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Humpday History Highlight

By Wyatt Earp | December 2, 2009

Lydia DarraghSay what you want about the people of Philadelphia, but we’re nothing if not loyal. We can also be crafty, rat bastards, but believe me, it’s for a good cause.

Take Lydia Darragh, for instance. What, you don’t know the story of America’s first spy?

December 2, 1777 – Philadelphia Nurse Overhears Plot To Attack Washington

Legend has it that on the night of December 2, 1777, Philadelphia housewife and nurse Lydia Darragh single-handedly saves the lives of General George Washington and his Continental Army.

During the occupation of Philadelphia, British General William Howe stationed his headquarters across the street from the Darragh home, and when Howe’s headquarters proved too small to hold meetings, he commandeered a large upstairs room in the Darraghs’ house. Legend holds that Mrs. Darragh would eavesdrop and conceal the notes by sewing them into her coat before passing them onto American troops.

On the evening of December 2, 1777, Darragh overheard the British commanders planning a surprise attack on Washington’s army at Whitemarsh, Pennsylvania. Using a cover story that she needed to buy flour from a nearby mill just outside the British line, Darragh passed the information to American Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Craig the following day.

The British marched towards Whitemarsh on the evening of December 4, 1777, and were surprised to find General Washington and the Continental Army waiting for them. (H/

Legend also has it that Darragh was the first Philadelphian to use to popular greeting, “Yo!”

Topics: HHH | 5 Comments »

5 Responses to “Humpday History Highlight”

  1. RT Says:
    December 2nd, 2009 at 8:02 pm

    Did she follow, “YO!” with “Not for nuthin’, but I tink yer boyz gonna get wacked.”?

  2. Wyatt Earp Says:
    December 2nd, 2009 at 9:01 pm

    RT – No, that was her sister, Jenna, who was from New York.

  3. Uncle Ray Says:
    December 4th, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    The “Yo” was probably followed by “How youse doon?”

  4. 1oldleg Says:
    December 4th, 2009 at 7:25 pm

    For the last 4 years, Nurses have ranked first in the Annual Gallup poll for honesty and integrity, scoring an average 83%. We beat the next highest by approximately 10 points. (that would be Doctors).

    Wyatt, I think you just extended the streak by 228 years!

    Thanks for the hat tip!

  5. Wyatt Earp Says:
    December 4th, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    Uncle Ray – And the classic, “Jeet yet?”

    1oldleg – You’re welcome. It’s a great story.