Mattie Parry Krekel

On this date in 1840, freethought lecturer Mattie Parry Krekel was born in Goshen, Indiana, to John M. Hulett and Lucinda Jay (a direct descendant of revolutionary John Jay). Mattie liked to thank her parents for being liberal in their religious views, noting that her life had not been twisted or distorted by ecclesiastical influences which enslave the mind. She began lecturing at age 15 in Rockford, Illinois, and retired only in 1900. Mattie married T.W. Parry in 1862 and had six children, four sons and two daughters. Following his death she later married Judge Arnold Krekel of Missouri.

She was well-known on the freethought lecture circuit, or “Liberal platform.” Freethought biographer S.P. Putnam called her “one of the bravest and staunchest lecturers in the field … eloquent, scholarly, logical, ready for any hardship; has plenty of grit. … She is well informed on subjects pertaining to science and reform, and is in thorough sympathy with those who suffer and toil because of ignorance and superstition.” (Four Hundred Years of Freethought, 1894).

“Up to the beginning of the present century there were few names more familiar to readers of The Truth Seeker than Mattie Parry Krekel,” noted George E. Macdonald, one of the newspaper’s longest-lived editors (Fifty Years of Freethought, 1929). D. 1921.

Freedom From Religion Foundation