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The Story of Mrs. Ross

From Diary of the American Revolution, Vol II. Compiled by Frank Moore and published in 1859.

Last week died, at Hammersmith, in England, Mrs. Ross, celebrated for her beauty and constancy. Having met with opposition in her engagement with Captain Charles Ross, she followed him, in men’s clothes, to America, where, after such a research and fatigue as scarce any of her sex could have undergone, she found him in the woods lying for dead, after a skirmish with the Indians, and with a poisoned wound. Having previously studied surgery in England, she, with an ardor and vigilance which only such a passion could inspire, saved his life by sucking his wound, the only expedient that could have effected it at the crisis he was in, and nursing him with scarce a covering from the sky for the space of six weeks. During this time she remained unsuspected by him, having dyed her skin with lime and bark; and keeping to a man’s habit, still supported by the transport of hearing his unceasing aspirations of love and regret for that dear though (he then thought) distant object of his soul, being charged by him with transmitting to her (had the captain died) his remains, and dying asseverations of constancy and gratitude for the unparalleled care and tenderness of his nurse, the bearer of them; but, recovering, they removed into Philadelphia, where, as soon as she had found a clergyman to join her to him forever, she appeared as herself, the priest accompanying her. They lived for the space of four years in a fondness almost ideal to the present age of corruption, and that could only be interrupted by her declining health, the fatigue she had undergone, and the poison not properly expelled which she had imbibed from his wound, undermining her constitution. The knowledge he had of it, and piercing regret of having been the occasion, affecting him still more sensibly, he died with a broken heart last spring at John’s Town, in New York. She lived to return and implore forgiveness of her family, whom she had distressed so long by their ignorance of her destiny. She died, in consequence of her grief and affection, at the age of twenty-six.1


1 Gaine’s Mercury, October 4.