Mary Creighton Stratton
1762 – 1847
I was a witness to the horrors of war right in my own hometown.
I was born in Haddonfield, New Jersey, which is just across the Delaware River from Philadelphia, in 1762. My parents operated a fulling mill that processed wool, and the Indian King Tavern, which meant they were very well known in the community. In 1777, around the time of the Battle of Red Bank, both American soldiers and Hessian mercenaries with the British came through our town, taking things they wanted and paying with worthless money, or not paying at all.
On April 5, 1778, with the British in Philadelphia, American troops stationed in Haddonfield were warned to get out of town before 500 British light infantrymen arrived. I was only 16, and my mother and I were awakened at 3:30 AM by soldiers who destroyed and plundered our property. A messenger with the militia ran into the British troops, who killed his horse right in front of our property. And then they bayoneted him thirteen times. We brought him into our tavern and nursed him, and amazingly he recovered.
Finally, after the Battle of Monmouth in June 1778, the British retreated north towards New York and life returned somewhat to normal. After the war, in 1787, I married Dr. James Stratton and left home to establish my own family.