Maria Soares

Black-and-white photo of Maria Soares.
Maria Soares. Photo courtesy: NPS

Maria F. Soares

A tall, imposing woman, Maria F. Soares was born in Cape Verde in 1849. She married the American consulate, a Boston Yankee. After giving birth to their son, she moved to the United States to join her husband. When he died a month later, the widowed Soares was rejected by her in-laws.

Soares moved instead to a Cape Verdean neighborhood in New Bedford. She opened a boardinghouse known as the Whalemen's Lodge at 386 South Water Street, which she operated for 30 years. While running her own business, she also helped introduce other Cape Verdeans to American customs.

She died in 1913.

Last updated: January 12, 2021

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