Portraits of American Women Writers That Appeared in Print Before 1861 - Header and Menu

Peggy Dow (1780-1820)

The Ladies’ Repository (November, 1859), plate preceding p. 641.

ANN WILKINS (1806-1857)

Ann Wilkins was born in Hudson Valley, New York. Her husband, Henry F. Wilkins, whom she married at the age of seventeen, deserted her. For Mrs. Wilkins, a defining moment came at a camp meeting in Sing Sing, New York, on September 6, 1836, when she volunteered as a missionary after hearing the Rev. John Seys, the superintendent of the Methodist mission in Liberia, speak. She went to Liberia the following year and remained there until 1856. She returned to the United States only twice during that period, both times due to illness, first in 1841, and again in 1853. In Liberia, she taught at the White Plains Manual Labor School and at the Liberia Conference Seminary. She also founded the Female Boarding School at Millsburg in 1839.

In later histories of Methodist missionaries, the text of a note Mrs. Wilkins deposited with the money that was collected during the camp meeting at Sing Sing often appears verbatim:

“A sister who has but little money at command, gives that little cheerfully, and is willing to give her life as a female teacher, if she is wanted.”



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