feme sole


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Related to feme sole: feme covert

feme sole

n
1. (Law) a single woman, whether spinster, widow, or divorcee
2. (Law) a woman whose marriage has been annulled or is otherwise independent of her spouse, as by owning her own property
[C16: from Anglo-French: a woman alone]
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References in periodicals archive ?
Other times, credit-based exchanges required women to operate independently, as feme sole traders.
11) Tucker referred to a law of 1727 that confirmed the status of slaves as real property and pronounced that the "right of a Feme covert to a slave shall vest in the husband absolutely; that of a feme sole, on her marriage.
bequeathed, or hath, or shall descend to any feme covert, the absolute right, property and interest of such slave is thereby vested, and shall accrue to, and be vested in, the husband of such feme covert; and where any feme sole, is or shall be possessed of any slave, as of her own property, the same shall accrue to, and be absolutely vested in the husband of such feme, when she shall marry.
19) Such a daughter knew how to behave herself whether she married or remained a feme sole.
She also may have preferred to remain a feme sole because this status connoted an advantage over that of a married woman.
Howe acts as an unchallenged rather than suppressed mother, an unfettered feme sole rather than feme covert, and as both public and private family leader.
Howe, she becomes perhaps the most powerful type of feme sole.
In pre-1960 dictionaries you will find the term feme sole, meaning an independent agent, one who supported herself.
Thus, in 1624 when Richard Pooke, hatmaker, sued "Mary Frith alias Markham of London, Spinster," for some unpaid beaver hats, the attorney warned Pooke not to sue her as feme sole under the name of Mary Frith, for she had already defeated other complainants by claiming that she was feme covert, married "to one Markham.