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Alden, Priscilla Mullins (1602–1684), one of the first settlers of Plymouth Colony, was born the daughter of William Mullins, a shoemaker, and Mary (maiden name unknown). She was probably born in Dorking, Surrey, England, though there is no record of her birth. Her father’s life is not well documented, but he may be the William Mollines who was brought before the Privy Council in April 1616. If so, his Puritan faith might have been the reason that he and his family joined the Separatists on their ...

Article

James H. O’Donnell III

Ann (fl. 1706–1718), queen of Pamunkey, may have ruled as late as 1723. The Pamunkey people of Virginia were part of the larger grouping that had once been known as Powhatan’s confederacy. In the century after the arrival of the Europeans not only had the larger tribal polity declined but also the population had diminished and the land base had dwindled. The collapse of the confederacy had presented leadership challenges to the several tribes. One crisis that emerged was the death of tribal leaders in intertribal wars, struggles largely precipitated by their support of the English colonial governments. The best-known example of this, the death of Totopotomoy in 1656 in battle with the Rickohokans, brought his widow Cockacoeske to the position of queen of the Pamunkeys, a role she played for almost thirty years. Following in this tradition were two more Pamunkey queens, Betty and Ann, whose leadership was exercised early in the eighteenth century. By that time, moreover, their ascendance to leadership may also have been a function of declining population that left women of prominent families as the only choice to lead the tribe....

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Aquash, Annie Mae (27 March 1945– December 1975), First Nations (Mi'kmaq) activist and American Indian Movement leader, First Nations (Mi’kmaq) activist and American Indian Movement leader, was born Annie Mae Pictou in the Shubenacadie band (now Indian Brook First Nation) reserve in central Nova Scotia, Canada, the youngest daughter of Mary Ellen Pictou and Francis Thomas Levi. (Most contemporary sources refer to her as Anna, but family members confirmed that Annie is the accurate form of her given name.) Her father left the family shortly before her birth, and Annie Mae spent the first four years of her life in the Shubenacadie reserve. Her mother remarried and brought her three daughters to live in the small Pictou Landing reserve near New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, where she also gave birth to a fourth child....

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Babb, Bianca (26 August 1856–13 April 1950), pioneer and captive of Native Americans, was born in a covered wagon near Lecompton, Kansas, en route from Wisconsin to Texas, the daughter of John S. Babb and Isabel A. Babb (maiden name unknown), who were settlers and ranchers....

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Bishop, Bernice Pauahi (19 December 1831–16 October 1884), native Hawaiian high chiefess and philanthropist, was born Pauahi in Honolulu, the daughter of Abner Paki and Konia (maiden name unknown), both of chiefly rank. She was the great-granddaughter of King Kamehameha I, who united the islands under his rule in 1810. Her father was an adviser to ...

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Brant, Molly (1736–16 April 1796), Mohawk, Loyalist, and Anglican, also known as Mary Brant or Konwatsi tsiaienni, was born either at the Mohawk “castle” of Canajoharie in upper New York or in the Ohio Valley, the daughter of Peter and Margaret, both Mohawks of the Six Nations Confederacy of Iroquois. She was the sister of ...

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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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Calamity Jane Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-95040).

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Calamity Jane (01 May 1852–01 August 1903), legendary western woman, was born Martha Cannary in Princeton, Missouri, the daughter of Robert Cannary (also spelled Canary). Her mother’s identity is unknown. In 1865, enticed by news from the Montana gold fields, her father moved the family to Virginia City, Montana. After her mother died in 1866, the family settled in Salt Lake City. Following her father’s death in 1867, an adolescent but determined Calamity Jane traveled to Fort Bridger, Wyoming. From there she embarked upon the transient existence that would characterize her life in the West, especially in the Black Hills mining camps of South Dakota and Wyoming....

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Dare, Virginia (18 August 1587–?), the first child of English parents in the New World, was born on Roanoke Island in the colony of Virginia, now North Carolina, the daughter of Ananias Dare and Elenor (also spelled Ellinor, Eleanor, and Elyoner) White, Roanoke colony settlers. The facts of Virginia Dare’s life are scant. Her mother left Plymouth, England, while pregnant with Virginia, on 8 May 1587 as one of the settlers in Sir Walter Raleigh’s third attempt to establish an English colony in the New World. Virginia’s maternal grandfather, the artist ...

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Davis, Alice Brown (10 September 1852–21 June 1935), Seminole leader and merchant, was born in Park Hill, Cherokee Nation (now in Cherokee County, Okla.), the daughter of John F. Brown, a physician, and Lucy Redbeard, a Seminole of the Panther clan (Kachaki). Her parents met while her father was employed as a contract physician for the federal government during the removal of most of the Seminoles from Florida to the Indian Territory in the 1840s. One of seven children, Alice was educated at home and also attended schools in the Cherokee Nation and the Presbyterian mission school near Wewoka....

