Hannah Watts Weston
Patron Saint of the Revolutionary Period
Hannah Watts, daughter of Captain David Watts of Haverhill, Mass., was a great-granddaughter of Hannah Dustin, that grim heroine who, after the “Sack of Haverhill,” killed and scalped her captors, the murderers of her child. She was born in 1758 and in 1774 was married to Josiah Weston and settled down in Jonesboro, Me., where Captain Watts had removed his family some time before.
In June, 1775, word came to Jonesboro that a British ship was bearing down to attack the town of Machias, a few miles away, and all the able-bodied men in the settlement gathered at the house of Josiah Weston, armed and ready to go to Machias and help defend the town. There were some twenty-four or twenty-five of them, including Captain Watts, his two sons, and his son-in-law. Before they left, Mrs. Weston learned that they carried a very small supply of powder and bullets. After the little force had started this knowledge preyed on Mrs. Weston’s mind and she went around the settlement from house to house and collected all the powder and bullets and pewter available for the making of bullets that she could find. She gathered between thirty and forty pounds of ammunition of this sort, which she packed for transportation to Machias.
“I know they will need this at Machias,” she said to Rebecca Weston, her sister-in-law, who was staying with her. But how to get it there was the question. There was not a man left in Jonesboro, and it was sixteen miles through the unbroken forest to Machias. The two women resolved to carry it themselves. Preparing a quantity of bread and meat, sufficient for two days, they started, Miss Weston carrying the provision and a hatchet and Mrs. Weston a pillow-case full of ammunition. The marks on the trees, a bit of broken twig, a footprint in the moss or leaves made by the men who had gone before, were the only traces they had to direct their footsteps.
Once they missed their way and were hopelessly lost until they came to the river which they followed, and finally tired and exhausted they came in sight of Machias, where they found a warm welcome, rest, and shelter. Their ammunition was most thankfully received and was used in the engagement which resulted in the capture of the British schooner Margaretta.
After a day’s rest the two women returned to Jonesboro by water, with the men who had helped in the capture of the enemy’s boat, and suffered little from their long jaunt through the forest with their back-breaking loads.
Mrs. Weston lived to be ninety-seven years old, dying in 1858 and the D.A.R. of Machias have made her their patron saint.
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.