Who was the real Molly Pitcher?

Students will use historical reading skills to look at the legend of Molly Pitcher.

Lesson Objective

Students will use historical reading skills in order to draw a conclusion about Molly Pitcher based on historical evidence and other sources by completing a Venn diagram.



  1. Begin by showing them the images of historical markers.
  2. Guide students into using historical reading skills to analyze the markers (questions are found on the flipchart).
  3. Students should take note that both markers refer to the person as “Molly.”
  4. Display the two images of Molly Pitcher. Guide students into sourcing, close reading, contextualizing, and corroborating (questions on the flipchart).
  5. Students should draw a conclusion that the images corroborate with each other because the women are very different in appearance. Students should also consider the fact that neither is a primary source.
  6. Explain to them that sometimes it’s hard to find primary sources. Sometimes the primary source may only answer some questions but leave you thinking about others.
  7. Show them the two quotes from a soldier and congress. Guide them through some more historical reading skills (questions on the flipchart).
  8. Conclude by asking if the sources corroborate with each other.


Have students complete the Mary vs. Margaret activity (in packet) and lead a discussion to conclude.


Ahodges7, photographer. “Margaret Corbin Historical Road Marker.” Photograph. United States Military Academy Cemetery, April 2010. From Wikimedia Commons. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cf/Margaret_Corbin_Historical_Road_Marker.JPG (accessed 3/20/12).

Fischer, William Jr, photographer. “Molly Pitcher.” Photograph. Carlisle, Pennsylvania, January 2009. From The Historical Marker Database. http://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=16089. (accessed 3/20/12).

Goodyear, Robert C. “Descendants of Molly Pitcher.” Goodyear and Mascaro Genealogy Pages. http://goodyear-mascaro.org/Ludwig-Hays/index.html. (accessed 3/20/12).

Lewis, Johnson Jone. “Weekly Women in History Pictures.” About.com Guide. http://womenshistory.about.com/od/essentials/ig/Wordless-Wednesday/ (accessed 3/19/12).

Teipe, Emily, J. “Will the real Molly Pitcher Please Stand Up?” The National Archives. http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/1999/summer/pitcher.html (accessed 3/20/12).

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