Thou soul of love and bravery!

Dicey Langston was the daughter of Solomon Langston, of Laurens district, South Carolina. She possessed an intrepid spirit, which is highly serviceable in times of emergency, and which, as she lived in the days of the Revolution, she had more than one opportunity to display. Situated in the midst of tories, and being patriotically inquisitive, she often learned by accident, or discovered by strategy, the plottings so common in those days, against the whigs. Such intelligence she was accustomed to communicate to the friends of freedom on the opposite side of the Ennoree river.

Learning one time that a band of loyalists-known in those parts as the “Bloody scout” – were about to fall upon the “Elder settlement,” a place where a brother of hers and other friends were residing, she resolved to warn them of their danger. To do this she must hazard her own life. But off she started, alone, in the darkness of the night; traveled several miles through the woods, and over marshes and across creeks, through a country where foot-logs and bridges were then unknown; came to the Tyger, a rapid and deep stream, into which she plunged and waded till the water was up to her neck; she then became bewildered, and zigzagged the channel for some time; reached the opposite shore at length-for a helping Hand was beneath, a kind Providence guiding her: – hastened on; reached the settlement, and her brother and the whole community were safe!

She was returning one day from another settlement of whigs -in the Spartanburg district, when a company of tories met her and questioned her in regard to the neighborhood she had just left; but she refused to communicate the desired information. The leader of the band then held a pistol to her breast, and threatened to shoot her if she did not make the wished for disclosure. “Shoot me if you dare! I will not tell you!” was her dauntless reply, as she opened a long handkerchief that covered her neck and bosom, thus manifesting a willingness to receive the contents of the pistol, if the officer insisted on disclosures or life. The dastard, enraged at her defying movement, was in the act of firing, at which moment one of the soldiers threw up the hand holding the weapon, and the cowerless heart of the girl was permitted to beat on.

The brothers of Dicey were no less patriotic than she; and they having, by their active services on the side of freedom, greatly displeased the loyalists, these latter were determined to be revenged. A desperate band accordingly went to the house of their father, and finding the sons absent, they were about to wreak their vengeance on the old man, whom they hated for the sons’ sake. With this intent one of the party drew a pistol; but just as it was aimed at the breast of her aged and infirm father, Dicey rushed between the two, and though the ruffian bade her get out of his way or receive in her own breast the contents of the pistol, she regarded not his threats, but flung her arms around her father’s neck and declared she would receive the ball first, if the weapon must be discharged. Such fearlessness and willingness to offer her own life for the sake of her parent, softened the heart of the “bloody scout,” and Mr. Langston lived to see his noble daughter perform other heroic deeds.

One time her brother James, in his absence, sent to the house for a gun which he had left in her care, with orders for her to deliver it to no ono except by his direction. On reaching the house one of the company who where directed to call for it, made known their errand, whereupon she brought and was about to deliver the weapon. At this moment it occurred to her that she had not demanded the countersign agreed on between herself and brother. With the gun still in her hand, she looked the company sternly in the face, and remarking that they wore a suspicions look, called for the countersign, Hereupon one of them, in jest, told her she was too tardy in her requirements; that both the gun and its holder were in their possession. “Do you think so,” she boldly asked, as she cocked the disputed weapon and aimed it at the speaker. “If the gun is in your possession,” she added, “take charge of it!” Her appearance indicated that she was in earnest, and the countersign was given without further delay. A hearty laugh on the part of the “liberty men,” ended the ceremony.


Excerpted from Noble Deeds of American Women
(Patriotic Series for Boys and Girls)
Edited by J. Clement
With an Introduction by Mrs. L. H. Sigourney
BOSTON: Lee and Shepard, Publishers
Entered by Act of Congress, in the year of 1851,
by E. H. Derby and Co., in the Clerk’s Office of the Northern District of New York

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