Woman of the Century/Nellie Blessing Eyster
EYSTER, Mrs. Nellie Blessing, author, was born in Frederick, Md. She is of good ancestry, with a commingling of Huguenot and Anglo-Saxon blood. On the maternal side she is a granddaughter of Captain George W. Ent, a commander at Fort McHenry in the war of 1812 and an intimate friend of Francis Scott Key. On the same side she is a kinswoman of famous old Barbara Frietchie. Abraham Blessing, Mrs. Eyster's father, who died in his early prime, when she was but ten years old. was a man of noble character, the youngest brother of George Blessing of Maryland, whose loyalty and patriotism, as displayed during the late Civil War, has won for him in history the title, "The Hero of the Highlands." The mother was a woman of unusual refinement and poetic taste, leaving as an inheritance to her five children the memory of a life of Christian rectitude and usefulness. The eldest of these five. Nellie, baptized Penelope, early gave promise of literary ability. When sixteen years old, she was wooed and won by her private tutor, David A. S. Fyster, a young lawyer of Harrisburg, Pa. From the beginning of their acquaintance to Mr. Evster's death, in 1886, he was her teacher, best friend and critic. Her family consists of one daughter, Mary, born a year after her marriage, and one son, Charles, several years later, who died at the age of ten, in 1872. Mrs. Eyster's first public work was in aid of the purchase of Mt. Vernon and she put forth earnest activity in the Sanitary Commission during the Civil War. Her first literary venture of any note was a series of children's books called the "Sunny Hour Library" (Philadelphia, four volumes, 1865-691. The success of these books gave fresh impetus to Mrs. Eyster's pen. She has written for many leading periodicals. "California Illustrated Magazine," the New York "Tribune." "Lutheran Observer," Harrisburg "Telegraph," "Our Young Folks," "St. Nicholas." "Wide Awake.'" "Harper's Magazine," the "Riverside Magazine," and others. She worked for a year with Gail Hamilton on " Wood's Household Magazine," editing the juvenile department. Mr. Eyster held a useful and remunerative post as financial clerk of the Pennsylvania State Board of Education. In 1872 and 1873 the death of her son and her mother caused her health to give way, and in 1876 the family removed to California, where, in San Jose, a delightful new home was made, and Mrs Eyster rallied from her depression to take hold of religious and benevolent work once more. In Pennsylvania the family had been members of the English Lutheran Church, but in San José they became connected with the Presbyterian denomination, and Mrs. Eyster was linked with all its Christian and benevolent enterprises. Mrs. Eyster was made president of the San José Ladies' Benevolent Society. president of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union and secretary of the Woman's Missionary Society of the Presbyterian NELLIE BLESSING EYSTER. Church. Pecuniary reverses made her more than ever her husband's helper, and she taught literature and music in schools and homes with success. During those years her pen was never idle, and anodier book for children was written, "A Colonial Boy" (Boston, 1890). Ten years went by, and the sudden death of Mr. Eyster broke up' the new home. Mrs. Eyster then went to San Francisco to live with her daughter, now Mrs. Scott Elder Mrs Eyster is state superintendent of juvenile work in the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, president of the California Women's Indian Association, and president of the Woman's Press Association of the Pacific Coast. None of these positions are sinecures, and all receive her supervision.