her care. In cases of wounds she was frequently 
called upon, and generally succeeded in giving relief 
to the sufferer. Although this success was doubtless 
in great part owing to the experience she had in ad- 
ministering to the soldiers, she was not destitute of 



644 ESTHER WALKER. 

scientific knowledge in medicine. Shortly after her 
marriage, she had an opportunity of studying those 
branches of the subject to which she wished to devote 
herself. An educated physician, Dr. McCrea, boarded 
in her house, and under his instruction, she acquired 
the medical knowledge which she so often made use- 
ful in after life 

In other excellent qualities, more strictly pertaining 
to the female character, Mrs. Walker was eminent. 
She was remarkable not only for energy, but for inge- 
nuity and industry. Like other Revolutionary ma- 
trons, she was skilful in the use of her needle, and 
many of the coats worn in the neighborhood bore tes- 
timony to her dexterity. She also did a great deal of 
cutting out for the country people. Having no daugh- 
ters, she frequently took orphan girls to bring up, ex- 
ercising over them the kind care of a parent, and 
teaching them to do the work she gave them. After 
educating them to industry and usefulness, she gave 
them in marriage to worthy young men. Thus she 
became the mother of the motherless, and there is no 
doubt that her instruction and example both in matters 
pertaining to usefulness in this life, and to religious 
preparation for another, had much to do in forming 
that character for industry and piety, for which the 
females of that vicinity were so much respected. 



LIII. 



MARYM C CLURE, 

MARY McCLURE was the mother of Capt. John 
McClure, a man recognised throughout the whole 
South as one of the master spirits of the Revolution. 
His achievements during his brief and brilliant career 
were important enough to render him the theme of 
high praise among his compatriots, to make his loss 
deeply felt as a public calamity, and to cover his 
memory with honor. Revolutionary men spoke of 
him as " one who disdained to shun his foe." Gren. 
Davie said regarding him, " of the many brave men 
with whom it was my fortune to become acquainted 
in the army, he was one of the bravest, and when he 
fell, we looked upon his loss as incalculable." It is 
not too much to say that he was indebted for his emi- 
nent qualities to maternal training. 

Mrs. McClure was the sister of John Graston. She 
came to South Carolina probably about the same time, 
and settled upon the rich table lands lying on the south 
fork of Fishing Creek, eight miles north of Chestel 
Court House, where two of her grandsons, James and 
Hugh McClure, now reside. She was one of the earli- 



646 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

est residents of that region of country, and had much 
to encounter from the hostile incursions of the Chero- 
kee Indians. It was probably in allusion to this 
experience that she was commonly called " The 
Cherokee heroine." Many nights and days did she 
spend in the forts, whither the women and children 
were accustomed to resort when the men were out. 
At the period of the Revolution she was considerably 
advanced in years, the mother of seven children oi 
mature age four sons and three daughters and had 
been a widow some fifteen or twenty years. She took 
a warm interest in public affairs, and was active in 
personal exertions to serve the cause of freedom. Two 
witnesses yet living John Bishop and Mrs. Mary 
Johnston, testify to her zeal, " that she did all she 
could ; she urged every one to take up arms, sent forth 
all her sons and her sons-in-law, and her neighbors 
too." So strenuous and successful were her efforts, 
that she had not a doubtful neighbor whom she did not 
bring over to the whig side. It was, indeed, owing in 
great part to the women of that vicinity, that the men 
were so united and so resolute ; that they went forth, 
to a man, to fight the battles of the Revolution, while 
the women attended to the farms, performing the la- 
bors both of the household and the field. Mrs. McClure 
seconded the enterprise set on foot by her brother the 
surprise of the British at the Old Field. In that en- 
counter her son Hugh was so severely wounded that 
he was left a cripple for life. John, the leader of the 
enterprise, manifested great coolness and energy in 



MARY M' CLURE. 647 

directing and carrying it out, and was rewarded by 
the achievement of a brilliant victory. This bold 
stroke, the first symptom of reaction after an apparent- 
ly hopeless prostration had a marvellous effect, sev- 
eral who had previously suffered their names to be 
enrolled among the loyalists changing sides on that 
day. These were of course regarded as traitors, and 
some were afterwards taken prisoners and hung by the 
order of Lord Cornwallis. The arrival in the neigh- 
borhood of Col. Winn, of Fairfield, who came to 
propose a similar attack on a large body of the enemy 
at Mobley's Meeting-house in Fairfield District, was 
warmly welcomed. The same number of men, among 
whom were John Bratton and John Mills went down 
with him, and as before, were victorious, surprising 
and defeating more than two hundred. They also 
recovered several horses which the loyalists had taken 
for the King's service from the whigs of Chester. 
Three or four of these belonging to Mrs. McClure, 
were brought back and delivered to her. 

The success of these attempts inspiring the patriots 
with new hope, McClure spread his men in small 
parties over the country, inducing others to join them. 
Their numbers received daily additions in York Dis- 
trict. They made a stand at the Iron Works of Col. 
Hill, exchanging a few fires, but being outnumbered, 
they continued the retreat while the enemy destroyed 
the works and crossing the Catawba, withdrew as fai 
as Lincoln County in North Carolina. There they select- 
ed their position, and made preparations to receive the 



648 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION 

British, who, however, did not advance upon them, but 
facing about, retreated, making no halt till they were 
within the stronghold of Rocky Mount. The whigs, 
watchful for an opportunity favorable to their return, 
at length passed down the north side of the Catawba, 
and formed their camp near a stream called Clem's 
Branch, on the edge of Lancaster District. This 
district and that of Chester lay in front, between them 
and the British posts at Rocky Mount and Camden. 
On one hand were the whigs of York, on the other, 
those of Mecklenburg County, which lay on the east, 
the Catawba forming a defence on the west. No posi- 
tion could have been more judiciously selected than 
this in the heart of a whig population, and in time 
came encouraging reinforcements. It was here that 
Gen. Sumter found the men who had been driven to 
North Carolina, resting upon the soil of South Caro- 
lina ; the line of division probably passing through the 
camp. During the weeks they occupied this encamp- 
ment, the patriots were not idle. Sergeant Ben. 
Rowan, with a few men, went back into North Caro- 
lina nearly two hundred miles, for the purpose of pro- 
curing lead, and drove pack-horses before them laden 
each with about two hundred and fifty pounds weight. 
Others were sent out after powder. The smiths were 
busy in every direction, manufacturing swords, and 
making and repairing those twisted rifles which did 
such destructive execution in the battles of the south. 
The active and enterprising John McClure, with his 
company of mounted riflemen, was constantly in the 



MARY M' CLURE. 649 

field, and others were out in different directions 
through the country, encouraging the desponding par- 
tisans, collecting recruits, and putting down the loyal 
ists wherever they could. These movements annoyed 
and alarmed the British, who regarding the province 
as subdued, were not disposed to brook disrespect from 
a few stragglers. Col. Floyd, a loyalist of York Dis- 
trict, made grievous complaint at Rocky Mount, in 
consequence of which Col. Turnbull, then commander 
of the post, sent out Capt. Huck with his force of four 
hundred men. With his band of redcoats and tories 
he wasted the country ; everywhere, it is said, cursing 
Presbyterians, and burning those Bibles which con- 
tained the old version of the psalms. In his second 
progress he visited the house of Mary McClure. Her 
son James and her son-in-law Ned Martin, had just 
returned from Sumter's camp. When the British drew 
near, both were busily employed in running bullets, 
having melted up for this purpose their mother's pew- 
ter dishes in those days the pride of a housekeeper. 
So occupied were they, that the enemy had entered the 
lane before they were aware of their presence. James 
McClure, it was commonly said, had but one idea at 
a time, and at this particular moment, perhaps from 
the nature of his occupation, that of fighting was up- 
permost. His first impulse was to salute the intruders 
with a volley ; but Ned objected that they were too 
many for them. James replied " we can kill a good 
many before they get to the house, and then we can 
go up the stairs and kill a good many more before they 



650 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

can get up." " But," remonstrated Ned " they will 
burn the house and defeat us at last." The idea of 
fighting, therefore, was reluctantly given up. To es- 
cape was out of the question, but James climbed the 
wall of the new house, and perched himself upon some 
plank lying on the windbeams. Here he was soon 
discovered and brought down, and with his brother-in- 
law, taken out into the yard and searched. Their 
pockets were full of pewter bullets, furnishing proof of 
their murderous designs against the king's men. 
While they were secured with ropes, James told them 
boldly that if Ned had agreed to do as he wished, both 
would have been saved from their present disgrace ; 
for, said he " to surrender without firing a gun is 
too disgraceful !" His daring only made his situation 
more desperate, and the sentence was pronounced, 
that at sunrise on the morning of the 12th July, Ned 
Martin, James McClure and Col. Moffat, were to be 
hanged by the neck for the crime of having their pock- 
ets full of pewter bullets ! 

Mrs. McClure saw the young men bound by the red- 
coats, whose tender mercies she well knew. But 
remonstrance or entreaty would be vain, and it is not 
recorded that she ventured on either, though the 
keenest anguish must have filled her heart when she 
thought of their too probable fate. When they were 
secured, Huck stepped up to her and said, rudely, 
" You see now, Madam, what it is to oppose the King! 
Where are your other sons John and Hugh? I 
should like to have them in company with this Jommy 



MART M'CLURK 651 

of yours, who impudently says if it had not been foi 
Ned Martin, he would never have been bound as he 
now is. We'll hang your son, Madam; that is his 
doom ! Where are John and Hugh ? Gome, out with 
it ! Search, men ; they are hid some where grand 
cowards !" 

" That is a lie !" exclaimed the indignant mother, 
casting upon the brutal captain a look of intense 
scorn. " You, sir, know better ! You have never yet 
stood to meet them ; and if John were here now, you 
would be afraid to face him !" 

" D n him !" cried Huck, " tell me where I may 
meet him." 

" Gro to Gen. Sumter's camp, 1 ' was the reply ; " there 
you may possibly meet with him." 

In scrutinizing the different objects around the room, 
Huck laid his hands upon two books on the table 
Taking them up, he asked, "What book is this?" 

" That, sir, is the 'Afflicted Man's Companion.'" 

" A good title one which the d d rebels will soon 
have need of." 

" It is a good book, sir," replied Mrs. McCluro. 

"And what book is this?" 

" It is the Family Bible." 

" Do you read them ?" 

" Yes, sir." 

" It is these books," said Huck, furiously, " that 
make you such d d rebels !" and he threw them both 
into the fire. The matron sprang forward to recover 
them, and though he would have prevented her, sue- 



652 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

ceeded in dragging them from the flames. One cor- 
ner of the Bible was badly burned. It was long kept 
in the family as a relic. 

Enraged at her saving the books, Huck struck Mrs. 
McClure with the flat of his sword. She said to him, 
nothing daunted by his brutality, " Sir, that will be a 
dear blow to you !" 

The soldiers set fire to the new house, but Mrs. 
McClure succeeded in extinguishing the flames. It 
was but little, however, that her unassisted strength 
jould avail, and they soon entered and began pulling 
clown the plank partition. It happened that she had 
wrapped a few gold guineas in a cloth, and hid them 
in a crevice. Knowing where they were concealed, 
she rushed in through the soldiery amidst the falling 
plank, and when the cloth fell, placed her foot upon it, 
stooped down as if hurt, and saved the money. The 
others, meanwhile, were busily engaged in destroying 
her property, carrying off whatever articles it suited 
their inclination to take. A quantity of nails had 
been purchased for the new building ; these they took 
and scattered them broadcast over the field as they de- 
parted from the premises, driving James and Ned be- 
fore them. 

No sooner were the intruders gone, than Mrs, 
McClure despatched her daughter Mary in all haste 
to Sumter's camp, to carry the news of the outrage 
she had suffered and the captivity of the young men. 
The young woman made her way to the camp, arriv- 
ing late in the evening. The Americans had heard 



MARY M'CLURE. 653 

from different persons for several days past, of the 
march of Hack's party through the country, their pro- 
gress being marked by cruelty and spoliation, and 
some from the vicinity of Mrs. McClure's had fled to 
the camp for safety. The news of the capture has- 
tened their preparations for the expedition against 
him, and just after sunset the companies of John 
McClure and John Bratton the York and Chester men 
headed by their captains and under the command of 
Col. Neil, left Sumter's camp. The distance to be 
marched was thirty miles, and from the intelligence 
they had received, it was supposed that the enemy 
would be found at White's (now Crawford's) Mills, 
engaged in grinding the wheat and grain they had 
been for several days gathering throughout the coun- 
try. The little band of patriots, only seventy-five in 
number, but resolved to peril their lives in avenging 
their own and their neighbors' injuries, made directly 
for the mill. Shortly after midnight they arranged 
the disposition of attack. McClure took twenty 
mounted men, and went up the pond, intending to go 
round its head about half a mile ; but found a ford 
where they could pass through the pond. McClure, put- 
ting himself at the head of his men, gave command to 
swim their horses, and having reached the other side, 
issued his orders in a loud voice, and the party, spur- 
ring their horses, dashed up the hill. The tramp of 
their feet on the rocky ground, broke the dead silence 
of night. No British were found on the hill, and so 
rapid had been their advance, that the body below with 



654 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

Neil and Bratton, not expecting them so soon, at first 
took them for the enemy. The march was resumed, 
and a little before day they passed the house of old 
Mr. Adair. Observing the door ajar and light shining 
from the fire place, Bratton went up gently to the 
door and tapped. The old man was sitting up at the 
fire, two British officers having taken his bed. From 
him they learned the disposition of the enemy at Wil- 
liamson's. The plan of attack was then arranged, and 
McClure, taking one division, went off to enter the 
lane at the further end, where the attack was to be 
commenced, Neil and Bratton entering at the near 
end, to take the enemy in rear. McClure, as usual 
with him, took a nigh cut, and came on the side of the 
lane, where he threw down the fence as he leaped over. 
It was now so light that his brother James, who was 
confined with other prisoners in a corncrib, recognized 
him ;* but when the guard placed over them called 
out " Who is there ?" James, with admirable presence 
of mind, replied indifferently, " Oh, it is some of your 
tory friends." The drums and fifes of the enemy now 
began to play for morning parade. In an instant the 
sharp crack of McClure's rifle announced that his part 
of the game had commenced. The particulars of this 
action have been elsewhere noticed. The guard sta- 
tioned at the crib ran behind it to hide themselves from 
the shots ; James McClure, though tied down so that 
he was unable to move, shouted an order for them to 

* One account makes the action comnrence rather earlier in the 
morning. See Vol. i. p. 243. 



MARY M'CLURE. 655 

leave the crib, that the prisoners might not be exposed 
to the danger of being killed by their own friends. 
After the fall of Huck and Ferguson, and the scatter- 
ing of their forces, the tory, Col. Floyd, made his 
escape on horseback. Dropping his valise, he ordered 
his boy, Sam, to stop and get it. Both Sam and the 
valise were captured, and the negro was sold as a part 
of the booty. He was purchased by John Nixon, and 
is still living with his daughter. Although very old, 
he occasionally goes up to the great house, to carry 
his " young mistresses" through the war. That battle 
field of July 12th, 1780, made Sam decidedly a whig, 
and he gives it as his opinion that " the whigs can 
whip the whole world chock full of redcoats and tories 
too." One other article of booty, obtained that day 
and afterwards sold, was Huck's razor. It was bought 
by Capt. John Steel, and is now in the possession of 
one of the Grastons, having already done a good deal 
of shaving, and likely, if properly taken care of, to last 
for several generations to come. 

