Molly Pitcher – Patriot and Soldier

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

There were many well known heroes during the Revolutionary War, but there were many more lesser known or unknown heroes. One heroine has virtually disappeared from the history books, but her heroism was celebrated in early American history. She was known as Molly Pitcher.

Molly Pitcher was born as Mary Ludwig in 1754 near Trenton, New Jersey. Although some suggest Molly was a legend or a composite of many women, Mary Ludwig was a real woman and did at least some of the things suggested.

Mary moved to Carlisle, Pennsylvania in 1768 where she met William Hays, the local barber. A year later, they married. During the American Revolution, Hays volunteered in the Continental Army and became a gunner. As was common during this time, Mary would follow her husband in battle to help where needed.

On June 28th, 1778, Hays fought in the Monmouth in New Jersey during a extremely hot day. Mary followed him into battle and carried buckets of cold water onto the field to give the soldier cool drinks. This is when the soldiers nicknamed her Molly Pitcher. While on the field, Molly saw her husband collapse at his cannon. She immediately took his place at the cannon and manned the weapon until the Patriots won the battle. One witness said a cannon shot passed between her legs carrying away the lower part of her petticoat, but she was not injured during the battle.

Because of her actions, Molly Pitcher became a legendary figure representing women who helped during the war. After the war, Molly moved back to Carlisle, and after her husband’s death, she married another veteran. She was honored for her wartime service in 1822 when a statue was erected in her honor and she was given a pension or $40 a year for the rest of her life. She died ten years later in 1832.

Advertisements

US Presidents Who Were Assasinated

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

When asked what US presidents were assassinated while in office, most people remember John F. Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln. Would it surprise you to know there were four presidents assassinated? There were also two presidents who died in office and were rumored to be assassinated, and 30 unsuccessful assassination plots or attempts. Here is a list of the assassinated presidents.

Abraham Lincoln was the first and most famous president to be assassinated. He was shot by John Wilkes Booth at Ford Theater on Good Friday, April 14, 1865. After shooting the president, Booth jumped onto the stage, breaking his ankle, and shouting “Sic semper tyrannis” ( “Thus always to tyrants”). Booth was a Confederate sympathizer and was against abolition of slaves. He was part of a larger conspiracy where the vice-president and secretary-of-state were also targeted, but Lincoln was the only one killed. Booth was shot a few days later, and 8 other conspirators were hanged.

James A. Garfield was shot on Saturday, July 2, 1881, in Washington DC, by Charles Julius Guiteau less than four months after taking the oath of office. Garfield’s son, James Rudolph Garfield, and Secretary of State James Blaine, both broke down and wept. Secretary of War Robert Todd Lincoln, thinking back to the assassination of his father, said, “How many hours of sorrow I have passed in this town.” Garfield died eleven days later from complications and infection. Guiteau was immediately arrested, and after being found guilty, was hanged. Guiteau was assessed as mentally unbalanced and possibly suffered from some kind of bipolar disorder or from the effects of syphilis on the brain. He claimed to have shot Garfield out of disappointment for being passed over for appointment as Ambassador to France.

William McKinley was shot September 6th, 1901 on the grounds of the Pan-American Exposition at the Temple of Music in Buffalo, New York. Leon Czolgosz shot him while he was shaking hands with the public. McKinley staggered backwards and to the right, but was prevented from falling by Cortelyou, Milburn, and Detective Geary who guided him to a chair. Seeing men beating Czolgosz, McKinley ordered it stopped. He then expressed concern for his wife. He was then carried out by an electric ambulance. After an operation and apparent recovery, he died of gangrene eight days later. Czolgosz was an anarchist who had lost his job during the economic Panic of 1893. He considered McKinley as a symbol of oppression and was convinced that it was his duty as an anarchist to kill McKinley. After being found guilty, Czolgosz was executed in the electric chair. After this, the Secret Service was assigned to protect the president.

John F. Kennedy was shot by a sniper on Friday, November 22, 1963 while riding with his wife in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas. He died instantly. Texas Governor John Connelly was also shot but recovered. Lee Harvey Oswald, a former Marine who had become a communist was arrested for the crime. Two days later, Jack Ruby, a nightclub owner distressed by the assignation, shot and killed Oswald. He was convicted and spent life in prison. The Warren Commission ruled Oswald acted alone, but to this day, many people believe he had help.

