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Presidents' Wives and Other Notables

Updated: Feb 28, 2023

Do you recognize anyone on this list?

This is a list from Wikipedia of famous American women who died from childbirth related causes. Please go ahead in the comments, add your own list of women YOU know, who were "notable" to YOU.

This list is of women who have some kind of societal prominence. While it's understandable that not every woman who ever died in America can be listed, we don't want anyone to be forgotten. That is why we ask that you add your own list of loved ones in the comments.

If you have a chance to read some of the stories of the lives of these women, you'll probably notice the same theme we did - soooo many of the earlier stories contain judgements about how religious they were, etc. Judgement, self-righteous male arrogance, coercive control and patriarchal piety seems to be a predictor of bad outcomes for women, in every area of life. Yet one more reason to disassemble the patriarchal systems currently overseeing maternal health.

Read a powerful article above - on what it's like to go through pregnancy and birth as a black woman in America.

And here is that list:

  • Mary Forth (1615), wife of John Winthrop

  • Thomasine Clopton (1616), wife of John Winthrop

  • Mary (Norris) Allerton (1621), Mayflower passenger

  • Anne Child (1689), first wife of Josiah Franklin

  • Eliza Marble (1719), wife of Edward Low

  • Mary Phillips (1737), daughter of Samuel Phillips, older sister of John Phillips and aunt of Samuel Phillips Jr.

  • Hester Hampton (1739), mother of Rebecca Boone

  • Martha Eppes Wayles (1748), mother-in-law of Thomas Jefferson

  • Elizabeth Taylor Carter (1760), great-grandmother of James P. T. Carter

  • Amy Whipple Wilkinson (1764), mother of the Public Universal Friend

  • Jane Colden (1766), botanist and daughter of Cadwallader Colden

  • Maria Ygnacia Manuela Pinuelas (1775), wife of José Vicente Feliz

  • Esther Hawley Lyman (1775), mother of Lyman Beecher and grandmother of Harriet Beecher Stowe, Henry Ward Beecher, Charles Beecher, Edward Beecher, Isabella Beecher Hooker, Catharine Beecher, and Thomas K. Beecher.

  • Martha Jefferson (1782), wife of Thomas Jefferson

  • Phillis Wheatley (1784), first American black female poet

  • Elizabeth Andrews (1788), first wife of Benjamin Pierce (father of Franklin Pierce)

  • Mary Jefferson Eppes (1804), daughter of Thomas Jefferson

  • Hannah Slater (1812)

  • Elizabeth Oliver (1815), first wife of Benjamin Waterhouse

  • Adelphia Batson (1819), first wife of John Bond Jr.

  • Kalanipauahi (1826), Hawaiian queen consort/princess and a member of the House of Kamehameha

  • Sarah Lincoln Grigsby (1828), sister of president Abraham Lincoln

  • the mother of Lide Meriwether (1829)

  • Julia Clapp (1831), first wife of John Murdock and biological mother of Julia Murdock Smith

  • Julia Beckwith (née Neale) Jackson (1831), mother Of Stonewall Jackson

  • Dianthe Lusk (1832), first wife of John Brown

  • Nahienaena (1836), Hawaiian Princess

  • Rachel Plummer (1839), daughter of James W. Parker

  • Waanibe (1841), first wife of Kit Carson

  • the mother of Charles Yerkes (1842)

  • Emily Hoyt Ballard (1844), first wife of Daniel Dole

  • Olivia Loughridge (1845), first wife of Robert McGill Loughridge

  • Olive Grey Frost Young (1845), 16th Wife Of Brigham Young

  • Eliza Hoge (1846), mother of James Hoge Tyler

  • Lucinda Matilda (née Cook) Daniel (1849), mother of Jack Daniel

  • the second wife of Jim Bridger (1849)

  • Louisa Beaman Young (1850), 9th Wife Of Brigham Young

  • María Manuela Antonia Jimeno y de la Guerra (1852), first wife of Alfred Sully

  • Margaret Alley Young (1852), 22nd Wife Of Brigham Young

  • Albertine Kramer (1852), first wife of Wilhelm Victor Keidel

  • Elinor Junkin (1854), first wife of Stonewall Jackson

  • Cecilia Kent Leavitt (1855), mother of Cecilia Beaux

  • Eliza Polk (1855), first wife of John P. Cochran, 43rd Governor of Delaware

  • Mary Eulalie Fee Shannon (1855), American poet

  • Jane McDougal (1862), wife of John McDougal, 2nd Governor of California

  • Harriet Mace (1865), second wife of Junius Brutus Booth Jr.

  • Caroline Kott (1865), second and final wife of Wilhelm Victor Keidel

  • Josefa Jaramillo (1868), third and final wife of Kit Carson

  • Helen L. Gilson (1868), Civil War Nurse

  • Susannah Lattin (1868), her baby was put up for adoption

  • Rhoda Martha Burt Austin (1877), mother of Rhoda Fox Graves

  • Serena Sabin (1878), mother of Florence R. Sabin

  • Minnie Warren (1878), entertainer

  • Abigail May Alcott Nieriker (1879), painter

  • Clara Adelaide Sharon (1882), first wife of Francis G. Newlands

  • Mary Nowak (1883), mother of Leon Frank Czolgosz (1873 –1901), the assassin of U.S. President William McKinley

