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Confusion over the background of the first female American cop

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Earlier this week we posted a story from Irish Central which reported that the first female police officer in the United States was an Irish woman Marie Owens. Today a story in the Montreal Gazette claims that Marie Owens was, in fact Canadian.

According to the story, this confusion has been going on for sometime. Alice Stebbins Wells of Los Angeles and Lola G. Baldwin of Portland, Oregon have both been thought to be the first female American police officer.

This time the identity of the first female cop is not in question, but rather the nationality. The Canadian paper is claiming Marie Owens was born in Ottawa as Marie Connolly on 21 December 1853 while the Irish site claims she was born in Ireland.

  1. Bob Ullman says:

    Just to add to the confusion, the 1900 Federal Census (aka the Twelfth census) which recorded among others the Borough of Manhattan in New York, including Marie Owens and four children – to you I offer the following:
    The Census asked specifically under the heading “Personal Description” for Marie Owens to answer the question “Mother of how many children?” To which Marie recorded that she had 7. For the “Number of these children still living” she answered 6.
    And under the column headed “Nativity” she answered the three columns as follows; #1 “Place of Birth of this Person”( i.e. herself) she answered New York; For #2 “Place of birth of Father of this person” Marie answered Wales and to #3 “Mother of this person” she also that her mother was from Wales.
    So Marie Owen might not have been Irish as most of us assumed. The same goes for how many children she mothered. Rather than the four or five offspring she listed in 1900, which others of us have believed (and written), it appears that she had seven children – but only 6 who lived to the year 1900.
    A cautionary word, I would not rush off immediately to the computer with this information hot in hand. Many who have faced the task of answering questions posed by a census taker have for various reasons given bogus answers. I suggest deeper research first.

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