Experience the American dream with today’s Patriots of the Past interview. I’m your host, John Gillespie.
It’s February, 1778. I’m at General Washington’s winter quarters at Valley Forge. Martha Washington is with her husband.
JG: “Martha, why are you here in such deplorable conditions?”
MW: “Mr. Gillespie, this has been the coldest winter of my recollection. The soldiers are freezing, starving, and sick. The general is not getting the supplies he has requested over and over. I am here to help my husband in any way I can for the cause of freedom.”
“During the Revolutionary War, Martha joined her husband for part of each winter encampment he attended, including the 1777-1778 encampment at Valley Forge. Martha arrived in the beginning of February and left in early June. Much of Martha’s time at the encampment was spent running the household at Washington’s headquarters. This would include organizing daily meals for the staff and entertaining guests and officers’ wives. She played a vital role in keeping spirits high with the officers of the army. According to Pierre Etienne Duponceau, secretary to Baron von Steuben, ‘In the midst of all our distress, there were some bright sides of the picture which Valley Forge exhibited… Mrs. Washington had the courage to follow her husband to that dismal abode…'” (https://www.nps.gov/vafo/learn/historyculture/valleyforgewomen.htm#:~:text=June%2019th%2C%201778.-,Martha%20Washington,and%20left%20in%20early%20June.)
John and Jan Gillespie are the founders of the Rawhide Boys’ Ranch; they have fostered 351 teenagers and wrote the book Our 351 Sons; they have also assisted numerous churches in developing youth programs and expanding their total church ministries. After running for U.S. Senate, John founded 1776 American Dream, which exists to demonstrate the vision of our founding fathers and help our generation of youth passionately embrace those values.