Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Biography - Henrietta Benigna Justine Zinzendorf von Watteville (1725-1789) Moravian Educator

Henrietta Benigna Justine Zinzendorf von Watteville (1725-1789) Moravian educator, a key figure in the beginnings of Moravian Seminary & College for Women, Bethlehem, Pa., was born in Berthelsdorf, Saxony. She was the 1st daughter & 2nd of 12 children, of whom only 4 reached maturity, of Count Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf by his wife, Countess Erdmuthe Dorothea von Reuss. Her father, founder of the Renewed Moravian Church, was of an old family of the Austrian nobility that had migrated to Germany. Her mother was of the nobility of Thuringia. Reared in the 18th-century Moravian Church, Benigna lived & achieved as a devout Pietist.
Henrietta Benigna Justine Zinzendorf von Watteville (1725-1789) with cittern

Her father’s banishment from Saxony, when she was 11, marked the beginning for her of a much-traveled life. With him she came to America for the first time in December 1741, for a stay of 14 months, chiefly in the newly established Moravian communities of Pennsylvania.

On May 4, 1742, at her father’s suggestion, the 16-year-old countess, with 2 assistants, opened a girls’ school in the Ashmead house in Germantown, Pennsylvania. Here 25 pupils were instructed in reading, writing, religion, & the household arts in what was probably the first boarding school for girls in the 13 British American colonies. Seven weeks later the school moved to Bethlehem; & in 1745, to nearby Nazareth, returning permanently in 1749, to Bethlehem, the center of the Moravian Church in America.

Moravian Young Ladie's Seminary and Church, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

On July 27, 1742, Count von Zinzendorf and his fellowship crossed the Blue Mountain into Cherry Valley, and on July 28 they finally emerged from the endless forests at Meniolágoméka -- "The Fat Land Among the Barren" -- present-day Kunkletown. Von Zinzendorf's 16-year-old daughter, Benigna, upon meeting the Indian children at the settlement, decided that the girls should have the opportunity to go to school just like white boys.

The same year she founded Moravian Seminary in Germantown, Pennsylvania. Shortly thereafter it was moved to Bell House in Bethlehem, and Lady Benigna invited all the Indian girls to come. Moravian Seminary was the first boarding school for girls in the New World, and over time it gained a superb reputation -- so much so that 50 years later, while he was President, George Washington personally petitioned for admission of his great-nieces. Eventually the school's charter was expanded, and it became Moravian College and Moravian Academy, both of which remain to this day.

In the summer of 1742, Benigna Zinzendorf interrupted her teaching to accompany her father on 2 of his 3 trips among the Indians of Pennsylvania & New York, preparatory to establishing missions among them. The Zinzendorfs returned to Europe the following winter.

In 1746 Benigna was married to Baron Johann von Waterville (de Watteville), a Moravian clergyman & her father’s secretary, in a ceremony performed by Zinzendorf at the new Moravian settlement in Zeist, Holland. Consecrated a bishop the following year, Watteville, aided by his capable wife, became out outstanding leader of his church.

The couple came to America on church business in September 1748 & remained a year. On this visit Benigna de Watteville had a hand in the return of the girls’ school to Bethlehem, its consideration with schools in the outlying Moravian congregations, & the enlargement of its curriculum.

Thirty-five years later, en route to America a 3rd time, she was shipwrecked with her husband on the rocks off the Leeward Islands in February 1784. Reaching Bethlehem in June, they remained for 3 years. Again Countess Benigna was on hand to help direct a reorganization of the girls’ seminary, which in 1785, now opened to pupils from outside the Moravian Church, became a largely new institution, known for many years as the Bethlehem Female Seminary.

The Moravian philosophy of education was the rearing of children in a controlled Christian environment under consecrated teachers. Because of the worldwide mission commitments of the Church, many parents were abroad, with their children left behind in the care of the home community. Moravian teachers, therefore, tried as nearly as possible to serve as substitute parents. Both as a parent & as a devout church member, Benigna de Watteville kept this ideal in mind.

She had four children of her own: Johann Ludwig (born 1752), Anna Dorothea Elizabeth (1754), Maria Justine (1762), & Johann Christian Frederick (1766). The older son died while a missionary in Tranquebar, India, in 1780, & the younger son died at nineteen as a student at Herrnhut, the church headquarters on his grandfather’s Berthelsdorf estate. The younger daughter, who never married, served as a worker in the church. The older daughter married Hans Christian Alexander von Schweinitz (later changed to de Schweinitz) in Bethlehem, Pa., in 1779. One of their children was the distinguished American botanist Louis David de Schweinitz, & de Schweinitz descendants have for four generations been prominent in American educational & professional life.

Benigna de Watteville died in the place of her birth at the age of sixty-three, a year after her husband. The Bethlehem seminary, incorporated in 1863 as the Moravian Seminary for Young Ladies, became in 1913, Moravian Seminary & College for Women & in 1953, a part of the coeducational Moravian College at Bethlehem.

This posting based, in part, on information from Notable American Women edited by Edward T James, Janet Wilson James, Paul S Boyer, The Belknap Press of Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. 1971

Monday, August 13, 2018

18C American Women - Moravian Johann Valentin Haidt 1700-1780

Mrs. Gertraut Graff. Johann Valentin Haidt (1700-1780) Moravian Archives, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Johann Valentin Haidt (Heydt) was born in Danzig (Gdańsk), Poland, on October 4, 1700. Haidt came from a long line of goldsmiths learning the trade from his father, Andreas Haidt, a jeweler & sculptor for Emperor Frederick I in the Prussian royal court. Between the ages of 10-13, Haidt studied drawing at the Royal Academy of Arts in Berlin, where his father was an instructor.
Miss Anna Rosina Anders. Johann Valentin Haidt (1700-1780) Moravian Archives, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

In 1754, Haidt left England to become the assistant pastor of a Moravian church in Philadelphia, where he continued to paint & teach painting. By the fall of 1755, he was living in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, then the center of the Moravian church in this country.
Married Moravian Woman. Johann Valentin Haidt (1700-1780) Moravian Archives, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Haidt felt that portrait painting also was important in order to express the spirit within the person. He wrote in his treatise, "One applies all energy to the face, so that it predominates above all...Each figure must immediately depict why is has been drawn...A portrait is beautiful when it is an accurate likeness and when one can see the essence of the person's face and spirit. Therefore, painters who want to paint all faces happy and make the mouths smile make a mistake. The painter must look accurately at the person he wants to paint. If he gets the opportunity to know the subject well, it is a great help to him."
Mrs. Elizabeth Boehler. Johann Valentin Haidt (1700-1780) Moravian Archives, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Haidt's portraits of women seem to portray them as spiritual, happy, & content with their roles in Moravian community life under Zinzendorf's leadership.
Married Moravian Woman. Johann Valentin Haidt (1700-1780) Moravian Archives, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

The artist in Haidt did worry about the lack of color choices for his portraits of his plain-clothed congregation. "The clothes should be chosen by the painter according to the complexion of the person, as well as the background, but one will not find it easy to put this rule into practice in the congregation, so a good portrait can never or at least very seldom be painted" of fellow Moravians.
Married Moravian Woman. Johann Valentin Haidt (1700-1780) Moravian Archives, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

The women wore the traditional Mittel-European two-layer headdress or Haube. The only colorful aspect of their clothing were the ribbons they wore: red for young girls, pink for eligible maidens, blue for wives, and white for widows.
Mrs. C. Theodora Neissen. Johann Valentin Haidt (1700-1780) Moravian Archives, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

One Pennsylvania reader writes of the costumes, especially the tightly-fitted jackets, "Look at the lacing, the weasel waists, the odd little notch in the sleeve and the way the kerchief is arranged. 'Curiouser and curiouser,' said Alice, quite forgetting her grammar."
Anna Maria Lawatsch. Johann Valentin Haidt (1700-1780) Moravian Archives, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Johann and Susanna Nitschmann. Johann Valentin Haidt (1700-1780) Moravian Archives, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Young Moravian Girl. Johann Valentin Haidt (1700-1780) Moravian Archives, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

1754 John Valentine Haidt (1700-1780), Johannetta Maria Kymbel (1725-1789) Mrs John Ettwein. Moravian Historica Society, Nazareth, Pennsylvania.

