‘Washington’s Women’ at Conversation Club


Twenty members of Conversation Club gathered at Cape May Campus Center on March 10. President Marla Stewart called our meeting to order and thanked Jeanette Gerritz for serving as hostess.

Roll call was answered with quotes and poetry. Congratulations were expressed to Connie Hardie for being chosen a Clinton County Woman of the Year. The banquet was enjoyed by those in attendance.

Marla Stewart shared the children’s book “Everybody’s Welcome” by Patricia Hagarty. This book will be given to the Wilmington Public Library to honor former member Lois Hackney.

Following the business meeting, President Marla Stewart introduced our presenter, Rebecca Strafford, who spoke on “Washington’s Women”.

The saying “Behind every great man, there is a great woman” is readily demonstrated by a study of the women in George Washington’s life. Much has been written about his wife Martha, celebrating the love and wealth brought to him. Less in recent years has been published about Mary, his mother, and much of what has been repeated stresses her demands on George and some amazement that a woman of her less refined class could have a son like him.

Two excellent biographies were published in 2019: “The Widow Washington, the Life of Mary Washington” by Martha Sexton and “Mary Bell Washington, the Untold Story of George Washington’s Mother” by Craig Shirley.

A review of the former led Dr. Strafford to find out more about Mary Washington and her influences on George, her son. As a balance to those, Patricia Brady’s biography Martha Washington, “An American Life”, was also shared with the Conversation Club. Of the three books, “The Widow Washington”, by Martha Saxton is the most informative and the primary basis for this program.

Each author gives details about life in the American colonies from early 1700s through the first years after the Revolution. The ugly realities of slavery with its effects on the human beings enslaved as well as those who were slave owners is presented in context of time. Mary Washington’s life straddled this period, with her stamina and strength of character reflecting forever in her son’s leadership for the country.

The afternoon ended with green shamrock cookies, refreshments and conversation enjoyed by all.

‘Washington’s Women’ at Conversation Club