Sunday, April 5, 2009

18thc WOMEN: Known - Unknown - Little Known

Elizabeth Smith was born in Chatham, Massachusetts on 15 May, 1735. On the 16th of July in the year 1752 she married Archelaus Smith. The following account is of their coming to Nova Scotia to take up land.

Archelaus had sent for his family to come from the Cape to Barrington in Nova Scotia. Reports about the Indians caused him to send a message to Elizabeth to postpone her trip, and then Archelaus headed for home, departing through the west passage.

As he left, Elizabeth and her four children were already heading through the east passage in Captain Eldad Nickerson's vessel. Finding herself quite alone she sought the assistance of some fishermen who made her a log shelter and left what provisions they could when they went away.

Archelaus was storm-stayed and unable to get back that winter with food and their house frame, but Elizabeth and her four were helped from time to time by some of the Indians and she fought off the bears with fire brands.

Ruth Parker, wife of thirty-four year old Nathaniel Parker of Pepperell, Massachusetts watches her husband as he stares moodily into the fireplace. Does Nathaniel see a battlefield in the glowing coals? In four months he will lie dead in the trenches of Breeds Hill. Ruth will stand alone beside their five children, facing her own battlefield.

The following obituary appeared in the Inverness Journal of 17 July 1812. "Died lately in the Parish of Knocklando, County of Elgin, an eccentric character known as Red Jean, or Jean Roy. She disliked her own sex, and always pretended to be a man, weariing a kilt, jacket and blue bonnet. She generally worked as a day laborer."