Aunt Bett and LIttle Brown Bear
(A short poetry Cliff Note sequel to point you to
Little Brown Bear’s Christmas 1942)
Aunt Bett wrote a story about a Christmas tree,
Little Brown Bear, squirrel, rabbit, and chickadee,
Rode his red sled to the forest looking around
For a fir tree they could drag back into town…
(Keep reading to see if their story ends happily,
You can check out the book from the Dorsch Library!)
Story telling is as old as people, and Aunt Bett is an ageless story teller. Monroe Michigan’s most famous storyteller Aunt Bett, otherwise known as Elizabeth Upham McWebb told her stories into her nineties. Generations of her listeners and readers are still listening to Aunt Bett’s stories, although she is telling stories in heaven now.
Once Upon a Time in Michigan…
Aunt Bett learned the same lessons that her famous and most loveable character, Little Brown Bear, did in her stories about him in her own home. Her parents, Albert and Elizabeth Upham lived on a 300-acre farm in Flat Rock, when Elizabeth Norine Upham was born on October 20, 1904, the youngest of eight brothers and sisters. The 1910 United States Federal Census shows Elizabeth N. Upham living on South Macnab, (probably Macomb Street) in Monroe with her mother, father, and siblings Ruth, Edward, Ethel, Lorne, Lola, and Florence along with her grandfather Joseph William, age 79.
Elizabeth’s father Albert practiced storytelling and her mother Elizabeth, a Canadian-American, wrote poetry. Together they created a warm, loving, and possibilities atmosphere for their children. Their daughter Elizabeth absorbed this atmosphere early in her life. The dates of some of her childhood poetry reflect this early influence. Elizabeth’s family preserved a poem included in her letter to a teacher that Betty, as she signed it, wrote on September 23, 1915, when she was only eleven years old.
Betty told the teacher that a row of thorn apples stood on her pantry shelf and “although their few and scanty,” there were just enough for her to share with the teacher. In the second verse, Betty tells her teacher that she has lots of love to spare and that she wants to share apples with the teacher. She ends the poem by saying that she hopes the teacher’s apple is not sour!
Her love of poetry and children motivated Elizabeth to enroll in the University of Michigan to prepare for a teaching career and in 1937, she accepted a position teaching elementary school in Lincoln Park Public Schools. On August 20, 1940, Elizabeth Upham married Canadian born farmer George “Mac” McWebb in Angola, Indiana. The newlyweds settled in South Rockwood where they operated a pharmacy for many years. Later they moved to a farm in Monroe that Elizabeth’s mother had left to Elizabeth and her brother Lorne.
Poetry, Prose, and a Petite Bear
Elizabeth McWebb’s imagination bubbled with stories to tell and she told them to friends and neighbors and children who flocked to the story hour at the Dorsch Memorial Library and to the Little Brown Bear House at the Monroe County Fair for generations. In the 1920s she wrote Prohibition poems like this one:
Once Mable found dear hubby Jack,
Rejoicing that whiskey was slack,
But when mending by chance,
She found in his pants,
Five tickets to Windsor and Back!
In the 1930s Aunt Bett continued to write poems and stories and tell them to children and adults. In 1942, she published her first Little Brown Bear story book, designed to teach children life lessons about cleaning up their rooms, facing their fears, being kind and polite and making friends. Little Brown Bear consisted of ten separate stories: Little Brown Bear Loses his Clothes; Little Brown Bear is Afraid of the Dark; Little Brown Bear’s April Fool’s Day; Little Brown Bear’s Surprise Party; Little Brown Bear Falls Asleep; Little Brown Bear Goes for a Ride; Little Brown Bear at the Fair; Little Brown Bear has a Party; Little Brown Bear Runs Away; and Little Brown Bear and the Christmas Tree.
During their 28-year marriage, Mac supported Elizabeth’s storytelling and writing. He acquired a playhouse from the Church family in Trenton and brought it to their South Rockwood home where it sat in her yard for years and served as a magic story house for children. She kept a trunk in her attic filled with old clothes for children to play dress up, and according to first hand reports, her treats included popsicles and olive sandwiches.
From South Rockwood, the playhouse followed them to their farm home on South Monroe Street in Monroe. When Elizabeth settled in her home on Tremont Street, she donated the playhouse to the Monroe County Fair. The Campfire Organization, the Monroe County Historical Society, and the Monroe County Library System helped her move the playhouse, which drew generations of children to the Monroe County Fair to hear her read and tell stories.
Aunt Bett, as everyone who encountered her and her stories called her, lived through her own sad stories Mac and Aunt Bett’s only child, a daughter Mary Ann, was born on May 23,1941, and she died on the same day she was born. Mac died on March 14, 1968. Through her sorrow, Aunt Bett kept telling and reading her stories. Her stories were published in Highlights for Children, Child Craft Books, and Children’s Textbook Readers. Her Little Brown Bear Books include Little Brown Bear published in 1942, 1978, and 1989; Adventures of Little Brown Bear and others included Little Brown Monkey published in 1949; and Grandmother’s Locket in 1985.
Aunt Bett’s Readers Add Chapters and a Statue to Her Stories
Aunt Bett’s numerous awards are stories in their own right. On May 25, 1978, the state of Michigan awarded her special recognition certificate. She received several certificates from the Monroe County Historical Society; awards from the Campfire Organization; the Monroe County Bar Association Liberty Bell Award in 1982; and the Cultural Affairs Award during Michigan Week in 1989.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, several groups in Monroe and Monroe County including the Monroe Art and Beautification Fund Committee, (MABFC) decided that Aunt Bett’s years of dedication to literacy, to her writing and art, and to her community should be recognized. Since so many generations of children loved and remembered her Little Brown Bear stories, they decided to cast a 300 pound Little Brown Bear in bronze and give him a permanent home in front of the Dorsch Library so that Aunt Bet’s friends and his admirers could have their pictures taken sitting beside him.
Dundee sculptor Devon Vergiels built a mountain of volunteer hours over several months shaping the Little Brown Bear statue in a West Monroe storefront window. The clay she used, the metal frame holding the clay together, and the computer engineering creating the statue were all donated. Devon said that the entire project had been faster than anyone anticipated. “It should be at least a year project, and this thing has come together in six or seven months.”
MABFC Committee member Bill Saul has a story of his own to tell about the casting of the statue. As Devon Vergiels sculpted the statue, Bill and another committee member, artist Dave Stahl, searched for a foundry capable of casting such a large statue. They found one in Petersburg, a small town on the River Raisin about 15 miles from Monroe. Daedalus Art Foundry owner Lynn Hayes spotted a book that Dave had tucked under his arm. She asked Dave what book he was carrying and Dave told her, “Little Brown Bear” and we are here to see if you can make a statue for Aunt Bett. “
Lynn told them that her mother had read her the Little Brown Bear books when she was a little girl in New York and that she had a shelf full of Aunt Bett’s books over her bed. She had no idea that Aunt Bett lived in Monroe. When she recovered from her astonishment, Lynn said that casting a statue of Little Brown Bear for Aunt Bett was a special opportunity. At the end of Lynn’s casting work, her mother became ill and she closed the foundry. Her last work was Little Brown Bear.
The Monroe Evening News and the Toledo Blade featured stories about the dedication of the statue of Little Brown Bear on Sunday, October 7, 2002, Over 300 people attended the ceremonies outside the Dorsch Memorial Library where Little Brown Bear sat with his chin resting in his paw.
Tributes to Aunt Bett piled up like presents under Little Brown Bear’s Christmas tree. Statue sculptor Devon Vergiels said that “there is no one more deserving of this than Aunt Bett.”
State Representative Randy Richardville of Monroe remembered Aunt Bett reading to him at the Dorsch library when he was a child. He said, “Monroe stands on the shoulders of a giant and that giant is Aunt Bett. You helped bring out the child in all of us…”
Many other adults who had grown up with Aunt Bett reading to them came to tell her what her reading and writing had meant to them as they grew up as well as groups of contemporary children seeking her autograph, a hug, and some of Aunt Bett’s famous verses. Monroe Mayor C.D. (Al) Cappuccilli gave Aunt Bett the key to the city of Monroe. First Lady of the United States Laura Bush sent her a letter, and people from all over the country wrote her letters and flowers. On October 3, 2002, Congressman John D. Dingell of the United States House of Representatives read a resolution honoring Elizabeth Upham McWebb, Aunt Bet, for her contributions to literacy, children’s literature, and to her community of Monroe, Michigan.
Aunt Bett’s reactions to these tributes ranged from “Oh my,” to “I feel like a rock star,” to “I don’t deserve all of this.”
After the ceremony, Aunt Bett sat on the log next to Little Brown Bear, and put her arm around his bronze shoulder. “He’s very well behaved,” she said.
The End of One Chapter and the Beginning of Another
The Monroe Evening News of January 30, 2004 published the news of the death of Elizabeth Upham McWebb, at age 99, reporting that she died at 2:14 p.m. on Thursday, January 24, 2004, at Tender Care of Monroe. Reverend Dean McGormley and Reverend Ellen McGormley, of the First Presbyterian Church officiated at her funeral services. She is buried alongside her husband and daughter in Woodland Cemetery in Monroe. Her nephew Norman Friedline of Rapid River, and three nieces, Jeanne Cominess of Monroe, Barbara Crocker of Rockwood and Patricia Wiegerink of West Branch survived her.
Aunt Bett bequeathed her gifts of imagination and storytelling to generations of children and adults, the most magical Christmas legacy that anyone can give.
