Biography of Mary J. B. Graves (w/o Jackson)
Tompkins County, NY Biographies





Graves, Mary Jane Bishop, was born in the village of Ithaca, May 13, 1829, the eldest of five children of Joel and Maria Bishop who were natives of Lansing. They soon, however, removed to Dryden, where Mr. Bishop engaged in the manufacture of guns. He was a son of Dr. James Bishop. Their children, when old enough, were sent to the village school, and Mary at an early age determined to qualify herself for a teacher. She attended school at Homer Academy and Cazenovia Seminary for several terms, and at the age of sixteen began teaching, receiving for her first term ten shillings per week, with the privilege of "boarding around." After having taught several terms, during which time she gathered, analyzed, and arranged a specimen of each plant in the town of Dryden, she purchased a scholarship, which entitled her to a four-years course of study at Oberlin College, Ohio. At the age of twenty-two she entered the sophomore class and completed the course and graduated in three years. She taught for two years immediately after leaving her alma mater. In the summer of 1857 she married Jackson Graves, a teacher in the Pottsville (Pa.) Union Graded School. During the three years she resided there she read and studied much and and sketched and painted scenes from nature. She and her husband accepted an invitation to open a select school in Dryden, N. Y., in the fall of 1860, and this developed into what was known for ten years as the Dryden Seminary. In the spring of 1861 they bought about three acres of land and erected the building now occupied by the Dryden Union Graded School, and for the next ten years our subject labored in the school room, where she had the happy faculty of inspiring her students to work for their own development, physically. mentally, and spiritually, and never failed to gain the confidence of all who knew her intimately. "Do all the good you can" was her oft-repeated sentiment. The last twenty one years of her life were spent on the farm in the town of Danby. Her health was not good, but she accomplished more by her industry and energy than most who were blessed with more rugged constitutions. If the way was not open, she devised means to open it. The sick and afflicted among her neighbors were objects of her careful attention, and she often took the place of a "good Samaritan." At the age of fourteen she united with the M. E. church of Dryden, in which she was an active and untiring worker, especially in the Sabbath school. She passed to the other side January 21, 1892; her faith was strong and her hope bright to the last. One of her last utterances was, "I am willing to go whenever my Heavenly Father shall open the way. I have no fear of what we call death. It is only the final separation of soul and body I dread."

From:
Landmarks of Tompkins County, New York
Including a History of Cornell University
Edited by: John H. Selkreg
D. Mason & Co., Publishers
Syracuse, N. Y. 1894


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