In honor of womens history month, womens history, and just plain history, here is the story of Helen Brasher, refugee from New York City from 1776 to 1783, and survivor of the Crown forces assault on and burning of the Hopper house on 16 April 1780.
At last [Paramus] became the route of our army. This totally changed the scene, from the simple whistle of the village lad and the cheerful song of the simple pleasant country girls, we had the fife the drum and al the accompaniments of noisy Mars. Our army frequently passed and repassed, at last it became the outpost of our army, a detachment always quartered there, our house constantly filled with officers amongst them many of our citizens. We could not refuse them quarters and it was my wish to make them as comfortable as I could. One party no sooner gone than another came. At last it became a perfect encampment, we had not a moment we could call our own, nor did I complain, so great was my zeal to promote all in my power the comfort or pleasure of my contrymen that were exposing their lives for their countrys safety …
“`It appeared to me as if here we should live secure …: A Family’s Precarious Refuge in Paramus, 1776 to 1780,” Barbara Z. Marchant, ed., Revolutionary Bergen County, The Road to Independence (Charleston, S.C. and London: The History Press, 2009), 31-42.
Image: “Portrait of a Woman,” Charles Willson Peale, 1775