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Long Island Women In Spy Chain For additional Photos and family information on Anna Smith Strong (1740-1812)
in the setauket spy chain that operated during the revolution and kept
General Washington supplied with information regarding the movements of
the British troops in new York and on Long Island.
One of the most interesting stories concerns Ann Smith Strong (she was called Nancy in the spy records), wife of Judge Selah Strong, who lived in Setauket. The British army was having a great deal of trouble with American saboteurs and anyone who rode about very much out of uniform was suspected of unfriendly intentions. Nancy gave Austin Roe excuses for his trips to New York by giving him large orders for goods so he could ride safely to new York to fill them.
Since Caleb Brewster was a well know figure in Setauket, it was not safe for him to always land his boat in the same spot, so he had six landing places. Abraham Woodhull could not always know whether Brewster was in the village or at which landing place his boat was hid, so Nancy made it her business to keep track of him and passed this information on to Woodhull through her clothesline. Most of the petticoats worn by the women in those days were red, so if Mr. Woodhull saw a black petticoat waving on Nancy's clothesline he knew Brewster was in town. each of the landing places had a number, and by counting the handkerchiefs hanging on Nancy's clothesline he knew at which landing place Mr. Brewster's boat was hidden.
Nancy was not discovered by the British, but her husband Judge Strong, was arrested and thrown into prison on one of the worst British prison ships. Nancy got permission to visit him and took a boat load of food, which probably saved his life and the lives of other prisoners. Later on she secured his release, although he had to flee to Connecticut for safety. Nancy's place in the spy ring was an important one, and she occupies a front place in the line of Colonial America's great women.
Later on in the war, General Benedict Arnold, who was dissatisfied with the treatment he had received from Congress, planned to turn over the key fort at West Point, of which he was in charge, to the British.
NOTE of historical correction: It has been stated that Robert Townsend discovered the Benedict Arnold plot and passed the information on to Maj. Tallmadge. There appears to be some doubt as to the accuracy of the story as commonly conveyed. Mr Worley Thorne, through a letter to LIG stated - Though it's possible that Tallmadge knew something, it is doubtful he knew much about the plot or that Arnold was involved. If Tallmadge had known it seem logical he would have notified Gen. Washington immediately; resulting in Arnold's immediate arrest. Furthermore, why would Tallmadge not have told Col. Jameson of the situation, after Jameson had control of Maj. Andre and the six incriminating papers, and thus prevented Jameson from alerting Arnold, the alert which allowed Arnold to escape?
The greatest accomplishment of the Culper Ring was the warning given in 1780 that the British planned to attack the French at Newport. That could have spelled disaster for our alliance with the French, and thus for the war. I think it is clear that we would not have triumphed at Yorktown without the French fleet or the French army. Whether that would have loss of the war, or many more years of fighting and suffering for our troops, would, of course, be highly speculative. (Thank you Mr Worley Thorne for your input.)
On September 10, Major Tallmadge had received a letter from General Arnold saying he expected a "John Anderson" from New York, and if he should come to Major Tallmadge's headquarters would he give him an escort and send him to General Arnold's headquarters below West point. On September 23, james Anderson (who was Major Andre) was captured while crossing the American lines near Tarrytown. the following morning when General Arnold received word that Major Andre was being held as a British spy, he hurriedly called for a horse and rode to the river, where he ordered his bargemen to row him, not up the river to West Point but down the river to the British Sloop of War "Vulture," and so he escaped to the British.
Major Andre was convicted and hanged as a spy October 2, 1780. the surrender of west point was prevented by the fast work of the Setauket spy ring, and again the course of history was changed through their activities.
After the war, Benedict Arnold went to live in London, where he was despised even by the country he had sold out to, and died in June 1801. the only tribute to his memory in American hearts was a contempt and hatred more enduring than granite.
A few additional links for added information:
Wheeler: The Art and Enterprise of American Design 1875-1900 - For
73 years, the textile designs of Candace Wheeler lay tucked away among
the Metropolitan Museum of Art's stored treasures. This week, those
19th-century silks, velvets and cottons went on glorious display.
The museum calls "Candace Wheeler: The Art and Enterprise of American Design 1875-1900" a major retrospective. For all but a few experts, it will be an introduction to an unsung heroine of American decorative arts. This information is part of a Washington Post article by Staff writer Linda Hales published Saturday, October 13, 2001.
This is the link to the complete article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A52599-2001Oct12.html
Amy Post Kirby - Amy Kirby was
born in Jericho, New York on December 20, 1802. Her parents, Joseph
and Mary Seaman Kirby, were farmers and she was one of eight children.
