Woman of the Century/Sarah Maria Clinton Perkins
PERKINS, Mrs. Sarah Maria Clinton, temperance worker, born in Otsego, near Cooperstown, N. Y., 23rd April, 1824. She is the seventh child of Joel and Mary Clinton. On her father's side she is connected with De Witt Clinton, who was a cousin of her grandfather. On her mother's side she is descended from the Mathewson family, so well known in the early history of Rhode Island and Connecticut. Her mother was the daughter of a Puritan of the strictest type, and trained her daughter according to the good old-fashioned rules which came over in the Mayflower. SARAH MARIA CLINTON PERKINS. Sarah early showed a fondness for books and for study, and eagerly read everything that came in her way. Misfortune came to the family. The dollars were few, and sickness brought its attendant evils. Her father died, when she was ten years of age, and the mother and children united their efforts »o keep the wolf from the door. Books were never given up by the little student. She learned the multiplication table by cutting it out of an old book and pinning it to the head of her bedstead, and studying it early in the morning, when first she awoke. Picking up bits of knowledge in the intervals of work, she progressed so well that, when eighteen years of age, she was teaching a district school in her own neighborhood. At die age of fifteen years she examined the evidences of Christianity and sought for a brilliant conversion, but never found it in any remarkable way. Like a little child she consecrated herself to the Master, after a long struggle of doubt bordering on despair. At twenty. three years of age she became the wife of Rev. Owen Perkins, of Savoy, Mass. The years passed pleasantly in a little parsonage home, visiting the sick, comforting the mourners, teaching in the Sabbath-schools and keeping a most hospitable home. Her student-life was continued. She read history, studied French and German and took care of three daughters, who came to them and found a happy home-welcome. The two younger daughters graduated from Vassar College as the valedictorians of their respective classes. The oldest was finely educated in a New England seminary. After years of earnest toil Mr. Perkins' health failed, and for fifteen years he was an invalid. Then the wife came to his assistance in the pulpit, writing sermons and preaching them to his people. She also went on the platform as a lecturer. She gave literary and temperance lectures before the crusade. Since the death of Mr. Perkins, 30th October, 1880, Mrs. Perkins has given nearly her whole time to temperance work. She has succeeded well as a public speaker. She also advocates woman suffrage. She is now editor of a paper, "A True Republic," which is becoming justly popular. She is the author of six or seven Sabbath-school books, most of them published in Boston. Her home is now in Cleveland, Ohio. She is at present the president of the Literary Guild of Cleveland and the Ramabai Missionary Circle, and superintendent of infirmary work for the Ohio Woman's Christian Temperance Union. In the temperance work she has been sent by the national society to Kansas, Texas and the Indian Territory, and many new unions and a revival of interest were the result of those missionary visits. Besides her own children, Mrs. Perkins has assisted nine orphans to secure an education, and they are now self-reliant men and women, who are grateful for her early assistance. At the death of Mr. Perkins, one-half of his large library was given to his native town, to start a free library in that sparsely settled region.