Friday, June 18, 2010

Tempe Wick – Revolutionary Horsewoman

During the American Revolution, ordinary citizens were often forced to give up or share their homes with British or Colonial soldiers. Such was the case of the Wick family who lived in Jockey Hollow, near present-day Morristown, New Jersey.
The Wick home was comandeered by General Arthur St. Clair of the Continental Army. Although the Wick family continued to live in the house, their daily routines were greatly interrupted.
One thing that didn’t change was that young Tempe Wick continued to ride her horse, Colonel, through the countryside. It was not particularly safe as British, Tories and mutinous Continental soldiers roamed at large.
On one of her rides, Tempe met a group of soldiers from Pennsylvania. Not realizing they had mutinied because of conditions, she suspected nothing when they stopped her. However, she soon realized they had their eyes on Colonel, who was quite a fine horse.
Thinking quickly, Tempe waited until the soldier holding the horse’s bridle removed his hand for a moment. Instantly, she gave the horse a slap and galloped away with the would-be horse thieves in hot pursuit, firing shots at her as they got the chance. 
She could outrun them, but she was aware that some of them knew where she lived, and if she returned Colonel to his barn, the angry men would simply wait until nightfall and steal him. So upon her arrival at the farm, she boldly led the horse into the house and into a bedroom. Some stories say the guest room was on the first floor and rarely used; other that she led him upstairs to her own room. Most of the stories state that she kept the horse hidden in the house for three weeks until she felt the danger had passed.
The Wick home is now part of the Morristown National Historic Park. 

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