From the History of Ulster County, 1880
Sarah Elizabeth (Watkins) Elting 1821-1899
Mrs. Sarah Elizabeth (Watkins) Elting the wife of
Luther Elting, was born Nov. 28, 1821, in Hamptonburg, Orange Co., N.Y. Her
parents were Hezekiah and Sally Ann (Seely) Watkins. Her
father was born in Hamptonburg, Aug. 23, 1800; her mother in Albany, N.Y., July
12, 1803. Their only other child was Lavonia Strong, born July 11, 1823, who is
the wife of Edward DuBois, a native of New Paltz, Ulster Co., now residing in
Mr. And Mrs. Watkins came to live with their daughter, Mrs.
Elting, at Poughkeepsie in 1854. Mrs. Watkins - a woman of uncommon purity and
integrity of character - died there Oct. 10, 1860. Mr. Watkins still resides
with his daughter, and, although in his eightieth year, is hale and well
preserved, having been a man of most systematic habits and of undying
cheerfulness of disposition, as well as a man of strict morality and of
progressive mental tendencies. Mr. And Mrs. Watkins gave great attention and
care to the education of their children. Sarah E. was educated at the Goshen
Institute under Nathaniel Webb, and at the Montgomery Institute under Mrs.
Harriet Millspaugh. At the early age of eighteen she became the principal of the
Middletown Female Institute, a position which she held for several years, and in
which she was ably assisted by her sister.
Her success in this engagement had given her an excellent
reputation as a teacher and she was then appointed an instructress in Rutgers
Female Institute, New York City (an institute which then stood at the head of
the schools for young ladies in this country), where she took high rank. She had
a literary cast of mind, and her efforts at composition evinced a high culture,
and were marked by an unusual power and beauty of diction.
While in the discharge of her duties at the Institute, or
shortly after her retirement therefrom, she formed the acquaintance of her
future husband, Luther Elting, to whom she was married Jan. 26, 1853. In the
course of her married life she traveled in company with her husband throughout
the United States and Europe. She enjoyed greatly these opportunities for
sight-seeing, and particularly their travels in the East; having always been
most interested in the history of these ancient people, with their strange
customs and wonderful works of art, her visit to these lands proved especially
enjoyable. In the pleasure and profit of most of these journeys her son Irving,
in whose education she was assiduously aiding, was also a participant; and the
trip abroad had been so planned as to give him a pleasant and profitable respite
from books between his school and college work.
During her various travels she wrote many letters, which were
full of interest, and were thoroughly enjoyed by many of her friends.
Unfortunately, they are yet mainly in manuscript form. One series of her letters
was written some years ago for the Middletown Press, Orange County,-- a paper
published in the town where she first engaged in teaching. The editor of that
journal on the occasion of his valedictory alluded, in reviewing the past career
of his paper, to the correspondence of Mrs. Elting which had graced its columns,
and pronounced her descriptions of travels in the South and West
"productions of classic beauty as well as interest." Other accounts of
her travels now in manuscript would, no doubt, if published, be found replete
with entertainment and instruction.
Mrs. Elting’s mental vigor and intellectual power, combined
with a most generous and sympathetic nature, have marked her life as that of no
ordinary character, and gained for her large circle of appreciative friends and
an extensive private correspondence which have enabled her to exert a wide
influence for good,-- an influence which has been exerted in a most unobtrusive
and quiet way. The domestic phase of her career in the endearing relations of
daughter, wife, and mother, has also exhibited not only commendable but
surpassing virtue and excellence.
Note: Some of the genealogical information appears to be incorrect.
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