Training with the Mississippi SAR

Martin gave his black powder safety class for the Mississippi SAR over this past weekend. He was accompanied by Joe Barker, David Jones, Michael Araiza, and David Michael Martin Jr from Alabama SAR. Buddy Irving attended and is a member of both societies. We are appreciative of the Miss. group for sending the photos. We can’t thank our hosts, Bryant and Sarah Boswell, enough for their hospitality and warm friendship. We filled the available space and were made to feel quite at home and welcome. The time, travel to PA, and expense for Martin to obtain his certification for teaching this class was definitely worth it.


We can do your family research!

Victoria Brady has been a genealogist for 30+ years and has written books on her family and on her husband, Martin Brady’s, family.  She has completed the DAR genealogy courses and attended countless workshops over the years. 

She has done genealogy for people to satisfy their curiosity as well as to prepare the documentation to join various lineage societies.

*As with all such service providers, results are not guaranteed.  You determine when to end the search, however, a minimum of one hour is required, and services are provided in one-hour increments.  Hourly rate $35. Paypal accepted.  Email requests to thistledewbooks @

We can research any historical topic!

We have over 30 years-experience researching any number of historic topics and have had articles published in newsletters, magazines, and books.  Whether you want to know what kind of socks were worn in 1700, what your ancestors ate, or need help finding a source for an article you are writing, we are available to help. 

A Veteran Came Home After 78 Years

We had the honor of attending the repatriation for WWII PFC William “Bill” Morrison yesterday at the state Veteran’s Memorial Cemetery at Spanish Fort. Color Guard members from the Gen. John Archer Elmore chapter, Joe Barker and Martin Brady, prospective member, Michael Araiza, and Mr. Price from Florida paid their respects on behalf of the SAR during the ceremony.

Army PFC, Bill Morrison, 29, of Birmingham was assigned to Co. G, 2nd Btn, 110th Infantry Regt Division in November 1944. He was engaged with German Forces in the Raffelsbrand sector of the Hurtgen Forest in Germany and reported KIA on November 8, 1944. The body was unrecoverable and remained so even after searches in 1946 and 1950. He was declared unrecoverable in 1951.

In 2019 remains were located in the Ardennes American Cemetery where they had rested since 1950 and after extensive DNA testing were confirmed to be that of PFC Bill Morrison.

PFC Morrison was the son of Henry and Maggie Morrison of Jefferson Co., AL. He had a brothers, PFC Joe Wallace Morrison buried in Tuscaloosa, and Columbus “Lum” Morrison buried in Fairhope. Lum registered for the draft, but it is uncertain whether he served. The closest remaining family member was his nephew, and a large gathering of family were present for the ceremony.

Thank you for your service good and faithful son, brother, and uncle.

Alabama SAR Auxilliary Program

February 2022

I had the pleasure of speaking with the SAR Ladies Auxiliary at the February 2022 state SAR conference about 18th century embroidered clothing and accessories. Carol Irving assisted with the projector and photos. I shared the history of the art and photos of original garments along with embroidered clothing and accessories from my own collection. For information: thistledewbooks [at]

2022 ALSSAR State Conference and Auxiliary Meeting

Display Martin oversaw throughout Friday and Saturday. We appreciate the guys who loaned gear for the display.
The Ladies Auxiliary, 2022 -23 officers on the front row. Left to right: Carol Irving, Sally Daniel, Vickie Brady, Kay Anderson, Our distinguished guest who installed the officers, Rita Pickett and Donna Wells.

Words to Cringe By ©

By: Victoria Brady

Whenever I hear anyone use words like always, never, the first, the only, etc. etc. etc. I immediately find myself questioning the person’s credentials and knowledge base. There are exceptions to every rule as the following photos will show, and no one can with any certainty prove an illustration or an item is THE first ever to hit these shores. It may simply be the first the speaker/writer was aware of. Can any among us claim we know everything about everything? New sources become available every day and if you use those words someone will eventually prove you wrong.

As a writer I’ve encountered these situations more times than I can count. In writing about the introduction of Emden geese I found articles claiming a gentleman was the first to import them into the U.S. from Germany. I easily found someone who was the subject of a newspaper article with several people attesting that they knew he was raising them some 10 years earlier. I don’t have a crystal ball or a time machine so I can go back and interview these people myself, but the safe bet is Never say Never.

