Lady Stirling

Wife of General William Alexander

Image: Lady Stirling
Sarah Livingston Alexander

Sarah Livingston was born in October 1725, the daughter of Philip and Catharine Van Brugh Livingston and a member of that prominent Hudson Valley family. Her brother Philip was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and her brother William was Governor of New Jersey.

William Alexander was born in 1726 in New York City. His father, James Alexander, was a Jacobite who emigrated to America in 1715. William received an excellent education, and was especially proficient in mathematics and astronomy. He became a lawyer, and held various public offices.

Read Article

Molly Stark

Wife of General John Stark

Image: Molly Stark Statue
One of Wilmington, Vermont’s most prominent landmarks is the statue of Revolutionary War heroine Molly Stark. Her descendants donated the statue to mark the center of the Molly Stark Trail, which crosses southern Vermont and is thought to be the route taken by General Stark on his victory march home from the Battle of Bennington. To confuse the enemy, General Stark referred to the route they were taking as the Molly Stark Trail, and it is identified as such on the official Vermont Highway Map.

Early Years
Elizabeth (Molly) Page was born February 16, 1737, in Haverhill, Massachusetts. Around 1755, she moved with her family to Dunbarton, New Hampshire. Her father, Caleb Page, was the first postmaster of New Hampshire.

Read Article

Sarah Kast McGinnis

Loyalist in the American Revolution

Image: Sarah Kast McGinnis Historical Marker
Bath, Ontario, Canada

Sarah Kast was born near German Flats, New York, in 1713, the daughter of Palatine Germans who were brought to America by England’s Queen Anne in the early 1700s. Her father, Johann Georg Kast, was born in German Palatine; her mother, Anna Margaretha Feg, in Idar Oberstein Germany.

The family arrived in New York City in 1710, and settled in the frontier of the Mohawk River Valley west of Albany, NY, and opened a trading post. Sarah grew up with the Mohawk, sometimes all the children would go to the swimming hole together and play. She knew their language.

Read Article

Anna Keyes Knowlton

Wife of Patriot Thomas Knowlton

Image: Thomas Knowlton

Anna Keyes was born April 5, 1759. Thomas Knowlton was born November 22, 1740 in West Boxford, Massachusetts. When Knowlton was eight years old, his father moved the family to Ashford, Connecticut, where they lived on a farm of 400 acres.

In 1755 at the age of 15, Thomas enlisted in the English army and fought under Major Israel Putnam in the French and Indian War for four years, and achieved rank of Lieutenant by age 20. In 1762, he participated in the Battle of Havana in Cuba, and was lucky enough to survive. (Of Israel Putnam’s Company of 107 men, only 20 returned home, due mostly to tropical diseases). Returning to Ashford, Connecticut, Thomas farmed with his father.

Read Article

Betsy Dowdy

American Patriot and Paul Revere of North Carolina

Image: A wild Banker pony
On the Outer Banks of North Carolina

On the northernmost coast of North Carolina there is a string of sandy islands called the Outer Banks. Betsy Dowdy lived on Currituck Banks there, in the northeastern corner of North Carolina, ten miles south of the Virginia border, bounded by Currituck Sound and the Atlantic Ocean. Betsy had a Banker Pony named Black Bess.

Banker Ponies
On the northernmost coast of North Carolina there is a string of sandy islands called the Outer Banks. In the remote regions of those islands, wild ponies roam free. Banker Ponies are actually horses, but they are referred to as ponies because they are smaller than most horses, standing at about 14 hands.

Read Article

Elizabeth Wells Adams

Second Wife of Patriot Samuel Adams

Image: Samuel Adams
John Singleton Copley, Artist

Samuel Adams was an American statesman, politician, writer, and political philosopher, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Adams was instrumental in garnering the support of the colonies for rebellion against Great Britain, eventually resulting in the American Revolution, and was also one of the key architects of the principles of American republicanism that shaped American political culture. Samuel Adams is sometimes called the Father of the American Revolution, because of his early stand against the tyranny of Great Britain, and his speeches and writings that drew many American colonists into the fight for freedom.