Miss Anna Nitschmann. Johann Valentin Haidt (1700-1780) Moravian Archives, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Many of Haidt's American paintings recording this period, its religion, & its people are located at the Moravian Archives & College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania; the Moravian Historical Society in Nazareth, Pennsylvania; the Moravian Congregation, Lititz, Pennsylvania, and at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Widow Catharina Huber. Johann Valentin Haidt (1700-1780) Moravian Archives, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

To learn about the lives of 18C Moravian women see:

Faull, Katharine. Moravian Women's Memoirs: Their Related Lives, 1750-1820. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1997.

Smaby, Beverly Prior. "Female Piety Among 18th-Century Moravians." Pennsylvania History 64 (1997): 151-167.

Wachovia Historical Society, Winston-Salem, North Carolina & Old Salem, Inc., Winston-Salem, North Carolina 1750 Johann Valentine Haidt (1700-1780). Women portrayed as separate but sharing power at the Moravian Synod at Herrnhut.& "Forming the Single Sisters' Choir in Bethlehem." The Transactions of the Moravian Historical Society 28 (1994): 1-14

Sommer, Elisabeth W. Serving Two Masters: Moravian Brethren in Germany & North Carolina, 1727-1801. Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 2000.

Vogt, Peter. "A Voice for Themselves: Women as Participants in Congregational Discourse in the 18th-Century Moravian Movement." In Women Preachers and Prophets through Two Millennia of Christianity, edited by Beverly Mayne Kienzle and Pamela J. Walker, 227-247. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

1784 Children in the Early Republic

The Gloucester Limner JB
In nearby Baltimore, Jill and Austin Fine collected folk art for decades. One of the most endearing pieces they collected was JB by an artist dubbed the Gloucester Limner. Two other examples of his work exist at the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, New York.

The Gloucester Limner John Wharff
The Gloucester Limner Priscilla Wharff.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Jane McCrae 1752-1777 Killed during the American Revolution

Jane McCrae (sometimes spelled McCrae or MacCrae, 1752-1777) was a young woman who was purportedly slain by Native American allies of the British army’s Lieutenant General John Burgoyne. It was reported that her death at the hands of General Burgoyne’s Native American allies roused support for the patriot cause & contributed to the American victory at Saratoga. She was born near Bedminster (later Lamington), Somerset County, N.J., where her Scotch-Irish father, James McCrea, served for 26 years as a Presbyterian minister.
John Vanderlyn (American artist, 1775-1852) The Death of Jane McCrea 1804

Jane's brothers included


John McCrea, Colonel American Army
Samuel McCrea, Soldier American Army
Dr. Stephen McCrea, Surgeon American Army
Creighton McCrea, Captain in the 75th Highlanders, Queens Rangers
Robert McCrea, Captain in Queens Rangers & a Major in the 5th Royal Vet. Battalion
Obviously the family loyalties were divided during the Revolution. After the war, the British side of the McCrea family settled in Guernsey, Channel Islands, UK, and have a long history of service to the British Crown from the Revolutionary War until well into the late 1800s, from the battle of Trafalgar to the campaigns in India. Loyalist Robert became governor of the Channel Islands, after the American Revolution.
Little is known of Jane’s early life. After her father’s death in 1769, she made her home with her eldest brother, John, a Princeton graduate who had practiced law in Albany, married into the Beekman family, & then settled at Northumberland, N.Y., in the upper Hudson Valley, a few miles below the frontier outpost of Fort Edward. She was at least 25 in 1777, & not the maiden of 17 or 18 depicted in legend.

In New Jersey & later in New York, she had been courted by Loyalist David Jones, whose family had also moved to the Fort Edward area. In the latter part of 1776 Jones departed with his Tory neighbors to join the British army, where he became part of the forces led by Gen. John Burgoyne. When in the summer of 1777, Burgoyne launched his invasion down the Lake Champlain-Hudson River route, most of the patriot troops & nearby residents evacuated Fort Edward. John McCrea, now a colonel, is said to have urged his sister to come with him to Albany. But Jane had received a letter from David Jones informing her that “In a few days we will march to Ft. Edward, ….where I shall have the happiness to meet you.”

Though her story was later embroidered by fancy & subject to controversy, some facts are verified. On the morning of July 27, 1777, Jane McCrea went to the home of her friend Mrs. Sarah McNeil, who was preparing to flee Fort Edward for Albany. There, shortly after noon, the 2 women were discovered & carried off by a band of Native Americans scouting in advance of Burgoyne’s army. Mrs. McNeil was subsequently delivered to the British, but Jane McCrea’s dead body -scalped & bearing bullet wounds- was found the next day near Fort Edward.

Though some historians have contended that she was accidentally shot by a party of American troops pursuing the Native Americans, the best evidence - including the later testimony of a supposed eyewitness, Samuel Standish, an Native American captive being held in the vicinity- suggests that the Native Americans probably killed her.

General Burgoyne could not punish the guilty party for fear of breaking his alliance with them. Burgoyne's inability to punish the alleged killers also undermined British assertions that they were more civilized in their conduct of the war; the dissemination of this propaganda reportedly contributed to the success of Patriot recruiting drives in New York for several years.

The propaganda war certainly received a boost after Burgoyne wrote a letter to the American general Horatio Gates, complaining about American treatment of prisoners taken in the August 17 Battle of Bennington. Gates' response to Burgoyne was widely reprinted: “That the savages of America should in their warfare mangle and scalp the unhappy prisoners who fall into their hands is neither new nor extraordinary; but that the famous Lieutenant General Burgoyne, in whom the fine gentleman is united with the soldier and the scholar, should hire the savages of America to scalp europeans and the descendants of europeans, nay more, that he should pay a price for each scalp so barbarously taken, is more than will be believed in England…Miss McCrae, a young lady lovely to the sight, of virtuous character and amiable disposition, engaged to be married to an officer of your army, was…carried into the woods, and there scalped and mangled in the most shocking manner…”

News of the killing, surrounded by its aura of romantic tragedy, spread through the colonies & overseas.  London’s 1777 Annual Register recorded that Miss McCrea’s death “struck every breast with horror.” In the House of Commons, Edmund Burke took the occasion to denounce severely the British policy of using Native American allies. Within the northern colonies, the event -which Gen. Horatio Gates, the American commander, quickly exploited for propaganda purposes- crystallized a growing indignation & uneasiness. Neutrals, alarmed for their safety, swung over to the patriot cause; patriot sentiment consolidated, & a surge of new recruits strengthened Gates’ forces.

Within 3 months came Burgoyne’s historic surrender. Col. John McCrea buried his sister at Moses Kill, near Fort Edward. It was reported that David Jones deserted Burgoyne’s army in despair & retired to the Canadian wilderness.

Soon Jane McCrea became a fabled heroine of the Revolution, celebrated in ballads & poems. Philip Freneau used her story in his 1778 “American Independence.” Joel Barlow recalled it in the 1807 The Columbiad. Mercy Warren wrote of Burgoyne’s guilt in her 1805 History…of the American Revolution. A French author turned the tale into a novel as early as 1784, & Delia Bacon made it into a play in 1839, The Bride of Fort Edward. In Philadelphia the 1799 Ricketts' Circus performed "The Death of Miss McCrea," a pantomime co-written by John Durang. John Vanderlyn painted the portrait (shown above) in 1804, and James Fenimore Cooper described similar events in his novel The Last of the Mohicans, where the captured maiden was named Dora.

In 1822, with suitable ceremonies, Jane McCrea’s remains were removed to the old Fort Edward cemetery. McCrea's remains have been moved 3 times. In 1852, they were moved to the Union Cemetery in Fort Edward. The body was exhumed again in 2003, in hopes of solving the mystery of her death.

The story of the last investigation of McCrea’s body is recorded in the Plymouth Magazine, Winter 2006, Volume XXI, No 2 written by Dr. David R. Starbuck

"What is it like to dig up an American icon—in this case the most famous woman to be murdered and scalped during the American Revolution? Over the past three years, I have worked with the remains of Jane McCrea. Her tragic death on July 27, 1777, prompted thousands of outraged Americans throughout the northern colonies to rise up against British authority because Jane had been murdered by Indians who accompanied General John Burgoyne on his march south from Canada. Jane’s death thus contributed to the great American victory later that year at the Battle of Saratoga, known as the “turning point” of the American Revolution.

