Kitty Knight, Heroine of the War of 1812

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Catherine Knight

Also Known As: "Kitty Knight"
Birthdate: (80)
Death: 1855 (80)
Immediate Family:

Daughter of John Leach Knight and Catherine Knight
Sister of William Matthew Knight, Sr.

Managed by: Private User
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About Kitty Knight, Heroine of the War of 1812

An early American heroine, Kitty Knight was credited with saving part of Georgetown, Kent County, MD, during the War of 1812. She was the daughter of John and Catherine Knight, both prominent and active citizens of the area. Her uncle served in the General Assembly and was a member of the United States House of Representatives. Miss Kitty Knight, who became a celebrity in her own right, was born about 1775. She was one of the most beautiful and accomplished women of her day. She was tall and graceful, with hair dressed high on her head in colonial style. She attended a ball in Philadelphia during a session of the Continental Congress, and George Washington was one of her dance partners. The British invaded the Eastern Shore of Maryland during the War of 1812. Their goal was to burn down houses and communities close to the shore to protect their soldiers as they moved about the Chesapeake area. While the men marched to fight, older men, women and chilldren were left to protect the area. They were no match for trained British troops and many fled fearing for their safety. After British forces landed they burned Fredericktown, MD, and the lower part of Georgetown, MD. Georgetown, MD was a historic Port of Entry, Ferry Landing, and a base of continental supplies from 1775-1783. As the British advanced up the Sassafras River in May 1813, they burned the town, reducing it to ash except for a church and two brick houses at the top of the Hill. As the British approached the hill where the two brick houses were located, they were met by Miss Kitty Knight. She stood her ground and pleaded with Admiral George Cockburn not to burn the houses. The British had already put the torch to one of these houses that was occupied by a sick and destitute old lady. Miss Kitty pleaded for the old lady and her home and managed to convince the Admiral not to burn the houses. Miss Kitty is reported to have declared: "I shall not leave. If you burn this house, you burn me with it." It is said she stamped the flames out twice. This all happened even though Kitty did not own either of the houses. She was doing her duty to protect the community. She did however purchase one of the houses later. In a local newspaper of November 22, 1855 in an article referring to Miss Kitty Knight's recent death, printed "by her heroism at the burning of Georgetown … she saved several families from being made homeless and friendless by the fire and sword…" Her appeal so moved the commodore that he ordered the troops to their barges and left unburned a church and several houses standing there as monuments to her memory for this noble and hazardous act. "A maiden fair, with courage bold, With spirit pure and high, Displayed her flag of truce, and all For poor humanity."

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Burial: Old Bohemia Cemetery Warwick Cecil County Maryland, USA

from: Find A Grave Originally Created by: Susan Lewis Arday Record added: Sep 22, 2003 Find A Grave Memorial# 7888567

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Kitty Knight, Heroine of the War of 1812's Timeline

Age 80