The Kirby family belonged to the Society of Friends (Quakers).
When Amy Kirby was in her early 20s, she moved to Scipio, New York to live with her sister, Hannah Kirby Post, and brother-in-law, Isaac Post. Hannah died in 1827, and Amy Kirby married Isaac Post in 1828. In addition to the two children Isaac Post had with his previous wife Hannah, Isaac and Amy (Post) has four children of their own: Jacob, Joseph, Matilda, and Willet. Only four of the children live to be adults (Mary - the daughter of Isaac and Hannah, Jacob, Joseph, and Willet).
In 1836, the Posts moved from Scipio to Rochester, New York, to a house at 36 Sophia Street (now North Plymouth Avenue). That same year, Post’s younger sister Sarah also moved to Rochester. A few years later, in 1839, Isaac Post started a drugstore -- named Post, Coleman and Willis -- in the Smith Arcade, at 4 Exchange Street in Rochester.
Amy Post became active in the anti-slavery movement in Rochester soon after she arrived in the city. She signed a petition against slavery in 1837, and her home, a busy station on the Underground Railroad, sometimes housed between ten and twenty fugitive slaves per night. A host of anti-slavery lecturers also stayed with her when they came to Rochester to speak. These guests included William Lloyd Garrison, William C. Nell, Abby Kelley, Sojourner Truth, and Frederick Douglas.
Post helped to found the Western New York Anti-Slavery Society (WNYASS) in 1842, and throughout the 1840s was active in organizing and holding a series of anti-slavery fairs in order to raise money and sympathy for the cause. In 1844, she was selected to be the WNYASS delegate to the annual meeting of the American Anti-Slavery Society in New York City and in 1852, when the Society held its annual meeting in Rochester, she served on the business committee. In 1853, with Lucy Coleman, she attended a Western Anti-Slavery Society meeting and went to Canada to visit fugitive slave communities.
In 1845, Post stopped attending the Rochester Monthly Meeting of the Society of Friends and left Genesee Yearly Meeting (Quakers). She left the Quakers because she disagreed that the Society’s ministers and elders had the right to judge the actions that individual members took in matters of conscience, such as abolitionism, the belief that there should be no slavery. (Although Quakers thought slavery was sinful, many ministers and elders disapproved of the methods used by radical anti-slavery reformers and looked in disfavor upon their own members who agreed with these methods.)
Because of her work in the anti-slavery movement, Post developed friendships and shared correspondence with many famous anti-slavery advocates. One such friendship was with Harriet Jacobs, an escaped slave. Jacobs stayed with the Posts for almost a year while she was in Rochester, and Post encouraged her to write her autobiography. Jacobs published Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl in 1861. Lydia Maria Child wrote its introduction, and Post, under an assumed named (alias or pseudonym), wrote the postscript.
During the Civil War, Post tapped into her vast regional anti-slavery network in order to collect goods including food, clothing and medical supplies for the newly freed slaves. She ensured that these were distributed by working with the agent for the Rochester Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Society (LASS) in Virginia. [Image of letter to Post from Anthony]
Post worked for woman’s rights as well as for the abolition of slavery, and was involved in the woman’s rights movement from its inception in 1848. In July of that year, she traveled nearly fifty miles to the Woman’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls. There, she participated in debates and signed the Declaration of Sentiments. When the participants in that meeting decided to hold another convention in Rochester two weeks hence, Post agreed to work on the arrangements committee. She, with other members of the committee, shocked even women’s rights advocates Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott by insisting that a woman (Abigail Bush) be chosen to preside at this Adjourned Convention. At this convention, which took place on August 2, 1848, Post called the meeting to order and again participated in discussion and debates regarding the Declaration of Sentiments.
Two weeks after the Rochester Convention, Post joined forces with two seamstresses to form the Working Women’s Protective Union. The object of this group was to work toward wage increases for working girls. Post became the treasurer of the Union.
Post attended numerous women’s rights conventions throughout her life. At a Woman’s Rights State Convention held in Rochester in 1853, she signed a call and resolutions entitled "The Just and Equal Rights of Women." After the Civil War, she joined the Equal Rights Association and the National Woman Suffrage Association. In 1872, the year her husband Isaac died, she was one of the women who along with Susan B. Anthony attempted to vote in the national election. Unlike Anthony, Post was not allowed to vote, although she did succeed in registering. In 1873, Post once again attempted to vote, but was again turned away.