2 Presidents Rumored to Assassinated:

Zachary Taylor died on July 9th, 1850 of cholera morbus, a term that included diarrhea and dysentery, likely caused by food poisoning. In the late 1980s, author Clara Rising raised the possibility Taylor was murdered by poison. She convinced Taylor’s closest living relative and the coroner of Jefferson County, Kentucky to order an exhumation. The tests showed arsenic in Taylor’s system, but it was much less than they would have expected if he had been poisoned.

Warren G. Harding died on August 2nd, 1923 of a heart attack or stroke brought on by food poisoning and pneumonia. While traveling in Alaska and Canada, Harding had been informed of corruption in his administration which he claimed to know nothing about. He gave a speech in Seattle, Washington, then fell ill. His train proceeded to San Francis where he died in a hotel there. Doctors said he died of a stroke, but the Hardings’ personal medical advisor disagreed with the diagnosis. His wife, Florence Harding, refused permission for an autopsy. This led to speculation that the President had been the victim of a plot, possibly carried out by his wife. Harding apparently had been unfaithful to the First Lady. Gaston B. Means, an amateur historian, wrote about his suspicions Harding had been poisoned. He also surmised Harding may have been killed to protect politicians because Harding probably would have been impeached if he hadn’t died. Speculation continues to this day.

How a Native American Brought the Great Awakening to the Indians

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Samson Occom, a native American born in a wigwam, became one of the first ordained Indian preachers, the first Native American to be published, and the only one to travel with Evangelist George Whitefield during the Great Awakening in America. He brought Christianity to the Indian tribes in his area of the country, yet most have never heard his story.

Samson was born in 1723 as part of the the Mohegan tribe near New London, Connecticut. His parents were Joshua and Sarah Ockham, direct descendants of Uncas, a famous Mohegan chief. At the age of 16, Occom heard his first sermon during the Great Awakening. His mother Sarah was one of the first Mohegan converts.

Samson was stirred by what he heard and began to study English so he could read the Bible for himself. A year later he became a Christian under the preaching of James Davenport. He started going to a school for Indians and white boys started by evangelist Eleazar Wheelock and spent four years at Wheelock’s school. He was a gifted student, but poor eyesight prevented him from going to college.

He taught school and ministered to the Montauk Indians for eleven years. He used many creative methods including singing and card games as teaching devices. When Azariah Horton, the white Presbyterian minister to the Montauk, retired, Samson took his place as pastor.

Samson married Mary Fowler in 1751, and they had ten children. The church  paid him a much smaller salary than the white men doing the same job. To make ends meet, he bound books and carved spoons, pails, and gun stocks for his white neighbors. Despite the prejudice he faced, in 1759, Samson became on of the first ordained ministers in the Presbyterian Church.


His passion was to share the Gospel with other Native Americans, and he was commission by the Scotch Society of Missions to preach to the Cherokee in Georgia and Tennessee. Fighting among the Cherokee and white settles put those plans on hold, so instead he went to New York to preach among the Oneida.

In 1765, Samson traveled with George Whitefield, Great Awakening preacher, during his sixth preaching tour in the colonies. Later that year, he traveled to England with Nathaniel Whitaker to raise money for Wheelock’s Indian Charity School. Over the next two years, he preached over 200 sermons in England and was well received. He raised over 11,000 pounds, the most ever raised for a ministry in the colonies. While in England Samson visited with John Newton, writer of Amazing Grace, and received an honorary degree from the University of Edinburgh which he politely declined.

When he returned to America in 1768, Samson found that Wheelock had failed to care for his wife and children as promised. Samson’s family was living in poverty. The rift widened when he learned Wheelock had used the money he’d raised to move the school to New Hampshire and decided to exclude Indians. Wheelock renamed the school Dartmouth.

Samson was a prolific writer throughout his lifetime. He kept a diary from 1743 to 1790 about his work that became an historic document. In 1772, he preached a temperance sermon at the execution of a Native American who murdered a man while he was drunk. That sermon became a best seller. He also wrote and published hymns. He is recognized as the first Native American to become published.


