Anna Zenger

Colonial Newspaper Publisher

The Trial of John Peter Zenger
Anna Catherine Maulin was born in Germany, and immigrated as a child in 1710 with her family to escape religious persecution. Upon their arrival, the Maulin family settled in what is now New York City.  

John Peter Zenger came to America from Germany with his parents in 1710 at the age of 13. His father died on the trip, leaving his mother to raise the children alone.

Zenger’s mother agreed that John Peter would work as an indentured servant for William Bradford, who was a pioneer printer in the middle colonies. Zenger spent the next eight years with Bradford learning about printing.

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Elizabeth Timothy

First Woman Editor-Publisher in America

Elizabeth Timothy ( or Timothee) is recognized as America’s first female newspaper editor and publisher, and one of the world’s first female journalists. She performed these roles with distinction, especially considering her other responsibilities as mother, homemaker and widow.

Louis Timothy and his family were among a group of French Huguenot immigrants from Rotterdam who arrived in Philadelphia aboard the ship Britannia of London in 1731. Named on the ship’s roster were Louis and four Timothy children: Peter, Louis, Charles, and Mary, ranging in age from 1 to 6. Although Elizabeth Timothy’s name was not on the roster, she undoubtedly accompanied the family.

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Mary Coffin Starbuck

Quaker Preacher of Nantucket Island

Mary Coffin Starbuck was born February 20, 1645 in Haverhill, Massachusetts, just two years after her parents’ arrival from Devonshire, England. Ten men got together and planned the purchase Nantucket Island, off the Massachusetts shore. Mary’s father, Tristram Coffin was the leader of the group — along with Edward Starbuck, Thomas Macy, and Isaac Coleman – and the purchase took place in 1659. He took his family to the island in 1660, where he was Chief Magistrate in 1671 and Commissioner in 1675.

In 1662, Mary married Nathaniel Starbuck, a prosperous farmer, local official, and partner with her father in purchasing the area from the Indians. The son of Edward and Catherine (Reynolds) Starbuck, Nathaniel was born February 20, 1634 in Dover, New Hampshire. Mary was eighteen when her first child was born – the first white child born on the Island of Nantucket. From this family all of the Starbucks of America are descended.

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Elizabeth Murray

Independent Colonial Woman

Born in Scotland in 1726 and orphaned by 1737, Elizabeth Murray immigrated to the American colonies at age 22 and settled on her own in Boston, Massachusetts, where she ran a successful dry goods shop during the 1750s. Shopkeeping was a typical business for many women of her era – there were very few jobs open to unmarried women who aspired to a middle-class standard of living. She also owned a boardinghouse and a sewing school.

Elizabeth launched her businesses with the help of her brother, James, who sold three slaves to get her started. He enlisted a London mercantile company and a buyer to purchase and supply goods to her. As a retailer and importer, Elizabeth made a living selling the goods colonial Americans wanted and needed.

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Lucy Terry

African American Poet

The baby whose slavery name would become Lucy Terry was born in Africa around 1724. Slave traders sold her in Rhode Island – which dominated the colonial American slave trade – in about 1730. During the period when Lucy arrived, the rum-slave-molasses traffic from Newport or Bristol to Africa and the West Indies was in its early development.

Early Years
It is highly likely that Lucy was taken from Rhode Island to Enfield, Connecticut, which would explain why she was known as Lucy Terry. Since most blacks weren’t named until they were purchased and transported to their owners, Lucy probably came to be called Terry through an association with Samuel Terry, one of the early settlers and founders of Enfield.

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Lydia Chapin Taft

America’s First Legal Woman Voter

Image: Town of Uxbridge, Massachusetts

Lydia Chapin Taft was an early forerunner in Colonial America who was allowed to vote in three New England town meetings, beginning in 1756. Lydia Chapin was born February 2, 1712, at Mendon, Massachusetts, the daughter of Seth Chapin, and Bethia Thurston. Seth Chapin was a respected member of the community and a Captain in the militia.

Early Life
Young Lydia Chapin grew up in a large family with 9 siblings. Her father Seth owned much property in what is today Milford, south Hopedale, and Post’s Lane in Mendon. The family lived on 45 acres near the Post’s Lane bridge and Mill River. Post’s Lane was made famous for the first man killed in King Phillip’s War, Richard Post.

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Eliza Lucas Pinckney

Colonial South Carolina Woman

Eliza Lucas was born on the Caribbean island of Antigua in the West Indies in 1722, the daughter of Lieutenant-Colonel George Lucas of the British Army and his wife. She had two younger brothers and a younger sister. Eliza attended a finishing school in England where French, music, and other traditionally feminine subjects were stressed, but Eliza’s favorite subject was botany.

In about 1738, the Lucas family migrated from Antigua to a farming area near Charleston, South Carolina, where Eliza’s mother died soon thereafter. George Lucas bought several plantations, but he was soon recalled to Antigua, and Eliza was left to take care of her siblings and to manage his three plantations.

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Catherine Blaikley

Colonial Virginia Woman

Image: Bruton Parish Church
Williamsburg, Virginia

Catherine Blaikley, born in 1695, lived in Williamsburg, Virginia. Her husband was merchant William Blaikley, who was reported to have been a wealthy merchant there. William Blaikley died in 1736, and left her a considerable amount of money and property. In a will written February 10, 1734, Blaikley bequeathed “unto my loving wife Catherine Blaikley, all my whole estate of lands, houses, Negroes, goods, and chattels, meaning my houses and lots in Williamsburg and 50 acres of land in Powhatan.”

During her 35-year widowhood, Catherine Blaikley lived in the house now called the Blaikely-Durfey House on Duke of Gloucester Street. The property inventory shows that the house was a half story house with a hall on each floor with rooms designated as Great Chamber Upstairs, little chamber upstairs, closet upstairs, passage upstairs, chamber below stairs chamber closet, parlor below stairs, hall, Mrs. Blaikley’s closet, little room by the hall, back passage, kitchen loft, kitchen, cellar.

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Sybilla Masters

First American Woman Inventor

Image: Sybilla Masters Corn Mill Invention

American colonist and inventor, Sybilla Masters is first mentioned in the records of the New Jersey colony in 1692. Not too long after that date, she married a Quaker merchant named Thomas Masters, and moved with him to Philadelphia. Thomas became a justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 1701, and served two terms as the Mayor of Philadelphia, in 1707 and 1708.

Sybilla, like most colonial women, had to work hard to care for her family and prepare their food. One of the common foods of the time was hominy. Hominy meal was made from ground-up Indian corn, sometimes called Hominy Grits. At that time, corn was ground between two large stones called millstones, which was hard work.

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Henrietta Johnston

First Professional Woman Artist in America

Image: Portrait of Marianne Fleur Du Gue
By Henrietta Johnston, 1708-10

Early in the 18th century, many of the portraits of colonial gentle ladies were done by Henrietta Johnston (1670-1729), the first female portrait painter in the American colonies. Surprisingly, she did not use oils or watercolors, but French pastels – a relatively new medium at that time. Johnston rendered the facial features with precision and blended colors skillfully, particularly in the hair.

Henrietta De Beaulieu was born to a French Huguenot family in Dublin, Ireland in 1670. At the age of 10 or 12 she fled with her Huguenot family to England from France to avoid persecution. In 1694, she married Robert Dering, the fifth son of Sir Edward Dering, and moved to Ireland. Their marriage application dated March 23, 1694, describes Henrietta as a maiden of about twenty from the Parish of St. Martin-in-the-Fields.

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