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Mrs. Mary Almy's account of the cannonading of the French Fleet in Newport

Biographical note

Mary (Gould) Almy (1735-1808) was born on December 16, 1735, to James (1696-1768) and Mary (Rathbun) Gould (1700-1779) of Newport, Rhode Island. She, a Quaker, married Captain Benjamin Almy (1724-1818), an Anglican, on October 22, 1762, at Trinity Church and they had the following eight children: Benjamin (1763-1781), Susannah Lightbourn (1765-1825), Samuel (1766-1797), Walter (1766-1782), Anstice Ellery Johnson (1769-1800), Katherine Ellery (1771-1863), James Gould (1772-1827), and William Barnett (1776-1795).

Not only did Mary Almy differ with her husband on religion, but when sides were chosen over the issue of American independence from Great Britain, Mary remained loyal to the crown and her husband supported the Revolution. Benjamin Almy volunteered in General John Sullivan's (1740-1795) Army and was away from home during the Battle of Rhode Island (1778). During this time, Mrs. Almy wrote a series of letters to her husband detailing the siege of Newport throughout August 1778.

During and after the war, Mrs. Almy was well known as the landlady of a prominent boarding house on Thames Street in Newport where George Washington was once their guest. This boarding house was confiscated from its Loyalist owner, Jahleel Brenton (1729-1802) sometime in 1775 and the Almy family immediately acquired and occupied the home.

Mary Almy died on April 23, 1808, in Newport and is buried in the Common Burial Ground.