Woman of the Century/Elizabeth Rowell Thompson
THOMPSON, Mrs. Elizabeth Rowell, philanthropist and temperance reformer, born in Lyndon, Vt, 21st February. 1821. Her maiden name was Rowell. Her childhood was full of the hardships of pioneer life, and she began, at the age of nine years, to earn money by serving as maid-of-all-work in a neighboring family, receiving a salary of twenty-five cents a week. Her early education was naturally neglected, but in later years she made up for the want of training that marked her childhood. She grew to womanhood, and in 1843 visited Boston, Mass. There she met Thomas Thompson, a millionaire, a man of refinement and culture. He was captivated by her remarkable beauty. The attraction was mutual, and they were married. With great wealth at her command, she was able to carry out her wishes to do good. She engaged in charitable work on a large scale, and her methods include the removal of the causes of misery, quite as much as the relief of misery after it is caused. Her expenditures to aid worthy men and women in getting education amount to over one-hundred-thousand dollars, and her other benevolent enterprises represent an outlay of over six-hundred-thousand dollars. She has regularly expended her income in benevolence. She has aided actively in the temperance reform movement, and her aid has often taken the form of large sums of money when needed to carry on some particular work. One of her contributions to the literature of temperance is a statistical work entitled "The Figures of Hell." Her husband cooperated with her until his death on 28th March, 1869. He left her the entire income of his great estate. Being childless, she was free to give full play to her generous impulses. She purchased Carpenter's painting of the signing of the emancipation proclamation by Lincoln in the presence of his Cabinet, paying twenty-five thousand dollars for it, and presented it to Congress. She paid ten-thousand dollars for the expenses of the Congressional committee appointed to study the yellow-fever plague in the South. She gave liberally to support the Women's Free Medical College in New York City. She founded Longmont, in the Rocky Mountains. In Salina county, Kansas, she gave six-hundred-forty acres of land and three-hundred dollars to each colonist settled on it. She spent a large sum in bringing out a " Song Service " for the poor.