McClure, mounted at the head of his men, pursued 
the flying enemy for nearly thirty miles. The bushes 
were the only places of safety between "Williamson's 
and Rocky Mount, and many prisoners were taken in 
the pursuit. The effect of this victory was of lasting 
advantage. Some who were loyalists that day, "never 
afterwards entered a British camp, although lurking 
about unwilling to come out on the other side. From 
all the surrounding country men flocked to Sumter's 
camp It was about this time that " the Bloody 



656 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

Scent'' under Cunningham, was committing unprece- 
dented cruelties on the inhabitants of Union and Spar- 
tLnburg Districts. James Knox, who had removed 
thither but the year before from Mrs. McClure's neigh- 
borhood, was inhumanly butchered in his own yard, 
where he was occupied in shelling corn. His family 
fled back to Chester, while the Thomases, McJunkins, 
and others of that region, repairing to Sumter's camp 
with a supply of powder, brought intelligence of 
" Bloody Bill's" whereabouts. Another of John 
McClure's services was the driving of this notorious 
murderer from the vicinity. He was sent out by 
Sumter in pursuit of him, and having understood that 
he had crossed Broad River to the western side of 
York District, he soon struck his trail and chased him 
across the district of Union. Cunningham fled some 
thirty miles towards Ninety-Six, and barely escaped,, 
while four of his men were captured by McClure. 

The night he brought in his prisoners, Sumter broke 
ap his camp at Clem's Branch, and marched down tc 
Davie's camp in the Waxhaws. The next day, while 
Davie with his cavalry took the road leading down the 
sast side of the Catawba, to place himself between the 
British posts at Hanging Rock and Rocky Mount, 
Gren. Sumter took that to Landsford, crossed the river 
at sunset, and marching all night, at sunrise on the 
31st of July, invested Rocky Mount. McClure's rifle- 
men were engaged through the day.- At night Sum- 
ter drew off his men, and encamped on the ground 
where he was surprised eighteen days afterwards. 



MARY M' CLURE. 657 

He then removed his camp to Landsford, where he 
was joined by Davie, and while there the Chester men 
held an election ; McClure, who was constantly out 
with strong mounted parties, being elected Colonel, and 
John Nixon Lieutenant Colonel. 

About sunset on the following Sunday, Sumter 
crossed the river, marched all night, and commenced 
the battle of Hanging Rock a little after daylight, 
August 7th. Hanging Rock is in Lancaster District, 
and remarkable not only for its association with that 
celebrated battle, but as a natural curiosity. On the 
east side of the creek many rocks are piled in an 
irregular group along the declivity of a steep hill. 
That called Hanging Rock is a single 1 mass twenty 
feet in diameter, which on the side nearest the stream 
to which it gives its name, is scooped into a regular 
arch, under which several persons might be sheltered. 
Its edges are tinged with smoke, it is supposed from 
fires kindled there by hunters. Another boulder is 
poised on the edge of a larger rock, resembling a ship 
resting on the summit of a cliff, and looking as if a 
slight force would hurl it into the waters below. The 
battle ground is near this spot. Sumter' s force in 
three divisions, advanced on the camp of the tories 
under the command of Col. Morgan Bryan.* His 
lines were posted on the brow of a steep hill be- 
yond the creek, while the British camp lay nearly hall 

* The accounts written by McCreary and Gaston are followed. 
Mr. Stinson obtained that of Walker from himself, and the par- 
ticulars concerning Mrs. McClure from her grandson and Hon 
Judge Peter Wylie. 



658 WOMEN OP THE REVOLUTION. 

a mile distant. Sumter's centre line, opposed to Bryan's 
centre, and led by the intrepid Capt. McClure, came 
first within the enemy's view. The old song says : 

" Said Sumter ' Good men must be lost 

At yonder point, I see.' 
McClure replied' That is the post 
For Rocky Creek and me.' " 

His command received the first fire, but as the men 
ascended the hill the shot passed over, reaching only 
the tallest ; while on the right the fire did terrible exe- 
cution. The contest then raged fearfully ; bullets 
poured like hail ; McClure was wounded in the thigh, 
but plugging4he wound with wadding, dashed on in 
front of his men, his voice, urging them forward, heard 
above the din of battle and the shrieks of the wounded. 
The direction : 

" No prisoners 'mong the tories make, 
The British suppliant save." 

showed their hate of the loyalists. After firing, they 
clubbed their guns, rushing into the camp and grap- 
pling with the foe. Where dead and wounded lay in 
heaps, McClure fell, pierced with several wounds, 
while at the same time his cousins, the four Gastons, 
lay bleeding around him. Some near him ran to his 
relief ; but he ordered them back to the fight, and as 
he lay weltering in blood, his voice was still heard 
urging them on. As the tories fled towards the 
British camp many of the whigs rushed pell-mell with 



MARY M' CLURE. 659 

thsm ; Alexander "Walker, hurrying along in their 
midst, was about to fire on those before him, when one 
close to him caught his arm, crying, " Those are on 
our side !" and then, as if struck with a sudden sus- 
picion, asked, " What is that green leaf in your hat 
for?" The whigs had taken the precaution to put 
each a leaf in their hats that morning before going into 
battle. Walker pulled out the token, but the dis- 
covery was already made ; one of the tories seized his 
gun, the other ran a bayonet through his shirt. Let- 
ting the weapon go, he turned and fled back. " It ap- 
peared to me," he said, " that they fired fifty guns 
after me ; every leap I gave, I heard something fall 
on the leaves which I took for blood, and thought I 
must be badly wounded, and would soon fall exhausted. 
I thought of the intolerable thirst I had witnessed in 
those bleeding to death, and my mouth began to feel 
parched. I had now reached the branch, and stooped 
to drink." Major Nixon, who, going up the hill when 
the tories fired on McClure's line, had tripped on the 
scabbard of his sword, fallen, and thus probably 
escaped the bullets whistling over his head, had 
rushed on in the confusion, and seeing Walker turn, 
had also turned back. As his comrade stooped to the 
water he leaped over him. 

" On examination," continued Walker, " I found I 
was not hurt, but my powder horn was severely 
wounded, being pierced through with a rifle ball, and 
having lost the greater part of its contents." 

Nixon took command of McClure's division, and the 



660 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

right and left lines succeeded in flanking the enemy, 
who gave way in every direction, while the victors 
with shouts of triumph took the ground. But they 
soon saw from the British lines on their right, towards 
Coles' old field, a part of the Prince of "Wales' regiment 
marching in platoons upon them. The platoon firing 
and charge of bayonet were a new mode of warfare to 
the undisciplined American troops ; yet they boldly 
met the reinforcement. Again to use Walker's words 
" In the distance we heard the enemy's drums and 
fifes as they marched towards us. We stood still to 
receive them. As the Prince of Wales' regiment ap- 
proached, Sumter gave the order to keep cool and wait 
for the word to fire. They had come near when the 
order was given, and our fire was a fire that did credit 
to the Revolution ! Only one of their officers and 
he an inferior one was left standing on his feet, and 
one half their men were slain or wounded.* The 
soldiers stood petrified ; and then Col. Davie of the 
dragoons, being on the right flank of our line, in a 
voice like thunder called out ' Britons, ground your 
arms ! you have but one officer left ; to the ground, if 
your lives are worth preserving !' It was done ; the 
men of this regiment were our prisoners ; we took 
their muskets, armed our men with them, and pre- 
* Joseph Gaston, who after being wounded was carried to a 
small stream in the rear, faint from loss of blood, says he heard the 
firing of the platoon on the hill at the encounter with this regi- 
ment, and anxiously enquiring of some one who came down, of 
the success, was answered " we are killing them like wild 
turkeys." The Regiment was destroyed. 



MARY M'CLURB 661 

pared to meet the enemy. We met and fought them 
manfully in the open field, but an accident frustrated 
our hopes. Col. Davie, coming round on the right 
flank to make a charge where we had broken the 
ranks was mistaken by our men for the enemy, and 
giving way, they retreated to the tory camp."* 

McClure's command sustained the largest share of 
the whole loss. He himself, thus stricken down in 
the bloom of life, was borne on a bier from the field to 
Waxhaw church, where the next day his mother 

* McCreary's MS. proceeds : " Sumter's men, flushed with 
victory, seized the arms of their vanquished enemy, with their 
unexpended round of cartridges, and advanced across a ravine 
to the British main encampment on Cole's old field. A tremendous 
fire ensued from the enemy's cannon, which opened with platoons 
from the field. The enemy was surrounded on three squares of 
the field, and every thing seemed to promise complete victory, 
when the alarm of a reinforcement occasioned a retreat on the op- 
posite side of the field from that of Bryan's ground ; nor could all 
the skill of generalship displayed by their commander on the occa- 
sion rally, until they had reached Bryan's ground, where they 
made a final stand. The British sounded a retreat, and sent in a 
flag with overtures for a truce, in which they offered to show the 
same care and attention to the American dead and wounded as 
their own. Bryan's ground was retained until biers were made for 
the wounded, and the retreat covered in safety to the Waxhaw by 
night. The engagement lasted three hours and forty-six minutes 
by the watch." * * " This was thought to be one of the most 
spirited and best fought actions by raw militia all volunteers 
against British regulars during the Revolutionary war. And 
although American historians have not paid it due attention, it 
being a mere militia affair, yet a British writer has not forgotten to 
do the subject justice." 



662 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

came to nurse her gallant son. In a day or two the 
Wounded were carried to Charlotte, Mrs. McClure going 
with them, and devoting to John the most unwearied 
attention. On the 16th August occurred the defeat 
of Gen. Gates near Camden, and during the two fol- 
lowing days, men flying from that disastrous field 
were continually coming and passing on. It is thought 
that McClure's death was hastened, if not caused, by 
his excitement, and anxiety to take the field again. 
On the 18th, contrary to the directions of the surgeon, 
he rose and walked across the room, but was suddenly 
taken worse, his deep-seated wound broke inwardly and 
he bled to death in a few hours. At the time there 
was a report that the British were coming, and every 
body was leaving Charlotte. It was proposed to bury 
the corpse without a coffin, but his mother insisted on 
having him decently interred, saying that the enemy, 
" the servants of Satan, were bound like their master, 
and could go only the length of their chain." A few 
brave men remained with her, and rendered the last 
offices to the dead. At the very hour, probably, that 
McClure drew his last breath, his compatriots in arms 
under Sumter, fifty miles below, on Fishing Creek, 
were routed, slain, and flying; Sumter himself on the 
road, bareheaded, making his way with all speed to 
Charlotte, as did Gen. Gates two days before ! The 
hope of liberty was crushed to the earth, while the 
gallant officer who had seemed all eye, who had never 
suffered surprise, but often surprised the enemy, closed 
his mortal career. In Liberty Hall, the room in which 



MARY M' CLURE. 



663 



the Mecklenburg Declaration was penned by the son 
of the widow Brevard, died the son of the widow 
McClure 

Mrs. McClure returned to her home, bearing a heavy 
load of grief for the loss of him who was the prop of 
her declining years. Her kindred had fought the 
battles of liberty on every field, and four out of her 
brother's family had fallen. One of her nephews, 
Hugh Knox, had been wounded at Rocky Mount ; 
another, William Strong, slain in the presence of his 
mother. Her son Hugh had nearly recovered from his 
wound, and James had been rescued by his brother's 
prompt movement. These, with her neighbors driven 
back at this time, were afterwards engaged in the 
battle of King's Mountain. T^he matron herself did 
not give way to sorrow, for she was still called to an 
active part. Her eldest son, "William, who had been 
educated by her brother, Dr. Alexander Graston of 
Newbern, had entered the army as surgeon, and at 
the surrender of Charleston was taken prisoner. He 
endeared himself to the citizens by his professional 
services to the sick, and his name is still remembered 
with gratitude. He afterwards married and resided at 
Newbern, at his death leaving a daughter, Hannah, 
who was educated by Mrs. Margaret Graston, and 
became the wife of her son, the late Judge Graston. 

Mrs. McClure set out for Charleston two hundred 
miles distant, on horseback and alone to see this son. 
After crossing, on her way, the line of Chester Dis- 
trict, she was in the midst of loyalists. Entering 



664 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 



Charleston, she may be said to have bearded the lion 
in his den, where unrecorded cruelties were exercised, 
not only on the imprisoned soldiers, but the unoffend- 
ing inhabitants women and children. She found Dr. 
McClure confined to the city limits, and spent some 
time with him. She informed him of the condition of 
affairs in the upper districts, and he introduced her to 
some of the whig leaders. Yet, even while the pros- 
pect was thus gloomy, she still looked on the triumph- 
ant Briton as a chained enemy and predicted that his 
time was short. She knew the spirit of the Scotch- 
Irish Presbyterians of the Catawba ; she knew that it 
was a war of principle the principle of Bible truth 
the right of self-government in church as well as State, 
and that in centuries resistance would not be van- 
quished. Such were the sentiments of one who would 
dare martyrdom before she would stand by and see the 
word of Grod consumed. 

Returning home early in October, she was greeted 
by the joyful news of the battle of King's Mountain, of 
the promotion of some of her Chester neighbors to the 
rank of officers, and in a few days of the retreat of 
Lord Cornwallis to Winnsboro'. In this retreat the 
British army passed within two miles of her house. 
The militia of the country took toll as it passed, at 
every suitable thicket ; a single whig sometimes riding 
up, picking off his object, and making good his escape. 
This turn of the scale afforded great matter of rejoicing 
to Mrs. McClure, who held forth the consolation to her 
neighbors, never doubting for a moment, although the 




AN ESCAPE FROM INDIANS DURING THE MIAMI WAR. 



MARY VI ' CLURE. 



665 



issues of battle might be various, that the cause of 
right would ultimately triumph. 

Col. Tarleton for a short time halted his legion at 
White's Mills on Fishing Creek, midway between Char- 
lotte and Winnsboro', on a look out for the dreaded 
mountain torrent. It did not descend, but several of 
the King's Mountain men on their return took toll, 
and many a dragoon who left camp in fancied security, 
never returned. The redoubtable Colonel himsell 
came near ending his days by the hand of a young 
woman", Jane Morrow. He went into a house where 
she was alone, and offering some insult, took hold of 
her ; she struggled with him, and succeeded in causing 
him a rather severe fall on the floor. One John Owens, 
hearing the noise, ran in, and found the invincible 
Colonel lying flat on his back, Jane's knee upon his 
breast, and her hands grasping his throat with such 
force that he was black in the face ! Owens interposed 
and saved him ; but the Morrows always blamed him 
for not letting Jane have her own way, and as long as 
he lived " he had to sneak out of any company where 
they were." 

From the commencement of 1781, the widow's 
heart was gladdened by news of victories, or favorable 
results when the tide of battle turned against her 
friends. None felt more grateful than she did for the 
aid rendered by other states. On one occasion, when 
the whigs had obtained a quantity of salt by taking a 
fort, it was sent up by wagons to Col. Watson's in 
York District to be distributed by pecks among the 



666 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

widows of those who had fallen in battle. Mrs 
McClure and Mary Johnston set out on horseback for 
their peck. As they passed the battle ground at 
Williamson's, Mrs. McClure said, " There, Mary, is 
the grave of Hook, who struck me a grievous blow ! 
Old as I am, I could find it in my heart to get down 
and dance over it ; but that would be wrong ; I should 
not rejoice over a fallen enemy. God is just, and will 
avenge his own cause ; let us ever trust in Him !" 
&t this period, though at least seventy-five, Mrs. 
McClure scarcely appeared to have numbered forty-five 
years. With a constitution that seemed almost to 
defy the ravages of time, she was one of the finest 
looking women of her day ; having a smooth, clear 
and fair complexion, cheeks blooming as the rose, and 
a form faultless in its proportions. Her countenance 
indicated the fearless spirit she possessed. Her rela- 
tions with her neighbors and acquaintance were always 
friendly. The men of the Revolution, after the war, 
took much pleasure in visiting " the mother of the 
brave captain" as they called her. She was a Cal- 
vinist in faith and always prompt to maintain the 
right, in religion as in politics, regardless of conse- 
quences. She lived till about the year 1800, in the 
midst of her family settled on lands she had appor- 
tioned to them. Her remains were deposited in the 
graveyard of Old Richardson Church, by the side of 
her brothers, John and Rev. Hugh Graston. 



