DECEMBER 29, 1797

ALGONQUIN BETSEY GUPPY CHAMBERLAIN REPUTEDLY BORN—WRITER & ACTIVIST

Born in Wolfeboro or Brookfield, New Hampshire, Betsey claimed Algonquian (likely Abenaki) descent.  When her husband died in 1823, she worked in the mills in Lowell, Massachusetts, and wrote for 2 magazines published by women, the Lowell Offering (1840-45) & the New England Offering (1847-50).  She published 33 items in the Lowell Offering.  Most were poems, sketches of village life, and legends.  However, 2 were among the earliest protests against Indian persecution published by Native women.  In A Fire-Side Scene, an old soldier who massacred Miami Indians tells this to nieces and nephews.  He is haunted by the fact that he killed them only because they were ‘heathen’ and not Christian.  In Indian Pledge, an Indian treated cruelly by a white farmer takes the farmer in, cares for him and makes the farmer a better man.  Remarrying, she moved between Illinois, where they farmed, and Lowell in 1848, where she worked and wrote for the New England Offering.  She died in 1886, in Wayne, Illinois.

Source:  Will Crandall, “Betsey Guppy Chamberlain-“The Indian Pledge” & “A Fire-Side Scene,” Early Native American Literature, 1/29/2013.  Retrieved 9/18/2020, https://378earlynativelit.wordpress.com/2013/01/29/betsey-guppy-chamberlain-the-indian-pledge-a-fire-side-scene-will-crandall/
Photo:  Author and date unknown (likely in the 1840s). Public Domain.

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