The end Cliff Note of the poetic Little Brown Bear
Read Aunt Bett’s story to take you there.
Little Brown Bear imagines the fir tree parlor sitting,
While papa reads the newspaper and mama keeps rocking and knitting,
The fir tree convinced Brown Bear and his friends to wait,
When they started to drag it to town to decorate.
Instead, they brought ornaments to the fir where it stood,
Curled cranberry chains and a bright star looked good.
Forest creatures gathered in the warm sun,
Throwing popcorn chains at everyone.
Brown Bear imagines Aunt Bett spinning her stories still
Wishing everyone a Christmas full of joy and goodwill.
Henry Laurent fought in several wars to forget Vena Waldron, but after discovering a friend’s lie, he finally returned home to find her waiting for him.
In 1846 when the war between the United States and Mexico began, a young man from Pike County, Arkansas, named Henry Laurent and a young neighboring lady, Miss Vena Waldron, became engaged. Gradually Henry heard the guns of war and he felt it his duty to his country to enlist in the Army. He kissed his fiancé goodbye and went off to war. When Henry left, Vena vowed that she would never marry if he didn’t return.
Henry Fights in France and Russia
After Mexico City fell, Henry had a curious conversation with a fellow soldier and a neighbor. A neighbor named Ralph Mitchell came to Henry and told him that he had left Pike County after Henry did and that Vena had died a few days before he left.
Henry took the news of Vena’s death to heart. When the troops returned from Mexico in 1848, Henry didn’t come home with them. After he left the Army, he went to Cuba and from Cuba he went to Spain, England, Austria, Prussia, and France. When the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871 broke out, he joined the French Army and was seriously wounded at Metz.
After Henry recovered from his wound, the Franco-Prussian war was over and he stayed in France until the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878 broke out. Henry went to Russia and joined the Army. While trying to cross the Danube with a detachment of troops, he was shot through the lungs. He was in the hospital for a long time, but he finally recovered.
Ralph Mitchell Calls on Vena Waldron
Ralph Mitchell took a different path when the Mexican War ended. He returned to Pike County and called on Miss Vena Waldron. He told her that Henry, her fiancé, had strayed from the camp one night and a band of scouts killed him. Vena fell to the floor in a faint. When she regained consciousness, she developed a high fever. For months she tossed on her bed, dreading recovery worse than death. After a long illness, she finally regained her strength.
Ralph Mitchell called frequently on Vena during the time she was ill. One night while the bright moonlight shone of Vena’s pale face, Ralph confessed his devotion.“We have known each other from children and we have lived as neighbors,” Ralph told her. “You know me, my father and mother. I love you. Will you be my wife?”
Vena told Ralph that she respected and admired him, but she was engaged to Henry Laurent and always would be engaged to him.
“Then I will tantalize you no more. Laurent is not dead. My love for you caused me to deceive him. I told him that you were dead, and with a yell of despair, he left the army. I did this through love,” Ralph Mitchell confessed.
Vena Continues to Wait for Henry
Vena fell ill for a second time and when she recovered she learned that Ralph Mitchell had married a neighboring girl. The American Civil War came and went. Years passed and Vena laid her parents to rest and went to live with her brother. Other brothers grew up and married.
Vena lived in a small house with vines growing in the yard. She sat among them and dreamed. Summer flowed into winter and winter flowed into spring. The birds sang and the rabbits bounded in the meadows. Old songs and old memories swept Vena’s heart, still young and ardent despite her years.
One evening in October, 1879, Vena sat among the vines in her yard. Her brother had gone to the mill and she sat and dreamed. Then she started. An old man with a long beard and a tottering walk stood in front of the gate. He asked her if Mr. Waldron lived there. She invited him in. He came to the vine covered porch and sank down on a chair. He buried his face in his wrinkled hands.
“Old gentleman, can I do anything for you? You look so weary,” Vena said.
“That voice! Vena, don’t you know me? Henry has returned! "the old man exclaimed.
Vena fainted and the old man gently lifted the form of the old woman from the floor.
Vena’s brother returned. The moon rose and the old lovers walked out into the beautiful, polished peace of the night. They walked along the road, clasping hands. Vena opened a gate and they walked into a fenced in cemetery. They stopped at a grave.
“Bend over, Henry, and see if you can read the inscription,” Vena said.
Henry leaned over. Slowly he straightened up. “It is the grave of Ralph Mitchell.”
According to the newspaper account written in the sentimental nineteenth century style, Henry and Vena held hands across the grave and prayed, “Great God, we forgive the man who destroyed so many years of our happiness.”
A few days later in a little log church not far away, a beaming minister pronounced Henry Laurent and Vena Waldron man and wife.
The nineteenth century newspaper story concludes with another touch of nineteenth century sentimentality, but also with a touch of twenty first century realism: "Their story ends with a timeless truth. 'Nature says their lives will not continue but a few years longer. True sentiment says the few years will be happy ones.'”
Sedalia (Missouri) Weekly Bazoo Tuesday, October 28, 1879
Douglas Meed, The Mexican War 1846-1848, Osprey Publishing, 2002
Geoffey Wawro, The Franco-Prussian War: The German Conquest of France in 1870-1871, Cambridge University Press, 2003.
Gregory A. Boyd, Family Maps of Pike County, Arkansas, Norman, Oklahoma: Arphay Publishing, 2006.
I never dreamed that I would be posting this August column as an obituary for my beloved daughter Jill who died in a kayaking accident in Tennessee on August 29th. Please forgive the self indulgence, but I wanted to honor her.
In the last days of August
My daughter rode the river waves
And they caught her like life
Catches us all
Holding her tightly in its grip
Extracting final breath
Skipping her to the next life
Like sunlight shimmering on the water.
I should be unconditionally happy for her,
But sadness twist my soul
Like a river whitecap.
Until she shakes her finger and says,
That’s not what you taught me, Mom.
Marie Mackintosh hugged the Detroit River as close to her heart as she did her parents Angus and Mary Archange Baudry, dit Desbutes, dit Saint-Martin Mackintosh, and her 13 brothers and sisters. The clear, calm river flowed a few feet away from her home and her father’s store and storehouse on its banks on the Canadian side near present day Windsor, Ontario.
Marie’s father, Agnus Mackintosh, had purchased the land on the south bank of the Detroit River in 1796, shortly after the British had finally evacuated Detroit as they had agreed to do at the end of the Revolutionary War. He built a complex containing a store, a wharf, a storehouse and a rambling frame house on Sandwich Street, a few miles east of the home of John Davis to shelter his family and his business. He named their home Moy House and Marie often heard him telling is friends that even though his home stood east of Sandwich, it was the meaty center of the sandwich, not the outside crust.
Sandwich Town and Detroit City shared an interwoven history. Around 1796, Detroit celebrated its independence from British rule and British government moved across the Detroit River to Sandwich Town, which had been chosen as an administrative center and capital of Upper Canada (Ontario) to replace the original offices at Fort Ponchartrain in Detroit. When the British government officials left Detroit for Sandwich, they took hundreds of British loyalists with them, including lawyers, constables, and merchants like Angus McIntosh and his family.
The War of 1812 brought famous military leaders from both sides to Sandwich, including British General Isaac Brock, American Generals William Hull and William Henry Harrison, and Native American warriors like Tecumseh and Walk-in-the-Water. The War of 1812 also set the stage for the tragedy of Marie and her Canadian soldier.
Every night Marie walked along the riverbank and down her father’s wharf to watch the sunset dying the Detroit River into drops of many colors. She walked between the fruit trees that bloomed on both the Canadian and American sides of the water. Apple, mission pear, cherry and plum trees blossomed in spring, filling the air with their fragrance and offering fruit in the summer and fall. Sometimes in winter, Angus burned apple wood in the fireplace and its fragrance filled the house. On her Detroit River walks, Marie made her way through wild flowers and often saw deer in the surrounding woods and otter and muskrat along the River banks.
Every night while Marie watched the sunset over the Detroit River she thought about her sweetheart, a Canadian soldier with the British and Canadian forces stationed in Windsor. . The narrator of Maria’s story in Legends of Detroit identifies Maria’s sweetheart as Captain Muir, but Captain Muir doesn’t fit into the narrative of the Battle of Monguagon and Marie’s part in its aftermath, because he survived. A Lieutenant Charles Sutherland also fought in the battle, and he was wounded and he later died. Could her lover have been Lieutenant Sutherland?
Whether his name was Muir or Sutherland, or Brown, Marie loved the young Canadian officer who so far had been too timid to declare his love and ask for her hand in marriage. She thought about him constantly as she gazed over the calm waters of the Detroit River, turning over ways of making him brave enough to declare his love in her mind like she turned over stones on the sandy shores of the Detroit River. She waited through the spring and early summer for the Canadian officer to summon enough courage to speak his mind and heart to her.
While Marie waited for her Canadian officer to speak his mind, soldiers manning war canoes and larger vessels gathered on the banks of her Detroit River, determined to speak their minds and resolve the war between Great Britain and the United States and their Native American allies on each side. American General William Hull encountered the task of opening and defending a road between Detroit, Monroe, and Ohio to keep his Army supplied.
The 200 men of the 41st Regiment, 300 men of the Canadian Militia and the 50 soldiers of the Newfoundland Fencibles based at Amherstburg were equally determined to prevent his Army from receiving supplies and reinforcements. The Americans had lost their first attempt to move supplies down Hull’s trace at the Battle of Brownstown on August 5, 1812, even though they outnumbered the British and Canadians 8 to 1.