LIX. 



ISABELLA FERGUSON, 

SOME months before the destruction of the log 
meeting house mentioned in a preceding memoir, 
Samuel Ferguson, a 'country-born,' attending service 
there, had looked upon the face of Isabella Barber, and 
had seen that she was fair. The wooing and marriage 
followed in due time, the last event taking place a 
little before the fall of Charleston. The young couple 
were then living in the house of Isabella's father 
Samuel Barber, the brothers, Joseph and James, 
having taken to themselves wives, and fixed their 
homes on the opposite hill. They were in the field 
with Sumter while Samuel was enjoying a protracted 
honeymoon. His brothers were rampant loyalists, and 
were with the royal force at Rocky Mount, James 
Ferguson having a colonel's commission. Samuel was 
a lover of hunting, and it was shrewdly suspected that 
in some of his forest excursions he went as far as that 
post ; though if he ever did so, the occurrence was not 
mentioned to his young wife. They had more than 
once talked over the subject of the war, and the differ- 
ence of opinion between her brothers and his own- 



668 WOMEN OF THE BEVOLUTION. 

Samuel was never strong in argument, not being 
highly gifted in mental endowments, whereas Isabella 
had sat under the preaching of a learned minister, had 
been regularly catechised, and indoctrinated in the 
Scriptures and the political creed of her people. Her 
ausband was thus constrained to acknowledge that to 
her " beautiful countenance" she added Abigail's 
other accomplishment " a good understanding" and 
it usually happened that she had the best in every 
discussion. 

Col. Ferguson, having raised a hundred and fifty or 
more loyalists, was not a little proud of his new com- 
mand, and his fine British uniform. He was a man 
of commanding appearance, and the honors heaped on 
him were very gratifying to his brothers, who like 
him, anticipated nothing but honor and riches in their 
military career. But what was to be done with 
Samuel and his Irish wife, whose counsels had so far 
prevailed with him against all their solicitations to 
join the King's party ? At this time Col. Ferguson 
was preparing to accompany Capt. Huck on his expe- 
dition. With his command he left Rocky Mount one 
morning, dressed in full uniform and mounted on a 
noble charger the music of drum and fife sounding, 
and the colors of Old England flying. He could not 
help thinking that if his young sister-in-law could see 
him thus in the pomp of war, she would no longer 
detain her husband from a chance of the like promo- 
tion. It was not much out of his way to take the 
road by the house, and then his martial appearance 



ISABELLA FERGUSON. 6G9 

might have a proper effect upon that nest of Covenan- 
ters ! He pleased himself with imagining the surprise 
of Isabella when she should see how much better he 
looked in a splendid uniform than in tow trowsers 
and hunting-shirt. In the afternoon of the first day's 
march, the cavalcade of New York regulars and South 
Carolina loyalists approached the house of old Barber. 
A messenger was despatched to say that Col. Ferguson 
of His Majesty's army wished to speak with Samuel. 
Samuel presently made his appearance, looking rather 
awkward, and his brother, in a formal address, invited 
him to join him, saying he had come for that special 
purpose. " It may be," he urged, " that I shall be 
made a lord ; how then should I feel in hearing it said 
my brother was a rebel ?" 

Isabella was within hearing while the Colonel was 
endeavoring to persuade her husband, and came for- 
ward at the last word. " I am a rebel !" she said 
proudly as glorying in the name : " my brothers 
are rebels, and the dog Trip is a rebel too ! Now, 
James, I would rather see you with a sheep on your 
back, than tricked out in all those fine clothes ! Above 
all, I am told you have our minister chained by the 
foot like a felon ! Rebel and be free ! that is my 
creed !" Then turning to her husband, " we have 
often talked it over, Samuel," she said, " and you 
could never justify their unhallowed practices coming 
here to make slaves of us who would die first, and 
plundering, stealing cows, and the like. Now, in the 
presence of the British army I tell you, if you go with 



670 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

them you may stay with them for I am no longer 
your wife ! You know well if Joe or Jemmy should 
happen to see you in such company, they would pick 
you out as a mark not to be missed." 

Samuel was unable to withstand this determina- 
tion of his bonny Isabel, whom he loved the bet- 
ter for her spirit. He requested his brother to excuse 
his going at this time ; he might report him a 
true subject of the King, but his wife being rather 
on the wrong side, he would content himself with do- 
ing what he could at home to serve His Majesty and 
bring back the rebels. Could Isabel but be convinced, 
he might be able to turn the whole clan of Covenant- 
ers ; " for she is never afraid to speak her mind." Thus 
he spoke while in his heart he felt sure that his wife 
would stand firm, and doubted if after all she were 
not in the right. His brothers shook hands with him, 
and the Colonel bade him be faithful and have cour- 
age, and he would no doubt obtain a commission for 
him. 

The party scoured the country round about, punish- 
ing rebel men and women, sending prisoners to Rocky 
Mount, enlisting loyalists, and thrashing out wheat at 
different farms, to be sent to White's Mills for grinding. 
After Huck was slain in the action at Williamson's, 
another of the officers, mounted his horse, which 
became restive, the new rider's legs being much longer 
than the Dutch Captain's, and threw him against a 
stump. He died afterwards of the injuries received 
in the fall. Col. Ferguson was to be seen every where 



ISABELLA FERGUSON. 671 

endeavoring to rally the scattered force. A fatal 
shot brought him from his horse his head striking the 
ground, and one of his brothers had his hand torn to 
pieces. The brothers scattered with the rest of the 
men and were hid for weeks in the woods their wives 
bringing them food in the dead hours of night. It 
was particularly observed that the brothers Barber and 
William Anderson, who were excellent shots, fought 
that morning more like wild beasts than conscientious 
Covenanters. Henry, a red-headed Irishman of 
Huck's party, had insulted Mrs. Bratton with oppro- 
brious epithets, striking her with his sword, and driv- 
ing her before him into the house. He was wounded 
when taken prisoner by the whigs, and fortunately 
not recognised by Col. Bratton, who would have kill- 
ed him for his outrage to his wife. Her generosity 
saved him, while her husband was searching every 

where for the offender. Adamson, who had treated 



her and her children with respect and kindness, driv- 
ing the rude soldiers from her room, and seeing that 
nothing was taken from her, was nursed by her with 
the tenderness of a sister, and her cheeks were bathed 
in tears when she saw his sufferings. 

This victory proved of advantage to the wives and 
widows of the patriots of Rocky Creek. Samuel Fer- 
guson, on his part, when he heard of the result of the 
expedition, the Colonel's death and the miserable situ a- 
tion of his remaining brothers, never looked on the 
bonny face of Isabella without a feeling of thankful- 
ness that he had escaped a similar fate. Her words 



672 WOMEN OF THE KE VOLUTION. 

that day, respecting Joe's and Jemmy's shooting, he 
had thought sounded like a prediction. "When the 
prospect seemed darkest, other movements were work- 
ing out for the Avidows and orphans made by this un- 
natural strife, a deliverance from starvation. Isa- 
bella was earnest in schemes for the alleviation of the 
misery around them, while her husband, whose confi- 
dence in her judgment and good sense was stronger 
than ever, listened to her plans with approval, and 
sought her counsel as to the manner of assisting his 
unfortunate brothers. She exhorted him to gain the 
confidence of their neighbors by deeds of kindness to 
the defenceless and destitute, and thus deserve their 
good offices in turn. " Your brothers," she would say, 
" went to their undoing, leaving their own people to 
join themselves to the alien ; but if they repent, there 
is forgiveness for the greatest transgressor. You and 
they too might have work to do in helping those who 
have lost all by the war, and then the whigs would 
call you friends." 

About three quarters of a mile north of Rossville, at 
the bend of Rocky Creek, is a deep ravine, the sides 
of which are precipitous, but may be descended by 
grasping the bushes along the path. In the depths of 
this ravine was a cave, excavated by human labor, 
about ten feet deep and as many in width. This place 
at the present day is a marvel to the country people, 
who are unable to conjecture at what period, or for 
what purpose, the cave was originally constructed. It 
was here that Samuel Ferguson deposited the articles 




CIVIL WAU. 



ISABELLA FERGUSON. 673 

entrusted to his care by the benevolent Isabella, she 
receiving the goods from the women, for fear of involv- 
ing her husband, should the royalists discover that 
whig property had been secreted. The corn brought 
to him for safe keeping Ferguson put into his own crib, 
and assisted the poor women by milking for them, and 
by various needful services. It was understood, for 
prudence' sake, that he leaned to the loyalist side of 
the controversy, while his wife was a firm whig ; 
though in reality he had been won over, in heart, to 
her opinions. By their joint exertions the distresses 
of the neighborhood were much relieved, and his 
brothers found advantage in adopting the same course, 
deserving the good offices of the women by the 
kindly assistance thus rendered them. All this was 
brought about by the efforts of a woman, who 
well merited to be called, as she was by all who knew 
her, " the good Isabella Ferguson." 



MARY NIXON, the daughter of William and Mary 
Adair, was married in 1774 to Capt. John Nixon, who 
had left Ireland some years before. He was among 
the foremost of the fighting men at the outbreak of the 
war. When the British had possession of the country 
in 1780, he raised a company, having much influence 
in his neighborhood, and the unbounded confidence of 
his men, and in every action acquitted himself with 
distinction. From the period of Gates' defeat till the 
7th November, the tories had the ascendency through 



674 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

the country, carrying off the property of the whigs, in 
some cases taking possession of their plantations with 
all that appertained negroes, stock, etc., and parcel- 
ling out the property among themselves. A letter 
written by one of the patriots of that day says " All 
the other parts of my estate, except my lands, have 
fallen into the hands of the enemy. They drove off at 
one time between ninety and a hundred head of cattle 
to Winnsboro' : they have also got all my sheep, and 
the greatest part of my hogs, plantation tools, house- 
hold furniture, and every other article that was of any 
value, so that I am properly situated for a soldier, and 
am determined to see the event of our cause or fall in 
the attempt."* A party of loyalists from Newberry, 
assisted by some from Sandy River, had collected a 
great deal of plunder from the whigs of Chester. 
Nixon got on their trail and pursued them to the line 
of Newberry and Union Districts. They took refuge 
in a house, from which, as it was strongly fortified, 
they could not be dislodged. Nixon went up alone, 
and was in the act of firing the house, when he re- 
ceived the shot which terminated his career not long 
afterwards. His name, while he lived, had been a 
terror to the loyalists, and even after his fall they were 
bent on vengeance upon his family. Col. Winn, of 
Fairfield, hearing of their intentions, sent a message 
in haste to Mrs. Nixon, advising her to remove with 
her property. She left home that very night with her 
negroes and as many articles as could be carried. 
* MS. letter of D. Hopkins Pec. 20th, 1780. 



LV. 



SARAH M C CALLA * 

FEW of the women whose lot was cast amid the 
scenes of our Revolutionary contest, had more to do 
personally with what was passing around them, than 
the subject of this sketch. The account of her expe- 
rience, therefore, is a portion of the history of the 
country. She had a hereditary right to be a patriot ; 
her mother was Hannah Wayne, a first cousin of Gren. 
Anthony Wayne. She was born in Chester County, 
Pennsylvania, in Piqua township, within forty-five 
miles of Philadelphia. In 1775 she was married to 
Thomas McCalla. In the following year, when the 
British were in New York, the young husband was 
called out to serve in the militia, and was stationed 
for some time at Powles' Hook, being there the day on 
which the battle was fought upon Long Island. He 
could hear the firing all day, and from Bergen Heights, 
where he lay that night, saw plainly the blaze of 
artillery. When he had served out the time for 



* The materials of this memoir were obtained by Mr. Stinson 
from Mrs. McKown, the daughter of Mrs. Nixon, and from 
Samuel McCalla, who resides at Bloomington, Indiana. 



676 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 



the militia had been called, he received a dismissal 
and returned home. Soon, however, the scene of 
action was brought near them. "When the British 
marched from the head of Elk to Philadelphia, McCalla 
was again in the field, and at the time of the battle ot 
Brandywine his wife, but, three miles distant, could 
hear the firing of every platoon. In this scene of trial 
and peril she did not abandon herself to the paralyzing 
effects of terror, nor shrink from performing services 
which humanity taught her were a duty. Many a 
wounded soldier had cause to bless her heroism and 
benevolence while she dressed his injuries with her 
own hands, rendered all necessary offices of kindness, 
or offered the consolation and encouragement which 
bear so soothing an influence from the sympathizing 
heart of woman. It was a part of her daily business to 
aid the cause of her suffering countrymen by every 
means and exertion in her power. She was in full 
hearing of the cannonade at Mud Island, and the 
explosion of the British ship Augusta. In all the con- 
flicts of that eventful period her husband bore an 
active part, nor would she be idle while he was ex- 
posed to danger. She continued indefatigable in her 
labors, succoring the distressed as far as her ability 
extended, tending the sick and wounded, consoling 
those who suffered, and encouraging the wavering and 
irresolute to brave all in the righteous cause, entrust- 
ing themselves to the protection of a Providence that 
is not blind chance. The good wrought by such 
women, full of zeal for their country and anxious de-: 



SARAH M'CALLA. 677 

sire to alleviate the miseries they witnessed, is 
incalculable. It could be appreciated only by those 
who received the benefit of their humane efforts, and 
therefore it had no reward, save " the blessing of 
those who were ready to perish." 

In the latter part of the year 1778, Thomas and 
Sarah McCalla removed from Pennsylvania to Chester 
District in South Carolina. David McCalla, a brother 
of Thomas, had previously gone to this State, and was 
then residing with Capt. John Nixon. The first place 
at which the emigrants stopped, after their arrival, 
was Nixon's ; but they afterwards fixed their home on 
a plantation upon the roadside, now belonging to 
"William Caldwell. It was at this place, marked by 
" the mulberry tree," that the volunteer company of 
the 27th regiment used to muster. These dwellers in 
an almost wild region had but a humble home ; they 
lived in a log cabin, cultivating the ground for daily 
bread, and trusting in Divine protection from the evils 
surrounding them incident to a primitive state of 
society, and from the more appalling dangers rapidly 
approaching with the desolating footsteps of civil 
strife. They were here when the war entered Carolina 
to penetrate her recesses, and during the severe 
campaign of 1780, when the struggle between the 
whigs and the British aided by gangs of tory outlaws, 
was carried on amid scenes of bloody contest and deeds 
of unprecedented cruelty. It was no time for a pa- 
triot to remain a mere spectator of what was going on, 
although to join the whig cause was apparently to rush 



678 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

on certain destruction. McCalla did not hesitate to 
cast, his lot with the few brave spirits who scorned se- 
curity purchased by submission. Repairing to Clem's 
Branch, he joined himself to the " fighting men," and 
was in every engagement from the beginning of Sum- 
ter's operations against the royal forces, till the evening 
of August 17th, when he obtained leave of absence to 
visit his family. Thus he was not with the partisans 
at the disastrous surprise on Fishing Creek. Intend- 
ing to join the whig force at Landsford, he made his 
way thither soon after ; but was there informed that 
Capt. John Steel had passed down to the battle ground, 
and was rallying and sending on the men towards 
Charlotte. The following morning McCalla succeeded 
in joining Capt. Steel at Neely's, but it was for him a 
most unfortunate movement. An hour afterwards 
they were surprised ; Steel and some others made theii 
escape, but McCalla was taken prisoner and carried to 
Camden. There he was thrown into jail, and threat- 
ened every day with hanging ; a threat the British did 
not often hesitate to fulfil in the case of those who fell 
into their hands, having been found in arms against 
the royal government after what they chose to consider 
the submission of the State. 

