The first-place winners of the Daughters of the American Revolution history month essay were Hailey Harriman for fifth grade, Mary-Kate Wood for sixth and Kate McLemore for eighth.
This year’s topic was “The lives of children during the American Revolution.”
The DAR congratulates these winners and all 37 students who participated in this year’s contest. The first place winners were pinned with a beautiful bronze medal for their win and received a booklet including a copy of the Constitution and other important historical documents, a copy of the Bill of Rights, George Mason’s essay on the Bill, and Patrick Henry’s famous “Give me liberty, or give me death” speech.
The Lives of Children during the American Revolution
By Hailey Harriman
Port St. Joe Elementary School
On April 19, 1975 in Lexington, Massachusetts is when our lives changed. It was the American Revolutionary War and my mom Betsy Ross, born January 1, 1752 in Philadelphia, did something great for our country. My dad John Ross and my three brothers Blayze Ross, Jett Ross and Breeze Ross were soldiers in the Lexington war. This is how it happened.
My dad and brothers, who were already a part of the local militia, volunteered to fight for our country. My dad and brothers came home from a meeting with George Washington and we ate dinner. After dinner, my mom said she wanted me to help her make something during the war, I wondered what it was.
One week and six days later the war began. I was so worried about my dad and brothers in the war. My mom told me it was time to start the “surprise”. She asked me to go get the red, white, and blue thread and so I did. I wandered why red, white, and blue and so I asked her what we were with those colors. She said, “We are going to make an American flag.” We worked on it all day and then mom went to lie down and rest. While she was resting, George Washington came to the door. I answered the door and he said that my dad and two of my brothers, Blayze and Jett, had been shot and passed away. Tears were streaming down my face, I was so sad and didn’t know how I was going to tell my mom. I went to bed and tried to sleep but all I could think about was losing my dad and my brothers. It was the longest night of my life.
That morning, mom and I sat down to freedom tea. After we drank our tea, I gave her the bad news, she started crying and I did too. I tried to be strong and brave, I told her that we would be okay, but I was really sad and scared. We started working on the flag to try to get things off our minds. We were half way done with the flag and it was time for dinner. So hard to believe that Breeze was the only family member we had left. Our lives would never be the same again.
It is time for bed again, I can hear cannons and guns going off, and it makes me even more afraid and sad. How many more people were going to die?
The next morning, my mom said that she had some good news. When we finish the flag, our country will display it for all Americans to see. I was so proud of my mom’s hard work. Then my mom said the war was almost over, we were beating the British and that my brother Breeze would soon be home. I was so happy to hear that the war was ending soon. To celebrate we had homemade bread and coffee, and then it was time for bed.
When I woke up the next morning, my brother was home. I couldn’t believe the war was finally over. That afternoon, my mom and I finished the flag. It was beautiful, red and white strips, with a circle of thirteen white stars in a blue square at the top left corner of the flag.
The Lives of Children during the American Revolution
By Mary-Kate Wood
Faith Christian School
I am going to tell you about Sybil Ludington, also known as the “Female Paul Revere”. Syb, as we called her, is my sister. I am Rebecca Ludington, and we are two of twelve children. Our father, Colonel Henry Ludington, was part of the Seventh Militia of the Continental Army that patrolled a section in Connecticut and New York. Syb and I would spy for him and made up special signals that were also used by another secret agent of my father’s. Syb would deliver secret messages from father to his secret agents.
During our younger years, my father was a miller and the justice of the peace. Then in June of 1776, my father took the position of Colonel of the Seventh Militia. The area that he was in charge of had a large population of Tories and informers.
One day, Daddy learned that the British had placed a bounty on his life. This news did not discourage the Colonel from his duties no Sybil’s plight to help her father. Sybil served many nights on Sentry duty and many times saved our father’s life.
On April 5, 1777, Sybil turned 16 years old. Twenty-one days later, on the night of April 26, 1777, Sybil heard talking outside of our window. Our parents were talking to a man who had ridden up very quickly to our home. The rider and horse were wet with sweat and exhausted. He told them that about 2,000 British soldiers were in Danbury, and they were searching stores for the Continental Army’s ammunition, guns, and supplies. The British marked with chalk the properties of those that were loyal to the British and to be unharmed. Sybil wanted to know what was happening. Father told her the British were attacking Danbury. Syb said that she could ride and warn the neighbors and to muster his troops. Sybil pleaded with our parents, when finally they gave in.