The Canadian Captain knew that the British and Canadian Army were planning a return engagement to keep the Americans in Detroit from receiving supplies and he knew that he would be a part of it. His knowledge gave him the courage to make a decision. He would declare his love to Marie and ask for her hand in marriage. After all, he could fight more effectively and courageously if Marie gave him her word and waited impatiently for him back in Sandwich. Her yes would propel him to certain victory in battle.
Anticipating her smile and her joyous acceptance of his proposal, the Captain journey to Moy and to his delight, found his lady love walking alone in the garden, an achievement in itself considering the size of her family and household. The Canadian Captain fired a fusillade of impassioned words at Marie’s heart, and held out his arms, expecting her to fall limply into them in surrender. Marie didn’t surrender. Instead, she looked at him cool as the ice on the winter River. “You took so long to speak that I no longer choose to hear what you are saying,” her glance told him. Her eyes glinted like chips of Detroit River ice when he asked for her hand in marriage. Then she laughed at him.
The Canadian officer hadn’t known how to melt the ice in Marie’s eyes and heart, but her laughter slashed his pride. He turned abruptly and ran from Marie and Moy House, possibly reasoning that battle would be a much safer choice than laughter from his sweetheart Marie. For her part, Marie couldn’t believe that he given up so easily. “He’s only piqued,” she thought. “He certainly must know that I love him. Why must men be so stupid and matter of fact, taking months to make up their minds to woo a girl? Then if she doesn’t immediately say yes, they let their wounded pride get in the way of a satisfactory answer. He’ll be back, she thought. He will certainly return.
The Canadian Captain did not return. Marie waited with all of her senses straining to hear his footsteps, but all she heard was silence. She felt a heart throb of alarm and hurried to the door. She called her Canadian Captain, but she heard only the mocking echo of his horses’ hooves as he galloped away. She called louder, she screamed, but he disappeared down the street in a flurry dust.
For the remainder of that day, thick clouds of impending doom choked Marie’s heart and mind. The clouds thickened when her father told her that a battle had taken place across the Detroit River in Monguagon. She sat late in front of the fireplace, hoping, praying that her lover’s anger would cool and he would return. She sat lonely by the fire until its dying embers prodded her into going to her room and bed.
Marie got into her curtained four poster bed and pulled the comforter up over her chin, but she couldn’t escape into sleep. Through the long ominous night hours, she despaired and often pounded her pillow. How could I have not told him of my feelings? She reproached herself, but then immediately reproached her lover. How could he not sense my feelings and understand how I wanted him to express his feelings?
Finally, toward morning, exhausted by her aching heart and her tears and questions with no satisfactory answers, Marie fell asleep. Muffled footsteps interrupted her uneasy slumber and sitting bolt upright, she pulled the curtains aside. Bright moonlight shone through her window and outlined the shape of her Canadian officer lover standing beside her bed. Inching closer to the edge of the bed to see him better, Marie saw with a heart stopping alarm that his face gleamed white as a corpse in the moonlight and blood oozed from a gaping wound in his forehead.
Before Marie could do more than tremble with fear and will herself to wake from the nightmare, her lover spoke to her. “Don’t be afraid, Marie. I came to tell you, I fell tonight in battle, shot through the head, and my body lies in a thicket on the battlefield. If you love me at all, I beg you to rescue my body from the hands of hostile Indians and from the wolves and beasts of the forest. I assure you that the Americans will not long exult. Traitors sit around their camp fires and listen to their councils. Our blood has not been shed in vain. The standard of old England will float again over Detroit. Farewell, may you be happy.”
As her Canadian officer spoke, he picked up her right hand and held it. A chilling sensation, colder than Detroit River ice and winter winds, cold as the grave, raced through her body. Marie fainted.
Marie awoke to the warmth of sunlight fingers touching her face and flooding her room as brightly as the moonlight had flooded it the night before. She jumped out of bed and quickly pulled on her corset and petticoats and dress. The night before! The night before had to have been a terrible nightmare. This very morning she would go to Colonel Isaac Brock’s camp and find her Canadian captain and tell him how she felt about him. She raised her right hand to fasten her top button and she stiffened with disbelief and fear. Her lover’s touch the night before had left his deep, dark, fingerprints on her hand. She stared at her right hand in horrified fascination. Her lover’s visit had not been a dream after all, and he had trusted her with an important mission.
Patting her hair into place with her left hand, Marie called for her horse, ordered a servant to follow her, and galloped to Sir Isaac Brock’s camp at Fort Malden. Formerly known as Fort Amherstburg, the British had built the fort in 1795 to provide a defense against any American invasion of Canada and Sir Isaac Brock and Tecumseh used it as a command post. Marie found the fort occupied by a jumble of soldiers and Indians. She soon discovered that her Canadian lover had been killed in what was called the Battle of Monguagon
American Lieutenant James Miller had assembled a 600 man strong contingent of the 4th Infantry, some militia and two pieces of artillery, a six pounder and a howitzer, to try again to reach the supply convoy waiting at Frenchtown. For their part, the British sent 150 men of the 41st Regiment of Foot, fifty militia, and about 200 of Tecumseh’s Indians to prevent the Americans from being resupplied. On August 8, 1812, the British crossed the Detroit River and established a blockade near the village of Monguagon, now Trenton. In the late afternoon of August 9, 1812, the British under Captain Adam Muir and Tecumseh fired the opening shots of their ambush and Lt. Miller quickly formed his men into a line, fired a volley, and advanced on the British with bayonets.
Second Lieutenant of Artillery James Dalliba who would later be surrendered as a prisoner of war in Canada, wrote that “The incessant firing in the centre ran diverging to the flanks. From the crackling of individual pieces it changed to alternate volleys and at length to one continued sound. And while everything seemed hushed amidst the wavering roll, the discharge of the six-pounder burst upon the ear. The Americans stood!”
The Battle of Monguagon lasted for more than two hours, with the British casualties numbering six killed and 21 wounded, and the Americans suffering 18 killed and 63 wounded. The Americans beat the British back through present day Trenton and across the Detroit River. The Indians under Tecumseh’s command retreated into the woods. Despite the American victory, Lt. Miller believed he couldn’t advance any further since he had lost 13 percent of his force, and he requested aid from General Hull to bring his injured men back to Detroit. By August 12, 1812, Lt. Miller’s soldiers returned to Detroit, their mission of hooking up with the supply train unsuccessful.
At the beginning of the War of 1812, the Michigan Wyandot fighting at Monguagon had been neutral, with both the British and American forces vying for their allegiance. Walk-in-the-Water offered his services to the Americans, but General Hull followed government policy and rejected their offer, telling the Wyandot to stay out of the fight or pay the consequences. Walk-in-the-Water and his people also did not join Shawnee brothers Tenskwatawa and Tecumseh in their efforts to halt American expansion onto Indian lands, but eventually Tecumseh and the British forced Walk-in-the-Water and the Wyandot to move to Amherstburg.
In early August 1812, Tecumseh and his leading Wyandot supporter Rouindhead, convinced the Wyandot and their head chief, Walk-in-the-Water to join the coalition of the Indians and the British. The alliance didn’t successfully drive the Americans away, but the Wyandot villages continued to block Hull’s Trace. Walk-in-the-Water fought at Monguagon, Detroit, and the River Raisin, but when General Procter evacuated the area in the fall of 1813, Walk-in-the-Water sued for a separate peace with the Americans. In 1815, Walk-in-the-Water signed the Treaty of Springwells, two years before his death in 1817.
On August 13, 1812, Major General Isaac Brock took command of Fort Malden and on August 16, 1812, he led the British troops and Chief Tecumseh and his Indian warriors across the Detroit River to march on Fort Detroit. The British and Indian force encouraged rumors that the Indian warriors were at least 5,000 strong and would swoop down on the civilian population of Detroit. General Hull surrendered Fort Detroit without firing a shot, sealing the fate of soldiers like Lt. James Miller and Lt. James Dalliba to become prisoners of war of the British. The successful siege of Detroit was pivotal in acquiring Indian support for the British at Fort Malden during the War of 1812.
Marie didn’t explain why she was at Ft. Malden in the aftermath of a battle. She didn’t stop to talk to anyone. She pushed through the crowd of soldiers and Indians, searching until she found Walk-in-the-Water, who was her father’s friend and her friend too, and she astonished him speechless by telling him the story of the Battle of Monguagon. Threatening to paddle a canoe across the Detroit River to the battlefield herself if necessary, she convinced him and a few of his warriors to take her to the battlefield.
As soon as she felt the bow of the canoe hit the beach, Marie jumped out and began to search the battlefield, Walk-in-the-Water hurrying behind her. Finally, she found her Canadian Captain in a thicket, with a bullet hole in his head. She begged the warriors to help her lift his body into her canoe and they formed a solemn procession down the Detroit River to Sandwich where her lover was buried.
From the day that she found her Canadian Captain at Monguagon, Marie wore a black glove on her right hand, and every August 9, dressed as a beggar and wearing sandals, she went from house to house from Sandwich to Windsor, asking alms for the poor. Even after she married a kind man of means, she continued to honor her Canadian Captain.
The Canadian Captain also keeps an eternal vigil. Every August 9, the anniversary of his death, the ghostly Canadian Captain glides through the shady woods of Monguagon, now Trenton, headed toward the Detroit River on a perpetual journey to Sandwhich and his sweetheart Marie.
