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 Molly Pitcher

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Molly Pitcher

  • Original Name Mary Ludwig Hayes McCauley
  • Birth 13 Oct 1744 Pennsylvania, USA
  • Death 22 Jan 1832 Carlisle, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, USA
  • Burial Carlisle, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, USA
  • Memorial ID 820

Revolutionary War Heroine. Born Mary Ludwig in Pennsylvania to German family, she was sent to Carlisle, Pennsylvania, at a young age to become a servant in the home of Colonel William Irvine. In 1769, she married William Hays, a young barber who lived in the village. In 1775, her husband enlisted in the Captain Thomas Proctor's 4th Pennsylvania Artillery as a gunner (a unit that would eventually become the 4th Continental Artillery). He spent the winter of 1777 and 1778 at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. As with many other soldier wives, Mary Hays joined her husband in the camp, and helped in assisting in bring water to use to cool the artillery pieces when in use(at this time she likely gained the nickname of "Molly Pitcher"). She also joined the other wives un cooking, washing, sewing, and doing other work around the camp. On Sunday, June 28, 1778, the Battle of Monmouth, New Jersey began during one of the hottest days of that summer. To help the soldiers, she carried water from a nearby spring to the thirsty soldiers and to cool the guns. During the battle, her husband fell from heat stroke while firing his cannon, and Mary Hays promptly took his place, swabbing and cooling the gun for her fallen husband. When the battle was over, General George Washington issued a warrent to award her a non-commissioned officers rank (she would refer to herself after this as "Sergeant Molly" for the rest of her life). After the war, she and her husband returned to Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where they continued to live together until her husband's death in 1789. After that, she married George McCauley, who had also been a soldier in the Revolutionary War and a friend of her husband. A popular figure in Carlisle, in 1822 the Pennsylvania legislature awarded her a yearly pension of $40 for her service in the Revolutionary War. The Molly Pitcher Rest Area along the New Jersey Turnpike, named in her honor for her service to her country.

Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 820
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Molly Pitcher (13 Oct 1744–22 Jan 1832), Find A Grave Memorial no. 820, citing Old Graveyard, Carlisle, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .