'Women of the Revolution' Get Their Due

Another righting of history can be seen in the fascinating new online exhibit, Women of the Revolutionary War,  created by the Fraunces Tavern Museum.  

Overlooked by historians, until a generation of feminist scholars uncovered their stories, many women beyond Betsy Ross and Abigail Adams were associated in some way with the Revolutionary War. 

"The heroism of the females of the Revolution has gone from memory with the generation that witnessed it," wrote Charles Francis Adams, grandson of John and Abigail Adams, in 1840, "and nothing, absolutely nothing remains upon the ear of the young of the present day."

Ten women, including Native Americans and African Americans, and even one loyalist spy, are featured in the show. 

Polly Cooper, a member of the Oneida Nation, led 40 warriors with 600 barrels of corn to a Patriot encampment. To deliver these desperately needed supplies, they traveled over 400 miles on foot in the middle of winter, from central New York to Pennsylvania. 

Sarah Bradlee Fulton is credited with the idea of disguising the men of the 1773 Boston Tea Party as Native Americans, then waiting for them at her home where she removed their facepaint and disposed of their disguises. 

There is also the story of Ann Bates, a Philadelphia schoolteacher who turned to spying for the British. Cunning, fearless and knowledgeable about weaponry, she was even able to penetrate Washington’s headquarters.

Included too is the more well-known story of Margaret Corbin who followed her husband to war. In a battle at Fort Washington in northern Manhattan, she took over the job of firing the cannon after he was killed.

The Maryland woman who printed the Declaration of Independence, Mary Katharine Goddard, further risked her life by including her name at the bottom. She was, in effect, the only woman to sign the document.

While you're on the museum site, take a detour to see Fighting for Freedom, about the estimated 5,000 Black people served as soldiers in the Revolutionary War.