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The Biography of Mary Jemison - Essay Example

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They captured her at around the year 1758 – several days subsequent to their marching through the frontier’s woods; they alienated her from her relatives and gave her moccasins. She later recounted having seen the red hair belonging to her mother on a scalp that the Shawnees were cleaning. They took her to Fort Duquesne (called Fort Pitt in the modern times) and gave her up to two women from Seneca for adoption. As a tradition, on losing a family member, the Seneca and a good number of tribal cultures adopt prisoners and incorporate them into their society. The two women who adopted Jemison had lost a brother. In her memoir, she expresses her gratitude and considers herself to have been very lucky for falling into the hands of this family since the women were good natured and kind. The tribe renamed her ‘Dickewamis,’ a name that historian June Namias says loosely translates to ‘two falling voices’ in Seneca (Dahl, para7). Over the next years, Jemison, now called Dehgewanus, learned the Senecas ways – she was very quick in learning the people’s language. In fact, she did this in below a year. Soon after starting her life with the Seneca, another ethnic group settled close by and the two women made her marry a Delaware by the name Sheninjee in the year 1760 (Ohiohistorycentral.org, para2). Jemison gave birth to two children, but only one lived on – their little girl who was born1761 died shortly after birth. Soon after giving birth to their second child whom she named after her father ‘Thomas’

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who she missed very much, Jemison and her husband Sheninjee started a trip to Sheninjee's motherland in New York along the Genesee River. The journey was tough and long – through the route that they followed, it was approximately 700 miles. Her husband who had taken a different route from Dehgewanus in order to do some trapping and hunting became sick and passed on along the way. She went on with the trip to the strange new land where she lived as a widow. The clan relatives of her late husband made her a home at Little Beard's Town close to the present-day Cuylerville New York. This was Seneca people’s heartland, keeper of Iroquois League’s Western Door and she liked life along the Genesee. While here, she got married a second time to a Seneca by the name Hiokatoo, with whom she had an additional seven children. During this time, together with her adopted people, Dehgewanus lived peaceably and quietly (Cook, para8-11). Cook (2010) and Seaver further explain that the Revolutionary War ruined that calm. The American Army targeted Senecas and a number of other tribes since they took sides with the British. In the year 1779, George Washington sent an army of 5,000 soldiers to annihilate the ability and will of the Senecas to fight. Little Beard's Town was their major target. Although the Seneca anticipated stopping the assailants with a well laid ensnare, the Americans, in spite of losses, were able to reach the neighboring Genesee Valley where they burnt the inhabitants; homes and fields. The Seneca ran away into the forest as the assailants drew near Little Beard's Town. Dehgewanus decided to go south of little Beardstown to the deserted village of Gadaho, where she found shelter together with her children as well as two other runaway slaves. She would live here for nearly 60 years. Alongside the

Summary

Instructor Date Introduction The biography of Mary Jemison depicts three cultures, namely, the colonial frontier, the mid-late 18th century culture of the Seneca, as well as that of industrial American republic, and takes the perspective of a woman ‘residing among adversaries.’ Mary Jemison was born sometime between 1742-1743 to Jane and Thomas Jemison, Scotch-Irish parents who had immigrated to America on the Mary William…
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