In the 1800s, a woman was not her own person in the eyes of the law. If unmarried, she belonged to her father. If married, she belonged to her husband. Any wages she earned, anything she brought to the marriage (even clothing and jewellery), any inheritance also belonged to her husband. As well, the husband owned the children and he alone decided if and where they would go to school, what religion they would be raised in, and at what age they should be sent out to work. When he died, in his will, he could leave the children to someone other than their mother, even if she was still living!