Verna May Harding – One of the first women to ever work at the Quincy Shipyard.

November 24, 2021

Verna May Harding was born in 1905 on the Herring Pond Tribal Reservation lands in what is now called Bournedale and Cedarville in Plymouth. She lived there her entire life of 89 years. Along with her sister Phyllis and other female Herring Pond Wampanoag Tribal cousins, she was one of the first women to even work at the Quincy shipyard, right alongside the men. This is her Quincy shipyard company photograph.

January 28, 1905 – September 6, 1994

Verna May Harding was born in 1905 on the Herring Pond Wampanoag Tribal Reservation Lands: Herring River Lot” in what is now Bournedale and Cedarville and lived there her entire life of 89 Years.  As a child she was taught to hunt and fish and incorporate the land and all that it provides for sustenance to survive. In her prone years Verna worked as a laborer and anything that brought in money.  Along with her sister Phyllis and other female Herring Pond Wampanoag Tribe cousins, they were some of the first woman to ever work at the Quincy Shipyard (picture attached) right alongside the men.  Although the details are vague sometime in the mid 18th Century a fire broke out in the center of Cedarville. Verna while working as a laborer for this local family rushed inside and saved the child from the fire (picture attacked from the local paper) the reason she was given a life estate in the little house in the center of town.  Everyone in Cedarville knew Verna and she was famous throughout out the Town for her bold personality, her sense of humor and her Baked Beans, plus other native recipes nobody for miles could create. At her funeral she was referred to as “The Voice of Cedarville” by the late Papa Calhoun. She was an avid Angler, loved Hunting and game and new everything about the local plant species and its purpose…what she referred to it as “living off the fat of the land”  She loved keeping her garden and canning preserves and sharing with her community. Although she had little she would share with anyone and would give you the shirt off her back if you were in need. She loved children and spent her entire life taking care of displaced tribal children and others.  Each summer for many years she hosted large groups of children from the Fresh Air Fund.  A program founded in 1877 with a mission to provide inner city children from undeserved communities with summer experiences.  She was a diamond in the rough.

Written by

One of the children she raised that loved her dearly Melissa (Harding) Ferretti – Herring Pond Wampanoag Tribe Chairlady / President

Pictured: Verna May Harding.
Contributor Name – Ferretti, Melissa
Decade
1940-1949
Location Names
Plymouth ,
Massachusetts
United States

https://openarchives.umb.edu/digital/collection/p15774coll6/id/13071/rec/1

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