LAODICEA "DICEY" LANGSTON SPRINGFIELD

A Rebel For The Cause Of Freedom
During the Revolutionary War
LAODICEA LANGSTON
"DARING DICEY"
A courageous young girl of about 16 years, was a rebel for the cause of Freedom during the Revolutionary War. In fact, her Patriotism to the American cause was so great, it earned her the pseudonym "Daring Dicey". She provided valuable information to the Whigs and harassed the enemy during the entire war. This was Dicey Langston, the daughter of Solomon Langston of Laurens District, South Carolina.

The Langstons lived in area concentrated with loyalists, many of whom were their relatives, so it was easy for Dicey to hear what the Whigs were up to. She would then cross the Enoree River and report to the Whigs. Eventually, the Tories became suspicious of her actions and threatened Solomon, Sr., saying that they would hold him accountable for Dicey's action. Solomon scolded her and for awhile she discontinued her reports. 
Bloody Bill Cunningham and his Scouts were a company of loyalists, so called because of their "ruthless cruelty". When Dicey heard by accident that the Bloody Scouts were about to visit the "Elder settlement" (a.k.a. the Elder settlement, or Little Eden, Roster of South Carolina Patriots in the American Revolution) 20 miles away where her brother James and some friends were living, she was determined to warn them. She left home in the middle of the night and walked many miles, crossing streams and marshes on foot, as there were no bridges. She crossed the Tyger, which was swollen from the recent rains. She finally made it to her brother's house and warned him of the Bloody Scout's intentions to destroy them. He and his friends rushed to warn everyone, and the next day, when the 'scout' arrived, they found the area deserted, no one was there for them to "wreak their vengeance."
This was posssibly the exploit that secured her place in history.

An expert shot and rider, Dicey made the trip, by night, and the longer she travelled, the darker it seemed to get. The road ahead was barely discernible. And the creeks and swamps held unseen tangers. But her greatest threat came while submerging in the dark, rain-swollen icy waters of the Enoree river. It was difficult to cross in daylight. Almost impossible in darkness. At times she had to fight the threatening currents but subsequently she arrived at the encampment. The spirits of the men were so low that she had boards torn from a roof to make a fire: she then baked hoecakes for each soldier. Spirits lifted, the Bloody Scouts' attack was thwarted. The whole community was saved. A dripping wet Dicey returned home in time to cook breakfast for her father, never telling him that she was gone all night long.

At a later period of the war, the father of Miss Langston incurred the displeasure of the loyalists in consequence of the active services of his sons in their country's cause. They were known to have imbibed their principles from him; and he was marked out as an object of summary vengeance. A party came to his house with the desperate design of putting to death all the men of the family. 

Clasping her arms tightly round the old man's neck, she declared that her own body should first receive the ball aimed at his heart!

HERE IS ANOTHER PRINT OF THAT SCENE
(Original Engraving: Circa 1870)
Miss Langston Shielding Her Father
The sons were absent; but the feeble old man, selected by their relentless hate as a victim, was in their power. He could not escape or res ist ; and he scorned to implore their mercy. One of the company drew a pistol and deliberately leveled it at the breast of Langston. Suddenly a wild shriek was heard; and his young daughter sprang between her aged parent and the fatal weapon. The brutal soldier roughly ordered her to get out of the way, or the contents of the pistol would be instantly lodged in her own heart. She heeded not the threat, which was but too likely to be fulfilled the next moment. Clasping her arms tightly round the old man's neck, she declared that her own body should first receive the ball aimed at his heart! There are few human beings, even of the most depraved, entirely insensible to all noble and generous impulses. On this occasion the conduct of the daughter, so fearless, so determined to shield her father's life by the sacrifice of her own, touched the heart even of a member of the "Bloody Scout. " Langston was spared; and the party left the house filled with admiration at the filial affection and devotion they had witnessed. 

Dicey's disregard of personal danger, where service could be rendered was remarkable. One day, returning from a Whig neighborhood in Spartanburg District, she was met by a company of Loyalists, who ordered her to give them some intelligence they desired respecting those she had just left. She refused; whereupon the captain of the band held a pistol to her breast, and ordered her instantly to make the disclosures, or she should "die in her tracks". Miss Langston only replied, with the cool intrepidity of a veteran soldier: "Shoot me if you dare! I will not tell you," at the same time opening a long handkerchief which covered her neck and bosom, as if offering a place to receive the contents of the weapon. Incensed by her defiance, the officer was about to fire, when another threw up his hand, and saved the courageous girl's life.

Another time, her brother James had left a rifle in her care, which she was to keep hid till he sent for it. He did so, by a company of "Liberty Men", who were to return by his father's dwelling. On arriving at the house, the leader asked the young girl for the gun. She went immediately, and brought it; but as she came towards the soldiers, the thought struck her that she had neglected to ask for the countersign agreed upon between her brother and herself. Advancing more cautiously, she observed them that their looks were suspicious; that for aught she knew they might be a set of Tories; and demanded the countersign. The leader answered that it was "Too late. We have the gun now, and its holder, too!" 

"Do you think so?" Dicey turned the barrel to his head and said, "No you don't. And you won't unless you give me the sign!" she cried, cocking it, and presenting the muzzle at the leader. "If the gun is in your possession, take charge of her!" Her look and attitude of defiance showed her in earnest; the countersign was quickly given; and the men, laughing heartily, pronounced her worthy of being the sister of James Langston. As the men left, the leader lingered and looked back at Dicey and smiled. She returned the smile. The leader, Thomas Springfield, [Read Thomas Springfield's Will here] would become her husband after the war.

After the struggle with the mohter county ended, Dicey married Thomas and moved into the Greenville District of South Carolina near Traveler's Rest. Here she lived and died near Enoree Church and there one can see a monument today honoring a girl that dared to risk her life because of her love for liberty."

[You can read more about Dicey Langston in the
October 1975 edition of National Geographic]

[Also, visit Women of South Carolina in the Revolution WebSite!]
 

Daughters of The America Revolution Medallion Collection
The Great Women of the American Revolution Medal Collection
This dark blue, bound volume measures 11-3/4" by 10". It houses 36 pewter medallions featuring "The Great Women of the American Revolution." Elva B. Crawford, Archivist/Historian, NSDAR, says that this was produced by the Franklin Mint for the DAR in 1976 at the time of the Bicentennial of the U.S.A. Each set of 36 medallions was accompanied by a "Certificate of Authenticity: dated and signed by the President General, NSDAR." In addition to this volume, there was a companion book also entitled "The Great Women of the American Revolution." This 136 page publication included biographies of each of the women shown on the medallions. Some of the women on the medallions are, DICEY LANGSTON, ABIGAIL SMITH ADAMS, EMILY GEIGER, and NANCY HANSON. They are beautifully mounted and a great DAR volume to collect.

GREAT WOMEN OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION DICEY MEDAL

The Dicey Langston Medal
The Reverse Reads:
Dicey Langston
In a southern frontier region
surrounded by Torries, she acted
as a spy for the patriots. Her
courage thwarted an attempt
to raid a patriot
settlement.



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Langston Charter Middle School

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