Ann Cooper Whitall
Ann Cooper Whitall (1716–1797) was a prominent Quaker woman in early America.
Ann Cooper was born in Woodbury, New Jersey. She married James Whitall. During the American War for Independence, Whitall stayed in her house, even though British warships were firing cannon in that direction during the Battle of Red Bank. A cannonball did crash into the very room where Whitall sat working at a spinning wheel. She moved the spinning wheel down to the basement and kept working.
The battle was a victory for the colonists, and afterwards Whitall opened her house to wounded soldiers—American and Hessian. She gave them herbal medicines and bandaged their wounds. She is called the Heroine of Red Bank for her actions at that time.
Whitall kept a diary starting in about 1760 that contains important historical insight into the lives of people in the Red Bank area. She died in 1797. Her remains are interred along with her husband's at the Friends Burial Ground in Woodbury, New Jersey. The mansion they lived in is at the Red Bank Battlefield in National Park, New Jersey.
Ann Cooper Whitall's brother, John Cooper served in the Continental Congress in 1776. Her grandson, John Mickle Whitall, was a prominent sea captain and Quaker businessman who manufactured glass bottles in Millville, NJ. Her great-granddaughter, Hannah Whitall Smith, was a prominent speaker and writer. One great-great-granddaughter, M. Carey Thomas, was a president of Bryn Mawr College. Another great-great-granddaughter was Alys Pearsall Smith, the first wife of Bertrand Russell.
The battle mentioned here took place at Red Bank on the Delaware River in west New Jersey, below Trenton, in the county of Gloucester, in what is now the town of National Park. The Whitall House stands there today, preserved. Tours are available seasonally. An interesting sidenote; the fort located here is named Fort Mercer, named after Hugh Mercer, a colonial General who died of wounds sustained at the Battle of Princeton.
Southern New Jersey folk hero Jonas Cattell ran the entire distance from Haddonfield to Woodbury to warn Colonel (later, General) Nathanael Greene, who commanded the small colonial contingent at nearby Red Bank, that the Hessians, commanded by Count von Donop, were marching towards Red Bank.