Anna “Nancy” Smith Strong

Posted: January 6, 2009 in American Revolution, Whom You Least Suspect

plateYou have to appreciate that the roots of American freedom is so squarely based on an excellent intelligence system overseen by George Washington…and that a lady hanging her drawers out to dry assisting in the cause.

One of the ladies involved in these efforts was Anna “Nancy” Smith Strong. The only other female member of the famous Culper Spy Ring in New York (alongside the mysterious Agent 355). Nancy was responsible for sending signals out to other members of the ring when a certain gentleman informant was crossing Long Island Sound.

Nancy would hang a black petticoat out on her laundry line to announce the agent’s arrival. A series of other garments hung in specific order detailed where the agent could be found so that information could be passed along the chain.

It is unfortunate that we don’t know more about Nancy, her life, and her exploits, but one would assume that the best spies are always the members of an anonymous club.

To honor the heritage of the region, the Setauket, New York chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution have named themselves the Anna Smith Strong Chapter. The plate pictured above serves as their insignia.


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