Mrs Esther <I>De Berdt</I> Reed

Mrs Esther De Berdt Reed

London, City of London, Greater London, England
Death 18 Sep 1780 (aged 33)
Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, USA
Burial Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, USA
Plot Section I Lot 33
Memorial ID 28631723 · View Source
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Esther de Berdt was born in London, into a family descended of Protestant refugees from Ypres, who had fled the "Spanish Fury" led by the Duke of Alba. Her family called her Hette or Hettie and she loved books very much. In 1770, at the age of twenty-three, she married Joseph Reed, an American who had studied law in London. Thereafter, she and her widowed mother followed him to Philadelphia in the American colonies. Reed later served as George Washington's secretary and aide-de-camp.

Though she was English by birth, Esther was exceptionally devoted to the revolutionary cause. During the Revolutionary War, she helped organize a women's group in Philadelphia which raised more than $7000 in support of the war. At the suggestion of General Washington, the group then used the funds to purchase linen and sew clothing for American troops. For her efforts in support of the American cause, she was recognized as a Daughter of Liberty. During an evacuation of Philadelphia she fled with her six children to Flemington, New Jersey.

She was buried in the Arch Street Presbyterian Church cemetery in Philadelphia, but was removed to Laurel Hill Cemetery. Her epitaph reads:

In memory of Esther, the beloved wife of Joseph Reed
President of this State, who departed this life
On the 18th of September, A.D. 1780, aged 34 [sic] years.
Reader! If the possession of those virtues of the heart
Which make life valuable, or those personal endowments which
Command esteem and love, may claim respectful and affectionate
Remembrance, venerate the ashes here entombed.
If to have the cup of temporal blessings dashed
In the period and station of life in which temporal blessings
May be best enjoyed, demands our sorrow, drop a tear, and
Think how slender is that thread on which the joys
And hopes of life depend.

Family Members




  • Created by: Laurie
  • Added: 29 Jul 2008
  • Find A Grave Memorial 28631723
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Mrs Esther De Berdt Reed (22 Oct 1746–18 Sep 1780), Find A Grave Memorial no. 28631723, citing Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, USA ; Maintained by Laurie (contributor 2811407) .