 The account of this legend in Legends of Le Detroit says that Maria MacIntosh’s sweetheart is a man by the name of Captain Muir, but that is mixing legend with fact, which is a characteristic of most legends. Captain Adam Muir was involved in the Battle of Monguagon, but he was wounded, not killed. A Lt. Charles Sutherland also fought, but he, too, was wounded and later died. Since this is a legend not completely verifiable by fact, perhaps Maria’s sweetheart was an officer in the Canadian Militia which also participated in the battle. In fact, the British forces at Amherstburg which would later be involved in the Battle of Monguagon consisted of 200 of the 41st (The Welch) Regiment, 50 of the Newfoundland Fencibles, 300 of the Canadian militia and a few gunners.
 Lieutenant Charles Sutherland joined the 41st as lieutenant from the Newfoundland Fencibles on August 25, 1810.
Sergeant‑Major Adam Muir was appointed adjutant of the 41st Regiment on September 30, 1793 and embarked in that capacity with the battalion companies.
All Sarah wanted to do was help Pa, but she ended up stopping the school bully!
Something that Ma and Pa called The Depression had come to Canton where Sarah lived. It swept through the flour mill where Pa worked, and when The Depression left town, the flour mill stood empty and many houses stared at the street with empty window eyes. The Depression forced Pa to work at the livery stable shoveling horse manure and it made Ma cry.
The Depression made Sarah and her sister Polly go barefoot all summer.
Sarah swished through the damp green grass to pick a bouquet of flowers for Ma. She squished the grass between her toes. She felt the warm dirt tickle her feet. Sarah didn’t want to wear shoes.
Then the leaves dancing in coats of many colors warned everyone in Canton that fall had arrived for its yearly visit. Ma looked at Sarah and said, “My, my, Sarah. We need to buy you a pair of shoes.”
Pa didn’t say anything. He just looked worried. Sarah knew he was thinking about the Depression. Sarah wanted to make Pa smile again, so she said, “Don’t worry, Pa. I have an extra pair of shoes to wear.”
She patted Pa on the shoulder. “I’ll wear them tomorrow, Pa, so you and Ma won’t have to worry anymore.”
Later that day Sarah crept out to Pa’s workshop in the shed. She had seen an old pair of boots behind the door. She would wear them to school so that Pa wouldn’t worry about her bare feet.The next morning Sarah slipped Pa’s old boots on her feet and started off for school. As she walked along she wrinkled her nose. “Something smells funny,” she said to the red and yellow autumn leaves.
“Something smells funny,” Elmer the play ground bully said as Sarah walked up to the swings. “Sar-ahah, smells! Sar-aah smells,” Elmer shouted.
Sarah played on the swings all by herself, and when the bell rang to go into school, she walked in by herself. No one wanted to get near Sarah and her smelly boots.
When Sarah sat down at her desk, everyone around her moved over a seat.
Her teacher Mrs. Bertram called Sarah up to her desk.
“One of last year’s students left a pair of sandals in the cloakroom, Sarah. They look like they are just your size. Hurry and change into them so we can have our spelling bee.”
Sarah slipped the sandals on her feet and she left the smelly boots in the cloakroom. She hurried back into class and this time everyone stayed in the seats around her. At lunch time when Sarah went into the cloakroom to get her lunch box, she saw that Pa’s boots were gone.
“Where did my boots go, Mrs. Bertram? Pa will be upset if I lose them!”
“I put them in the furnace room. Mr. Eagan will watch them until you’re ready to go home.”
After school, Sarah put the sandals back in the cloak room and hurried downstairs in her bare feet. She sat down on the furnace room floor and pulled on Pa’s boots.
Elmer and Spike followed Sarah home from school. Spike shouted, “Sarah smells like a frog!”
Elmer shouted, “Sarah smelly boots! Sarah, smelly boots!”
Sarah slipped into Pa’s workshop and put the boots back where she had found them that morning. Sarah hurried into the kitchen to help Ma peel potatoes for supper.
“What’s Elmer yelling about?” Ma asked. “I could hear him all of the way in here. It sounds like he’s saying Sarah Smelly Boots!”
“He’s just being a stupid boy, Ma. Let’s get supper.”
Pa and Ma and Polly and Sarah sat at the table eating supper.
Polly sniffed. “I smell a horsey,” she said.
Ma sniffed. “I smell coffee.”
Sarah sniffed. “I don’t smell anything.”
Pa didn’t sniff, but he smiled at Sarah and said, “I don’t think it’s horse manure that you smell. I know it’s horse manure!”
Sarah knew that Pa knew she had borrowed his boots. After dinner, Sarah followed Pa out to his shop. The boots were sitting on his work bench and he was rubbing something that looked like soap into them.
“The boots don’t smell like manure. They smell like your cherry pipe tobacco.” Sarah said.
"My boots smell like horse manure because I work in a stable with horses every day,” Pa said. He laughed. “They are an old pair and if you had told me you were going to wear them to school, I would have cleaned them up a little.”
“I don’t mind the smell, Pa. I’ll wear them to school every day.”
“Here, Sarah, help me rub some of this linseed oil into the boots. That will help get rid of the smell.”
Sarah helped Pa rub the oil into his boots. Then they polished them with some boot polish that Pa had in his storage cupboard.
“What are you doing to do with the boots when we get them cleaned up?” Sarah asked Pa.
“What would you do with them?” Pa asked. “I don’t use them anymore because I have a new pair and I can only wear one pair of boots at a time.”
“I’d trade them for something,” Sarah said. “Mrs. Bertram said that people are using the barter system a lot now because there’s not much money around.”
“That’s true,” Pa said. “What should a barter them for?”
“There’s a pair of sandals at school I could wear until it snows. Then I could wear the boots. I’ll ask Mrs. Bertram if I can barter the boots for the sandals,” Sarah said.
Sarah and Pa cleaned and polished the smelly boots, which didn’t smell at all by the time they finished. The next morning Sarah wore the boots to school again.
“Oh my, “Mrs. Bertram said. “You have cleaned those boots up enough so you can barter them.” She stared at Sarah’s feet. “They look rather nice and they don’t smell a bit.”
At recess, Elmer came over to Sarah his nose wrinkled for a smell. He shouted “Sarah smelly boots.”
Then he stopped and sniffed. “I don’t smell your boots.”
“That’s because I don’t have them on. I’m wearing my new sandals.”
You gonna put on the smelly boots after school?” Elmer asked her.
“No, I bartered the boots for these sandals and for a pair of girl’s boots for winter,” Sarah told him.
“Bartered? What do you mean bartered?”
“You need to listen in class a lot better,” Sarah said, sticking out her tongue at
Elmer. “Traded! I traded the boots that don’t smell anymore.”
“Oh yeah, who did you trade them to?” Elmer asked her.
I made a deal with Mrs. Bertram. I traded Pa’s boots and saved his pride and Mrs. Bertram helped me. I didn’t ask her who she traded with. “
Sarah stuck her tongue out at Elmer again and ran to the swings. Her new sandals were easier to run in than Pa’s old boots.
The next morning Sarah got to school early because she could run so fast in her new sandals. She jumped on the swings and was climbing into the sky. She could see all the way across the street from the school Elmer’s house.
The red door of Elmer’s house opened and Elmer ran out onto the sidewalk carrying his school books. He tripped over a crack in the sidewalk and fell flat on top of his bag. Sarah watched him pull up his boots and get back up on his feet.
“Sarah’s smelly boots!” she yelled at the top of her voice, but Elmer didn’t hear her.
Sarah smiled. He’d be wearing his bartered boots all winter so she had plenty of time to tease him!
Surrounded by Mother's Day and Dreading it? Six Healing Ideas to Keep the Celebration of Mom's Day Less Painful
Mother’s Day can be a sad day for a child without a mother or a mother without a child, but it can also be filled with happy memories and reaching out to others.
Sarah stares at her mother’s picture sitting on her bookcase and sobs. She doesn’t know how she will get through this first Mother’s Day without her. Janet has the opposite problem. Her son was killed in a tragic accident and this will be the first Mother’s Day she won’t have a living child.
Both women feel isolated and sad and surrounded by Mother’s Day and these experiences aren't isolated. Many childless mothers and motherless children find Mother's Day to be a painful and emotionally difficult holiday.
Mother's Day Can be Sad and Happy
Mother’s Day can be a sad day for a child to be without a mother or for a mother to be without a child. Mothers talk excitedly about their plans with their children and show off mother’s day cards and gifts. Children make cards and gifts and make plans to take their mothers out to dinner.
Television, radio, and magazine advertisements ceaselessly promote Mother’s Day. But Mother’s Day doesn’t have to be a traumatic day spent in solitary grieving. It can be filled with memories that bless and burn and heal. It can be filled with supportive family and friends. It can also be day of reaching out to others. Both Sarah and Janet have developed strategies to help them survive and even enjoy Mother's Day.
Turn Memories into Mementos
Working with photos, letters, and other memorabilia makes the absent person feel closer and eases the ache of missing them. Writing personal recollections of the person is therapeutic and a good legacy for family members. A memory book can be put on line, on a CD, or in a scrap book.
Wearing something that belonged to that special person like a ring, a favorite sweater, earrings, a tie or scarf, can provide a sense of continuity and comfort. Sarah has decided to wear her mother's favorite sweater on Mother's Day.
Enjoy Mother Earth and Mother Nature
Doing something for the Earth as simple as picking up trash in the park or some other positive Mother’s Day activity that helps the earth is healing. Enjoying Mother Nature on Mother’s Day with physical exercise like biking, swimming, canoeing, or just taking a walk will help keep the day in proportion. Janet’s son liked to cycle, so taking a bicycle ride on Mother’s Day morning seemed a fitting tribute to Janet and eased her into the rest of the day.
