17 March 2014

Nancy Morgan Hart (1735-1830)

Nancy Morgan was born in North Carolina sometime around 1735. She is said to be related to pioneer Daniel Boone and Revolutionary War General Daniel Morgan.

Her physical appearance was both dramatic and imposing: She had red hair and freckles, was six foot tall and cross-eyed with scars of small pox evident on her face. She was a hard swearer and a sharpshooter who could handle a rifle as well as any man.

When Nancy married Benjamin Hart, the couple migrated first to South Carolina and then to the Georgia back country where they settled along the banks of the Broad River in Wilkes County in 1771. A mother of eight children, Nancy's knowledge of frontier medicine made her a sought-after midwife.

None Known

In the years of the Revolutionary War, most women and children were relocated for their safety. Nancy, however, chose to remain with her husband. But for most of the conflict, she was left alone to fend for herself and her children while her husband served as a lieutenant in the George militia under Elijah Clarke. Nonetheless, she was a devout patriot who gained notoriety during the revolution for her determined efforts to rid the area of Tories, English soldiers and British sympathizers. 

Her single-handed efforts against Tories and Indians in the Broad River frontier, as well as her activities as a patriot spy, have become the stuff of myth, legend and local folklore. Disguised as a simple-minded man, she wandered into Tory camps and British garrisons to gather information which she subsequently passed along to patriot authorities. According to some accounts, she was also an active participant at the Battle of Kettle Creek on 14 Feb 1779.

After the Revolution, the Harts moved to Brunswick, where Benjamin died. Nancy then moved to Clark County, GA, and finally to Henderson County, KY where she died in 1830.

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