Mollie Dorsey Sanford

Women Who Settled the Midwest and the West

Image: Mollie Dorsey Sanford
Mollie, left, and her sister Nan
In 1857, the year they moved to Nebraska City

Mollie Dorsey Sanford was a young bride who crossed the plains – from the Missouri River to the Rocky Mountains – during the Colorado Gold Rush. Her diary, published as Mollie, the Journal of Mollie Dorsey Sanford in Nebraska and Colorado Territories 1857 to 1866 (1959), is regarded as one of the most accurate accounts of life on the frontier and an important document in the history of the American West.

The Midwestern United States (or Midwest) is a name for the north-central states of the United States of America. The states that are part of the Midwest are Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

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Eunice White Beecher

Wife of the Reverend Henry Ward Beecher

Eunice White Beecher was also author of a novel, From Dawn to Daylight, and several books about housekeeping. Her husband, Henry Ward Beecher of the illustrious Beecher family, became one of the most famous men in the United States during the 19th century.

Early Years
Eunice White Bullard was born August 26, 1812 in West Sutton, Massachusetts, the daughter of Lucy White Bullard and Dr. Artemas Bullard. Eunice was educated in Hadley, Massachusetts. In the meantime, Henry Ward Beecher, almost a year younger than Eunice, had a stammer and was considered one of the less promising of the brilliant Beecher children.

THIS MY 500th POST !

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Maria Martin Bachman

She Painted Backgrounds for Audubon’s Famous Birds

Maria Martin Bachman was one of the most influential woman in natural history in the nineteenth century. She is best known as a skilled illustrator of flora and fauna who worked in collaboration with the famed naturalist and artist John James Audubon.

Early Years
Maria (pronounced ma-RY-ah) Martin, the youngest of two daughters, was born July 6, 1796 to Rebecca Solars and John Jacob Martin. The widow Rebecca Solar’s dower provided generously for the family they would have together, and Martin nurtured it into a fortune. Records of Maria’s childhood years were destroyed by General William Tecumseh Sherman‘s March to the Sea in 1864 during the Civil War.

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Mary Peabody Mann

Activist, Educator, and Wife of Horace Mann

Mary Peabody Mann was a teacher, author, and wife of education reformer Horace Mann. Mary carried a passion for education, especially of young children, in her breast from her youngest days. She was well educated by her mother and role model Eliza Palmer Peabody, who ran a school from their home and was an early advocate of women’s rights.

Early Years
Mary Tyler Peabody was born November 16, 1806 in Cambridge and grew up in Salem, both in Massachusetts. Her parents, Nathaniel and Elizabeth Peabody were schoolteachers when they married; after the wedding, they reserved one room in their home as a classroom.

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First American Women in Science I

Female Scientists Who Inspired Others to Follow

Maria Mitchell
Astronomer (1818-1889)
After she discovered a comet in 1847, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the most prestigious honorary societies, elected Maria Mitchell as its first woman member. The Academy was founded during the American Revolution by Founding Fathers John Adams, John Hancock, and other patriots.

Image: Maria Mitchell and her brass telescope
Mitchell and her students used this telescope; now more than 150 years old, it remains among Vassar’s treasures.

Matthew Vassar founded Vassar College in 1861, the second of the Seven Sisters schools to offer higher education strictly for women. In 1865, he appointed Maria Mitchell (1818-1889) the first person on the Vassar faculty. The well-known astronomer made the building of an observatory with living quarters for herself and her father a condition of her employment.

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Edmonson Sisters

Slave Girls Searching for Freedom

In the seventeenth century, all slave states passed laws declaring that the children of an enslaved mother inherited her legal status. Mary and Emily Edmonson were two of fourteen children who survived to adulthood, all of whom were born into slavery in Maryland. In the late 1840s they became icons in the abolitionist movement.

Image: Mary Edmonson (standing) and Emily Edmonson (seated), shortly after they were freed

Early Years
The Edmonson sisters were the daughters of Paul and Amelia Edmonson, a free black man and an enslaved woman. They were described as “two respectable young women of light complexion.” At the ages of 15 and 13, Mary (1832–1853) and Emily (1835–1895) were hired out to work as servants in two elite private homes in Washington DC; their wages were the sole income of Amelia’s mistress.

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Underground Railroad in Washington DC

Slaves Find Freedom in the Nation’s Capital

The Underground Railroad refers to the effort of enslaved African Americans to gain their freedom. Wherever slavery existed, there were efforts to escape. In the 1840s, a group of people came together to support the Underground Railroad in the District of Columbia. Despite the illegality of their actions, and with little regard for their own personal safety, people of all races, classes and genders participated in this widespread form of civil disobedience.

Image: Ann Marie Weems
Dressed as a male carriage driver, she successfully fled slavery in Rockville, Maryland via Washington DC in 1855. People of both races and various class backgrounds assisted in her escape, demonstrating the diversity of the underground railroad activists.

Ann Marie Weems
Ann Marie Weems was a slave to Charles Price, a slave trader in Rockville, Maryland. Weems had four older brothers, all of whom had been sold to the Deep South; she feared she would face the same fate. Her owners so feared that she would escape they made her sleep in their chamber. Weems was described as a “bright mulatto, well-grown, smart and good-looking” fifteen-year-old girl.

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First Women Inventors

First American Women Inventors

Before the 1970s, the topic of women’s history was largely ignored by the general public. Women have probably been inventing since the dawn of time without recognition. Many women faced prejudice and ridicule when they sought help from men to implement their ideas. Property laws also made it difficult for women to acquire patents for their inventions. By 1850 only thirty-two patents had been issued to women.

Image: Sybilla Masters Corn Refiner

Sybilla Masters (1715)
Sybilla Masters invented a way to clean and refine the Indian corn that the colonists grew in early America and received the first patent issued to man or woman in recorded American history in 1715. Masters’ innovation processed the corn into many different food and cloth products.

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December Hiatus

Since the month of December is taken up with holidays and travel, I have decided to go on hiatus for the rest of this month. I won’t be slacking off, however; I will be doing some much needed cleanup and updating on my blogs. Unfortunately, I will also be doing that dreaded activity that constantly tries to lure me away from my writing: HOUSEWORK.

I wish you the happiest of holidays, and I hope the gifts you receive are exactly what you wanted.

I will be praying for peace on earth for all people – from my fingertips to God’s ear.

Thank you for reading my blogs,

Mary Ann Brown Patten

First Woman Clipper Ship Commander

Mary Ann Brown Patten was the first woman commander of an American Merchant Vessel at the age of nineteen. Her husband, the ship’s captain, was severely ill with fever, and the first mate was attempting to incite a mutiny among the crewmen. Her clipper ship Neptune’s Car was ten thousand miles away from its starting point at New York when she faced the unforgiving winds of Cape Horn on the southern tip of South America. And then on to San Francisco, where clients were waiting for her cargo.

Image: Mary Ann Brown Patten

Mary Ann Brown married sea captain Joshua Patten in 1853 when she was 16. He was 25, and was ferrying cargo and passengers from New York to Boston. In 1854, Joshua Patten was offered the chance to sail the merchant ship Neptune’s Car from New York to San Francisco, through Cape Horn, one of the most dangerous straits in the Western Hemisphere. Reluctant to abandon his young wife, Joshua received permission to bring Mary along on the voyage. With just a matter of hours to prepare, the couple departed on their first trip together.

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