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February 15, 2016

Woman of Courage Hannah Philpot Golding

Because February is Women's History Month I wanted to share with my readers the story of strong and courageous women in my life. You will be able to follow along as you wish by choosing the label "Women of Courage" in the right side bar. I encourage my readers to join me in honoring women of courage in your own families.

Hannah Philpot was my 3rd great-grandmother. She was born in what is called "the most haunted" village in England - Pluckley, Kent. 

In 1823 when Hannah was barely 18 years old she married Edward Golden or Golding and moved to Lenham. In the next 12 years, between 1824 and 1836, Hannah bore 6 children. In 1837 Edward, just 37 years old, died. Hannah was left a young widow with 6 children aged 1 to 13 years old. 

To keep her children in food, she became a charwoman. A charwoman was someone who cleaned houses for others. In 1840, three years after her husband's death, Hannah found herself pregnant and she soon gave birth to a baby girl (my 2nd great-grandmother) she named Georgiana. An illegitimate son John followed 3 years after Georgiana. Georgiana's birth certificate does not name her father but when she married, Georgiana stated her father was George Norris. George was an unmarried next-door neighbour. 

At some point in 1873 Hannah was committed to the Kent County insane asylum where she died in April 1881. Poor Hannah lived a life of such hardship and loneliness and to spend the last 8 years of her life in a mental institution imparts a cruelty I cannot imagine.

It has always bothered me that George and Hannah never married and I can't help but wonder if she was taken advantage of by George. That is why I call her another Woman of Courage. She lived in that small village of Lenham her entire life, and presumably held her head high throughout what must have been gossip about her scandalous behaviour and having 2 illegitimate children.

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