It is without a doubt that women (and many other groups) and tales of their accomplishments have been lost to the sands of time. For every one person who made it into the history books, countless others have been ignored. Prudence Wright and the women of Pepperell, MA is one of them.
From an early age, Prudence walked both worlds. She learned to sew, quilt, and do everything that a proper Revolutionary young girl should, but she also fished with her father, discussed politics with the family, and believed in Independence. She never lost that belief as she aged, married, and became a mother. In fact, I would suspect those life events strengthen her resolve.
Anderson combines historical records, town history, and family histories to shed light on what happened in Pepperell when the townsmen left to help protect Boston. Women (and the tavernkeeper) changed their clothes, picked up any weapon or tool they could find, and got to work. Prudence, elected captain of the women’s guard, led them to the unprotected town bridge.
What really happened depends on who you ask, but Anderson provides the three main stories they encountered while researching the events at the end of the book, bridging the gap between “this is just a hopeful story” and “this is the historical records that prove this story happened.”
Schools, libraries, and personal libraries need more stories like Prudence’s because they show that people really haven’t changed that much–people band together for the common good and to protect each other. Children also need to know more people have stories to tell about the Revolution other than Paul Revere. The Revolution wasn’t fought and won by the Minutemen alone. Hundreds of Prudence Wrights stepped up to the plate and answered the call to do what needed to be done… then returned to their homes and lives. Their stories are no less important than those in the history book.