When the National Woman Suffrage Association held its convention in Rochester, New York on July 19, 1878 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Seneca Falls Convention, Post again helped with arrangements and served as one of the delegates from Monroe County. She was one of the founding members of the Women’s Political Club, (later named the Political Equality Club) founded in Rochester in 1885. In 1888, well into her eighties, she attended the International Council of Women in Washington, DC, which was billed as the largest women’s rights convention held up until that time.
Besides suffrage and abolition, Post was also involved in a number of other causes throughout her life including Spiritualism and temperance. In 1882, the Rochester community showed its appreciation and respect for Post’s work with a celebration of her 80th birthday. She died seven years later, on January 29, 1889, and her funeral was held at the Unitarian Society.(This information was found on http://www.winningthevote.org/APost.html. Sources for the information can be found there)
Lester of Southold, Long Island, who
practiced midwifery from 1745 until 1779 was "respected as nurse and
to the pains and infirmities incident to her fellow mortals, especially
her own sex. She was . . . conspicuous as an Angel of Mercy; a woman
price was above rubies. It is said that she attended the birth of 1300
children, and of that number, lost but two . . . ."
Lydia Mintern Post was a Long Island housewife who was forced to house the "Red-Coats" during the war. Post kept a journal of her ordeal with the soldiers. She described how her life was disrupted because the soldiers would " take the fence rails to burn, so that the fields are all left open, and the cattle stray away and are often lost; burn fires all night on the ground, and to replenish them, go into the woods and cut down all the young saplings, thereby destroying the growth of ages." Even worse was the effect that these men made on her household. They lived in her kitchen, with the door to the rest of the house nailed shut. When the soldiers would receive their monthly rationing of rum she wrote of " fighting, drumming and fifing, brawls, dancing all night long, card and dice playing, and every abomination going on underneath our roof."(From: http://w3.arizona.edu/~ws/ws200/fall97/grp11/part7.htm)
Quimby was born possibly on May 1, 1875, in Coldwater, Michigan, or
perhaps, as she later claimed, in 1884 in Arroyo Grande, California;
alternative is well attested. By 1902 she and her family were living in
California, and in that year she became a writer for the San Francisco
journal Dramatic Review. She later wrote for the San Francisco Call,
the Chronicle, and for magazines. In 1903 she moved to New York City to
become drama critic for Leslie's Weekly.
Quimby became interested in aviation about 1910, and following a visit to an air show at Belmont Park in October of that year she determined to learn to fly. She took lessons at the Moisant School of Aviation at Hempstead, Long Island, in the spring of 1911, and on August 1 she became the first woman to qualify for a license (number 37) from the Aero Club of America, the U.S. branch of the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale. She was the second licensed woman pilot in the world, following the Baroness de la Roche of France. For a time Quimby flew with the Moisant International Aviators, a demonstration team from the school, but she also continued to contribute articles to various periodicals.
On April 16, 1912, after nearly a month of preparation, Quimby became the first woman to pilot an aircraft across the English Channel, guiding her French Blériot monoplane from Dover, England, through heavy overcast to Hardelot, France. She was widely celebrated for her feat. In the summer, after participating in several other air meets, she flew to Boston to take part in the Harvard-Boston Aviation Meet. On July 1, 1912, while piloting her Blériot over Dorchester Bay, Quimby lost control; she and a passenger both fell from the rolling craft and were killed.
Margaret Corbin - Born on November 12, 1751, in what is now Franklin county, then on the western Pennsylvania frontier, Margaret Cochran, having lost both of her parents in an Indian raid when she was five, grew up with relatives. She married John Corbin in 1772, and when he enlisted in the First Company of Pennsylvania Artillery for service in the United States War of Independence she followed him east. (According to some historians, she held a paid position as an enlisted soldier.) On November 16, 1776, Corbin was manning a gun on a ridge near Fort Washington, New York, when he was killed during a Hessian advance. Observing from nearby, Margaret immediately leaped to the gun and continued to serve in her husband's stead until she was felled by grapeshot wounds. Upon the surrender of the American position she was not taken among the prisoners. She made her way to Philadelphia and there, completely disabled, came to the attention of the state's Executive Council, by which she was granted temporary relief in June 1779. The next month the Continental Congress approved the granting of a lifetime soldier's half-pay pension to her. She was thereafter included on military rolls and in April 1783 was formally mustered out of the Continental Army. She lived in Westchester county, New York, until her death on January 16, 1800.
