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Elizabeth Bartholomew ~ Hunterdon County, New Jersey


Born in Bethlehem, Hunterdon County, New Jersey, February 14, 1749, she was the sixteenth child of her parents, having even a younger sister. On her mother's side she was descended from the Huguenots of France. Her parents had removed to Germany after the Edict of Nantes, and later immigrated to America.

In 1771 Elizabeth Bartholomew was married to Alexander Harper, of Harpersfield, New York. He was one of several brothers to enter the service at the outbreak of the Revolutionary War. Owing to the frequent visits of the Indians and Tories, the families of these Whig leaders were obliged to seek protection in Fort Schoharie. In moments of peace and quiet, Mrs. Harper lived with her children a short distance from the fort. In times of trouble, she spent her necessary imprisonment within the enclosure of the fort in baking bread for the soldiers and in making bullets. On one of these occasions the commander of the fort becoming discouraged by the tardy arrival of ammunition decided to surrender, and ordered a flag of truce hoisted. This brought forth such indignant protests from Mrs. Harper and the other women who had been working since early morning preparing ammunition for the poor wearied soldiers that they determined to make one more effort to repel the enemy themselves. A soldier offered to fire on the flag of truce if hoisted, provided the women would conceal him, and as often as the flag was run up he fired at it, bringing down the wrath of the commander, who was unable to find the audacious person who treated his authority with such contempt. This delay and the insubordination of the soldiers prevented the truce being carried into effect and the reinforcement arrived in time to force the retreat of the enemy.

In 1780, Captain Harper, finding no necessity, owing to the peaceful condition then prevailing, of his longer service, went to look after his property in Harpersfield. Here he was taken prisoner by the Indians and carried to Canada, Mrs. Harper being in ignorance of his capture. He was eventually released. In 1797, a company was formed in Harpersfield to purchase land in the far West, or what is better known as the Northwest Territory. The Connecticut Land Company was formed, and people were sent out to investigate the new country.

On the 7th of March, 1798, Alexander Harper, William McFarland, and Ezra Gregory started for this new land of promise with their families. After a most difficult trip they reached, on the 28th of June, Cunningham's Creek, and near here Colonel Harper took up his location near Unionville. This little settlement was rapidly added to by their friends from the East. In March, Daniel Bartholomew brought out his family accompanied by Judge Griswold, and what is now Ashtabula was settled in a township called Richfield.

In August an election was held for the purpose of sending an application to the convention to be held at Chillicothe the following winter preparatory to an effort for the admission of Ohio as a state into the Union. In the war of 1812, the country was exposed to all the dangers of the frontier. Mrs. Harper lived to the great age of eighty-five, dying on the 11th of June, 1833, retaining her remarkable intellect to the very last.

Women of America

Source: The Part Taken by Women in American History, By Mrs. John A. Logan, Published by The Perry-Nalle Publishing Company, Wilmington, Delaware, 1912.


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