Woman of the Century/Susan Dabney Smedes
SMEDES, Mrs. Susan Dabney, author and missionary, born in Raymond, Miss., 10th August, 1840, of Virginian parents. Her father, Thomas Smith Dabney. was of the old Huguenot family of D'Aubigne, a branch of which settled in Lower Virginia early in the eighteenth century. Susan was the second daughter in a family of nine sons and seven daughters. As a child she was gentle and devout, and her earliest ambition was to become a missionary. In 1860 she became the wife of Lyell Smedes, of Raleigh, N. C. Their happy but brief union was terminated by his death at the end of eleven weeks. Having lost her mother about the same time, her life was henceforth devoted to the care of her father and her younger brothers and sisters. SUSAN DABNEY SMEDES. In 1882 the family removed from the plantation in Mississippi to Baltimore, Md., where she lived till the close of her father's life. In consequence of that event, at the age of forty-five, her early dream of missionary labors became a possibility, and she went out to the Sioux Indians, commissioned as a United States teacher. Her love and sympathy for those people brought her almost immediately into the closest sympathy with her charges, and the fourteen months spent by her in teaching and ministering to their spiritual needs are reckoned as the happiest of her life. Living as she did in an isolated camp, in the rigorous climate of Dakota, her health failed, and she was taken by her friends to Helena, Mont., where she hoped to recruit her strength and return to the field. In this she was overruled, and having an offer of work in the Surveyor General's office, she labored for the next three years as clerk in that department of the government service. From there she removed, in October, 1891. to Washington. D, C, where she now lives. She has been for several years a contributor to the leading magazines and newspapers of the country. Tin-simple story of her father's life, as told in "A Southern Planter" (Baltimore, 1887), her greatest work, has not only attracted wide attention in the United States, but is well known in England through the London edition. That edition was issued at the request of Mr. Gladstone, who com- mended it to his countrymen, with a prefatory note from himself. Students and professors of history pronounce that work the most valuable contribution to the history of the ante bellum South hat has yet appeared.