As the third daughter of General Philip Schuyler and Catherine Van Rensselaer, Margarita “Peggy” was a lady of Dutch descent with considerable notability. Contemporaries described her as a lively, charming young woman with a wicked wit who was a favorite at dinner tables and balls.
In 1781, Peggy was 23 years old and still single. She was living with her older sisters, Angelica and Eliza, in their Albany home during the war. There was a lot of turmoil upstate at the time, with both local Native American tribes and Tories raiding towns in retaliation for British actions against Philip Schuyler.
During one of the raids, Peggy and her sisters fled upstairs as the invaders ransacked the house. Seeing that her baby sister Catharine was in the cradle downstairs, Peggy raced down to get her. When the raiders asked where her father was, she lied and said he had gone to warn the town and get help. They fled, but not before throwing an ax at her that left a cut mark in the banister (which the family kept as a memento).
Peggy’s bravery would probably have been learned from watching her mother remain so calm and collected during similar events. Her mother also frequently aided local colonists who had been affected by raids, as well as worked to keep peace with non-hostile Native American tribes. Those lessons of poise and generosity would have empowered Peggy to take charge when needed, both in her own household and in her interactions with the various local communities that surrounded her.