Mumma Farm at Antietam

The Mumma Family Lost Their Home at Antietam Image: Mumma Farm today No one in the community around Sharpsburg, Maryland suffered more during the Battle of Antietam than the Mumma family. They escaped the battle, only to return to find their farm totally destroyed by a fire set by Confederate soldiers. Backstory Straddling the opposing sides both politically and geographically was the border state of Maryland. Despite the legislative efforts of the powerful slave holding minority, the majority of Maryland’s population was less committed to the institution of slavery. The farms around Sharpsburg were typical of the region where the primary crop was wheat, supplemented with corn, oats, and rye. Seasonal crops like wheat and corn did not require the…

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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…

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Annie Adams McFadden Hays

Wife of Union General Alexander Hays Annie Hays suffered the long separations from her husband that all wives of Civil War generals endured. However, letters from the front inspired these women to continue raising children, caring for homes, running farms, and operating businesses. Unfortunately, Annie’s husband never made it home. He was killed at the Battle of the Wilderness on May 6, 1864. Image: Into the Wilderness by Keith Rocco Annie Adams Farrelly was born March 15, 1826 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Two months earlier, her father, U. S. Representative Patrick Farrelly, died while en route to Washington to attend Congress. In 1835 her mother married John Birch McFadden, a Market Street jeweler in Pittsburgh. Alexander Hays was born July 8,…

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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…

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Charlotte Sprowles Webster

Wife of Union Spy Timothy Webster Charlotte’s husband Timothy Webster was an agent of the famous Pinkerton Detective Agency and a spy for the Union during the Civil War. Timothy Webster was Allan Pinkerton’s most trusted agent during the Civil War, and he was partially responsible for stopping an assassination attempt on president-elect Abraham Lincoln. Webster was later captured by Confederate forces and sentenced to death. Marriage and Family Timothy Webster was born in England in 1822, and his family immigrated to Princeton, New Jersey in the 1830s. Charlotte Sprowles married Webster on October 23, 1841 in Princeton, New Jersey. They had four children. As a young man, Webster learned the machinist trade. Sometime in the 1840s the Websters moved…

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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 fingers to God’s ear. Thank you for reading my blogs, Maggie

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…

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Lilla Cabot Perry

Portrait Artist and American Impressionist Lilla Cabot Perry is best-known as an American Impressionist painter, creating landscapes and portraits in a free form manner. Impressionism is characterized by loose brushwork and vivid colors. She was greatly influenced by Ralph Waldo Emerson‘s philosophies, and her friendships with Claude Monet and Camille Pissarro greatly influenced her work. Pissarro acted as a father figure to all four major Post-Impressionists: Vincent van Gogh, Georges Seurat, Paul Gaugin, and Paul Cezanne. Image: Self Portrait (1890s) By Lilla Cabot Perry Early Years Lydia (Lilla) Cabot was born January 13, 1848 in Boston, Massachusetts, the eldest of eight children of Hannah Lowell Jackson Cabot and distinguished surgeon Dr. Samuel Cabot III. The Cabots prominent in Boston society,…

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First American Women Painters

First Professional Women in Art In the nineteenth century, women artists signed their work with a first initial and last name to conceal their gender. Not until the second half of the 19th century did women artists make significant progress. In the United States, women gradually became a force on the American art scene, winning prestigious commissions and awards. Image: Kaaterskill Clove by Harriet Cany Peale This deep gorge in New York’s Catskill Mountains inspired the Hudson River School of Art, our nation’s first artistic style. Harriet Cany Peale Harriet Cany Peale (1800-1869) was born in Philadelphia, where she studied with well-known portrait and historical genre painter, Rembrandt Peale (1778-1860). In 1840 she married Peale and exhibited for the first…

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Richmond Bread Riot

Civil Unrest and Activism in the Confederate Capital Image: North Carolina Emigrants: Poor White Folk, by James Henry Beard During the Civil War, refugees like these traveled to Richmond hoping for a better life, but they only added to the overcrowding and lack of provisions that already existed there. A group of working-class women gathered in Belvidere Hill Baptist Church in the Oregon Hill section of Richmond, Virginia on the evening of April 1, 1863. A few had traveled from the outskirts of the city to attend this meeting of working class women. One of the leaders, Mary Jackson, was a peddler and another woman sewed tents to support her family. The women decided to meet the following morning and…

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