I wrote the following post (some editing today) in 2011 about Phoebe Reynolds and her brave actions to save her family. This home is now for sale!
On Reynolds Street in Monroe NY, a sign is displayed that states “Outlaws attacked and attempted to murder patriot Henry Reynolds, who was saved by the heroics of his daughter Pheobe, circa 1782.”
On the surface, that sounds impressive. A female saved her dad from outlaws in the late 1700’s. When you hear what REALLY happened, you will agree, this was an incredibly impressive story.
Pheobe was one of many children who were residing in the Reynolds’ Monroe NY home during the time when Claudius Smith’s outlaws were wreaking havoc on that region of the country. Claudius was a guerilla leader during the American Revolution.
One night, Claudius’ gang surrounded the Reynolds’ home in order to gain entry. They realized the doors and windows were bolted so they tried to gain access through the roof. A few men dropped into the chimney, but someone inside the cabin put feather bed contents on the fire, and the robbers had to retreat so they would not suffocate. They left the house.
But on a different day, the outlaws tried again. A few of the Reynolds neighbors (who were in on the outlaws’ plan) came to the door and knocked for admission. Reynolds let them in, and went to the fireplace to get a light. While his back was turned, one of his neighbors struck him with a sword and told him he better leave immediately. Reynolds rushed out the door but stumbled and fell face down. The gang fell upon him and dragged him into the house.
As his struggle with the outlaws began, Reynolds called for his young son to come help. When his son entered the room, one of the men told the young boy that he had to sit totally motionless or he would get his head cut off. The boy listened. Mr. Reyholds’ wife then entered the room with other children, but fell on the floor unconscious once she saw what was happening.
The outlaws bound Reynolds and cut him with knives and swords, and proceeded to hang him on the “trammel pole” of the fireplace. The outlaws ransacked the cabin, leaving Reynolds to die.
But they didn’t count on Phoebe. 12 year old Phoebe Reynolds wasn’t fearful. As the story goes, when the outlaws left the room, Phoebe cut the rope that hung her father and laid him on the bed. The outlaws came in, and Phoebe threatened them with her knife. They told her they would kill her if she didn’t leave, but she said she didn’t want to live without her father. They threatened her with knives and swords, but she stood her ground. She clasped her hands around her father to shield him from their weapons. One of the men beat Phoebe with a rope but she did not cry or moan, even though her body was covered with welts. The outlaws then tore her away and hung Mr. Reynolds once more.
When they left the room, Phoebe cut her father down again, but he sank to the floor. The outlaws came and attacked him again, and Phoebe again threw herself on him and tried to protect him. She was saturated with blood. The outlaws finally took Reynolds and threw him in a chest. They left, after setting the house on fire and blocking the door.
Phoebe opened the chest and saw her father, who looked dead. The family lifted the body from the chest, and he moaned, so Phoebe pried his lips apart and gave him a few drops of water and stopped the blood that was flowing from his body. The girl then threw water on the burning beds and covered the burning flax with a rug to put out that fire as well.
Phoebe then directed her brother to alarm the neighborhood, but he was afraid and didn’t. So Phoebe, who was covered with cuts, spread the alarm to all the homes. A group of men immediately assembled and chased the outlaws. The men were able to kill the leader of the local gang and three or four other men. At the same time, the town doctor attended to Reynolds, who had been stabbed in more than 30 places. Reynolds eventually returned to health..
When Pheobe returned home, the doctor realized she was seriously injured, and they were able to successfully treat her injuries as well.
After the event, Henry Renolds moved his family to a different county. Phoebe lived until November 1853. In one document, it was estimated that Reynolds had more than one thousand descendants.
The home where this brave 12 year old girl showed her mettle is now (November 2014) on the market. For further information, feel free to contact me on 914-419-0270.
Clarification: The house is not my listing, but I’d be happy to help any interested buyers!