While this brave man was languishing in prison, 
expecting death from day to day, his wife remained 
in the most unhappy state of suspense. For about a 
month she was unable to obtain any tidings of him. 
The rumor of Sumter's surprise, and that of Steel, 
came to her ears ; she visited the places where those 



SARAH M'CALLA. 679 

disasters had occurred, and sought for some trace of 
him, but without success. She inquired, in an agony 
of anxiety, of the women who had been to Charlotte 
for the purpose of carrying clothes or provisions to 
their husbands, brothers, or fathers, not knowing bat 
that he had gone thither with the soldiers ; but none 
could give her the least information. Imagination 
may depict the harrowing scenes that must have 
passed, when females returning to their homes and 
children after carrying aid to the soldiers, were met by 
such inquiries from those who were uncertain as to 
the fate of their kindred. To these hapless sufferers 
no consolation availed, and too often was their sus- 
pense terminated by more afflicting certainty. 

In the midst of Mrs. McCalla's distress, and before 
she had gained any information, she was called to 
another claim on her anxiety ; her children took the 
small-pox. John was very ill for nine days with ' the 
disease, and his mother thought every day would be 
his last. During this terrible season of alarm, while 
her mind was distracted by cares, she had to depend 
altogether upon herself, for she saw but one among her 
neighbors. All the families in the vicinity were visited 
with the disease, and to many it proved fatal. As 
soon as her child was so far recovered as to be consi- 
dered out of danger, Mrs. McCalla made preparations 
to go to Camden. She felt convinced that it was her 
duty to do so, for she clung to the hope that she might 
there learn something of her husband, or even find 
him among the prisoners. 



680 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

With her to resolve was to act, and having set her 
house in order, she was in the saddle long before day, 
taking the old Charleston road leading down on the 
west side of the Catawba River. The mountain gap 
on Wateree creek was passed ere the sun rose, and by 
two o'clock she had crossed the river, passing the 
guard there stationed, and entered Camden. Pressing 
on with fearless determination, she passed the guard, 
and desiring to be conducted to the presence of Lord 
Rawdon, was escorted by Major Doyle to the head- 
quarters of that commander. His lordship then 
occupied a large, ancient looking house on the east 
side of the main street. The old site of the town is 
now in part deserted, and that building left standing 
alone some four hundred yards from any other, as if 
the memories associated with it had rendered the 
neighborhood undesirable. It was here that haughty 
and luxurious nobleman fixed his temporary residence, 
" sitting as a monarch," while so many true-hearted 
unfortunates whose fate hung on his will, were lan- 
guishing out their lives in prison, or atoning for their 
patriotism on the scaffold. 

Into the presence of this august personage Mrs. 
McCalla was conducted by the British Major. Her 
impression at first sight was favorable ; he was a fine 
looking young man, with a countenance not unprepos- 
sessing, which we may suppose was eagerly searched 
for the traces of human sympathy by one who felt that 
all her hopes depended on him. His aspect gave her 
some encouragement, and being desired to explain the 



SARAH ATCALLA. 681 

object of her visit, she pleaded her cause with the elo- 
quence of nature and feeling ; making known the dis- 
tressed situation of her family at home, the fearful 
anxiety of mind she had suffered on account of the 
prolonged absence of her husband and her ignorance 
of his fate, and her children's urgent need of his care 
and protection. From Major Doyle she had at length 
learned that he was held a prisoner by his lordship's 
orders. She had come, therefore, to entreat mercy for 
him ; to pray that he might be released and permitted 
to go home with her. This appeal to compassion she 
made with all the address in her power, nor was the 
untaught language of distress wanting in power to 
excite pity in any feeling heart. 

Lord Rawdon heard her to the end. His reply was 

characteristic. " I would rather hang such d d 

rebels than eat my breakfast." This insulting speech 
was addressed to his suppliant while her eyes were 
fixed on him in the agony of her entreaty, and the 
tears were streaming down her cheeks. His words 
dried up the fountain at once, and the spirit of an 
American matron was roused. "Would you ? " was 
her answer, while she turned on him a look of the 
deepest scorn. A moment after, with a struggle to 
control her feelings, for she well knew how much de- 
pended on that she said, " I crave of your lordship 
permission to see my husband." 

The haughty chief felt the look of scorn his cruel 
language had called up in her face, for his own con- 
science bore testimony against him, but pride forbade 



682 WOMEN OP THE REVOLUTION. 

his yielding to the dictates of better feeling. " You 
should consider, madam," he answered, " in whose 

presence you now stand. Your husband is a d d 

rebel " 

Mrs. McCalla was about to reply but her companion, 
the Major, gave her a look warning her to be silent, 
and in truth the words that sprang to her lips would 
have ill pleased the Briton. Doyle now interposed, and 
requested his lordship to step aside with him for a 
moment. They left the apartment, and shortly after- 
ward's returned. Rawdon then said to his visitor, with 
a stately coldness that precluded all hope of softening 
his determination: "Major Doyle, madam, has my 
permission to let you go into the prison. You may 
continue in the prison ten minutes only. Major, you 
have my orders." So saying, he bowed politely both 
to her and the officer, as intimating that the business 
was ended, and they were dismissed. They accord- 
ingly quitted the room. 

Thus ended the interview from which she had hoped 
so much. What had been granted seemed a mockery 
rather than an alleviation of her sorrow. Ten minutes 
with the husband from whom she had been parted so 
many weeks, and that, too, in the presence of the 
royal officer ! A brief time to tell how much she had 
suffered to relieve his anxiety concerning the dear 
ones at home, inquire into his wants, and learn what 
she must do for him ! But even this indulgence, the 
Major informed her, had been reluctantly granted at 
his earnest intercession ; and he took occasion to 



SARAH M'CALLA 683 

blame her own exhibition of spirit. The whig women, 
he observed, who had come down to see their friends, 
had shown a more submissive disposition ; none had 
dared reply to his lordship angrily, or give him scorn- 
ful looks, and he was therefore not prepared to expect 
such an expression of indignation as that which had 
escaped her. " It was with great difficulty," he said, 
" that I got permission for you for ten minutes. His 

lordship said : ' D n her, she can cry, and I believe 

she can fight, too ! did you see what a look she gave 
me ? Upon my soul, Major, such a woman might do 
much harm to the King's service ; she must not be 
permitted to pass and repass, unless some one of the 
officers are with her. She must stay only ten minutes, 
and it must be in your presence.' " 

A Spanish general, it is said, once excused himself 
for ordering to execution a prisoner whose little boy 
had just suffered him to cut off both his ears, on the 
promise that his father's life should be spared by 
saying: "The father of such a child is dangerous to 
Spain ; he must pay the forfeit of his life." Lord 
Rawdon seems to have reasoned much in the same 
manner ; the husband of such a woman must be 
strictly watched, as a dangerous enemy to the royal 
cause. 

The sight of the prison-pen almost overcame the 
fortitude of the resolute wife. An enclosure like that 
constructed for animals, guarded by soldiers, was the 
habitation of the unfortunate prisoners, who sate 
within on the bare earth, many of them suffering with 



684 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

the prevalent distemper, and stretched helpless on the 
ground, with no shelter from the burning sun of Sep- 
tember. "Is it possible," cried the matron, turning 
to Doyle, " that you shut up men in this manner, as 
you would a parcel of hogs !" She was then admitted 
into the jail, and welcome indeed was the sight of her 
familiar face to McCalla. The time allotted for the 
interview was too short to be wasted in condolement 
or complaint ; she told him she must depart in a few 
minutes, informed him of the state of his family 
inquired carefully what were his wants, and promised 
speedy relief. When the ten minutes had expired, 
she again shook hands with him, assuring him she 
would shortly return with clothes for his use, and what 
provisions she could bring, then turning, walked away 
with a firm step, stopping to shake hands with young 
John Ad air and the other captives with whom she was 
acquainted, The word of encouragement was not 
wanting, and as she bade the prisoners adieu, she 
said : " Have no fear ; the women are doing their 
part of the service." "I admire your spirit, madam," 
Doyle observed to her, " but must request you to be a 
little more cautious." 

Mrs. McCalla was furnished by the Major with a 
pass, which she showed to the officer on duty as she 
passed the guard on her return, and to the officer at 
the ferry. She rode with all speed, and was at home 
before midnight ; having had less than twenty-four 
hours for the accomplishment of her whole enterprise ; 
in that time riding one hundred miles, crossing the 



SARAH M'CALLA. 685 

river twice, and passing the guard four times visiting 
her husband, and having the interview with Lord 
Rawdon, in which probably for the first time in his 
life he felt uneasiness from a woman's rebuke. It 
convinced him that even in the breast of woman a 
spirit of independence might dwell, which no oppres- 
sion could subdue, and before which brute force must 
quail, as something of superior nature. How must 
the unexpected outbreaking of this spirit, from time 
to time, have dismayed those who imagined it was 
crushed forever throughout the conquered province ! 

It is proper to say that Mrs. McCalla met with kinder 
treatment from the'other British officers to whom she 
had occasion to apply at this time, for they were fa- 
vorably impressed by the courage and strength of affec- 
tion evinced by her. Even the soldiers, as she passed 
them, paid her marks of respect. The tories alone 
showed no sympathy nor pity for her trials ; it being 
constantly observed that there was deeper hostility to- 
wards the whigs on the part of their countrymen of 
different politics, than those of English birth. 

Mrs. McCalla began her work immediately after her 
arrival at home ; making new clothes, altering and 
mending others, and preparing the provisions. Her 
preparations being completed, she again set out for 
Camden. This time she had the company of one ot 
her neighbors, Mrs. Mary Nixon, whose brother, John 
Adair, has been mentioned as among the prisoners. 
Each of the women drove before her a pack-horse, 
laden with the articles provided for the use of their 



686 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 



suffering friends. They were again admitted to the 
presence of Lord Rawdon to petition for leave to visit 
the prisoners, but nothing particular occurred at the 
interview. His lordship treated the matron who had 
offended him with much haughtiness, and she on her 
part felt for him a contempt not the less strong that it 
was not openly expressed. From this time she made 
her journeys about once a month to Camden, carrying 
clean clothes and provisions ; being often accompanied 
by other women bound on similar errands, and con- 
veying articles of food and clothing to their captive 
fathers, husbands, or brothers. They rode without 
escort, fearless of peril by the way, and regardless of 
fatigue, though the journey was usually performed in 
haste, and under the pressure of anxiety for those at 
home as well as those to whose relief they were go- 
ing. On one occasion, when Mrs. McCalla was just 
about setting off alone upon her journey, news of a 
glorious event was brought to her ; the news of the 
battle of King's Mountain, which took place on the 
7th of October. She did not stop to rejoice in the 
victory of her countrymen, but went on with a light- 
ened heart, longing, no doubt, to share the joy with 
him who might hope, from the changed aspect of af- 
fairs, some mitigation of his imprisonment. When 
she reached Camden, an unexpected obstacle pre- 
sented itself ; she was refused permission to pass the 
guard. It was not difficult to see whence this order 
had proceeded ; but submission was the only resource. 
She took off the basrs from the horse that had carried 



SARAH M'CALLA. 687 

the load, and seated herself at the root of a tree, hold- 
ing in her hand the bridle-reins of both horses. No 
friend or acquaintance was near to offer aid, and 
she made up her mind to spend the night in that 
place, not knowing whither to go. She was not, 
however, reduced to this ; for before long one of the 
inhabitants of the village came to her assistance, took 
her horses and tied them in the back yard of his 
house, and helped her to carry in the packs. This 
piece of kindness called forth her feelings of gratitude, 
and was often mentioned by her in after life as an 
unexpected and gratifying instance of good will. 

The next day she had another interview with Lord 
Rawdon, which was abruptly terminated by one of 
her impulsive answers. To his rude remark, that he 
ought to have hung her rebel husband at the first, and 
thus avoided the trouble he had been put to with her 
she promptly replied : " That's a game, sir, that 
two can play at !" and was peremptorily ordered out 
of his lordship's presence. Her friend Major Doyle, 
however, benevolently interfered to plead for her, 
representing her distress, and at length obtained per- 
mission for her to go to the prison with the food and 
clothing she had brought. She said to this officer : 
" Your hanging of the whigs has been repaid by the 
hanging of the tories." In reply, Doyle assured her 
he had never approved of such a course, and that the 
responsibility must rest solely upon his lordship. Tho 
consciousness of guilt in the exercise of these cruel- 
ties doubtless often harassed his mind, and it was nol 



688 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

surprising he should testify uneasiness or -anger when 
allusion was made, as in her retort, to the subject. 
Mrs. McCalla then informed the Major of the news of 
the action at King's Mountain. It was the first intel- 
ligence, he said, that had reached him of the battle, 
though he had no doubt Rawdon was already in pos- 
session of the news, he having within a short time 
shown so much sternness and ill-humor that scarce 
any one dared speak to him. Though ill tidings 
spread quickly, it does not seem wonderful that the 
knowledge of an action so disastrous to the British 
arms should be concealed as long as possible from the 
soldiers and prisoners, and thus that the earliest infor- 
mation should be brought by an American woman, 
living among those who would be first to hear of it. 

About the first of December, Mrs. McCalla went 
again to Camden. On the preceding trip she had met 
with Lord Cornwallis, by whom she was treated T ^ith 
kindness. Whatever hopes she had grounded on this, 
however, were doomed to disappointment; he was this 
time reserved and silent. She was afterwards informed 
by the Major that a considerable reverse had befallen 
His Majesty's troops at Clermont, and the annoyance 
felt on this account Doyle said was the cause of his 
not showing as much courtesy as he usually did to 
ladies. " You must excuse him," observed the good- 
natured officer, who seems to have always acted the 
part of a peace-maker on these occasions ; and he 
added that Cornwallis had never approved of the 
cruelties heretofore practised. 



SARAH M'CALLA. 



689 



Towards the last of December the indefatigable wife 
again performed the weary journey to Camden. 
McCalla's health had been impaired for some months, 
and was now declining ; it was therefore necessary 
to make a strenuous effort to move the compassion of 
his enemies, and procure his release. Rawdon was 
in command, and she once more applied to him 
to obtain permission for her husband to go home with 
her. As might have been anticipated, her petition was 
refused : his lordship informed her that he could do 
nothing in the premises ; but that if she would go to 
Winnsboro' and present her request to Lord Cornwallis, 
he might possibly be induced to give her an order for 
the liberation of the prisoner. 

