Remembering Eva Maria Pearl

Introduction (by Dorothy Overbaugh Vander Meulen)…

Eva Marie Pearl (1876-1901)
Eva Marie Pearl (1876-1901)

The following is a transcript of an old, typewritten letter sent to me by our cousins, James and Ann Estabrooks.  Jim has given permission for this to be published on Pearl sites and for this, I thank him for sharing this treasure, not only for myself, but also for our family.  

This letter dates from 1901 and was sent by Frank C. Lummis to Elmer C. Jewett.  It is a testimony of the appreciation and love, that those who knew her, had for Eva Maria Pearl who had died the 8th of July 1901, unmarried, at age 25.  Eva was a school teacher and had taught in one room school houses in Hampton and in Chaplin.  There is reference in the letter to her failing health.  My mother told me that Eva died of tuberculosis and, in the last days or weeks of her illness, had been nursed at home by her family, till her death.  She is buried in Hampton’s North Cemetery.

My Mom’s middle name is Eva, after her aunt.  Eva Pearl was the oldest child of seven.  Her parents were Austin Eugene Pearl and Mary Emma Weeks.  In chronological order, the children were:  Eva, Arthur, William (my grandfather), Reuben, Mary, Florence and Evelyn (Jim Estabrook’s Mom.)

The photographs of Eva Marie Peal and her school handbell were contributed by Carolyn Stone.  We do not have a group photograph of Eva and her family; but will happily share one here if  found, as well as other images and mementos of her.  As always we are eager to share family stories, images, and information through this site.  

Chaplin, Conn.,
Oct. 12, 1901

Mr. Elmer C. Jewett,
Clark’s Corner, Conn.

My Dear Sir:-

I gladly comply with your request and have sent you a copy of our town report for the past school year.  It came within the province of our acting school visitor to report concerning the death of Miss Eva M. Pearl, and to officially express the sense love felt by all who had an interest in the welfare of our public schools.  But the scope and limits of an official report do not permit of an adequate testimony to her character and worth, and although it may seem somewhat presumptuous for one who had known her but two short years, to express to her friends and associates from infancy, so imperfect an estimate of the qualities of mind and heart, which endeared her to those with whom she came in contact, in her line of duty as a teacher.  I would beg leave to add to the tribute which Mr. Frary has so fitly borne to her memory in the funeral address and in his official report, my personal view of one of the best and most successful teachers we have had for many years.

She came to Chaplin with a very limited acquaintance among our people, and as a stranger to her pupils, but with a ripened experience in the work, acquired by teaching in her native town, which almost immediately showed results in awakened interest in study, in improvement in deportment, and a rapid development of many of the traits which helped to make up manly and womanly character among her scholars.  Her own interest in study was imparted to those under her; her clear and logical methods of explanation, made the paths of knowledge easy to the feet of the little ones; her own true womanliness made obedience the rule, not from compulsion, but from a sense of right, and her own earnest devoted life, was more and more reflected in the lives of her scholars.

She came a stranger, but acquaintances were rapidly made, and acquaintance invariably were friends.  She had the fullest confidence of the members of the School Committee.  Sh desired their counsel and advice in her work, she sought suggestions which might add better results to her labors; but she needed such counsel, advice and suggestions as little as any teacher I have ever known.  Her experience and sound judgement almost invariably led her to right conclusions.

Eva Marie Pearl’s School Handbell. She used this bell to call her students to class. She was a teacher at the one room schoolhouse in Hampton, CT; and later in Chaplin, CT.

To the full limit of her strength and I fear often beyond it – she faithfully fulfilled her appointed work.  She needed no incitement to duty, on the contrary the committee often suggested and even insisted on her favoring herself more than she felt disposed to do; and sought by cooperation and interest in her plans, to help her in all ways we could.
With failing strength and health, her interest never flagged until she was called to lay aside her work and to her rest.

I have thus spoken in a very imperfect way of her work and of its enduring results; and I trust you will allow me to more fully estimate some of the traits and characteristics which helped to make her work the success it assuredly was, and to some of which I have already alluded.

1.  She was friendly and frank in her manners, nothing of reserve and stiffness marred or hindered her usefulness and work.  You knew at once that she felt an interest in her friends and what concerned them.  She had very genial ways, and was a more than ordinarily pleasant conversationalist; she had a good range of information, and could intelligently express herself.

2.  She was not censorious or uncharitable; she could not stoop to say mean things, and whenever I have heard her speak of anothers, it was with regret, and never with spite.  Her charity was that which envieth not, which thinketh no evil.

3.  She was sincere and true; she had no sham in her make up; she loved the right because it was right.  I think this trait impressed her friends as much as any she possessed, and was one of the potent sources of her usefulness.

4.  She was always cheerful and sunshiney.   Although in poor health and with much to depress, she turned her face away from the dark side of life.  She was a source of inspiration to her friends and they were better men and women for knowing her.  She believed in the promise of the life that now is, and she had that of the life that is to come.

Lastly she was a faithful servant of the Lord Jesus Christ;  His life was lived again in her.  These other traits were more or less natural to one of her disposition, but they were each and all developed, enabled and illumined by the Master whom she unhesitatingly followed.  She never obtruded her views on others, but she was always glad of the opportunity to bear witness of her faith and trust in Christ.  She bore with uncomplaining patience the trials which He allowed to cross the path in which she walked, but she walked in His blessed footsteps, even of sorrow, and suffering, and death.

Others will remember and can speak of her in the work of Faith, Hope, Charity and Fidelity in the Grange, in her home, and in the church; I think of her as the faithful teacher, the patient invalid, the dear and valued friend, and as memory brings back her voice in the hymn, I have often heard her sing,

“Yes the gates are open wide for me”

the peaceful features of that rose encircled face which we laid to rest in the slant of the summer sun, seems radiant with the glory that shall be revealed.

Signed…..Frank C. Lummis….

Eva Marie Pearl and Reuben Everett Pearl, ca 1886.
Eva Marie Pearl was the eldest child of 7 in the Austin and Mary Pearl Family. Reuben was her brother, and the 4th child in the family. Shown here ca. 1886, when she was about 10 and Reuben was about 1 year old.
Eva Marie and Flora Belle Pearl Headstone
The gravestone of Eva Marie Pearl and her younger sister, Flora Belle Pearl, in Hampton’s North Cemetery. (Photo courtesy of Neal Moon.)

Text Copyright (c) 2017 by James and Ann Estabrooks, all rights reserved

Images of Eva Marie Pearl and her handbell Copyright (c) 2017 by Carolyn Stone, all rights reserved

Image of Eva M. Pearl and Flora B. Pearl headstone Copyright (c) 2017 by Neal Moon, all rights reserved.



4 thoughts on “Remembering Eva Maria Pearl

  1. I enjoy asking people – if for one week you could go back in time, or into the future, at least one hundred years, which would you choose and why? The opportunity to meet someone like Eva Maria Pearl is one reason I would always choose to go back in time. Thanks for publishing this. Fascinating and heartfelt, the present perspective this letter provides shows that 117 years later, Eva Maria is still teaching.

    Steve Hoyt

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