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Mary Ann McCracken (1770- 1866)

Mary Ann McCracken, often overshadowed by Henry Joy McCracken, her more famous brother, was a formidable person in her own right. She shared her brother’s radical politics and was an admirer of Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Women. A successful businesswoman (in the muslin trade) and a great philanthropist, in later life she became the jealous guardian of her brother’s reputation. Her final years were spent in the home of Maria, Henry Joy McCracken’s illegitimate daughter, whom Mary Ann had raised after her brother’s death. Unlike her brother, she enjoyed a long life and died aged 96.

Further reading: Mary McNeill, The Life and Times of Mary Ann McCracken, 1770-1866 (Belfast, 1988).

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