SARAH BRADLEE FULTON, 1740-1835
Known as the “Mother of the Boston Tea Party,” Sarah Bradlee Fulton (1740-1835) was a leading member of the Daughters of Liberty, a group of 92 Colonial women who rebelled against British taxes by boycotting the purchase of British goods following the passage of the Townshend Acts.
It is she that is credited with the idea of disguising the men who took place in the Boston Tea Party on December 16, 1773 as Mohawk Indians, painting their faces and dressing in Native American clothing. Upon their return to her home in Medford, Sarah disposed of their disguises and removed the stained red paint from their faces in order to conceal their identities.
During the Battle of Bunker Hill on June 17, 1775 Sarah organized women to nurse and tend to wounded soldiers establishing a makeshift hospital in the open space by Wade's Tavern between the bridge and South Street. With a shortage of surgeons, Sarah removed a bullet from the cheek of one soldier and helped the women rally to nursing duty.
The following year Major John Brooks of Medford needed an urgent dispatch delivered to General George Washington behind enemy lines and called upon the Fulton family for aid. Sarah volunteered to carry the message alone through the enemy lines, setting out on foot for the long and dangerous journey to Charlestown where she secured a boat, rowed across and delivered the message. Washington later visited the Fultons to show his gratitude to Sarah.
As the British laid siege to Boston, the Fultons used their own ships as protection and often rowed across the river to seek fuel and wood in Medford. Aware of what a shipment of wood meant for the American troops at Cambridge, Sarah sent her husband to buy the wood, hoping that the laws regarding personal property would be respected. But this was not so: The British confiscated the wood from Mr. Fulton. Sarah pursued the British until she reached them, reportedly grabbing the oxen by the horns, turning them around and leading them away even as the British prepared to shoot her. She simply told them to “shoot away” and the British, so astonished by her defiance, surrendered the wood to her without resistance.
Sources: War Time Spy Ladies