The Real Pennsylvania Dutch American,
A Documented History
by Robert C. Goodyear,
GGG Grandson of
Mary Ludwig "Molly Pitcher" Hays
Johann Georg Ludwick (the younger) was born in 1731, in Zuzenhausen, Bavaria, and arrived in Philadelphia aboard the ship Osgood, on September 29, 1750 with his wife, Maria Margretha.
Records show that he was a butcher in Philadelphia, and had two living children, Martin and Maria.
(Johann) Martin Ludwick was born in Philadelphia in 1750.
His daughter Maria Ludwick (or Mary Ludwig) was born in Philadelphia, on October 13, 1754.
So, she was born to immigrant German parents, and was in no way “Irish.”
Johann George Ludwick died on January 25, 1769, in Chester, Delaware County, Pennsylvania.
After the death of Johann Georg Ludwick. his widow, Mary (Maria Margaretha) Ludwick, (Molly Pitcher's mother), married Casper (Caspar) Hays (Hayes, formerly Haas).
A marriage license was issued on July 24, 1769.
There is a record of their marriage on July 25, 1769, at St. Michael's and Zion Church, in Philadelphia, PA.
Early researchers looked for a man named Hays in records of the Battle of Monmouth, and discovered a man named John Hays, an Infantryman. They assumed that the "Casper Hays" who married Mary Ludwick, and John Hays were the same person, and for many years, even to the present time, Molly’s husband was believed to be John Casper Hays. Molly was never married to men named John Hays, or Casper (Caspar) Hays (Hayes, formerly Haas). Her mother was married to "Casper Hays."
Molly's brother, (Johann) John Martin Ludwick, enlisted in the Army in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on April 24, 1777, in Captain Worsley Emes' Company of Colonel Thomas Proctor's 4th Pennsylvania Artillery Regiment.
(Later, the 4th Continental Artillery Regiment)
He is not shown on the Muster Rolls at Valley Forge during the Winter of 1777-78, although Captain Lieutenant Worsely Emesown as having been there during that period.
In early 1777, Molly married William Hays, who lived in Bristol, PA, just a few short miles north of Philadelphia.
William Hays enlisted in the Army in his home town of Bristol, Pennsylvania, on May 10, 1777.
He is listed as a Gunner in Captain Francis Proctor's Company of Colonel Thomas Proctor's 4th Pennsylavania Artillery Regiment. (Later, the 4th Continental Artillery Regiment)
It is not known whether Martin Ludwick and William Hays knew, or even knew of each other.
Both William Hays and Mary Hays are shown on the Muster Rolls at Valley Forge, from December 1777 to June 1778.
Molly is shown as “Campfollower,” and on at least one document as a "Private."
It is safe to assume that Molly and William were together with Washington’s Army throughout the remainder of 1778, and into 1783, when William was discharged.
Molly was 22 years old when she first married. At that young age, it is only natural that she would pick up Irish words and phrases from her husband.
During the battle of Monmouth, June 28th, 1778, with temperatures approaching 100 degrees, the wife of William Hays, by then a Gunner Private of Proctor's 4th Artillery, was carrying water in buckets and canteens to the soldiers, and to cool the blazing cannons. For this service, they called her “Molly Pitcher.” During the battle, her husband was struck down, but not killed as many claim, and the cannon was soon ordered to be withdrawn. She immediately seized the rammer and continued to assist in serving the gun until the battle ended.
Joseph Plumb Martin wrote “A Narrative of Some of the Adventures, Danger and Suffering of a Revolutionary Soldier, Interspersed with Anecdotes of Incidents that Occurred Within His Own Observation,” which was published in 1830. Martin seems to have been everywhere during the Revolution, and claims that he witnessed the following;
"A woman whose husband belonged to the artillery and who was then attached to a piece in the engagement, attended with her husband at the piece for the whole time. While in the act of reaching a cartridge and having one of her feet as far before the other as she could step, a cannon shot from the enemy passed directly between her legs without doing any other damage than carrying away all the lower part of her petticoat. Looking at it with apparent unconcern, she observed that it was lucky it did not pass a little higher, for in that case it might have carried away something else, and continued her occupation."
Although Private Martin's position was proven to be about 100 yards in front and to the right of the cannon tended by William and Molly, he could no more see, let alone hear Molly above the roar and smoke of the cannons and muskets. This claim is obviously contrived from partial facts as a camp story, probably sexual in intent.
