Woman of the Century/Louisa Dow Benton
BENTON, Mrs. Louisa Dow, linguist, born in Portland. Maine, 23rd March, 1831. She is the daughter of Neal Dow and Cornelia Durant Maynard. She was educated in the best schools of her native city, the last and chief of which was the Free Street Seminary for young ladies, Master Hezekiah Packard, teacher. She had, besides these, teachers in French. On 12th December, 1860, she was married to Jacob Benton, of Lancaster, N. H. She passed four seasons in Washington, D. C., while Mr. Benton was member of Congress. She was physically as well as intellectually strong and active. In the fall of 1887 she contracted rheumatism, of which she thought little at first, but it soon assumed a serious form, when most energetic measures were adopted to throw it off, but all in vain. She went several times to mineral springs in Canada, and to Hot Springs in Arkansas, but LOUISA DOW BENTON. derived no benefit from any of them. At last she could not walk nor even stand, and was confined to her chair, w here she passed the time away with books, pen, drawing and painting. But her hands and arms were so greatly and increasingly affected by the disease that drawing and painting were soon given up, and she devoted herself to the acquisition of languages, a study which was always especially attractive to her. She learned to read freely Italian, Spanish, German, Greek and Russian, all with no teacher except for Greek. After that she took up the Votapuk and mastered it easily. She is so well known as a Volapuk scholar that correspondence has come to her from several prominent linguists in Europe, and several European Volapuk associations have elected her corresponding member. During her pains and aches from the disease, she has always been cheerful, never discouraged.