Molly Stark Didn’t Sleep as a Widow

On August 16, 1777, General John Stark, a veteran of Roger’s Rangers during the French and Indian War, New Hampshire militia, fought and won the battle of Bennington.  His force, consisting of 1500 New Hampshire militia, more than 10 percent of the male population of New Hampshire over the age of 16, about 500 Massachusetts militia and 350 Green Mountain Boys from Vermont under Colonel Seth Warner, defeated a force of approximately 800 dismounted dragoons of the Brunswick Prinz Ludwig regiment, Canadians, Tories and Indians under Colonel Friedrich Baum, which had been sent out on a foraging expedition by General Burgoyne.   The battle was hotly contested, and at the end the Americans had killed or captured all of Baum’s force, Baum being among the slain.  At the end of the battle, the Americans fought a second fight against a reinforcing column of around 650 members of the Breymann Grenadiers, an elite force under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Heinrich Breymann, driving them off with casualties of about one-quarter of their force.

It was an astonishingly good performance by the American troops, most of whom were completely raw militia, against forces consisting mostly of trained professional soldiers.  To inspire his men, Stark had yelled out at the beginning of the battle:  There are your enemies, the Red Coats and the Tories. They are ours, or this night Molly Stark sleeps a widow!

Molly Stark was Elizabeth Stark, the wife of John Stark.  By the time of the Battle of Bennington she was 40 years old and she and General Stark had been married for 19 years.  They had 11 children together.  She never slept a widow, but her husband John slept as a widower after her death in 1814.  John Stark died on May 8, 1822, age 93.

Ironically Molly Stark has far more sites named after her in New Hampshire and around the country than John Stark.  I am confident that this fact would not have bothered the General in the slightest.

Published in: on February 28, 2012 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Molly Stark Didn’t Sleep as a Widow  
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