- Born in New York, New York, on August 28, 1774,
Elizabeth Bayley was the daughter of a distinguished physician. She
a good deal of time to working among the poor, and in 1797 she joined
M. Graham and others in founding the first charitable institution in
York City, the Society for the Relief of Poor Widows with Small
serving as the organization's treasurer for seven years. She had
William M. Seton in 1794, and in 1803 they and the eldest of their five
children traveled to Italy for his health. Nevertheless, in part
as an aftereffect of his bankruptcy three years earlier, he died there
in December. She returned to New York City and, as a result of her
and acquaintances in Italy, joined the Roman Catholic church in 1805.
found it difficult to earn a living, partly because many friends and
shunned her after her conversion. For a time she operated a small
In 1808 Seton accepted an invitation from the Reverend William Dubourg, president of St. Mary's College in Baltimore, Maryland, to open a school for Catholic girls in that city. Several young women joined in her work, and in 1809 her long-held hope to found a religious community was realized when she and her companions took vows before Archbishop John Carroll and became the Sisters of St. Joseph, the first American-based Catholic sisterhood. A few months later Mother Seton and the Sisters moved their home and school to Emmitsburg, Maryland, where they provided free education for the poor girls of the parish--an act later considered by many to be the beginning of Catholic parochial education in the United States. In 1812 the order became the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph under a modification of the rule of the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul. Houses of the order were opened in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1814 and in New York City in 1817. Mother Seton continued to teach and work for the community until her death in Emmitsburg, Maryland, on January 4, 1821, by which time the order had 20 communities. In 1856 Seton Hall College (now University) was named for her. In September 1975 she became the first native-born American to be canonized.
Bibliography. Hélène Bailly de Barberey, Elizabeth Seton (1927, reissued 1957); Katherine Burton, His Dear Persuasion (1940); Annabelle M. Melville, Elizabeth Bayley Seton, 1774-1821 (1951, reissued 1985).
Claflin - Born on September 23, 1838, in Homer,
Ohio, into a poor and eccentric family, Victoria Claflin traveled with
her sister Tennessee in a family medicine and fortune-telling show,
psychic and other remedies to the public. Even after her marriage to
Woodhull at the age of 15, she continued to give demonstrations in
with her sister. After divorcing Woodhull in 1864, she was said to have
been married to Colonel James H. Blood, who introduced her to a number
of 19th-century reform movements.
In 1868 (moved by a vision of Demosthenes, Woodhull claimed), the sisters traveled to New York City, where they met the recently widowed Cornelius Vanderbilt, who was interested in spiritualism. He set them up in a stock-brokerage firm, Woodhull, Claflin, & Company, which opened in January 1870 and, in part through its novelty and in larger part owing to the sisters' native shrewdness, was quite successful. With their considerable profits they founded in 1870 Woodhull and Claflin's Weekly, a women's rights and reform magazine that espoused such causes as a single moral standard for men and women, legalized prostitution, and dress reform. Much of each issue was written by Stephen Pearl Andrews, promoter of the utopian social system he called "Pantarchy"--a theory rejecting conventional marriage and advocating a perfect state of free love combined with communal management of children and property. Woodhull expounded her version of Andrews' ideas in a series of articles in the New York Herald in 1870 that were collected in Origin, Tendencies and Principles of Government (1871).
Woodhull's ardent speeches on woman suffrage, notably in January 1871 before the Judiciary Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, won her at least tentative acceptance by woman suffrage leaders, who until then had been put off by both her newspaper and her reputation. Invited into the National Woman Suffrage Association by Susan B. Anthony, Woodhull soon became a rival for leadership. When a dissident group called the National Radical Reformers broke away from the National Woman Suffrage Association in 1872, Woodhull--by then an accomplished public speaker--was nominated for the presidency by the Equal Rights Party.
By mid-1872 Woodhull's troubles had begun to mount. Her ex-husband reappeared and took up residence with her and her current husband, thus providing rich new material for her enemies. No longer enjoying the backing of Vanderbilt, Woodhull was forced to suspend publication of her Weekly that summer (it had recently published the first English-language version of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels' Communist Manifesto).
Woodhull responded to critics of her morals by hurling back charges of her own. She published a full report of an alleged liaison between the highly respected Reverend Henry Ward Beecher and a married parishioner. For this act Woodhull and her sister were promptly jailed under a statute forbidding the passage of obscene materials through the mail. After seven months of litigation the sisters were acquitted of the charge.
