Woman of the Century/Mary Stuart Cummins
CUMMINS, Mrs. Mary Stuart, educator, born in Jonesborough, Tenn., 31st May, 1854. Her maiden name was Mary Stuart Slemons. Her parents were strict Presbyterians of the old style, and the seven children were reared in that faith. Mary, the fourth child, was reared and educated to graduation at sixteen years of age in her native town. Ambitious to go beyond the academic course, she pushed her way, by her own efforts, to the attainment of a full diploma of the Augusta Female Seminary, Staunton. Va. Returning to Tennessee in 1S74. she began to teach in the high school in Knoxville, where as teacher and principal she remained until 1S86, meanwhile, in 1877, having In-come the wife of W. F. Cummins, a merchant of that city. Mrs. Cummins found her greatest pleasure in the school-room, yet rinding time to enter other fields of labor, as well as to enjoy social pleasures. A very large mission Sunday-school was a part of her work. She was the president of the Synodical Missionary Society and a State member of the executive board of Home Missions of New York for the Presbyterian Church. An effort was made to place her in charge of school interests in Mexico, but that did not seem to be compatible with her other duties. In 1886, partly for her husband's health and partly from the energetic spirit of both, Mr. and Mrs. Cummins accepted business engagements in Helena, Mont, where they now reside. Mrs. Cummins was teacher and principal in the Helena high school for five years. Since going to Montana she has received every token of a high appreciation of her religious character in the public work to which she has been called along that line. She was chosen by her co-laborers successively vice-president and president of the Montana State Teachers' Association. In temperance work she has taken a leading part and is now filling her second year as president of the Montana Woman's Christian Temperance Union. In 1891 she was commissioned by Miss Willard as national organizer for the vacation MARY STUART CUMMINS. months, to work in Montana, and she traveled over a large part of the State, organizing new unions. Partly as a result of that tour, the banner presented by Miss Willard for the largest percentage of gain in membership in the Western States was given to Montana in 1891. In September, 1891, Mrs. Cummins entered the Montana University, in Helena, as preceptress, in change of the young ladies' department and professor of Latin and modern languages.