A family genealogy says this of the above incident: “There is a tradition that during a skirmish Isaac was captured by four of the enemy who started to conduct him to headquarters. The captive did not proceed fast enough for the British, one of whom prodded him in the back with his fixed bayonet, which so enraged Isaac that he turned, wrenched the gun from the soldier’s hands, whirled it around his head, brained one of the men, shot another, bayoneted the third, while the fourth took to his legs and Isaac escaped.”
Despite his heroism Sterling ended up picking Canada over America!
A Common Scold
Boston, August 9. In the municipal court of this town, last week, a woman, residing in Sheafe’s lane, was indicted as a “common scold” and tried and convicted, before the hon. Judge Dawes. This is the first instance of a similar indictment in this country to our knowledge.
In England, indictments of this nature are usual, if we can judge from their law books; and the punishment is by a “ducking stool.” The offense of annoying street passengers or neighbors by any inordinate use of the female tongue, deserves the severe animadversions of the law. Solomon has said “it is better to live upon an house top, than in a wide house, with a brawling woman.”
COMMENT: An early American woman writer, Ann Newport Royall (1769-1854) who “exposed graft and corruption wherever she went,” and whose “boldness and tenacity were remarkable in an era when society was obsessed with the trappings of gentility,” was convicted of being a “common scold” in Washington, D.C. in 1829. However, though the Marines at the Washington Naval Base had duly constructed a “ducking stool” with which to punish her, she ended up being fined $10 (which a newspaper paid). A New Jersey law providing for the indictment of “common scolds” was overturned as too vague in 1972.