At the close of the war she went with William to Carlisle, PA, where they acquired Lot #257. A Plan of Carlisle shows this property.
The Tax Rate books from 1783 show that William owned;
“1 House & Lot,” and that he was a Barber.
Their only child, Johanes Ludwig Hays (otherwise known as John), was born in 1783.
In the 1785 Tax Rate Books, William is shown as owning;
“1 House and Lot Rented
1 Ditto his own
William Hays died in 1787. His burial place is unknown with certainty, although a stone bearing only the name “Hays” can be found in the Old Graveyard in Carlisle.
In early 1778 Molly appeared before the Orphans Court, to sell a portion of William Hays’ Land in Carlisle, to support her son, John L. Hays, and to pay taxes on said property and other debts. The Court approved this sale.
Molly then married John McCalla (although it has been spelled many ways, McCalla is used in most of the period documents).
The 1800 US Census shows that in his household lived;
1 male age 45 or older (John),
1 female age 45 or older (Molly),
and 1 female under the age of 10.
This female child could possibly be the illegitimate child of John Ludwig Hays, Elizabeth Hays, whose descendants have contacted me. John L. Hays was not living with them, and there is no record of where he did live.
William Hays received 200 acres of Donation Lands in Westmoreland County, PA, for wounds incurred during his military service (probably at the Battle of Monmouth), but evidently this land was never used by the Hays family during William’s lifetime..
On April 15, 1807, John McCalla, Molly, and her son John were forced to sell the property in Westmoreland County left to her by William Hays for the sum of Thirty Dollars to James Brady of Greensburgh, Westmoreland County, PA.
The 1810 Federal Census shows that John McCauley had either divorced (or more likely, abandoned), her, and Mary “McColley” was shown as Head of Household.
Molly survived her second husband many years, known as Molly McCauly (or McColley/McKolly), and the statements so frequently made that Molly Pitcher was a young Irish woman originated from this name. The fact is she was of good German stock. When it was suggested that she was Irish, a reply would be, "No, she was Dutch as sauerkraut; her maiden name was Mary Ludwig!"
In 1816, Molly’s granddaughter Sarah Jane Hays was born. Records of the First Evangelical Lutheran Church, Vol. 1, page 14, now housed at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg, PA, show that Sarah’s parents were Johanes Hays and Elisabeth (Reinhardt). This is further proof that Molly was German and not Irish.
William Hays and his “Irish” wife would never have used a German name for their son. However, a German mother would.
It is also documented that Molly attended the Lutheran Church in Carlisle, as did most Germans of the time, and not the Presbyterian Church, as did most Irish.
The following extract from the American Volunteer, February 21, 1822, not only shows what was done by the State, but also shows that at a time when many were living who could have disputed the facts, the general statements in regard to Molly’s history were accepted.
"A bill has passed both Houses of the Assembly granting an annuity to Molly McCauly (of Carlisle) for services she rendered during the Revolutionary war. It appeared satisfactorily that this heroine had braved the hardships of the camp and dangers of the field with her husband, who was a soldier of the revolution, and the bill in her favor passed without a dissenting voice. Chronicle."
According to the records at Harrisburg, no application was made for Molly’s pension after January 1, 1832, a fact corroborative of 1832 as the year of her death.
Johanes Ludwig Hays, his wife Elizabeth Reinhardt Hays, their 7 children, and his mother, Molly, lived near the southeast corner of North and Bedford Streets in Carlisle.
The 1830 Census shows that Johanes’ mother was living with him in 1830, and until her death on Sunday, January 22, 1832, and is listed as being between 70 and 80 years old, therefore having been born between 1750 and 1760. This also proves that her birth year was 1754 and not 1744, as is so widely claimed.
From the CARLISLE AMERICAN VOLUNTEER:
"Died on Sunday last in this borough, at an advanced age, Mrs. Molly McCauley. She lived during the days of the American Revolution, sharing its hardships, and witnessed many scenes of blood and carnage. To the sick and wounded she was an efficient aid. Mary had one child, a son by her first marriage, who served as a soldier in the war of 1812."
The Reverend Joseph A. Murray, of Carlisle, later added an important detail to the death notice;
"Very distinctly do I remember her son, John L. Hays." he said, "The initial L is for Ludwig. He was named after his maternal grandfather. He was tall and straight and was called Sergeant Hays, as he occupied that position in the old infantry company."
