52 Ancestors Week 10: Strong Woman

+16 votes

Time for the next 52 Ancestors challenge!

52 Photos and 52 Ancestors sharing bacgesPlease share with us a profile of an ancestor or relative who matches this week's theme:

Strong Woman

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You don't need to share every week to participate, but those who do will earn badges. If this is your first time participating and you don't have the participation badge, or if you pass a milestone (13 shared profiles in 13 weeks, 26 in 26, or 52 in 52) let us know here. For more about the challenge, click here.

in The Tree House by Eowyn Walker G2G Astronaut (1.7m points)
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55 Answers

+7 votes

I'm sure there are many strong women in my family that I know little about because all we have are census records and maybe a death certificate. But I'll choose my wife's grandmother, Pierina Mecchia. She came to the United States from Italy in 1925, at age 16--by herself, since her parents had already left Italy. Her husband, whom she married at 17, died in 1951, leaving her with two teenaged daughters. She had never learned to drive and had an imperfect command of English. Fortunately she was a skilled seamstress and found work in department stores. She also rented rooms in her house to make ends meet, and she was able to see both her daughters attend college. Pierina never remarried, and I think she felt very alone sometimes, but she did what had to be done.

by Richard Heritage G2G6 Mach 3 (38.7k points)
+9 votes


52 Ancestors Week 10: Strong Woman

When Loraine Beebe Lynds died Wednesday night at about 10:45 o’clock p.m., November 30, 1904, at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Jack Freeman in Momence, from a stroke of paralysis, Momence lost one of its oldest citizens at the age of 92 years, 7 months and 7 days.

Loraine was born April 23, 1812 in Windhall, Vermont, the daughter of Hardin A. and Susan McMillan Beebe. Her family lived in Vermont until they moved to Momence, Illinois on November 17, 1836, and was one of the first settlers in Momence, there being only five or six families in Momence before them. Three miles up the Kankakee River there was a Pottawatomie tribe of 150 Indians.

Loraine was the first school teacher in Momence. She said, “I taught the first school during the winter of 1837 in Asher Sargeant’s house. The children of two Sargeants were all the scholars I had. I only taught three hours a day when I could cross the river on the ice. The next year I taught school in the log house where the Metcalf place is, up the river. I ferried the children who lived south of the river over with myself.”

The story is told of White Pigeon, the Pottawatomie Chief, who would get intoxicated several times a year on whiskey, which was cheap and plentiful. Joe Barbee would be sent for because he could keep the Chief restrained until he was sober. One day Loraine and Joe ran into each other, and Loraine told Joe to tell White Pigeon for her, that he needed to stop drinking. White Pigeon’s answer to Loraine was “White man make ‘em, Indian drink ‘em; White man no make ‘em, Indian no drink ‘em”. Only the bravest and strongest people would have talked to the Indian Chief this way.

On December 22, 1842, Loraine married David D. Lynds. In 1845, her husband was named postmaster, and the office was named “Loraine”. That name didn’t change until 1849 when it officially became Momence.

Loraine and David had three children, and on May 19, 1877, her beloved David passed away.

In 1894, Momence built a school on the Southside, and it was dedicated to Loraine. I actually attended the Loraine School when I was in 6th grade.

In the 1900 United States Census, Loraine was living with her daughter, Eva Freeman, her son-in-law and two granddaughters.

Loraine lived to see Momence and the State of Illinois pass from the Indians and prosper. I cannot image few women of today’s generation who could live through the hardships that she did. She continuously gave to her community as long as she could.

by Cheryl Hess G2G Astronaut (1.5m points)
Great story. Thanks.
+7 votes

All of them!! All of my female ancestors seem to have been extremely strong women who always amaze me.

Many of my ancestors lived in remote frontier areas of North American southern colonies. The men in the families are often extolled for their pioneering adventures, while their wives are unsung heroes. As far as I am concerned, every one of these pioneer women deserve as many or more accolades as their better-known husbands. Most followed their husbands into the most Spartan areas, with few creature comforts, while simultaneously birthing and raising large numbers of children. Their husbands were often away for long periods of time, leaving them to fend for themselves. The women were the subsistence farmers of the family, providing, preparing, and storing food for their families.

