Graham, Isabella

Graham, Isabella a woman noted for piety and intelligence, one of the "saints" of modern times. She was born in Lanarkshire, Scotland, and was piously educated by her parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Marshall. At seventeen she was admitted by Dr. Witherspoon (afterwards president of Princeton College) to the Lord's Supper. In 1765 she was married to Dr. Graham, and accompanied him to Canada, where his regimsent was stationed. Her husband died at Antigua in 1774. She returned to Scotland, and supported her father. and her four children by opening a school for young ladies. In 1789 she returned to New York, and opened a seminary. In 1799 a society was instituted at New York for the relief of poor widows with small children. The original plan of the society was formed at the house of Mrs. Graham, and a school for the instruction of orphans was opened, and taught by Mrs.

Graham's former pupils. Besides establishing this school, Mrs. Graham selected some of the widows best qualified for the task, and engaged them for a small compensation to open day schools for the instruction of the children in distant parts of the city. She also established two Sunday- schools. In 1806 a society of ladies was organized to procure or build an asylum for orphan children. Mrs. Graham remained in the office of directress of the Widows' Society, but felt also much interest in the success of the Orphan Asylum Society, and herself, or one of her family, taught the orphans daily until the friends of the institution were sufficient to provide a teacher and superintendent. In 1811 some gentlemen of New York established a Magdalen Society, and Mrs. Graham became its president until her death. In 1814 she united with some ladies in forming a society for the promotion of industry among the poor. For some weeks previous to her last illness she was favored with unusual health, ands much enjoyment of religion. She died on the 24th of July, 1814. Few books have been more widely circulated than her Life and Letters (last ed. London, 1838, 8vo). In America, Dr. Mason's sketch of her has been widely scattered by the Tract Society. See Mason, Life of Isabella Graham (N. York, 12mo); Bethune (Mrs.), Letters and Correspondence of Mrs. Graham (1838, 8vo); Jones, Christian Biography, page 189.

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