When Samson became a defender of land claims of the Montauk and Oneida against speculators, false rumors were spread that he was a heavy drinker and not even a Mohegan which caused the loss of support from his denomination and several missionary societies. He wrote an autobiography to defend himself, but it did little good.


Throughout the 1770s and 1780s, Samson preached among the Mohegan and other tribes in New England. After the Revolutionary War, he settled in Brothertown, New York on a reservation for New England Indians where he establish the first Indian Presbyterian Church. In 1791, he died while gathering wood to finish the new church building.


His legacy continued after his death through his children, students, and converts who also ministered to Native Americans. Two of his students also became authors. Besides being the first Native American who was published, Samson fought for Native American rights, spread the Gospel to New England tribes, and promoted education for Native Americans. 

 

Sarah Edwards – The Mother of the Great Awakening

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Sarah Edwards is often overlooked when the First Great Awakening of the 1700s is mentioned, but her legacy and contribution to her husband’s ministry are enormous.  Over fourteen hundred descendants of Jonathan and Sarah Edwards have been traced in 1900 by A.E. Winship. Of these, fourteen became college presidents, roughly one hundred became professors, another one hundred ministers, and about the same number became lawyers or judges. Nearly sixty became doctors, and others were authors or editors.

Sarah Pierpont was born in 1710. Her father, James Pierpont, was one of the founders of Yale University. Sarah was known for her love of God at an early age. When she was 13, Jonathan attended Yale at age 16. He would often wait outside Pierpont’s church to catch a glimpse of her. He had this to say about her.

They say there is a young lady in New Haven who is loved of that Great Being, who made and rules the world, and that there are certain seasons in which this Great Being, in some way or other invisible, comes to her and fills her mind with exceeding sweet delight; and that she hardly cares for anything, except to meditate on Him…You could not persuade her to do any thing wrong or sinful, if you would give her all the world, lest she should offend this Great Being. She is of a wonderful sweetness, calmness, and universal benevolence of mind; especially after this Great God has manifested himself to her mind. She will sometimes go about from place to place, singing sweetly; and seems to be always full of joy and pleasure…She loves to be alone… and seems to have some one invisible always conversing with her.”

Sarah Pierrepont married Jonathan Edwards on July 28, 1727 at the age of 17. Jonathan was serious and scholarly. Sarah was beautiful and enjoyed conversation. As far as their personalities, they couldn’t be further apart, but what attracted them to each other is their love for God.

Jonathan and Sarah had 11 children, 3 sons and 8 daughters. She prayed consistently for her children and was known for her parenting skills. She treated her children with gentleness and firmness. Although Jonathan contributed with child-rearing, making sure he spent at least one hour with the children every day when he wasn’t traveling, most of the parenting was done by Sarah. All of their sons became pastors, and their daughters married pastors.

Jonathan was also known as being absent-minded, spending as much as 13 hours a day in study, so Sarah was responsible for maintaining the household and keeping things going.One remarkable thing for that time period was Jonathan’s attitude toward Sarah. He valued her intelligence and not only relied on her to manage his personal affairs, but she also helped him with the ministry.

In 1734-1735, an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Northampton and the surrounding ares erupted. Jonathan was at the center of that outpouring, but Sarah experienced it too. Jonathan asked his wife to write a testimony about her experience, and she wrote a long one. One phrased she used to describe it was being “swallowed up in God”.

When George Whitefield, Great Awakening preacher, visited Jonathan and Sarah Edwards in 1730, he said, “A sweeter couple I have not yet seen” and wrote about the peaceful home Sarah had created and how she freely talked about the things of God. He called her a perfect helpmeet for her husband and determined to get married himself.

In 1750, Sarah was by Jonathan’s side when he struggled with the congregation at Northampton Church. He would not allow the members of his church to take communion unless they had a salvation experience. This angered many of them because the town council had to be communicants of the Congregational Church to hold on to their government positions. The last pastor, Solomon Stoddard who was Jonathan Edwards’ grandfather, had allowed anyone to take communion regardless of their salvation.

Many in the church came against Jonathan when he asked for a raise in his stipend due to rising costs. The church said they would only consent after investigating the Edwards’ material affairs. Some were outraged that their extravagant minister had two wigs and two teapots! Jonathan denied possessing even one wig although he did admit they had several teapots. The congregation used this excuse to fire him.

