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Remember the women behind the men who fought for independence - The Galveston County Daily News: Guest Columns

October 1, 2016

Remember the women behind the men who fought for independence

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Posted: Friday, July 4, 2014 12:00 am

Much has been written about the Founding Fathers of this wonderful country whose battle for independence we celebrate on the Fourth of July.

What do the readers of this column know of the women who actually supported the men?

Who were those women who stayed home and suffered — not silently, if we believe how outspoken some of them tended to be?

We celebrate in parks and churches, capitols and malls, but who stops to give a thought that the battles were possible because women were on the farms, the markets, the small shops, earning a bit of income to hold fast until the battles were won?

I don’t have the space here or the knowledge to discuss each of those women involved in the long struggle for independence.

I do know, however, that they kept the farms producing and the wool and cotton ready for garments — for which they spun the yarn and wove the fabric — to clothe those men.

The women never rested or sat and discussed the strategies for victory.

Most had few peers with whom they could share their worries or, fantastic as it may seem, their strategies for victory. Many of the women were educated and clever, yet they carried on at home and waited with the rest of the country to hear of battles, deaths and treaties.  

Most of the women and many of the children suffered grave deprivation and danger.

Little is spoken of the families of the “signers,” but it is heartbreaking to realize that many were held in captivity as hostages in attempts to cause their husbands to withdraw their signatures and support.

Yes, we celebrate Independence Day — rightly so.

I will applaud and cheer as veterans pass my way, and I proudly salute my own ancestors who fought in that struggle, but I know the women sacrificed as much and gained little thanks.

As the British swept through an area, they left little behind to give comfort to those families of the men we call patriots.

Women, too, are patriots and are so listed in Revolutionary War records.  

And so, as we celebrate and remember our independence, give a thought to the ladies; they were the backbone, the supply line, the medical teams, the farmers, shopkeepers, teachers, weavers and even defenders of the areas they called home.

They suffered, bled, died and usually had little information of where the men were or what was happening at the First Continental Congress.

They worked and waited, and waited and are still waiting to be remembered on the day we celebrate the signers of the Declaration.

Cokie Roberts wrote a book, “Founding Mothers,” entertaining but too full of stories of the spouses of the more famous signers and largely missing the facts of the simple farm women who kept the crops growing, the wool spun.

Let us remember the entire population of women struggling behind the lines. Bless them all.

Stay well and remember: We celebrate not the Fourth of July, but Independence Day.