10 September 2008

Women: Margaret Kemble Gage

Carol A. Spradling

A rebellious community threatens tradition, safety, and his country. British general Thomas Gage is determined to carry out orders to bring the American colonies back in line with support to the crown. His training and reputation are above reproach. He knows how to lead thousands of men, strategize intricate military maneuvers, and make examples of traitors. But when spy tactics are suspected in the most unforgivable of places, can he honor the vows he has taken, one to his country and another to his wife?

In April, 1775, Sam Adams received word from a daughter of liberty informing him of an upcoming British march. The unequally yoked woman, who supported the Colonists though her husband did not, revealed the number of British soldiers being sent to Concord. This cryptic information made Adams aware that the objects of the march were the merchants and not himself and Hancock.

It was also rumored that the same woman warned Joseph Warren that her husband's troops planned to raid armories at Lexington and Concord. This information led to Paul Revere's famous Midnight Ride.

The warning was sent days before soldiers and Patriots departed Boston. Because of this coincidence, British General Thomas Gage was called into question where he revealed he had told only one other person about the Concord march before revealing it to top officers. That one person was his American born wife, Margaret Kemble Gage.

Granddaughter of New York City Mayor, Stephanus Van Cortlandt and daughter of Peter Kemble, a successful businessman and politician, Margaret and Thomas were wed on December 8, 1758.

Though never proven guilty of spying, General Gage sent his wife home to England at the start of the war. Questionably done out of love and concern for her safety, he removed her from danger. Of course, if found to be true, her traitorous acts would cause his possible embarrassment and ruin his career, not to mention, it wouldn't bode well for her continued good health.

After the war, General and Mrs. Gage remained married. Their first son became Viscount Gage and a daughter married British Admiral Charles Ogle. In honor of her dedication to her country, Gage Road in East Brunswick, New Jersey, the town of her birth, is named for this courageous woman.