Monday, June 23, 2014

Lydia Barrington Darragh  1728 – 12/28/1789

Some weeks ago I wrote about Mary Molly Brant who spied on the colonists for the British. Lydia is the other side of the coin. She spied for the Colonial Army
Lydia, a Quaker, risked both execution as a traitor and loss of her right to be a Quaker by taking information to the Colonial  Army about an impending attack she overhead in her British occupied home..
The story accepted by some historians is that she wrote down what she heard and then asked permission to go to the mill outside the British lines to get flour. While out, she passed on the information to Elias Boudinot, which he talks about in his diary. Other historians still don’t give her credit for her actions.
After the failed attack made it clear that Washington knew the British were coming, Lydia was questioned by the British but the officers that questioned her believe her when she said she was asleep.
Lydia, born in Dublin, Ireland, married her tutor, William Darragh. They immigrated to Philadelphia, where there was a large Quaker community. In Philadelphia, she acted as a midwife and nurse. As a Quaker, Lydia was committed to pacifism but her eldest son enlisted.
Both Lydia and her son lost their membership in the Quaker society. After her husband died in 1783, Lydia ran a store until her death.
This quote attributed to Lydia: “Though we consider thee as a public enemy, we regard thee as a private friend. While we detest the cause thee fights for, we wish well to thy personal interest and safety,” makes me wonder who she is addressing.

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