Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Hentz, Nicholas Marcellus

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HENTZ, Nicholas Marcellus, educator, b. in Versailles, France, 25 July, 1797; d. in Marianna, Fla., 4 Nov., 1856. He studied medicine and learned the art of miniature-painting in Paris, emigrated to the United States in 1816, taught French and miniature-painting in Boston, Philadelphia, and other places, and in 1824-'5 was associated with George Bancroft in the Round Hill school at Northampton, Mass. In 1826-'30 he was professor of modern languages and belles-lettres in the University of North Carolina. He removed with his wife to Covington, Ky., in 1831, and in the following year they took charge of a female seminary near Cincinnati. They afterward conducted various schools in Alabama and Georgia, and in 1851 removed to Marianna, Fla., on account of the illness of Prof. Hentz. He was an entomologist of repute, and the author of a monograph on the “Arachnides, or Spiders of the United States,” published by the Boston society of natural history (Boston, 1875). — His wife, Caroline Lee, author, b. in Lancaster, Mass., 1 June, 1800; d. in Marianna, Fla., 11 Feb., 1856, was a daughter of Gen. John Whiting, and married Mr. Hentz in 1824. While at Covington, Ky., Mrs. Hentz, who had written a poem, a novel, and a tragedy before she was twelve years old, competed for a prize of $500 that had been offered for a play by the directors of the Arch street theatre in Philadelphia. The prize was awarded to her for the tragedy of “De Lara, or the Moorish Bride,” which was produced on the stage, and afterward published in book-form. “Lamorah, or the Western Wild,” another tragedy, was acted at Cincinnati and published in a newspaper at Columbus, Ga. “Constance of Werdenberg,” a third, remained unpublished. She was the author of numerous short poems, and a voluminous writer of tales and novelettes that were published in periodicals and newspapers, and many of them afterward collected into volumes. She was successful in depicting the phases of southern social life. Her first two books, which were the most extensively read of her productions, were “Aunt Patty's Scrap-Bag” (Philadelphia, 1846) and “The Mob Cap” (1848). other tales include “Linda, or the Young Pilot of the Belle Creole” (1850); “Rena, or the Snow Bird” (1851); “Marcus Warland, or the Long Moss Spring” (1852); “Wild Jack, or the Stolen Child” (1853); “Helen and Arthur, or Miss Thusa's Spinning-Wheel” (1853); “The Planter's Northern Bride” (1854); “Love after Marriage, and other Stories” (1854); “The Lost Daughter”; “Robert Graham, a Sequel to ‘Linda’ ” (1856); and “Ernest Linwood” (1856). Mrs. Hentz was the author of a novel called “Lovell's Folly,” the purpose of which was to show the incorrectness of the prejudices entertained against each other by northern and southern people. A sketch of her life, by the Rev. William C. Langdon, was prefixed to “Linda.” — Their daughter, Julia L., b. at Chapel Hill, N. C., in 1829; d. in 1879, was educated by her parents, and in 1846 married, at Tuskegee, Dr. J. W. Keyes, with whom she removed to his home in Florida. Before and after her marriage she wrote short poems, most of which were never published. In 1857 she removed with her husband to Montgomery, Ala. Dr. Keyes became an officer in the Confederate army, and after the war took his family to Brazil, but returned in 1870 to Montgomery. In 1859 Mrs. Keyes wrote a prize poem entitled “A Dream of Locust Dell.” A selection of her poems was published by her husband. — Another daughter, Caroline Therese, b. in Cincinnati, Ohio, 22 Nov., 1833, was educated by her parents, and married Rev. James O. Branch. She sent a series of letters from California to the “Southern Christian Advocate” in 1875, and has published many tales and sketches in magazines.