Mary Jemison was born on a ship as her family traveled to make a new life in the "New World". At approximately 15 years of age, Mary Jemison was captured by the Indians, while living with her parents in Pennsylvania. Her family was killed and the Indians adopted her. They gave her the name Dichewamis, which means "The Pretty One".
She first married a Delaware Indian Brave and had two children. Later she married a Seneca Chief, Hiakatoo, and had six more children. They lived at Little Beards Town, in the Genesee valley, where they were brought before the Revolutionary War. In 1779 Mary moved with Hiakatoo and her children to Gardeau ("Ga-da-o") Flats, when the Revolutionary War brought an American army to the Genesee valley to destroy the villages of the Seneca Indians.
The Big Tree treaty of 1797, gave Mary her own reservation of 18,000 acres of flat fertile land, forests, and streams, where she lived for many years and raised her Indian family. She lived with the Indians for 78 years. She died when she was 90 years old.
Today you can visit her grave and statue in Letchworth State Park. There is also a trail named in her honor.
TO THE MEMORY OF MARY JEMISON
"Whose home during more than 70 years of a life of strange vicissitude was among the Senecas upon the banks of this river; and whose history, inseparably connected with that of this valley, has caused her to be known as...
THE WHITE WOMAN OF THE GENESEE"
Mary Jemison Statue and Grave found on the Council Grounds of Letchworth State Park where William Letchworth had it moved in 1910.
This is the cabin Mary built herself, for her daughter, Nancy, in 1800. It stood in the Gardeau Flats area along the Genesee River. William Letchworth had it moved to it's present location on the Council Grounds of Letchworth State Park. Mary also built herself a nearby cabin where she lived for 35 years.