Rather than a ordinary post, today I thought it best to honor the sacrifices of those who have come before us to create this fine country of liberty and principles along for those who spend their lives to ensure these values persist. On TV today, there will be plethora of war movies, as there should be, but I think it would be better to tell three stories that you probably haven’t heard of women heroes of the American Revolution
In April 1775, tensions were running high in colonies as colonists stood edge waiting for the British to make the imminent first move of war. Late on April 18th, British soldiers began marching on Lexington and Concord to surprise the militia, but Paul Revere surprised them by riding 20 miles to round up crowds of minutemen to combat them. A few days later, the British marched again to attack under the cover of night, but in Connecticut this time. The colonel of the local militia in Danbury was named Ludington. When news arrived at his home of the impending attack, he could not leave to warn his men, so his 16 year-old daughter, Sybil, took on the duty. Setting out around 9 pm, Sybil covered a staggering 40 miles in rain and mud, doubling Paul Revere’s feat gathering enough men to battle the British forces. Sadly, most of the men arrived too late to ward off the bulk of the soldiers, but they did chase the British far away, taking some out as they left. Sybil realized how late she had arrived home after dodging British soldiers, loyalists and skinners only by the fact that the sun was rising. The British may have gotten away only due to timing, but that does not mean the colonists didn’t teach them something, especially the importance of all patriots, no matter what age or sex.
In September 1777, the British troops controlled Philadelphia and the famous General Howe was stationed there himself. Across from the house where he stayed was a Quaker family named Darragh. They were ordered out of their home for the space to be used by the British army, but the wife and mother, Lydia, on her way to plead with General Howe came across her second cousin, Barrington, now a captain, who vouched for her abstinence from the war and she was able to stay in her home as long as she kept a room prepared for the meetings of British officers. On Dec 2, she was informed that her house would be a meeting for Major John Andre and his subordinates that night when the family was asleep. Curiosity got the better of the housewife and she stashed herself away in a closet where she could hear the officers speaking. Andre reading a paper detailing information obtained by British spies said that the Americans would be moving camp in a few days to Whitemarsh and the British planned a sneak attack to strike them during this transition. Hearing enough, she went back to bed and feigned sleep. Soon after Major Andre came and knocked at her door to wake her so she could see the men out. He had to knock 3 times each at a louder interval before she finally rose seeing them out. The next day she debated if she should tell the Americans or not. As a Quaker, she did not want to get involved in the war, but she knew many men would die if she didn’t. She prayed to God for an answer and soon concocted a plan. She asked the British for permission to head to the countryside town of Frankford for flour, a common request. She walked through snow finally coming to a tavern, where she found a militia man who knew her son. She passed on her information and he promised he would deliver the news to Washington himself. She then returned home with flour while the Americans prepared. The British took notice and could not attack as they had planned. Major Andre came knocking on the Darragh doors soon after to speak to Lydia. He asked if any of the family was awake then to which she replied no. He left imparting the words ”One thing is certain. The enemy had notice of our coming, were prepared for us, and we marched back like a parcel of fools. The walls must have ears.” This was the very general, known for his art of secrets, spies and deception, who would enlist the traitor Benadict Arnold himself. The Quaker housewife had outsmarted the ring leader of spies and saved many American soldiers.
Patience Wright was a gifted artist born and raised in America. She specialized in wax figures, but as they couldn’t stand the heat, she decided to move back to England. When war broke out, she was in a touchy position as she supported her dear America. She was renowned for making wax statues of the king himself and the prime minister. She was an open patriot though, and eventually fell from the king’s grace. That didn’t stop her from helping America from England, though. She would gather what information she could and pass it on to the Continental Army through notes she stashed in wax figures she sent to the colonies. She also joined other patriots in England in freeing American prisoners being kept in London. She was invaluable to the American cause as a patriot behind enemy lines.
Now you know that women did not just sit on the sidelines and supply men with basic material to fight. They were spies, fighters among other things. Some fought along side their husbands while others were medics on the field, but either way, we salute those who have sacrificed for the greatness that our country was established under. Happy Memorial Day.