5 Foremothers Who Helped Shape the United States
(Last Updated On: December 18, 2020)


5 Foremothers Who Helped Shape The United States – When we think about how this great country started, we often remember the Pilgrim Fathers who landed in Plymouth, MA, on December 21, 1620. These men are called our forefathers. However, some important women came over on the Mayflower. There were also other founding women, in later years, who played important roles, too.
Keep reading to learn more about five of these amazing foremothers.

1. Susanna White-Winslow

Susanna White-Winslow was one of the few women that sailed across the Atlantic Ocean on the Mayflower. In late November 1620, she gave birth to Peregrine, the first child born in New England. Her son would become a prominent farmer and captain in the military. In 1621, Susanna’s husband died, and she became a widow with two children to look after. She was only one of five women that survived the harsh winter that year. In May 1621, she married Edward Winslow. The ceremony was the first wedding in the new Plymouth Colony. Together they had five children. Susanna was among the small group of female pilgrims that would cook the first Thanksgiving feast.

2. Priscilla Alden

Priscilla Alden was just 18 years old when she and her family set sail on the Mayflower. Shortly after their arrival, her father, mother, and brother all died, leaving her an orphan. She married John Alden in what many believed to be the third marriage in the colony. In 1631, her husband began to serve as the assistant to the governor and Plymouth Court. Priscilla was a leading figure in the colony and played a key role in helping it to thrive. She was also the subject of a poem written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

3. Margaret Brent

The next of our 5 foremothers who helped shape the United States is Margaret Brent, born in 1601. She left England with her siblings and arrived in Maryland in 1638. She and her sister, Mary, were not married, which meant they could legally own and manage their own property. The sisters eventually amassed some of the most extensive real estate holdings in the New World. Thanks to her savvy business skills and knowledge of property laws, Margaret is credited for stabilizing Maryland’s colony in the midst of extenuating circumstances. She is also widely known for fighting for women’s rights, thus branding her America’s first feminist.

4. Elizabeth Timothy

Born in 1702 in the Netherlands, Elizabeth Timothy arrived in America with her family in 1731. They settled in Philadelphia. Benjamin Franklin hired her father, Louis, as editor of his foreign-language newspaper, the Philadelphische Zeitung. The family eventually moved to South Carolina, where Elizabeth’s father managed the South Carolina Gazette. After his death, Elizabeth took over the newspaper. In doing so, she became America’s first woman editor-publisher. Benjamin Franklin praised Elizabeth for her publishing and business skills.

5. Martha Washington

Our country’s first First Lady, Martha Washington, was born in 1731. Less than a year after the death of her first husband, George Washington began courting her. The two married on January 6, 1759. In April, the newlyweds moved to George’s home, Mount Vernon. Martha was a staunch supporter of the Revolutionary War. In 1780, she became the public face of raising money so that the soldiers could get badly-needed supplies. In 1789, her husband became the first president of the United States. Martha became a great asset to her husband during this time. Martha died in 1802, just three years after her husband. Newspapers across the land eulogized the nation’s first First Lady as “the worthy partner of the worthiest of men.”

There are more than 5 foremothers who helped shape the United States. Who would you add to the list? Let us know!

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