Jane Black Thomas rides to Cedar Spring to alert the Rebel camp of an upcoming surprise ambush, via WikiTree.

Born in 1720 to Robert and Annabelle Waters Black in Chester, Pennsylvania, almost little to none is known about Jane Black’s early life and family life prior to their participation in the American Revolution. Their lives would centre around war for the next eight years as together with her husband and children, Jane was a Patriot/Whigs that boldly preserved to protect her family and home.

An example of her fierce spirit can be seen through an extract from Jane’s obituary, printed in Charleston newspaper Carolina Gazette, on May 25th 1811: ‘In the year 1779, when the tories attacked the house of her husband, to get at a magazine kept there, she cooperated with her son and son-in-law in guarding it. While they fire on the assailants, she advanced in front of them with a sword in her hand and dared them to come on. They were intimidated and retired.’

Nevertheless, it was undeniably her involvement in preventing the British’s surprise attack at Cedar Springs that would solidify her as a Revolutionary War heroine of South Carolina. While bringing supplies to her imprisoned husband and sons on July 11, 1780, Jane overheard a conversation between two Tory women who were talking about a surprise attack that the British had planned against a Rebel camp at Cedar Springs – which was the meeting site for the Spartan Regiment led by her son, John Thomas Jr.

Determined to warn her son, Jane endured a gruelling horse ride (which was most likely bareback) through the morning and afternoon to alert the Rebel camp of the Tory’s upcoming attack. Jane’s warning had not only saved the lives of her family and friends, but also enabled a younger Colonel Thomas to prepare a surprise ambush on the British instead that night. It was a successful ambush that saw the Patriot’s enemies run away from them and was the win that the backcountry Whigs needed to boost their determination to continue fighting. It was all because of Jane’s warning, which she would have never achieved if she had not been in the right place at the right time. 

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