The Tory’s Wife: A Woman and Her Family in Revolutionary America

Back to gallery

The Tory’s Wife: A Woman and Her Family in Revolutionary America
Cynthia Kierner
George Mason University
October 17, 2023

The Spurgin family of North Carolina experienced the cataclysm of the American Revolution in the most dramatic ways—and from different sides. Jane Welborn Spurgin was a patriot who welcomed Gen. Nathanael Greene to her home and aided the Continental forces. Her husband was a loyalist and an officer fighting for King George III in the local Tory militia. Cynthia Kierner, professor of history at George Mason University, discusses her new book that focuses on the wife of a middling backcountry farmer to show how the Revolution not only toppled long-established political hierarchies, but also strained family ties and drew women into the public sphere to claim both citizenship and rights.


About the Speaker

Cynthia Kierner is professor of history at George Mason University. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Virginia in 1986 and specializes in the fields of early America, women and gender, and early southern history. She is the author or editor of eight books and numerous articles, in addition to being an Organization of American Historians (OAH) Distinguished Lecturer and past president of the Southern Association for Women Historians (SAWH). Throughout her distinguished career, her research has received support from the American Historical Association, the Virginia Historical Society, the Library Company of Philadelphia, the American Antiquarian Society and the National Endowment for the Humanities.