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Women experienced death and loss regularly on the frontier. Ann Booth Gwathmey (1782-1862) was no exception. The daughter of William A. and Rebecca Hite Booth, she migrated to Jefferson County, KY, with her family as a child. She married John Gwathmey in 1800 when she was eighteen years old, and he was twenty-six. She was nineteen years old when she gave birth to their first daughter, who died less than six weeks later. During the next twenty-five years, Ann lost both of her parents, two more pre-school aged children, and her husband. In her senior years, two of her adult children preceded her in death. See also the mourning necklace that belonged to her.
John Gwathmey (1774-1824) migrated to Jefferson County, KY, as a child with his parents Owen and Ann Clark Gwathmey. He married Ann Booth Gwathmey in 1800. He bought five acres near 6th and Cedar streets in Louisville, where he built a two-story brick house later known as the Grayson House. He operated the Indian Queen, a hotel at 6th and Main Streets, and an important social and civic hub in the city. In 1816, he sold his home and moved his family to New Orleans where he operated the Merchants Coffee House, the oldest coffee house in the city. In the era before photography, miniature portraits were popular mementos of loved ones that could be easily carried across long physical distances. The watercolor on ivory portraits were desired for the way artists could accurately capture a subject, working in such small dimensions.
In the era before photography, miniature portraits were popular mementos of loved ones that could be easily carried across long physical distances. The watercolor on ivory portraits were desired for the way artists could accurately capture a subject, working in such small dimensions. Ann Rogers Clark Gwathmey (1755-1822) was the sister of George Rogers Clark and William Clark. She was married to Owen Gwathmey. She and her husband moved to Louisville with at least five of their twelve children in 1797. They purchased 335 acres and built a home near Harrod's Creek, east of Louisville not very far from her sister Lucy Croghan's home at Locust Grove. The proximity to her sister and other family members ensured that Ann had a strong social network to rely on. The Gwathmeys enslaved twenty individuals on their estate, whose labor created economic advantage and comfort for the family.