Sarah Mary Benjamin: Historical Marker
Born Sarah Matthews of New York, Sarah Mary Benjamin is considered to be a "Revolutionary War heroine". The historic marker recognizes the impact she has had in Pennsylvania's women's history. It is located in Wayne County, Pennsylvania. The marker was placed alongside the highway of where she lived after 1822. She cared for her husband and other soldiers while traveling with the war unit.
Backstory and Context
The American Revolutionary War took place from 1775 to 1783. The original thirteen colonies were trying to gain their independence from Great Britain leadership, which they eventually accomplished. There were many known figures through out the war, but women were the least spoken about. One of these influential women was Sarah Mary Benjamin. She led a dedicated life for what she loved. Sarah Mary Benjamin passed away in 1853 at 101 years old. There is a historical marker at a home she once lived recognizing her sacrifices for the war.
One of the most known documented experiences of Sarah Mary Benjamin was that of the Siege of Yorktown in 1781. This occurred when she was married to her second husband, Aaron Osborn. She met Osborn when she working as a domestic servant in New York. During the war, Sarah Mary Benjamin traveled with her husband Aaron who was a continental soldier. She provided food and water to the soldiers while they were out in the trenches, putting herself in harms way. Sarah Mary Benjamin documented these experiences in her pension application. At Yorktown, there was an encounter she wrote about with General George Washington. She was asked by George Washington if she was scared of the cannonballs as she was delivering supplies to the soldiers. She replied to him, "No, the bullets would not cheat the gallows, it would not do for the men to fight and starve too."
Sarah Mary Benjamin's efforts in the war led to this historic landmark in Wayne County, Pennsylvania to be made. Along with delivering essential supplies to the soldiers in the trenches, she sewed and made bread. Benjamin even served on guard duty once while Washington discussed his plans to make an assault on British headquarters. After the war, Sarah and Aaron lived in abandoned soldier huts. They returned there after the battle of Yorktown. This did not last long, however, because Aaron Osborn left her for another woman. Sarah Mary Benjamin soon got married to her third husband, John Benjamin, in 1787. This is when she moved to the site of the historic landmark dedicated to her courageous acts in the war. Sarah and John Benjamin ended up living in Pleasant Mt., Wayne County for the rest of their days.
The importance of this historical marker is not only to shed some light on the work Sarah Mary Benjamin did during the Revolutionary War, but it also provides a great foundation into giving these women in history the recognition they deserve. By even creating these small markers along side the edge of a road, it provides a look into the live's of these women and the hard work they have done, inspiring the people that live around the markers to dive deeper into the history that these women lived. Sarah Mary Benjamin is one of the many women that deserve this type of recognition.
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