As an example, I will cite my 5th-great grandmother, Agness McCown, who married William Logan in 1775. Shortly after their marriage her husband joined the Continental Army, fighting for independence on the Virginia frontier and with Washington at Valley Forge in the winter of 1777-1778. He seems to have been a career soldier, later serving in the command of his brother, General Benjamin Logan in Kentucky. Meanwhile, Agness was left to fend for her family in dangerous parts of the frontier. She did it all when her husband was away.

There is a Story of her Heroism passed down by oral history, probably embellished in many ways, describing how she was among a group of colonials captured by hostile naives. She was supposedly chosen to Run the Gauntlet as a test to save herself and the others. She is said to have done so bravely, losing an eye in the process. I can't say how much of that story is true, but I think its existence tells us how much her children and grandchildren respected her for her strength and courage during those tumultuous times. 

Agness is my choice for the answer to this question, but certainly not the only strong woman in my family. They were all strong women who endured more than their share of hardships with little thanks.

by Bill Vincent G2G6 Pilot (134k points)
edited by Bill Vincent
+6 votes


ive done my week 10 linked to my late mum, it can be found here 

by Amy Lackey G2G6 Mach 1 (15.7k points)
+8 votes

My Great Aunt Esther Emilia Laurin must've been a strong woman. During WWI in 1917, she applied in London (she was born and raised in Lowell, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, U.S.A.) for an emergency passport to United Kingdom and France, as a U.S. Army Nurse. 

In 1920, The Army Reorganization Act came into effect. Nurses were granted officer status with "relative rank" from second lieutenant to major but not full rights and privileges.

by Keith Cook G2G6 Mach 3 (33.8k points)
+7 votes
Wish I had a photo. Angeline Cook Acord, my great-great grandmother. She was born in Tennessee, but later lived in Johnson county Arkansas. That is where the below occurred.

Angeline (Cook) Acord (1824-1905) was married to Calvin Acord (1824-1880). During the Civil War, Angeline was left alone with her small children and the farm to care for while her husband served his time in the Army. Bushwhackers came and took her food and killed her chickens and drove off her stock until she was desperate. Still her husband did not return and she was down to one slab of side meat and corn meal to feed her children, when she heard the bushwhackers were headed toward the farm again. She put the meat in a bucket and lowered it into the well to hide it. When the man could find nothing of value in the house and no animals to steal, they were about to leave when, unfortunately, one decided he wanted a drink of fresh water. Knowing he would discover the meat, Angeline began to flail him over the head with her broom, knocking him into the well. As his companions pulled him out of the well, a Yankee patrol came into the yard. The leader was so tickled at the sight of the tiny five foot tall woman fighting a half-dozen ruffians, he chased the men away and would not even let his men take her food.

Angeline and Calvin took in Christopher Columbus Acord and John Samuel Acord, their nephews, sons of Francis Marion Acord and his wife Elizabeth Horner in the winter of 1864. Both Francis and Elizabeth died that year, he while serving with the Union army, she of the pneumonia. The story, according to one Hartsel Gerald Acord (via ancestry.com), is that Angeline heard of Elizabeth's illness while both their husbands were away during the war. Angeline went by mule across the county to take care of Elizabeth and the boys. There was little she could do for Elizabeth, but take the care of the boys. She wrapped Christopher in her apron and had the older John ride on the back of the mule back to the home she shared with Calvin. The 1870 census bears this out, as both boys are part of Calvin and Angeline's household at that time.
by Angela Dicks G2G Crew (660 points)
edited by Angela Dicks
+8 votes
I believe my great grandmother Alma May (farquharson) Miller was a strong lady to raise 6 children during the depression while battling her health No matter how sick she was she always stayed strong for her family Even though her family didn’t have much money she always had meals for everyone including soup made from bones from butchers they were going to throw out She passed on from a tumor in her uterus that had gone unnoticed for almost a year But even with how sick she was she still managed to decorate her house for Xmas with handmade decorations No matter how sick she was or how little money she made sure her family alwaya came first  Her spirit to never give up and stay strong for her family has always inspired me to do the same
by Frances Sumner G2G Crew (930 points)
edited by Frances Sumner
+7 votes

My GG Great Grandmother (Elizabeth Hows Pitts 1808-1894) was a strong woman.

