Patron Saint of the Revolutionary Period
Anne Kennedy was a South Carolina maid of rare capabilities. She lived in the Pendleton district which was overrun with marauding Tories during the Revolutionary days, and as her father, William Kennedy, and her three brothers were all in the army, she was left to look after the plantation. William Kennedy was a staunch patriot, pugnacious and fearless and one of the most skilful [sic] riflemen in the Province. He was both hated and feared by the Tories who took advantage of his absence to harass his household.
Word came to Anne Kennedy in the early autumn of 1780, that the Tories were in the neighbourhood [sic] destroying crops, plundering houses, and driving away cattle. Anne was twenty years old at the time and had entire charge of the farm work. A field of oats just ripening was her especial pride. Labour [sic] was scarce, all the able-bodied men being in the army, but she finally secured the services of a man who cut the oats and she herself bound and shocked the grain, but before it could be housed the Tories came and she was forced to see the crop destroyed. The Tories then went through the house in search of Mr. Kennedy or his sons. Not finding them and coming out in the yard and seeing the two sons of a neighbour [sic], named Watkins, they shot the lads down in cold blood and then mutilated their dead bodies.
Shortly after the battle of the Blackstock’s, in 1780, the Tories paid another visit to the house in hopes of finding Kennedy or his sons. They plundered the house, pulling rings from the women’s fingers, cutting a web of cloth from the loom, and tearing open feather beds and scattering the feathers to the wind. Anne’s mother attempted to save a blanket by sitting on it. One of the Tories seeing this ran up and pulled it from under her with such force as to throw her to the floor. This was too much for Anne who grasped him by the collar and shoved him out of the door. He grabbed a gun and would have fired but for his captain.
Still bent on revenge, the Tory attempted to burn the house by building a fire on a table in the hall. After the fire was well started he left it to get more fuel, and while he was gone Anne extinguished the blaze. Returning, the maddened Tory ran to the kitchen hearth and seizing a firebrand started to apply it to a pile of flax that lay in one corner of the room. Anne sprang between him and the flax and when he approached grappled with him and threw him headlong down a flight of steps into the door yard. In the struggle he had struck her with the brand, a blow which left a scar which she carried to her grave. The maddened Tory sprang up from where he had fallen and grabbing a gun swore that he would kill her but was prevented by his commander who said that the woman should be left alone.
A few months later, when the country was overrun with the enemy a messenger was needed to carry a highly important letter to General Morgan, then stationed at Spartanburg about sixty miles away. The only way to reach this point was through swamps and forest, thick with the enemy. Anne volunteered to carry the despatch [sic] and placing it in the sole of her stocking mounted her horse and rode night and day until she reached Morgan and placed the message in his hands.
After the close of the Revolution, Anne Kennedy became the wife of Thomas Hamilton, a soldier in the American army, and they lived about eight miles from the village of Pendleton where they reared eleven children. She died in 1836, in her seventy-sixth year, and sleeps beside her husband in the old churchyard at Carmel, N.C. Daughters of the American Revolution of Oxford, Mississippi, have named their chapter after Anne Kennedy and thus preserved the memory of her patriotism and loyalty to future generations.
Reference: The Pioneer Mothers of America: A Record of the More Notable Women of the Early Days of the Country, and Particularly of the Colonial and Revolutionary Periods by Harry Clinton Green and Mary Wolcott Green, A.B. Third Volume, Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons.