Original Document
Original Document
The Examination of Indian Hannah, 1797.

Hannah Freeman dictated this brief life story to Moses Marshall, the overseer of the poor for Chester County, on July 28, 1797. Marshall was interviewing her to determine which township in Chester County should be responsible for her support, so the story focuses primarily on her family, places of residence, and employment.

"The Examination of Indian Hannah, alias Hannah Freeman Who saith that She was born in a Cabin on William Webb's Place in the township of Kennett about the year 1730 or 1731. The Family consisting of her Grandmother Jane Aunts Betty and Nanny. Her Father and Mother used to live in their Cabin at Webb's place in Kennett in the Winter and in the Summer moved to Newlin to Plant Corn–She was born in the Month of March. The family continued living in Kennett and Newlin alternately for several years after her birth as She had two brothers born there younger than herself. The Country becoming more settled the Indians were not allowed to Plant Corn any longer her Father went to Shamokin and never returned. The rest of the family moved to Centre in Christiana Hundred, New Castle County and lived in a Cabin on Swithin Chandler's place they continued living in their Cabins sometimes in Kennett and sometimes at Centre till the Indians were killed at Lancaster soon after which, they being afraid, moved over the Delaware to N. Jersey and lived with the Jersey Indians for about Seven Years after which her Granny Jane Aunts Betty and Nanny her Mother and Self came back and lived in Cabins sometimes at Kennett at Center at Brinton's place and at Chester Creek occasionally as best suited. This mode of living was continued till the family decreased her Granny died ab[ove] Skuylkill her Aunt Betty at Middletown, and her Mother at Centre. . . . she lived about two years worked at Sewing and received 3 / 6 [three shillings, six pence] per week wages . . . she worked a few weeks in some other places at Gideon Gilpins then went to her Aunt Nanny at Concord but having almost forgot to talk Indian and not liking their manner of living so well as white peoples She came to Kennett and lived at William Webbs worked for her board sometimes but got no money except for baskets, besoms, etc. She lived at Samuel Levis three years that is made her home and worked sometime, Received for her board no wages, but made baskets etc. and staying longest where best used but never was hired or received wages except for Baskets etc. . . ."

Credit: Marshall J. Becker, "Hannah Freeman: An Eighteenth-Century Lenape Living and Working Among Colonial Farmers," Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 114 (1990): 251-52.
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