History's Women: Misc. Articles: Sally Fowler Plumer - Patron Saint of the Revolutionary PeriodSally Fowler Plumer
Patron Saint of the Revolutionary Period
1762-1852 A.D.

There is a tradition among the descendants of Sally Plumer, wife of William Plumer, one of the early governors of New Hampshire and patron saint of the Epping, N.H., Chapter D.A.R., which has been told this way:

One bright day in the autumn of 1788, Sally Fowler was standing in the doorway of her father’s home, lost in thought. She had just received her first offer of marriage and was so carefully weighing the matter in her own mind, that she did not notice the approach of an aged woman, poorly dressed, who looked at her intently a few moments and suddenly said: “Shall I help you decide?”

“No,” said the young woman, “you cannot help me.”

“Well, then, let me tell your fortune.”

“No,” again said the girl, “I do not care to know the future.”

The old dame persisted and Sally finally yielded and held out her hand which the old woman examined long and earnestly, and then said: “A man, young and handsome, a widower is courting you, but you will never marry him. Here, girl, is your husband, this tall dark young man with black hair and eyes—he will carry you to a new house painted red—he will attain riches and honours [sic] and you will both live to a happy old age.”

Sally laughed and said, “I don’t believe a word of it.” The old woman said, as she turned slowly away: “You may laugh but my words are words of truth.”

That night the maid rejected the young widower, much to the disappointment of her mother, who had been planning the match.

A few weeks afterward, Miss Fowler, with some girl friends attended the county fair at Londonderry. Among the other features of the day was a mock trial, in which several young men took part; one of these, a tall, dark-haired black-eyed youth, whose oratorical powers eclipsed those of his fellows. After the trial Sally and her friends discussed the young men who took part, after the manner of girls the world over, and several others had expressed their opinions, she said, “you are all wrong; if I were to choose, I should take that young Epping lawyer with his manly face and bright black eyes. He has a good sense and right feeling—”

Just there a clear voice chimed in, “The young Epping Lawyer thanks Miss Fowler  for the preference she has expressed,” and the girls looked up to see young Plumer smiling and bowing before them. The attraction must have been mutual, as their engagement was announced soon after this introduction, and a year after their first meeting they were married and Sally went to live in the new red house which William Plumer had built.

Sally Plumer and her husband lived to be respectively ninety-one and ninety years old and reared a family of six children. The old fortune teller was never sen or heard from afterward.

The regent of Sally Plumer Chapter has written: “I know of no instance of her doing anything that would bring her before the public and believe that Epping Chapter chose her as a patron saint because of her devotion to home and family and to all good works and for her standing in the community, as an example of noble American womanhood.


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.