Saturday, April 27, 2013

Mary Upton Ferrin

Born this day in 1810: Mary Upton Ferrin (1810–1881), champion of married women’s property rights

In 1848 Upton Ferrin learned that according to the laws of Massachusetts her property belonged to her drunken, abusive husband, whom she wished to divorce. (She was advised that she could maybe steal the silver, but that was about all the property she was allowed.) Finding the laws unsatisfactory, she doggedly petitioned the state of Massachusetts to reform its property and marriage laws.

“The first change in the tyrannous laws of Massachusetts was really due to the work of this one woman, MARY UPTON FERRIN (1810–1881), who for six years, after her own quaint method, poured the hot shot of her earnest conviction of woman’s wrongs into the Legislature. In circulating petitions, she traveled six hundred miles, two-thirds of this distance on foot. Much money was expended besides her time and travel, and her name should be remembered as that of one of the brave pioneers in this work.”
 History of Woman Suffrage: 1876–1885, by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan Brownell Anthony, Matilda Joslyn Gage, Ida Husted Harper

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