The song, which was of course a parody and was very insulting, did not insult Mary Sibley. She had definite opinions. When Mary was 32, she found religion and zealously as she did everything took up Presbyterianism. At that time, she also began keeping a religious diary in order to write an account of her opinions and her feelings on her progress in her Christian career.
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Mary kept her journey sic -- journal fairly regularly in , then more sporadically the second year, and then made scattered entries until I found this journal at Lindenwood before the current archivist, Paul Huffman, arrived to organize and preserve the collection. My esteemed editor, whom some of you may know, Rebecca Schroeder provided invaluable contributions to the effort of trying to demystify Mary Easton Sibley, which was not an easy task.
As much that had been written about her centered around erroneous information that had been passed down by word of mouth and then published during the Lindenwood Centennial. This misinformation was further proliferated in magazine and newspaper articles and led me on a few wild goose chases. Mary was the first of 11 children. And her position as first born was important.
After various unsuccessful applications, including making a trip to Washington to talk with President Jefferson, Easton pinned his hopes on finding a job once the Louisiana Purchase was announced in Through a complicated series of events and a certain amount of serendipity, in , President Jefferson appointed Easton the Attorney General and also the Postmaster of the District of Louisiana, which is what the Spanish had called upper Louisiana.
And the Easton family set out for the capitol of that district, which was in St.
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Shortly after their arrival, the formal transfer of upper Louisiana from Spain to France and then from France to the United States was made in St. Mary was just four years old when she and her parents and her two younger sisters arrived in St. Louis in Louis was a French town. It was built originally around the fur trade with the Indians, but the town was quickly changing into a hybrid mix of French, Spanish, Americans and Indians, as well as free Blacks and slaves.
The Indomitable Mary Easton Sibley: Pioneer of Women’s Education in Missouri Video Transcript
At an early age, Mary learned French from her friends, especially Nancy Anne Lucas whose father was a territorial judge. She was described by both her family and friends as beautiful and also very gay and full of health and spirits. Mary and Nancy Anne were 12, 13 and years-old at the time. And dangers were abundant and, yet, life was different on the frontier. In , Missouri became a territory, but St. Louis was still on the edge of the frontier.
During the winter of and , further dangers lurked. The residents of St. Louis were worried about war with England and they were also worried about Indian uprisings. And they braced themselves against a series of earthquakes.
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The most severe being the New Madrid quake that occurred on February 7 th , With the fear of war with Great -- when the fear of war with Great Brittan became reality on June 18 th , , a St. Louis committee of seven made preparations. Apart from some records being burned, St. Louis escaped disaster and apparently the Easton Family was unscathed. Meanwhile, Mary apart from attending dances and socializing was interested in learning. She received most of her education from her parents. Her father who opened a private law practice after giving up his job as Attorney General, although he retained his position as postmaster often took Mary with him on business rounds.
He taught her about law and about politics. He fostered her appreciation in music and even bought her a piano. And he listened to and valued her opinions. As the oldest child, Mary and her father formed a deep bond which lasted until his death in Then they need to be practically and experimentally and what is more -- worth more than all habitually acquainted with all the various duties of domestic economy and arrangement.
Thus, Mary learned basic housekeeping skills which she knew were necessary, but never really liked. And she also learned to tend to her younger siblings and help to educate them, her first teaching job. But she also knew she needed to be educated and so did her parents.
And this is her student hat. Presumably her father accompanied her on these trips and possibly once, at least, on route to Washington D.
After a year or two of finishing school, Mary returned to St. Louis where she met her future husband, George Chaplin Sibley. She was 14, he was He subsequently, in , became the head factor at Fort Osage. The fort was closed temporarily during the War of and Sibley opened a post near Arrow Rock and spent time in St. Louis presumably courting Mary.
They married on August 19 th , She was Do you intend to take this charming wife with you among the Indians? She has long ago expressed her willingness to live anywhere with me. Until I can withdraw from the Indian Service she will willingly share with me the privations of a forest life. She will be 16 next January. They were married for 48 years.
And in their journals and correspondence to each other they always had kind and loving words to say. And they missed each other when they were apart. Louis to Fort Osage. The garrison had returned to the fort and the factory or trading post had reopened.
She and her husband took a trip along the -- a mile trip by keelboat, but Mary was undaunted about making that journey to Fort Osage. The reason she was undaunted is she was not going to leave anything behind, any of the comforts of home. She traveled with her books. She traveled with her furniture, her piano with its fife and drum attachment and her saddle horse, which George had given her as a wedding present and also her wardrobe.
She did leave a few silks, satins behind and she took some serviceable clothing and hats. Hats were usually decorated with flowers. She read to her father after safely arriving at the Fort. The bank of the Missouri are covered -- banks of the Missouri are covered with timber.
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Occasionally an Indian would shoot an arrow behind a tree, but never hit us. We never saw a White settler from the time we left until we got within a mile of the fort. Although our trip in our big, roomy flatboat up the Missouri was fraught with danger and excitement and discomforts, it was fascinating to me and I shall never forget it.
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George had built what he described as a large and comfortable house, which they named Fountain Cottage. Although she was never very domestic, Mary made the house a home. Because of her fondness for bright colors, she planted flowers including red geraniums, her personal trademark.
Our quarters are very comfortable. The men at the garrison, however, took bets on how long the spoiled Mrs. Sibley would last on the frontier. But the Indians who visited the factory, which were much taken with her; they admired her beauty, her colorful clothes, her garden and her book collection.