Halfway Brook Village in Lumberland hosted quite a number of teachers in the 1860s–1870s, as Libby Kyte mentioned. Edith Emogene or Emma Austin, as she was called, had attended school in New York City, and stayed with her Austin relatives. Emma seems to have also attended Monticello Academy, as Libby Kyte had done.
In early 1868 Emma, age sixteen, wrote to Abby Smith, in Glastonbury, Connecticut for advice on a place to teach. Abby and her four sisters (all well-educated) were second cousins to Emma’s mother, Mary Ann Austin. (In the 1870s Abby and her sister Julia wrote letters and spoke at suffrage meetings, advocating property and voting rights for women.)
January 31, 1868
Dear Cousin, I have just received your letter and to show how much interest I still take in your mother, I have seated myself, immediately to answer it.
You say you would like a situation to teach next summer; and I think it would be very improving for you. But we are now so advanced (ages eighty-one, seventy-six, and seventy-one), that we have not felt that interest in the schools that we used to years ago, and I should not know where to apply.
Had we descendants or near relatives, we should have retained it longer and known much more about them. As it is I am unacquainted with any of the instructors…Yours with much affection,
Abby H. Smith
—Abby, Laurilla, and Mary Ann, p. 194.
November 9, 1868, Monticello
I have just finished eating, so for the third time, I’ll try to write. I expect the school bell to ring any moment, but will write till it does ring. This is the third day I have passed at school.
I enjoy it as well as can be expected. I have not got classed much, yet, but think after I get better classed and acquainted, I shall like it first rate. There are 14 boarders here now, all but 3 or 4 are scholars. There are but 2 lodge boarders besides us.
It is nearly 8 o’clock in the evening, so I will again endeavor to write. I have had more fun today than I have before since I have been here…
So good bye from your dear friend Alice. Don’t forget me.
—The Mill on Halfway Brook, p. 140.
1868 Halfway Brook Village, Lumberland
In the fall of 1868, Emma, now age seventeen, seems to have attended school in Lumberland. There was a new school teacher!