Nurture Yourself by Doing Activities You Enjoy
Reading is one of Sarah’s favorite activities and reading in a warm tub sends her to stratospheric heights. She has decided to read her favorite novel for two hours in the tub on Mother’s Day evening. Doing a favorite activity on a Mother’s Day is a stress reliever.
A long meditation walk or private time and then a time with family or friends can be good therapy, especially on the first Mother’s Day after a loss. Sarah plans to take a walk sometime on Mother’s Day morning before she goes out to brunch with friends.
Plant a Living Memorial and Have a Memorial Celebration
Sarah chose a corner of her garden and planted rows of her mother’s favorite Marigolds. She also inherited her mother’s house plants and carefully tends them. Janet planted a spruce tree in her backyard in her son’s memory. It had been their Christmas tree the Christmas before he was killed. Planting a tree, shrub, flowers, is a living memorial and the act of tending them is as therapeutic as writing about them.
Take flowers, candy, or presents to someone your loved one knew and loved. Have a memorial conversation and lunch with them and celebrate your loved one’s life and the precious memories left behind. Laugh often about the humorous events. Janet had lunch with her son’s best friend and his mother. They laughed heartily about the time her son pitched six innings and as soon as the coach relieved him he had to race to the Port-a-Pottie for some relief of his own. It’s a memory that burns, but the laughter helps ease the pain.
Visit Someone Who Needs You
On Mother's Day, visit someone who needs a foster daughter or a son. Nursing homes always need volunteer visitors, especially on special days. Shut-ins from church welcome caring visitors. Sarah is going to visit an elderly lady from her synagogue on Mother’s Day afternoon.
There are many children who need a caring adult in their lives.. Volunteer at a local school or day care center. Janet signed up to conduct the story hour at the local library one day a month. She feels that is a loving memorial to her son who loved to read.
Lean on and Use Faith in a Higher Power
Sarah went to her synagogue the day before Mother’s Day and Janet is going to Church on Mother’s Day. They both say that spending totally on your own resources can be draining and depressing and they both stress that grief on Mother's Day or any other day doesn't completely fade, but actively managing Mother's Day
Sarah and Janet suggest taking one day at a time, especially Mother's Day. It is perfectly normal to slip and slide emotionally on special days. Be kind to yourself when you lapse, pick yourself up and move ahead with hope in your heart. They both emphasize that there is no magic way to make Mother's Day the way it used to be, but taking charge of the day instead of it taking charge of you is a step toward healing. And, they both agree that eventually acceptance and even a glimmer of joy comes as surely as Mother's Day does every year.
Sharon W. Betters, Treasures in Darkness: A Grieving Mother Shares her Heart, P & R Publishing, 2005.
In 1952, Taylor. Michigan resident Lillian Ricker used her faith and determination to help disadvantaged children to create Penrickton, a nursery school for blind children. Penrickton grew and expanded to include children with at least one other disability and it still operates as a vital 21st century resource with a reach far beyond Taylor.
The 1948 Polk’s Dearborn Directory lists A.P. Ricker as a distributor of J.R. Watkins Quality Products. He and his wife Lillian Ricker lived at 6801 Jackson in Taylor Township. The Rickers had two daughters and a son, and by 1952 their children were grown up and living on their own.
Living her philosophy of “I’d rather wear out than rust out,” Lillian decided to take a job as a babysitter for the twin daughters of Mr. And Mrs. Thomas Penman who lived next door. The Penman twins, Sandra and Patricia, had been born prematurely and their 1953 medical prognosis foretold a limited life for both of them. According to some accounts, when Sandra was ten months old constant care and medicine restored her sight, but Patty remained blind and could not walk, talk, or eat solid foods.
Doctors at the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor told the Penmans that they felt 2 ½ -year-old Patty was also brain damaged. Mrs. Penman had to take a job to help pay the medical expenses for the Penman twins and Lillian Ricker, their next door neighbor, agreed to babysit for them. Lillian Ricker didn’t accept the verdict of the University of Michigan doctors. She took the twins firmly in hand and in a matter of weeks she had taught Patty Penman to take her first steps and speak her first words, The 1962 Associated Press Newspaper story by A.F. Mahan says that Sandy developed normally or “at least as normally as a blind child can.” Other stories, like the 1954 Benton Harbor News Palladium story say that Sandy’s sight was restored and she developed normally.
Mrs. Ricker’s curriculum for Patty Penman included taking her to a neighborhood grocery store. The store manager Jess Marody kept track of Patty’s progress and one day he took Ms. Ricker aside and told her that he was a member of the Taylor Township Lion’s Club. He asked her to visit Mrs. Margaret Wiggington and her
six-month-old blind daughter Marcia. Lillian found herself teaching three little blind girls and insisting they do things for themselves. Jess Marody continued to track Mrs. Ricker’s results and he eventually asked her if she could teach some other blind pupils one day a week. She committed herself to meeting every Saturday at the Eureka Fire Hall in Taylor Township with any mothers bringing their blind children. On the first meeting day, 11 mothers and 11 babies greeted Mrs. Ricker.
Word of the Eureka Fire Hall meetings spread and the Parent Teacher Association of Fletcher School invited Mrs. Ricker to tell its members about her program. “I had absolutely no idea then of starting a school,” she said. “Why, I’m not even a qualified teacher.”
Grocer Jess Marody and the Taylor Lions thought differently. They made a bargain with Lillian: if she would start a school for blind children they would give a benefit party to help fund the school. They raised $3,000 for the new school and pledged one-third of the Lion’s income for an indefinite period of time.
Before she opened Penrickton, Lillian Ricker traveled to Los Angeles to visit a nursery school for the blind there and returned to Taylor, stronger in her dedication to give every blind child an opportunity to learn and wondering how many desperate parents she could possibly help. Lillian assured the parents of her prospective students and the students themselves that “If you can get to us we’ll try to help you with some program.” Her therapy usually began with encouraging parents to plan the future of their child with hope instead of despair.
Lillian decided to call her new school Penrickton, a combination of the Penman, Ricker, and Wiggington. Lillian and 13 pupils and a former public school teacher with twenty years of experience, Mrs. Vera Gaertner, opened the first day of school at St. Paul’s Evangelical and Reformed Church in Taylor. The maximum school tuition was $25.00 a week, and the minimum set at $5.00, although Lillian allowed people who didn’t have the tuition to pay it with kitchen, office, or maintenance work.
Since Lillian firmly believed that she and her school needed a real schoolhouse, she continued to agitate for one and she badgered the Taylor Township Board into
donating land for a school. The Wiggingtons donated an acre of land for a new school. Parents of pupils and former pupils established a building fund and by 1956, Penrickton moved into a sunlit, 18 room, $155,000 home. By now, the school also owned $4,500 in play equipment and Sparkey, a pony, and a cart.
Lillian Ricker’s successful educational methods for teaching blind children began to attract national attention. Even though her education had ended with high school, Lillian found herself lecturing psychologists, educators, and nurses, many
of them with doctorates.
In 1959, Wayne State University awarded her a scholarship to a seminar in childhood development and she lectured at a 1962 Institutional Seminar at Walden Woods, Michigan. She was the only one among 63 psychologists and educators to never have gone to college. Some professionals criticized. Lillian for not having more professional educators and doctors on her staff, but she replied that she always had professional consultants and she called them whenever she needed them.
In his June 1962 story about Penrickton in the Ocala Star Banner which the Associated Press distributed across the county, A. F. Mahan stressed Lillian’s faith.
He wrote that on a recent Friday after Lillian wrote the payroll checks, Penrickton had $178 in the bank with another $800 payroll looming for the next Friday. Since the school operated primarily on donations from individuals and organizations with no public funds, making ends meet always concerned her. Where would she get payroll and grocery money for the next week?
“I don’t know but I hope it comes. I’ve got several on my staff who are wonderful Christians and they help me pray. And there’s the bank which had $4,700 worth of faith in us when we just had to have it once. I guess you might say,” she added, “we just run on faith.”
In June 1962, both the Ocala Florida Star Banner and the Spartanburg South Carolina Herald Journal recorded that Lillian’s health was deteriorating. In fact, in a tragic twist of fate, the teacher of blind children was now nearly blind herself. She had suffered stretches of ill health her entire life, beginning with a childhood bout of rheumatic fever that damaged her heart. In 1955, she had suffered an operating table heart attack, and in 1960 an operation for cancer. The childhood rheumatic fever returned and she developed ulcers on her corneas which drastically affected her sight. She now used a Braille wristwatch, but she continued to operate her school and teach her pupils.
The September 25, 1962, Benton Harbor News Palladium reported the story of Lillian’s legal battle with an insurance agent from Manistee, Michigan, who told her that he was the executor for the estate of a wealthy Manistee woman who had listed Penrickton as a possible beneficiary of $13,000 dollars. He said he had the power to decide which charitable bequests to award and for a bribe of $1,300 he would award a bequest to Penrickton. Outraged, Lillian sued him and after a two month court battle, the judge awarded Penrickton the money.
"Glory be, now we can pay our debuts and maybe operate two or three months without worrying,” Lillian said.
An item in the Michigan Troubadour, the newsletter for the Michigan District of the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in American, Inc., noted a donation to Penrickton in its January 1963 issue. On Sunday afternoon, December 9, 1963, the Detroit Chapter #1 and their ladies attended the annual Christmas Buffet Supper at the Penrickton Nursery School for Visually Handicapped Children.