The spring of 1853 Burwell, Elizabeth and five of their children (William, Louisiana, Louisa, Thomas and John) joined a wagon train for California. Burwell died near the Kansas / Nebraska border. Elizabeth and her children continued on.

Before 1860, Elizabeth and her three sons secured passage on a ship around Cape Horn then up the Mississippi on a flatboat to near St Louis. They were met there by her oldest son Andrew and returned to Hickory County by wagon.

by William Pitts G2G Crew (760 points)
+6 votes

So many strong women -- once again, it's hard to choose, but I think my 2-greats grandmother, Jean Hill Matchett (Hill-7692) certainly qualifies.  According to the personal memoir, "Log Cabin Days" left by her daughter (Elizabeth V. Matchett, my great grandmother), Jean was born to Hugh and Jean (Marshall) Hill in Straban, County Tyrone, Ulster, Ireland in December, 1826. During the extremity of the Irish potato famine the family lost four of Jean's brothers.  When a letter with a gift of money arrived unexpectedly from Hugh's brother, George, who had long since migrated to western Pennsylvania, Jean decided to seize the opportunity of her Uncle George's support and brave the seas on her own to come to America.  

In a letter written by Jean's father Hugh to her brother on the occasion, he writes poignantly of the courage of his daughter.  The family has preserved the letter for the past 170 years and I now count myself fortunate to be in possession of it.  I have not corrected the spelling errors or omitted punctuation in the partial transcription that follows below: "Be not discouraged neither Be affraid for when ireseved your money my Daughter Jean took courage to Brave the seas, and go to you the kindest of unckles, it is needly for me to commend her more than I have  done to you Heretofore itrust she will be a credit to you and Her sorrowing friends she has Left Behind to mourn her absence  she will Be advised by you in every respect and now my Dear Brother I riccomend Her and you all to the word of His grace which is able [word uncertain] to make you wise and Build you up through faith unto salvation and George what I would wish you to do would be to go to mr Dutch [unsure of transcription] in Freeport and make an interest with Him that when the ship lands in Philadelphia that some of his officers would enquire for Jean Hill on Board and transmit her goods into their own office, so that she will stop two or three days in Philadelphia in Her Couren [cousin?? kin?] unckle James scot, daughter she has 2 £ sterling with her and you now [know?] if that will Be enough for Her or not.  The name of the ship is The Albion from Londonderry She sails this a [day? --tear in paper] that I write unto you July the 10th and we pray that He that holds the winds in His fist and says to the Proud waves Be thou still shall conduct her safe through the mighty waters to Her desired Haven."

by Allen McGrew G2G6 (9.9k points)
edited by Allen McGrew
+4 votes

There are probably many strong women in my tree, but I doubt they had the tremendous, super-human strength of Harriet Tubman, who not only escaped slavery, but also returned again and again to Maryland, leading her people over the border to Philadelphia, with the north star as guiding light. 

by C Ryder G2G6 Mach 8 (80.7k points)
+5 votes
My gg grandmother Mary Jane McDermott grew up in a very poor family in post famine Ireland. She married John McCormack and had seven children. There was nine of them living in a three roomed cottage but they did not turn away any relatives who had nowhere else to go. Mary Jane cared for her sickly father and an elderly great aunt of her husbands in addition to rearing her small children.

Mary Jane sadly died in her thirties and was greatly missed by her children. Her son Thomas named his first daughter after her in 1919.
by Alicia McCormack G2G6 (9.7k points)
+5 votes

Strong Woman Ancestor:  My 5th G. Grandmother, Catherine (Mary Kate) Moore Barry, was a Revolutionary War Heroine...per Wikipedia:

Catharine Moore Barry ( October 1752– September 1823) was a heroine of the American Revolutionary War. She was the daughter of Charles and Mary Moore, and the eldest of ten children. She married Andrew Barry in 1767 at the age of 15 and lived on Walnut Grove Plantation in Roebuck, South Carolina during the 18th century. She was instrumental in helping to warn the militia of the coming British before the Battle of Cowpens in 1781. According to legend, she tied her toddler to the bedpost[citation needed] while she rode out to warn neighbors that the British were coming.

