Woman of the Century/Clara H. Sully Carhart

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CARHART, Mrs. Clara H. Sully, educator and reformer, born in Ottawa, Canada, 30th April, CLARA H. SULLY CARHART.jpgCLARA H. SULLY CARHART. 1845. She is of English parentage. Her maternal grandfather, J. G. Hayter, who was a government official from the first settlement of that city, was descended from an old family of English nobility of that name. In early life Mrs. Carhart showed an unusual aptitude for books. Her school duties were ever a source of enjoyment, and she decided to become a teacher. At ten years of age she was sent to a boarding-school in Ottawa, Canada, where she excelled in music. After two years she returned home, and studied in the Buffalo high school, until the removal of her parents to Darien Center, N. Y., where she attended the seminary. After graduating, she began to teach. In i86t, after the death of her father, the family removed to Davenport, Iowa. She immediately entered the city school there and for six years held high rank as a teacher. At the solicitation of the school-board she inaugurated a system of musical instruction, including every grade of all the city schools. On 5th October, 1S71, she became the wife of Rev. Lewis H. Carhart, a young Methodist Episcopal minister, and with him went to live in Charles City, Iowa. Their family consists of two children. There she entered heartily into his work and seconded all his efforts to build up the church. Soon after the Civil War she w ent to Texas with her husband, who had been a captain in the Union army, and had volunteered in the work of reorganizing the Methodist Episcopal Church in the South. They had to work in the face of bitter opposition, but, largely owing to Mrs. Carhart's activity and popularity, large congregations were formed and churches were built in Dallas, Sherman and neighboring cities. In 1881 her hushand retired from the active ministry, and they went to make their home in Brooklyn, N. Y., to be near Mrs. Carhart's family. She became much interested in the work of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, being secretary of one of the largest local unions, and afterward president of the young women's work in Suffolk county. While on a visit in Donley county, Texas, she organized a local union, which union so amused public sentiment that within eight months afterward the saloons in that county were closed by popular vote. She became interested in the social condition of the working-girls of Brooklyn. Prominent women were called together from the churches of the city, and in 1885 they planted the Bedford Club in the heart of a district where shop-girls and factory operatives live. The aim was the bettering of the social condition of those girls, offering them innocent amusements and instruction in practical branches. The work has since grown incredibly. Of that society she was the first president. She was thus the pioneer in establishing girls' clubs, which become such an important factor in the lives of the working-girls of New York and Brooklyn. For six years Mrs. Carhart held the position of corresponding secretary of the Woman's Home Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church, in the New York East Conference, and she has been a great factor in its success. For six years she was sent as a representative to the national conventions, and in 1889 represented that society on the platform of the National Woman's Christian Temperance Union in Chicago. She is a member of the advisory council of the woman's branch of the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago.