Harriet E. Wilson (1825-1900) was the first female African-American velist as well as the first African American of any gender to publish a vel on the North American continent. She was born in Milford, New Hampshire, the daughter of an African American hooper of barrels. Her father died when she was very young, and her mother abandoned her at the farm of Nehemiah Hayward Jr., a well-to-do Milford farmer. After the end of her indenture, she worked as a house servant and a seamstress in households in southern New Hampshire and in central and western Massachusetts, until she married Thomas Wilson in 1851. However, he soon abandoned her. Pregnant and ill, she was sent to the Hillsborough County Poor Farm in Goffstown, New Hampshire, where her only son, George Mason Wilson, was born. She then moved to Boston, Massachusetts to seek a living for herself and her son. While in Boston, she wrote Our Nig; or, Sketches from the Life of a Free Black in 1859. Despite her active and fruitful life after Our Nig, there is evidence that she ever wrote anything else for publication.