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Dorion, Marie (1790–05 September 1850), interpreter, was born into the Iowa tribe as Marie Aioe, or Marie L’Aguivoise; both versions of her maiden surname, variations on the word “Iowa,” appear in early nineteenth-century records of Oregon and Washington territories. Nothing is known of her life until she became the common-law wife of a half Sioux, half French-Canadian fur trader, Pierre Dorion, Jr., around 1806 in the vicinity of what is now Yankton, South Dakota. Pierre Dorion, Sr., had been an interpreter and a guide with the ...

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Abigail Scott Duniway. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ61-787).

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Duniway, Abigail Jane Scott (22 October 1834–11 October 1915), Oregon pioneer and suffragist, was born in Tazewell County, Illinois, the daughter of John Tucker Scott and Ann Roelofson, farmers. Duniway attended school sporadically, restricted by her responsibilities on her parents’ farm. In March 1852, in spite of his wife’s hesitations, John Scott decided to move his family to Oregon. With thirty others, in a caravan of five wagons, the family set off on the 2,400-mile trek. Ann Scott died of cholera in June; her three-year-old son Willie passed away two months later. By October the party had reached Lafayette, near Salem, Oregon, where they settled. Abigail taught school in the neighboring village of Eola and worked on her father’s farm. In August 1853 she married Benjamin Charles Duniway, a farmer who had moved to Oregon three years earlier; they had six children. The early years of her marriage were especially hard on Abigail, who bore two children in quick succession and also was obliged to take on many of the physically taxing, traditionally male tasks on the farm. The family moved to a farm near Lafayette in 1857. Duniway’s first novel, ...

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Duston, Hannah (03 December 1657–1736), Massachusetts settler and Indian captive, was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts, the daughter of Michael Emerson and Hannah Webster. Her father was an English shoemaker who immigrated to Massachusetts and married the daughter of an original settler of Ipswich. Hannah was one of fifteen children. Nothing is known of her life before her marriage. In December 1677 she married Thomas Duston (also written as Dustin, Dustan, and Durstan), a bricklayer and farmer originally from Dover, New Hampshire. They lived in a cottage two miles from Haverhill and had thirteen children. Thomas became a respected citizen and was appointed a constable for Haverhill....

Article

Emma (02 January 1836–25 April 1885), queen consort of Kamehameha IV of Hawaii and philanthropist, queen consort of Kamehameha IV of Hawaii and philanthropist, was born either in Honolulu or in Kawaihae on the island of Hawaii, the daughter of George Naea and Fanny Kekelaokalani Young, high-ranking ...

Article

Hiawatha (fourteenth century–?), Onondaga warrior and orator, was spokesman for Deganawidah in the campaign for the formation of the League of the Hau-De-No-Sau-Nee, or People of the Longhouse. In the absence of contemporary sources, our current information is based on oral traditions handed down by the elders, some of which were recorded and published only in the late nineteenth century. Oral tradition is transmitted through storytelling, ritual reenactments, and sacred symbols carved on wooden sticks or embroidered on wampum belts. The so-called myths are of historical importance because they reflect the traditional values of the past and are called on to resolve present issues....

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Hutchinson, Anne (1591?–1643), religious leader, was born in Alford, Lincolnshire, England, the daughter of Francis Marbury, minister of the Church of England, and Bridget Dryden. She learned scripture and theology from her father, who had been silenced and imprisoned for long periods of time by his bishop for complaining about the poor training of English clergymen....

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Jemison, Mary (1743?–1833), captive, was born on a ship en route to colonial Pennsylvania from Ireland, the daughter of Thomas Jemison and Jane Erwin, a Protestant couple of Scotch-Irish background. The family settled on a farm in Franklin Township, Adams County, in south central Pennsylvania about ten miles northwest of present-day Gettysburg....

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Kawananakoa, Abigail Wahiikaahuula Campbell (01 January 1882–12 April 1945), politician, was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, the daughter of James Campbell, a millionaire financier, landowner, and businessman, and Abigail Kuaihelani Maipinepine Bright. Her mother was a member of a part-native Hawaiian family from Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii. Her father was an immigrant from Derry, Ireland. Kawananakoa was educated at private schools in Honolulu. She then went to San Jose, California, where her father had business interests. Kawananakoa attended San Jose’s College of Notre Dame, a Roman Catholic convent, from which she graduated in 1900....