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Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Folk Artist & the Farmer-Maid

Copyright © 2012 by the author. All rights reserved.
She wasn’t famous then, and she’s not famous now, which can be said about many women’s lives even today. That’s the way it was at the dawn of the 19th century regarding Mary Ann Willson and her companion, Miss Brundage, whose first name has also disappeared into the mists of history along with the scant facts about her life. What is known about both women could fill a thimble: for example, that Willson and Brundage were probably born in England and migrated to Connecticut, as did many others, after the American Revolution. They lived at a time when women’s lives were even more “anonymous” than our own.


The Susan B. Anthony Window In The Home Of Matilda Joslyn Gage

Copyright © 2012 Sally Roesch Wagner, Ph.D. All rights reserved.
please visit The Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation

For seventeen years I visited, learned from and organized the papers of Matilda Jewell Gage, the granddaughter and namesake of Matilda Joslyn Gage, whose home at 520 South Kline Street in my hometown of Aberdeen, South Dakota contained a treasure trove of her grandmother’s history. Matilda Jewell Gage’s father, Thomas Clarkson (named for the famous English abolitionist) was the elder Matilda’s only son and her confidante. An only child, Matilda Jewell inherited her grandmother’s furniture, paintings, photographs, scrapbooks, manuscripts – published and unpublished, family documents and the wealth of letters her grandmother wrote to her father over the years – all of which he kept. When Matilda’s cousin Leslie, an only child who never married, passed on, Matilda received all of Leslie’s papers and family items as well. Beyond the family memorabilia, Matilda Jewell Gage inherited a deep and pressing family responsibility, to save these pieces of history that proved her grandmother’s historic importance, and her unjust removal from the memory of the woman’s rights movement.

excerpts from Plank Road Explorer by Henry Marvin, 1873
Webbs Mills, New York

plank road explorer
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Copyright © 2012 New York History Review. All rights reserved.


November, Saturday 1, 1873
I went to town with Father. I went to Ed’s and to Lyme’s. I got me a new suit of close [clothes].


November, Sunday 2, 1873
I went a-hunting in the forenoon and in the afternoon I went up to George’s with Lyme. I come down as far as the Tanner’s and then I went back to [the] meeting up to the schoolhouse.


November, Monday 3, 1873
I stayed at home all day and husked oats. Father went to town. At nite I went to the store.