"The mysterious circumstances of her death made Jane McCrea one of the best-known American women of the 18th century. In July 1777, she was living in Fort Edward, N.Y., awaiting the arrival from Canada of her fiancé, David Jones, a Tory officer with Burgoyne’s army. Most other settlers in northern New York had already fled for Albany. Only Jane and an older woman, Sara McNeil, remained behind in Sara’s house in Fort Edward. On July 27, a party of Indians was sent by Burgoyne to locate the two women and escort them back to the British camp. As the Indians approached, both women hid in the cellar; they were discovered and dragged out by their hair. The Indians mounted Jane on a horse, but Sara was forced to walk because she “was too heavy to be lifted on the horse easily.”

"What happened next has been hotly disputed by historians, but it appears that two competing bands of Indians fought over who was to receive the reward for delivering Jane to her fiancé. While we know that she was then killed and scalped, it is unclear whether her death was a deliberate murder or merely an accident. The Indians claimed afterward that an American musketball, intended for them, had mortally wounded the young Scottish-Presbyterian woman. Faced with the prospect of no reward, they scalped her and took the scalp to the British camp. David Jones recognized Jane’s hair in the middle of a pile of scalps. He recovered her body, and buried her about three miles south of Fort Edward. The colonial population intrepreted Jane’s murder as a symbol of British oppression—and American leaders manipulated her image most effectively as they organized resistance to British authority.

"The mysterious circumstances of her death made Jane McCrea one of the best-known American women of the 19th century.

"Ironically, after her first burial in 1777, Jane McCrea was later dug up and relocated twice because of her prominence as a tourist attraction. In 1822, she was moved to State Street Cemetery in the Village of Fort Edward where her remains were placed atop the brick vault of Sara McNeil (who had passed away naturally in 1799 at the age of 77). In 1852, she was exhumed again and moved to the newly-created Union Cemetery in Fort Edward. A disturbing story later appeared in a local newspaper that year, describing how the box containing Jane McCrea’s bones had been “broken open and nearly all the bones stolen,” and her bones were “scattered all over the country.” … History alone could not establish whether any of Jane McCrea’s bones still rested in her third grave in Fort Edward.

"Given the many questions surrounding the circumstances of Jane McCrea’s death and subsequent reinterments, I wrote to her oldest living relative, Mrs. Mary McCrea Deeter (then 97 years old), on May 1, 2002, and asked whether she would give her consent to an exhumation and forensics study that would establish for certain whether Jane McCrea actually rested in Union Cemetery. Upon receiving her consent, I retained an attorney to draft a petition to the Supreme Court in Washington County, N.Y., and assembled a team of forensic scientists and archaeologists including several forensic scientists from the New York State Police Forensics Investigation Center and Dr. Anthony Falsetti, head of the C.A. Pound Laboratory at the University of Florida in Gainesville. The court granted our petition in November 2002, and I chose April 9, 2003 as the date for the fourth and—we hoped—final exhumation of Jane McCrea.

"Using the skull as a starting point, scientists were able to reconstruct the features of Sara McNeil, the 77-year old female colonist who was Jane McCrea's companion in life and death.

"All between the hours of 6 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. that day, we conducted the exhumation, found the original burial trench, and discovered the remains of a 20" x 24" box containing the skeletons of two women—but only one skull, from a very old woman who had definitelynot been scalped. I was the archaeologist in the bottom of the trench, responsible for excavating the bones and passing them up to the scientists who took measurements and collected bone samples for mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) testing. We also brought in a radiologist who took x-rays to look for possible cause(s) of death. In addition to the two dozen scientists and historians who attended the exhumation, I was joined by a PSU student, Jennifer Gynan, who was one of our bucket-carriers and sifters. At the end of the day, we placed all of the bones inside a modern coffin and returned it to the grave. A Presbyterian minister said the burial service (again!), and then the process of analysis and interpretation began.

"The presence of two skeletons was utterly unexpected but, since one set of bones was from a very old woman, I acted on a hunch and contacted a descendant of Sara McNeil to find out whether there might be a modern-day maternal descendant of Sara’s from whom we could obtain an mtDNA sample for comparative testing. There was an off chance that the bones of Sara had become combined with Jane’s in 1852, and the two women might have been moved together to Union Cemetery. It took a full year for the U.S. Department of Defense to prepare a DNA sequence for the “ancient DNA” from the grave but only a couple of weeks to collect the modern DNA from a 94-year-old (seventh generation) descendant of Sara McNeil and to have the samples compared. And sure enough, they matched! Sara McNeil, Jane’s companion at the end of her life, had joined her in death.

"Our project was the subject of multiple news stories by the Associated Press, and in November 2004 we appeared on The History Channel’s “Buried Secrets of the Revolutionary War.”

"We returned to the grave on April 22, 2005 with yet another court order from the Supreme Court, and this time we were able to do a much more thorough separation of the two commingled skeletons. We prepared a reconstruction of Sara’s 77-year-old face from the skull discovered in the grave, and I experienced the thrill of showing “the face” to the descendants of Sara McNeil just before we returned both women to the ground, each with her own coffin.

"In addition to reconstructing Sara’s face, perhaps the most significant outcome of our new work was discovering that the skeleton of Jane McCrea was just as intact as that of Sara McNeil. Because of the old stories about Jane’s bones having been stolen as souvenirs, we had assumed that no more than a handful of the bones might be hers. However, this time it was possible for Anthony Falsetti to spend much more time with the bones, and as he laid out the two skeletons side-by-side on our laboratory tables, it became clear that most of the major limb bones were present from both women, but with very few surviving ribs, vertebrae, hand or foot bones. Jane McCrea’s skull was missing from the assemblage (no doubt stolen as a souvenir in 1852), so while it is now possible to describe even the face of Sara McNeil, we can only say that Jane was a petite woman, between 5' and 5'4" tall, with no evidence of any injuries on the bones that were still in the grave.

"The relatives and descendants of Jane and Sara have been quite pleased with our efforts to bring both women “back to life” and to restore to them a part of their identities. One of the very real benefits of our research is that we have prompted a flurry of new historical research into the lives of 18th-century women on the frontier of upstate New York. We have also prompted a host of questions about when we might go back into the grave for what would be the 6th time."

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

The diary & sad life of Mary Wright Cooper (1714-1778) of Oyster Bay, NY

On July 13, 1769, Mary Wright Cooper wrote in her diary, "This day is forty years sinc I left my father’s house & come here, & here have I seene littel els but harde labour & sorrow, crosses of every kind. I think in every repect the state of my affairs is more then forty times worse then when I came here first, except that I am nearer the desierered haven."

Mary's family had long been a part of Oyster Bay. Her ancestor Peter Wright was called the Father of Oyster Bay. Originally inhabited by the Matinecock Indians, Oyster Bay was founded by the Dutch in 1615.  When the Dutch settled there, they named the area for the rich beds of shellfish that flourished in the surrounding waters.
In 1653, English colonists Peter Wright, Samuel Mayo & the Rev. William Leverich came from Cape Cod & settled near Oyster Bay Harbor.  During the colonial era, Oyster Bay had a reputation as a hotbed of smuggling, & it was Captain Kidd's last port of call before sailing to Boston, where he was arrested, transported to London & hanged .

Mary's parents, William Wright (1680-1759) & Elizabeth Rhodes (1689-1734), had been born on Long Island. Mary had 7 siblings, 3 of whom died young: John Wright (1707-1750); Ann Wright (1710-died young); Elizabeth Wright (1712-1733); William Wright (1715-died young); Sarah Wright (1719-1780); Elizabeth Wright (1723-1770); & Caleb Wright (1730-1752).

Mary was married, before her last 2 siblings were born. Although Mary's mother died when she was 20, she remained close to her father & remembered his death years later.  Mary Wright was only 14, when she married Joseph Cooper (b 1705) in 1728, in St. George's Chapel, Hempstead, Long Island, New York.

