Woman of the Century/Catherine Swan Brown Spear
SPEAR, Miss Catherine Swan Brown, reformer and educator, born in Worcester county, Mass., in 1814. Her father, Samuel Swan, was of Scotch origin, an American by birth. Her mother. Clara Hale, was of English descent by both parents. Her mother was Joanna Carter, of Leominster. Their residence was in Hubbardston, Mass. Her father was graduated from Cambridge University in 1799. Both parents were teachers. Her father was engaged as counselor-at-law forty years. Catherine was the oldest of seven children and was in immediate association with her parents and the society of maturer people. She began to CATHERINE SWAN BROWN SPEAR. attend school when three years of age, and continued until eighteen. She was engaged as a teacher three years. She was always opposed to slavery, and at nineteen years of age she became actively engaged in the anti-slavery organization. She became the wife of Abel Brown, of Albany, N. Y., in 1843. They had in charge many fugitive slaves. Her husband was corresponding secretary and general agent of the Eastern New York Anti-slavery Society. His office was in Albany. She lived with him only eighteen months, and during that time they traveled s<x-thousand miles. They were also engaged in the temperance movements. Her husband died at the age of thirty-five, a martyr to the cause of temperance and anti-slavery in Troy, 1845, in consequence of mob violence inflicted on his person. In 1855 Mrs. Brown became the wife of Rev. Charles Spear, of Boston, known as the " Prisoner's Friend ' She visited with him many prisons and became interested in reformatories, by petitions and lectures in behalf of an industrial school for girls in South Lancaster, Mass., and for boys in Washington, D. C, through the influence of Charles Sumner. In the cause of temperance, she petitioned and labored for an asylum for inebriates in Boston, now under the management of Albert Day, M. D. In former days she was especially interested in the question of woman's rights as preliminary to that of suffrage. She now continues to work for the abolition of capital punishment She has spoken in the senate of her native State on that subject, with others, and in all has addressed the legislature ten times, including one lecture in the House of Representatives. She was engaged in hospital work during the war of the Rebellion, her husband, Rev. Charles Spear, being chaplain, appointed by President Lincoln, in Washington, D C. He died in 1863, but Mrs. Spear remained until the close of the war. Although belonging to the Universal Peace Society, the war seemed to her the only way to conclude peace and to reestablish the Union. In her work she was permitted to visit the rebel prison in the old capitol and give aid to the suffering. She is now living in Passaic, N. J.