Elizabeth Martin of the Ninety-Six District of South Carolina (now Edgefield County) had seven sons fighting in the American Revolution. Yet, it is two of her daughters-in-law whose names have come down to us through history as heroines of that cause.
Grace Martin was the daughter of Benjamin Waring, one of the early settlers of what has become Columbia, while Rachel Martin was the first cousin of statesman Henry Clay of Kentucky. Grace and Rachel were married to the two eldest sons of Elizabeth Martin, and while their husbands were off fighting the British, the two women stayed with Mrs. Martin.
One day they heard that a courier, guarded by two British officers, was headed north to deliver an important message. He would be passing quite close to the Martin home. Dressing in their husbands’ clothes, the two women took up positions not far from the house, determined to keep the courier from delivering his message.
As the British party passed by, the two leaped upon them, demanding the dispatches and taking the guards completely by surprise. So shaken were the British that they surrendered the message without a fight, and once they had it in their possession, Grace and Rachel took a shortcut home through the fields.
Not long after their arrival back home, there came a knock at the door. The elder Mrs. Martin answered only to find the courier and officers her daughters-in-law had so recently waylaid. The British asked for accommodations for the night and were treated quite cordially by all three women. The men never suspected that the young women attending to their needs were the same “lads” who had thwarted their mission by relieving them of their dispatches.