A map of South Carolina and Georgia from the year 1750, before the American War of Independence. The Martin sisters lived in the central North-Western part of the colony during the war, via Wikipedia.

In the pages of history, the incredible tale of Grace and Rachel Martin shines brightly, showing the bravery of heroines during the American Revolution. Growing up in a busy home led by their strong mother, Elizabeth Martin, the sisters had to stay strong when their seven brothers went off to fight in the war. They did not back down, though. Instead, they worked hard to keep their community in South Carolina strong and maintain the essence of the resistance even amidst British occupation. 

In 1779, British troops seized Augusta Georgia, the closest major city to the women who were residing in what is now Edgefield South Carolina. Grace and Rachel had to face British soldiers staying in their home and taking things that they needed such as the family’s food and water. They knew they had to do something, but standing up to the soldiers directly would have been too dangerous. Recognizing this, they came up with an exceptional plan. They gathered secret information from the soldiers without them knowing and carefully listened to their conversations about other British troops throughout the state. With this knowledge, they were equipped to carry out their brave plan. 

Their hard work of information gathering paid off one fateful evening, as the sisters gathered in preparation for its execution. Grace and Rachel agreed to dress in the old Continental Army uniforms that their brothers and husbands had left behind and planned to sneak up on a British courier, or letter carrier, delivering information between to redcoat troops in their town. They snuck up on the courier, along with the men accompanying them, and with riffles convinced them to hand over the papers. Mercifully, the women let the men go once they complied. 

Their plan was an incredible success! Grace and Rachel immediately sent the information they gathered over to General Nathanial Green, who was commanding troops for the Continental Army within their area. Though we do not know the exact content of the letters or what information contained, it can be safely said that the actions of these women to undermine the British and support the troops fighting for American independence were truly incredible. Grace and Rachel were likely only in their mid-20s at the time, and to have risked their lives for such an honorable cause is truly incredible. 

Unfortunately, little is known about the Martin sisters following the war and it is unknown how old they lived to be or if they remained in South Carolina for the rest of their lives. Their memories live on in different ways, however, such as through the retelling of this fantastic display of their bravery and the recognition of their devotion to the fight for United States freedom. 

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