Mary Jemison

Heritage Moments: Mary Jemison of the Seneca Nation, the ‘White Woman of the Genesee’

Oct 8, 2018
Statue by Henry Kirke Bush-Brown, Letchworth State Park, 1910; photo by Steven Tryon, pearwood

In 1823 along the Genesee River there lived an old woman who was quite famous in the region. She was Seneca, yet her features were European and her complexion was fair, and she spoke both the Seneca language and English fluently. Her children, grandchildren and other Senecas called her Dehgewanus. The settlers called her Mary Jemison, the White Woman of the Genesee.