1765 Mary Jemison marries the Seneca chief Hiakatoo. Benin Metro Map Jemison was born on a ship bound for Country. When she was 15 years old, her family was killed by Native Countrys in Pennsylvania. This is her second marriage to a Native Country, and she has chosen not to live as a white woman. Her skill with languages and her attractiveness to the Seneca (who call her Deh-he-wa-mis, or Pretty One) bring her an exalted position as a negotiator in the Lake Erie region. She bears a dozen children and dies on her own large estate in 1797 at the very old for the colonial period age of 90.
William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England builds upon the earlier work of Edward Coke (1620s) and Matthew Hale (1670s) in validating the application of English common law to emerging legal issues. Common law depends on precedent, that is, the decisions made by past judges and juries. New cases are compared to the older ones, and, unless the details can be shown to be significantly different, the old ruling applies to the new case. Thus, common law seems to strengthen traditional views and slow the pace of cultural change. One aspect of Blackstone’s Commentaries is his extended definition of the term coverture, or property laws for women, to include other forms of female identity. An example is whether women can testify against their husbands if, in the eyes of coverture law, they are not two separate people but one married entity. Blackstone’s ideas will set the terms of debate on gender issues for the next two centuries.
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