Bent low over her horse, Syb rode hard and fast from Carmel to Cold Spring. She avoided known paths which made the journey even more dangerous because of the risk to her horse, but the most treacherous part of the journey was the informers that hid in the darkness of the secret trails throughout the woods. Her deep commitment to the cause of freedom at such a young age drove her every mile. House to house she went, yelling as she passed, “Danbury’s burning! Soldiers are coming! Muster at Ludington’s Home!” Seeing a light come on, she knew she had been heard; so she continued on to the next house. Forty miles she rode. “By daybreak, thanks to her daring, nearly the whole regiment was mustered before her father’s house at Fredericksburg, and an hour or two later was on the march for vengeance on the raiders.” About 400 troops marched to Danbury, but they were too late to save the town, it was burning. However they did fight many of the British as the British left the area.
Because of Sybil’s brave actions, George Washington came to our house in person and thanked her and my dad for their bravery. Just think, the commanding general of the colonial forces was at our house! What a wonderful and exciting moment for my family!
Looking back on my younger years, remembering the hard times we suffered to gain our freedom, I feel so proud of my sister. I am not trying to compare her ride with that of Paul Revere’s and its midnight message, but my sister was only a child. Both rides were true acts of true Patriots, and in my mind, neither were more important than the other.
A few years later, Sybil married Edgar Ogden who had served in the Revolutionary War with the Navy under the Connecticut Continentals. Sybil had one child, a son that she named Henry. Thankfully, the rest of her life was calm and filled with love and laughter.
The Lives of Children during the American Revolution
By Kate McLemore
Port St. Joe Jr./Sr. High School
Hello, my name is Molly Andrews and it is the year 1777. I live in Concord, Massachusetts which is about twenty-five miles from Boston. My dad left for Boston three weeks ago for what we thought was a business trip concerning Andrews Boat Company, our family company. However, we have received word that instead of coming home he is headed to Valley Forge in Pennsylvania to help General Washington. Everyone has heard by now how cold all the soldiers are; we have all been gathering socks and shoes to send to our loved ones. I worry everyday about my dad, but I know that since I am the oldest of the three kids that I have to step up and start helping my mom with our company.
Today I am going to see if I can get former workers wives to help. Most of the men who worked for us have left to become patriots for the Continental Army. That leaves my mother, my six year old brother, my eight year old sister, me, and a few wives of former workers to do the work of the men. I am very fortunate my dad has always let my mother and me help, so we know how to get everything done. Today we rigged a pulley system to life the heavy boards for placement on the boats. Orders for new boats have greatly decreased. Instead, we are mostly repairing the boats which belong to the privateers.
It has now been four months, and we were ecstatic to see my father’s face for the first time in months. He was terribly malnourished and had lost two fingers to frostbite, but other than that he was in much better shape than many others. I was very worried I was never going to see him again, but I never voiced this to my mother or siblings. We have since found out from my dad that when he went to Boston for his meeting a few months ago that he heard that peoples one year enlistments were ending and people were leaving General Washington because of the conditions at Valley Forge. When my dad heard this, he knew he had to go and help his old time friend, General Washington. When he arrived at Valley Forge he found out everything everyone had said about the conditions were true. Many of the soldiers that had stayed were sick and staying in huts that offered no warmth. He told us a story about a soldier desperately trying to cook a pumpkin for nourishment. However, my dad said that Washington and his soldiers had, indeed made it through the winter and they were now ready to resume the battle.
Our business has been busier than ever before. It is so helpful to have my father and few other men back to help with the business. We have had boats coming in to be repairs that the British have nearly destroyed with musket balls. My dad is getting angrier and angrier with every tattered boat that comes in to be repaired.
It is now November of 1779 and my dad has decided that he would like to continue serving and it would be best for him to join The Continental Navy. He heard about the Battle of Flamborough Head which took place in the North Sea near Yorkshire. John Paul Jones was commanding the American ship, Bonhomme Richard, and was fighting against the British ship, Serpias. Although both ships were shattered and nearly destroyed, John Paul Jones would not give up and actually said, “I have not yet begun to fight!” This courageousness has inspired my dad to join The Navy and fight for the independence of America against the British. My father will leave tomorrow and I pray that he will come back alive.