First Fifty Years of Cazenovia Seminary


Madison County



  But I venture to assert that in the moral progress of mankind woman has been God's most effective agent, the co-worker with Providence in those remarkable events which have changed the fate of nations, brought light out of darkness, and given impulse and direction to the souls of men, when these sought to advance the cause of righteousness. Author of Distinguished Women.

  Many of these ladies have been widely known as the wives of ministers, and have, in their sphere of public labor and of social and domestic influence, added greatly to the character and success of their husbands. They were refined by their education, they were sanctified by the grace of God's Holy Spirit, they were disciplined by the trials incident to their calling, they were matured by their associations, opportunities, and experiences.
  Not a few of the lady students of the Seminary have given their lives to teaching. Others are wives of distinguished generals, of statesmen, of merchants, of farmers, and in these relations have done themselves honor. Some have devoted themselves to authorship and literature; some to the great work of temperance and moral reform. The sphere of woman's work is constantly widening. Obstacles which have heretofore restricted them are being removed, and their power of benevolent action is augmented. In no department is this seen more clearly than in the mission work among the women of heathen lands. There, as teachers, physicians, and Christian missionaries, they touch influences and reach classes not otherwise approachable.
  Notice here of some of the distinguished alumnae must not be understood as inclusive and conclusive of them; rather it is representative. From the classes indicated, the following, it is hoped, will not be deemed invidious selections:

1825. Catharine Childs was one of the earliest students. She became the wife of Augustus W. Smith, LL.D., the second principal, and later the president of Wesleyan University.

1826. Ellen Cochrane, sister of General John Cochrane.

1827. Caroline I. Beecher, the wife of Daniel Crouse, Esq., of Utica, N. Y. An estimable lady, a life-long friend of the Seminary.

1834. Mary Cole, wife of President P. B. Wilber, D.D. She survives as his widow, residing in Cincinnati, Ohio.

1834. Elizabeth Adaliza Boardman was born in Smithborough, Tioga County, N. Y. The only daughter of Isaac S. and Abigail Boardman. The mother being a lady of extraordinary intelligence, educated the daughter at home until she arrived at the age of twelve, when she was sent to the best select schools in the country until she was sixteen, at which period she entered, as an advanced scholar, the ladies' department at Cazenovia, where she remained as a student one year. Soon afterward she married one of the older students, now known as General S. M. Bowman. During the spring and summer of 1852 she accompanied her husband and a select party in a perilous expedition across the Rocky Mountains, leaving St. Louis in April and arriving at San Francisco in September. At that time the country between Kansas City and Sacramento was a wilderness, uninhabited except by Indians. A residence in San Francisco from 1852 to 1858 made her favorably known in California, and afterward, during the civil war, afforded her an opportunity there of great usefulness. The United States Christian Commission, under the management of George H. Stuart, its president, and Rev. William E. Boardman, (her brother,) secretary, sent a deputation to the Pacific Coast, of which Mrs. Bowman was one, in the interests of that Commission. The ladies there organized under Mrs. Bowman's leadership, and did some noble work for the Commission, raising in San Francisco one hundred thousand dollars in greenbacks in the course of a few weeks. During the civil war, though an invalid, like another Florence Nightingale, she hovered around the track of war, visiting hospitals and administering to suffering men. After the war she twice visited Europe in search of health.

1835. Jane E. Birdsall, wife of Rev. Luke Hitchcock, D.D., Senior Agent of the Western Book Concern, at Cincinnati, Ohio.

1836. Mary Helen Peck, only daughter of Rev. George Peck, D.D. She was born at Wilkesbarre. Pa., April 10, 1827. During the three years that her father was principal of the Seminary she attended the classes suitable to her age. On his removal to New York city in 1840 she became a student of Rutgers Institute in that city, where she spent three years. In 1848 she married Rev. J. T. Crane, D.D., of Newark Conference. Since that time she has been a devoted wife and mother, eminently faithful in all the duties pertaining to her position; possessing an intellect of rare vigor, combined with the organizing faculty so necessary in all the departments of the Church. Her work has been unusually extensive and useful. From the time necessarily demanded by a large family, she has snatched many hours and days of faithful work for Christ. For several years she was a class leader in St. Paul's Methodist Episcopal Church, Newark, N. J., in which she did much toward the development of sterling Christian character in the members of her youthful class. In 1872 she was appointed Corresponding Secretary for New Jersey by the New York branch of the Woman's Foreign Missionary Society, and is now Recording Secretary of the board of managers of that body. During Mrs. Crane's term of service as corresponding secretary of this society, she has been active and successful in forming local societies in aid of the cause. The General Conference of 1872 constituted her a member of the board of managers of the Ladies and Pastors' Christian Union, and the Newark Annual Conference of 1875 made her Corresponding Secretary of the Conference Society. For some years she has been deeply interested in the temperance cause, speaking and writing in favor of its advancement. The Women's National Christian Temperance Association, which met in Cincinnati in 1875, constituted her vice-president for New Jersey.

