Ann Cooper Whitall
Ann Cooper Whitall (1716-1797) is a patriot of the American Revolution.
At age 23, she married James Whitall and the couple inherited a 96-acre farm along the Delaware River. Together they raised nine children, though only seven survived to adulthood. Throughout the latter half of her life, Whitall kept a diary on a regular basis and often discussed Quaker’s meetings, events within her family, and daily life on the farm. She emphasizes her spirituality by citing Bible verses and making personal connections with each sermon.
During the American Revolution, the Whitall farm became a battlefield. Before the war American soldiers constructed Fort Mercer on the Whitall property in the spring of 1777. On October 22, 1777, approximately 400 Americans were met by 1,200 Hessians attempting to secure the Delaware River for secure passage of British supplies to Philadelphia. It is rumored that Whitall remained in her home and aided in tending to wounded soldiers, both Hessian and American, while her family left the farm for safety. It is also said that Whitall chose to remain in the house despite a cannonball bursting through the side of the home and disturbing her spinning. These myths surrounding Whitall speak to her upbringing as a Quaker Friend, as well as her determination to protect her home.
On September 23, 1797, Whitall succumbed to yellow fever during the epidemic that struck the Philadelphia region. Two of her sons and two grandchildren also perished from the illness. She is buried on Woodbury Hill, the Friends’ cemetery, in an unmarked grave. Her diary, documenting her life from February 1760 to 1762, is preserved at Haverford College in Pennsylvania.
McGeorge, Isabella C., and Wallace McGeorge. Ann C. Whitall, the Heroine of Red Bank ~ The
Battle of Gloucester ~ Lost Towns and Hamlets in Old Gloucester County. Woodbury:
Gloucester County Historical Society, 1963
Questions to Explore
How did Whitall make personal connections with every sermon?
As a quaker what does Whitall represent? Why does being a quaker develop myths about Whitall?
How did Whitall learn to aid the injured during the war?
Davis Tressie Pamela. 1962. Ann Cooper Whitall a Woman of the American Revolution. https://worldcat.org/title/31848593.
McGeorge Isabella C Wallace McGeorge and Gloucester County Historical Society (N.J.). 1917. Ann C. Whitall the Heroine of Red Bank. Woodbury N.J: Gloucester County Historical Society. https://worldcat.org/title/20873606.
Brown Elisabeth Potts and Susan Mosher Stuard. 1989. Witnesses for Change : Quaker Women Over Three Centuries. New Brunswick NJ: Rutgers University Press. https://worldcat.org/title/18987078.
Crowder Jack Darrell. 2018. Women Patriots in the American Revolution : Stories of Bravery Daring and Compassion. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. https://worldcat.org/title/1052468185.