The Detroit Chapter partially supported Penrickton and Chapter President Art Schulze presented Mrs. Lillian Ricker a check for $691.00. Donald Cardinal, one of the blind instructors at Penrickton, and alumni and students presented a program, with Mrs. Ricker, founder and director, acting as M.C. The entire Motor City Chorus with conductor Bob Craig sang several songs and closed with
Christmas carols. Several hundred donors and interested parties attended the event.
Individuals and service clubs like the Taylor Lions Club donated funds and helped build Penrickton’s original brick building. After a modest renovation in the 1980s, Penrickton undertook a 2.1 million dollar expansion that was completed in 2001. Charitable donations from individuals, service clubs, corporations, and foundations funded the expansion.
On November 14, 2008, the center held a Mortgage Burning Party for the completed project, although many parts of the building still need updating.
Over more than fifty years of operation, Penrickton Center has adapted its programs serving visually impaired children. In the late 1950s, the Center added a five day residential program and in the early 1960s, it incorporated a trailblazing program for blind children with one additional handicap.
In the 21st century, Penrickton specializes in teaching blind children ages one through twelve with one additional handicap included deafness, cerebral palsy, brain damage,developmental delay and seizures.
Lillian Ricker’s faith and perseverance are as enduring as the red bricks in the first Penrickton building and her legacy is still changing the lives of countless children in the 21st century.
Stagecoach Mary Delivered the Mail in Cascade, Montana
Mary Fields valued friendship and loyalty enough to uproot her life for them. She also toted a gun, drank hard liquor, and made flower bouquets for her baseball team.
A picture of Stage Coach Mary Fields with a dog at her feet projects the gentle virtues of friendship. love, and loyalty, and these virtues motivated Mary throughout her life. The gun that she is holding and the myriad of documented sources that say she used it frequently and effectively, highlights some of the other elements of her personality including brashness and courage.
Born into Slavery, Mary Bonds with Her Friend Sara Therese Dunne
Mary’s career was as checkered as her personality. She began her life as a slave in Arkansas and ended it as a babysitter in Cascade, Montana. In between she worked at a convent in Toledo, Ohio, fought a duel and won countless fistfights, drank hard liquor, wore men’s clothes, smoked black cigars and delivered mail by stagecoach. She overcame the obstacles of being black and female in 19th Century America and served as a vital example of the pioneering spirit that settled the West.
Life for Mary began in 1832 or 1833- she didn’t know exactly which year so she always celebrated two birthdays. Accounts of her birth state- some say Arkansas and some say Tennessee- and owners differ.
Some sources say an Arkansas family by the name of Warner owned Mary and one of the daughters of the Warner family married a Dunne. Other sources have it that Mary was the confidential servant of Judge Dunne, the oldest brother of Sara Therese Dunne, and Mary and Sara formed a close relationship. However it happened, Mary became acquainted with Sara Therese Dunne and eventually followed Sara to the Ursuline Convent in Toledo, Ohio. Sara Therese Dunne ultimately became Mother Amadeus.
Mary Hurries to Montana to Nurse Mother Amadeus
By the time Mary Fields stepped off of the train in Toledo, Ohio, in 1878, she stood tall and muscled and weighed over 200 pounds. Mary quickly set about making friends and carving her niche in convent life. She did laundry, bought supplies, managed the kitchen, tended the garden and grounds, and endeared herself to the sisters.
Life at the Ursuline convent moved along smoothly for Mary until 1884, when Mother Amadeus went west to Montana to open a school for Blackfeet Indian girls at St. Peter’s Mission near Cascade, Montana. The harsh climate and primitive living conditions at the school took their toll on Mother Amadeus’ health and the Ursuline sisters in Toledo received a message that Mother Amadeus lay dying in a crude log cabin.
Mary Fields hurried to Montana to see her friend. She nursed Mother Amadeus back to health and settled in to work. Mary helped build a new stone convent for the sisters and after eight years the convent was finally finished and Mary and the sisters moved from their log cabins into the convent. Mary hauled the freight for the convent, guiding her team through dangers she had not imagined in Toledo.
One time a pack of wolves frightened her team and they upset her load of supplies into the snow. Mary stood guard over them all night. On another trip, a blizzard overtook them and Mary walked herself and the team back and forth all night to keep them all from freezing to death.
Mary Delivers the Mail by Stagecoach
If Mary had been less brash and hot tempered and frequented the saloons less often, she might have spent the rest of her days peacefully at the convent with the nuns that she adored and who adored her. Her impetuous nature didn’t allow that to happen. She constantly argued with the hired men. In fact, the story goes that she fought a duel with one of them.
People who didn’t see Mary’s faithful and loyal heart under the bluster and swearing complained about her to the territorial bishop and he ordered the sisters to “send that black woman away.”Mary stormed all the way to Helena to see the Bishop “to make him bring witnesses to swear what they have said against me.” Her efforts didn’t soften the Bishop’s heart and he removed her from the convent because of her “sinful life.”
The nuns had to obey the Bishop, so a broken-hearted Mary left the convent. Mother Amadeus tried twice to set Mary up in the restaurant business, but Mary’s kind heart made her business fail. She continually fed people who couldn’t pay and carried so much credit on her books that she couldn’t stay in business.
Mother Amadeus, probably behind the Bishop’s back, went to the government and convinced them to give Mary the stagecoach mail route from Cascade, Montana, to the convent. For eight years Stagecoach Mary drove the stage coach mail route, proudly wearing her male clothes, smoking her black cigars, and never missing a day of work.
Mary is the Cascade Baseball Team's Mascot
In 1903, the Church sent Mother Amadeus to Alaska to found a new mission and Stagecoach Mary didn’t have the heart to continue delivering the mail. Mary Fields pushed close to 70 when she stopped her mail route to start a laundry business in town, but she hadn’t lost her bluster. One day when she sat drinking in a Cascade bar, a man came in who owed her a $2.00 laundry bill. She chased him down an alley, caught him, and thoroughly punched him. Then she returned to her seat at the bar reporting, “He doesn’t owe me two dollars anymore.”
Mary’s laundry business burned in 1912, and the townspeople donated time, labor, and materials to rebuild it and her home. The people of Cascade loved Stagecoach Mary and invited her to eat for free at the local hotel. She became the mascot of Cascade’s baseball team in her old age. She made buttonhole bouquets for each player with flowers from her own garden and full bouquets for the home run hitters.
In her final years, Stagecoach Mary worked as a babysitter, charging $1.50 a day. She spent nearly all of the money she earned buying candy for the children of Cascade.
When Stagecoach Mary died in 1914 at the age of either 81 or 82, the townspeople of Cascade turned out for her funeral. They buried her at the foot of the mountains near the winding road that led to the mission and convent that she had loved so well.
Robert Miller. The Story of Stagecoach Mary Fields (Silver Burdett Press, 1995)
Article in Ebony 32 (October 1977), pp.96-98.
The birth control pill is the practical symbol of women's power, but it took two dedicated men, a childless woman and Margaret Sanger to make it possible\
May 10 marks anniversary – the 56th- of the birth control pill in America. The Searle Pharmaceutical Company had introduced Enovid which was the first commercial oral contraceptive or birth control pill in 1957, and the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the birth control pill on Tuesday, May 10, 1960 .
Natazia, a Descendant of Enovid is Approved
Another birth control bill anniversary occurred on May 6, 2010, when the Food and Drug Administration approved Bayer AG’s new birth control pill Natazia. Already licensed in Europe under the brand name, Qlaira, Natazia is the first four-phase oral contraceptive marketed in the United States. Natazia delivers different doses of the hormones progestin four times during each 28 day cycle.
According to Dr. Scott Monroe of the FDA, nearly 12 million women in the United States and more than 100 million worldwide currently use oral contraceptives.”
The social and cultural effects of the original birth control Enovid, and its empowerment of women are still causing ripples in the United States and around the world.
CBS Poll Finds a Majority Believes Birth Control Pill Has Had Significant Impact on Society
A CBS news poll conducted on May 4 and 5th, 2010, found approximately 52 percent of the American public believes that the birth control pill has been one of the most significant medical developments of the last fifty years.
Most Americans say that the birth control pill has significantly impacted American society and the lives of individual women, helping them enter the work force and giving them control of their reproductive lives. Fifty nine percent of men, 54 percent of women, and 54 percent of women who have ever taken the pill say that the birth control pill has improved women’s lives.
Dispensing Contraceptives and Birth Control Information was Illegal in the 1950s
The 1950s were a decade of technological wonders and miracle drugs, but the scientific world still bowed to cultural and legal pressures when it came to contraceptives. Cultural institutions like churches feared that widely available contraceptives would produce sexual anarchy. Many people believed that fear of pregnancy was the most effective birth control pill.
One of the most outspoken advocates of birth control, Margaret Sanger, spoke from personal experience. Her mother had become pregnant 18 times, born eleven live children, and died at age 49. This life was common in 19th century America, and because of her mother’s experience and her poverty stricken childhood, Margaret Sanger dreamed of a simple pill that would make it possible for women to control their pregnancies. She challenged the Comstock Laws that made selling contraceptive devices and distributing birth control information illegal.
Margaret Sanger and Katharine Dexter McCormick Meet Gregory Pincus
Margaret Sanger challenged the Comstock Laws by repeatedly breaking them and going to jail, and women who were desperate for birth control information and means enthusiastically supported her.
In the spring of 1953, Margaret Sanger and her friend Katharine Dexter McCormick, 78, met reproductive physiologist, Gregory Pincus at a laboratory in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. He had made important discoveries about the hormone progesterone involved in human reproduction, but because he believed in birth control technology his alma mater Harvard had denied him tenure and Searle, the company he worked for, had deemed him a failure. He tested the effects of progesterone on rabbits and found it effective in preventing pregnancy, but he couldn’t legally test it on humans.
