Page 10 of the June 1910 number of the Frances Shimer Quarterly. This is the image of the full or partial text of an article entitled "Memorial for Mrs", printed in the Frances Shimer Quarterly of 1910-06. This article is in the public domain, because it was published in the United States before 1923.
Memorial for Mrs. C.M. Gregory Lansing
The Standard of February 26 contained the following brief sketch of the life of Mrs. Lansing:
"Mrs. C.M. Lansing died at Geneva, N.Y., February 3, 1910, in her eighty-second year. Funeral services were held at the First Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minn., February 7. Dr. W.B. Riley, her pastor, and Dr. A.J. Frost, a warm friend, officiating. She was the widow of Rev. L.L. Lansing, who died in 1907. Mrs. Lansing was one of the founders of what is now the Frances Shimer School of the University of Chicago, Mount Carroll, Ill., and while there put the impress of her godly life and scholarly mind on the lives of many of its talented graduates, who knew her but to love and respect her. Soon after her marriage to Mr. Lansing, in 1876, they removed to Beloit, Wis., and while there she acted as state secretary of the Woman's Baptist Foreign Missionary Society, to which work she gave an earnest, heart-whole service and the ripened experience of a well-grounded Christian life and character. Subsequently Minneapolis became the home and in the First Baptist Church there she found a congenial place and an opportunity to continue her work in the missionary cause. She had for years supported from her slender purse, a native mission worker on the foreign field and with her counsel and her prayers she helped push forward this special work which was dearer to her than life, until the Master called her home."
The exercises Tuesday afternoon at the School were in charge of the Old Students' Association. After musical numbers by Mrs. Harriett Nase-Connell and Mrs. Grace Reynolds Squires, the exercises were given the form of a memorial to Mrs. Cinderella Gregory Lansing, one of the founders of the Mount Carroll Seminary. Mrs. Lansing (Miss Gregory, as she is remembered by all the old students) was associated Mrs. Shimer in the organization of the school 1853, and the story of those early days, with their hardships and difficulties is wonderfully interesting.
Mr. Rinewalt voiced the sentiment and plan of the memorial service in his introductory remarks and said that no one who knew Mrs. Lansing would think of speaking of her in funereal terms. Courage and hope were ruling motifs. As an illustration of her cheery disposition, he produced and read a postal which came from Mrs. Lansing, after the fire.
He said: "This postal was received from Mrs. Lansing at a time when the trustees of this institution were facing a crisis, the future of the school hung in a balance, where this building now stands was a heap of hot ashes. Mrs. Lansing had read in the daily papers of the destruction of the Seminary buildings and from her home in Minneapolis, courage still dominating the seventy-eight years of her active life, her face to the future, in a firm hand she wrote to one of the trustees, 'From the ashes of today I trust will rise buildings that future generations will be proud to recognize.'"
After a prayer by Rev. W.J. Peacock, pastor of the First Baptist Church, a letter from Mrs. Frances E. Bailey, of Minneapolis, who was a member of the first Seminary class of 1853, was read.
Among other things she said: "I was a very young girl and to my youthful mind she seemed the embodiment of all that was gentle, graceful, and kind.... Miss Gregory early inspired her pupils with an ardent enthusiasm in their work. She taught us to be self-reliant and to think for ourselves.... All over this broad land of ours are women whose lives have made their own homes happier and brighter and who have helped lighten the sorrows and burdens of others by the teachings and splendid example of patience, quiet gentleness, and womanly endurance under difficulties inculcated in them by the daily life of Mrs. Gregory Lansing."
Then followed a letter from George H. Thummel, clerk of the United States Circuit Court for the District of Nebraska, who wrote in part as follows: "The announcement of the death of Miss Gregory came as a knell of the long ago. As I sit thinking of those dear old Seminary days it seems as if I can almost hear the old bell calling us to our daily tasks. Oh, that we could again all come tramping in and again be welcomed by those dear old teachers with Miss Gregory at their head! What a great teacher she was! How as the years went by we could look back with ever-increasing appreciation of her and her work. The good that she did and the seeds that she scattered will live on and on."
Mrs. Mary Gross-Smith, a teacher of long ago, whose charming personality endeared her to everyone in the school, writes: "We cannot think of her ever as aged or feeble, but it seems as if she must have gone at once from active service here to higher work above."
A very interesting letter from Miss Alice Lichty was read by Miss Sarah Hostetter.
Mrs. Emma M. Van Vechten, of Cedar Rapids, Ia., for a number of years treasurer of the National Federation of Woman's Clubs, writes: "It was with great sorrow that I read the announcement that Mrs. Gregory Lansing had joined the Choir Invisible. I count it a blessed privilege to have been taught even for a limited time by so gifted a person."
William Irvine, of Chippewa Falls, Wis., a director in the National Conservation Association, writes: "I was one of her pupils for a number of years and can bear testimony to her superior qualities as an instructor and disciplinarian. She was always a good friend of mine, although I may not have realized it as fully in my youth as in later years, when in retrospect I could more clearly appreciate her sterling worth."
Vergil S. Ferguson, of Sterling, Ill., wrote, "Miss Gregory was the best instructor I ever had."
