Aurilla Myers

Full name

Harriet Aurilla Preston Elder Myers

Presence at Shimer


Presence on Earth



Seminary period alum


Preston Prairie, IL
Boulder, Montana

Aurilla Preston Elder Myers, née Harriet Aurilla Preston, was a student at Shimer College during the early Seminary period, attending in the Normal Department, and also in the early Academy period studying music.

Myers was born on January 6, 1851, in Preston Prairie in Mount Carroll Township, Illinois. After graduating from the Seminary in the 1860s, she taught in local schools in Carroll County; she subsequently moved to Boulder, Montana, where she taught for many decades and married twice. After both of her husbands had died, she moved back to the family home in Preston Prairie and once again attended Shimer, now known as the Frances Shimer Academy of the University of Chicago, receiving her degree in piano at the spring 1904 commencement. She subsequently attended the Northern Illinois Conservatory of Music and Dixon Business College.

Myers died July 5, 1940, and is buried in the Oak Hill Cemetery in Mount Carroll.


  • on
  • detailed biography on Genealogy Trails
    All of Samuel Preston’s daughters graduated from the Mt. Carroll Seminary, although I’m unsure of the date of Rilla’s graduation. In any case, by the time she was 19, and maybe before, Rilla was a school teacher. She appears (as Harriet A. Preston) on the 1870 US Federal Census for Mt. Carroll Township as a 19-year old school teacher, living with her parents and family, as well as her grandmother, Elizabeth Ingram Gunn Preston, who was 77 years old.
    The first time I ever heard of my mother’s Aunt Rilla was in a discussion my mother and father were having about “those books of Rilla’s and why they should probably just be burned.” I must have been about 9 years old and when I asked why I was told it was because they were books on the occult and fortune telling and one particularly bad one titled “Was Abraham Lincoln A Spiritualist?” (And indeed he was, and he, or more likely Mary Todd Lincoln, invited people to the White House who could make pianos rise up off the floor on their own).
    But of course Mother never threw anything away and certainly not books. So thanks to the discussion I’d read them all by the time I was 15. Great reading. I might not have noticed them for years otherwise.

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