I’ve read articles that claim no one EVER made clothing out of toile fabric, yet I did find one. Does that one instance mean we can all make a toile dress? No, because I do not know the circumstances of how the dress came to be. Was it a spoof? Was it for a masquerade ball? Did a salesman or manufacturer use it to sell more toile? We don’t know, but I wouldn’t let one example prompt me to use this fabric for clothing, yet Never say Never.

This toile dress, ca. 1780, was found in the Showshill Collection of 18th century original clothing. While extremely rare, and under questionable circumstances, at least one such dress exists.

There used to be a hard and fast notion that women NEVER wore stays or jumps without a gown or jacket over them, however, in studying paintings actually painted during the 18th century one can easily find documentation that this is also a myth. Never say Never.

This woman is a “gleaner”, someone who was granted permission to go into fields after harvesting and collect any grain or produce remaining. (See Victoria Brady, “EIGHTEENTH CENTURY TRADES, Crafts, & Employments©”). She is outdoors gathering wheat after the field was harvested on property that probably belonged to someone else, in other words, “in public” with no jacket.

I’ve heard that women always wore neckerchiefs, also known as a fichu, or in modern terminology a modesty piece to fill in the neckline on gowns or jackets. Women usually did wear such an accessory, but again, Never say Never. A cursory search of paintings and sketches actually done during the 18th century yields women not wearing a neckerchief yet are working in a well-to-do home where modesty would have been demanded or outside in a work situation where they performed respectable work.

Detail from a painting by James Malton, “A Military Encampment in Hyde Park”, 1785.  This woman may be doing her husband’s laundry or she may well be doing laundry in exchange for payment. It may be insufferably hot. Maybe she’s doing her own laundry and hasn’t a clean kerchief. We don’t know why she isn’t wearing this clothing item but there is nothing else that would indicate any untoward behavior. Never say Never or make assumptions without knowing the details of what is depicted.
This scene is outdoors in the presence of many people. This is a detail cropped from the painting to show that there are women not wearing neckerchiefs. In the painting, there is a minister standing off to the right, Bible in hand, and this young man seems to be trying hard to persuade his lady love to marry him much to the dismay of the woman who may be her mother.

I leave you, gentle reader, with the idea speaking in absolutes is a dangerous endeavor. These are but a few examples.

We’ve Been Busy!

These are some of the Sons of the American Revolution services and ceremonies we have attended/participated in. If you are interested in the Sons or the Daughters of the American Revolution you may email us at thistledewbooks @ yahoo . com (type all together) and we will put you in touch with someone to assist you.

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The ALSSAR, participated in the re-burial of the remains of Ralph Battle, sailor, who died December 7, 1942 aboard ship during the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Battles was unmarried, and 25 years old. His remains were identified by matching his DNA with that of living relatives and he was brought home for burial. His parents were L. E. and Beulah S. Battles. Ralph Shell, nephew, officiated, Bro. Ben Jones delivered the message. The ALSSAR posted the colors and led the Pledge of Allegiance. Honor Guard was members of the U.S. Navy.

May be an image of 1 person and text that says 'Celebrating the life of... Ralph Curtis Battles Family Parents Beulah S. Battles Brothers James Battles Harry Battles Battles 07 June 1916 07 December 1941 Age: 25 Boaz, Alabama Graveside Services One 'clock pm Ûurday, August 28, 2021 Hillcrest Cemetery With Military Honors officiating Nephew John 15:13 Sisters Ruth Battles Shell Sue Battles Terry Mildred Battles Leon Lillian Battles McLeod Vonda Battles Stovall Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Message Jones KJV Survivors Ahost nephews great'
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We had a table at the Contemporary Longrifles Association national show in Lexington, KY. We visited with old friends, made new friends, and sold or bartered some goods. It was very informational and fun was had by all. Of course, we shopped till we dropped.

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One of the ALSSAR Honor Guard drills. Hot Southern Alabama weather did not stop these guys from learning and practicing during which some of the wives enjoyed each other’s company. There is always lunch following drill, after all what good Southern hostess would let anyone get away without feeding them first?

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Martin and I had a blast presenting for the residents of Cedar Creek Assisted Living facility in Selma, AL. We shared about life for Rev War soldiers and for the families left at home or who became camp followers, providing various services for Washington’s Army. We were joined by Rick Wells from SAR and his wife, Donna, a DAR member, who took photos during the presentations. We met some interesting people and enjoyed our visit.

