November 24, 1747

Elizabeth Porter Phelps Born


On this day in 1747, Elizabeth Porter was born in the Connecticut River Valley village of Hadley. Five years later, her father built the first house outside the town center. He called it "Forty Acres." It would be Elizabeth's home for the rest of her long life. Her father died in 1755. Her 36-year-old mother never remarried. With help from kinfolk, enslaved people, and hired help, the widow Porter ran a 600-acre farm on what was then the Massachusetts frontier. After her daughter married Charles Phelps in 1770, the younger woman became mistress of the estate. Elizabeth Porter Phelps's descendants would occupy it for the next 200 years, but she would be one of the last female members of the family to shoulder the burdens of a hard-working farm wife.

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