Molly Stark

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Molly Stark House, Dunbarton, New Hampshire

Molly Stark, née Elizabeth Page, (February 16, 1737 – 1814) was the wife of American Revolutionary War general John Stark.

Elizabeth "Molly" Page was born on February 16, 1737/8[1] in Haverhill, Massachusetts, moved with her family to Dunbarton, New Hampshire, around 1755, and was the daughter of the first postmaster of New Hampshire, Caleb Page, and his wife Elizabeth Merrill. She married John Stark on August 20, 1758. Together they had 11 children, including their eldest son Caleb Stark. The Molly Stark house still stands in Dunbarton at Page's Corner.

Stark gained historical notoriety due to her husband's battle call of "There are your enemies, the Red Coats and the Tories. They are ours, or this night Molly Stark sleeps a widow!" before engaging with the British and Hessian army in the Battle of Bennington. Stark is also known for her success as a nurse to her husband's troops during a smallpox epidemic and for opening their home as a hospital during the war.

Stark is honored throughout New Hampshire and Vermont with many businesses, streets and schools that bear her name, as well as the Molly Stark State Park in Wilmington, Vermont and a statue of a gun-toting Molly which overlooks the Deerfield River. Also named for her is the Molly Stark Trail, a byway otherwise known as Route 9, which crosses southern Vermont and is thought to be the route used by General Stark on his victory march home from the Battle of Bennington. Molly Stark Mountain is one of the Green Mountain peaks on the Long Trail, just south of Camel's Hump and north of Route 17, and the adjacent peak is Baby Stark. Molly Stark Lake in Otter Tail County, Minnesota, is named for her.[2]

Numerous revolutionary war veterans settled in Ohio, so the General and his wife were honored there. Molly Stark Park is located in Nimishillen Township, Stark County, in northeastern Ohio. It is the grounds of the former Molly Stark Hospital, which served as a tuberculosis sanatorium in the 1930s. It became a state hospital for the mentally ill and the aged, and closed in 1995. In 2009 the Stark County Commissioners released the grounds and former hospital to the Stark County Park District. After asbestos remediation the old hospital is to be demolished, and more hiking and bicycling trails, and picnic grounds added.

The Molly Stark cannon, or "Old Molly", bears her name, and is kept by the New Boston Artillery Company in New Boston, New Hampshire.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Vital Records of Haverhill, Massachusetts to the end of the year 1849 Vol 1 Births. Topsfield, MA: Topsfield Historical Society. 1910. pp. 237–328. 
  2. ^ The Pocket Guide to Minnesota Place Names: The Stories Behind 1,200 Places in the North Star State, p. 101.

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