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Elleanor Eldridge

Elleanor Eldridge was born to Robin Eldridge, who had gained his freedom after serving in the Revolutionary War, and a Native American mother, Hannah Prophet. Robin Eldridge was a landowner in Warwick, Rhode Island. The family was economically stable and respected in the community.  With the loss of her mother at the age of 10, Eldridge labored at her own initiative at various times as a laundress, spinner, weaver, maker of soap and paper, whitewasher, wallpaperer, dairy worker and expert cheesemaker, and painter. She also boarded with families in exchange for labor. 

Eldridge was a businesswoman and eventually owner of significant property, beginning with a lot on Spring Street in Providence, Rhode Island, where she built a home, renting out one wing for income. Eldridge later purchased two adjacent lots, assuming a mortgage of $1,500 at 10 percent interest in a private loan (around $45,000 in today’s currency). This is something she would not have been able to do if she had married. This all would at the least have been in her husband’s name, which was also the case for white women. For the time, it was an unconventional choice for a female to remain single.

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