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The DAR and SAR participated in the Autauga Co. Independence Day parade. It was a very enjoyable day.

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The ALSSAR Color Guard posted and retrieved the colors at the marker dedication for Rev War veteran, Owen Dailey. Also in the photo are Mr. Kirkland, current President, and Mr. McKinley, a previous President.

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Members of the Gen. John Archer Elmore chapter SAR who took Martin’s black powder safety course at Brierfield Park. Left to Right: Allen Herrod, Bill Stone, Arnie Burris, and Martin Brady.

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May be an image of indoor and text that says 'Che 2ational Society Sons of the American Rebolution Martin 耶. Brady has been awarded the Silber Roger Sherman Hedal recognition of his faithful services in the Sons of the American Revolution February 20, 2021 Alabama Society DL David M. Joyes, President'

The ALSSAR Board of Management meeting held at American Village in Montevallo, AL.

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The first black powder shooting and safety class for the ALSSAR Honor Guard, held at Brierfield Ironworks Park in January 2021. It was freezing cold and spitting snow. It will be a memory these guys will share for years to come. Most of them thawed out within 2 or 3 days.

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Martin and I after another grave marking ceremony. It was a beautiful spring day, lots of sunshine, and good camaraderie.

Brady’s Faithul Reproductions & Thistle Dew Books are vendors at the Contemporary Long Rifles annual show.

The annual CLA show was cancelled in 2020 due to the plague and the restrictions imposed, so this year was especially enjoyable for all. We made new friends, reconnected with some old friends, did some bartering and selling, learned a lot, conversed with some individuals about Sons of the American Revolution, and admired the work of some very talented people. We are already looking forward to attending next year’s show.

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Camp Followers with Washington’s Army©

James Malton, 1761-1803, British, “A Military Encampment in Hyde Park

Camp followers were unfortunate wretches, men, women, and children, whose best hope for their well-being was to follow the army and work at anything for which they could be paid and/or receive rations from the army.  The first thing that comes to mind for many is prostitutes, however, those were few, there being more washer-women, seamstresses to patch and repair, cooks, nurses, sutlers, carriers of water, communications, and ammunition, laborers and even a precious few women known to have taken their place alongside their soldier husbands in battle or provided aid for the fighting troops.

John Joseph Henry left an account of two of these women, Mrs. Grier, wife of Sgt. Grier, “a large, virtuous and respectable woman”, and Jemima Warner, “the wife of a private in our company”.  He said of Mrs. Grier that as long as she was known to the soldiers, no one dared intimate a disrespectful idea of her. 

Jemima’s husband was James Warner, private in Capt. Matthew Smith’s company of Col. William Thompson’s 1st Pennsylvania Regt.  She accompanied her husband on Col. Benedict Arnold’s expedition to Quebec through Maine in the fall of 1775.

History has not been kind to these women in that few of them were documented well enough for their descendants to honor their service in lineage societies such as DAR, SAR, or Descendants of Washington’s Army at Valley Forge (DVF), but there are a few who are remembered.   

We find mention of women followers but usually not by name, for example a woman at the Battle of Brandywine in 1767 cited as trying to cook while under fire.  Another was women of the 6th PA Regt. who took empty canteens from their husbands and friends and returned them filled with water, “during the hottest part of the engagement” [Birmingham Hill].  There were two accounts of unknown American camp followers killed in fighting near Saratoga, NY in 1777. 

Anna Maria Lane is remembered as dressing in men’s clothing and contributed the same sort of service as the other soldiers.  On February 6, 1808 John and Ann Maria Lane were placed on the pension roll to receive $40 each, “and the said Ann Maria, who in the Revolutionary War, in the Garb, and with the courage of a Soldier, performed extraordinary Military Service and received a severe wound at the Battle of Germantown [Oct. 4, 1777] shall in consideration thereof, be entitled to receive one hundred Dollars per annum from the public Treasury”.  Anna Maria died June 13, 1810. 

Some 400 women were reported present at Valley Forge in December 1777, roughly one woman for every forty-four enlisted men.  In January 1783 the return showed one woman for every twenty-six enlisted men at New Windsor. 

