Maria Chapman and Her Sisters

19th Century Abolitionists: Maria Chapman and Her Sisters

Maria Weston Chapman (1806-1885) was described by Lydia Maria Child as: "One of the most remarkable women of the age." Chapman and three of her sisters played vital roles in the abolitionist movement. Maria, best-known of the group, and her sisters worked tirelessly in support of William Lloyd Garrison and his abolitionist paper, The Liberator. They founded an organization, circulated petitions, raised money, wrote and edited numerous publications, and left behind a remarkable correspondence.

abolitionist, author and activist Maria Chapman
Image:Maria Weston Chapman, Daguerreotype, ca. 1846


Underground Railroad in Florida

Early Underground Railroad Sites

The Underground Railroad did not only travel North, away from the plantations of the South to freedom. For almost two centuries before the Civil War, runaway slaves in the colonies of Georgia and Carolina fled south into Florida. From a militia post where freed slaves helped defend St. Augustine against the advancing British to South Florida, some runaways left American soil for freedom on Caribbean islands.

Chief Bowlegs fought against the United States in the War of 1812
Image: Chief Billy Bowlegs
Leader of the Florida Seminoles who fought against the United States during the Second (1835-1842) and Third (1855-1858) Seminole Wars


Mary Hellen Adams

Daughter-in-Law of John Quincy and Louisa Adams

First Lady Louisa Johnson Adams, wife of sixth United States President John Quincy Adams, invited her niece Mary Catherine Hellen to live with her family at the White House after the death of her father. The shameless young hussy proceeded to seduce all three Adams boys before settling on their middle son John Adams II, whom she married at the White House February 25, 1828.

Mary Catherine Hellen married John Adams II
Image: The Reluctant Bride by Auguste Toulmouche
No image of Mary Hellen Adams available


Sarah Elizabeth Doyle

Pioneer in Women's Education

A thirty-six-year-old Rhode Island high school teacher and principal, Sarah Elizabeth Doyle was a founder of the coeducational Rhode Island School of Design (1877). In the mid-1890s, she became a leader of the Rhode Island Society for the Collegiate Education of Women, which sponsored the establishment of The Women's College at Brown University. This feminist and education reformer also ardently supported women's suffrage.

lifelong teacher in Rhode Island

Early Years

Sarah Elizabeth Doyle entered Providence High School during its initial enrollment in 1843. One of seven siblings, she completed her formal education in 1846 when she graduated from that school, and she dedicated the rest of her life to the advancement of higher education for women.