#OTD in 1770 – Mary Anne McCracken, patriot and supporter of the United Irishmen, is born in Belfast.

Stair na hÉireann/History of Ireland

Mary Ann McCracken was a Belfast social reformer. Her father was Captain John McCracken, a prominent shipowner; her mother Ann Joy came from another wealthy family which made its money in the linen trade and founded the Belfast News Letter. Mary Ann’s liberal and far-sighted parents sent her to David Manson’s progressive co-educational school, where ‘young ladies’ received the same education as the boys; Mary Ann excelled at mathematics.

She was the sister of one of the founding members of the Society of the United Irishmen, Henry Joy McCracken, who was executed in Belfast following his role in the Battle of Antrim in June 1798. After the death of her brother, whose body she had doctors attempt (unsuccessfully) to resuscitate, Mary Ann took over the care of his illegitimate daughter, Maria. After Henry’s execution in 1798, she and her sister Margaret opened a muslin manufacturing business at 27 Waring Street…

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