MOLLY PITCHER Biography - Military related figures


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Name: Moll Pitcher.                                                                     
"Molly Pitcher" was the nickname given to a woman who may have fought in the           
American Revolutionary War. Historians differ on who the "real" Molly Pitcher           
was, or even if she existed at all. Since the various Molly Pitcher tales grew         
in the telling, historians now often regard Molly Pitcher as folklore rather           
than history. However, "Molly Pitcher" may be a composite image inspired by the         
actions of a number of real women. The name itself may have originated as a             
nickname given to women who carried water to men on the battlefield during the         
war. This water was not for drinking, as is popularly believed, but for swabbing       
the cannons.                                                                           
Molly Pitcher is generally identified as Mary Ludwig Hays McCauley who married         
John Hays, or Mary Ludwig Hays, Molly then being a frequent nickname for               
women named Mary. Biographical information about her, including her actual             
name and year of birth (1754 is suggested as an approximate birth year) is             
sparse. According to one version of the story, she was born to a German family         
in Pennsylvania. Regardless, solid records first appear in 1778; she attended           
her husband William Hays, an artilleryman who had enlisted in a Pennsylvanian           
artillery unit in 1777, to the Battle of Monmouth in New Jersey on June 28, 1778.       
When William fell wounded, possibly from heat stroke, Mary took her husband's           
post at his cannon.                                                                     
According to the legend, after the battle, General George Washington issued her         
a warrant as a noncommissioned officer, and she was thereafter known by the             
nickname "Sergeant Molly". However, some of these details may have been borrowed       
from the actions of a leading candidate for another Molly Pitcher, a woman named       
Margaret Corbin.                                                                       
Mary and William had a son named John L.Hays. Her husband, William Hays, died in       
1787 when their son was five years old. Mary married again to one John McCauly (some   
sources believe his name may have been George McCauley); he died in 1813.               
Afterwards, she became a nurse and housekeeper.                                         
On 21 February 1822, the state of Pennsylvania awarded her an annual pension of         
$40 for her heroism. She died 22 January 1832, in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, at the       
age of 78.