Edwards was still in high demand and in 1751, became pastor of the church in Stockbridge, Massachusetts and a missionary to the Housatonic Indians. In 1757, Jonathan became President of the College of New Jersey, now known as Princeton. 

Jonathan died on March 22, 1758 when he contracted smallpox. He was out of town, so Sarah couldn’t be with him. He did leave a deathbed message for her. Over a year later, Sarah became ill during an epidemic and died at the age of 49.

Sarah was a woman who loved God, her husband, and her children. In many ways, she was a woman who was ahead of her time. She left a legacy that is still alive today.

The Boy God Rescued

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

One of the most fascinating stories to come out of the mission field in Africa was about a boy named Samuel Morris. Morris was born in 1873 as Prince Kaboo in Liberia, the son of a tribal king and next in line for the throne.

When Kaboo was fourteen years old, he was captured by a neighboring tribe called the Grebos when his Kru tribe was attacked. His father, the chief, was commanded to bring a tribute to the Grebos every month if he wanted to see Kaboo alive. Kaboo’s father complied, but the tribute was never enough. The Grebos began to beat Kaboo every day and were planning to kill him.

One night, during a beating, there was a flash of light, and Kaboo’s ropes fell off him. A voice told him to run. He ran and, for days, survived in the forest by eating mangos and snails. Eventually he found his way to a coffee plantation of a former slave who had become a Christian.

There, a young boy invited Kaboo to church where Miss Knolls, a missionary and graduate of Taylor University, spoke on how the Apostle Paul saw a light from Heaven and heard a voice speak to him. Kaboo immediately knew that it was God who rescued him, and he accepted Christ as Savior. He was baptized under the name of Samuel Morris to honor the man who sent the missionary to Africa.

Morris became zealous to learn more about the Holy Spirit, and Lizzie MacNeil encouraged him to go to America to be discipled by her mentor, Stephen Merritt. With no means of transportation, Morris set out on foot to Robertsport harbor. He slept on the beach until he was able find passage on a ship to America in exchange for work.

The journey was difficult because Morris was assigned the most dangerous jobs and often beaten, but by the time he arrived in New York, the captain and most of the crew had accepted Christ as their Savior because of his witness.

Once Morris arrived in America, Stephen Merritt warmly received him and the president of Taylor University requesting to enroll Morris at the school. Due to Taylor’s financial debt, Reade personally started a fund for Morris called the “faith fund”.In December 1891, Morris arrived on Taylor’s campus. When asked by Reade which room he wanted, Morris said, “If there is a room nobody wants, give that to me.”

Morris’ faith had such a profound impact on the school and community that he was often invited to speak at local churches. At night, he could be heard in his room praying, which he called “talking to my Father.”

President Reade once said, “Samuel Morris was a divinely sent messenger of God to Taylor University. He thought he was coming over here to prepare himself for his mission to his people, but his coming was to prepare Taylor University for her mission to the whole world. All who met him were impressed with his sublime, yet simple faith in God.”

Morris wanted to return to Africa as a missionary and often would encourage fellow students to consider doing the same. But he contracted a severe cold and said God told him that his work on Earth was done. Samuel Morris died on May 12, 1893 at about 20 years of age. His death inspired his fellow students to serve as missionaries to Africa on his behalf, fulfilling his dream of one day returning to minister to his own people. Hundreds of spectators lined the streets of Fort Wayne as Samuel Morris’ body was carried to Berry Street Methodist Church.

Lindley Baldwin, author of Samuel Morris, writes, “The burial ceremony in Lindenwood cemetery, his last earthly resting place, was attended by a multitude such had never before accompanied there.” Although blacks were buried on one side of the cemetery and whites on the other, they buried Morris in the middle uniting people in death as he did in life.

John Harper – Hero of the Titanic

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Almost everyone has heard of the sinking of the Titanic, but few know the name of the man who would become known as the hero of the Titanic, John Harper. His last words before he drown in the ocean that fateful night were, “Believe on the Name of the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.”