By the age of 18, she had her first child. Mary Wright & Thomas Cooper had 6 children: Elizabeth Ann Cooper (1734-1755); Martha Cooper (1737-1749); Esther Cooper (1744-1778); Mercy Cooper (1750-died young); Caleb Cooper (1754-died young); & Isaac Cooper (1756-died young). Mary was especially touched by the death of her baby son, Isaac.

Mary began her diary at age 54, continuing from 1768-1773, while tending the family farm & providing meals & rooms for travelers along their busy road, with her husband at Oyster Bay on Long Island, New York.  Her diary entries are often brief & cryptic, but they do give us an insight into the hardships, both emotional & physical, experienced in everyday life working on the land. They also give us a glimpse of the impact of faith on their lives, as many looked to the teachings of English evangelist George Whitefield (1714-1770).
Whitefield briefly served as a parish priest in Savannah, Georgia in 1738; visited the colonies 7 times; & died at Newburyport, Massachusetts in 1770. He was one of the chief movers of the Great Awakening & the Methodist movement. The adoption of his methods at church meetings by the Baptists was responsible for their schism into the New Lights, who followed him, & the Regulars, who adhered to the old way & disparaged revivals. Mary's diary covers the height of his American years.

1768
October the 3, Tuesday. Dear Lord, bless the day to us & prosper the worke of our hands. A fine warm day. Ms. Weekes com here to make my gown.

[October 5] Wednsday. A very warme rain most of the day. Sent wheate to mill...

[October 11] Tuesday. Like for rain. Wee are much hurried drying appels. Extreeme high wind this night but no rain.

[October 12] [We]dnsday. Fine clear day. Much hurried drying appels...

[November 17] Thirsday. A fine clear & still day...Evening. I am much tired cookeing & washing dishes. Evening Epreham went home with the girls but come bak again.

November the 18, Friday. A fine warm day with a south wind. Ester & Epreham is gon to Huntan Town to carry my coverleds to the weaver...

November the 20, Sabbath. A very grevous storme of rain & snow. It has beene a tiresom day to me. It is now bed time & I have not had won minuts rest today.

[December 23] Friday. Very cold with a north west wind that blows the snow all day. We are cleaning the house. I am tired almost to death.

[December 24] Saterday. Very cold. I am tired almost to death. Rachel (wife of Mary's nephew) is gone to town. We are a lone. I am drying & ironing my cloths til allmost brake of day. This evening is the Newlights’ Covnant meeten. I am thinking of the events of tomorrow with greate delight. O Lord, prepare us to selebrate the day of thy nitevity & o my Savour be neare to them that shall commorate thy dying love the day ensuing.

December the 25, Sabbath. Christmas. A fine clear day. The sun shines warm. Oh, may the sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings. Peter Underhill gave out the breade & wine this day to some whose hearts the Lord had touched. Though I sat in the meeten with great delight, yet I came home with a heavy hearte. I went to meeten in the slay with Whippo & come home with John Wright & Nicolas & their sister Anne Crooker (children of Mary's brother John)...1769...
[January 7] Saterday. A fine clear & still morning with white frost on the ground but soone clouds over. Some hail but soone turns to a small rain & mist. Sister gone home. Evening. O, I am tired almost to death waiteing on visseters. My feet ach as if the bones was laid bare. Not one day’s rest have I had this weeke. I have no time to take care of my cloths or even to think my thoughts...

[February 12] Sabbath. Something cold still. I hoped for some rest but am forst to get dinner & slave hard all day long Old George Weekes here. Hannah & Edd Weeks here...

Febeaury the 19, Sabbath. Fine warme & still as yesterday & more so. I went to the Newlig[ht] meeten with greate delight & offer my self to be a member with them. seemed to be very glad but I was sudingly seased with a great horror & darkeness. E think darkeness as might be felt. O, my God, why hast thou forsaken me. Thou knowest that in the sinsarity & uprightness of my hearte I have done this, moved as I did belive by Thy spirit. Evening, I came home before the worship began, most distrest.

[February 20] Moonday. Fine warme weather. O, I am in greate darkness still...

Feabery the 26, Sabbath. A storm of rain with a north east wind. The wind & rain cease by the midel of the afternoon. I feel dul & distrest & did not go to meeten...

[M]arch the 12, Sabbath. Much warmer & like to be a fine day. O, I am trying to fit my cloths to go to meeten in as much distres as my heart can hold. Am. L. & Eb Colw. came here. I am forced to get diner & cannot go to meten atall. Alas, how unhappy & meresabel I am. I feele banished from God & all good...

[April 14] Friday. Some clouds & wind, cold. Easter (Mary's daughter who had separated from her husband & returned home to live) gone from home on some buisness. Tabthea come here. Our people (slaves) quriel with her & Semon Cooper turned her out of doors & threw her over the fence to my greate grief & sorrow...

April the 16, 1769. Sabbath. Clear but a cold west wind. The sun shine bright to my sorrow, for had it hid his face it might have hid sorrow from my eyes...

[April 19] Wednsday. Like to be a rainey day but clear in the afternoon. I am unwell & up very late.

[April 20] Thirsday. O, I am so very sik so that I cannot set up all day nor all night. Very cold snow some hours in the day.

[April 21] Friday. Clear but cold. I feele much beter all day. Evening, I am sik again.

[April 22] Saterday. Clear but cold. O, I am sik all day long. Up very late but I have got my cloths iorned. Endurstres. (Industrious)...

[May 3] Wednesday. A fine clear morning. The early songsters warbling their notes & all nature seemes to smile, but a darke cloud hangs continuly over my soul & makes the days & nights pass heavily along.

[May 4] Thirsday. A fine clear morning. I went frome hom on some buisness. Come home disopinted.

May the 6, 1769, Saterday. A fine warme day. Cleare & pleasant. I a hurred, dirty & distresed as ever.

[May 7] Sabbath. I am much distrest. No cloths irond, freted & tired almost to death & forst to stay at home.

[May 13] Saterday. Much hard worke, dirty & distrest. This night is our Covnant meeten but I cannot go to my greate surprise. Sister comes here this night much distrest about her sons. We seeme to have little or no sence of any thing but our troubels.

May the 14, Sabbath. Very hot weather. We went to meeten senceles dull & sleepe.

[May 15] Moonday. Very hot. We began to cleane house much hurried.

[May 16] Tuesday. Exceeding hot. Linde here. Evening. Peter here. We are all very dul & lifeless. Oh Lord, direct our ways...

June the 1, 1769, Thirsday. A most vemant cold north east wind. We all went to the Quaker meeten where a multitude were geathered to here a woman preach that lately come from England, & a most amebel woman she is. Tex: “Of the leaven put in three masuess of meal...”

July the 13, 1769, Thirsday. This day is forty years sinc I left my father’s house & come here, & here have I seene littel els but harde labour & sorrow, crosses of every kind. I think in every repect the state of my affairs is more then forty times worse then when I came here first, except that I am nearer the desierered haven. A fine clear cool day. I am un well.

August the 1. New moon this morning. Tuesday. A fine clear cool morning. I feele much distrest, fearing I shall hear from some of my credtors. Afternoon, I have done my worke & feele something more comfortabl. I went to Salle Wheeler’s to meet Ester & Salle but am sent after in greate hurre. Ben Hildrith is come here in a littel boate with two men with him. I am up late & much freted them & their two dogs which they keep att tabel & in the bedroom with them.

[August 2] Wednesday. The first I hearde this morning was Ben’s dogs barking & yeling in the bed room. They did nothing but drink them selves drunk all the day long & sent for more rum.

[August 3] Thirsday. The wind is not fare to go home, so they cary the girls to town in the boate. Ben behaved like a blackgarde soundrel & as if he had been hurried by the devil

[August 4] Friday. They set sail to go home to my great joy, & I desier I may never see them here again. I greately dread the cleaning of house after this detested gang.

[August 5] Saterday. A fin clear cool day. Much hard worke cleaneing the house. An old Indian come here to day that lets fortans & ueses charmes to cure tooth ach & drive away rats. O Lord, thou knowest that my soul abhors these abominations. Lay not this sin to my charge. On Thirsday I had an extreme pain in my back & hip so th I could not go with out cryin out...

