Famous Women in Our Nation’s History

4thHappy 4th of July!

In 1776, Abigail Adams wrote to her husband, President John Adams, “I desire you would remember the ladies.”  We couldn’t agree more.

While we all inevitably think of George Washington and Paul Revere as we celebrate today, the women who helped fight for our independence are often forgotten. So in honor of women everywhere, we’d like to take a break from our hot dog eating and fireworks watching, to remember the incredible women of the Revolutionary War who helped shape this country into what it is today.


Catherine Moore Barry – Known as the “Heroine of the Battle of Cowpens”, she volunteered as a scout for the American troops.  Familiar with the trails and landscape around her plantation, she was crucial in warning the militia of approaching British forces.

sybilSybil Ludington – Often called the female Paul Revere because of her rides through Putnam and Dutchess Counties to warn citizens that the British were burning down nearby Danbury, CT. Though only 16 at the time, she traveled over 40 miles on horseback to deliver the message.

estherEsther de Berdt Reed – Established the Ladies of Philadelphia, an organization that raised over $300,000 for the troops by going door to door and requesting donations. This money was used to purchase materials for clothing and uniforms for the American soldiers, all sewn by the Ladies of Philadelphia themselves.

betsyrossBetsy Ross – Although there has been much debate over who actually created the first American flag, traditional history tells us that it was Betsy Ross, whose meeting with George Washington, George Ross and Robert Morris, inspired the design.

mary murrayMary Murray – While her husband was loyal to the British, she was a supporter of American independence. One afternoon she invited the British commanders to tea to stall them long enough to allow American troops to pass by to New York safely.

deborahsampsonDeborah Sampson – Robert Shirtliffe enlisted in the 4th Massachusetts Regiment in 1778 – except his name was actually not Robert, but Deborah. Deborah cut her hair, wrapped a cloth around her chest, and used her brother’s name to enlist in the army. She fought for the US for years before being given an honorable discharge at the end of the war.

Whether they were tending their husbands’ farms and businesses while they were away, sewing clothing for the troops, delivering secret messages, or fighting on the front lines themselves, there is no doubt that women played a significant role in helping our country gain its independence… Now, back to the fireworks!

By: Kristen Bierfeldt ’15

About cwib blog

Columbia Women in Business (CWIB) is an organization that strives to provide Columbia Business School women with resources and contacts to assist them in their academic, professional, and personal development. CWIB is committed to working with faculty, administrators, alumni and the greater business community to promote the role of and opportunities for women in business.
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