When were women and/or native Americans legally able to hold property?

+2 votes
71 views

It has been suggested that Sarah Catherine Friend House could not have been a native American because:

Dr. Peter S. Craig found in his findings that in the mid-1730s, Israel signed his will on 12 August 1749, directing that his land be equally divided among his three sons, Jonas, Jacob and Charles Friend. By law, his widow was entitled to her dower share (1/3) during her lifetime, or 100 acres. thus confirming that Israel Friend's widow Sarah then owned her dower interest. It is the theory of some that Sarah was a full-blooded Indian, based on a family legend and the fact that she received no dower interest in the land is offered as proof of this theory. However, as shown above, Sarah Friend, widow of Israel, did receive her dower interest. Further, if in fact she had been an Indian, under the law of that time her marriage to Israel Friend would have been void and her children would be illegitimate children of Israel, not entitled to any inheritance. This obviously was not the fact. Israel Friend died in 1750, near Harpers Ferry, Virginia, (now Bakerton, WV.). Source- The Friend Families of Greenbrier/Monroe County, WV. George, Abraham and Charles Friend by Dr. Peter Stebbins Craig, F.A.S.G.

Does this have any basis?

WikiTree profile: Sarah House
in Genealogy Help by Lance Martin G2G6 Mach 9 (90.9k points)
Craig was a very serious researcher.  That said, I'd feel more confident if he cited the actual law that supports the claim that Native Americans could not inherit land and that offspring of white/NA marriages would have been illegitimate.  Maybe he does in the actual book?

2 Answers

+4 votes
Maryland never prohibited marriage between whites and Indians in the colonial period.  Virginia dropped its’ prohibition in 1705.  Is there any mention in any contemporary record that Sarah Friend was Indian?  It would have been a very unusual occurrence.  Would the sons of an Indian woman been accepted as white and would they have fought against their mother’s family in the French and Indian War?
by

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