Her warning helped to prepare the colonial forces to defeat the British governor, Cornwallis and his men and drive them north, out of the state of South Carolina. She is buried in the family cemetery in Moore, South Carolina, beside her husband, Andrew, who was one of the first elders of the Nazareth Presbyterian Church. She knew the Indian trails and shortcuts where almost no patriots lived. Barry was a spy and message bearer for the militia when the Battle of Cowpens was fought on January 17, 1781.

The Battle of Cowpens (January 17, 1781) was a decisive victory by Continental army forces under Brigadier General Daniel Morgan, in the Southern campaign of the American Revolutionary War. It was a turning point in the reconquest of South Carolina from the British.

Kate Barry was an ancestor of the actress Amanda Blake (1929-1989), remembered for the role of the red-haired saloon proprietress "Miss Kitty Russell" on the television western Gunsmoke. Blake placed a cameo-sized portrait of Barry owned by her family in the Spartanburg, South Carolina local history museum, where it remains on display to this day.


by Kathy Wingate G2G3 (3.5k points)
+4 votes

Of all the strong women in my family, I will select my maternal grandmother, May (Koput) George (we called her Non). She was beautiful! All of 5'2" with platinum blond hair, cornflower blue eyes and a dimpled smile. Non was a dynamo! She was born in 1907, before women had the right to vote! She was one of the oldest of 13 children and helped her mother deliver her younger siblings. She had all of a 3rd grade education; however, she received her license as a 'cosmetologist' in the 1920's, which helped with income during the depression when she and my grandfather were raising three young children. In the 1940's she started her own catering business...a success! In the 1950's she started her own drapery and upholstery business in the basement of their home. She continued this business to supplement her retirement after my grandfather died in 1976. She worked until shortly before her death in 1989. She created designs for valences, upholstery, and so forth. Sadly, she never applied for patents for some of her stellar designs. In addition to all of this, she raised their three children, cared for numerous grandchildren, assisted my grandfather in his tavern/restaurant business and so much more. I still miss her home made chicken soup and especially her red tomato jam! 

May (Mariana) Koput-George

Non, we still love and miss you! You were the strongest of strong women!

by Carol Baldwin G2G6 Pilot (418k points)
+6 votes

My great grandmother Olga Alexandrovna Lusky (Kanstantinovich-Ivanof-1) had to be a very strong woman.  She was raised in the Czars household (Alexander II was the emperor of Russia from 2 March 1855 until his assassination on 13 March 1881). She saw most of her family killed by firing squad and avoided death because she was 7 months pregnant and her husband paid off the soldiers.  She and her family, with 7 children, lived in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras before moving to San Francisco in 1903. Her husband died by his own hand in 1905, when she was 45. She lived another 38 years living alternately with her children in Guatemala, Mexico, Cuba, England and Illinois. She died in 1943 during the war and her ashes became part of the Thames River. 

week10 of 13

by Aurora Chancy G2G6 Mach 1 (16.5k points)
+5 votes

One of my distant cousins married a man with the surname of Strong...and became a Strong woman by marriage.  On a less facetious note, I'd probably pick my 6th great-grandmother, Barsheba Avery.  Originally from Massachusetts, she and her family moved to Otsego County, New York.  This passage from Stuart Banyar Blakely's A History of Otego seems to fit the prompt quite well: "The early settlers had to raise their own provisions, and there was much privation, suffering and even starvation in the early years.  "Aunt Beersheba," widow of Peter Bundy, said that for several weeks after they came, the family lived on maple-sugar."

by K. Anonymous G2G6 Pilot (125k points)
+5 votes
I wrote about my mother:


Here's her profile page: https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Cook-16540 - Although it's private because I am blessed to have her still with me. She'll be 83 next month.

