”A maiden fair, with courage bold, with spirit pure and high, Displayed her ﬂag of truce, and all For poor humanity.”
Miss Kitty Knight 1775 - 1855
The Kitty Knight is named after an early American heroine, Kitty Knight. Miss Knight was credited with saving part of Georgetown during the War of 1812. She was the daughter of John and Catherine Knight, both prominent and active citizens of the area.
Her uncle served in the General Assembly and was a member of the United States House of Representatives. Miss Kitty Knight, who became a celebrity in her own right, was born about 1775. She was one of the most beautiful and accomplished women of her day. She was tall and graceful, with hair dressed high on her head in colonial style. She attended a ball in Philadelphia during a session of the Continental Congress, and George Washington was one of her dance partners. The British invaded the Eastern Shore during the War of 1812.
Their goal was to burn down houses and communities close to the shore to protect their soldiers as they moved about the Chesapeake area. While the men marched to ﬁght, older men, women, and children were left to protect the area. They were no match for trained British troops and many ﬂed fearing for their safety. After British forces landed they burned Fredericktown and the lower part of Georgetown. As they approached the hill where the two brick houses were located, they were met by Miss Kitty Knight. She stood her ground and pleaded with Admiral Cockburn not to burn the houses.
The British had already put the torch to one of these houses that were occupied by a sick and elderly lady. Miss Kitty pleaded for the elderly lady and her home and managed to convince the Admiral not to burn the houses. Miss Kitty is reported to have stamped the ﬂames out twice.
This all happened even though Kitty did not own either of the houses. She was doing her duty to protect the community. She did however purchase one of the houses later. In a local newspaper of November 22, 1855, in an article referring to Miss Kitty Knight's recent death, printed "by her heroism at the burning of Georgetown she saved several families from being made homeless and friendless by the ﬁre and sword...“ Her appeal so moved the commodore that he ordered the troops to their barges and left unburned a church and several houses standing there as monuments to her memory for this noble and hazardous act.