Sunday, May 26, 2024

Woman Spy by Cindy Regnier


During the Revolutionary War, everyone who was a rebel sympathizer wanted to help. But what could a woman left at home with nine children do to make a difference? A courageous young mother by the name of Anna Smith Strong found a way Let’s find out what her role was in America’s fight for freedom.

Anna Smith Strong was born on April 14, 1740, and married Selah Strong III in 1760. Selah was a delegate to the first three provincial congresses in colonial New York and was a captain in the New York militia. Selah was imprisoned during the war by the British for suspected espionage. Anna remained on the family farm where she became a part of with General Washington’s Culper Spy Ring.

Anna Smith Strong

Anna Strong’s role was to relay signals to a courier named Caleb Brewster, who would row periodically across Long Island Sound to retrieve the information and take it to Washington’s headquarters. So how did she do this and get laundry done for nine children too? She constructed a clothesline on the edge of the farm where it was easily visible from a boat on the Sound. When she hung a black petticoat that was the signal that a message was ready to be picked up. She also hung white handkerchiefs alongside the petticoat, the number of white handkerchiefs identifying which cove of six locations where the informant would be waiting to deliver the message. The spy ring was such a well-kept secret that even General Washington did not know their identities. The details of the operation weren’t known by most people, even after the war until a trunk with old letters was discovered in 1939.

It is said that the Culper Spy Ring achieved more than any other intelligence network during the war. Among other accomplishments, they uncovered British plans to ambush the French Army in Rhode Island. They also uncovered information involving the secret negotiations between Benedict Arnold and the British to surrender the American fort at West Point. They were never caught, though some members were imprisoned for a time. After the war, Anna was reunited with her husband and they had their tenth child, George Washington Strong.

What would you have done in Anna’s place? Would you be brave enough to risk your home and family to deliver messages with a petticoat? We can all be grateful to Anna for the part she played in our American freedom.

 Scribbling in notebooks has been a habit of Cindy Regnier since she was old enough to hold a pencil. Born and raised in Kansas, she writes stories of historical Kansas, especially the Flint Hills area where she spent much of her childhood. Her experiences with the Flint Hills setting, her natural love for history, farming and animals, along with her interest in genealogical research give her the background and passion to write heart-fluttering historical romance.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting about this. I'd like to think I would step up to help.