Monday, December 29, 2008

Today's History Lesson

Brigadier General William Irvine

Born in Fermanaugh, Ireland on November 3, 1741, William Irvine first studied to become a physician at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. He was a ship’s surgeon in the British Navy during the Seven Years War. After the war, he resigned his commission and emigrated to America, settling in Carlisle, Pennsylvania where he practiced medicine.

When the Revolutionary war broke out he formed the 7th Pennsylvania Regiment and helped to invade Canada. He was captured and later exchanged and went on to participate in the battle of Monmouth.

An extra bit of history – If you’ve ever heard the tale of Molly Pitcher it stems from the same battle of Monmouth. Molly was actually Mary Ludwig Hays McCauley, a servant of Irvine’s from Carlisle. She followed her husband, John Hays, into battle and earned her nickname, Molly Pitcher when she carried water to the exhausted, thirsty soldiers under Irvine’s command as they were fighting. When John was mortally wounded, Molly abandoned her pitcher and took up his canon ramrod in order to continue the fight. If you’re ever in Carlisle be sure to stop by the statue and pay your respects to this determined woman.

Back to the General. He served out the war at Fort Pitt after being promoted to Brigadier General by George Washington, commanding the western frontier. When the war was over and the new government formed he served many different posts, among them public land agent during which time he recommended buying the triangle of land where Erie now is which would give Pennsylvania a second international port city and Congressman representing Cumberland County which is where Carlisle is located. He led the Pennsylvania troops in the Whiskey Rebellion and died in Philadelphia on July 29, 1804 where he held his final post as superintendant of military stores.

Okay so why am I rambling about this man? Because while he was in Carlisle he married and had eleven children, one of whom was my great, great, great grandmother. Pretty cool, huh?


Anny Cook said...

Ah, yes, that's very cool. As a long time genealogist, I find all of that fascinating. Excellent history lesson!

Amarinda Jones said...

I like the sound of Molly and I am glad the recognize her with a statute

Molly Daniels said...

That's neat, Barb:) In grade school, I was called 'Molly Brown', 'Molly Pitcher', 'Molly Hatchet', and 'Good Golly Miss Molly'.

I loved the Molly Pitcher bio, and had nearly forgotten all about her! Thanks for the reminder:)

Sandra Cox said...

Ooh, I love it when you do a historical blog. And so neat that its about a relative.