Our Road Trip: Thanksgiving and Women’s History

We’re back from our 10-day research road trip that included several days in Minneapolis, MN where we attended the 14th Berkshire Conference on the History of Women.

Before a road trip, I highlight all the women’s history sites on our maps. (I use a variety of sources to identify the sites.) What we visit depends on many things–our timing, relevance (since I’m currently writing about suffrage those sites were #1), distance, etc. The first day we zigzagged off Route 80 to Salem, Ohio, site of the first Women’s Rights Convention in Ohio, held on April 19 and 20, 1850. On the way, we serendipitously discovered another Thanksgiving claim on a sign in front of a shop in Berlin Center, Ohio. The shop was closed, but I found Joseph Donnelly, the proprietor, artist, and claim-maker working in his garden. The illustration on the sign are a Missaugua Native and Garrett Packard, the first white settler in what was Connecticut’s “Western Reserve,” now northeast Ohio, cooking a turkey. According to Joseph, “Garrett Packard was said to have shot a turkey at the central creek, now called “Turkey Broth” Creek. Because “peaceful relations” had been established between the Packard family and local natives Joseph felt he could imagine the scene and make the claim. Tragically, the “peaceful relations” did not last, and Joseph is an eloquent storyteller of that history. After lingering for an hour or more, we resumed our drive, but only for a short time because there on a large road sign beside a cemetery I spied–after almost twenty years of photographing women’s history sites–the first explicitely grandmother women’s history site!

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