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Looking Back: A Woman’s Life in Frontier Birmingham

Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published December 20, 2019


BIRMINGHAM — The Birmingham Museum recently received a donation of letters and poems that once belonged to Rhoda Bingham Daniels. These letters and poems provide us with a glimpse into the Daniels home, built in 1831 and considered the second-oldest home in Birmingham today.

Rhoda Bingham was born in Vermont and was raised in a Puritan family. When she was still in her teens, she came to Genesee County with her sister and brother-in-law, Almira and David Brown.

This letter pictured was sent to Bingham by her grandfather, Jeremiah Bingham, a well-known bishop in the Congregational Church who wanted to remind Bingham of her Puritan upbringing.  

Bingham met her husband, Hiram Daniels, while she was living with her sister’s family in Flint. Hiram had already built his home on what became the corner of modern day Lincoln and Pierce streets and brought Bingham to Birmingham in the fall of 1836.

Bingham’s letters and a surviving diary entry give us a glimpse into the hardships faced by women living in frontier Birmingham, including the heartbreaking deaths of Bingham’s first three children.

In a new exhibit, coming in 2020 — “Beyond Suffrage-A Look at Empowering Birmingham’s Women”  — The Birmingham Museum looks at the lives of Bingham and other inspiring women in our city.