Wow! It’s already Week 10 in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks’ writing challenge. This week’s theme is Strong Woman. Now, this is a writing prompt that I can get behind! But instead of Strong Woman, I will be writing about Strong Women… plural. (It is Women’s History Month, after all. So let’s hear it for the girls!)
I come from a long line of formidable women, ladies with hearts of gold and spines of steel. When looking through my family tree, I can see so many strong women perched within its branches.
Although there are some truly amazing women in my paternal line, such as Leona Lucinda Thomas (my great-grandmother), it’s the women in my maternal line whom I find most awe-inspiring.
Starting with me, let’s travel back through my maternal line. First up in the long line of tough ladies in my maternal family is my mother. When I was younger, I never thought of my mom as strong. However, as I get older and as wisdom trickles into my brain drop by drop, I have come to appreciate just how strong a woman my soft-spoken mother really is.
I suppose she got her strength from her mother, although there was nothing quiet or demure about Grandma. Still considering all the strife in her life, I am amazed that my grandmother was even able to get out of bed let alone “live life like she meant it.”
The calm demeanor of my mom was, instead, inherited by her maternal grandmother, Myrtle Ida Marriner. Great-Grandma also endured great hardship in her life, and yet she kept her head up and her spirits high.
Her mother, Hannah Ann Layton (my 2nd great-grandmother), suffered significantly at the hands of her husband, and yet she was able to break free before she was broken. Hannah went on to live a long and happy life.
Her mother (my 3rd great-grandmother) was Rebecca Ann Moore, who lost two sons and two grandsons: two when they were infants and two died tragically before adulthood. Despite the pain, Rebecca persevered.
Unfortunately, her mother Hannah Chamberlin (my 4th great-grandmother) died young at the age of 34, never having the opportunity to watch her four children (Elwood, Rebecca, George, and James) grow up.
Hannah Chamberlin’s mother was Rebecca Rulon (my 5th great-grandmother), whose own mother was Mercy Rebecca Soper (my 6th great-grandmother). Unfortunately, I know little about these women, other than whom they married and the children they bore. (I guess that is my next genealogical research project…)
Although I know little about either Rebecca or Mercy, I have learned a great deal about Mercy’s mother, the first-known (and proven) matriarch of my family: Mary Wright (my 7th great-grandmother). Mary, the daughter of Anthony Wright, was a Quaker. In 1746, she married Joseph Soper; together, they built a home and a life at Soper’s Landing, along the bay somewhere between Barnegat and Waretown, New Jersey. The couple was still residing at Soper’s Landing when the American Revolution began. What happened to Mary and her family during this time is the stuff of history…
After reading each of these women’s stories, do you see just how strong the women in my maternal line really are and how lucky I am to call them my kin?