1835. Lucena E. Clark, who married Rev. Herman M. Johnson, D.D.

1836. Harriet E. Slocum, a member of one of the oldest and most influential families of the historic Wyoming Valley. She is the wife of Hon. Henry Lewis, of Madison, N. Y. Mrs. Lewis is especially known for her deep piety, great benevolence, and enterprise in every work which has for its object the amelioration of mankind.

1837. Elizabeth G. Comfort, graduate of 1842, wife of Rev. William Reddy, D.D. A. A. Dawson, successful teacher and authoress. Louisa Giddings, wife of Spencer Watrous, of Montrose, Pa. Sarah L. Butler, wife of Rev. George M. Peck.

1838. Jane Eddy, wife of Rev. R. Nelson, D.D., first principal of Wyoming Seminary, and now Agent of New York, Methodist Book Concern.

1839. Sarah Clark, who married John Eddy, Esq., of Milford, Otsego County, N. Y., a true and liberal friend of the Seminary.

1843. Sarah Clark, wife of W. H. Haight, one of the earliest students of the first term. 1847. Mary Deitz graduated in 1847. Afterward preceptress of Wyoming Seminary. Caroline M. Bannister, wife of Rev. Professor Bennett, D.D., of Syracuse University.

1850. Fannie Atwell, daughter of the late Rev. James Atwell, wife of A. E. Gort, merchant at Chittenango, N. Y.

1850. Sarah B. Ingersoll, a name that will awaken in Cazenovia many pleasing reminiscences. She was born in Cazenovia in 1836, entered the Seminary in 1850, and graduated in 1853. Her literary character and career are pronounced, and a little larger space may, therefore, be allowed for an analysis. At the age of twelve she first appeared in print in the village paper, the "Madison County Whig," from which time to the present she has been more or less engaged in literary work. After graduation she took position as preceptress of Fayetteville Academy. Thence she entered Troy Female Seminary to continue her studies, the ornamental branches and modern languages. From Troy she went to Augusta, Ga., as governess in one of the first families in the State. While there she married Halsey Fenimore Cooper, also a Cazenovia graduate, who had been appointed by President Pierce to the office of surveyor and inspector of the port of Chattanooga, which place he filled till the breaking out of the War of the Rebellion. Adhering to the Union, they came back to their native State. Soon after Mr. Cooper received an appointment in the Treasury Department at Washington. In 1863 he was appointed Assessor of Internal Revenue at Memphis. There Mrs. Cooper was elected president of the "Society for the Aid of the Refugees," and was actively engaged in that work till the close of the war. Her health failed, and for two years she sought to recuperate at St. Paul, Minn. On the resignation of Mr. Cooper in 1869 they removed to California, where they now reside. Mrs. Cooper has been, at different times, a regular, contributor to various leading newspapers and periodicals, and for four years was engaged on the "Overland Monthly." Her reviews and editorial work, together with stories and other prose articles, have given her an established reputation in the literary world. In the lecture field she has also been very successful. She has prepared the Educational Report of the State of California for the National Bureau of education at Washington for the past four or five years. She devotes herself to literary work. At the semi-centennial celebration of the Seminary she delivered a poem of rare excellence, which will be found in Part II. of this work.

1851. Hattie E. Ingersoll, a student in 1851. She, too, went thence to Troy Female Seminary. She married Dr. Julius A. Skilton, a graduate of Wesleyan University, and also of the Albany Medical College. He practiced medicine in Troy. In 1861, when the war broke out, he was appointed assistant surgeon in the Thirtieth Regiment of State Volunteers. He was promoted for valuable services to `be medical director of cavalry of the Department of the Gulf, which office he filled till the close of the war. In 1866 he went to Vera Cruz, to observe the movements of the French then invading Mexico; but he was soon compelled to leave by the imperial authorities. He shortly returned, however, in company with the family of President Juarez. In 1869 he was appointed United States Consul to the City of Mexico. In 1873 he received the appointment of Consul General of the United States in Mexico, which position he still occupies. Mrs. Skilton has aided her husband in the literary work growing out of his positions. She has contributed regularly to a New York daily paper as correspondent from Mexico. 

1852. Irene M. Ingersoll, sister of Hattie E. Ingersoll, was born in Cazenovia, and entered the Seminary in 1852. She then, after two years, joined her sister in Chattanooga. Here she married Major Rawlings, an ardent Confederate, and who was on the staff of General Pillow during the war. His property was confiscated at the close of the war. Mrs. Rawlings is living in Chattanooga, and has seen much of vicissitude from the fortunes of war, which, it is said, she has borne with marked fortitude and heroism.

1853. Ianthe O. Randall, a graduate of the five years' course in 1853, now the widow of Rev. C. D. Burritt. 1854. Minerva Clark, wife of Mayor Eastman, of Poughkeepsie, N. Y., founder and principal of "Eastman's Commercial College;" formerly from Lenox, Madison County, N. Y.

