Women's contributions to our country's independence are not often acknowledged. As we celebrate the 4th of July and the birth of our country, see how many of the Revolutionary War she-roes you can match with her accomplishment (answers at the end):
_____ 1. At sixteen years old, she rides horseback at night through the rain knocking on farmhouse doors for forty miles, warning that the British are coming.
_____ 2. Called the "Mother of the Boston Tea Party", conceives of dressing men as Mohawk Indians; later, rows across the Charles River to deliver a dispatch to General George Washington.
_____ 3. A postmaster, printer and newspaper publisher, she issues the first printed copy of the Declaration of Independence to include the names of all of the signers.
_____ 4. During the negotiations of the Continental Congress, she writes her husband asking the delegates to remember the ladies and give them their civil rights.
_____ 5. Advocates for independence from royal tyranny through her play which is published in a Boston newspaper.
_____ 6. Organizes the women's committee that raises money for General George Washington and his troops in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
A. Abigail Adams
B. Esther DeBerdt Reed
C. Sybil Ludington
D. Mercy Otis Warren
E. Mary Katherine Goddard
F. Sarah Fulton
An active patriot, Sarah Fulton is called the "Mother of the Boston Tea Party." Fulton is credited with conceiving the idea of having the men dress as Mohawk Indians, painting their faces and donning costumes when they boarded the three ships and dumped the tea overboard (1773). Later, she nursed wounded soldiers after the Battle of Bunker Hill. During the Revolutionary War, when a dispatch needed to be sent to General Washington, she rowed across the Charles River to deliver it. The Marquis de Lafayette and the General were both guests in her home. Today, Fulton Street in Medford, Massachusetts is named in her memory.
An early advocate for independence, Mercy Otis Warren was a poet, dramatist and historian. A highly connected woman, Warren became involved in politics (it was highly unusual for a woman to be involved in politics at this point in our country's history). Her satirical play, The Adulateur, published in a Boston newspaper in 1773, advocated for independence from royal tyranny. Warren is credited as being the first female playwright in the U.S. Her 1988 pamphlet Observations on the New Constitution is believed to be the basis of the Bill of Rights. Warren has been inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.
When Mary Katherine Goddard was appointed postmaster in Baltimore, Maryland in 1775, she was probably the first woman appointed to that position in any of the colonies. Goddard also served as a printer and publisher and, in 1777, published the first copy of the Declaration of Independence that included the names of all the signers. She remained as postmaster until 1789, when she was replaced, against her will, with a man who was deemed capable of doing the traveling that the position required - as women "couldn't manage." Later Goddard issued an almanac in her own name and operated a bookstore.
Although Abigail Adams probably wouldn't have considered herself a feminist, in 1776, during the negotiations of the Continental Congress, she wrote her husband, John Adams, and beseeched him and the other delegates to "Remember the Ladies" and to grant them their civil rights. Future President John Adams responded that he had laughed at her saucy letter. She knew of what she wrote; women would not get the right to vote until almost 150 years later. Abigail Adams has been inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.
Called the "female Paul Revere", in 1777, at age sixteen Sybil Ludington rode through Putnam and Duchess Counties, New York at night for forty miles in the rain knocking on farmhouse doors to warn that the British were coming and men were needed for battle. She eluded highway robbers, British soldiers, and British loyalists on her ride. A statue has been erected in her honor and a U.S. postage stamp has been issued commemorating her historic ride.
Although Esther DeBerdt Reed was born in England, after her marriage and relocation to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, she became an ardent "Daughter of Liberty". Her desire to support the Revolutionary War led her to organize a woman's committee to raise money for General Washington's troops. After they had raised more than $7,000 going door-to-door, Washington asked them to sew shirts for his troops; over 2,000 shirts were sewn. After her untimely death in 1780, Benjamin Franklin's daughter continued Reed's efforts.
Learn about more she-roes and celebrate amazing women. These outstanding women are among the more than 850 profiled in the book Her Story: A Timeline of the Women Who Changed America. I salute their accomplishments and treasure the liberties that citizens enjoy in the U.S. today due to their efforts.
(Answers: 1-C, 2-F, 3-E, 4-A, 5-D, 6-B)