Woman of the Century/Sarah Ann Mather
MATHER, Mrs. Sarah Ann, philanthropist, born in the town of Chester, Mass., 20th March, SARAH ANN MATHER. 1820. She is the wife of the Rev. James Mather, an honored member of the New England Southern Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church. She is of Puritan ancestry, and traces her descent through eight generations born in this country. The father and mother of Mrs. Mather commenced their conjugal life on a farm among the hills of Hampden county, Mass., where they reared a family of eight children in rural plenty. The three daughters were converted in tneir youth through the labors of the Methodist ministry, and found their way to the Wesleyan Academy in Wilbraham, Mass., during the presidencies of Rev. Drs. Adams and Allyn, where they were noted for love of order and scholarship. The second daughter, Sarah A. Babcock, after leaving the academy, engaged in teaching, and continued her studies in modern languages and literature. In her course as teacher, she became preceptress and instructor in the art department in the New England Southern Conference Seminary, East Greenwich. R. I., and subsequently principal of the ladies' department and professor of modern languages in the Wesleyan College, Leoni, Mich. After the close of the war, and before the United States troops were withdrawn from the South, she went among the freedmen as a missionary. With characteristic energy and devotion to whatever line of labor absorbed her for the time, she brought all her powers to bear upon this work, sacrificing health, Destowing labor without measure, and, at the risk of loss, invested all her available means in the work of establishing a normal and training school for colored youth in Camden, S. C. In the prosecution of that work for the colored youth, she became a public speaker in their behalf, much against her natural inclination, and, before she was fully conscious of the transformation going on within her, lost herself in their cause. An entire failure of health became imminent, and she left the work to others, but resumed it again on the organization of the Woman's Home Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church, becoming one of its conference secretaries and organizers. Through her efforts, a model home and training school in Camden, S. C, has been established. Buildings have been erected and purchased, which will accommodate fifty pupils, and the school is sustained by the Woman s Home Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Of her works as an author, "Itinerant Side" (New York), was her first venture. This was favorably received and went through many editions. "Little Jack Fee," a serial; "Young Life" (Cincinnati), and "Hidden Treasure" (New York) followed. The cares of a parsonage and the requirements of local church work, the secretaryship of a conference society and a general care of the model home in Camden, S. C., forced her to lay down her pen, which she did with great reluctance. Now, in the comparative quiet of a retired minister's life in Hyde Park, Mass., and released from the duties of a burdensome secretaryship, she resumes the delightful literary recreation of former days. With speech and pen, she is now endeavoring to revive the lost art of Systematic Beneficence.