Page:Frances Wood Shimer 1826-1901.djvu/9

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Mrs. Shimer's Life and Work.

“May I be to other souls
The cup of strength in some great agony;
Be the sweet presence of a good diffused,
And in diffusion ever more intense!
So shall I join the choir invisible,
Whose music is the gladness of the world.”

It is not the intent of a memorial to tell the whole of a life. That which is written is to show the foundation of success, to display the strong, essential elements of character, to trace to its source the power of influence, to demonstrate that achievement is the fruitage of endeavor, and that duty follows the law of sacrifice. The unrecorded, which transcends the written, is part of the surrounding atmosphere of good deeds from which all derive benefit, and which, like the air, common to all, sustains humanity. In this memorial of a life of service, self-sacrifice, and success, silence must represent the volumes that cannot be crystallized into printed words, but the inspiration of the life portrayed should help to carry on the work she loved.

At Milton, in Saratoga county, N. Y., August 21, 1826, a daughter was born to Rebecca Bryan and Jesse Wood. The father, son of Benjamin and grandson of David Wood, who made the first settlement in Milton, was a timid, reticent man. The mother, a daughter of Samuel Bryan and Martha Tallmadge, and one of thirteen children, all of whom died with consumption before middle age, was a “delicate, refined, ambitious woman, of superior intellectual ability, but frail withal.” The baby was named Frances Ann Wood, Frances being a favorite family name on the mother's side, because a relative named Frances Slocum, in Revolutionary times, was stolen by the Indians. From the birth of Frances, the mother failed in health. She, however, lived until Frances was ten years old. Caroline was twenty-one years older