The Early Modern Commons

In the Words of Women

Recent Posts

” . . . in some points I am very obstinate”

16 April 2019

Although MARY “POLLY” HEWSON lost her husband in 1774 and was left to raise her three children on her own (see previous post), in that same year Polly’s aunt died...

“Our Family here is in great Distress. . . “

5 April 2019

For MARY “POLLY” STEVENSON HEWSON 1774 was a bad year. Her two little boys contracted smallpox; they recovered. But her husband of only four years died leaving Polly pregnant...

“Lectures go on briskly”

26 March 2019

In 1771, the year following her wedding to Dr. William Hewson, POLLY STEVENSON HEWSON had her first child, a boy they named William. Benjamin Franklin was the godfather. He was always...

“I am apt to love every body that loves you”

19 March 2019

POLLY STEVENSON must have written Benjamin Franklin asking his advice on whether she should accept the proposal of marriage from the surgeon William Hewson for he responded on May 31,...