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Molly Pitcher was a fictitious name given to a woman who carried pitchers of water to aid soldiers and later on fought during the Battle of Monmouth. She is regarded as a symbol of the brave and selfless acts of heroism and patriotism exhibited by countless women during the American Revolutionary War.
See the fact file below for more information on the Molly Pitcher or alternatively, you can download our 19-page Molly Pitcher worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Molly Pitcher was believed to have been Mary Ludwig Hays McCauly, born near Trenton, New Jersey on October 13, 1744. Other scholars suggest that she was born on 1754.
- She grew up on a family-owned farm with her parents Gretchen and John George Ludwig, a German immigrant and butcher, and her 3 brothers.
- When his father died in January 1769, Mary went to Carlisle, Pennsylvania to work as a servant to the family of Anna and Dr. William Irvine.
- In 1777, she married barber and artilleryman William Hays, who helped in the boycott of British commodities in response to the British Tea Act in 1773. He also enlisted in the First Pennsylvania Regiment of Artillery in 1775, which was led by Dr. Irvine, and joined the 7th Pennsylvania Regiment in 1777 and served at the winter camp at Valley Forge.
Battle of Monmouth
- Mary’s husband, enlisted as a gunner in the Continental Army led by George Washington, fought in the Battle of Monmouth against the British army on June 28, 1778. As it was common at the time for wives to stay with and assist their husbands in battle, Mary followed Hays back to New Jersey. She was among the women who made countless trips to a nearby river to fill pitchers of water for soldiers to drink and pour over their cannons to cool them down.
- There are also accounts of Mary stepping in and loading the cannon after seeing her husband collapse either because of the heat or a wound. She continued to fire them until the end of the battle that day, and was believed to get nearly hit by a cannonball that sped between her legs and ripped her dress.
- Supposedly Washington had seen her during the battle and made Mary Hays a non-commissioned officer in the army after the British forces’ surrender.
Life After the War
- Mary served with the Continental Army until the war ended, then moved back to Carlisle with her husband. In 1780, the couple had a son named John L. Hayes. Following her husband’s death in 1786, she married war veteran John McCauly; however, their relationship did not last because he was abusive and was not able to support the family.
- Since Mary had a reputation for being hard-working, unconventional, and tough, she continued to get offers to work as a domestic servant around Carlisle.
- She petitioned for a pension based on her service during the wartime and on February 18, 1822, the Pennsylvania Legislature honored and awarded her with $40 and an annual commission of the same amount for the rest of her life.
- “Sergeant Molly”, as she dubbed herself, died on January 22, 1832.
Heroine of Monmouth
- Although Mary’s obituaries do not mention any military honors or contributions, a monument in Carlisle was erected in 1916 to commemorate her heroism.
- On the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Monmouth in 1928, a petition to have Molly Pitcher on a stamp was only partially granted. Instead, the U.S. Postal Service issued a regular red two-cent stamp of George Washington with a black overprint of “Molly Pitcher” in capital letters.
- A Liberty ship was named SS Molly Pitcher and was launched in 1943; however, it was torpedoed that same year.
- In 1944, artist C.W. Miller depicted Molly with a ramrod at the Battle of Monmouth in a war propaganda poster with the text “America’s women have always fought for freedom.”
Molly Pitcher Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Molly Pitcher across 19 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Molly Pitcher worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about Molly Pitcher who was a fictitious name given to a woman who carried pitchers of water to aid soldiers and later on fought during the Battle of Monmouth. She is regarded as a symbol of the brave and selfless acts of heroism and patriotism exhibited by countless women during the American Revolutionary War.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Fast Facts
- Everything About Molly
- An Explosion of Colors
- From Servant to Sergeant
- Before the Storm
- Reading Comprehension
- Women of the Revolution
- You’ve Got Mail
- Poem for Capt. Molly
- Molly of the Future
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Link will appear as Molly Pitcher Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, October 3, 2018
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.