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Brent, Margaret (1601–1670?), landowner and colonial leader, was born in England, the daughter of Richard Brent, lord of Admington and Lark Stoke in the county of Gloucester, England, and Elizabeth Reed.

When Margaret Brent was about thirty-seven years old, she traveled to the New World with her sister Mary, brothers Giles and Fulke, and their servants. They landed at St. Mary’s (later St. Marys) Maryland, in November 1638. Although the two sisters traveled with their brothers, they did not depend on them for their economic survival. They arrived with servants as well as the means to procure large land grants from the proprietor, Lord Baltimore (...

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Laura Clay. Pencil on paper, 1912, by Wallace Morgan. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.

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Clay, Laura (09 February 1849–29 June 1941), farm manager and women's rights leader, farm manager and women’s rights leader, was born at “White Hall,” her family’s estate, located between Lexington and Richmond, Kentucky, the daughter of Cassius M. Clay, a notable politician, emancipationist, and diplomat, and Mary Jane Warfield. Clay’s formal education was interrupted by the outbreak of the Civil War, when the family accompanied her father to Russia, where he had been appointed U.S. minister. Returning to Kentucky in 1862, she attended Sayre School in Lexington, graduating in 1865. Aside from a year at a finishing school in New York City and brief stints of study at the Universities of Michigan and Kentucky, this completed her formal education. In 1873 she leased a 300-acre farm from her father and became its owner upon his death in 1903. Describing herself as a “practical farmer,” she skillfully managed this rich Bluegrass land, deriving from it her own livelihood and most of the finances for her long public career....

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Heaton, Hannah Cook (1721–1794), diarist and farm woman, was born in Southampton, Long Island, New York, the daughter of Jonathan Cook, a surgeon, and Temperance Rogers. Little is known of her early life or education. In 1743 she married Theophilus Heaton, Jr., of North Haven, Connecticut. They and their two sons lived on farms in North Haven for the rest of their lives....

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Logan, Martha Daniell (29 December 1704–28 June 1779), horticulturist, was born in Charleston, South Carolina, the daughter of Robert Daniell and Martha Wainwright. Her father had traveled from Barbados to Charleston in 1679 and had quickly become involved in the commerce of the region. He held the title of “Landgrave,” bestowed upon him by the Lords Proprietors, which permitted him to acquire 48,000 acres. In addition, he served two terms as lieutenant governor of South Carolina, having been appointed to the position by the Lords Proprietors. He died in 1718....

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MacDonald, Betty (26 March 1908–07 February 1958), author and farmer, was born Anne Elizabeth Campbell Bard in Boulder, Colorado, the daughter of Darsie Campbell Bard, a mining engineer, and Elsie Tholimar Sanderson, an artist. Until she was nine, when her family settled in Seattle, MacDonald moved with her family from one mining project to another in the Far West and Mexico....

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Mayo, Mary Anne Bryant (25 May 1845–21 April 1903), farmer and Grange leader, was born to James Bryant and Ann Atmore on their pioneer farm near Battle Creek, Michigan, in Convis Township of Calhoun County. She spent her entire life in that immediate vicinity. After graduating from Battle Creek High School, she taught in a district school until 1865, when she married Perry Mayo, who had just returned from fighting the Civil War. The couple shared the work of farming in Marshall Township, reared two children, and also found time to continue their own studies, which was especially important to them after Mary Mayo encountered a high school classmate who “presumed, as I had married a farmer, about all I had to do . . . was to work hard and make lots of good butter.” Unwilling to accept that stereotypical limitation, the Mayos sought intellectual opportunities in neighborhood Farmers’ Institutes, the Grange, and a Chautauqua Reading Circle....

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Mexia, Ynes Enriquetta Julietta (24 May 1870–12 July 1938), botanical collector, was born in Washington, D.C., the daughter of Enrique Antonio Mexia, a representative of the Mexican government, and Sarah R. Wilmer. Her mother left her husband in 1873 and moved with her children to a ranch owned by the Mexia family in Limestone County, Texas. Ynes Mexia probably attended local schools, and for short periods she was at Quaker schools in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Ontario, Canada. From 1886 to 1887 she attended Saint Joseph’s Academy in Emmitsburg, Maryland. She then moved to Mexico City to a property owned by her father. In 1897 she married Herman Lane (or de Laue), a merchant in Mexico City; they had no children, and he died in 1904. When her father died in 1898, a long lawsuit over his will finally left Ynes Mexia as an inheritor. She had established a business of raising poultry and other animals on her property in Mexico City. In 1907 or 1908 Mexia married Agustin A. de Reygados, one of her employees; they had no children. In 1909 she went to San Francisco for medical advice, probably for a nervous breakdown. Reygados almost bankrupted her business, so she sold it, divorced him, and stayed in San Francisco. There she resumed her maiden name and did social work. She became a U.S. citizen in 1924....

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Pinckney, Elizabeth Lucas (28 December 1722–26 May 1793), planter, known as Eliza, was born in the West Indies, the daughter of George Lucas and Anne (maiden name unknown). Her father, a career officer in the British army, made his home on a sugar plantation overlooking Willoughby Bay, Antigua. George Lucas relocated his family in 1738 to the mainland province of South Carolina, on a modest 600-acre plantation on a low bluff along Wappoo Creek, six miles from Charleston harbor. The move failed to bring the desired improvement in his wife’s health, and the outbreak of open conflict with Spain demanded Lucas’s return to his post in Antigua. Thus Eliza began her experiences of plantation management: totally in charge of “Wappoo,” where she lived with her mother and younger sister, and in contact with the overseers at two other large plantations that Col. Lucas owned in Carolina....

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Strong, Harriet Williams Russell (23 July 1844–16 September 1926), agribusinesswoman, inventor, and engineer, was born in Buffalo, New York, the daughter of Henry Pierrepont Russell and Mary Guest Musier. Her family moved to California in the 1850s, and Harriet attended the Mary Atkins...