August the 20, Sabbath. Like for rain but the shower went by us. I & Ester went to meeten. Some Indans & one Black man com from Montalk. Ben Jethrow & Siah Baman preach all day long & while late in the night. I & Ester come home alone very late in the night. I fell in the Brook. I am tired & very much distrest...

[August 23] Wednsday. A fine clear morning with a cold north wind. My hearte is burnt with anger & discontent, want of every nessesary thing in life & in constant feare of gapeing credtors consums my strength & wasts my days. The horrer of these things with the continued cross of my family, like to so many horse leeches, prays upon my vitals, & if the Lord does not prevent will bring me to the house appointed for all liveing. Salle Burtis here...

August the 27, 1769, Sabbath. Very gretely hurred getting this company a way to the Greate Meten. I went to the Nigh light meeten to here a Black man preach. Felt nothing but distres. Very greately tired & freted, walkin home so fast.

[August 28] Moonday. Clear weather but not a fair wind for New England. Up late this night. I am much distrist & know now what to dow. O Lord, lead my ways & let my life be in this sight. Docter Wright come here this day.

August the 29, Tuesday. We are hurred to set said for New England, very greately against my will. The tumulting waves look frightfull. But thro infinate mercy we came safe to Mr. Hildrith house in two hours wheare we weare recived with many welcoms & used with the utmost kindness by all the famaly. Cloudy & like for rain every day this weeke but none come except some small showers, not more than due. Nothing remarkabel except that we had the heavyest bread I have ever seene. Mr. Dibel come to se us & said that he was going to change places with Epnetus for the nex Sabbath. After he had talked against Mr. Whitefield as much & something more than we could well beare to, he left us & we saw him no more. One day we went into the woods together...

[September 30] Saterday. Very high north east wind. Very cloudy most of the day. Afternoon changes to a south wind. We are very busie cooking for the work men. Evening, they eate ther supper. The more parte went away. Some stay to dance, very greatly aganst my will. Some anger about the danceing. Some time in the night come up a shower of rain & thunder. Easter & Salle was frighted very greatly & come down. Easter like to have fits.

October the 1, 1769, Sabbath. West wind & like for fair weather. Simon Cooper quarel very greately about Ester dancing. He got in a unxpresabel rage & struck her. I am going to meeten but no not how to get over the Broock, the tide is so high. I come to meeten just as they ware coming out of the house. I did not stay to the evening meeten & yet come home sometime in the night...

November the 9. This day is ten years since my father departed this life.

November the 12. Sabbath. Some small rain this morning tho it did not rain hard, yet hendered me from going to meeten. Salle & Lidg here most of the day. Clears at evening with a very harde north west wind. I & Ester went to the night meeten. We had a comfortabel meeten, but coming home the tide was high & the wind extreeme harde but throw mercy we got safe home. I went to bed very cold. We had little or no fier...

November the 19, Sabbath. Very cold, frose hard last night. We are hurreing to meeten. Siah Baman & Melat Peter is com to town. I come to town just as the meeten was out. I went to se Rebeca Weekes. Evening, we went to meeten to Phebe Weekes’ house. Siah Bamon tx: “Except ye eate the flest of the son of man & drink his blood, ye have no life in you.” Peter Undrill tx, of Abraham’s sarvant sent to take a wife for his master’s son. A very greate number of peopel was thare. I am Frances come home but the girls staid all night. We had a very happy meeten...

[December 13] Wednsday. Clears with a most frightfull harde west wind. Grows extreeme cold & freses hard all of a suding. This day is thirty seven years since my dear & amible sister Elisabeth departed this life...

1771
[January 24] Thirsday. A fine clear still morning with a white frost. This afternoon is 3 weeks since Easter & those with her took the small pox...

Febeaury the 1, 1771, Friday. Clear but a harde west wind. The Lord has brought my daughter home to me, well of the small pox. What shall I render to the Lord for all his mercys?

[February 2] Saterday. I an unwell & much aflected for fear of the small pox. I had envited some of my friends to come here to se Ester & dade17 would not let me have a turkey to roast for supper & I am so affected & ashamed about it that I feele as I should never get over it. I got to bed feard & distressed at 1 or 2 a’clok in the mornin

Feb. the 3, 1771, Sabbath. I waked up frighted much about the small pox. Fine clear weather, a west wind but not cold. Esther thought the people would a fraid of her, so we did not go to meeten. Nico & Anne went from here this morning but John all day long.

March the 10, Sabbath. This surprising storme continues yet & encreses. The hail cesses this this morning & floods of rain pores down with frightfull gusts of wind which blew away parte of the kitchen. We have hardely a dry place in the house. I suffered much this day with the wet & cold, & am up all night...

May the fifth, 1771, Sabbath. Very cold with a west wind. I went to town & found Ester in the Cove. I took her with me. We went by the New Lite meeten & so along til we come to the Quaker meeten ho[use] where we went in & hear so[me] poor preaching. O Lord, grant some lite to these poore benighted peopel. I spoke with those that I wanted to so we come back & went to the New Lite meeten & then home at night. O, I sik with the cholic. We had some showers of rain as we went...

1772
[June 27] Saterday. A fine clear pleasant day & Ester went to the Quaker meeten. one woman preach, tx: “He come to his own, but they recived him not, but as many as recived him, to them he gave power to become the sons of God.” One man preach, another woman prayd. O Lord, is not this peopel ignorant of the greate & needfull doctrine of the gospil? O thou that has the residue of the spirite, I pray the, enlitein these that set in darkness...

[August 9] Sabbath. A fine pleasant day. We hurred to meeten & a very happy meeten we had. The Christans seemes full of exersise. Five Negor men gave them selves members to the meeten.

October 15, Thirsday. Clear & warme. I went from home to carry a letter & tea cittel to Jet’s boate that is loading above Eel Creeck. I went to March Coons, to Robersons, to Prock Coon’s. I stayed a littel while att each house & then sot of with old Mrs. MCoon & Prock to find the way home. Prock wint with me to Cove Brook. We tramted up high hills, crosst woods & barran fieds, crost a find orchard full of appels, & at last arived at Cove Brook where Prock left me. In my way home I met Cus John Wright who had been in persute of the same boate. When I come home I found Bille Wright & Josh Hammon waiteing for the boate to take them in. They are going to Yorke. Jest after sundown come Jet & Ben Hawx in persute of the boate. They are going to Yorke, two...

[November 24] Tuesday. Very warme still. Dade is gon to carry the hogs to Townsend Parrish. Salle & Bette Burtis went to Docter Potter to day to take the small pox. O Lord, have mercy on them, are they not some of thy redeemed ons? Reveal thy love to them, heal thier souls & bodys & bring them home to thier mouring mother in helth & safty. New moon at 7 a’clok this night, north east wind & some littel snow but very warme. Jerushe & Sarah MCoon here. Abb Colwell here...

Christmas, December the 25 day, Friday. Warme, the sun shines bright & warme. I & Salle hurred away to meeten & staide to the night meeten. A very great white frost & very cold coming home.

[December 26] Saterday. North east wind & rain but not cold. Ruth & some man to be baptised at Samuel Townsend’s. I hurred a way on horse back with out any saddel, but they was gon before I got thare, so I come home in the rain & did not go down to meeten. I hearde they had a very greate meeten & 12 people offered to the church.

[December 27] Sabbath. Cloude & some small rain, very mude. A very greate meeten, some much afected, others crying out aloud. Salle unwell, I carred her to Josh Hammon’s. Ester gon to Whippo’s. His wife is unwell. Some small rain & very darke. I come home alone & had no hurt or fright thro mercy...

1773
[January 13] Wednsday. Fine clear weather, not very cold. I & Salle are going to the night meeten. I went to se Daniel parish. He told me he had a sight of me & tho I had done many things that ware good in theme selves, yet I was not in the spirite of the Gospel. O Lord, known to the is the case of every soul which thou hast made. If I have had no saveing grace all this while, but have been deciveing my self, O Lord, the gift is thine & not in my power. O Lord, now let me share with a number whome thou delitest to bless...

