South Carolina Women of the American Revolution

From, the founding Of the first English settlement in the new world the women of America have bravely and nobly done their part in making our country a great nation. It is true that the pages of history are filled with the stories of the deeds of men, while not many names of women are recorded. The reason for this is that women's work for the most part has been done quietly and inconspicuously. The home has been her kingdom , and until recent years there was no place for her in public life. To men were left the making of wars, the administration of government, and leadership of movements affecting communities and states. But even before she entered public life women's part in the making of our history was very important. Her influence was and is felt everywhere, because in most cases man's deeds or actions are but products of his early training end environment. All down the years of history our country has been a land of happy homes due to the faith, courage and intelligence of the wives and mothers. Our women showed unsurpassed courage and patriotism during the revolutionary War. They often endured hardships at home equal to those of the soldiers in the field. They raised food for the armies, made clothes and bandages for the soldiers, and nursed the sick and wounded, while their hearts were sad and anxious for the safety of husbands, sons, brothers, and other relatives and friends.

Another interesting woman of this period is Emily Geiger, the only child of Emily Murph(y?) and John Geiger. Her father, an invalid, was unable to go out on the battlefield, and therefore Emily was especially anxious to render her country some service. In June 1781 the opportunity came. General Greene wanted to send General Sumter a message. It was a long, dangerous journey, but Emily begged General Greene to let her carry the message. She believed that a woman might be able to pass where a man could not. Finally Greene accepted the eighteen-year-old girl's offer. She placed her saddle on her father's best horse and started out. Lowry, a neighbor and Tory, soon learned of what was happening, and sent a spy to overtake her. Toward evening his horse began to tire and he stopped at the home of Billy Mink, another Tory, and asked him to take up the chase on a fresh horse. Emily, being almost exhausted, stopped at the home of a Tory, but a friend of her father's. This man and his wife were very kind to Emily, but in the early part of the night she was awakened by hoofbeats. She sat up in bed and listened - it was Billy Mink asking for her. She could tell that her host was torn between his hospitality and his allegiance to Lowry. She quietly but hurriedly dressed herself, tiptoed across the room, and crawled out of the window. She saddled her horse, mounted, and went across the plowed ground so that she might not be heard. She reached the home of Elwood, a Whig, in time for breakfast; after resting an hour, she was given a fresh horse and rode on. At one place the bridge was gone, but she swam her horse across the river. Toward evening she was stopped by three men in British uniform and was carried to the headquarters of Lord Rawdon. Her appearance aroused Rawdon's suspicions and he ordered that she be locked up in a room until they could get a woman to search her. Immediately, she thought of destroying the letter. She might tear it up, but the pieces would still be there. She began to eat it, but before she could finish she heard someone coming. She threw herself across the bed and began to sob. She chewed and swallowed until all the paper was gone. When the woman, Mrs. Hogabook, came in to search Emily, she found nothing, (this took place in the old Cayce house still standing near the banks of the Congaree river, a few miles from. Columbia) . Then Rawdon was profuse in his apologies, and sent an escort with her to her friend's home. After the escort left, her friend's husband gave her a fresh horse and went with her to find General Sumter. Just about this time Billy Mink galloped up to Rawdon's door, but it was too late. At three o'clock the same afternoon Emily Geiger gave to General Sumter, verbally, the message which Greene had written. The Battle of Eutaw Springs was the outcome of this famous ride. After the war Emily Married Major Llewellyn Threewitts and lived in the lower part of what is now Lexington County. She was buried near her home, and in August, 1930, the D.A.R. Chapter at Johnston marked her grave.

As one thinks of these noble women, he cannot but think of the countless others whose names and deeds are lost in oblivion. He is forced to remember the immortal lines of Gray:

"Full many a gem of purest ray serene

The dark, unfathomed caves of ocean bear;

Full many flower is born to blush unseen,

And waste its sweetness on the desert air."

References:

The Simms History of South Carolina - Oliphant

South Carolina Reader -Oliphant

Days of the Colonists -Lamprey

The Beginner's History of our Country -Estill

History, Stories, and Legends of South Carolina -E. C. McCants

(courtesy of, and thanks to, H. Imrey.)

Return to Emily Geiger Outline
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This material was graciously submitted by Ms. Sara Texas Geiger-Geiger for inclusion on this web page at my request.  All material so attributed to her is copyright ©2000 Ms. Sara Texas Geiger-Geiger, all rights reserved.  Many thanks to Helen Skinner for obtaining and mailing this material!

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