top of page

Hannah Harrington Clark — Never Mess with a Woman’s Sewing

By Heather Frey Blanton Copyright 2012 Heather Blanton

elija clark

Hannah Harrington Clark, born 1737 (?) in Edgecomb County, North Carolina was the wife of Colonel Elijah Clark. In the early 1770’s, Colonel Clark moved with his wife and several children to upper Georgia. They settled in an area known as “Hornet’s Nest” – probably named that because support for the American cause was not unanimous and there were a lot of altercations regarding these opinions.

Reports indicate that Hannah was a large, muscular woman “whose every movement showed efficiency.” The family settled well into the Georgia humidity and her children thrived. Hannah was a gifted seamstress and made it a point to sew gentlemanly, “frilled-bosom” shirts for her husband. So they wouldn’t fall into the wrong hands, she literally hid them from the Tory soldiers. One of her maids ratted her out and the shirts were taken in a raid in 1780. Hannah never got over it.

Not long after that, more Tories returned and burned her home to the ground because of her husband’s service in the Colonial army. She managed to save one, single quilt. But her daughters had made it and it was quite special to Hannah. As the family quickly evacuated the scene of their burning home, Hannah ran into yet another group of Tories who spied the quilt and decided to take it. When she didn’t hand it over, a soldier fired at her, wounding her horse. Still Hannah wouldn’t surrender the blanket and finally an officer suggested that such a brave woman should not be robbed. Considering the atrocities committed by Tories and British troops in Georgia, Hannah clearly had a guardian angel with her.

After this incident, Clark relocated his family to TN in hopes of removing them, and his feisty wife, from harm’s way. Hannah wouldn’t have it. She followed her husband from battle to battle, camp to camp, whenever she could. When Clark was severely injured at the first siege of Augusta, Georgia, Hannah rode fifty miles with her two young twins and one male servant to tend to him. During the retreat after another battle, Hannah, her twins again in the saddle with her, had her horse shot from beneath her.

It is fitting that this gritty woman was at the second siege of Augusta. In 1781 the British surrendered Forts Grierson and Cornwallis to the Americans – one of the final blows to King George’s army. Hannah lived to the ripe old age of 90 and saw her oldest son John serve two terms as a governor of Georgia. Never mess with a woman’s sewing.

Respect the lace.

10 views0 comments


bottom of page