Martha Bratton was one of many South Carolina women who staunchly defended their families against the British and Tories during the American Revolution.
The Brattons lived in York District, and Martha’s husband William, along with many other men in the district, had joined forces with General Thomas Sumter to attempt to drive back Capt. Christian Huck and his men.
The day before the battle, now known as Huck’s Defeat, Huck and his men arrived at the home of Martha Bratton.
She met them on the piazza, her five-year-old son clinging to her skirts. When asked where her husband was, she replied that he was with Sumter’s army and that she would rather him remain true to his country and perish than to align himself with Huck’s forces and live.
Infuriated by her brashness, one of Huck’s men grabbed a reaping hook hanging on the porch and held it to her throat. Huck made no move to check him, but his second-in-command, John Adamson, stepped in and ordered the soldier to release her.
Huck commanded Martha to prepare supper for his troops. She complied, but sent a servant out the back way to warn her husband and Sumter’s troops.
Early the next morning, Sumter’s troops surprised Huck, who had camped just down the road from the Bratton’s on land owned by James Williamson. During the fighting that ensued, Adamson was wounded. William Bratton was told that this was the man who had threatened Martha. Bratton ordered him executed, but Adamson swore he was not the man and asked that Martha be brought to the scene to vouch for him. She came and not only confirmed his story, but also took him into her home, tended his wounds and nursed him back to health.