All children who attend school in Carlisle (as I did) are taught that the two most famous historical residents of our town were athlete Jim Thorpe, and Revolutionary War hero Molly Pitcher:
The Legend of Molly Pitcher:
On June 28, 1778, Continental and British troops clashed at the Battle of Monmouth, New Jersey. Reported as “one of the hottest days ever known,” soldiers dying of heat and thirst welcomed the sight of Mary Hays, wife of an artillery soldier, as she repeatedly brought water to the exhausted and wounded men. They nicknamed her Molly Pitcher. (Afterwards, any woman bringing water to soldiers on the field, was called “Molly Pitcher.”)
As the battle raged, Molly’s husband was wounded while manning his cannon. Molly rose to the occasion by picking up the rammer and servicing the cannon through out the remainder of the battle. Her heroic efforts were recognized by George Washington himself (as some stories claim) and by the State of Pennsylvania. SOURCE.
As I researched for this post, I found out this is a "legend" and not necessarily the truth. From Wikipedia (emphasis mine):This blows me away. All these years I thought this was a real person - especially since we were taught the story as absolute historical fact. If Molly Pitcher isn't real, then WHO is this woman who's buried in Carlisle's Old Cemetery?...
Molly Pitcher was a nickname given to a woman who may have fought in the American Revolutionary War. Historians differ on the real identity of Molly Pitcher, or even if she existed. Since the various Molly Pitcher tales grew in the telling, historians now often regard Molly Pitcher as folklore, rather than history. However, Molly Pitcher may be a composite image inspired by the actions of a number of real women. The name itself may have originated as a nickname given to women who carried water to men on the battlefield during the war. This water was not for drinking, as is popularly believed, but for swabbing the cannons.