[March 24] Wednsday. A fine clear warme day. I felt heavy harted & so distrest that I colud hardely set up about Uncel & Aunt. After Ester was gon to se Uncel about five a’clok this afternoon the Lord met with my soul in mercy & told me that thier departed souls should mount on the wings of saraphs to the relms of etarnal day, & that thier weathered limbs should have their dusty bed like the bounding robe & made parfet in thier Savour’s righteousness. Immortal youth & beauty mount to meet their redeemer in the clouds of heaven...

May the 8, Saterday. A cold south wind. Ester & Polle come home this morning from meeten. To day is thirteene years since I parted with my son Isaac. O, sorrow & loss unspakabel...

June the 29, Tuesday. South west wind, cloude, some thunder & a fine shower of rain this after noon & a bright rain bow appeared some thing longer then uesal which raised my thoughts to the bright relms of day. I longed to se that head once crowned with thorne, that dean parson treated with scorn & cruelty for sinful me. The dasling luster of his face I faint. I can find no word to express my ideas, my greatest vews seeme to be of my Jesus seated on a throne of glory in the bright relms of etarnel day. The pleaseing luster of his eyes out shine the wonders of the skys. In raptures & sweet delight I fell a sleep. O, that my last moments may be like these...

[September 12] Sabbath. A stormy wind & some rain in the fore noon. I & Ester went to meeten the afternoon but very few peopel at meeten. I feele much distrest to se the dissolute state of the New Lite church which but few weekes past was greate & a florishing peopel. Why is it forsking & dissolate the Lord only knows. I & Ester come home in the rain...

October the 4, Monday. A fine clear warme day. My harte is full of anguish for the deplorabel state of the Newlite church. O Lord how long?...

[October 8] Friday. Warme weather. I & Ester much talk about the New Lite church...
Note: Brother John Wright married Zervia Wright, daughter of Edmond. Brother Caleb Wright married Freelove Coles, daughter of Wright Coles. Sister Sarah Wright married John Townsend, son of John Townsend. Sister Elizabeth Wright did not marry.

NB. About slaves in Oyster Bay. The Oyster Bay Historical Society has a Bill of Sale for a Slave Girl in the town in 1721.
Deed of Sale from Thomas kirby to David Vallantine for a negro Wench.
Know all Men by these Presents That I Thomas Kirby of Oyster-bay in Queens County on Nessau Island within the province of New York Yoeman, for & in considration of the Sum of Fifety-Pounds of good & Lawful Currant Money of New York to me in hand paid by Nathan Coles & David Vallantine both of Oyster bay in ye county, Island &Prov i nce aforesaid, Yoemen, where of I do hereby - acknowledge the Receipt, & am therewith fully Satisfied & contented; have Bargeined Sold Lef t over & Delivered & by these Presents do Bargein Sell & Deliver unto they the Seid Nathan Coles & David Vallantine one Negroe girl aged about two years called by name Peg, & one Bessy. The said Negroes - to have ant to hold to ye proper use & behoove of them the - Said Nathan Coles & David Vallantine theirs Executors - administrators & Assigns forever, & I the Seid Thomas Kirby for mySelf my Heirs Executors Administrators the Said Bargained Negroes unto the Said Nathan Coles & David Val lantine their Heirs Executors Administrators & Assigns - ageinst all & all Manner of Persons Shall Warrant & - forever Defend by these Presents In witness whereof with the Delivery of the Said Negroes I have hereunto Sett my hand & seal this tenth Day of January in the Year of our Lord Christ one thousand Sevenhundred & twenty one, two, & in the Eigth year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord George of great Britain France, & Ireland King & C.
See: National Humanities Center, 2008
George Bradford Brainerd (American, 1845-1887). Camp Fire, Oyster Bay, Long Island, ca. 1872-1887

Manuscripts of the 1721 Slave Bill of Sale & of the Diary of Mary Wright Cooper, located at the Oyster Bay, New York Historical Society.

The Diary of Mary Cooper: Life on a Long Island Farm, 1768-1773, ed. Field Horne (Oyster Bay, New York, Historical Society, 1981)

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Patriotic Needlework - 18C American Women present Flags & Banners to Soldiers

Presenting flags & banners to their local militia was a popular form of expression of patriotism by women in early America providing them the opportunity to express their sentiments regarding the importance of liberty & freedom. In an article titled “Spirit of the Ladies!”published by the editor of the Gazette in Portland, Maine, on 16 July 1798, 1, the role of women & their needlework as an inspiration to the men serving their country was expressed: "The American Fair, add much to the spirit of the times. In different parts of the Union they have presented the American standard to the Volunteer corps. This must have a charming influence to animate the breasts of our young soldiers."


On July 4, 1798, Sally Duane presented a standard & addressed Macpherson’s Blues in Philadelphia.  "To General Macpherson: Impelled by far more laudable considerations than a desire to distinguish myself, permit me, through you, to present to the corps, under your command, a standard, which I hope they will deem worthy their acceptance, from the motives inducing the tender, however imperfect may be the execution of the work...The art in which I am receiving instruction for amusement, cannot be employed to better purpose than in endeavours to decorate the ensigns devoted to merit and to patriotism. Happy shall we all be, if the art you are now learning be acquired merely as a necessary part of the education of free citizens, determined to defend their liberties and their laws...I confidently anticipate...the glory you and the rest of my fellow citizens will achieve, when before the foes of our beloved country, this banner shall be unfurled."
See: Claypoole’s Daily American Advertiser, 10 July 1798, 2; New York Gazette,12 July 1798, 3; Spectator, 14 July 1798, 4; Salem Gazette, 17 July 1798, 3; Newburyport Herald, 24 July 1798, 208; Connecticut Gazette, 8 August 1798, 1.


In the same year, the Newport, Rhode Island Companion and Commercial Gazette reported, "The following parade took place; a detachment was directed from Captain Reynold's Grenadiers, under the command of Lieutenant Ducan, to receive the standard of the 54th Regiment, from the hands of Miss Simons, who on presenting it, delivered the following address:  "Sir, having the honor of delivering to your hands this standard to-day, I am encouraged to hope and believe, that it will always be supported and protected in the sacred cause of freedom, by the patriotism and gallantry of the officer to whose charge it is assigned; and although the needle work will, in time, lose its brilliancy and fade, I cannot harbour the most distant thought, that this banner of 54th regiment of the Norfolk borough militia, will ever be tarnished in its military glory, or unfurl'd in any cause save that of the constituted liberties of the free Citizens of the United States of America."


Zilpah Wadsworth, the mother of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, presented a standard from the women of Portland, Maine, to the Portland Federal Volunteers, Capt. Joseph C. Boyd, commander, "who made their first public appearance in a very rich uniform." Zilpah Wadsworth declared:  "In the name of the young ladies of Portland, I have the honor to present this standard, to the first company of Federal Volunteers. Receive it as a testimony of the approbation with which we have beheld the patriotic spirit which has determined you to 'Defend the laws, of your country.' We cheerfully confide to your care this emblem of our independence. Let it ever recal to your minds the assurance that our best wishes are for your success. Long may you unfurl it; long may this towering eagle fly triumphant!"


To which Ensign Richard C. Wiggins of the Portland Federal Volunteers replied:  "Daughters of Columbia, in behalf of the first Company of Federal Volunteers, permit me to assure you, that we are happy in meriting this valuable present which I have the honour of receiving from your fair hands. Nothing could inspire us with more ambition to "defend the laws" of our country..."
See: Independent Chronicle and the Universal Advertiser, 8 July 1799, 4.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Depictions of Lady Liberty in the 18C Early Republic

1792 Genius of Lady's Magazine kneels before Columbia (Lady Liberty) with a petition for the rights of women. Lady's Magazine. Library Company of Philadelphia

For the first 50 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence on the 4th of July, American women would present their appreciation of the nation's hard-won liberty as handiwork in the form of banners, flags, or standards to groups of soldiers of the United States military. These Independence Day presentation ceremony would allow the women to speak about what the new nation & its defenders meant to them, even though they would not be allowed to vote until 1920.  These female orators could be viewed as the embodiment of Lady Liberty herself.

Symbols, like those of Lady Liberty illustrated here, are visual shorthand. The English and the colonists had begun depicting America as a lady even before the American Revolution. Americans in the 18th & 19th centuries invented or adopted emblems (images accompanied by a motto either understood or written) and personifications (usually historical allegorical figures) to express their political needs & beliefs.

