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New Jersey Womens Heritage Trail, NJ


Rebecca and Sara Stillwell

Rebecca and Sara Stillwell

According to local legend, during the Revolutionary War, Rebecca Stillwell Willetts looked out into the Great Egg Harbor Bay from Golden’s Point (now called Beesley’s Point). Looking through her father’s spyglass, she saw that a British sloop had entered the bay and set out a long boat filled with redcoats heading for the point. Fearing that the British were intent on pillaging stored supplies (consisting of food and clothing) she and her sister Sarah Stillwell set off to the cannon, located along the water’s edge. The women were alone since their father was away buying supplies and Rebecca’s husband Captain James Willetts had marched with 50 recruits to answer the call of Governor Livingston’s plea to help defend Philadelphia. The cannon had been supplied by the Legislature at the request of the settlers to protect their stores. Rebecca fired a round of cannon grapeshot towards the long boat and the British returned to their sloop and left the bay, its settlers, and their homes unscathed.

The earliest written account of this legend is from the mid-19th century Journal of New Jersey Senator Dr. Reuben Willets, who was the nephew of James and Rebecca Willets.

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Rebecca Stillwell
Sara Stillwell

Posted By: Ray Gurganus

  1. Website:Historical Marker Database;

Updated: 7-15-2020