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The role of women in the colony


Mansion in Georgia
Mansion in Georgia

In the colonial era women had far fewer rights than men and were generally expected to stay out of the public eye. Nonetheless, a few women gained respect for their achievements. Mary Musgrove was a half-Creek, half-English merchant who ran a trading post near Savannah when Oglethorpe arrived. As a broker in the fur trade, she played a major role in preserving the peace between the Native Americans and the colonists. She helped Oglethorpe as an interpreter and negotiator. She also extended supplies on credit to the colonists, and even helped recruit Native American warriors for Oglethorpe’s battles with the Spanish. Musgrove was rewarded when the colony recognized her title to Saint Catherines Island.

One of the wealthiest white settlers was Abigail Minis, a Jewish resident of Savannah, who arrived in 1733 with her husband Abraham. Their son Philip was born a year later, one of the first white babies born in Georgia. Abraham died in 1757 after building a modest fortune from agriculture and trade. His widow lived another 37 years and greatly increased the family holdings. She strongly supported the patriot cause in the American Revolution (1775-1783), assisting the patriots’ Continental Army with provisions and supplies. By the time she died in 1794, she owned 20 slaves and several thousand acres of land spread through at least four counties. In addition to an active involvement in trade, she owned a tavern in Savannah. Mary Musgrove and Abigail Minis could not vote or hold office and had few civil rights. They were widely respected, however, for the extraordinary talents they employed in service to early Georgia. "Georgia" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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