Birth Control a Precondition of the Liberation of Women
Katharine McCormick had earned a degree in biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and both she and Margaret Sanger and embraced a feminism that said that women could not be truly liberated without birth control and that women had to be enabled to control birth control technologies. Katharine’s training in biology enabled her to ask Gregory Pincus intelligent questions about his work, and she wrote him a check for $40,000, promising more to come.
Eventually, Pincus enlisted the help of Dr. John Rock, one of the most respected infertility specialists in the country and a devoted Catholic. In 1954, he convinced Dr. Rock to test progesterone in the form of a pill on a group of 50 women under the guise of conducting an infertility study. Not one of the women ovulated.
Birth Control Pill Trials in Puerto Rico
There were no Comstock Laws in Puerto Rico, and although the majority of its citizens were Catholic, women were mostly concerned with quality of everyday life for themselves and their children. The women of Rio Piedras, a new housing project, eagerly participated in the first widespread trial of the contraceptive pill in April 1956. After a nine month trial, Dr. Rock and his Puerto Rican colleagues reported that the pill was 100 percent effective.
Despite Reservations, Searle Manufactures and Markets the Pill
It took Gregory Pincus another year to convince Searle to manufacture the pill, because Searle was both tempted and terrified of the pill. They could see the financial boon of manufacturing a pill that millions of healthy women would take for their entire reproductive lives, but also in the 1950s Roman Catholics comprised 25 percent of the American population.
Searle and other drug companies were terrified that if they produced and marketed a birth control pill, the Catholic population would not buy it and they would boycott its other products. Finally in 1957, Searle took a tentative step and released the pill under the name of Enovid, advertising it as a treatment for menstrual disorders. Everyone knew that the pill suppressed ovulation and over the next two years, 500,000 women got prescriptions for the pill.
On May 11, 1960, seven years after Katharine McCormick gave Gregory Pincus his first check, the FDA approved the birth control pill. As Gregory Pincus had told Margaret Sanger and Katharine McCormick, “everything is possible in science.”
Lucy Parsons - "More Dangerous Than A Thousand Rioters"1/4/2016
In the 1920s, the Chicago Police Department described Lucy Parsons as “More dangerous than a thousand rioters.”
I hope even now to live to see the day when the first dawn of the new era of labor will have arisen, when capitalism will be a thing of the past, and the new industrial republic, the commonwealth of labor, shall be in operation.”
— Lucy Parsons
Placed in a larger historical context, Lucy Parsons is an example of a controversial radical woman who appears infrequently if at all in the historical record although she helped to write it. In the context of her late Nineteenth, early Twentieth Century life time, she grappled with the obstacles of being a woman, a labor movement radical, and being married to an equally controversial man.
Leaving Albert Parsons out of an account of Lucy Parson’s life and adventures is to skew her life and its contribution to women’s history. Husbands and wives impact each other and their marriage imprints history for better or worse, and in the case of the Parsons partnership, Lucy and Albert Parsons mutually benefitted each other. They also conducted their individual lives and deaths in keeping with their ideals.
Albert Parsons died at the end of a hangman’s noose for his supposed part in the Haymarket Riot and for nearly 70 years Lucy Parsons fought for the rights of poor and disenfranchised people against what she believed to be an oppressive industrial economic system. Her struggle required immense courage during a time of racist and sexist sentiment and in a time when even radical Americans believed that a woman should be confined in her home and her kitchen.
Albert Parsons, Before He Met Lucy Ella Gonzales Waller
Born in Montgomery, Alabama, on June 24, 1848, Albert Richard Parsons was one of ten children of the owner of a shoe and leather factory. Both of his parents died when he was just five years old and Albert’s older brother William and Esther, a slave, helped raise him in Texas. After he attended school for about a year, Albert went to work as an apprentice at the Galveston Daily News. While still a teenager, Albert served in the Confederate Army including a stint in Parson’s Mounted Volunteers.
After the Civil War, Albert settled in Texas, attending college at what is now Baylor University and working on several other newspapers. He became an activist for former slaves and a Republican overseer of Reconstruction which earned him the admiration and respect of the former slaves he championed and the hatred of his fellow southerners and the Ku Klux Klan. In what seemed to him a natural crossover, he also became interested in the rights of workers.
In 1869, Albert worked as a traveling correspondent and business agent for the Houston Daily Telegraph and during this time he met Lucy Ella Gonzales Waller. They were married in 1872, and Lucy Parsons, a political force in her own right joined her destiny with her political mentor and partner. Their marriage not only produced an interesting combination of political ideas, it also committed what southerners, especially Ku Klux Klan members, called miscegenation.
The South enforced both legal and social laws against miscegenation or racial mixing through marriage or cohabitation. That Lucy Ella Gonzales Waller, the daughter of a Creek Indian and a Mexican woman, married Albert Parsons, still a white man despite his unorthodox ideas, did not set well with the Klan and their ideological sympathizers. Shortly after their marriage, the Parsons prudently moved to Chicago.
Lucy Ella Gonzales Waller Matures and Marries Albert Parsons
Although the early years of Lucy Ella Gonzales Waller are shrouded in mystery, the historical record revealed that she came from African America, Native American, and Mexican ancestry. Since she was born in Texas around 1853, her parents were probably slaves. Lucy quickly learned to function in her prejudiced society by using different names. Often giving Lucy Gonzales as her name, she used her Mexican ancestry to explain her dark skin tone instead of acknowledging her African American roots.
While Lucy was living with Oliver Gathings, a former slave, she met Albert Parsons and soon she and Albert were married, although their marriage probably wasn’t legal because of the miscegenation laws of the time. In 1872, shortly after their marriage, the Parsons left Texas because of their political involvement and their interracial marriage. Four years before the formal ending of Reconstruction in 1876 when all federal troops left, the South methodically instituted restrictive Jim Crow segregation laws.
Albert worked tirelessly to register Black voters and his enemies shot him in the leg and threatened to lynch him. In 1873, Albert and Lucy Parsons moved north to Chicago to what they hoped would be a better life. Albert began work as a printer for the Chicago Times.
The Parsons Become Labor Activists
Life in Chicago didn’t provide a safe haven for the Parsons. They arrived in Chicago during the Panic of 1873, a financial collapse and depression that lingered on for years. Causes of the Panic of 1873 include post Civil War inflation, over speculation especially in railroads, a large trade deficit, declining bank reserves, and European economic problems stemming from the Franco-Prussian War. Chicago and Boston also suffered the financial losses from devastating fires, Chicago in 1871 and Boston in 1872.
As Albert’s tenure as a printer continued, so did the labor troubles of the United States. A law called the Contract Labor law of 1864 permitted American businesses to contract and bring immigrant laborers into the country which created a surplus of unskilled workers in cities like Chicago and lowered wages. Socialist and anarchist ideology also gained a toe hold in the United States and began to radicalize its labor force.
Albert and Lucy Parsons became labor activists. In 1877, the Baltimore Ohio Railroad cut worker’s wages igniting a nationwide strike and motivating railroad workers all over the country to join picket lines. Reaction to the railroad strike rippled through Chicago in the summer of 1877 when Chicago railroad workers took up the cause with a vengeance, derailing an engine and baggage cars fighting sporadic battles with the police.
Motivated by the plight of striking workers, Albert embraced an activist role, taking time from his work and family life to advocate peaceful ways for workers to negotiate. Soon the small number of workers he initially addressed grew to crowds of more than 25,000 people and Albert stood at center of the Chicago anarchist movement. Lucy stood by his side both literally and figuratively.
Albert and Lucy Parsons joined the Socialist Labor Party in 1876, and they were active members of the International Working People’s Association or the First International which supported racial and gender equality. Albert Parsons also became the editor of the Alarm, the anarchist weekly journal that the International Working People’s Association published.
As Albert’s labor activities and speech making increased so did his fame and eventually the Chicago Times fired him for supporting striking workers and the printers’ unions in Chicago black listed him. Lucy Parsons opened a dress shop to support Albert and their two children, Albert Jr. and Lulu Eda.
Like Twentieth Century women, Lucy found herself jugging her family responsibilities and her career. She chaired meetings for the International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union with her friend Lizzie Swank, and she began to write for several radical publications.
Both her friends and enemies considered Lucy Parsons a more dangerous radical than Albert, because of her outspoken speeches and writing defending the rights of poor people. She also challenged the the establishment because she refused to be confined to the role of a homemaker but expanded her resume to include militant and radical woman.
Albert Parsons and the Haymarket Uprising
On May 1, 1886, Albert and Lucy Parsons and their two children, led 80,000 people down Michigan Avenue to support the eight hour work day, and this parade is considered to be the first May Day parade. The International Working Peoples Association organized a campaign for the eight hour day and on May 1, 1886, a national strike of American workers began in support of an eight hour day.
Over the next few days over 340,000 male and female workers participated in the strike with more than 25 percent of them hailing from Chicago. The unity of the Chicago workers so surprised Chicago employers that they granted the workers a shorter work day. Thrilled, Lucy Parsons proclaimed that the United States was ripe for a mass worker’s revolution.
On May 3, 1886, police fired into a crowd of unarmed strikers at the McCormick Harvest Works in Chicago, wounding many strikers and killing four of them. The Radicals called a meeting for May 4, 1886, in Haymarket Square to discuss the situation. Many versions of the story say that the Chicago police fired on a peaceful rally and an unknown person threw a bomb, while some modern labor historians like Timothy Messer-Kruse argue that the anarchists had a premeditated plan and provoked the confrontation. However it started, a riot broke out and one officer was killed and several officers and workers were wounded.