To Winnsboro', accordingly, she made her way, 
determined to lose no time in presenting her application. 
It was on New Year's morning that she entered the 
village. The troops were under parade, and his lordship 
was engaged in reviewing them ; there could be no 
admission, therefore, to his presence for some time, 
and she had nothing to do but remain a silent specta- 
tor of the imposing scene. A woman less energetic, 
and less desirous of improving every opportunity for 
the good of others, might have sought rest after the 
fatigues of her journey, during the hours her business 
had to wait ; Sarah McCalla was one of heroic stamp, 
whose private troubles never caused her to forget what 
she might do for her country. She passed the time in 
noticing particularly every thing she saw, not knowing 
but that her report might do service. After the lapse 



690 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

of several hours, the interview she craved with Corn- 
wallis was granted. He received her with courtesy 
and kindness, listened attentively to all she had to 
say, and appeared to feel pity for her distresses. But 
his polished expression of sympathy, to which her 
hopes clung with desperation, was accompanied with 
regret that he could not, consistently with the duties 
of His Majesty's service, comply unconditionally with 
her request. He expressed, nevertheless, entire will- 
ingness to enter into an exchange with Gren. Sumter, 
releasing McCalla for any prisoner he had in his pos- 
session. Or he would accept the pledge of Gren. 
Sumter that McCalla should not again serve until ex- 
changed, and would liberate him on that security. 
" But, madam," he added, u it is Sumter himself who 
must stand pledged for the keeping of the parole. We 
have been too lenient heretofore, and have let men go 
who immediately made use of their liberty to take up 
arms against us." 

With this the long tried wife was forced to be 
content, and she now saw the way clear to the accom- 
plishment of her enterprise. She lost no time in 
returning home, and immediately set out for Charlotte 
to seek aid from the American general. She found 
Sumter at this place, nearly recovered of the wounds 
he had received in the action at Blackstock's, in 
November. Her appeal to him was at once favorably 
received. He gave her a few lines, stating that he 
would stand pledged for McCalla's continuance at 
home peaceably until he should be regularly exchanged 



SARAH M'CALLA. 691 

This paper was more precious than gold to the matron 
whose perseverance had obtained it ; but it was des- 
tined to do her little good. She now made the best of 
her way homeward. After crossing the Catawba, she 
encountered the army of Gen. Morgan, was stopped, 
being suspected to be a tory, and taken into his pres- 
ence for examination. The idea that she could be 
thus suspected afforded her no little amusement, and 
she permitted the mistake to continue for some time, 
before she produced the paper in Sumter's hand-> 
writing, which she well knew would remove every 
difficulty. She then informed the general of her visit 
to Winnsboro' on the first of January, and her sight of 
the review of the troops. Morgan thanked her for the 
information and dismissed her, and without further 
adventure she arrived at her own house. 

A few days after her return, the British army, being 
on its march from Winnsboro', encamped on the plan- 
tation of John Service, in Chester District, and after- 
wards at Turkey creek. Mrs. McCalla went to one of 
those camps in the hope of seeing Lord Cornwallis. 
She succeeded in obtaining this privilege ; his lordship 
recognised her as soon as she entered the camp, and 
greeted her courteously, questioning her as to her 
movements, and making many inquiries about Sumter 
and Morgan. On this last point she was on her guard, 
communicating no more information than she felt 
certain could give the enemy no manner of advantage, 
nor subject her friends to inconvenience. At length 
she presented to the noble Briton the paper which she 



692 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 



imagined would secure her husband's freedom. What 
was her disappointment when he referred her to Lord 
Rawdon, as the proper person to take cognizance of 
the affair ! The very name was a death-blow to her 
hopes, for she well knew she could expect nothing from 
his clemency. Remonstrance and entreaty were alike 
in vain ; Cornwallis was a courteous man, but he 
knew how, with a bland smile and well-turned phrase 
of compliment, to refuse compliance even with a re- 
quest that appealed so strongly to every feeling of 
humanity, as that of an anxious wife pleading for the 
suffering and imprisoned father of her children. She 
must submit, however, to the will of those in power ; 
there was no resource but another journey to Camden, 
in worse than doubt of the success she had fancied 
just within her reach. 

It was a day or two after the battle of the Cowpens 
that she crossed the ferry on her way to Camden. 
She had not yet heard of that bloody action, but ob- 
serving that the guard was doubled at the ferry, con- 
cluded that something unusual had occurred. As she 
entered the village, she met her old friend Major Doyle, 
who stopped to speak to her. His first inquiry was if 
she had heard the news ; and when she answered in 
the negative, he told her of the " melancholy affair" 
that had occurred at the Cowpens. The time, he ob- 
served, was most inauspicious for the business on 
which he knew she had come. " I fear, madam," he 
paid, " that his lordship will not treat you well." 

" 1 have no hope," was her answer, " that he will 



SARAH M'CALLA. 693 

let Thomas go home ; but, sir, it is my duty to make 
efforts to save my husband. I will thank you to go 
with me to Lord Rawdon's quarters." 

Her reception was such as she had expected. As 
soon as Rawdon saw her, he cried angrily, " You here 
again, madam ! Well you want your husband I 
dare say ! Do you not know what the d d rebels 
have been doing ?"* 

" I do not, sir," replied the dejected matron, for she 
saw that his mood was one of fury. 

" If we had hung them," he continued, "we should 
have been saved this. Madam ! I order you most posi- 
tively never to come into my presence again !" 

It was useless, Mrs. McCalla knew, to attempt to 
stem the tide ; she did not therefore produce, nor even 
mention the paper given her by Sumter, nor apologise 
for her intrusion by saying that Lord Cornwallis had 
directed her to apply to him ; but merely answered in 
a subdued and respectful tone by asking what she 
had done. 

" Enough !" exclaimed the irritated noble. " You 
go from one army to another, and Heaven only knows 
what mischief you do ! Begone !" 

* Judge Wylie, the son of one of the prisoners, says that in 
attempting their escape, they loosened some bars about the door, 
but daylight surprising them, they replaced every thing but the 
spring bar, which they could not get back. When the keeper 
opened the door, he received a blow from the bar that nearly 
killed him. It was probably this attempt to escape that so enraged 
Lord Rawdon. Another account states that the prisoners actually 
got out of the jail, and were retaken before they had left Camden 



694: WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

She waited for no second dismissal, but could not 
refrain from saying, as she went out, in an audible 
voice, " My countrymen must right me." Lord 
Rawdon called her back and demanded what .she was 
saying. She had learned by this time some lessons in 
policy, and answered with a srnile, " "We are but sim- 
ple country folk." His lordship probably saw through 
the deceit, for turning to his officer, he said, "Upon 
my life, Doyle, she is a wretch of a woman !" And 
thus she left him. 

That great event the battle of the Cowpens 
revived the spirits of the patriots throughout the 
country. Everywhere, as the news spread, men who 
had before been discouraged flew to arms. The action 
took place on the 17th of January, 1781 ; on the 22d 
of the same month, six wagons were loaded with corn 
at Wade's Island, sixty miles down the Catawba, for 
the use of Gen. Davison's division. The whole whig 
country of Chester, York and Lancaster may be said 
to have risen in mass, and was rallying to arms. 
Mecklenburg, North Carolina, was again the scene of 
warlike preparation ; for the whigs hoped to give the 
enemy another defeat at Cowans or Batisford on the 
Catawba. On the 24th of January Gren. Sumter 
crossed this river at Landsford, and received a supply 
of corn from Wade's Island. His object was to cross 
the districts to the west, in the rear of the advancing 
British army, to arouse the country and gather forces 
as he went, threaten the English posts at Ninety-Six 
and Grranby, and go on to recover the State. Whilo 



SARAH M'CALLA. $95 

Cornwallis marched from his encampment on Service's 
plantation, the whigs of Chester, under the gallant 
Captains John Mills and James Johnston, were 
hovering near, watching the movements of the hostile 
army as keenly as the eagle watches his intended prey. 
Choosing a fit opportunity as they followed in the rear, 
they pounced upon a couple of British officers, one of 
whom was Major McCarter, at a moment when they 
had not the least suspicion of danger, took them 
prisoners in sight of the enemy, and made good their 
retreat. By means of this bold exploit the liberation 
of McCalla was brought about, at a time when his 
wife was wholly disheartened by her repeated and 
grievous disappointments. When Gren. Sumter passed 
through the country, a cartel of exchange was effected, 
giving the two British officers in exchange for the 
prisoners of Chester District in Camden and Charleston. 
The person sent with the flag to accomplish this 
exchange in Camden was Samuel Neely of Fishing 
Creek. As he passed through the town to the quarters 
of Lord Rawdon, he was seen and recognized by the 
prisoners, and it may be supposed their hearts beat 
with joy at the prospect of speedy release. But in 
consequence of some mismanagement of the business, 
the unfortunate men were detained in jail several 
weeks longer. Neely was in haste to proceed to 
Charleston, being anxious, in the accomplishment of 
his mission in that city, to get his son Thomas out of 
the prison-ship, and in his hurry probably neglected 
some necessary formalities. His countrymen in Cam- 



696 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

den were kept in confinement after his return from 
Charleston with his son. Capt. Mills was informed of 
this, and indignant at the supposed disrespect shown 
by Lord Rawdon to the cartel of Gen. Sumter, wrote 
a letter of remonstrance to Rawdon, which he entrusted 
to Mrs. McCalla to be conveyed to him. 

Our heroine was accompanied on this journey by 
Mrs. Mary Nixon, for she judged it impolitic that the 
letter should be delivered by one so obnoxious to his 
lordship as herself. Still she deemed it her duty to be 
on the spot to welcome her liberated husband, supply 
all his wants, and conduct him home. The distance 
was traversed this time with lighter heart than before, 
for now she had no reason to fear disappointment. 
When they arrived at Camden, they went to the jail. 
John Adair was standing at a window ; they saw and 
greeted each other, the women standing in the yard 
below. Perhaps in consequence of his advice, or pru- 
dential considerations on their part, they determined 
not to avail themselves of the good offices of Major 
Doyle on this occasion. Adair directed them to send 
the jailor up to him, and wrote a note introducing his 
sister to the acquaintance of Lord Rawdon. The two 
women then proceeded to the quarters of that noble- 
man. When they arrived at the gate, Mrs. McCalla 
stopped, saying she would wait there, and her com- 
panion proceeded by herself. She was admitted into 
the presence of Lord Rawdon, who read the note of 
introduction she handed to him, and observed, referring 
to the writer that the small-pox had almost finished 



SARAH M'CALLA. 697 

him ; still, he had come very near escapmg from the 
jail; that he was "a grand 'scape-gallows." On read- 
ing the letter of Capt. Mills his color changed, and 
when he had finished it, turning to Mrs. Nixon, he 
said in an altered tone : "I am sorry these men have 
not been dismissed, as of right they ought." He 
immediately wrote a discharge for eleven of the pri- 
soners, and put it into her hands, saying : " You can 
get them but, madam. I am very sorry they have 
been confined so many weeks longer than they should 
have been." At the same time he gave Mrs. Nixon a 
guinea. " This," he said, "will bear your expenses." 
His lordship accompanied her on her way out, and 
as she passed through the gate his eye fell on Mrs. 
McCalla, whom he instantly recognized. Walking to 
the spot where she stood near the gate, he said, fiercely : 
" Did I not order you, madam, to keep out of my pre- 
sence ?" The matron's independent spirit flashed from 
her eyes, as she answered : " I had no wish, sir,, to 
intrude myself on your presence ; I stopped at the 
gate on purpose to avoid you." Unable to resist the 
temptation of speaking her mind for once, now that 
she had a last opportunity, she added : " I might turn 
the tables on you, sir, and ask, why did you come out 
to the gate to insult a woman ? I have received from 
you nothing but abuse. My distresses you have made 
sport of, and I ceased long since to expect anything 
from you but ill-treatment. I am now not your sup- 
plicant ; I come to demand, as a right, the release of 
my husband !" So saying, she bowed to him con- 



698 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

temptuously, wheeled about, and deliberately walked 
off, without stopping to see how her bold language was 
received. Mrs. Nixon hastened after her, pale as death, 
and at first too much frightened to speak. As soon as 
she found voice, she exclaimed : " Sally ! you have 
ruined us, I am afraid ! Why, he may put us both in 

jail!" 

Mrs. McCalla laughed outright. " It is not the first 
time, Mary," she replied, "that I have given him to 
understand I thought him a villain !" The two made 
their way back to the prison, but even after they got 
there Mrs. Nixon had not recovered from her terror. She 
was informed that it would be some time before the 
prisoners could be released. The blacksmith was then 
sent for, and came with his tools. The sound of the 
hammering in the apartments of the jail, gave the first 
intimation to the women who waited to greet their 
friends, that the helpless captives were chained to the 
floor. This precaution had been adopted not long 
before, in consequence of some of the prisoners having 
attempted an escape. They were then put in hand- 
cuffs or chained by the ankle. These men left 
the place of their long imprisonment and suffering in 
company with the two women, and as they marched 
through the streets of Camden, passing the British 
guard, they sang at the top of their voices the songs 
of the " liberty-men." They were eleven in all, 
among them Thomas McCalla, John Adair, Thomas 
Grill, "William Wylie, Joseph Wade, and Nicholas 
Bishop ; the last a man eighty years of age, and per- 



SARAH M'CALLA. 699 

feotly deaf. The crime for which he had been torn 
from his home and immured in jail was that of being 
the father of eight or nine fighting men, enlisted under 
the banner of their country. His thirteenth child, John 
Bishop, was then in the camp. 

After the liberated prisoners had marched a mile or 
two on their way, it was concluded that those who 
were able to travel should go on as rapidly as possible, 
leaving McCalla and Adair, with the females, their 
horses and luggage, to follow them as their strength 
should permit. With this last party Joe "Wade re- 
mained, being a stout able-bodied man, and willing to 
render assistance to his invalid comrades. This patri- 
otic individual the brother of the late George Wade of 
Columbia, S. C. suffered much from British cruelty 
having been caught in arms after taking protection. 
Garden states that he received a thousand lashes, and 
died under the infliction. Joe, however, did not die, 
but recovered of his wounds, and being unable to 
overcome his propensity for fighting, he was again so 
unfortunate as to be taken, was carried to Camden, 
and there kept for some time in prison. He was 
one of those who attempted to break jail, and 
as the irons were put on the delinquents, he 
said facetiously to the officials performing this duty, 
that he " would prefer having a pair of stockings." 
They therefore accommodated him with heavy irons on 
each ankle. But this did not fetter the captive's 
spirits ; he would rattle his chains merrily, telling his 
fellow-prisoners they knew nothing of the pleasures of 



700 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

a plurality. " Your single chain," he would say fre- 
quently, " can only go whop ! but I can jingle 
mine, and I will soon give you the tune of ' Yankee 
Doodle, ' " suiting the action to the word, and jingling 
to the amusement of all who could hear him. Many 
a night Joe thus performed his musical airs with these 
novel instruments, as a pastime to himself and those 
who like him were at a loss for diversion, and to the 
great annoyance of the keepers of the jail, whom he 
prevented from sleeping. He was proof, however, 
against their murmurings and menaces, and continued 
in spite of remonstrance, to keep his fellow-captives in 
music and songs, while John Adair taught them to 
play at cards, by way of getting rid of their superfluous 
time*. Yet Joe had a soul that could be touched, 
though his spirit was unconquerable ; his heart was in 
the right place, and could feel for the misfortunes of 
others, prompting to active exertions for their relief. 
He saw now that his neighbor and fellow-sufferer, Adair, 
who had been a prey to the small-pox in prison, had 
scarcely strength to walk, and without hesitation he 
took him upon his back and trudged along under the 
weight. " Never mind, my boy," he would say when 
John remonstrated ; " you are not quite so heavy as a 
thousand lashes ! My back is a little rough, so hold 
on tight ! Why, if I had only thought of bringing the 
chains along, I might have played you a tune as we 
are going ! No matter ; when we stop to rest, John, 
you shall out with the pack of cards, and we will have 
the odd trick." 



