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Yes, I regret the cultural patterns that have led our record-keeping forebears to neglect the women in our heritage. Especially when, as now, I’m anxious to complete the book on my Grandma Hannah Ashby Wheeler. And to adorn her gravestone, if she has one, with a handsome Quadricentennial medallion denoting her Mayflower descent.

After their youthful nuptials and Harriet’s arrival on the scene, Hannah was always in Oliver’s customary paterfamilial shadow. Except, of course, in 1840, when the census taker missed her altogether, and one has to wonder why and how. We get the nearest thing to a clear glimpse into Hannah’s mind only after Oliver is dead, and she’s his relict, executrix, and sole legatee. I retrieved this wonderful little document from Oliver’s probate file at the end of May, 2009:
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