After two months of debating patriotic names for their newest bison, Rick Engel and Cheryl Hall did the only logical thing: They gave the calf the freedom to decide.
They narrowed their list of potential names down to a handful, then went out to the pasture and read the finalists to their newest pet. When they got to the name Molly Pitcher, the calf perked up and looked right at them, they say.
"I walked out to her and started calling out names," Hall said. "She answered to Molly, so Molly it is."
Pitcher, a Revolutionary War heroine who manned her husband's cannon after he fell, is only the latest star-spangled name the Couple have given to their animals. The couple's herd already includes bison named Liberty Bell, Star Spangled Banner, Betsy Ross, Old Glory and an Angus bull named George Washington.
The names, they say, are a tribute to their freedom to go buy the 1,500-pound pets.
After a Times Free Press story near the July 4 holiday, the couple received 173 name suggestions from readers. Suggestions ranged from historical figures such as Dolly Madison to ideals such as Suffrage and Freedom Ring. Several people suggested Amber as in "amber waves of grain," part of the lyrics to "America the Beautiful."
John Fowler, a military historian at Dalton State College, said Pitcher is one of the lesser-known characters in the Revolution. He said some accounts indicate Molly Pitcher was a nickname for a woman who brought water pitchers to soldiers in her husband's artillery unit during the battle of Monmouth in New Jersey early in the war. When her husband passed out from heat exhaustion, she filled his duties on the cannon crew.
Though Fowler and others question the story's validity, the nickname stuck as an embodiment of women's contribution to the war for independence.
"As far as her being a great person who shaped history, she wasn't," Fowler said. "It's just what she represents - here's this woman who's out there trying to bring water to the men and manning the cannon with the rest of the crew when her husband's not there."
Continue reading by following this link to a related story: