Women played a crucial role in the American Revolution, but information about them can be hard to come by. HVA Press has recently discovered and republished Catherine Schuyler: A Woman of the Revolution by Mary Gay Humphreys, which was first published in 1897.
Catherine Schuyler was a kind of early American royalty, the daughter of to Col. Johannes Van Rensselaer (1708–1783), called the “Patroon of Greenbush.” Married to leading Albany citizen and Revolutionary War Gen. Philp Schuyler (1733-1804), she entertained such luminaries as Ben Franklin and George Washington, and raised eight children.
Her daughter Elizabeth married Alexander Hamilton. Catherine also ran the homestead while her husband was off at war. She managed 80 acres of farmland and was named in her husband’s will to be the sole supervisor of the estate. For a husband to give his wife that kind of authority was very unusual for that time.
When her convalescent husband was taken to Fort Ticonderoga, she made the journey to him from Albany. She traveled in an open wagon, by ferry, through rapids and swampland, and finally at night in a boat with a blanket for a sail up Lake George. After Catherine Schuyler nursed her husband back to health, she returned to Albany to manage their home and their children.
Mary Gay Humphreys was born in Ridley, Ohio. She served as a nurse in the Civil War and the Philippines. After the war she was an author, book reviewer, magazine and newspaper contributor. She also wrote a number of popular novels under the pen name Henry Somerville. Humphreys was also active in supporting women’s rights. She died in 1915.
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