Heroine of Groton and American Patriot
Born Anna Warner on October 11, 1758, in Groton, Connecticut, she was orphaned at an early age, and went to live with her Grandmother Mills on a farm at Candlewood Hill, where she helped her uncle, Edward Mills, with the crops and animals. She was unusually tall and strong for a girl. When the American Revolution began, Anna longed to fight the despised Tories.
During the Revolutionary War, New London harbor on the Thames River was home port for many privately owned armed ships that preyed upon British supply vessels and merchant ships. The privateers were licensed by the State of Connecticut according to the rules established by Congress. Each year they increased in number and captured more British shipping.
American Frontier Woman
Anne Hennis Trotter Bailey is known as Mad Anne for her acts of bravery and heroism that were considered to be somewhat eccentric for a woman of her time. She worked as a frontier scout and messenger during the Revolutionary War.
Anne Hennis was born in Liverpool England in 1742. She was formally educated and learned to read and write. Both of her parents had died by the time she turned 18; Ann was poor and had a hard time earning enough money to survive. When she was 19, she sailed to America, and lived with relatives in Virginia near Staunton in the Shenandoah Valley. Anne married Richard Trotter, a seasoned frontiersman and experienced soldier, in 1765, and had one son named William.
Wife of Italian American Patriot
Maria Hautefeuille was born into an established family in Calais, France. Being very willful in her youth, she ran away from home and went to London, where she adopted the name Petronille and married Joseph Martin. Philip Mazzei (pronounced: maht-say) was born in 1730 near Florence, Italy, and practiced surgery briefly.
In 1764, Mazzei rented a large house in London – planning to use the ground floor as a shop, to live on the second floor, to rent out the third floor furnished, and the fourth unfurnished. Before he could rent the upper floors of his four-story house, Mazzei had to have the rooms re-papered. A young man named Joseph Martin was sent by the wallpaper manufacturer to take charge of the job. After he had finished, he asked if he might rent the top floor. It was agreed, and he, his wife, and small daughter Maria Margherita moved in.
Philip Mazzei Portrait
By Jacques-Louis David (1790)
Soon after the Martin family moved in Mrs. Martin gave birth to a son, who died at the age of ten months, and poor Martin, overcome with grief, died shortly after, toward the end of the year 1764. During the year of their acquaintance Mazzei had become intensely fond of the Martin family, and Martin had begun to look upon Mazzei as his dearest friend. On his deathbed, he begged Mazzei to look after his widow and his little daughter. This Mazzei promised to do.
Patriot in the American Revolution
Image: Sketch of the Old Chelsea Mansion
Charity Clarke was born June 28, 1747. Her father, Major Thomas Clarke, was a retired British veteran of the French and Indian War. He named his property in lower Manhattan Chelsea – at the time a country estate – for the soldiers’ hospital near London, and thus gave a name to the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City. The Clarke estate encompassed the area that is now 18th to 24th Streets between Eighth and Tenth Avenues in Manhattan. The Chelsea mansion was located at what is now Eighth Avenue and West 23rd Street, and Charity inherited the entire estate.
In her early 20s, Charity Clarke was a young New York City woman with strong opinions about the growing tensions caused by Great Britain’s tightening grip on the American colonies. Between 1768 and 1774, she wrote a series of letters to her cousin Joseph Jekyll, a London lawyer. These letters show her disdain for the policies of the English Monarchy and her growing sense of patriotism in the period leading up to the American Revolution.
Women Who Sacrificed Comfort for Independence
The Daughters of Liberty displayed their loyalty by supporting the nonimportation of British goods during the American Revolution. They refused to drink British tea and used their skills to weave yarn and wool into cloth, which made America less dependent on British textiles. The most zealous Daughters refused to receive gentleman callers who were not sympathetic to the patriot cause.
Image: Abigail Adams Monument
Boston Women’s Memorial
It is not in the still calm of life that great characters are formed. The habits of a vigorous mind are formed in contending with difficulties. Great necessities call out great virtues.
~ Abigail Adams
The Revolutionary War brought women into many new causes. Although women’s organizations had begun to appear in the late 1600s, it was not until the mid 1700s that these organizations involved politics. The Daughters of Liberty proved that women’s involvement in politics could be beneficial to the country. They were relevant in the shaping of our American history.
Wife and Sister of American Patriots
Image: The Boston Tea Party
Sarah Bradlee was born on December 24, 1740, in Dorchester, Massachusetts – Boston’s largest and most populous neighborhood. On July 25, 1762, Sarah married John Fulton, and they moved to Medford, Massachusetts. The couple often visited Sarah’s brother, Nathaniel Bradlee, in Boston. Nathaniel’s support of American independence was well known. His carpenter shop and his kitchen – where friends and neighbors gathered to enjoy his codfish suppers – were meeting places for Boston’s most devoted patriots.
Medford was also the site of some patriotic fervor in the years leading up to the American Revolution. A resolution opposing the Stamp Act was passed by the town of Medford in 1765. In 1774, the town voted against serving “any East Indian Tea in our Families.” That same year when the port of Boston was closed by British law, Medford businesses were hurt, but the town refused to send produce and bricks to Boston until the neighboring towns agreed to do so.
Females Gathered Intelligence for the Patriot Cause
During the Revolutionary War, both the British and American armies recruited women as cooks and maids. With their almost unrestricted access, these women could eavesdrop on conversations in soldiers’ campsites and provide the critical intelligence they gathered to military and civilian leaders. Some reported directly to General George Washington, who came to highly value the information he received from these “agents in place.”
Spying on the Enemy
As their husbands, sons, brothers, fathers and uncles took up arms, these women served as the eyes and ears for military leaders, providing invaluable intelligence information throughout the war. Allied with either the British loyalist or American patriot cause, spy networks sprang up throughout the colonies.
American Women Who Supported the British
Image: Reception of the American Loyalists by Great Britain in 1783, offering solace and a promise of compensation. Engraving by H. Moses.
American colonists who remained loyal to Great Britain during and after the Revolutionary War were termed Loyalists; the Patriots called them Tories. Although Loyalists came from all social classes and occupations, a large number were businessmen and professionals, or officeholders under the crown. They also tended to be foreign born and members of the Church of England. It is estimated that about 20% of the colonial population were Tories. The Patriots enacted harsh laws against the Loyalists and confiscated many of their estates.
Revolutionary War Heroine
When Rebecca Brewton was born June 15, 1737, her family had already lived in the low country of South Carolina for over half a century, and had established themselves as leaders in the Proprietary and Royal governments. Rebecca was the third daughter of Robert Brewton by his second wife, Mary Loughton Brewton. There was also a son, and three children by his first wife.
Rebecca was reared in an atmosphere of security, wealth, and intelligence. Her father was an imposing figure in Charles Town, where he served as church warden for St. Phillip’s Parish and Christ Church Parish, and was captain of one of the two militia companies.
America’s First Sculptor and Revolutionary Spy
Image: Portrait of Patience Lovell Wright
Patience Lovell was born on Long Island in 1725 to well-to-do Quakers, and moved with her family to Bordentown, New Jersey, at age four. Patience discovered her talent for sculpting at an early age. She and her sisters shaped wet flour or clay. When the sculptures were dry, they used plant extracts to paint them.
In 1748, she married Joseph Wright, an elderly Quaker farmer, who was a landowner and spent much of his time away from home taking care of his properties. Patience and Joseph had three children, and for years she amused herself and her children by molding faces out of putty and bread dough.