SARAH M'CALLA. 701 

The honest patriot was bearing on his furrowed 
back in that pale and emaciated stripling a hero of 
after times ; one who, a third of a century from that 
date, led the hunters of Kentucky to the field, together 
with Andrew Jackson, another youth of the Catawba, 
on the banks of the Mississippi. Yes ! the lad whom 
Joe Wade then carried from the jail that had so 
nearly been his place of death, afterwards on the banks 
of the monarch of rivers, cancelled the debt of the 
thousand lashes, owing to his old friend ; for nearly 
thrice that number of Britons were numbered among 
the wounded and slain, two or three of them general 
officers in their army ! How strange that two boys of 
Catawba River who had been maltreated by the des- 
potic English, should become instrumental in obtaining 
over the invincibles of Wellington's command the 
haughty conquerors of Europe's master the victory 
in one of the most splendid battles recorded in ancient 
or modern times ! But without looking into the 
future, the kind-hearted Joe had his present reward in 
the pleasure of doing a service to a youthful but reso- 
lute patriot, and through him, of serving the cause of 
his country. It could not have been difficult to dis- 
cover that no common spirit animated that boy's 
wasted frame. He distinguished himself, indeed, in 
several battles, and aided to form the constitution in 
the conventions of the States of Tennessee and Ken- 
tucky devoting his whole life, in short, to public 
service. 

To return to our travellers. They stopped, the first 

VOL. in. 12 



702 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

night, at the house of Mrs. Weatherspoor., who wel- 
comed them with cordial kindness. She had little to 
offer in the way of refreshment, having only one cow; 
but she made a potful of mush, and this with the new 
milk, formed a delicious repast for supper and break- 
fast, seasoned as it was with the love that makes " a 
dinner of herbs" more savory than the costliest dain- 
ties. 

When Thomas McCalla reached the home he had 
so long desired to see, he found his affairs in an em- 
barrassed condition, and little remained to him even 
for the supply of the most ordinary comforts. Mrs. 
McCalla's frequent journeys, the necessity of providing 
articles to be carried to Camden, and the impossibility 
of her balancing the account meanwhile by thrifty 
management, or by profitable labor, had sadly dimin- 
ished their means. Not only this, but she had been 
compelled to contract debts, which her husband was 
unable for years fully to repay. Her disposition was 
generous to a fault ; in carry ing provisions to Thomas, 
she could not forget those who suffered with him, and 
whose bitter wants were evident to her eyes ; she be- 
stowed liberally of what she had, and might in truth 
be said to have fed and clothed the Camden prisoners. 
Who could blame this liberality, when her neighbors 
were willing to supply her, knowing the use that 
would be made of their loans ! She and her husband 
took upon themselves the responsibility of repayment, 
and she spared not the labor of her hands for this pur- 
pose during many years. Thomas, broken down in 



SARAH M CALLA. 



703 



health, was unable for some time to work, but with 
returning strength applied himself faithfully to the 
task, which through persevering toil was at last ac- 
complished. He never received from the country any 
remuneration for his losses, nor held any office. Yet 
the unobtrusive patriots had their reward in the con- 
sciousness of having done well and nobly, and having 
worthily served the good cause. If by their expendi- 
tures for the relief of others, a bar was placed to their 
attainment of riches, their poverty was honorable, and 
they enjoyed the respect of the virtuous and good 
among all their acquaintance. God gave them the 
blessing of children, whom they trained up in the 
right way. These became members of the same 
church with their parents, and patriotism was to them 
a household inheritance ; the knowledge of the 
duties of good citizens, as well as the principles of 
piety, being instilled into them as their earliest and 
most important lessons. 

Lord Rawdon's aversion to Mrs. McCalla was not 
without foundation ; she was a very shrewd and inde- 
pendent person, and bore in her countenance the inef- 
faceable stamp of her character. Her eye was keen 
and penetrating as the glance of the eagle, and though 
remarkable for self-control, she often expressed by the 
rapid play of her features, the emotion called up at 
the moment, which she did not deem it prudent to 
utter in words. She often had secret interviews with 
the leading men of the American party, to whom she 
gavo>, information, and who had entire confidence in 



704 



WOMEN OP THE REVOLUTION. 



her representations, and high respect for her opinions 
on military affairs. She was not, however, indis- 
criminate in her disclosures, for she knew whom to 
trust, and could keep a secret whenever it was neces- 
sary. On her return from one of the trips she made 
to Camden, she chanced to meet two of her whig ac- 
quaintances John McWaters and Thomas Steel 
upon the Wateree. They were seeking information 
from Camden the whigs at the time meditating a 
visit to this post of the enemy. She communicated to 
them all she knew, informing them of the position of 
the British in the town, and the guard stationed at 
the river ; and so satisfied were her friends of the ac- 
curacy of her account and the correctness of her judg- 
ment, that in consequence of the intelligence brought 
by her, the projected enterprise was abandoned for the 
time. 

Regarding the enemy she always expressed herself 
with candor. The British soldiers she desoribed as 
uniformly polite and respectful to women, and frank 
and manly in their deportment ; the loyalists of Amer- 
ican birth she invariably condemned as coarse, vulgar, 
rude and disgusting in their manners. The New York 
volunteers, she said, were " pilfering, thievish, con- 
temptible scoundrels." She generally spoke well of 
the British officers, some of whom she thought an 
honor to the service ; but in her praise always except- 
ed Lord Rawdon. 

In person Mrs. McCalla was of medium size. Her 
constitution was vigorous, her temperament ardent, 




GENERAL ANTHONY WAYNE, 



SARAH M CALLA. 705 

though her self-possession was striking, and it seemed 
impossible to take her by surprise. With a strong will 
and steadfast purpose, she had great quickness of per- 
ception and reach of apprehension, and her measures 
were always proportioned to the difficulties to be over- 
come. Though firm of resolution as a rock, her heart 
was full of all gentle and generous impulses ; the 
sight of distress was sufficient to melt her at once into 
sympathy, and she would hesitate at no sacrifice of 
her own interest, nor endurance of privation to af- 
ford relief to the sufferer. She preserved throughout 
life her habits as a fearless equestrian, and when she 
was near the age of seventy, travelled on horseback all 
the way alone to the State of Indiana and back to her 
home, to visit her daughter, then married to Thomas 
Archer, the grandson of Katharine Steel. 

Mrs. McCalla has been dead many years, and with 
her husband lies buried in Catholic graveyard near 
the place of her residence. She had five sons and 
several daughters. Her son Thomas died in the last 
war with Great Britain, in the service of his country. 
Her children and descendants have now all removed 
to the West, except the two children of John, who are 
living in Abbeville District. South Carolina might re- 
gret the loss in them of some of her best and most pa> 
triotic citizens, but they still serve their country, 
having borne with them to the great West the lessons 
of earnest piety and disinterested patriotism, taught 
them in early life by an exemplary mother. Thus the 
good seed sown by her was not lost, but is springing 



706 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

up to bear abundant fruit in another soil, not less gen 
ial than their native one. One of the sons, Samue 
McCalla, lives near Bloomington, Indiana ; David, at 
Princeton, in the same State. They are zealously at- 
tached to their country, and aim to serve its best in- 
terests. In person they bear the impress of their 
brave parentage so strikingly, that were a military 
commander selecting among a thousand, men who 
would be foremost in scaling a height to dislodge the 
foe, or who would willingly die in the last trench of 
Freedom, the choice would probably fall on these two 



MARY ADAIR, with her husband, William Adair, lived 
on the south fork of Fishing Creek. Their sons 
James, William and John enlisted at the commence- 
ment of the war, with an orphan whom they had 
adopted and brought with them when they removed to 
South Carolina. This was Edward Lacy, who rose to 
the rank of Colonel after the death of McClure, and 
was colonel of the Chester men at the battle of King's 
Mountain, and till the close of the war. After the war 
he became a General, and was one of the first county 
Judges. If the services of this distinguished man 
have conferred honor on his district and his State, how 
deep a debt does the country owe to the noble matron 
whose early protection and careful training formed him 
for usefulness, and incited him to his honorable career ! 

It has been mentioned that Huck's party stopped at 
Adair's on their way to Williamson's. After having 



MARY ADAIR. 7Q7 

taken the silver buckles from Mrs. Adair's shoes, the 
rings from her fingers, and the handkerchief from her 
neck, they took her husband out, put a rope about his 
neck and were about to hang him up because his sons 
were out with the rebels, when some of the tories 
pleaded in his behalf that the old man was not so much 
to blame ; it was the mother who had encouraged her 
sons, and urged them to their rebellious course. The 
officer then drew Mrs. Adair apart, and remarking that 
he had understood her sons were fine young men, and 
that her influence over them was such that she could 
persuade them to anything she pleased, promised, if she 
would bring them over to the King's service, to obtain 
for each a commission in the army. The matron 
replied that her sons had a mind of their own, and 
thought and acted for themselves. The call made by 
the whigs before daylight the next morning July 12th 
has been noticed. After they were gone, Mr. and 
Mrs. Adair left the house quietly, leaving the two 
officers who had quartered themselves upon them, in 
bed, for they knew that in a short time there would 
be warm work at their neighbor's. They had scarcely 
reached the shelter of a thicket when they heard the 
first gun, and for an hour or more while the firing 
continued they remained in agitating suspense. At 
length venturing within sight of the road, they saw the 
redcoats and tories flying, and soon afterwards the 
gallant McClure in pursuit, and then no longer in fear 
they returned to the house. When they went to the 
battle ground, Mrs. Adair helped to dress the wounds 



708 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

of the captain who had insisted that she should send 
her sons to him, and reminded him of the order.* His 
reply when she showed her sons was : "It is a little 
too late." The sons removed their aged parents, with 
their moveable property, to Virginia, and then came back 
to the camp. John, who afterwards became so distin- 
guished, was at school in Charlotte at the beginning 
of the war, and left Liberty Hall to enter the army. 
Although but a stripling he obtained a lieutenant's 
commission, and was engaged in several battles. He 
made his escape at the time of the surprise of Sumter, 
and reached Charlotte, whence he was sent out 
a day or two after on some errand, and with an- 
other soldier, George Weir, was made prisoner at a 
house on the road. They might have effected their 
escape the night after their capture, but John Adair had 
set his heart on having two fine horses in possession of 
the enemy, and the opportunity was neglected which 
did not again occur. They were then taken to Cam- 
den, and examined by Lord Rawdon, who thought he 
could obtain from them some important information. 
His lordship was acquainted with Weir they having 
been boys together in Ireland ; but he failed in ex- 
tracting anything from either of the prisoners. Though 
both were taken out with halters around their necks 
they boldly persisted in saying "we have no disclo- 
sures to make." Adair was kept in jail about seven 
months, and suffered from hunger and want of clothing, 
and from a severe attack of the small-pox. Yet he 

* See Vol I., p. 245. 



MAKY ADAIK. 709 

did his best to keep up the spirits of his fellow-prison- 
ers, among other devices for their amusement teaching 
them to play at cards with a pack he had procured. 
These unfortunate captives owed much to the kind- 
hearted women of Chester and York, who shared among 
them the provisions and clothing they had brought 
their relatives, and encouraged them to bear their 
privations with cheerfulness. Not long after Adair had 
gone to the West, his parents removed from South 
Carolina. Mrs. Adair lived to see him rise to distinc- 
tion in the councils both of Tennessee and Kentucky, 
become the chief magistrate of the latter State, and 
general of the Kentucky forces in the war of 1812, and 
return to his home covered with the laurels of victory, 
respected and honored by all who knew his worth. As 
a shock fully ripe she was gathered to the tomb in 
1819. 



LVI. 



SARAH BUCHANAN,* 

THE history of the trials and sufferings of the early 
settlers of Tennessee, in their more than ten years of 
border warfare with the Delawares, Shawnees, Creeks 
and Cherokees, lives only in the memory of a few of 
their descendants. Yet in the midst of those trials and 
sufferings were enacted deeds of heroism and chivalry 
which might well challenge a comparison with those 
of the Pequod war and King Philip, in the early settle- 
ment of New England, or with those of a later date, 
in which Daniel Boone and Simon Kenton obtained 
their legendary fame. 

About the year 1772, a few adventurous spirits in 
Virginia and North Carolina, allured by the tales told 
by hunters and trappers of beautiful valleys and 
meandering streams beyond the Alleghany Mountains, 
sought new homes in the lovely valley of the Watauga, 

* I am indebted for this sketch to MILTON A. HATNES, Esq., of 
Tennessee, who obtained the materials from Mrs. S. V. Williams, 
the daughter of Mrs. Buchanan, and other members of the family. 
Some MS. papers have been consulted for the historical facts ; sea 
also Hay wood's History of Tennessee from 1770 to 1796. 



SARAH BUCHANAN. 711 

now the Holston River, in the region now called East 
Tennessee. One of these hardy pioneers was the father 
of Sarah Buchanan, Capt. George Ridley. In Decem- 
ber, 1773, in one of the rough block-houses used for 
the double purpose of fort and dwelling, was born the 
subject of this memoir- -one of the first, if not the 
first-born daughter of Tennessee. Her earliest im- 
pressions weje received amid scenes of strife, in which 
the inhabitants of the Watauga were continually en- 
gaged with their Cherokee neighbors. 

In the year 1779, several parties made preparation 
to strike out still further into the wilderness, to establish 
if possible a new colony west of the Cumberland 
Mountains in the valley of Cumberland River. 
Gen. James Robertson, of North Carolina, in concert 
with Col. Donaldson, started from Watauga about the 
middle of December, the former leading a land expe- 
dition, the object of which was to cross the mountains, 
proceed to a place then known as the Big Salt Lick, 
now Nashville, establish a fort, build houses and open 
fields ; the latter conducting a flotilla of rudely construct- 
ed flat-boats, which bearing the old men, women and 
children, and the baggage of the pioneers, descended 
the Holston, for the purpose of following Tennessee 
River to some point beyond its pass through the 
mountains. The land party was to join the flotilla 
somewhere on the great bend of the Tennessee, and 
conduct them to their new home in the valley of the 
CumUrland. Of this party was the father of Sarah 
Bul >an with his family. It was a dark and fear- 



712 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

ful voyage, that descent of the Watauga and Tennes 
see, through the dark and bloody grounds of the war- 
like Cherokees and Creeks. To daily attacks from the 
Indians, who from the shores of the narrow river 
fired on the voyagers as they descended the rapid cur- 
rent in their frail open boats, now and then boldly 
pushing out in their canoes to assault them, were 
added the dangers of the rapid and meandering stream, 
where sunken rocks and dangerous rapids threatened 
to engulf the frail barks in its boiling eddies. To 
aggraVate these horrors, when the voyagers, their 
numbers reduced by disease and the murderous savages, 
reached the head of the Muscle-Shoals, no sign 
could be discovered of Gen. Robertson. Col. Donald- 
son and his party found themselves environed by dan- 
gers which might have unnerved the stoutest heart. 
An unexplored wilderness on either side, seven hun- 
dred miles of up-stream navigation behind them, with 
thousands of armed warriors ready to fall upon them, 
while in advance was heard the roar of the turbid waters 
as they dashed amongst the projecting rocks of the Mus- 
cle-Shoals. It was a fearful alternative, but death was 
certain in the rear or on either flank, and after weigh- 
ing well all the dangers of his situation, Col. Donaldson 
determined to descend the Tennessee to its mouth and 
attempt to reach the Big Salt Spring by the ascent of 
the Cumberland. Many instances of female courage 
are mentioned in connexion with this voyage ; but 
their history does not properly belong to this sketch. 
On the 24th of April, 1780, four months and two 



SARAH BUCHANAN. 713 

days after Col. Donaldson left Watauga, those who 
survived of this adventurous party of pioneer voyagers 
reached the spot where Nashville now stands. Here 
they met their friends who had succeeded in reaching 
the same place some weeks before. Interesting indeed 
was the reunion, but not without its sorrows; 
for many a father, mother, brothei, sister, looked 
in vain for the pride of their hearts. The painter who 
ioves to depict upon the canvas the varied and con- 
flicting emotions of the human heart, might find in the 
landing of these way worn voyagers at the French Lick 
a fit subject for his pencil. The parties of Donaldson 
and Robertson, and two small ones conducted by Capt. 
Rains and Major John Buchanan, father and son, having 
met here, constituted the entire colony of Cumberland 
Valley, numbering less than five hundred souls, of 
whom one hundred and fifty were all that were able to 
bear arms. It would be an agreeable task for the 
historian who loves to trace a state from its founda- 
tion, to follow the rise and progress of this infant 
colony step by step down to the present time; but 
this task belongs not to the humble biographer. 