Over the next few days, police scoured Chicago, searching for and arresting any anarchists and radicals they could capture. They raided homes, offices, and meeting halls of suspected radicals and Albert Parsons had not been in Haymarket Square that day, but the police accused him as one of the eight men responsible for the bombing. Albert Parsons went into hiding, moving to Waukesha, Wisconsin, and remaining there until June 21, 1886.
Lucy Parsons Campaigns for Clemency
.Both proud and angry that Albert Parsons believed in his
anarchism enough to die for it, Lucy launched into a campaign for clemency. She toured the United States on a speaking tour, distributing fliers and pamphlets about the unjust arrests and trials, and raising funds to help the defendants. Armed policemen greeted Lucy had almost every place she visited, barring her admission to meeting halls and monitoring her speech and actions.
As well as outside threats, Lucy Parsons also had to fight a battle within the labor movement. She had belonged to the Knights of Labor for over ten years and she vehemently disagreed with Terence Powderly, the leader of the Knights. Terence Powderly opposed strikes and often discouraged Knights of Labor members from participating in them and he strongly disagreed with radicalism. He believed that the government should make an example of the Haymarket defendants and the Knights of Labor firmly stood against the Haymarket defendants.
Despite these setbacks, Lucy continued her speaking tour, sparking more interest in the Haymarket case and becoming more and more famous in her own right.
The Haymarket Trial and the Execution of Albert Parsons
The police kept Lucy Parsons under constant surveillance and whenever they had the slightest suspicion she knew Albert’s whereabouts, they arrested her. Although they never charged Lucy with conspiracy in the bombing, the authorities did arrest and charge Oscar Neebe, Adolph Fisher, August Spies, Louis Lingg, Michael Schwab, Samuel Fielden, Carl Engle, and her husband Albert. Eventually, Albert turned himself in to stand with his fellow defendants and they were brought to trial, even though many of them were not even at Haymarket Square at the time of the riot.
Corporate lawyer William Perkins Black defended the anarchists, and witnesses testified that none of the eight defendants had thrown the bomb. The jury found them all guilty. Oscar Neebe was sentenced to 15 years in prison and the others drew death sentences. Samuel Fielden and Michael Schwab asked for clemency and eventually Illinois Governor John Peter Altgeld pardoned them and they were released from prison on June 26, 1893. Albert Parsons could have been pardoned as well, but he didn’t petition Governor Altgeld for a pardon because he felt that asking for a pardon meant admitting guilt and he had committed no crime.
The day before his death, Albert Parsons wrote a letter to his two young children. Dated Dungeon No. 7, Cook County Jail, Chicago, Illinois, November 9, 1887, the letter read:
“To my Darling, Precious Little Children Albert R. Parsons, Jr. and his sister Lulu Eda Parsons:
As I write this word, I blot your names with a tear. We will never meet again. Oh, my children, how deeply, dearly your Papa loves you. We show our love by living for our loved ones, we also prove our love by dying when necessary for them. Of my life and the course of my unnatural and cruel death, you will hear from others.
Your Father is a self-offered sacrifice upon the altar of liberty and happiness. To you I leave the legacy of an honest name and duty done.Preserve it. Emulate it. Be true to yourselves, you cannot be false to others. Be industrious, sober, and cheerful.
Your mother! She is the grandest, noblest of women. Love, honor, and obey her. My children, my precious ones, I request you to read this parting message on each recurring anniversary of my death in remembrance of him who dies not alone and for you, but for the children yet unborn. Bless you my darlings! Farewell,
Albert R. Parsons”
On November 10, 1887, while in his jail cell, Louis Lingg committed suicide by exploding a dynamite cap in his mouth and on November 11, 1887, Albert Parsons, August Spies, Adolph Fisher and Carl Engle were hanged.
Lucy brought her two children. Lulu Etta and Albert Jr., to see their father one last time. The police arrested her and her children and took them to jail. They forced Lucy to strip and left her naked in a cold cell with her children while they executed her husband. When they finally released her, she vowed to continue her fight against injustice even though the authorities had killed her husband and she feared that they would kill her too.
Life For Lucy After Albert Parson’s Execution
After Albert Parsons was executed, Lucy and her children
lived in near poverty. Lucy received eight dollars a week plus two dollars each for her two children from the Pioneer Aid and Support Association, a group created to support the families of the Haymarket defendants. She continued with her dress making business, but her political causes took up increasing amounts of her time.
Lucy’s radical beliefs that she expressed in public speeches and anarchist literature prompted the police to arrest her many times. She didn’t believe in labor reform. She held a firm belief in class consciousness as the pivotal problem in the oppression of the workers of her time. She believed that voluntary associations of workers supporting and enforcing common regulations would bring equality to workers. She began to believe more in voluntary associations or syndicalism than she did anarchy.
In October 1888, Lucy traveled to London to give a speech before the Socialist League of England and when she returned to Chicago she compared the freedom she had encountered in England with the suppression of free speech she found at home. Police and other officials in Chicago continuously tried to squelch her efforts to speak out for anarchism and to sell copies of her pamphlet Anarchism on the streets of Chicago.
She believed that freedom of speech was a fundamental human right and even after Judge Tuley ruled in 1889 that anarchists too had the right to freedom of speech, she spent the rest of her life fighting the forces who wanted to eliminate her voice.
Lucy Parsons, Agitator but No Longer An Anarchist?
By 1890, increased technology and the mechanization of the workplace had vastly displaced craft unionism, and Lucy saw the importance of expanding the boundaries of the labor movement to international parameters.
In 1891, she and her colleague Lizzy Holmes edited a newspaper called Freedom: A Revolutionary Anarchist-Communist Monthly, in which she predicted that revolution was drawing nearer. The major labor struggles of 1892, including those at the Carnegie steel mills in Pennsylvania and the silver mines of Coeur D'Alene, Idaho, reinforced her opinion.
In 1894, Pullman workers went on strike after the company fired their organizers. At first Eugene Debs and the American Railway Union successfully guided them, until President Grover Cleveland crushed the strike.
Again, this labor dispute reinforced Lucy’s opinion that the revolution advanced even nearer. She also agitated among the miners of the Spruce Valley Coal Company, the unemployed workers of Coxey’s Army as they prepared to march on Washington and she joined in the boycott of State Street stores during the Chicago Teamster’s strike.
Albert Parsons had given up his life for the anarchist movement, so Lucy Parsons continued to defend the anarchist ideas. Then in the 1890s a major rift opened between Lucy and some of the other movement leaders, especially Emma Goldman. One of their disagreements centered on the issue of free love. Lucy believed that marriage and children were a necessary part of the human condition. She criticized the anarchist papers that printed articles attacking these ideals and she clashed with Emma Goldman who promoted free love.
She also believed that once black people won the same economic freedom as white people, racism would disappear. Her speeches and her views alienated her from some of the other anarchist leaders.
Life continued to bombard Lucy with personal tragedy. Her eight year old daughter Lulu Eda died in 1889, and her son, Albert Parsons, Jr., died from tuberculosis while imprisoned in a hospital for the insane. She had a relationship with an anarchist named Martin Lacher who helped her publish Albert’s autobiography, but Lacher abused her and she had to get police protection from him.
In June 1905, the labor movement in Chicago merged anarchists, snydicalists and trade unionists in the founding convention of the Industrial Workers of the World. The second woman of color to join the Industrial Workers of the World or the Wobblies, Lucy Parsons found it a comfortable fit because it exactly mirrored her political convictions.
She believed that a well organized working class movement controlling production methods would bring about revolution and that the IWW’s militant strikes and direct action would hasten that revolution. She promoted the idea of a general strike at the founding convention of the IWW.
Lucy also expanded her journalistic work. In 1905, she edited the Industrial Workers of the World newspaper called The Liberator, based in Chicago. She agitated for women’s issues including the right to divorce, remarry, and use birth control and she wrote a column about famous women. She also wrote a history of the working class.
As the years rolled along, Lucy continued to speak and write for workers. In 1920-1921, she advocated for anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti who were accused of murdering two men during a bank robbery, and convicted, and executed. In 1930 and 1931,she protested the trial of the nine Scottsboro boys who were falsely accused of rape in Alabama.
Lucy joined communist organizations including the National Committee of the International Labor Defense that supported labor activists and fought for the rights of African-Americans. She sympathized with the Communist Party and joined it in 1939, working toward revolution from her class consciousness perspective.
The Death and Legacy of Lucy Parsons
Lucy continued write speeches and articles to combat
oppression. In February 1941, she spoke at the International Harvester, one of her last major appearances. On March 7, 1942, she died at age 89 in an accidental fire and her lover George Markstall whom she had been with since 1910, died the next day from injuries he had suffered while trying to save her. When her friend Irving Abrams came to rescue her library of 1,500 books about sex, socialism, and anarchy and all of her personal papers he didn’t find any of them. The FBI had already confiscated them.
Despite their efforts to silence Lucy Parsons, the Chicago Police, the federal authorities, and the FBI did not silence Lucy. Her articles and books survived and so did her ideas. She joined many different groups during her life, but she remained fiercely individualistic and uncompromising in her beliefs.
She worked from her perspective of class consciousness to change what she considered the oppressive capitalist system and she fought for the workers. She saw issues of sex and race as intertwined with the larger struggle for human rights. She was a woman of action and strong words, and although the establishment tried to still her individual voice it still resounds against all kinds of oppression decades after her death.
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