Elizabeth Burgin (unknown - Unknown)
Little is known about Elizabeth Burgin except that she played a significant role in aiding American soldiers who were prisoners of the British during the Revolutionary War.
During the Revolutionary War, the British held many American prisoners-of-war on prison ships in the New York Harbor. On the ships, the quarters were crowded and the prisoners were given little food or water. Diseases like small pox and yellow fever spread easily and over seven thousand prisoners died while on the ships.
General Washington wrote to the Continental Congress about Burgin’s role:
“Regarding Elizabeth Burgin, recently an inhabitant of New York. From the testimony of our own (escaped) officers…it would appear that she has been indefatigable for the relief of the prisoners, and for the facilitation of their escape. For this conduct she incurred the suspicion of the British, and was forced to make her escape under disturbing circumstances.” (1)
In 1781, the Continental Congress awarded Burgin with a pension for her part in helping the Patriots’ cause.
(1) Jarrett-Silcox, Diane. Heroines of the American Revolution: America’s Founding Mothers. (Chapel Hill, NC: Green Angel Press, 1998), p. 26.
- Berkin, Carol. Revolutionary Mothers: Women in the Struggle for America’s Independence. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005).
- Jarrett-Silcox, Diane. Heroines of the American Revolution: America’s Founding Mothers. (Chapel Hill, NC: Green Angel Press, 1998).