The sinking of the Titanic was not the first incident where Harper risked death by drowning. When he was two and a half, he fell into a well and almost drown, but his mother saved him in time. At age twenty-six, he was swept downstream by a reverse current and almost drown. At thirty-two, he was stuck on a ship in the Mediterranean that sprang a leak. But the Titanic would be the last danger of drowning he would face.

Harper was born to Christian parents in Scotland in 1872. He was saved at thirteen and began preaching to his village by the age of seventeen. In early adulthood, he worked at a mill to support himself while he continued to preach. At one point, E.A. Carter of the London Baptist Pioneer Mission heard Parker and took him to London to mentor him. In 1896, Harper started his own church with 25 members. Within thirteen years, it had grown to 500 members. It is now called the Harper Memorial Baptist Church in his honor. During this time, Harper married, but his wife died of complications after giving birth to their daughter Annie known as Nana.

In 1912, John Harper was invited to speak at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and boarded the Titanic with his daughter Nina and his niece Jessie W. Leitch who was brought along to care for Nana while he was ministering. He put six-year-old Nana to bed that evening not knowing the danger that lie ahead.

At 11:40 pm, the Titanic hit an iceberg. Harper went to see what happened and found out the ship was in trouble. He wrapped Nina in a blanket and directed her and Jessie to lifeboat #11. Although he could have joined them in the lifeboat since he was Nina’s only living parent, there was no indication he even considered it. He kissed Nina goodbye, and according to documentation, flares went off revealing the tears on his face. A well known photograph of the second class promenade, in which a young girl is seen holding her father’s hand, is believed by many to show young Nina Harper and her father.

What happened next is well documented by a few of the survivors. As the ship lurched, he ran through the deck shouting, “Women, children, and unsaved into the lifeboats!” The ship broke apart, and Harper along with many others jumped into the ocean. At this point, he had a lifevest on. In the frigid water, he swam frantically to people dying of hypothermia and led them to Christ. At one point, he swam to a young man and asked him if he would accept Jesus as his Savior. The young man said, “No”. Harper gave the man his life vest telling him that he needed it more.

Later Harper swam back to the young man and led him to Christ. The man then saw Harper succumb to the waters.  The reason we know this story is because the young man was one of the few survivor snatched from the icy waters that night.

Harper’s orphan daughter was raised by her uncle and aunt and lived until 1985. She married a preacher and had two children. She didn’t remember much about that night, and her family discouraged anyone talking about the Titanic with her, but Jessie Leitch says they were about a mile away when they saw the ship sink.

Although the story is not told by Hollywood, John Harper was a true hero who gave his life so that others might be saved both that night and for eternity.

The Modern Missionary Movement Started in Colonial Times

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

America is well known for the modern missionary movement. The missionary movement is credited with starting in the mid 1800s during the Second Great Awakening, but it really began with a 100 year prayer movement in colonial times. The people who started this movement were called the Moravians.

In 1727, a group of Moravians in Saxony started a round the clock prayer meeting that lasted 110 years. By 1737, Moravians had settled in Savannah, Georgia to share the Gospel. At this time, they met John Wesley, from the first Great Awakening and had a profound impact on his ministry.

In 1741, the Moravians moved to an estate owned by John Whitfield, another preacher from the Great Awakening, and started ministering to the Delaware Indians in the region. They established the towns of Bethlehem and Nazareth in Pennsylvania and moved throughout the colonies sharing the Gospel wherever they went.

Schoenbrunn Village

By 1772, the Delaware were being pushed into Ohio, and the Moravians followed them. They set up two villages there, one in Schoenbrunn and one in Gnadenhutten. They risked great dangers, not only from the other tribes, but from the British forces once the Revolutionary War began. The British accused the Moravians of informing the colonialist about troop movements, a charge that was mostly true.

The Moravians finally abandoned their villages to move on to avoid clashes with the British. That fall, a group of converted Delaware returned to Gnadenhutten to harvest their crops. They were massacred by American soldiers who mistakenly thought they were raiders.

There aren’t that many Moravian in the United States today although there are clusters of congregations in Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia. There are also some areas in Canada with large Moravian populations. Moravians in America moved on to evangelize other parts of the world. The largest groups of Moravians now live in East Africa and the Caribbean. They left their mark on America though through their missionary endeavors and paved the way for other missionaries.