New Haven, Connecticut

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   Mary Clap Wooster

Mary Clap Wooster medal

 

Mary Clap Wooster was a woman of rare qualities who entered with great ardor into the cause of independence and sustained her husband with her brave and patriotic spirit throughout his military career.  

General David Wooster, a native of Connecticut, was born in 1711. He received a degree from Yale College in 1738, then commanded the war sloop that conveyed the Connecticut troops in the expedition against Louisburg in 1745. During the French War in 1756, he was given command of one of the regiments raised by Connecticut for that service. In 1755, he was appointed the first major general of the militia in his native state and held the position until he fell, mortally wounded by the British in their attack on Danbury in 1777.   

During the July 5, 1779, raid on New Haven, Connecticut, Tryon's troops specifically targeted the home of Mary Clap Wooster. She was the widow of Major General David Wooster who had been killed two years earlier and the daughter of Thomas Clap who had been president of Yale College.

After throwing her furniture into the street and destroying it, they made off with two trunks containing the records of both her husband and her father. Two nights later the British fleet was anchored off Fairfield, Connecticut, which they had attacked after leaving New Haven, Connecticut. Three whaleboats of colonists passed by the fleet and sailed through a little ocean of papers not far from the British ships. They picked up some of them and discovered that they included papers of General Wooster, Mr. Clap, and Yale College. Correspondence ensued between Ezra Stiles, who was then President of Yale, and General Tryon, but apparently none of the papers other than those picked up by the colonists in the whaleboats survived.

The lost papers included many of the early records of Yale College as well as accounts and personal papers important to the Woosters. All the general's accounts showed the amounts that he had advanced to maintain the troops during and after the Canadian campaign were lost. Without these records, his widow was unable to receive compensation from the Continental Congress or the Assembly of Connecticut. In her later years, she lived in poverty and had to appeal to the legislature for relief. It is claimed that the papers also included genealogical research by the general on the Wooster ancestors in England. He researched the Wooster family while in England after commanding a cartel ship taking French prisoners home following the fall of Louisburg in 1745.

Mary Clap Wooster was born in Windham, April 25, 1729, and died in New Haven, Connecticut, June 6, 1807, at the age of 78. She was buried near her father in Grove Street Cemetery in New Haven, Connecticut.

DAR

For more information on the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution or the Connecticut Daughters of the American Revolution, please click on the links below.

National Society Daughters of the American Revolution

Connecticut State Society, NSDAR

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                     Home of Thomas Clap, site of Mary's marriage to David Wooster.

Thomas Clap's home, site of Mary's marriage to David Wooster.

New Haven Museum

                     Mary Clap Wooster's signature.

Mary Clap Wooster's signature, given to the chapter by Simeon E. Baldwin, great grandson of Roger Sherman.

New Haven Museum

     Mary Clap Wooster monument

Mary Clap Wooster's monument was refurbished and rededicated by the chapter on June 22, 2019.


DAR plaque-MCW grave

 

Above, a tablet placed by the Mary Clap Wooster Chapter NSDAR on the grave of our namesake.