Nathan Ross and the American Revolution

by Frances Applequist

Scheduled for publication in March 2020
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Meet Abigail       (Excerpt from July 20, 1775 journal entry)

      After Mother prepared corn meal biscuits for breakfast, we celebrated Abigail’s fourteenth year by digging potatoes. My sister, who does not have the patience with bugs and dirt that she has with kitchen messes, extended herself in my favor without complaint. Although she hiked up her long skirts to tuck the hem into her waistband, most of it still dragged on the ground. I am grateful that boys wear breeches. I know that, if I wore a long skirt, I would trip over it with every step.
      Although Abigail worked hard, she could not make up for Jeremy’s strength. I had to do more than ever before I ended the day bruised and exhausted. I worry that I will not be strong enough tomorrow. Yet, I have little choice. I must never act too young or too small to help.

Meet Mother       (Excerpt from January 3, 1778 journal entry)

      Each time she glanced backward toward the moon, I worried that her eyes would find me. With the guidance of familiar stars and moon position, she found her way to the woods behind the Hyler house. The silhouette of the familiar homestead gave me no relief. Instead, I was shaken by a new dread.
      After Mother tapped lightly on the back door, a shaking voice answered from inside the house. I worried that Mother might give her name and be recognized by an unseen traveler on the road. Instead, she trusted Mistress Hyler to recognize her voice. “A friend,” is all she said. When the door cracked open, Mother handed in the bag. Without a moment’s hesitation, she turned to flee. She rushed past my hiding place without seeing me. After watching the Hyler woman shut her door, I started toward home at a distance that would keep me hidden.
      The vision of Mother being hung for helping traitors brought tears from my eyes that froze on my cheeks. If she were caught, I would be the one who did not try to stop her. I would be the one who had not wakened Father to bring her back. Guilt gripped me tighter than did the snow.

Meet Jeremy and Matthew       (Excerpt from January 3, 1777 journal entry)

      Since Jeremy and Mister Shaw went through the long winter without enough water to clean themselves, Mother did not reprimand them for filling the house with a foul smell. She only asked after their health. My brother explained, "We came to Morris Town with George Washington’s Continental Army. Instead of Mr. Shaw staying in the encampment, I hoped he could stay in the room I share with Grandfather.”
      With a wrinkled brow, Father asked, “Will staying here, instead of in camp, make trouble for you?”
      Mister Shaw answered, “Jeremy convinced our commander that good food and warm lodging would return us to him in stout health. He is a fine leader, Sir, whose sorrow for his lost family made him easy to convince.”

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Art by Daniel Bode and Nathan Bode of Ilumin Visuals.