Hannah Davis: Early Entrepreneur Extraordinaire

On an excursion to visit novelist Willa Cather’s gravesite in Jaffrey, New Hampshire last month, my sister and I stumbled upon a historic marker on the side of a road. This marker highlights two of Jaffrey’s most notorious citizens, Hannah Davis and Amos Fortune. We recalled having heard of Fortune before, his story a remarkable one, but we had not heard of Hannah Davis who lived in Jaffrey from 1784 -1863. Davis’s story reveals an entrepreneurial spirit that still amazes today. In 1818, after both parents had passed, only-child Davis was “a spinster of thirty-four, almost penniless,”(Robinson) an unenviable...

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