The Halls of Valhalla presents: The Women of The Revolution: Esther De Berdt Reed (1746-1780)

Show on Esther De Berdt Reed (1746-1780)


Esther Reed

Esther ReedEsther De Berdt was born in the city of London, on the 22d of October, 1746, (N. S.,) and died at Philadelphia on the 18th of September, 1780. Her thirty-four years of life were adorned by no adventurous heroism; but were thickly studded with the brighter beauties of feminine endurance, uncomplaining self-sacrifice, and familiar virtue – under trials, too, of which civil war is so fruitful. She was an only daughter. Her father, Dennis De Berdt, was a British merchant, largely interested in colonial trade. He was a man of high character. Descended from the Huguenots, or French Flemings, who came to England on the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, Mr. De Berdt’s pure and rather austere religious sentiments and practice were worthy of the source whence they came. His family were educated according to the strictest rule of the evangelical piety of their day – the day when devotion, frozen out of high places, found refuge in humble dissenting chapels – the day of Wesley and of Whitfield. Miss De Berdt’s youth was trained religiously; and she was to the end of life true to the principles of her education. The simple devotion she had learned from an aged father’s lips, alleviated the trials of youth, and brightened around her early grave.
Mr. De Berdt’s house in London, owing to his business relations with the Colonies, was the home of many young Americans who at that time were attracted by pleasure or duty to the imperial metropolis. Among these visitors, in or about the year 1763, was Joseph Reed, of New Jersey, who had come to London to finish his professional studies (such being the fashion of the times) at the Temple. Mr. Reed was in the twenty-third year of his age – a man of education, intelligence, and accomplishment. The intimacy, thus accidentally begun, soon produced its natural fruits; and an engagement, at first secret, and afterwards avowed, was formed between the young English girl and the American stranger. Parental discouragement, so wise that even youthful impetuosity could find no fault with it, was entirely inadequate to break a connection thus formed. They loved long and faithfully – how faithfully, the reader will best judge when he learns that a separation of five years of deferred hope, with the Atlantic between them, never gave rise to a wandering wish, or hope, or thought.
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Esther De Berdt Reed (1746-1780)


Esther de Berdt Reed led the largest women’s organization of the American Revolution.

She was born October 22, 1746, in London, England. Her father, Dennis de Berdt, was a descendent of the French Huguenots and he educated Esther in a humble, yet strict, religious manner.

Esther De Berdt and Joseph Reed met around 1763 when Reed was staying with the de Berdts. He was an American who was studying law in London at the time. They were engaged, but soon afterwards, Reed returned to his home in the American colonies, and the couple endured a five year separation. Reed made a trip back to England in 1769, and they were married on May 31st, 1770 in London. Soon after their marriage the couple, along with Esther’s mother, moved to Philadelphia, where the now Esther de Berdt Reed adjusted to colonial life. With her husband working hard and becoming a rather prosperous and prominent lawyer, Esther hosted many political figures in her home, mingling with some of the most influential individuals of the time – including General George Washington.

During this unstable period in which America was on the brink of war with Britain, she understandably was conflicted between her native home and her adopted home, America. As time went on, she became more disillusioned by England’s behavior toward America, and eventually grew to champion the American cause of independence. After the news of the battles of Lexington and Concord, her husband was summoned to join General George Washington as an aide and military secretary. Joseph Reed quickly moved up the military ranks and soon became a general in the Continental Army. Esther Reed stayed in Philadelphia raising the couple’s six young children.

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Heroines of History

God’s Providence in the lives of women.

Esther Reed

Esther de Berdt was born on October 22, 1746 in the city of London. She was the only Daughter of Dennis de Berdt a descendent of the French Huguenots who had fled to England from Ypres. Her father stayed true to the Huguenot faith and taught the Scriptures diligently to his daughter.
Esther had a very bright childhood. She had a happy family, and loved reading. Her father’s home was a bright one.He had many contacts among the business men of the American colonies, many of whom came to visit his home in England. In 1763 one man in particular was a welcome guest. A 23 year old man by the name of Joseph Reed, had come over to England to finish his professional studies as was the fashion of the day.
While staying at the de Berdt house Mr. Reed became quite fond of Esther. He soon asked her for her hand in marriage with she willingly consented to. When the desire for matrimony was told to Esther’s parents, the result was very disappointing to the young lovers. They counsel was that it was they should not be married. Given in such loving and kind words that the young people willingly submitted to the adult’s wisdom, though they still hoped that it would be resolved some day. The couple stay in contact with each other, though five years and the Atlantic separated them from each other.
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2 Responses to The Halls of Valhalla presents: The Women of The Revolution: Esther De Berdt Reed (1746-1780)

  1. Pingback: The Halls of Valhalla presents: The Women of The Revolution: Esther De Berdt Reed (1746-1780) « donniebishop

  2. a12iggymom says:

    Reblogged this on U.S. Constitutional Free Press.


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