Woman of the Century/Mary Elizabeth Beauchamp
BEAUCHAMP. Miss Mary Elizabeth, educator and author, born in Burleigh, England, MARY ELIZABETH BEAUCHAMP. 14th June, 1825. The family removed to this country in 1829, establishing themselves in Coldenham, Orange county, N. Y. In 1832 they removed to Skaneateles, N. Y., where Mr. Beauchamp went into the book business, to which seven years later he united a printing office and the publication of a weekly newspaper, which still maintains a healthy existence. In 1834 he established a thoroughly good circulating library, of nearly a thousand volumes, which was very successful for many years. His daughter had free range of its carefully selec ted treasures and early acquired an unusual familiarity with the best writers of the language. The little girl wrote rhymes when she was ten years old, acrostics for her schoolmates and wildly romantic ballads. Before she entered her "teens" she had become a regular contributor to a juvenile magazine, for which, in her fourteenth year, she furnished a serial running through half a volume. From that time she wrote under various pen-names for several papers and had achieved the honor of an illustrated tale in "Peterson's Magazine" before she was twenty. Then her literary career was checked by ill-health, and for ten years her pen was laid aside almost entirely. What she published during that time appeared in religious papers under the pen-name "Filia Ecclesia," and some of these pieces found their way into cotemporary collections of sacred poetry. In 1853, accompanied by a younger brother, she visited England, where she remained nearly two years. At the desire of her uncle, a vicar in Wells, she prepared a "Handbook of Wells Cathedral," which was published in different styles with illustrations. After returning home she wrote a series of papers entitled "The Emigrant's Quest" which attracted for a year attention and were republished in a modest little volume some years later. Her mother died in 1859, and the death of her father in 1867 broke up her home in Skaneateles, and in the ensuing year she took the position of teacher in the orphan ward of the Church Charity Foundation, in Buffalo, N. Y., remaining there twelve years. In 1879 she went to Europe for a year accompanied by a lady who had been happily associated with her in church work. Soon after returning to this country Miss Beauchamp learned that the Mission of the Protestant Episcopal Church to the Onondaga Indians was in temporary need of a teacher. She offered her services and was delighted with the work. She next purchased a residence in Skaneateles, where she conducted a school for the children of summer residents, organized a literary society for young ladies, and had adult pupils in French and drawing. She took her full share in parochial and missionary work and wrote for religious papers. In March, 1890, she was prostrated for some months by < erebral hemorrhage, and has since resided with a married sister in Skaneateles.