When captured, she refused to reveal the position of her husband’s company, and some accounts reported that the British beat her in retaliation.
Revolutionary War heroine. “Kate” Barry was born Margaret Catherine Moore in county Antrim, Ireland, the daughter of Charles and Mary Moore. In 1763 her father received a land grant in South Carolina, which eventually became Walnut Grove plantation in Spartanburg County. She married Andrew Barry (ca. 1744–1811), and they lived at Walnut Grove.
During the Revolutionary War, Andrew Barry served as a captain in the militia under Major Henry White and Colonel John Thomas, Jr. Before the engagement in January 1781 that became known as the Battle of Cowpens, General Daniel Morgan sent messages through the countryside to summon the militia to muster and join his army. Kate Barry helped carry the call to arms by riding through the neighborhood. She also served as a scout for the patriot forces. When captured, she refused to reveal the position of her husband’s company, and some accounts reported that the British beat her in retaliation.
Kate Barry’s ride before the Battle of Cowpens was memorialized in poetry and monuments. Her activities not only helped patriot forces, but also served as anti-British propaganda. Regardless of whether the story of British brutality was true, the story was used as support for the case against the British military in the South. Kate Barry died in 1823 and was buried in the cemetery at Walnut Grove.
Babits, Lawrence E. A Devil of a Whipping: The Battle of Cowpens. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1998.
Moss, Bobby Gilmer. The Patriots at the Cowpens. Greenville, S.C.: A Press, 1985.