In the 18C, European and American artists used the images of Native American women as allegorical representations of the American continent, the American colonies, and the United States of America.  These fanciful images had changed in form and substance during their several hundred of years of use.  First depicted as an "Indian queen" in printed engravings, tapestries, and sculptures, this representation of a native woman carried implements of war and postured near severed heads and exotic plants and animals.  These images reflected European reactions to the "new world," which they perceived as a foreign and hostile environment.  As European exploration progressed, artists began to depict an opulent, heavyset Indian queen sitting or standing among the abundant natural resources of the Americas.

From 1755 to the War of Independence, an Indian princess replaced the queen as a symbol of America.  The younger, thinner, less warlike princess became a representation of the American colonies, distinct from Great Britain.  A feathered headdress and skirt became her customary dress and her complexion became lighter.  This new allegorical native woman adorned political and non-political prints, serial publications, map cartouches, figurines, medals, and other objects.  She most frequently appeared in images pertaining to British-colonial relations, the American pursuit of liberty, and issues of commerce and trade.  Following the Revolutionary War, Columbia and neo-Classical female figures gradually replaced the Indian princess as the symbol of America.

These symbols were propaganda tools to draw together the country's diverse peoples, who spoke many languages, in order to promote national political union & purpose. Lady Liberty evolved throughout the decades of the early republic to meet the propaganda needs of the current situation.
This 18C Early Republic Lady Liberty freeing a bird from its cage, giving political liberty to the new United States from Britain, while holding a liberty cap hung on a pole. Lady Liberty was almost always depicted in a classical costume. Before the Roman Empire, similar felt caps were worn by liberated slaves from Troy & Asia Minor to cover their previously shorn heads, until their hair grew back. Here the cap symbolized a more intimate emancipation from personal servitude as a subject of the British Empire rather than united, national liberty. The caps were sometimes referred in Latin as pilleus liberatis. In classical literature, the cap atop a pole was a symbol of freedom evolving from the period when Salturnius conquered Rome in 263 BC; and he raised the cap on a pikestaff to show that he would free the slaves who fought with him. The cap was such a popular symbol that it was also depicted on some early US coins.

Lady Liberty is holding a musket & powder horn, ready to fight for freedom. 1779 Broadside. New York Historical Society. SY1779 No. 2.

Venerate the Plough, 1786, etching Columbian Magazine

1790 Design on an American Coverlet Winterthur Museum

Edward Savage Liberty in the Form of the Goddess of Youth Giving Support to the Bald Eagle, 1796

Liberty in the Form of the Goddess inspired by Edward Savage's print in Embroidery by a young woman.

Abijah Canfield Liberty in the Form of the Goddess of Youth Giving Support to the Bald Eagle, a painting after Edward Savage. 1800

Enoch Gridley Pater Patriae Memorial for George Washington with Lady Liberty at the base holding a spear and a sword as she weeps. 1800

Lady Liberty 1800 Brown University

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

America depicted as a Woman - The earliest 18C Lady Liberties

This anonymous engraving from the beginning of the Revolutionary War depicts "The Female Combatants," an oppulent English woman in an enormous hairdo & stylish clothing, fighting America, a natural Indian woman. The pious, en vogue English woman declares, "I'll force you to Obedience, you Rebellious Slut." Pure, definant America replies: "Liberty, Liberty forever, Mother, while I exist." 

English printmakers & editorial writers had been attacking the outlandish excesses of British fashions of the period by the time Paul Revere chose this image.
Paul Revere's logotype for the 1774 Royal American Magazine, depicts America as an Indian figure offering a calumet (a Native American peace pipe) to the genius of Knowledge.

By 1774, tempers were flaring, and the Boston Port Act & Paul Revere's famous ride were simmering just over the horizon. Taxes on tea were an infuriating issue, especially to women. In 1773, Britain had exported 738,083 pounds of tea to the colonies. In 1774, the figure dropped to 69,830. Imports of tea fell from 206,312 pounds to 30,161 in New England; from 208,385 to 1,304 pounds in New York; and from 208,191 pounds to nothing in Pennsylvania.
1774 Paul Revere's The Able Doctor or America Swallowing the Bitter Draught. Royal American Magazine. June 1774.In this depiction, wearing his wig & judicial costume Britain's Chief Justice William Murray--Lord Mansfield(1705-1793) holds classic lady America down; as English Prime Minister Frederick"Lord" North, (1732-1792) with the punitive BostonPort Actbulging out of his pocket, pours the vile tea down lady America's throat. A leacherous Lord Sandwich--John Montagu (1718-1792) peers under lady America's gown; as cocky John Stuart--Lord Bute(1713-1792) unsheaths his sword inscribed"Military Law."

In this engraving, Paul Revere (1735-1718) uses what appears to be an Indian woman to depict America being subjugated by British ministers, who are forcing her to drink vile tea for her own good. The engraving comes as close as it dare to depicting the rape of America. Here the lady portrayed as America is wearing a classic draped gown that has been torn away from her body.

The bystanders, Spain & France, are horrified & tempted, just tempted mind you, to come to the aid of the ravished American colonies. In the background, Revere depicts his beloved Boston's skyline with the label "cannonaded." A torn & shredded American petition of grievances is thrown to the ground.

Since the 1760s, the British American colonial painters & their subjects, who chose to adopt aspects of ancient looking costumes, were striving for a classic timelessness. Fine artists, thinkers, & artisans, such as Paul Revere, turned to what they understood to be the values of classical Greece & Rome, valuing order, harmony, virtue, balance, & tradition. Portrait painters John Singleton Copley & Henry Benbridge portrayed classical costumes on some of their clients before this depiction by Revere.

By 1772, Charles Willson Peale was painting virtuous mothers in classical gowns holding their innocent children. The props, costumes, and scenery of a portrait declared the values & the attributes by which the subject, and often the artist, wanted to be known.
1775 Paul Revere's America in Distress. Royal American Magazine. March, 1775.

Boston's Paul Revere once again draws America as an Indian woman clothed in a classical costume, with quiver of arrows, a bow, & a feather head dress resting beneath her near a petition declaring "Petition of all England. America against evil Physicians, corrupt Members, & wicked Councellors." Lord North procliams, "She is mad and must be chained!" Behind Lord North lurks a worried Lord Bute, saying: "Secure her now, or it is all over with Us!" A vindictive Lord Mansfield declares, "She must lose more blood. Petitions are rebellious." A compliant Thomas Hutchinson, royal governor of Massachusetts, agrees, "Right, my Lord. Penalties of that kind seem best adapted."
1779 Minerva, or Civic Virtue, W.D. Cooper America Trampling on Oppression from History of North America, E. Newberry. London, 1789, frontispiece.

This English frontispiece depicts a calmer, more controlled, classically dressed America during the middle of the American Revolution accompanied by medals of Benjamin Franklin and George Washington.
1782 America Triumphant and Britannia in Distress, Frontispiece, Weatherwise's Town and Country Almanack.
Below this image an "Explanation" reads:
I. America sitting on that quarter of the globe with the Flag of the United States displayed over her head; holding in one hand the Olive branch, inviting the ships of all nations to partake of her commerce; and in the other hand supporting the Cap of Liberty.
II. Fame proclaiming the joyful news to all the world.
III. Britannia weeping at the loss of the trade of America, attended with an evil genius.
IV. The British flag struck, on her strong Fortresses.
V. French, Spanish, Dutch &c shipping in the harbours of America.

VI. A view of New York wherein is exhibited the Trator Arnold, taken with remorse for selling his country and Judas like hanging himself.


Here lady America is represented by another classical Minerva figure, seated beneath a dead tree, with a shield of a snake ringed with another snake. The new American flag boasts 13 stars; and the new American lady is evolving into a calmer, more self-assured representation of the new nation. Soon she will be the depiction of the new nation, Lady Liberty.
Adrien Collaert II Personification of America 1765-1775

Thomas Colley The Reconciliation between Britannia and Her Daughter America London 1782

Africa-America, One of a series on the Four Continents. London T. Hinton 1808

Monday, July 30, 2018

Women, Tea Parties, & the American Revolution

Philip Dawes, A Society of Patriotic Ladies at Edenton in North Carolina. Published in London in 1775.

