Woman of the Century/Emma Augusta Sharkey
SHARKEY, Mrs. Emma Augusta, journalist and story-writer, born in Rocheser, N. Y., 15th September, 1858. She is known to the literary world as "Mrs. E. Burke Collins." Her father, W. S. Brown, was a successful business man in that city. Her mother, an accomplished lady was the only sister of Hon. Frederic Whiting, of Great Barrington, Mass., whose published genealogy traces the family back six-hundred years. Conspicuous among her ancestors was the famous Capt. John Mason, whose valor saved from hostile savage> the first settlers of Connecticut. In early childhood Mrs. Sharkey lost her most excellent mother, who died in mid-life, of consumption. Her lack of physical vigor precluded her from joining in the sports of other children, and, being much alone, her thoughts turned in upon themselves, and she was called a dreamy child Yet she enjoyed companionship, and often attracted a circle of little friends, who would sit around her for hours, listening to her stories, improvised as rapidly as her tongue could give them utterance. That rapidity of thought and facility of expression are characteristic of her maturer years. She begins a sketch of one or more columns and usually finishes it at one sitting. With increasing years her health grew better, so that she entered school, but at the age of fifteen years left it and became the wife of E. Burke Collins, a rising young lawyer of Rochester, and soon after they sought the mild climate of Louisiana. There she gained perfect health. Within a year after her arrival in Louisiana, by an accident she was suddenly made a widow, among comparative strangers, and left almost alone in the world. Up to that lime she had never known a want that wealth could supply, but after the first shock and her grief had suicided, she saw that a struggle for subsistence was before her. From her childhood she had written stories and poems for amusement and given many of them to the local press without thought of remuneration. She then decided that the pen, which she had previously used for pastime, should be a weapon to keep the wolf from her door. She conceived and executed the daring scheme of starting a purely literary journal in New Orleans. It was a most unpropitious time and place for such an enterprise. A few months convinced the young journalist of that fact, and she discontinued it before her finances were exhausted. Though that journalistic venture was a large pecuniary loss to her, yet it gave her such prestige that applications to become a regular contributor poured in from different publishers, and her literary success was assured. The amount of literary work that she accomplishes in a given time is wonderful. Now, and for ten years past, she has received a larger salary for her work than any other literary person in the far South, and larger than any official of her State. She became the wife, in 1S84, of Robert R. Sharkey, a Mississippi cotton planter, who is the nephew and sole male descendant of the late Governor Sharkey, of Mississippi, who was United States Senator for several terms and judge in the United States Supreme Court. Mr. and Mrs. Sharkey spend their summers in their country residence, known as "Hillside," near Tangipahoa, La. Their winters are passed in their home in the sixth district of the city of New Orleans. Mrs. Sharkey has written several quite successful novels, chiefly representing life in the South, more especially the pine woods of Louisiana, hitherto an almost untrodden field in literature.