Molly Pitcher was born Molly Ludwig in Trenton, New Jersey, circa October 13, 1754. Molly earned her nickname of Molly Pitcher during the American Revolutionary's Battle of Monmouth, where she carried pitchers of water to the soldiers.
Molly moved to Carlisle, Pennsylvania, in 1768 and married William (also known as John) Hays, a barber, in 1769. Hays enlisted as a gunner in the Continental Army. As was custom for the time, wives often followed their husbands to battle so they could be near them and to help as needed; Molly was no exception.
The Battle of Monmouth occurred in Freehold, New Jersey, on June 28,1778. It was a particularly hot day, and the soldiers nicknamed Molly "Molly Pitcher" for the countless trips she made filling pitchers with cold water. The water was used by soldiers not only to drink but also to pour over the cannons to cool them down. Soldier accounts describe Pitcher's actions as she witnessed her husband collapse at his cannon, unable to continue. Molly dropped her pitchers and immediately took her husband's position at his cannon, joining the fight. Molly Pitcher was honored by the Pennsylvania legislature in 1822. She received an award of $40 and an annual commission in that amount for the rest of her life. Molly Pitcher died January 22, 1932 in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.