Can you imagine the conversation that would ensue between a woman brought up in the 1850s and one brought up in the 1950s? What would someone from 1853 think of a woman wearing a miniskirt? How would a woman feel if she knew in 1914 that just a few years later there would be another World War?
These are the questions that Linda Stevenson and I continue to ask ourselves as we write the Wayne County Historical Societyâs newest play, âA Tea Out of Time.â The play is about 16 women from various eras meeting for a few hours one afternoon. Except for one case, Linda and I used real people for our characters and have done much research into their time periods and their lives.
We wanted to feature one woman from each Wayne County town and sometimes we knew who we wanted to use and other times we asked the townsâ historical societies or their historians who would be an inspiring woman to include. The 16 women in our play are:
From Palmyra we chose Mary Ann Woodward. She was the first woman in Wayne County to receive a patent. It was in April of 1849 and the invention was a âfan-rocking chair.â She stated in her application that she had invented a new and useful attachment to a rocking chair âfor causing circulation of air.â Of course we put her in 1849 when she was 55 years old.
From Butler we chose Antoinette Brown, the first woman in the United States to be an ordained minister. Although Antoinette graduated from Oberlin Seminary, she was refused a college degree or a license to preach. On Sept. 18, 1853 Antoinette Brown was ordained a minister of the First Congregational Church in South Butler. Four months earlier, on July 4, 1853, she was also the first woman ever to give an Independence Day Address, also in South Butler. We chose 1853 for her year; she is 27.
From Rose we chose Nancy Permelia…