Mrs. Clara White Robinson, of Springfield, Ill., wrote: "I think we will all agree that the high principles and lofty ideals of this talented woman, whom we began by fearing and ended by loving, really inspired us with a conscientious regard for duty, with courage to meet the trials and discipline of life and to be faithful unto the end."
Honorable Samuel W. McCall, congressman from Boston, in a valuable letter of some length, said: "Miss Gregory was an excellent teacher; one of the very best I ever knew. She had the faculty, by no means common, of stimulating an interest in the pupils by making them feel first that she had a personal interest in each one of them and then by her enthusiasm for the subject she was teaching. Her influence was far from being confined to the class she herself conducted, but it permeated the entire school. I doubt that there was at that time a school of similar grade and resources in the country which did really better work than the Mount Carroll Seminary. I am glad to learn of the great prosperity which the school is now enjoying and I venture to express the opinion that much of its present usefulness is due to the sure foundation that was laid in the first two decades of the school's existence by Mrs. Shimer and Mrs. Lansing working together."
Humphrey C. Miller, a prominent attorney of Chicago, and a member of the board of trustees of Northwestern University, in a very interesting letter, among other things, says: "After I left college, in 1868, I had charge of public schools in Illinois for eight years, and for twenty-seven years I have been president of the Board of Education of Evanston, and have thus been brought into contact with a large number of successful teachers, and I now repeat what I have often said, that I have never known a teacher who possessed in a higher degree the personal and intellectual qualifications of a great and successful teacher than Miss Gregory possessed.
"She was more than a teacher. She had high ideals, and always lived up to them; was kind and sympathetic with her pupils, and though strict, was always just in discipline.
"It is now nearly fifty years since I first saw her, and more than forty years since we last met, but she has never passed out of my memory, nor out of my life as a positive influence for good. To her helpfulness, wise advice, and the inspiration she gave me to always strive for higher things, I am largely indebted for whatever success I have had in life."
Mr. Rinewalt introduced Dean McKee, with a fine tribute to his ability and success and stated that, both as sharing in the work of the founders and by original efforts, the institution of today is due in large measure to his genius.
The Dean referred first to Founders' Day, May 11, which is observed every year as a holiday, at which time reference is made in a chapel address to the pioneers, whose wisdom and energy have given us the incentive, the spirit, and the environment for present success. He referred gratefully to the efforts of the students of former days. Letters are constantly coming from mothers, whose daughters are now old enough to attend school. Naturally, their minds turn to their own institution. Speaking of Miss Gregory, and also Miss Wood, or Mrs. Shimer, the Dean said that the greatest contribution they have left, the permanent thing, is the spiritual environment, the quality which they imparted to others, which has passed on, still fruitful, into other lives.
Dr. Metcalf, in speaking of Miss Gregory, said, "Miss Gregory was, to my childish imagination, the most talented woman in the world. I had heard that Miss Ann Dickinson was the most distinguished lecturer, but I was satisfied that she could not approach our Miss Gregory in eloquence when the latter presented our diplomas on graduation day. I had the feeling that Miss Gregory could see clear through me. She knew the mind of a child and she was marvelously skilful in training it.
"My interest in science began in the underground recitation room, called the reading-room, I think, where Miss Gregory introduced me to plants and bugs, and taught me anatomy from a spooky skeleton. With a 'wee, wee' geography, for guide book, and globes and maps, we traveled with Miss Gregory to foreign parts. Would that the modern child could be made to see and know as we did. Strangers smile when we old fellows speak of Miss Gregory's mental-arithmetic class. It sounds strange, but it is true that we became eager for the lesson, and in class were strung up as tight as little fiddles. I believe Miss Gregory's boys and girls formed habits of consecutive thinking that college students do not acquire today."
Miss Gregory, and the difficulties which she met, as principal in those days, were characterized very well in an article presented by Mr. C.L. Hostetter, which in part was as follows:
Mrs. Lansing was, and shall be, known to all those who were so fortunate as to be her pupils, as Miss Gregory, Cinderella M. Gregory, even though time had silvered her locks as those of her school children.
Miss Gregory was a born teacher; she had the faculty, pre-eminently, of imparting knowledge to her pupils, as well as an exact comprehension of their individual ability to comprehend and understand their lessons. She would not pass a lesson until each individual of the class understood it.
Through the efforts of these two young women, almost unaided, except by the good will and patronage of their new-found friends, the Seminary grew and enlarged its field of usefulness. Thousands have gone out from its walls better and more useful men and women for having been there.
All join in rendering to these two, Miss Gregory and Miss Wood, all honor and praise for their untiring, faithful, and noble work. The world surely is better for their having lived in it. Future generations will rise up to call them blessed.
Abram Hostetter spoke humorously of the first ventures of the School. The first building used for classes was the Presbyterian Church, which stood where the Campbell homestead now appears. The church was built over a cistern and the water was piped down through the building and the drip, drip of the water was disconcerting enough, especially in one opening term, when the first days were clouded by heavy rains.
From ancient newspapers of 1855 he gave us some very interesting glimpses of the life of the school.
Miss Abbie Bosworth, of Elgin, came to attend the meeting and give her tribute of affection and esteem.
The reunion was unusual in the interest taken and attendance given. It was apparent that the School has a strong hold upon the old students.
At five o'clock the old students congregated on the campus for the annual picnic. The beautiful weather had attracted them from all sides, and the attendance was unusually large.
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