This representation of the famous Dehgewanus, or "White Woman of the Genesee" comes from a real photo post card dated 1907 and shows what Mary might have looked like when she left the Genesee Valley for the Buffalo Creek Reservation in 1831.
Taken along with the Mary Jemison statue on the Council Ground, this wonderful image serves as one of the "bookends" for her remarkable life and symbolizes the changes in the Genesee Valley where she lived. Her statue depicts her as a young woman walking along an ancient Indian trail to begin her life along the Seneca People. The image above shows her near the end of her life's journey, the road and fence serving as reminders of the white neighbors who had replaced her adopted people in the land she called "Sehgahunda."
Based on the writing of the late Harry S Douglass, we originally attributed this to the local artist Carlos Stebbins. Douglass wrote in 1958 that this image was taken from a painting done by Stebbins. The photograph that accompanies the article has the label "The White Squaw at the age of 90". Other documentation, including labeling on a stereoview also led us to attribute it to Stebbins.
New documentation was brought to our attention after the publication of our Letchworth State Park book that indicates the work was not by Stebbins and may actually pre-date the painting of Mary Jemison now in the care of the Wyoming County Pioneer Association at Silver Lake. (We will detail the role of Mr Letchworth in documenting this image in a future "Pieces of the Past" page!) We have submitted the correction to the publisher of our Letchworth State Park book which should appear in the next printing.
For more information, see our Glimpse of Mary Jemison and other images of Dehgewanus.
We thank our friend, John Thomas, for bringing the additional documentation to our attention!
Harry S. Douglass, "The Immortal Mary Jemison" Historical Wyoming, Vol XI, No 2, January 1958.