Lucy Markerly: A Case Study of an Englishwoman's Immigration to the Western Reserve in the 1830s.
By: John T. Nelson
Contending that women have been marginalized in the historical record investigating immigration, historians Donna Gabaccia and Suzanne Sinke have addressed this bias in the scholarly literature. Scholars Sydney Stahl Weinberg, Maxine S. Seller, and Susan Jacoby have called for changes in the study of immigration by integrating the female view into this important field of United States history. They assert that social history will be incomplete until the historiography includes both genders in a uniform study.1 This paper will argue that Lucy Markerly, an English woman immigrant, provides a case study to examine questions and issues faced by women immigrants. As a widow who outlived two husbands, this educated woman's life and writing, speak to the motivations behind immigration in the 1830s. The research will assess her actions, as well as the economic, political, and spiritual beliefs revealed in her journal, poetry, and family library.2
“For my part, I neither dropt a tear nor heaved a sigh, for sometime past, home had not afforded me that comfort which in former periods it used to do, and I set out with a confident hope of finding that in the new world, which I feared would shortly be denied me in the old one--peace and competence…”3 This quote begins the journal of Lucy Markerly, which recorded her emigration from Lincolnshire, England to the village of Hudson, Ohio in the Western Reserve. This woman's journal serves as a focal point to assess numerous issues regarding women's immigration to America . Markerly's writing reveals her economic motivations for emigrating and her perception of government policies concerning taxes and tithes while illuminating her role in the leadership and planning process. The Biblical references in the diary disclose her religious and spiritual beliefs that sustained her during the illnesses and hardships while immigrating. This journal exhibits the importance of family and women's supporting roles to other family members. Her record displays the wide range of emotions such as fear, anxiety, hope and relief, which were inevitable during a journey from one's homeland to a new country. Further documents reveal her children's and descendants' successful assimilation into American society. To examine these issues, this essay analyzes Lucy Markerly's life and journey as a chronological narrative from her journal and family papers.4
Although details of Lucy Markerly's early life are somewhat sketchy, what is known is she was born to David Hurn in 1771 in Lincolnshire, England (her mother's name is unknown in England). Lucy Hurn would marry two times. The first spouse's surname was Darley (his first name is not found in the record) and records indicate he died sometime before 1814. From this union Lucy Darley bore two daughters. The first daughter (Christian name not in the record) married a man with the surname Norriss (Christian name unknown) and they produced a son. This daughter survived Mr. Norriss and church records indicate she was living in Holbeach, Lincolnshire, in 1857. The family history noted that the son of the Norriss union had moved to the United States and in that same year he owned a farm in Wisconsin, one of the states in the Old Northwest with a high concentration of English immigrants. More information existed concerning Lucy Darley's younger daughter Hannah, born October 20, 1799 , who married William Doncaster, born January 14, 1808. They were both natives of Fleet, Lincolnshire, England and accompanied Lucy on her journey.5
Following the death of her first husband, she married a second time to Samuel Markerly, born 1786, fifteen years her junior, and he died on October 19, 1831 . This marriage produced two children, Rebecca and John. Rebecca Markerly was born in 1816 and died on April 23, 1828 ; her grave is in Fleet, Lincolnshire. John Markerly (later spelled Markillie, see endnote number 3) was born in 1814 and died in 1868. It was Lucy Hurn Darley Markerly's eighteen-year-old son, John Markerly, who first went to the United States in 1832. His mother, maternal uncle, David Hurn (named for his and Lucy's father), half-sister Hannah Doncaster and her husband William Doncaster would follow John. Lucy Markerly and her family's journey “From Old England towards America ” began March 28, 1833.6
Page 1 of 10, Next>>