11 May 2015

Park for Nancy Hart, a Revolutionary Heroine

Lucian Lamar Knight described her as an "undaunted queen of the forest..."

On Wahatche (War Woman) Creek, in Revolutionary times, lived Nancy
Morgan Hart, her husband, Benjamin, and their children.  Six feet tall,
masculine in strength and courage, Nancy Hart was a staunch patriot, a
deadly shot, a skilled doctor, and a good neighbor.  A spy for the colonists,
she is credited with capturing several Tories.  Later, with her son, John, and
his family, she joined a wagon train to Henderson County, Kentucky,
where she is buried...A replica of her log home, with chimney stones from the
original, is in the Nancy Hart Park, [in Elbert County.]

"The most famous story of Hart's escapades as a frontier patriot began when a group of six (some accounts say five) Tories came to her cabin and demanded information concerning the location of a certain Whig leader. Only minutes earlier, the Whig, hotly pursued by the Tories, had stopped by the Hart cabin and enlisted Hart's aid as he made his escape. Hart insisted that no one had passed through her neck of the woods for days. Convinced that she was lying, one of the Tories shot and killed Hart's prized gobbler. After ordering her to cook the turkey, the Tories entered the cabin, stacked their weapons in the corner, and demanded something to drink. Hart obliged them by opening her jugs of wine. Once the Tories began to feel the intoxicating effects of the wine, Hart sent her daughter Sukey to the spring for a bucket of water. Hart secretly instructed her to blow a conch shell, which was kept on a nearby stump, to alert the neighbors that Tories were in the cabin.

As Hart served her unwanted guests, she frequently passed between them and their stacked weapons. Inconspicuously, she began to pass the loaded muskets, one by one, through a chink in the cabin wall to Sukey, who had by this time slipped around to the rear of the building. When the Tories noticed what she was doing and sprang to their feet, Hart threatened to shoot the first man who moved a foot. Ignoring her warning, one Tory lunged forward, and Hart pulled the trigger, killing the man. Seizing another weapon, she urged her daughter to run for help. Hart shot a second Tory who made a move toward the stacked weapons and held off the remaining loyalists until her husband and several others arrived. Benjamin Hart wanted to shoot the Tories, but Hart wanted them to hang. Consequently the remaining Tories were hanged from a nearby tree. In 1912 workmen grading a railroad near the site of the old Hart cabin unearthed a neat row of six skeletons that lay under nearly three feet of earth and were estimated to have been buried for at least a century. This discovery seemed to validate the most oft-told story of the Hart legend." [snippet from New Georgia Encyclopedia article, "Nancy Hart (ca. 1735-1830)"]

Click here for Nancy's FindAGrave memorial.

Update! Here's another tidbit I learned from Lucian Lamar Knight:
Hartford One of Georgia's Lost Towns.
Hartford, the first county-seat of Pulaski, formerly stood on a high bluff of the Ocmulgee River, just opposite the site of the present [1913] town of Hawkinsville. It is today numbered among the dead towns of Georgia, but in the early days of the State it was an Indian trading post of very great importance, on what was then the frontier...The town was named for Nancy Hart, the celebrated heroine of the Revolution. In 1837, the court-house was removed from Hartford to Hawkinsville, dating from which event the fortunes of the little border stronghold began to decline, until it became at last only a dim memory of the remote past; and there survives today but a few fragmentary remains to mark the spot.


Unknown said...

Capturing Republicans would be fun, I've heard of this woman

Unknown said...

Yep I went to that park when a student at UGA, knew I had seen that historical marker.

Unknown said...

Again you do good work, Stephanie, keep it up

Stephanie Lincecum said...