The Boston tea party occurred in December 1773, when angry gentlemen of Boston, some costumed as Native Americans, destroyed property of the East India Tea Company on ships in the Boston harbor in protest of British taxation & trade policies.  There were other 18C colonial patriotic tea parties as well.

The livid English Parliament quickly passed a set of laws to punish the upstart colonials in Massachusetts, closing the Boston port & limiting all British American colonial rights to self-government. Many American colonists up & down the Atlantic called these the Intolerable Acts” — the final proof that Great Britain intended to destroy their liberty.
W. D. Cooper.Boston Tea Party, The History of North America. London E. Newberry, 1789.

After the Boston tea party, gentlemen began meeting in local groups throughout the colonies to lend their support to the rising talk of revolution. (Mostly men were meeting, because women did not vote or hold office in the 18C Britain or her colonies.)

In July 1774, gentlemen of the Cape Fear region, led by transplanted Boston attorney William Hooper (1742-1790), met at Wilmington, North Carolina, calling for a provincial congress & for a congress of all the colonies to respond to Britain. One of the resolutions passed at this meeting stated, "That we will not use nor suffer East India Tea to be used in our Families after the tenth day of September next, and that we will consider all persons in this province not complying with this resolve to be enemies to their Country."

The Edenton Tea Party first became known throughout colonial British America from a London newspaper article reporting the event, which appeared in the Morning Chronicle and London Advertiser in January of 1775.  The newspaper reported that in North Carolina on October 25, 1774, 51 prominent women from the Edenton area gathered at the home of Elizabeth King, with Penelope Barker (1728-1796) presiding, to sign a petition supporting the American cause. It was extremely rare, if not unheard of, for British women, especially colonial women, who had no legal powers, to petition for political change.

At the meeting, Barker reportedly said, “Maybe it has only been men who have protested the king up to now. That only means we women have taken too long to let our voices be heard. We are signing our names to a document, not hiding ourselves behind costumes like the men in Boston did at their tea party. The British will know who we are.”

The Edenton petition doesn’t actually mention tea, but it supports the July Wilmington “resolves” against importing British products such as clothing & tea. Many angry colonists participated in the resistance to Britain through nonimportation, simply refusing to buy goods imported from Britain. Colonials did not have to pay taxes on goods they did not purchase, and the loss of income might persuade British merchants & shippers to support the colonial cause.

The text of the petition by the women gathered in Edenton, North Carolina, on October 25, 1774, reads: As we cannot be indifferent on any occasion that appears nearly to affect the peace and happiness of our country,
and as it has been thought necessary, for the public good, to enter into several political resolves by a meeting of Members deputed from the whole Province,
it is a duty which we owe, not only to our near and dear connections who have concurred in them, but to ourselves who are essentially interested in their welfare, to do every thing as far as lies in our power to testify our sincere adherence to the same;
and we do therefore accordingly subscribe this paper, as a witness of our fixed intention and solemn determination to do so.


Abagail Charlton, Mary Blount, F. Johnstone, Elizabeth Creacy, Margaret Cathcart, Elizabeth Patterson, Anne Johnstone, Jane Wellwood, Margaret Pearson, Mary Woolard, Penelope Dawson, Sarah Beasley, Jean Blair, Susannah Vail, Grace Clayton, Elizabeth Vail, Frances Hall, Elizabeth Vail, Mary Jones, Mary Creacy, Anne Hall, Mary Creacy, Rebecca Bondfield, Ruth Benbury, Sarah Littlejohn, Sarah Howcott, Penelope Barker, Sarah Hoskins, Elizabeth P. Ormond, Mary Littledle, M. Payne, Sarah Valentine, Elizabeth Johnston, Elizabeth Cricket, Mary Bonner, Elizabeth Green, Lydia Bonner, Mary Ramsay, Sarah Howe, Anne Horniblow, Lydia Bennet, Mary Hunter, Marion Wells, Tresia Cunningham, Anne Anderson, Elizabeth Roberts, Sarah Mathews, Elizabeth Roberts, Anne Haughton, Elizabeth Roberts, Elizabeth Beasly.

From England, in January 1775, 16 year-old Arthur Iredell wrote to his older brother who was a judge based in Edenton, James Iredell (1751-1799), describing the British reaction to the Edenton Tea Party. According to Arthur Iredell, the incident was not taken seriously in England, because it was led by women.

British journalists & cartoonists depicted the women in a negative light, as bad mothers & loose women. In a satirical cartoon published in London in March of 1775, the North Carolina ladies were drawn as female versions of the much maligned macaroni characters of the period.

Arthur Iredell sarcastically wrote to his brother James, who would later become one of the first associates of the United States Supreme Court, back in North Carolina, I see by the newspapers the Edenton ladies have signalized themselves by their protest against tea-drinking. The name of Johnston [the maiden name of Mrs. James Iredell] I see among others; are any of my sisters relations patriotic heroines?
Is there a female congress at Edenton, too? I hope not, for we Englishmen are afraid of the male congress, but if the ladies, who have ever since the Amazonian era been esteemed the most formidable enemies: if they, I say, should attack us, the most fatal consequence is to be dreaded.
So dextrous in the handling of a dart, each wound they give is mortal: whilst we, so unhappily formed by nature, the more we strive to conquer them, the more we are conquered.
The Edenton ladies, conscious, I suppose, of this superiority on their side, by a former experience, are willing, I imagine, to crush us into atoms by their omnipotency: the only security on our side to prevent the impending ruin, that I can perceive, is the probability that there are but few places in America which possess so much female artillery as Edenton.


Perhaps because of her husband James Iredell's official position, Hannah Johnston Iredell refrained from signing resolutions supporting the First North Carolina Provincial Congress, which voted to boycott certain British products. However, Hannah's sisters & her sisters-in-law signed the petition.

Not about to be outdone by their neighbors & not at all deterred by the sarcastic English press, the patriotic ladies of Wilmington, North Carolina, held their own “party” in the spring of 1775, actually burning their tea.

Janet Schaw, a visitor from Scotland who had no sympathy for the colonial rebellion, reported the event in her journals, noting that not everyone in Wilmington approved of the protest: The Ladies have burnt their tea in a solemn procession, but they had delayed however till the sacrifice was not very considerable, as I do not think any one offered above a quarter of a pound. The people in town live decently, and tho’ their houses are not spacious, they are in general very commodious and well furnished.
All the Merchants of any note are British and Irish,and many of them very genteel people. They all disapprove of the present proceedings. Many of them intend quitting the country as fast as their affairs will permit them, but are yet uncertain what steps to take.


But the women patriots had just begun to fight. Purdie's Virginia Gazette reported on May 3, 1775, that women were giving their jewelery to support the Continental Congress like “Roman Females” before them and will “fearless take the field against the ememy” for their glorious cause if their services are needed.

Women began to write letters about the revolutionary cause to their local newspapers. One anonymous women wrote a letter urging her fellow women to sacrifice for the war in Dixon's Virginia Gazette of January 13, 1776. Anne Terrel of Bedford County, Virginia also wrote in the same newspaper to support of the Revolutionary War on September 21, 1776.

During the Revolution more than 20,000 women became army camp followers--cooking, laundering, mending, and acting as nurses for the soldiers. Camp followers received half the food ration, when there was food at all, and minimal compensation. When the British occupied a town, they sometimes brutalized colonial women & their children. Hundreds of women took up arms to serve as soldiers & others served as spies for the colonial army.

Even those women left at home to raise the family & manage the business or the farm helped as they could. One woman passing an evacuated house in Woodbridge, New Jersey, looked in the window & saw a drunken Hessian soldier. She went home, got an old firelock, returned to take the Hessian’s firearms & then walked him about a mile to the patrol guard of the New Jersey regiment to delivered her prisoner. The incident was reported in Dixon's Virginia Gazette on April 18, 1777.

As the war progressed, women began collecting & contributing funds to equip local troops, where their kinfolk & neighbors were serving. The light horsemen of General Nelson of the Virginia Cavalry received just such donations according to Purdie's Virginia Gazette of June 12, 1778.

After the successful war, most male landowners could vote in the new republic. Women were granted the right to vote in the United States of America in 1920.