Samuel Adams was born September 27, 1722, in Boston to Mary Fifield and Samuel Adams, Sr, their tenth child. He attended Boston Latin School, and received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Harvard University. In 1748, his father died, and Sam Adams, as he was called, inherited the family brewery and a sizable estate. Within ten years, he had spent and mismanaged most of it, to the point where creditors attempted to seize his home. By 1760, Adams was bankrupt and working as a Boston tax collector.

Read Article

Margaret Kemble Gage

Wife of British General Thomas Gage

Image: Margaret Kemble Gage
By John Singleton Copley
Margaret began to sit for Copley within three days of his arrival in New York City in 1771. She is depicted wearing an iridescent caftan over a lace trimmed chemise with a jeweled brooch and an embroidered belt. Pearls and a turban-like swath of drapery adorn her hair. Her sleeves are held up with ropes of pearls and her hair is wrapped in a length of green silk fashioned as a turban. Her languid and informal pose, shockingly different from the upright posture of Copley’s Boston sitters, underscores the sensuality of the image.

Margaret Kemble was born into a well-known family in East Brunswick, New Jersey, in 1734. Her father, Peter Kemble, was a wealthy merchant and politician; her grandfather was Stephanus Van Cortlandt, the Mayor of New York. Margaret was related through her mother, Gertrude Bayard, to the Van Rensselaers, the de Lanceys, and other leading New York families. Her ethnic lineage included English, Greek, Dutch, and French ancestors, making her rather exotic for her day. She was considered a beautiful and intelligent woman.

Read Article

Prudence Cummings Wright

American Patriot and Minutewoman

Image: Battle of Lexington
First battle of the Revolutionary War

Prudence Cummings was born November 26, 1740, at Dunstable, Massachusetts, the daughter of Samuel and Prudence Lawrence Cummings. She was raised in a household that freely discussed politics, and not all shared the same opinions. Prudence married David Wright of Pepperell, Massachusetts, on December 28, 1761 and settled in Pepperell. For the next fourteen years, Prudence helped her husband, cared for her children, and was a leader among the young matrons of the town.

Patriots and Tories
There were two parties in the colonies: Whigs and Tories. The Whigs (Patriots) were in sympathy with democratic ideals and insisted upon representation for the colonies. The Tories included those whose sympathies were with the king, the clergy of the established church and others associated with the English government. Some supported the king simply because he was king, while disapproving of his methods.

Read Article

Elizabeth Steele

Steele gives Greene two bags of coins

Patriot of the Revolutionary War

After the Battle of Cowpens, South Carolina (January 17, 1781), Patriot General Nathanael Greene was trying to gather and equip his scattered army to attack and defeat British general Charles Cornwallis. General Greene had ridden alone toward Salisbury, North Carolina and arrived at an inn late at night, declaring to a friend there that he was “fatigued, hungry, alone and penniless!” Innkeeper Elizabeth Steele overheard his comment.

After serving the general a hearty meal, Elizabeth Steele gave the general two bags of gold and silver, perhaps her earnings of years. With Steele’s help, Greene went on to unravel British control of the South, while leading Cornwallis toward Yorktown, Virginia, where Cornwallis surrendered on October 19, 1781. This surrender eventually led the British government to negotiate an end to the Revolutionary War, resulting in independence for the new United States.

Read Article

Flora MacDonald

Loyalist Woman of the American Revolution

Off the western coast of Scotland lie many islands known as the Hebrides; the group farthest to the northwest is called the Outer Hebrides, and three of these islands were North Uist, South Uist, and Benbecula – west of the Isle of Skye. Flora MacDonald was born in 1722 in Milton, South Uist, to a well-placed family in the MacDonald clan. Flora was brought up on Skye, and received some education – the young people of the island were gathered into conveniently placed schools at various points, where a teacher from the mainland gave instruction.

Image: Flora MacDonald
Painting by Allan Ramsay

Flora’s father had died in 1724; four years later, her mother married Hugh MacDonald, a member of the same clan, though only a distant relative; and he lived at Armadale on Skye. Then arose the question whether Flora should remain with her brother Angus in Uist, or go with her mother to Skye. Flora was given her choice, and decided firmly: “I will stay at Milton because I love it, till my dear Mama comes back to me.”

Read Article