Jemison, Mary

Jemison, Mary, 1743–1833, American frontierswoman. She was born at sea while her parents were en route from Ireland to America. In W Pennsylvania she was captured (1758) by a French and Indian War party, taken to Fort Duquesne, and given to two Seneca women, who adopted her. She was married twice (to a Delaware and to a Seneca) and bore eight children. Known as the White Woman of the Genesee, Mary Jemison refused to leave the Senecas, and in 1817 New York confirmed her possession of a tract of land (given her in 1797) on the Genesee River. Her story is told in a classic tale of “Indian-capture,” J. E. Seaver's Narrative of the Life of Mrs. Mary Jemison (1824; latest ed. 1967).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: U.S. History: Biographies