Virginia Memory, Library of Virginia
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Anna Maria Lane

ANNA MARIA LANE (fl. 1776–1810)

Letter, William H. Cabell to Speaker of the House of Delegates. January 28, 1808. Manuscript. RG 3, Governor's Office, Executive Letter Books, William H. Cabell, July 8, 1807–March 9, 1808. Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia.

Perhaps a native of New Hampshire, Anna Maria Lane followed her husband, John Lane, who enlisted in the Continental army in 1776 and served in the campaigns in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Georgia. During the conflict, it was not uncommon for women to work as cooks, nurses, seamstresses or laundry assistants at the military encampments. Anna Maria Lane, however, dressed in the manner of a soldier and undertook military service and duties. At the Battle of Germantown, near Philadelphia, on October 3, 1777, she performed “extraordinary military services” and was wounded during the battle.

After the war, the Lanes lived in Virginia, where John Lane worked at the state arsenal at Point of Fork in Fluvanna County. In 1801 the couple moved to Richmond and he joined the public guard. She volunteered to assist in the military hospital and made the acquaintance of Dr. John H. Foushee, at whose request Governor James Monroe and the Council of State authorized her to be paid a small stipend for her work.

By late 1804 Anna Maria Lane was apparently too feeble to work as her name no longer appeared in the council journal as a nurse. Four years later, after several men, including Lane's husband were discharged from the Public Guard, Governor William H. Cabell requested the General Assembly to provide pensions for those disabled male soldiers as well as for a few women. The assembly awarded Anna Maria Lane $100 a year for life in recognition of her service “in revolutionary war, in the garb, and with the courage of a soldier.” Anna Maria Lane died on June 13, 1810.

Suggested Reading:

Treadway, Sandra Gioia. “Anna Maria Lane: An Uncommon Soldier of the American Revolution.” Virginia Cavalcade 37, no. 3 (1988): 134–143.

Danyluk, Kaia K. “Women and the Revolutionary War.” Colonial Williamsburg Interpreter (Fall 1997): 8–13.

Related Links:

Video: Women of the American Revolution: Anna Maria Lane