Monday, February 11, 2013

Oneidas Help Patriot Soldiers at Valley Forge Survive

Part 11 of the series Are Native Americans Relevant?

Chief Shenandoah and his band of Oneidas were instrumental in keeping the Patriot soldiers alive during the winter of 1777 at Valley Forge.   They carried several hundred bushels of corn over 200 miles to the Patriots.  An Oneida woman named Polly Cooper stayed with the troops to show them how to prepare the corn.
Polly did more than just cook corn.  According to a descendant, William Honyost Rockwell:
 "....When I was a boy, I used to hear by people talk about Polly Cooper's bravery, about how she cooked and carried water to the soldiers. Whenever she had a chance between the hours of cooking duty, Polly would roll up her sleeves and take two pails of water, one container in each hand, and go into the battlefield. She would give water to quench the dry throats of the soldiers on either side and she walked on both sides of the firing line without fear of harm...."

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