Thursday, January 12, 2012

“First female white child born in Ohio”

Last summer I heard that the first female white child born in Ohio was buried in a nearby county.

I love superlatives: first, biggest, smallest, tallest. So at the first opportunity, I checked the cemetery location with Google Maps on my smartphone and headed out to find the grave of the FFWCBIO.

When I reached Mitchell Cemetery, I immediately noticed an engraved boulder that promised me I was in the right spot for the grave of the FFWCBIO.

It took a just a few minutes more to find the grave of Mary Hawn (b. 1791, d. 1881) at the edge of the cemetery next to a cornfield.

Will you forgive me if I confess a moment of disappointment? I didn’t realize it until I stood at the monument, but I had expected to find an early 1800s gravestone for a child or young girl. This was a late 1800s monument for an adult woman.

(Or it may even be a newer, replacement monument. The style of the lettering seems rather modern.)

The moment of disappointment quickly passed. The monument may not be particularly old or unique in its design, but this is the FFWCBIO!

mar. 5, 1791
june 21, 1861

The monument declares that Mary Hawn was “born in a block house where Cincinnati now stands; and the first white female child born in Ohio.”

According to The History of Union County by Pliny A. Durant (1883),

Philip Hawn settled on Survey 3,750, of 100 acres, in the western part of the township in 1819, and remained there till his death. His wife, Mrs. Mary Hawn, claimed to have been the first white female child born at Cincinnati, where her birth occurred March 5, 1791. Her father was Jacob Linsicome, who came down the Ohio from Pennsylvania in the fall of 1790 and stayed during the ensuing winter with his family within what are now the limits of Cincinnati. Soon after the birth of Mary, he purchased land in Turkey Bottom and removed his family there. He died of small-pox within three years after, and his widow subsequently became the wife of Samuel Edwards. After a short time they moved to a place on the stream called Sycamore, and in 1821 to the Pickaway plains, settling three miles from Circleville. Here Mary married Philip Hawn, and having exchanged her share of her father’s land in Hamilton County for the 100 acres in Jerome, removed to it with her husband in 1819. She survived her husband some years and died at the residence of her son Joseph Hawn near Unionville Center, June 21, 1861.

The 1860 Federal Census for Darby Township in Union County shows a Mary Hohn, 69 years old and born in Ohio, in the John Miner household. Is this our Mary? Mary is not listed in the Joseph Hawn household (which is only a few households away from the Miner household) in 1860.

1860 Federal Census image from

Was Mary Linsicome Hawn the first female born in Ohio? She evidently believed it to be so—and so does the Union County Historical Society.

Mitchell Cemetery, Union County, Ohio


  1. Very interesting! And to think it was so close. I'll have to keep an eye out for that date to see if I find anyone else born sooner?! Thanks for sharing!

  2. I just stumbled across this post and thought you might like to know that the Moravian Church considers the first white girl born in Ohio to be Johanna Maria “Polly” Heckewelder. She was born in 1781 and died in 1868, and is buried the Moravian Cemetery (known as God's Acre) in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Her father's house still stands nearby. Members of the local Moravian community make dolls named after Polly. Here's a link to more information about her:

    1. Thank you for sharing the article--I love the doll connection! And thank for for the link to FindAGrave, as well. This "conflict" is calling out for some research, isn't it?

  3. Here is the FindAGrave memorial for Polly:


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