"A remarkable young woman" Top 5 Page for this destination Letchworth State Park Things to Do Tip by ranger49

Letchworth State Park Things to Do: 24 reviews and 70 photos

  Overlooking the Flats on the Genesee River
by ranger49
  • Overlooking the Flats on the Genesee River - Letchworth State Park
      Overlooking the Flats on the Genesee River
    by ranger49
  • The Flats - Letchworth State Park
      The Flats
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  • Mary and her baby - Letchworth State Park
      Mary and her baby
    by ranger49
  • The cabin Mary built for her daughter - Letchworth State Park
      The cabin Mary built for her daughter
    by ranger49
  • The Indian Council House - Letchworth State Park
      The Indian Council House
    by ranger49

This sign post was my first introduction to the story of Mary Jemison. It told very little about her other than that the flats on which I was looking down had been her home for 50 years and she had been known as the white woman of the Genesee; a statue of her stood in "the Council Grounds near Glen Iris".
I thought no more about it but the following morning I woke early in our room in the Glen Iris Inn and went out for a walk in the lovely gardens and grounds surounding the hotel. After a while a path led to a clearing in the trees and I came to the statue, a large bronze, and striking figure of a young woman in the traditional dress of a Native Indian, carrying a baby on her back
The stillness of the place and the beauty of the figure captured my imagination. I walked on to find two log cabins - the Council House and the cabin built by Mary for one of her children.

Back at the hotel in the shop I bought a brief history of Mary. Born at sea to migrating Scots-Irish parents in 1743 Mary lived with them in Philadelphia until she was 14 years old.
Then, in a clash between French soldiers and Shawnee warriors, Mary was abducted by the Shawnees, all her family killed.
Mary was sold to the Senecas who adopted her and later she married one of the tribe. They fled together fearful that she, like other captives would be "returned " now the "Indian" wars were over. Carrying their baby on her back they trekked 700 miles but the young husband died as they reached his relatives who cared for her.
Mary remarried and had 6 more children but her troubles were not over . The American War of Independence brought more fighting; the Seneccas were one of the tribes that backed the British. Mary survived endless losses and privation, never losing the respect of the Senerca people. She died in September 1833 aged 90.

To learn more about the missing bits of Mary's story see -


Address: In Letchworth State Park NY.
Directions: Near Portgeville and Castile

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Sep 18, 2011
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