In 1883, Wesley Miles published an article regarding his memories of Molly Pitcher. Over 50 years after Molly’s death, he recalls that Molly spoke with an Irish brogue. He was 6 or 7 years old when he knew her, and most likely wouldn’t have known an Irish brogue from a German accent.
Additionally, statements that Molly spoke with an Irish brogue could not possibly be true, since 99% of the Irish population at that time were Scots-Irish and spoke with a Scottish accent. However, Molly spoke with neither of these accents.
Molly’s descendants, all by William Hays, were highly respectable citizens. Her son, Johanes Ludwig Hays, died in Carlisle in 1853, and was buried with military honors for his service during the War of 1812.
His sons, William R. Hays, George R. Hays (my Great Grandfather), John A. Hays, (who was street commissioner in 1883), and Frederick R. Hays, lived in Carlisle. His daughters included, Polly Hays McCleester, who lived at Papertown, Mt. Holly Springs, PA, and Sarah Jane Hays, and Elisa Hays of Carlisle.
Polly remembered her grandmother very well, and at age 81 unveiled the first headstone, cut by Peter Spahr, and erected in the “Old Cemetery” in Carlisle. It bore the following inscription;
Renowned in history as
The Heroine of Monmouth
Died Jan 1833
aged 79 years.
Erected by the Citizens of
July 4, 1876
The year of her death and age on this headstone were incorrect for a time, but were corrected several years later. Mr. Spahr had known Molly’s birth year was indeed 1754, and mis-cut the headstone to reflect that date.
The first true memorial to Molly was unveiled on June 28, 1905, the 127th Anniversary of the Battle of Monmouth, by Molly’s great granddaughter, Nell Kramer. It was placed by the Patriotic Order Sons of America. They erected a flagpole, and placed a cannon with the barrel over Molly’s grave. The carriage of this cannon bore a metal plate, with the inscription;
“Erected in memory of
renowned in history as
by the P.O.S. of A. of Cumberland
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania appropriated funds, and in 1916, a large Monument was erected near Molly's grave. A slightly larger than life-size statue of Molly stands atop this Monument. The face of Molly on this statue is said to be a composite of the faces of five of her great granddaughters. The year of her birth on this Monument remains incorrect.
In 2000 the United States Field Artillery Association, in conjunction with their "Historian for the Molly Pitcher Project," a Mrs. Constance M. McDonald, whose husband was Assistant Commandant of the U.S Army Field Artillery School, and Deputy Commanding General of Fort Sill, Oklahoma, were instrumental in erecting a stone and bronze “History Corrected” marker near the base of the 1916 Memorial Monument to Molly in the Old Graveyard, Carlisle, PA, and is based on faulty research by Carlisle “historian” Merri Lou Schaumann, who refuses to discuss Molly Pitcher with me.
The marker boldly claimed, presenting no proof whatsoever, that;
“THE NAME ‘LUDWIG’ IS NOT ASSOCIATED WITH MOLLY PITCHER.”
On June 23, 2008, that marker was removed, based on my negotiations with the Borough of Carlisle, and the proven documentation provided to them by me.
The following Notarized affidavit, though not actually proof in the eyes of some “scholars”, indicates that Molly’s maiden name was, in fact, Ludwig.
"State of Pennsylvania, County of Cumberland, ss:
Before me, a Notary Public in and for said State and County, personally appeared Mary E. Wilson, who, after having been by me duly sworn according to law, doth depose and say that she is now 48 years old and resides in Carlisle, where she has lived all her life, and that she is the daughter of Frederick McCleaster, who was the son of John and Polly McCleaster, the said Polly McCleaster being the daughter of John Hays, who was the son of Molly McKolly, otherwise known as "Molly Pitcher," whose maiden name was Mary Ludwig ...etc.
Witnessed my hand this 13th of Aug., 1903 (Signed) Mrs. Mary E. Wilson.
Sworn and subscribed before me this 13th of Aug., 1903. (Signed) John R. Miller".
On June 5, 1984, my 2nd cousin, Ella Marie Kramer Bender became the first woman ever accepted into the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) using Mary LUDWIG “Molly Pitcher” Hays as her Patriot Ancestor.
On August 9, 2007, I became the first man accepted into the Sons of the American Revolution using Mary Ludwig Hays as my Patriot Ancestor.
Unless primary documentation is furnished proving that Molly’s maiden name was something other than Ludwig, this writer shall not allow history to be changed.
I am certain that no such documentation exists.