This is a True Story from the American Revolution...
by Kathy Warnes
Susa White Gives Her Pet Lamb Nebby to Boston - A Connecticut Girl's Sacrifice for the American Revolution
Girls too, have courage and determination and they grow into women who make history. Even at her age, Susa White knew the price of her patriotism and she paid it.Early in the spring of 1774, a man by the name of Carey and his wife farmed land in the eastern section of the town of Windham, Connecticut. One cold, stormy morning he carried a young lamb into his house. The lamb was chilled and almost dead. Carey laid it on the kitchen hearth and his wife wrapped it carefully in a warm flannel blanket. When it showed signs of life, she poured some warm milk into the lamb’s mouth and rubbed it tenderly until it licked her hand and bleated in response to her caresses.
Mrs. Carey didn’t have much time to care for the lamb because she had to help the other women of the town bake bread for the Sons of Liberty. Mr. Carey suggested that they give the lamb to Parson Stephen White’s ten year old daughter, Susannah, Susa for short.
Susa White Names Her Pet Lamb Nebby
Susa White’s eyes sparkled when she saw the lamb. She declared that she would take the very best care of it and keep it until it was an old sheep. She consulted her father about a name. He suggested that she call the lamb Nebuchadnezzar because some day it would have to eat grass like the Old King of Babylon. Susa thought Nebuchadnezzar a rather large name, but she shortened it to Nebby or Neb. Neb grew by spring leaps and bounds. He followed her around, nibbling either grass or flowers, as suited his taste.
King George Closes the Port of Boston
In the spring of 1774, news of the act for closing the port of Boston reached Windham. King George III had declared his determination to starve his subjects into unreserved submission. Boston officials received the Port Act on May 10, 1774, and news of it was sent speedily as possible from town to town and from colony to colony. By the time the stage coach swung onto the road to Hartford, the Port Closing bill edged in black was posted all over the Windham and so was an appeal from the citizens of Boston asking counsel and aid from her sister colonies in their time of trial.
The next day was the Sabbath. Parson Stephen White preached enthusiastically about the Bostonian resistance to the Stamp Act and how Boston had handled the tea question. Parson White exhorted his congregation to do what was in their power for the besieged people of Boston.
Windham Sends Aid to Besieged Boston
People didn’t fall asleep in church that day. They hung on Parson White’s every word. Susa White turned her eyes for a moment for her father’s high pulpit toward the door. She caught sight of Neb standing with his front feet on the window sill and chewing his cud. He looked so sleek and handsome. How could she even think of giving him up? She had promised Deacon Carey to keep him until he had grown to a great sheep.
A few days after the church service people flocked to a town meeting to deliberate about what the citizens of Windham would do and when they would do it. The Port Bill would be effective on June 1, 1774, and after that many hundreds of people would need food. A large, enthusiastic crow filled the meeting house to capacity and many young men offered their services to Boston and prepared to depart for that city.
Women and children crowded around, clamoring to help. Some had a few cents to add to the offerings for Boston. Susa’s brother Dyer volunteered to go even though he was only 12 years old. Finally Solomon Huntington, who moderated the meeting, announced that 258 sheep and lambs were listed and ready for delivery. The young men who had volunteered to drive them would be ready to start the next day at noon.
Susa Makes Her Decision
Susa stationed herself a little way from the front door to wait for her father. At last he came out, talking with one of their neighbors. Susa told her father that she would send Nebby to hungry children of Boston, but she had to talk to Deacon Carey about her promise before she could let Nebby go. Colonel Dyer, who was standing nearby patted Susa’s head and said that she was a brave, generous girl.
Susa could only shake her head in reply. She did not speak all of the way home. When they reached their lane, she saw some children who had come to play with Nebby. Running along to the outer gate, she slipped through it and disappeared into the trees.
Susa Says Goodbye to Nebby
The next day before noon, the farmers came driving in their flocks and the volunteers were ready for the long march. Susa White’s lamb Nebby stood out from the flock of 258 sheep. She had carefully washed his white coat for the last time that morning, at the wooden trough beside the well. She had fastened a garland of green leaves around his neck.
The village children followed the flock up the eastern hill. Susa White walked with them, crying silently for Nebby. Then she saw her schoolmate, Sallie Lincoln, biting her lip and saying a cheerful goodbye to her brother.
Susa squared her shoulders and gave Nebby one last hug around the neck. She watched him frisk away with the other lambs, his green leaf garland waving gaily in the spring breeze.
Larned, Ellen D. History of Windham County, Connecticut, 1760-1880. Swordsmith Productions, 2000.