Bees That Saved America

Bees That Saved America

During the American War Of Independence, beekeeper Charity Crabtree was tending to her bee skeps when she came across a wounded soldier.  He plead with her to take his horse and ride at once to General Washington and warn him English Lieutenant General Lord Cornwallis and his army were planning an imminent attack.  Just as Charity was about to ride off, the British Redcoats arrived.  To prevent them from capturing her, Charity beat her bee skeps with a stick, angering the bees.  As the frenzied bees came pouring out of the hives she threw the stick at her pursuers.  The incensed bees followed the stick and attacked the soldiers, stinging them relentlessly. Charity was able to escape and relay the warning in time to foil the attack.  George Washington remarked “Neither you nor your bees shall be forgotten when our country is at peace again.  It was the cackling geese that saved Rome, but it was the bees that saved America.”
Originally printed in The Sunday School Advocate, this story was reprinted in the September 1917 issue of the American Bee Journal.  If you click on the picture below it will open the journal to the story.

Now you have a great bee story to tell around the BBQ today.  Happy Independence Day to you and your honeybees!!

Other Posts You May Enjoy:

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  2. Stewed Rhubarb with Ginger and Raw Honey
  3. Blue Pollen, Honeybees and Siberian Squill
  4. Planting A Bee Friendly Garden
  5. Bring Out Yer Dead – The Undertaker Bees

This post was linked to Farm Girl Friday and Homestead Barn Hop.

Author: Anita Deeley

Anita Deeley is a biologist and former state bee inspector who maintains 100 honey bee hives. She is the beekeeper, writer, owner and creator of When she is not spending time with her girls (the bees), she enjoys being a wife to her beekeeping cohort, Brian and mother to 3 little boys (the beekeepers in training). Read more about Anita here >> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Connect with Anita on Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ or Facebook here.


  1. That is a great story! I bet you have been saving that one for a while. 🙂

    There aren’t many people male or female who would have had the presence of mind and guts to pull something like that off. I will remember Charity Crabtree probably forever now. It is too bad that she didn’t have the opportunity to have had a blog post about it!

  2. I have seen this story in several beekeeping books talking about the history of American beekeeping. However, I am not entirely sure of its historical accuracy as it was first published in The Sunday School Advocate (which is a children’s periodical). I’d really like to believe it’s true and either way it’s a fun story to tell. 🙂

  3. I love this story!

    Thanks for such a great blog. I nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award. Here’s more info )