1855. Phoebe Marks, a prize student in the five years' course in 1855. She married Andrew O. Butler, also prize student of the same year. He is a prominent lawyer in Chicago, Ill.

1855. Julia Colman, a graduate in the five years' course. For years she was connected with the Sunday-School Union of the publishing department of the Methodist Book Concern, New York, and wrote much for children. Now resides in Brooklyn, N. Y., and is engaged in literary pursuits, lecturing on temperance, etc.

1855. Pamelia A. Pease, daughter of the late Rev. Lewis Pease, of the New York Conference, and of the present Mrs. Rev. James Erwin. A graduate of the class of 1855; distinguished for her womanly character, intelligence, and deep piety. She married Rev. W. C. Steele, well known in Central New York, and in New York, Baltimore, and Washington cities.

1863. Laura J. Reddy, graduate in the three years' course in 1865, receiving at the time the Jervis Latin Prize. She subsequently taught in Pompey Academy, then in Fairfield Seminary, whence she was elected preceptress of Oxford Academy. Resigning this position, she re-entered Cazenovia Seminary to teach French, and graduated in the five years' course. Later she was elected teacher in the Northwestern Female College at Evanston, Illinois. During the first year, upon application, she consented to an election as preceptress of the Willamette University, at Salem, Oregon, under President Rounds, and on being notified of her election she resigned, and took her departure by steamer for the Pacific coast. Upon the resignation of Dr. Rounds as president, she also resigned and came to the Atlantic States. After a year's rest she resumed teaching, being engaged in the New Hampshire Conference Seminary. Her most recent position was preceptress of "Lake Shore Seminary," at North East, Pennsylvania. While holding this position she was married in the fall of 1874 to Professor J. E. J. Buckey, of Cumberland, Md., who had just been elected principal of the same school, while she remained as preceptress. Present residence and address Cumberland, Md.

  Libbie J. Adams, daughter of Colonel Henry P. Adams, of Syracuse, was student in the Seminary in 1867 She married Charles E. Hill, who had railroad and other public contracts in China. Mrs. Hill has twice been to China and once to Europe. On her return trip from a visit to her parents in Syracuse, N. Y., to rejoin her husband in China, she had with her two twin children about two years of age, and also a Chinese boy, her attendant. The American bark "Charlie," in which she sailed, was totally lost. The small boat in which she escaped from the wreck was picked up by a Chinese junk, which became so water-logged that she sat in water up to her waist forty hours, her children being held out of the water by the strong arms of the sailors, and sometimes by the Chinese, who at times became infuriated, and ready to murder the whole foreign company.

1868. Florence Amanda Mattoon, whose character is here sketched, was born March 28, 1850. At a very early age she was imbued with the missionary spirit, and manifested an intelligence of the missionary work far beyond her years. Alone in her room, at the age of eleven, after three months of earnest inquiry she was converted to God. She at once took her appropriate place in the Church, gave herself fully to Christ, and was enabled to grasp with a firm hold the promises of God. Her diary and correspondence reveal not only a deep acquaintance with "the way of holiness" and "the higher life," but unusual zeal and skill in her endeavors to lead others into the same. She was punctual and constant in her attendance on the means of grace, and shrank from no responsibility of labor or sacrifice. In prayer or class-meetings of the students she ever gave a confident and cheerful testimony. She had been for several years a student at the Seminary, and had graduated from it with honors two years previous to her death. At her graduation she received a gold medal prize for the best essay in German. She possessed rare scholarly attainments, and that versatility of talent which enabled her not only to acquire varied knowledge, but also to use it. Her ability as a writer was more than ordinary. The termination of her life was mournfully tragic. On the 9th of August, 1873, she, together with Mr. Charles I. Bebee, a student, who lost his life in an heroic attempt to save hers, was drowned in Cazenovia Lake by the capsizing of a sail boat.

  Others, distinguished, will be found in the list of those who have gone forth as missionaries to foreign lands; besides an indefinite list of prominent persons who have adorned the various walks of life, equally worthy of special note. In that list will be found Catharine and Clara Andrews, Adaline and Eliza Biddlecome, Mary Cooledge, Phoebe A. Raynor, Mary Knowlton, Louisa De Clercq, Louisa and Amelia Fink, Mary B. Lane, Sarah Cargill, Mary J. Haight, Elizabeth and Catharine Fearon, Sarah Lamb, Emily E. Drake, Emily Dana, Bertha W. Loring, Elizabeth Shoemaker, Elizabeth Guernsey, Eliza Bordwell, etc.

  These must suffice; space will not allow more. A large list of prominent ladies was chosen as vice-presidents of the Jubilee Celebration, selected on account of their personal, literary, and social character and position, and the list from which they were drawn was far from being exhausted. The names of these vice-presidents will appear in Part II. For further notices and sketches of students see the alphabetical list, in which all, with such data as could be collected, will appear. Great pains have been taken to collect materials, but many who have been addressed have, doubtless, never been reached, or have failed to respond. This has been an occasion of regret and embarrassment.

pp. 232-240.

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