Mary Jemison’s Resting Place
I chose to take a picture of the Mary Jemison monument in Letchworth State Park. Though I could only upload one picture to the website, I wanted to give some background. The statue is positioned right next to Mary Jemison’s cabin. The cabin was moved from another site to Letchworth in the late 1800s. Her cabin was in jeopardy of being destroyed and her gravesite had already been robbed. Mary Jemison’s grandsons contacted William Pryor Letchworth and asked him to intervene. Letchworth agreed to relocate the cabin, along with Jemison’s remains to Letchworth State Park. The statue you see in my illustration is actually Jemison’s headstone. I thought that this really applied to the Biesecker article. Biesecker talks about the placement of the WWII memorial. Obviously, the placement of Jemison’s memorial is significant. Letchworth sought to protect her remains and memorialize her life. Biesecker (2002) quotes Kammen, “societies…reconstruct their pasts rather than faithfully record them, and…they do so with needs of contemporary culture clearly in mind…” (p. 406). This really hit home with the Jemison statue. Many people don’t even know who she was or what she did. At her memorial, in Letchworth, you’ll find many plaques that explain Mary Jemison, specifically in a way that works for modern day society. They don’t talk about any controversial aspects of her or of the Genesee Valley Native Americans (part of the Seneca Nation). They divulge only the information that they see fitting for contemporary culture—both interesting and troublesome.