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Elting Biographies

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. Mrs. Sarah Elizabeth (Watkins) EltingHer 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 Marlborough.

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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