Nestled inside the Moore’s Creek National Park in Currie, NC is a monument dedicated to the matriarchs of the corridor situated along the Cape Fear River between Fayetteville and Wilmington, NC.  This monument was erected in 1907, a time when women were rarely mentioned as having made any kind of military contribution, beyond that made in philanthropy and nursing.

      So who were these women and what efforts did they make that allowed them to win the marble lottery? Sitting atop the statue is Mary (Polly) Slocum, the wife of a hard-driven Ezekiel Slocumb, a lieutenant in the Patriot’s army. Polly’s claim to fame is based on a legendary tale, some of it etched on the base of the monument. “Polly, disturbed by a dream, arose and through darkness and on horseback sought her husband on the battlefield, 70 miles from home.” Imagine the sight she must’ve caused; a young woman, clad in pajamas, hair hanging loose down her back, riding a horse into the dead of night, the air still simmering with bloodshed. The loyalists must’ve either praised the lord or ran shrieking that they had seen a ghost. Either way, she changed the tone of the battle and gave the Patriots a leg up. Polly Slocum was a southern version of Lady Godiva; their very own secret weapon on horseback, covered in cotton and lace.

      I had a hard time finding other women of importance from the region. I was able to find mention of a Wilmington Tea Party led by women, fashioned in the spirit of the one in Boston and also in Edenton, NC. The plan was simple: the women hosted a tea party and instead of steeping the leaves, they burned them. Then the women convinced their husbands to boycott tea until the tax on tea was removed.

     There’s more of a story here, I just haven’t been able to excavate it.  Monuments are reminders of the past. Someone felt that women played a role in the war and wanted their efforts, not only acknowledged, but written in stone for generations to discover.

     Thanks, Cape Fear, for helping to dot the landscape with chiseled women. Now is the time to replace outdated and impractical statues of men with monuments of the matriarchy. Women Rock! Let’s not forget that.


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