Was there really a Molly Pitcher?

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A rest stop on the New Jersey Turnpike near Exit 8A in Middlesex County is named Molly Pitcher, but did she really exist?

Historical interpreter Stacy Roth of Burlington City answered that question in a re-creation of Molly's life based on historical research, story-telling, imagination and what she calls "plausible conjecture."

Roth sorted fact from fiction during "Over Here, Molly Pitcher," a Women's History Month event last week in Westampton at Peachfield Plantation, a colonial farmhouse operated by the New Jersey chapter of the Colonial Dames.

Based on recent research by historians and authors, Roth believes Molly was probably Mary Hays McCauley, a Revolutionary War camp follower and heroine who assisted her husband's artillery unit at the Battle of Monmouth in 1778.

Roth sang a Revolutionary War song to her audience of 20.

"Good day, to ya," Roth said, using Hays' Irish brogue.

She involved her audience in a simulated artillery crew and canon firing.

Roth was dressed as Molly in layers of clothing with long skirts, petticoats, an overcoat and hat carrying a water canteen, a pack and a rolled wool blanket over one shoulder.

She dispelled myths Molly's artilleryman husband was killed at Monmouth and she took over his canon position or that the water she carried was in pitchers.

"It was more likely she filled their canteens with water, but how would Molly Canteen sound?" she jokes....

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