Woodhull divorced Blood in 1876, and when Vanderbilt died, in the following year, the sisters went to England--the trip apparently financed by the Vanderbilt heirs to prevent a challenge to the will. In London a lecture by Woodhull charmed a wealthy English banker, John Biddulph Martin, who proposed to her. Objections by his family, however, prevented their marriage until 1883. Woodhull and her sister became widely known for their philanthropy and were largely accepted in high British social circles. Woodhull's later publications include Stirpiculture, or the Scientific Propagation of the Human Race (1888), Garden of Eden: Allegorical Meaning Revealed (1889), The Human Body the Temple of God (1890; with her sister), and Humanitarian Money: The Unsolved Riddle (1892). From 1892 to 1901 she published with her daughter, Zula Maud Woodhull, the Humanitarian magazine devoted to eugenics. Although Victoria returned on occasion to the United States, she lived in England until her death at North Park, Bremons, Worcestershire, on June 10, 1927.
Bibliography. Biographies include Emanie Sachs, "The Terrible Siren": Victoria Woodhull, 1838-1927 (1928); Johanna Johnston, Mrs. Satan (1967); and Lois Beachy Underhill, The Woman Who Ran for President: The Many Lives of Victoria Woodhull (1995).
Witchhunt in East Hampton A Long Island farmer's wife is accused of witchcraft three decades before the trials in Salem
Diary of a Colonial Housewife The hardships of a Long Island mother compel her to write, `Dear Lord, deliver me.'
LI's Own Rosie the Riveters Josephine Rachiele kept her World War II in a shoebox for years: metal caked with dirt.
Lady Deborah Moody A `Dangerous' 1600s Woman Religious dissenter Lady set a precedent when she founded Gravesend.
LI's Rebels With a Cause For Alva Erskine Smith Vanderbilt Belmont and other suffragettes, `Failure is impossible'
Syrena Stackpole left behind a string of firsts in Suffolk County - Pistol Packin' Political Pioneer
Kitty Floyd - Madison's Unrequited Love, How a Long Island teen broke the future president's heart.
Mary Wright, Hannah Wright, and Lydia Wright - A hanging inspires three Oyster Bay siblings to fight for the Quakers of New England
Twenty Modern prominent Long Island women as Listed in Newsday
KENNY, 65, Setauket. President of the State University at Stony
and former president of Queens College.
PEARL KAMER, 61, Syosset. Chief economist for the Long Island Association.
SARA WHALEN, 23, Greenlawn. Member of the U.S. women’s soccer team that won the 1999 World Cup.
ROSIE O’DONNELL, who turns 38 this month, grew up in Commack. Talk-show host, comedian, actress and author.
SUSAN ISAACS, 56, Sands Point. Best selling novelist whose books capture life on Long Island.
JUDITH JACOBS, 61, Woodbury. First female presiding officer of the Nassau County Legislature.
LOUISA HARGRAVE, 52, Cutchogue. Started Hargrave Vineyards with her husband, Alex. Winery was recently sold to an Italian-born noble.
DONNA KARAN, 51, grew up in Woodmere. Head fashion designer and chief executive officer of the company that bears her name.
HAZEL DUKES, 68 this month, formerly of Roslyn. Civil rights activist served as both national and state president of the NAACP.
CAROLYN McCARTHY, 56, Mineola. The nurse began to seek gun control and won a seat in Congress after her husband died and her son was hurt in ’93 shooting.
DONNA LOPIANO, 53, Westbury. Executive director of the Nassau-based Women’s Sports Foundation.
BERNADETTE CASTRO, 55, Lloyd Harbor. New York State Commissioner of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Former president of Castro Convertibles.
GERI BARISH, 55, Baldwin. President of 1 in 9: The Long Island Breast Cancer Action Coalition.>
B. SMITH, 50, Sag Harbor. Lifestyle guru and restaurateur, television host, cookbook author and magazine editor.
DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN, 57, grew up in Rockville Centre. Historian won Pulitzer Prize for “No Ordinary Time,” a book on Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.
DOROTHY GOOSBY, 62 this month, Hempstead. Elected to Hempstead Town Board. Won lawsuit against town for racial discrimination in elections.
CLAIRE SHULMAN, 74, Beechhurst. Appointed and then elected Queens borough president in 1986.
ABBY KENIGSBERG, 61 next month, Syosset. Executive director of the Long Island Coalition for Fair Broadcasting.
PATTI LUPONE, 50, grew up in Northport. Actress and winner of the Tony Award for her role as Evita on Broadway.
CHAMIQUE HOLDSCLAW, 22, Astoria. Forward for the Washington Mystics. She was the 1999 Women’s National Basketball Association rookie of the year and an all-star. Led the University of Tennessee to three national championships.