Lucy Knox

Lucy Flucker Knox (1756-1824) Born into wealth and privilege as the daughter of the Provincial Governor of Massachusetts, Lucy Flucker Knox would have had her choice of a number of acceptable suitors. She fell in love, however, with perhaps the single most inappropriate man in Colonial Boston.  Henry Knox was born to Irish immigrant parents in 1750.  A promising student at Boston Latin School, Henry had to leave his studies at age 12 to help support his family after his father’s death.  Henry apprenticed to Nicholas Bowes, a bookseller and later opened his own bookshop, the London Bookshop in Cornhill Boston.   It was here where Lucy Knox fell in love with Henry, drawn as much to the bookseller as she was to the books themselves.  In spite of her parents’ objections, Lucy Flucker married Henry Knox in June of 1774.  This defiant act would cause Lucy to alienate her entire family and once her parents sailed for London when Boston fell to the Continental Army, she would never see them again.

Throughout most of the Revolutionary War, Lucy was separated from “her Harry”.  Lucy was jealous of other officer’s wives, including Martha Washington and Elizabeth Gates, who were more frequent visitors to the Continental camp than she.  Lucy was kept away from camp at Henry’s behest as he felt that she had already sacrificed enough for the cause of patriotism having lost her entire family.  Although separated by War, Lucy and Henry Knox maintained a prolific correspondence through the American Revolution much of which survives in public repositories such as the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History in New York (http://www.gilderlehrman.org/ ). Their letters offer a personal view of  the life of one of General Washington’s closest friends and most valued military advisers and includes details of battles and military maneuvers as well as the love and support of a distant spouse.

 
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