American Pioneer Chronicles:

Eleanor Justice Culin

Intrepid Eleanor Justice Culin was in many ways more similar to modern women than to her contemporaries in the eighteenth century. With a surname like Justice, Eleanor may have been predestined to be an independent figure, but it was all of her own making. Born in Philadelphia, Eleanor’s Swedish Lutheran family had been in the New World for generations yet still struggled for prosperity. As a youngster, she would spend as much time as possible at the St. James Church, learning as much as her active mind would allow. At a time when daughters were married off at the age of sixteen, Eleanor would wait until thirty-two to marry George Culin, a local man five years her junior. Also bucking the trend of eight or more children per family, Eleanor would be blessed with just one. A son George was born to her on July 4, 1764, aptly named for his father, who had died when he was still in the womb. Eleanor was intuitive enough to appreciate the importance of his date of birth, which would shortly become America’s birthday as well. Finding herself a single mother of an oft-ill son, Eleanor would proudly become the head of the household, and did not remarry as her contemporaries would have promoted. In a daring move, she relocated to Prospect Park, where she secured work on the John Morton farm and ultimately patent land. George Jr, with Eleanor’s education and guidance, became a successful shoemaker in Philadelphia, bringing Eleanor seven grandbabes. Eleanor, never dependent on a man during her extraordinary and resolute life, would pass at the age of fifty-seven, a model to her descendants of strength, intelligence, and fortitude.