McCauley, Mary Hays

McCauley, Mary Hays (b. Ludwig)

(?1754–1832) Revolutionary heroine, prime candidate to be "Molly Pitcher"; born near Trenton, N.J. In 1778, she joined her first husband, John Hays, at his army encampment in New Jersey. During the battle of Monmouth, she carried water to the American troops, earning the sobriquet "Molly Pitcher"; when her husband was wounded at his cannon, she is said to have taken over and continued firing. After the American Revolution, she returned to Carlisle, Pa., and after her second husband died, she was voted an annuity for her "services" rather than as a veterans' widow, suggesting that she had seen action. She was said to have "sworn like a trooper" and chewed tobacco. Later her story would sometimes be confused with that of Margaret Corbin.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.