Woman of the Century/Mary Torrans Lathrap
LATHRAP, Mrs. Mary Torrans, poet, preacher and temperance reformer, born on a farm near Jackson, Mich., in April, 1838. Her maiden name was Mary Torrans. Her parents were Scotch-Irish Presbyterians. Miss Torrans' childhood was passed in Marshall, Mich., where she was educated in the public schools. She was a literary child, and at the age of fourteen contributed to local papers under the pen-name "Lena." She was converted in her tenth year, but did not join the church until she was nearly eighteen years old. From 1862 to 1864 she taught in the Detroit public schools. In 1864 she became the wife of C. C. Lathrap, then assistant surgeon of the Ninth Michigan Cavalry. In 1865 they removed to Jackson, Mich., where they now reside. Mrs. Lathrap there joined the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which MARY TORRANS LATHRAP. her husband was a member, and in the class-room began first to exercise her gifts of speech in the services. In 1871 she was licensed to preach the gospel and began in the Congregational Church in Michigan Center. Her sermons aroused the people, and for years she labored as an evangelist, many thousands being converted by her ministry. She took an active part in the Woman's crusade, was one of the founders of the woman's Christian Temperance Union, and has been president of the State union of Michigan since 1882. Her work has been largely devoted to that organization for the past eight years. She has labored in various States and was a strong helper in securing the scientific-instruction law, and in the Michigan, Nebraska and Dakota amendment campaigns. In 1878 she secured the passage of a bill in the Michigan legislature appropriating thirty-thousand dollars for the establishment of the Girls' Industrial Home, a reformatory school, located in Adrian. In 1890 she was a member of the Woman's Council in Washington, D. C. Her evangelistic and platform work has taken the best part of her life and effort, but her literary work entitles her to consideration. Her p<>ems are meritorious productions, and she has written enough to fill a large volume. During the years of her great activity in evangelistic and temperance work her literary impulses were over-shadowed by the great moral work in which she was engaged. Recently she has written more. Her memorial odes to Garfield and Gough have been widely quoted, as have also many other of her poems. Her lectures have always been successful, and she is equally at home on the temperance platform, on the lecture platform, in the pulpit or at the author's desk. Her oratory caused her to be styled "The Daniel Webster of Prohibition," a name well-suited to her.