  • Alice Hathaway Lee Roosevelt (1884), first wife of Theodore Roosevelt

  • Hattie Eliza Gage (1886), first wife of George Washington Henderson

  • Cornelia J. Hollar (1887), mother of actor John Hamilton

  • Awbonnie Tookanka (1888), first wife of Granville Stuart

  • Elizabeth Donahue Vaughn (1888), first wife of Robert Vaughn

  • Jennie Louise Benedict (1889), daughter of Henry Flagler

  • Susan James Parmer (1889), younger sister of Jesse James

  • Jeanette Guggenheim (1889), daughter of Meyer Guggenheim and aunt of Peggy Guggenheim

  • Clara Rudio Pierce (1890), first wife of Walter M. Pierce, later the 17th Governor of Oregon

  • Magdalena Schlador Chandler (1892), first wife of Harry Chandler

  • Alice Jones Porter (1892), mother of Katherine Anne Porter

  • Josephine Courtney Pruitt (1893), mother of Elinore Pruitt Stewart

  • Blanche Lehman (1895), only wife of Henri Willis Bendel

  • Jennie Pond Atwater (1896)

  • Rosa Fullman (1896), mother of Henry Darger

  • Martha Wells Shumate (1896), mother of Whitney Shumate

  • Charlotte Vieux (1897), mother of Jim Thorpe

  • Ellen Victoria Cheek Smart (1898), mother of Sonora Smart Dodd

  • Mary Cowan, serial killer (1898)

  • Caroline Miskel Hoyt (1898), actress

  • Anne Purcell Higgins (1899, also died of Tuberculosis), Mother of Margaret Sanger

  • Nora Wright (1901), first wife of Scott Hayden

  • Halle Tanner Dillon Johnson (1901), first black female doctor in Alabama

  • Jessie Octavia Borthwick Pitkin (1901), sister of Mamah Borthwick

  • Alice Lamon Powers (1906), mother of Chard Powers Smith

  • the biological mother of John L. Goldwater, one of the three co-founders of Archie Comics

  • Jean Webster (1916), author

  • Elnora Dickerson (1916), first wife of Benjamin O. Davis Sr.

  • the mother of Budd Boetticher (1916)

  • Anna Uelsmann (1919), Mother of Maurice Hilleman (she died 2 days after her daughter's stillbirth)

  • Julia Petta (1921)

  • Eliza Lacks Pleasant (1924), mother of cancer victim Henrietta Lacks

  • Pearl Greengard (1925), mother of actress Chris Chase and neuroscientist Paul Greengard.

  • Lena Steward (1926), stepmother of George B. Thomas

  • the biological mother of Katie Myatt of The Moonmaids (1926)

  • Kay Laurell (1927), actress (initially, she died of pneumonia)

  • Benita Rosalind Guggenheim (1927), sister of Peggy Guggenheim

  • the mother of Norma Crane (1928)

  • Virginia Travis (1930), first wife of Robert Johnson

  • Clare Collins (1930), first wife of Ernest McFarland

  • Margery Latimer (1932), writer and first wife of Jean Toomer

  • Nettie Harper (1932), first wife of Thomas A. Dorsey

  • Caletta Craft (1932), second and last wife of Robert Johnson

  • the mother of Joe Arpaio (1932)

  • Axie Pauline Cox (1933), first wife of Red Foley

  • Marjorie Frost (1934), daughter of Robert Frost

  • Edith Roberts, actress, vaudevillian (1935)

  • Marjorie Oelrichs (1937), socialite

  • Ruth Harriet Louise (1940), photographer

  • Donna Damerel (1941), radio actress for Myrt and Marge and mother of Charles B. Griffith, who was 10 years old at the time.

  • Ophelia Ruffin (1941), mother of David Ruffin

  • Cecilia Mettler (1943), medical historian

  • Arline Roswell (1946), first wife of Roy Rogers

  • Ellee Williams (1949), mother of Irv Cross

  • Martina von Trapp (1951), was a member of the Trapp Family Singers

  • first wife of Johnny Smith (1957)

  • Mary Welch (1958), stage actress and first wife of David White

  • Ellen Urban (1961), first wife of William D. Ruckelshaus

  • Gerri Santoro (1964)

  • Wan-bing Mui (1967), mother of Francis Chan

  • Nicola Griggs Andron (1975), daughter of David T. Griggs and granddaughter of Robert Fiske Griggs

  • Rosie Jimenez (1977)

  • the mother of Masuimi Max

  • Becky Bell (1988)

  • Nadine Renee (2004), singer/songwriter

  • Michal Friedman, singer/voice actress, wife of Dan Green (2011)

  • Marlise Muñoz (2013)

  • Micki Carey Tobin (2012) (amniotic fluid embolism)

  • Chaniece Wallace (2020)

This week, in honor of presidents day 🤨 we want to highlight a “Down with the Patriarchy” theme… We are creating a coupon code for 10% off any program over $400, good for use all week.

Use coupon code DWTP10

(yes, that stands for Down With The Patriarchy - sorry, not sorry)

AND we will be putting blog posts up all week that highlight why government (and any kind of regulatory) involvement in maternal health is part of the problem….

Please share this blog post, watch our social media and share whatever you feel led to. The more attention we have on this matter, the better.

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I'm driven to flip the system. We need to be encouraged to hire our Doulas first then they can give a reference to a provider that will support not manage your birth. I'm sure we can do this but it will come with the regulation of Doulas.

Replying to

No good has ever come from regulating something natural, especially the interpersonal relationships that surround such a rite of passage. It’s the colonialism model and it is harmful.

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