From the landing of these pilgrims at Nashville, 
they were regarded by the various tribes of Indians 
around them as intruders, and a war of extermination 
was waged upon them by the Creeks, Cherokees, and 
Shawnees for fifteen years. Never was the history 
>{ any colony so marked by bloody opposition. Its 
settlers thus by the force of circumstances driven at 
cncr *nto a state of war from the moment of their 

*o. -ii. 14 



714 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

settlement, every man became an armed occupant, 
who held his life and his fort or block-house only by 
the strength of his arm. 

The situation of these early pioneers was most 
adverse to the formation of polished and elegant society. 
Living in forts, each containing half a dozen or more 
families, they were compelled to work their small 
fields with guns by their sides. Books, schools, 
churches, academies, they had none. Toil and danger 
were their only school -masters, and stern necessity 
their only pastor and lawgiver. Capt. Ridley had 
established a small fort near Nashville, in which mili- 
tary rule was necessarily preserved, while various 
persons, pursuing the bent of their own interest 
established others, in which they rallied their friends 
and retainers to repel the assaults of Indian marauders. 
Tn the space of thirty miles around Nashville were a 
dozen such forts, and in and around these were all the 
inhabitants of the valley. Of necessity, social inter- 
course was kept up by occasional visits from one to 
another ; but the road being often rendered dangerous 
by Indian ambuscades, it required more than a 
common share of bravery for small parties, especially 
of females, to venture, though the distance between 
the forts was only two or three miles. 

On one occasion Sarah and a kinswoman named 
Susan Everett were returning home from a visit a 
mile or two distant, careless of danger, or not thinking 
of its presence. It was late in the evening, and they 
were riding along a path through the open woods, Miss 



SARAH BUCHANAN. 715 

Everett in advance. Suddenly she stopped her 
horse, exclaiming, " Look, Sally, yonder are the red 
skins !" Not more than a hundred yards ahead was 
a party of Indians armed with rifles, directly in their 
path. There was no time for counsel, and retreat was 
impossible, as the Indians might easily intercept them 
before they could gain a fort in the rear. To reach 
their own block-house, four or five hundred yards dis- 
tant, was their only hope of safety. Quick as thought 
Sarah whispered to her companion to follow and do 
as she did, and then instantly assuming the position of 
a man on horseback, in which she was imitated by her 
relative, she urged her horse into a headlong gallop. 
Waving their bonnets in the air, and yelling like mad- 
men, they came furiously down upon the savages, who 
had not seen them, crying out as they came " clear 
the track, you d d red skins!" The part was so 
well acted, that the Indians took them for the head of 
a body of troopers, who were making a deadly charge 
upon them, and dodging out of the path, fled for very 
life and so did Sally and Susan ! Before the savages 
had recovered from their fright, the two girls were 
safe within the gates of the fort, trembling like 
frightened fawns at the narrow escape which they had 
made. 

It was no doubt in consequence of this and similar 
instances of intrepid bearing and excellent horse- 
manship, that Sarah won the title of " the fast rider of 
Mill Creek." Soon after this period she won the heart 
and accepted the hand of the gallant Major John 



716 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

Buchanan, and was married to him at the age oi 
eighteen. He was a widower, over thirty years of 
age, and on account of his intrepidity in repelling 
Indian aggressions, had become the terror of the sav- 
ages, as well as the pride of Cumberland Valley. Hi? 
family originally emigrated from Lancaster, Pennsyl- 
vania. He had come with his father in 1779 from 
South Carolina, where he had been a soldier under 
Col. Pickens. In several battles with the Indians he 
had been greatly distinguished for personal bravery, as 
well as for tact and skill as a cqmmander. It is said 
he was dressed in buck-skin from head to foot, equip- 
ped with rifle and powder horn, starting out on a 
scouting expedition, when he came to address his fu- 
ture bride, and asked her to become the commander of 
Buchanan's Station a fort two miles east of her 
father's block-house. Sarah had scarcely been trans- 
ferred to her new home, before it was her lot to see 
her husband's father shot down at the gates by the In- 
dians. Not long afterwards her brother-in-law, Samuel 
Buchanan, also an inmate of the fort, having gone a 
few hundred yards from the station, was surprised by 
a party of Indians, who cut off his retreat, so that his 
only means of escape was to gain a bluff twenty-five 
or thirty feet high on the bank of Mill Creek, and pre- 
cipitate himself from its summit. This he did ; but in 
the fall dislocating his knee, was overtaken by the 
Indians, who killed and scalped him within gun shot 
of the fort. Such scenes of blood, brought so near to 
her door, were calculated to unnerve the tender spirit 



SARAH BUCHANAN. 717 

of woman ; but Mrs. Buchanan seemed to gather new 
energy and power from every trial and danger by 
which she was surrounded. 

On another occasion, when her husband and all the 
men of the fort were absent, two celebrated horse- 
thieves who had taken refuge with the Indians, came 
and demanded of Mrs. Buchanan two of the Major's 
fine horses. Knowing their lawless character, she 
pretended acquiescence and went with them to the 
stable, but on arriving at the door she suddenly drew a 
large hunting-knife from under her apron, and assum- 
ing an attitude of defiance, declared that if either of 
them dared to enter the stable, she would instantly cut 
him down. Struck by her intrepid bearing, they fell 
back, and although they tried to overcome her resolu- 
tion by threats and bravado, she maintained her 
ground, and the marauders were compelled to retire 
without the horses. 

In 1792, the population of East Tennessee had 
increased to near ten thousand, and that of the Cum- 
berland Valley, principally around Nashville, to seven 
thousand. Of these about one thousand were men of 
arms, many of whom had for twelve years battled with 
the Creeks and Cherokees. General Washington as 
President of the United States, had sent for and re- 
ceived at Philadelphia a large delegation of Indian 
chiefs, in order if possible to establish amicable rela- 
tions between the settlers of Tennessee and the red 
men of the forest. In pursuance of his instructions, 
Grov. Blount had held a peace talk about the beginning 



718 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

of May, 1792, in which the Cherokees and Creeks 
pretended to be reconciled to their white brethren. 
Bloody-Fellow and John "Watts, two Cherokee chiefs, 
were so earnest in such protestations that Grov. Blount 
called them the champions of peace, and President 
Washington conferred upon the first the title of 
General. 

The report of the pacific disposition of the Indians 
soon spread over the Cumberland Valley, and although 
some of the old men shook their heads, as if distrust- 
ing the signs, yet the effect was to cause the mounted 
rangers, who had been for some time kept as a guard 
for the frontier, to be disbanded. The people watched 
less carefully, and ventured out more boldly and in 
smaller bodies, and nearly all began to rejoice at the 
return of the halcyon days of peace. But there was 
one to whom these signs of amity between the red 
men and the Anglo-Saxons of Cumberland Valley were 
any thing but pleasing. This was the Spanish Gov- 
ernor of Florida, at Pensacola. Distributing presents 
in arms and clothing to the Creeks and lower Chero- 
kee towns, he invited and obtained a conference with 
the chiefs, in which he arrayed them all except Bloody 
Fellow against their neighbors. In consequence of this 
conference, about the middle of August John Watts 
assembled the principal warriors at Will's Town, and 
having hoisted the Spanish flag, appealed to the young 
Warriors to join his standard, and march with him to 
exterminate the people of the Cumberland. Bloody- 
Fellow alone spoke against the war, and declared that 



SARAH BUCHANAN. 719 

he would have no part nor lot in it. Among the hos- 
tile chiefs were the Shawnee Chief, and the son of the 
White Owl, who boasted that they had killed three 
hundred white men, and could kill as many more. 
During this talk, Bloody-Fellow taunted Watts for 
wearing a medal given to him by General Washing- 
ton, while he was waging war against the whites. At 
this Watts tore off his medal, threw it upon the 
ground, and stamped upon it. 

The war party prevailing, Watts was chosen as the 
commander of about a thousand warriors, principally 
Creeks and Cherokees, including about one hundred 
Shawnees, commanded by the Shawnee Chief. It was 
resolved immediately to send two refugee Frenchmen, 
who lived with the Indians, to the Valley. They were 
bearers of letters from Watts to Gen. Robertson at 
Nashville, professing great friendship ; and were to 
return in ten days and report the situation of the 
country. Arriving at Nashville, these Frenchmen 
immediately informed Gen. Robertson of all that had 
been done at the late conferences ; adding that the In- 
dians would attack the Cumberland settlements in 
ten days. This report caused great alarm. Five hun- 
dred mounted men were immediately assembled at 
Nashville, and scouts sent out in every direction, but 
especially towards the Tennessee River, to discover tho 
advancing Indians whose invasion was thus foretold ; 
yet each returning scout reported none. 

In the meantime Watts and his confederates, ig- 
norant of the treachery of their spies, were busily pre- 



720 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

paring their warriors and supplies for the invasion 
They had despatched several written messages to Gov 
Blount at Knoxville, in the name of Bloody-Fellow, 
professing great friendship, and artfully detailing the 
efforts of "Watts to get up a war-party, which was re- 
presented as a failure. G-ov. Blount and Gen. Robert- 
son were thus deceived, although both had been warned 
of nearly all that had happened. The hostile Indians 
were assembled on the Tennessee River, below Chatta- 
nooga, having organized and equipped an army to at- 
tack and destroy the settlements in Cumberland Valley, 
while one of the young chiefs, who was to join the ex- 
pedition, was at Knoxville, eating at Gov. Blount's 
table, and receiving presents for the chiefs, as a re- 
ward for their friendship. So skilfully had these 
adroit savages blended falsehood with truth, that 
Blount sent an order to Gen. Robertson, at Nashville, 
by express, about the 20th September, directing him 
to disband his troops, as the Indians were all peace- 
ably disposed. On the same day the Indians, having 
waited in vain two weeks for the return of their French 
spies, crossed the Tennessee River. It seemed as if 
the fate of Cumberland Valley was to be decided by a 
mere chance. Gen. Robertson, knowing the lawless 
character of the semi-barbarous Frenchmen who had 
alarmed him with news of the intended invasion, and 
had kept the troops two weeks beyond the longest pe- 
riod fixed, wholly disbelieved their tales, and looked 
upon them only as rogues who sought, under the 



SARAH BUCHANAN. 721 

alarm which they had created, to cover a retreat with 
stolen horses. 

In this state of affairs, Grov. Blount's orders came ; 
and yielding alike to his own convictions of duty and 
the orders of his governor, on the 28th Sept. Robert- 
son disbanded the five hundred militia who had been 
assembled to jepel the invasion. Every man sought 
his own home in one of the twenty or thirty stations 
scattered over Davidson and Sumner Counties ; some 
rejoicing at the prospect of a respite from " war's rude 
alarums," while not a few hastened quickly to their 
families, feeling a presentiment that some dreadful 
calamity was about to descend upon the Valley. At 
this very time a murderous army of Indian warriors 
were within thirty miles of Buchanan's station, and 
not a company of armed men remained west of the 
Cumberland mountains. A few men had thought it 
blindness to disperse the soldiery at such a crisis, and 
among these was Major John Buchanan. His station 
was four miles east of Nashville, on the farther side 
of Mill Creek, being the outpost toward the Indian Na- 
tion, and necessarily exposed to the first assault. 
Having no power to alter the orders of Gren. Robertson 
or Grov. Blount, he yet felt that the very state of affairs 
which he deplored, imposed upon him a double respon- 
sibility. Having about a dozen men living in his 
station, he quietly prevailed on half a dozen young 
men on whose courage he could depend, to pass a few 
days with him. Yet, though uneasy at his exposed 
condition, he dared not breathe his fears ; for the first 
14* 



722 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

sign of alarm on his part would have been a signal 
for the departure of half his little garrison, consisting 
of nineteen men, a few women and slaves, whose nat- 
ural instinct would lead them to seek safety in some 
fort less exposed, and more in the rear. He spoke of 
his fears to but one his wife ; for he knew her firm- 
ness, and was not afraid to trust her discretion. Hav- 
ing put all the arms in order, and prepared the doors 
and gates to resist the expected assault, he calmly, but 
anxiously awaited the result. 

On Sunday night, about the hour of midnight, while 
the moon was shining brilliantly, the Indian army un- 
der Watts and the Shawnee, advancing in silence, sur- 
rounded Buchanan's station. In order to effect an 
entrance into the fort by a coup de main, they sent run- 
ners to frighten and drive in the horses and cattle. 
This was done, and the animals came dashing furious- 
ly towards the fort; but the garrison, wrapped in 
slumber, heeded them not. The watchman, John 
McCrory at this instant discovering the savages ad- 
vancing within fifty yards of the gates, fired upon 
them. In an instant the mingled yells of the savage 
columns, the crack of their rifles, and the clatter of 
their hatchets, as they attempted to cut down the gate, 
told the little squad of nineteen men and seven women 
that the fearful war-cloud which had been rising so 
long was about to burst upon their devoted heads ! 

Aroused suddenly from deep slumber by the terrible 
warwhoop, every man and woman felt the horror of 
their situation. The first impulse with some was to 



SARAH BUCHANAN. 



723 



surrender, and it is related of one woman that she 
instantly gathered her five children and attempted to 
go with them to the gate to yield themselves to the 
Indians. Mrs. Buchanan seized her by the shoulder, 
and asked her where she was going. 

" To surrender myself and children to the Indians 
if I don't they'll kill us any how," exclaimed the terri- 
fied woman. " Come back," said Mrs. Buchanan, 
" and let us all fight and die together." An old man 
who waked up as it were in a dream, seemed paralyzed, 
and exclaimed in a plaintive voice " Oh, we shall all 
be murdered !" 

" Get up then and go to fighting !" exclaimed Mrs. 
Buchanan ; " I'd be ashamed to sit crouched up there 
when any one else is fighting. Better die nobly than 
live shamefully !" 

