Nancy Ann Morgan
Nancy Ann Morgan (ca. 1735 Orange Co., NC - ca. 1830 Henderson Co., Kentucky)
Nancy Morgan, named Ann at birth, was born about 1735 in probably North Carolina to Thomas and Rebecca (nee Alexander) Morgan. She was related to both Daniel Boone and General Daniel Morgan (Rev. War. Hero). Around 1760 she met and eventually married Benjamin Hart who was related to the Hon. Thomas Hart Benton and to the wife of Henry Clay (author of the Missouri Compromise of 1820 and expansionist). They settled in the Broad River area of Georgia after starting in Edgefield, South Carolina. They owned over 400 acres of land on the banks of the "Wahatchee" (means War Woman) Creek. The creek was named this in honor of Nancy by the local Indians. She did not earn this honor lightly.
Nancy was a striking woman at over 6 feet in height and red hair. She had small pox early in life and had small pox scars on her face. This combined with her stigmatism and her ability as a hard swearer made her quite formidable. This alone might have gained her some notoriety in her local area, but the role of common housewife was not to be for her. War was coming and the outback in Georgia was never tame so Nancy became an excellent shot and doctor to meet the needs of her growing family and her neighbors. She grew a medicinal garden to meet her need for herbs and rumor has it one side of her log cabin was covered with the antlers of the deer she had shot. These skills made her well known. But again the story and her legend doesn't end there.
Nancy was also a strong patriot. She kept her farm going while her husband was hiding from the Tories and while doing this helped spy on the Tories, even one time disguising herself as a half wit and collecting information from the enemy camp herself! She also collected information for the continental army while posing as a seller of eggs and housewares. She collected valuable information for General Lincoln and "Light Horse" Harry Lee (General Robert E Lee's ancestor). But even this was not the act which sealed her fate as a National Heroine. That was still to come.
One day Nancy was busy with chores about the homestead with her 13 yr. old daughter when a group of Tory soldiers arrived and demanded she feed them. After explaining she only had one old turkey due to previous "acquisitions" by the Tories, they "kindly" shot the old turkey and presented it to her to cook for them. Seeing that they were determined to eat then she set about getting them at ease. She cooked dinner for them and told them stories to entertain them all the while making sure they drank. After a while the soldiers relaxed enough that she felt it safe to send her daughter for water at the well nearby. As her daughter left she whispered to her to blow the conch shell horn that was stowed by the well to alert her neighbors that she needed help. The blow of the conch horn alerted Ben Hart who was working near by and some of his neighbors to come to her aid. While this was happening Nancy was working at disarming them herself by gathering their guns one or two at a time, concealing them in her skirts and then sliding them out chinks left in the walls to facilitate shooting Indians and such. She was detected before she could remove all of their guns. She was forced to hold them all at gunpoint. One soldier who thought she wasn't looking tried to go for his gun and was shot by Nancy. Another thinking not to be outdone by a woman tried the same and was also shot. By this time help had arrived. When her husband and their neighbors started to begin to shoot them all, she is said to have stated shooting would be too good for them. This is because prior to the Tories arrival at her cabin she had heard they had shot her neighbor and patriot Colonel John Dooley. This changed their minds and the Tories were then hung out back on the tree.
It wasn't until about 150 years later that their bodies were found and the story proven to be more than legend. Nancy Morgan Hart was illiterate and none of the eyewitnesses ever wrote the incident down for the record so until about 1922 it was considered only a legend. In 1922 the bodies were uncovered while the land was being graded for a railroad line.
Today the site of the original cabin and burial site have been turned into a 5 acre park with the cabin being reconstructed on the very site of the original. The cabin was reconstructed by the DAR and deeded to the State of Georgia. The State erected a statue near Hartwell, Georgia to commemorate this American Heroine and there is even a section of highway named for her.
- Album: Parks