Penelope Pagett Barker

Inspired by the Boston Tea Party, Barker organized a protest of her own in Edenton, North Carolina. Tired of taxation without representation by the British, she went door to door, inciting women of the town to support a boycott of English tea and other products. At the Edenton Tea Party on October 25, 1774, Barker and fifty other women signed a protest statement.

Penelope Pagett was born on June 17, 1728, in Edenton, North Carolina, to Elizabeth Blount and Dr. Samuel Pagett. Her father’s death, quickly followed by her sister’s death, thrust adult responsibilities on the girl. While still a teen, Penelope became a mother to Elizabeth’s two children and took over management of the family plantation.

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Mary Philipse

George Washington’s First Love

Daughter of Frederick Philipse III, Mary Philipse was born at the Manor Hall, on July 3, 1730. Her father, whose family emigrated to Manhattan in the mid-17th Century from Holland, was lord of the manor of Philipsburgh, and owned an immense landed estate on the Hudson River at present-day Yonkers. He also served as Speaker of the New York Colonial Assembly.

George Washington was a Virginia Colonel, 24 years of age, who had just won his first laurels on the field of battle. On his way to Boston to meet General Shirley, he stopped in New York and called at the house of Colonel Beverly Robinson, one of Washington’s friends from Virginia.

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Rebecca Bryan Boone

Frontierswoman and Wife of Daniel Boone

Rebecca Bryan was born in Virginia on January 9, 1738, to Joseph Bryan, Sr. and Alee Linville. When she was 10, Rebecca moved with her Quaker family to the Yadkin River valley in the western Piedmont region of North Carolina. Daniel Boone was born in Pennsylvania in 1734, and his family settled near the Bryans in 1750, when Daniel was 15.

Rebecca and Daniel began their courtship in 1753, and married three years later on August 14, 1756. Their marriage lasted fifty-six years, and they had ten children – six sons and four daughters. The new Mr. and Mrs. Boone didn’t have their own cabin, so they stayed with his folks until they built their own cabin on Sugar Tree Creek. Shortly after they moved into their new home, their first child was born.

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Catherine Schuyler

Dutch Woman of New York
Wife of General Philip Schuyler

Catharine Van Rensselaer was born in 1734, the only daughter of John Van Rensselaer, who was called Patroon (landholder) of Greenbush, and was noted for his hospitality, and for his kindness toward the tenants of his vast estates. Catherine was the great-great-granddaughter of Killian Van Rensselaer, the original founder of the Dutch colony, named Rensselaerswyck, in the Albany region of eastern New York.

Philip Schuyler was born in Albany on November 11, 1733, into an old aristocratic Dutch family, one of the colony’s largest landholders. He received an excellent education. After commanding a company of New York militia in the French and Indian War, he managed the large estate left him by his father in the Mohawk and Hudson River valleys.

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Nancy Ward

Nanyehi / Nancy Ward: Cherokee Woman

From the English rendition of Nanyehi, One Who Goes About, named for the mythological Spirit People, Nanyehi was a major Cherokee figure of the Southern frontier who became an almost legendary person due largely to her queenly manner and resolute personality. In her youth, Nanyehi had the nickname Tsistunagiska, Wild Rose, from the delicate texture of her skin which was likened to rose petals.

Nanyehi (nan yay hee) was born into a powerful family of the Wolf clan about 1738 at Chota, near Fort Loudon in eastern Tennessee. Her father was Fivekiller, a Cherokee-Delaware man, and her mother was Tame Deer, the sister of Chief Attakullakulla. Nanyehi’s childhood was one of constant terror, as warfare with European settlers and with other tribes meant that no day passed without the threat of violence.

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Mercy Otis Warren

America’s First Female Playwright and Historian

Image: Young Mercy Otis Warren

Mercy Otis Warren was an American writer and playwright, known as the Conscience of the American Revolution. Her proximity to political leaders and events of her day, gives particular value to her writing on the American Revolutionary period. With a life that spanned three wars and the deaths of three sons and a husband, Warren remained undeterred in her pursuit of the intellectual life.

Mercy Otis was born on September 25, 1728 in Barnstable, Massachusetts – on Cape Cod. Naturally political, she involved herself from girlhood in the conversations of the men in her family. Her father encouraged her to excel, which in colonial America meant she was tutored with her Harvard-bound brother James. But for Mercy a college education was impossible.

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Sarah Shelton Henry

Wife of Patrick Henry

Image: Patrick Henry: American Patriot

Though he was not present for the signing of the Constitution, Patrick Henry was pivotal in galvanizing the Virginia colonists to action during the American Revolution. Along with Samuel Adams and Thomas Paine, he was one of the most influential advocates of the American Revolution, especially in his denunciations of corruption in government officials and his defense of historic rights.

On May 29, 1736, Patrick Henry was born at Studley, in Hanover County, Virginia, the second son of John Henry and his wife, Sarah Winston Henry, and one of eleven children. Two children died at young ages, leaving two sons and seven daughters in the family.

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Jane Randolph Jefferson

Mother of Thomas Jefferson

Image: Shadwell Plantation
Home of Jane and Peter Jefferson and birthplace of Thomas Jefferson. On February 1, 1770, a fire destroyed the plantation house, and Thomas Jefferson built a substantial, but smaller dwelling for his mother Jane and his siblings at Shadwell, which then became part of the Monticello Plantation. The mill at Shadwell (pictured left) began to operate after the canal that enslaved men had worked on for so many years was finally completed. Moses, a slave hired from Caroline County, was the miller.

According to the Jefferson family bible, Jane Randolph was born February 20, 1720, in Shadwell Parish, London. The parish register of St. Paul’s notes her baptism on February 25, 1721, as the daughter of Isham Randolph, mariner of Shakespeare’s Walk, and Jane Rogers Jefferson. The Randolphs left London shortly thereafter, and were in Virginia by October 1725, when Jane’s sister, Mary, was born in Williamsburg.

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Marguerite Kanenstenhawi / Eunice Williams

Captured at the Deerfield Massacre

Image: Depiction of Eunice Being Led Away from Deerfield
Eunice’s captor hurried her toward the north gate
Illustration copyright Francis Back

Eunice Williams was born in Deerfield, Massachusetts, on September 17, 1696, the daughter of Puritan minister the Reverend John Williams and his wife Eunice Mather Williams. The girl who would grow up to become the most famous “unredeemed captive” had a conventional New England Puritan upbringing until the age of seven. Her family’s wealth and prominence made her early life a bit more privileged than that of other young Deerfield girls, and her fate as an adopted Kanienkehaka (Mohawk) better known.

On February 29, 1704, in the pre-dawn hours, a force of about 300 French and Native allies launched a daring raid on the English settlement of Deerfield, Massachusetts, that became known as the Deerfield Massacre.

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Mary Ball Washington

Mother of George Washington

Mary Ball Washington, the mother of George Washington, was an intrepid 18th century woman who raised five children alone. The oldest became the first President of the United States. George Washington paid his last visit to his mother at the house in Fredericksburg in April 1789, en route to New York for his inauguration.

Early Life
Mary Ball was born in 1708 in Lancaster County, Virginia. She was the only child of Joseph Ball and his second wife, Mary Johnson. Joseph died a few years after his daughter was born, and soon after, Mary Johnson Ball married Richard Hewes.

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