In the meantime Major Buchanan had arranged his 
men in the block-houses so as to rake the Indians by 
a flank fire, and was pouring a galling fire into the 
head of the assaulting column. Yet nothing dismayed, 
the daring foe crowded against the gates, their blows 
falling faster and heavier, while now and then they 
attempted to scale the pickets. At length, unable to 
do this or to force open the well-barred and ponderous 
gate, the bold warriors advanced to the block-houses, 
and standing before them, pointed their guns in at the 
port holes ; both sides sometimes at the same instant 
firing through the same opening. It was the policy 
of Major Buchanan to impress upon them the idea 
that the fort contained a large garrison. To do this it 



724 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

was necessary for his men to fire their guns often, and 
occasionally in volleys. At this crisis the whisper 
went round " All is lost. Our bullets are out !" But 
there were guardian angels whom these brave men 
knew not of. Scarcely had the words been spoken, 
when Mrs. Buchanan passed around with an apronful 
of bullets, which she and Nancy Mulherrin, the 
Major's sister, had moulded during the fight out of her 
plates and spoons. At the same time she gave to each 
of the tired soldiers some brandy which she carried in a 
pewter basin. During the contest they had thus mould- 
ed three hundred bullets. Not without their fun were 
these hardy men in this hour of peril. In order to 
keep up a show of good spirits, they frequently cried 
out to the Indians, " Shoot bullets, you squaws ! Why 
don't you put powder in your guns?" This was under- 
stood, for Watts and many others spoke very good Eng- 
lish, and they replied by daring them to come out and 
fight like men. In the midst of these banterings, Mrs. 
Buchanan discovered a large blunderbuss which had been 
standing in a corner during the fight and had not been 
discharged, and gave it to an Irishman named O'Connor 
to fire off. In telling the story afterwards the Irish- 
man said : " An' she gave me the wide-mouthed fusee 
and bade me to shoot that at the blasted creeturs, and 
Jimmy O'Connor he took the fusee, and he pulled the 
trigger when the rest fired, for three or four times, and 
loaded her again every time, and so ye see, yer honor, 
when I pulled the trigger again, the fusee went off, it 
did, and Jimmy O'Connor went under the bed." This 



SARAH BUCHANAN. 725 

unequal contest lasted for four long hours, and when 
the first blush of morning began to appear in the East, 
most of the chiefs were killed or wounded. The boast- 
ful Shawnee was transfixed in death, leaning against 
the gate which he had so valorously assaulted ; the 
White Owl's son and Unacate, or the White-man-killer, 
were mortally wounded, and the blood-thirsty John 
Watts was borne off on a litter, shot through both legs. 
During this protracted fight Mrs. Buchanan aided 
the defenders by words and deeds, as if life or death 
depended upon the efforts which she was then making. 
She knew, and all knew, that if the assault could be 
repelled for four hours, relief would come from the neigh- 
boring posts. Foiled, discouraged, their leaders disabled, 
this formidable army of savage warriors precipitately 
retreated towards their country, bearing off most of 
their wounded, yet leaving many dead upon the field. 
This was the first formidable invasion of Cumberland 
Valley, and its tide was rolled back as much by the 
presence of mind and heroic firmness of Sarah Bu- 
chanan and Nancy Mulherrin, as by the rifles of their 
husbands and friends. The fame of this gallant de- 
fence went abroad, and the young wife of Major Bu- 
chanan was celebrated as the greatest heroine of the 
West. From 1780 to 1796, there was not a year in 
which her family had not been exposed to peril, in 
which of course she was a partaker. 



LVII. 

NANCY VAN ALSTINE. 

NANCY, the daughter of Peter and Sarah Quack- 
inbush, was born in the vicinity of Canajoharie, 
about the year 1733. She was a descendant of one 
of the brothers Q,uackinbush who came from Holland 
some time in the seventeenth century, having pur- 
chased a tract of land, on which, as is supposed, a 
large portion of the business part of the city of New 
York was afterwards built. They were, however, de- 
prived of their rights by some English adventurers 
whose shrewdness and knowledge of business enabled 
them to take advantage over the Hollanders, imper- 
fectly acquainted with the language, and unaccus- 
tomed to business transactions. The title was found 
invalid, and the new settlers in New Amsterdam were 
compelled to resign their possessions to those who had 
no just claim upon them. After this the brothers sepa- 
rated, and the grandfather of the subject of this sketch 
removed to the wild but inviting region of the Mo- 
hawk Valley. Peter, the father of Nancy, was among 
the early settlers of this country, and did not escape 
the difficulties many of them were forced to encounter. 



NANCY VAN ALSTINE. 727 

FTe pursued for many years the business of a trader 
with the Indians, and spent a large portion of his time 
in travelling to and from the aboriginal settlements 
his line lying chiefly upon the Susquehanna. The 
Indians placed the utmost confidence in him, fre- 
quently applying to him for advice, and as it occasion- 
ally happened that he had a full supply of goods when 
other traders had disposed of all their stock for he 
made a practice of providing himself with an extra 
supply of the most saleable articles .-they imagined 
that he was peculiarly under the care of the good 
Spirit who gives abundance to those whom he favors. 
Their kind feelings towards their white brother who 
" always had something left for the Indian," disposed 
them to bestow on him some particular mark of re- 
gard, and after a meeting for consultation, they de- 
cided on giving him the name of Otsego, and chris- 
tening the lake for him. The ceremony of naming 
both him and the lake was performed by pouring liquor 
upon his head as he knelt on the ground, a portion 
being afterwards poured into the water. It is probable 
that few are acquainted with this origin of the name 
of Otsego Lake ; but the family tradition has been 
confirmed by the recollection of some who witnessed 
the occurrence. 

The mother of Nancy belonged to the Wimple family, 
considered one of the mosb respectable Dutch families 
in the valley. The Brouks and Gansevorts were near 
connections, and for some time the daughter was an 
inmate of the family of John Brouk of Coxsackie, re 



728 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

ceiving while there all the instruction in the English 
language she ever had. Schools were not common 
among the Dutch settlers, on account of the distance 
between their farms, and Nancy never enjoyed any 
advantages of this kind ; but possessing superior men- 
tal powers and a disposition to study, she acquired 
what in those days was considered a good education. 
She read Dutch with ease, and had her memory well 
stored from the best of all books the Bible. The 
customs were simple among that primitive people, and 
they had a natural dislike to innovation. English was 
not spoken ; a Yankee was suspected and shunned, and 
a general prejudice existed against strangers, which it 
required a long acquaintance to overcome. In business 
transactions, as verbal agreements were always held 
sacred, and no writing was necessary among them, it 
was but natural that they should dread being outwit- 
ted by more crafty dealers. The women were of the 
class described by a distinguished chronicler, who 
" stayed at home, read the Bible, and wore pockets." 
Miss Quackinbush was distinguished among them, not 
only for remarkable beauty of person and a fine voice, 
but for her intellectual superiority, her more cultivated 
manners, and a certain pride of bearing common in 
some of the more ancient families. She had the influ- 
ence over all with whom she associated inseparable 
from a strong cast of character, was looked up to by 
all her youthful companions, and so generally admired 
that she was for some years known through that region 
as the belle of the Mohawk. To these attractive qual- 




THE FIGHT AT LEXINGTON. 



NANCY VAN ALSTINE. 729 

ities she joined great industry and ingenuity ; she 
gained the prize among all competitors in the knitting, 
spinning and weaving match, and moreover was perfect 
mistress of needlework in all its branches an accom- 
plishment of importance at that time, when all articles 
of male and female attire were of domestic manufac- 
ture. At the age of eighteen she was married to 
Martin, J. Van Alstine, also a descendant of a Holland 
family who had settled in the valley of the Mohawk. 
It was probably an ancestor of his who was murdered 
by the Indians early in the French war Eva, the 
wife of Jacob Van Alstine, who then resided in the 
valley.* While riding along the road, her little daugh- 
ter in her arms, she stopped to open a swing gate, and 
was fired on and killed by the savages. The child was 
taken to Canada, returned after long captivity, and in 
1843 was living, at the age of near a century, with 
her nephew, J. C. Van Alstine, at Auriesville, Mont- 
gomery County. 

The young people, immediately on their marriage, 
removed to the Van Alstine family mansion in the 
neighborhood, which was their home for nearly thirty 
years. Their residence here was marked by much 
suffering from Indian hostility. The valley of the 
Mohawk, one of the richest agricultural districts in the 
country, and one of the most populous at the period of 
the Revolution, presented an inviting aspect to the 
plundering savages and the refugees who shared a 
precarious subsistence among them and in the wilds of 
* History of Schoharie County. 



730 WOMEN OP THE REVOLUTION. 

Canada. Scarcely any other section was so frequently 
invaded and overrun by the enemy. Month after 
month during seven years its villages and settlements 
were attacked or destroyed by the relentless foe, its 
farms laid waste, and the inhabitants driven from their 
homes, or killed and captured. The settlers in this 
particular neighborhood were few, and were obliged to 
band together for their mutual defence, forming parties 
to serve as scouts through the country, for the travel- 
ler from place to place was liable to attack in the 
lonely forest, or to a bullet or arrow aimed from the 
covert of rocks or bushes. Mr. Van Alstine was thus 
compelled to be much from his home, where none but 
females were left in his absence, except an old domes- 
tic, whose extreme fear of the savages prevented his 
being of any service. Mrs. Van Alstine, however, had 
a knowledge of the Indian language, which gave her 
great advantages, and her natural sagacity and tact, 
with her intimate acquaintance with their peculiarities 
of character, enabled her on several occasions to pro- 
tect her family. Her hospitality was always freely 
extended to all who claimed it, although the enter- 
tainment of a savage was often not without risk from 
others who might be lurking close at hand. Many 
incidents might be mentioned illustrating the dangers 
of this border life, but it is necessary to record merely 
a few which concern the family of our heroine, and 
exhibit her courage and firmness. 

During the summer of 1778, the Indians and tories 
being sufficiently employed in the destruction of 



NANCY VAN ALSTINE. 731 

Wyoming and Cherry Valley, the Mohawk Valley 
remained unmolested, with the exception of a descent 
upon the German Flats. In the spring of 1779, G-en. 
Clinton moved up the Mohawk and encamped at 
Canajoharie, and in this summer also little mischief 
was done. But in the spring of 1780 the Indians 
again appeared, infuriated at the destruction of their 
villages, and eager to wreak vengeance on the unoffend- 
ing inhabitants. In August, Brant, with an army of 
Indians and loyalists, burst upon the defenceless settle- 
ments, plundering, killing, burning and desolating the 
country ; while in the autumn Sir John Johnson ravaged 
the north side of the river. Thus the destruction of the 
Mohawk settlements was almost complete, and if here 
and there a small one escaped, it afforded but a tem- 
porary shelter, being likely to be destroyed by the 
next storm that should sweep over the land. 

While the enemy, stationed at Johnstown, were 
laying waste the country, parties continually going 
about to murder the inhabitants and burn their dwell- 
ings, the neighborhood in which Mrs. Van Alstine 
lived remained in comparative quiet, though the 
settlers trembled as each sun arose, lest his setting 
beams should fall on their ruined homes. Most of the 
men were absent, and when at length intelligence 
came that the destroyers were approaching, the people 
were a.most distracted with terror. Mrs. Van Alstine 
called her neighbors together, endeavored to calm their 
fears, and advised them to make immediate arrange- 
ments for removing to an island belonging to hei hus 



732 WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 

band near the opposite side of the river. She knew 
that the spoilers would be in too great haste to make 
any attempt to cross, and thought if some articles 
were removed, they might be induced to suppose the 
inhabitants gone to a greater distance. The seven 
families in the neighborhood were in a few hours upon 
the island, having taken with them many things neces- 
sary for their comfort during a short stay. Mrs. Van 
Alstine remained herself to the last, then crossed in 
the boat, helping to draw it far up on the beach. 
Scarcely had they secreted themselves before they 
heard the dreaded warwhoop, and descried the Indians 
in the distance. It was not long before one and 
another saw the homes they loved in flames. "When 
the savages came to Van Alstine's house, they were 
about to fire that also, but the chief, interfering, 
informed them that Sir John would not be pleased if 
that house were burned the owner having extended 
civilities to the baronet before the commencement of 
hostilities. " Let the old wolf keep his den," he said, 
and the house was left unmolested. The talking of 
the Indians could be distinctly heard from the island, 
and Mrs. Van Alstine rejoiced that she was thus enabled 
to give shelter to the houseless families who had fled 
with her. The fugitives, however, did not deem it 
prudent to leave their place of concealment for several 
days, the smoke seen in different directions too plainly 
indicating that the work of devastation was going on. 
It was this company of Indians that destroyed the 
family of Mr. Fonda. 



WANCY VAN ALSTINE. 733 

The destitute families remained at Van Alstine's 
house till it was deemed prudent to rebuild their 
homes. Later in the following autumn an incident 
occurred which brought much trouble upon them. 
Three men from the neighborhood of Canajoharie, who 
had deserted the whig cause and joined the British, 
came back from Canada as spies, and were detected 
and apprehended. Their execution followed ; two 
were shot, and one, a bold, adventurous fellow, named 
Harry Harr, was hung in Mr. Van Alstine's orchard 
Their prolonged absence causing some uneasiness to 
their friends in Canada, some Indians were sent to 
reconnoitre and learn something of them. It happened 
that they arrived on the day of Harr's execution, 
which they witnessed from a neighboring hill. They 
returned immediately with the information, and a 
party was despatched it is said by Brant to revenge 
the death of the spies upon the inhabitants. Their 
continued shouts of " Aha, Harry Harr !" while 
engaged in pillaging and destroying, showed that such 
was their purpose. In their progress of devastation, 
they came to the house of Van Alstine, where no 
preparations had been made for defence, the family 
not expecting an attack, or not being aware of the 
near approach of the enemy. Mrs. Van Alstine was 
personally acquainted with Brant, and it may have 
been owing to this circumstance that the members of 
the family were not killed or carried away as prisoners. 
The Indians came upon them by surprise, entered the 
nouse without ceremony, and plundered and destroyed 



734 



WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION. 



everything in their way. Mrs. Yan Alstine saw hei 
most valued articles, brought from Holland, broken 
one after another, till the house was strewed with 
fragments. As they passed a large mirror without 
demolishing it, she hoped it might be saved ; but pre- 
sently two of the savages led in a colt from the stable, 
and the glass being laid in the hall, compelled the 
animal to walk over it. The beds which they could 
not carry away they ripped open, shaking out the 
feathers and taking the ticks with them. They also 
took all the clothing. One young Indian, attracted 
by the brilliancy of a pair of inlaid buckles on the 
shoes of the aged grandmother seated in the corner, 
rudely snatched them from her feet, tore off the 
buckles, and flung the shoes in her face. Another 
took her shawl from her neck, threatening to kill her 
if resistance were offered. The eldest daughter, seeing 
a young savage carrying off a basket containing a hat 
and cap her father had brought her from Philadelphia, 
and which she highly prized, followed him, snatched 
her basket, and after a struggle succeeded in pushing 
him down. She then fled to a pile of hemp and hid 
herself, throwing the basket into it as far as she could. 
The other Indians gathered round, and as the young 
one rose clapped their hands, shouting " Brave girl !" 
while he skulked away to escape their derision. Dur- 
ing the struggle Mrs. Van Alstine had called to her 
daughter to give up the contest ; but she insisted that 
her basket should not be taken. Having gone through 
the house, the intruders went up to the kitchen cham- 



NANCY VAN ALSTINE. 735 

her, where a quantity of cream in large jars had been 
brought from the dairy, and threw the jars down stairs, 
covering the floor with their contents. They then 
broke the window glass throughout the house, and 
unsatisfied with the plunder they had collected, bribed 
a man servant by the promise of his clothes and a 
portion of the booty to show them where some articles 
had been hastily secreted. Mrs. Van Alstine had just 
finished cutting out winter clothing for her family 
which consisted of her mother-in-law, her husband and 
twelve children, with two black servants and had 
stowed it away in barrels. The servant treacherously 
disclosed the hiding place, and the clothing was soon 
added to the rest of the booty. Mrs. Van Alstine 
reproached the man for his perfidy, which she assured 
him would be punished, not rewarded by the savages, 
and her words were verified ; for after they had forced 
him to assist in securing their plunder, they bound 
him and put him in one of their wagons,