Woman of the Century/Betty Bentley Beaumont
BEAUMONT, Mrs. Betty Bentley, author and merchant, born in Lancastershire, England, 9th August, 1828. She was the only child of Joseph Bentley, the great educational reformer of BETTY BENTLEY BEAUMONT. England. Mr. Bentley organized and conducted a society for "the promotion of the education of the people," and wrote and published thirty-three books to improve the methods of education, but he presents another example of the neglect, by public benefactors, of those bound to them by the closest ties of nature. He allowed his child to acquire only the elements of an education, and took her from school in her tenth year and employed her in his business to copy his manuscripts, correct proof and attend lectures. The independent spirit of the little girl was roused by a strange act on the part of her father He showed her a summing up of the expenses she had been to him in the ten years of her life. To a child it seemed a large amount, and having set her young brain to devise some plan by which she might sup|K»rt herself so as to be of no further expense to her father, she surreptitiously learned the milliners' trade. She loved her books, and her propensity for learning was exceptional, but her opportunity for study was extremely limited. At a very early age she was married to Edward Beaumont, and came to America seven years after her marriage. They lived in Philadelphia for five years and, on account of Mr. Beaumont's feeble health, removed to the South, going to Woodville, Miss. The coming on of the Civil War and the state of feeling in a southern town toward suspected abolitionists are most interestingly described in Mrs. Beaumont's "Twelve Years of My Life." (Philadelphia, 1SS7). The failing health of her husband and the needs of a family of seven children called forth her inherent energy, and she promptly began what she felt herself qualified to carry on to success, and became one of Uie leading merchants of the town. Her varied experiences during a period of historical interest are given in "A Business Woman's Journal" (Philadelphia, 1888). That book graphically explains the financial state of the cotton-growing region of the South during the years immediately succeeding the Civil War, the confusion consequent upon the transition from the credit system to a cash basis, and the condition of the suddenly freed blacks. Mrs. Beaumont's books are valuable because they have photographed a period that quickly passed. Her style is simple and unpretending. She is one of the hard-working business women of to-day. She has shown independence of spirit, self-sacrificing courage and remarkable tenacity of purpose. She has a kind and sympathizing heart, and a nature susceptible to every gentle and elevating influence.