Week 10: Strong Woman
March is Women’s History Month, so what better way to start than with the prompt of “Strong Woman.” What female in your family tree has shown remarkable strength (either physical or emotional)? Tell her story.
I have fallen behind on the original goal of 52 ancestors in 52 weeks. I now have updated my goal to write “something” as often as I can. I really struggle with some of the prompts.
I believe that every woman has remarkable strength in her own way so it’s difficult to pick out a specific one. Many times, I can’t find newspaper data on a specific woman because women’s names aren’t used. “Mrs. Allen is feeling sickly.” “Mrs. Smith died last week.” Obituaries often listed survivors as (for example) “a daughter and a son out west” with no mention of names.
And for many of them, I don’t have a story, only more questions. What happened between Richard Farley and Mary Jane Smith Farley that caused them to seek a divorce in the early 1900s after 52 years of marriage?
Mary Jane’s sister, Charlotte, fell in Graves Brook as a teen and used crutches or a wheelchair for the rest of her life. She lived on her own and became a successful business woman. How did she do that?
A lot of the women moved with their husbands to new places to start new lives. It could be the next town over or across the country. Hannah Shepard moved with Paul Merrill from New Hampshire to New York in the early 1800s. What could she bring with her? Would she ever again see the people she left behind? How difficult was it to leave what they knew to move to a new place whatever the reasons?
There are people like Adaline Kent Davis who lost a child in the fall of 1873 and then an infant in February 1874 on the same day she also died. What epidemic swept through the community?
Felicite Jodwin married a man who already had several children and then raised ten more of her own. What challenges did she face?
Many family trees show children born every couple of years. It saddens me when I see that a woman has given birth to 6 or 8 or 10 children but there are only 1 or 2 who live to adulthood. How does a woman survive that and keep going?
I think the fact that these women survived whatever was thrown at them is the point of this. Their sons went to war; some never returned. They worked with their husbands on farms or kept a home going and raised children.
Whatever the case, I am glad for these women who came before me. Their strengths may or may not be genetic but their stories inspire me.