Sunday, July 05, 2015

The youngest spy

Laodicea was a Roman town in what is now Turkey. Christ admonished its church for being lukewarm about Christianity. There was nothing lukewarm about the patriotism of Laodicea Langston, who spied on Loyalists at age 14 and was so brave, she made her potential assailants back down -- on two occasions.

They called her Dicey Langston because her first name was so difficult to pronounce. She was born on May 14, 1766, on a farm in the Laurens district of South Carolina. Her father, Solomon Langston, and her brothers raised her after her mother's death. When the Revolutionary War began, her brothers left the farm to fight but they kept in touch.

In 1780 and 1781, when the British began their Southern campaign, Dicey spied on a Loyalist group called the Bloody Scouts. Learning that they planned to attack Little Eden, where her brothers and other Patriots camped, she walked five miles through the backwoods over footlogs in the darkness of night to warn them. At one point, she had to traverse the Tyger River in rapid, chest-deep water (she was shorter than five-foot).

When the Bloody Scouts arrived at an empty camp, they realized someone tipped off the Patriots. They blamed Solomon Langston, who was old and crippled. They confronted him in his home that night. He argued that he had nothing to do with it. The leader did not believe him and pointed a pistol at the old man. Dicey leaped between the gun and her father. She chewed them out for picking on an old man. Embarrassed, they backed down and left peacefully,

She was an excellent horsewoman and shot. She often rode for miles to warn Patriots when she noticed British soldiers camping near the family farm. Some later called her the female Paul Revere.

One time, a band of Bloody Scouts stopped her on her return from Spartanburg and demanded information from her. She refused. The leader of the gang pulled his pistol and threatened her. She removed a scarf and thrust her chest at him and told him to go ahead and shoot. Wiser heads in the party stopped him from killing her.

On one occasion she stopped her brothers from stealing the horses of a neighbor who was a Loyalist. She pointed out he never harmed anyone.

After the war, she married Thomas Springfield, a local Patriot leader, on January 9, 1783. They had 23 children. Well, she was 16 when they married. In her later years, she boasted she had 32 sons and grandsons who voted for liberty. The teenage heroine died on May 23, 1837, at age 71. They may have named her Laodicea but there was nothing lukewarm about her patriotism.

My first collection of "Exceptional Americans" is available here. And the Kindle version is here.

1 comment:

  1. Once upon a time, there was a country that had men and women who risked all for liberty and freedom.