We had a windstorm last night. It almost destroyed a tree that Ruth had been nurturing. She was really upset and didn’t calm down until a neighbor helped us anchor it better. Actually two neighbors, Rich and Julie, stopped to help. Both Ruth and the tree will survive. It got me to thinking about some unheralded women whom I recently heard about but didn’t know before. The center for dynamic women in the United States is Seneca Falls, NY. I also did not know this until Ruth and I visited several female oriented attractions there last year. I hope that the current candidates for high office visit there before November.
I had never heard of Anne Hutchinson. Before she died in 1643 Hutchinson challenged male authority by becoming a preacher, an advisor, and a religious reformer. She participated in activities that defied gender roles while married. Hutchinson became the mother of 5 children. She got women to join groups that challenged the power of elders who were men.
Margaret Brent was born in England but died in Virginia. She didn’t emigrate to America until she was 37. She is often called North America’s 1st feminist. Brent became a colonial landowner of note. She called her 1st landhold, which was more than 70 acres, “Sisters Freehold”. In less than 20 years it grew larger and she had become one of Maryland’s largest landowners. Over time she became known as a woman good at settling social disputes. Brent became the 1st woman in her new country to ask for the right to vote.
Mary Dyer became one of the 4 executed Quakers known as the Boston martyrs. Like Margaret Brent, Dyer was born in England in 1611. She died in Boston 49 years later but is buried in London’s St Martin-in-the-Fields. She emigrated to the Massachusetts Bay Colony after marrying William Dyer. She was 24 at the time. She and her husband returned to England 15 years later and they became Quakers. There were few other Quakers in England at the time, but Mary and William liked this religion’s simplicity. She returned to Boston by herself at a bad time. It had a new and intolerant governor who did not like Quakers and wanted only one religion in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Mary Dyer was arrested and put in prison but avoided execution and was banished from Boston. However, she returned, still a proud and practicing Quaker, the following year and was hanged.