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The Women and Children of Poultney: Fleeing Burgoyne's Forces 6 July 1777

Compiled by Margaret R. Jenks
58 Pages, 1150 Names, Map, Indexed

Now available from Sleeper Books at


There are many stories in the History of Poultney about the brave women, with their children, who fled to Bennington and their former homes, when word came that Burgoyne's army was approaching Poultney. The trip was of about 50 miles through the wilderness on foot with their children, several very young, and no men to protect them. They reached Pawlet the first night and were in Bennington at the time of the Battle of Bennington on 16 August 1777. Some continued on to their former homes in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Most returned to Poultney after the surrender of Burgoyne at Saratoga on 17 October 1777.

Poultney tradition says thirteen women fled with their children on Sunday, 6 July 1777: Mrs. William Ward, Mrs. Thomas Ashley, Mrs. Ichabod Marshall, Mrs. Joseph Marshall, Mrs. Dan Richards, Mrs. John Richards, Mrs. Timothy Hyde, Mrs. Zebediah Dewey, Mrs. Silas Howe, Mrs. Nathaniel Smith, Mrs. Nehemiah Howe, Mrs. Josiah Lewis, and Mrs. Isaac Ashley. I believe there were seventeen more women who fled that day, several were daughters of the "Valiant Thirteen." As to be expected in a small, somewhat isolated community, many of the sons and daughters of the first settlers married the sons and daughters of other first settlers. I believe there were close to 90 children that fled that day, the youngest only 18 days old.

Unfortunately, the Poultney probate, town and vital records burned on 9 January 1862 leaving us without records on many of the first settlers. As many of the residents were very poor, there are no extant cemetery stones. Many resources have been searched trying to reconstruct the families of the men on several lists of settlers in Poultney before 6 July 1777.