Nancy Hart


Nancy Hart was a heroine of the American Revolutionary War, though the details of her exploits are a jumble of fact and fiction. Born in North Carolina, Nancy was described as feisty and fearless, with red hair and a matching hotheadedness. Although illiterate and cross-eyed, she was a skilled hunter and herbalist well suited for frontier life.

Log cabin
The most famous story about Nancy took place during the Revolution, when a group of Loyalist soldiers arrived at her home and demanded a turkey dinner. She agreed to feed them, and while they were distracted by their meal she hid their guns outside the cabin. After they had finished, she used one of the remaining guns to hold them hostage, and when one ignored her warnings, he was shot and killed. Another, moving toward the hidden weapons, was also shot and badly injured. The remaining soldiers were detained, and, despite Benjamin's wish to shoot them as well, Nancy insisted that they be hanged.

Many other stories of Nancys bravery abounded during the war, although the truth behind these tales is questionable. She was said to have dressed like a man on more than one occasion to sneak into the Loyalist camp, and legend speaks of a time when, discovering a spy peeking through the cracks of her chimney, she splashed boiling soap into his eyes before going outside and binding him. After the war, the Hart family continued to live in the Broad River settlement, and Nancy joined the local Methodist society. During the late 1780s, the family moved to Brunswick, Georgia, but after the death of her husband Nancy returned to Broad River, only to find that their old cabin had been washed away. She finally moved in with her son John, who took her to Kentucky to live near relatives. There she remained until her death in 1830, when she was buried in the Hart family cemetery.

Key events during the life of Nancy Hart:

Married Benjamin Hart and moved to Georgia.
Joined the local Methodist society.
Moved to Kentucky after the death of her husband.
Six skeletons, believed to be the men hanged by Hart, were unearthed near a railroad station.

Other Resources

Story Links
Book Links
Nancy Hart  in  America First—100 Stories from Our History  by  Lawton B. Evans
Nancy Hart  in  American History Stories, Volume II  by  Mara L. Pratt

Short Biography
Molly Pitcher When her husband was killed, she took over his position and helped man a cannon at the Battle of Monmouth.
Nathan Hale American patriot caught by the British and hung for treason.
Francis Marion Revolutionary War leader whose used guerilla tactics against the Tories in the Southeast marshes.
George Rogers Clark Revolutionary war hero who fought both British and Indians in the Ohio Valley.