Four months prior, General Washington wrote, “the multitude of women in particular, especially those who are pregnant, or have children, are a clog upon every movement.  The Commander in Chief therefore earnestly recommends it to the officers commanding brigades and corps to use every reasonable method in their power to get rid of all such as are not absolutely necessary…”. 

Sarah Osborn was one such washer-woman who, “took her stand just back of the American tents, about a mile from the town, and busied herself washing, mending, and cooking for the soldiers, in which she was assisted by the other females…”. 

Sarah was the wife of Aaron Osborn, a blacksmith and later commissary Sgt. in the American Revolution.  In her pension application she, “recollects no other females in company but the wife of Lieutenant Forman and of Sergeant Lamberson” and further down included “a colored woman by the name of Letta”. 

Mrs. Osborn “cooked and carried in beef, and bread, and coffee to the soldiers in the entrenchment” at Yorktown in 1781.  She “carried the same down to the entrenchments that morning [Cornwallis’s surrender] and four of the soldiers whom she was in the habit of cooking for ate their breakfasts”. 

Maria Cronkite accompanied her husband into the service with the First New York Regiment.  He was the fifer while she, “continued in said service in the capacity of washerwoman for the officers until the close of the war where her husband was duly discharged.  That she had while in said service several children…”. 

Margaret Johnson, wife of Sgt. Samuel Johnson and Elizabeth Evans, wife of Private Emanuel Evans, were noted in two mess squads of Capt. John Ross’s Co., 3rd New Jersey Regt in 1777.  These women shared tents with the men. 

Having been turned away because of being a woman when she first tried to offer aid, Deborah Samson next went against traditional behavior and pretended to be a man (Robert Shurtleff) in order to enlist and fight.  It wasn’t until she was injured and examined by a physician that her secret was discovered.  A neighbor discussed in his diary the scandal this caused in their neighborhood. 

Others, like Mary Ludwig Hayes, joined the men in battle without any effort to disguise their gender.  Mary is remembered as one of the women who inspired the legend of “Molly Pitcher”. 

Mary was the daughter of German immigrants; the wife of John Hays having married in 1769.  Her war record starts June 28, 1778 when she signed up two years after her husband and served with Capt. Francis Proctor’s Co. in the Pennsylvania Artillery.  She was described by the men as being 22 years old, illiterate, pregnant, smoked and chewed tobacco and swore as well as her male counterparts. Mary Ludwig Hayes McCauley drew a pension of $40 for her heroism at Monmouth.  She died Jan. 22, 1833 and was buried at the Old Graveyard near Carlisle, PA. 

Margaret Corbin, wife of artillery man John Corbin, served in the same artillery regiment as Mary, without any pretense of being a man, under Capt. Francis Proctor, First Company of PA Artillery.  Mary was pensioned by the Continental Congress (reported to be the first woman to receive a disabled veteran’s pension), and also said to be the only soldier of the Revolutionary War buried at the Military Academy at West Point, NY. 

“Resolved, That Margaret Corbin, who was wounded and disabled in the attack on Fort Washington, whilst she heroically filled the post of her husband who was killed by her side serving a piece of artillery, do receive, during her natural life or the continuance of the said disability, the one-half of the monthly pay drawn by a soldier in the service of these states; and that she now receive out of the public stores, one complete suit of cloaths, or the value thereof in money”.

Private Joseph Plumb Martin wrote in his famous diary about the woman firing cannon.  “A woman whose husband belonged to the artillery and who was then attached to a piece in the engagement, attended with her husband at the piece for the whole time. While in the act of reaching a cartridge and having one of her feet as far before the other as she could step, a cannon shot from the enemy passed directly between her legs without doing any other damage than carrying away all the lower part of her petticoat. Looking at it with apparent unconcern, she observed that it was lucky It did not pass a little higher, for in that case it might have carried away something else, and continued her occupation”. 

Mary Waters, born in Dublin, immigrated to PA in 1766 and became a nurse when the war started, working with physician Benjamin Rush. 

A multitude of images document women working near the army such as A Military Encampment in Hyde Park, 1785 by Paul Mellon reminding us how prevalent their presence was.  It is a shame more of these women aren’t remembered by name for their heroic efforts at gaining independence whether it be in any of these capacities or simply feeding hungry soldiers from their homes. 

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The Camp Laundry, 1782, British Museum. Both armies allowed citizens to follow along and work for the troops.