Daughters of the American Revolution

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, sustaining her husband with her brave and patriotic spirit throughout his military career.  

General Wooster, a native of Connecticut, was born in 1711, received a degree from Yale College in 1738, and 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, 1777.   

In the July 5, 1779 raid on New Haven, 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, which they had attacked after leaving New Haven. Three whale boats of people 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, of Mr. Clap, and of 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 whale boats 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 that 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 also that the papers included genealogical research on the Wooster ancestors in England that the General had carried out while in England in the period after he had commanded a cartel ship taking the 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, June 6, 1807, at the age of seventy-eight. She was buried near her father in Grove Street Cemetery in New Haven.

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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.

                     Mary Clap Wooster's signature.

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

     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 on the grave of our namesake.