May I please have a participation badge for #52Ancestors?
by Auriette Lindsey G2G6 Mach 2 (21.6k points)
+5 votes
Week 10 - Strong Woman.  I will include Mary Penaluna-18 (www.wikitree.com/wiki/penaluna-18) here, who although I don't know much about her, I know she came to Victoria with her family as a twelve year old, and saw her mother lose four children and her own life, before her father died ashort time later too. Being the oldest daughter, she would have had a massive amount of responsibility toward her remaining older brother and younger sister, when she was newly married in her early twenties. She went on to have at least seven children, and lived until 93 years of age.

Unfortunately, I seem to have a great number of female ancestors who didn't do anywhere as well as their husbands did, many dying early. I guess it was the nature of travelling half way around the world to start over in a hard country.
by Ben Molesworth G2G6 Mach 4 (43.5k points)
edited by Ben Molesworth
+6 votes
I would like to share the profile of my ancestor, Alice Buckley Kershaw, (Buckley - 1271).

    She emigrated with her husband from England to Philadelphia in 1845 with several children.  Five years later, after her husband squandered their business in Philadelphia, she picked up and left him, taking along with her their teenaged children,(she had a total of 12 children), found a place in a Mormon wagon train headed west from Iowa to Utah, and became one of the Mormon pioneers.  She is one of the original settlers of Beaver, Utah.

      Such stories happen often now, but in 1850....she must have been a tower of fortitude!
by Dan Sparkman G2G6 Mach 2 (21.5k points)
edited by Dan Sparkman
+4 votes
I would like to share the profile of my ancestor, Alice Buckley Kershaw Case (Buckley - 1271)  

    She immigrated with her large family, (she had 12 children, and adopted 3 more), to the USA in 1845.  Five years later, after her husband had squandered their business, she picked up and left him along with 4 teenaged children, remarried a Mormon, and went west with a wagon train to Utah, where she became one of the first settlers of Beaver, Utah.

     Such stories are commonplace today, but in 1850....she must have been a tower of fortitude.
by Dan Sparkman G2G6 Mach 2 (21.5k points)
+5 votes

This week I am going to use my 3x Great grandmother Betty Walls.


Betty Walls was born in 1805 in the Orkney Isles in the far north of Scotland, to William Walls and Elspeth Sutherland.

She was recorded as living with her mother in the 1821 census on the isle of South Ronaldsay - still within the Orkney Isles. Betty was aged 16 and her mother was listed as aged 53. No mention of the father William, and no mention of the mothers marital status either. we do not know if they were still married or if the mother was widowed.

In the same census record of 1821, a young man named James Simpson was recorded as being a servant at Widewall just down the road from Betty's home. James was aged 19 years old.

In mid 1822, Betty Walls  fell pregnant to James Simpson and on 6 March 1823, their daughter - called Elizabeth Simpson  - was born in the North Parish of South Ronaldsay.

Elizabeth Simpson was not baptised until 1837 at the age of 14 - her baptismal record is on file. See her profile for the transcription.

Elizabeth (Betty) Walls married Thomas Robertson in Edinburgh around 1846, and she sailed with Thomas and his children (from his first marriage) to New Zealand on the Ship Phillip Laing in 1848. The family settled in Dunedin, New Zealand.


There is a note written by the English administators of the passengers on board the Philip Laing that is actually quite cruel. See Betty Walls profile.

I have no idea if Elizabeth actually knew of this written record, but the attitudes of the other woman, especially if they were English, may have caused her no end of troubles.

It was very common in Scotland to not be married to ones partner and to have any number of children without the benefit of marriage. There was nothing shameful about that at all.

The English thought otherwise and in this written record, she is called "a woman of loose morals".

Priests were not always able to get around the Scottish highlands or to the islands to perform marriages in a timely fashion.

I would think that anyone who had to suffer through discrimination and attitudes of being thought to be a woman of "loose morals" must be a strong woman indeed.

by Robynne Lozier G2G6 Pilot (877k points)
edited by Robynne Lozier

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