Prentiss, Elizabeth Payson
Elizabeth Payson (1818–1878) was born in Portland, Maine. She had a feeble constitution and often battled sickness. Her writing talent became evident at an early age and she wrote for "The Youth's Companion" magazine. She had a natural gift for teaching and taught in a school in Richmond, Virginia. She had a religious life, but it wasn't until 1840 that the love of Christ became alive in her soul. She married Rev. George Lewis Prentiss in 1845, who was a pastor and became a professor of pastoral theology at Union Theological Seminary in New York. She published "Stepping Heavenward" in 1869 and it became very popular.
Elizabeth Prentiss descended from Puritan ancestors:
- Edward Payson, a puritan, came to New England in 1635 on the ship Hopewell arriving in Roxbury. He married Mary Eliot, the sister of John Eliot, Apostle to the Indians.
- Samuel, Edward's son, married Mary Phillips.
- Phillips, Samuel's son, born 1705, who studied at Harvard and was a reverend.
- Seth, Phillips son, born 1758, married Grata, who studied at Harvard was pastor of a church in Rindge, New Hampshire.
- Edward, Seth's son and Elizabeth's father, born 1783, married Ann Louisa Shipman, was educated at Harvard and pastor in Portland, Maine.
- Grandfather (paternal) – Seth Payson
- Grandmother (paternal) – Grata Payson
- Father – Edward Payson – educated at Harvard College and pastor in Portland, Maine.
- Mother – Ann Louisa Shipman
- Husband - Rev. George Lewis Prentiss, D.D. – Presbyterian pastor in New York City, later a professor of pastoral theology at Union Theological Seminary in New York.
- Cousin – George E. Shipman of New York.
- 1846 – Annie L. Prentiss - first child. Sometimes called "A."
- 1848 – Edward Payson Prentiss - second child. Died in January 1852. Called Eddy.
- 1852 – Elizabeth Prentiss – third child – Bessie died the same year in May.
- 1854 – Minnie W. Prentiss - fourth child.
- 1857 – George C. J. Prentiss - fifth child.
- 1859 – Henry S. Prentiss - sixth child. Sometimes called "Swiss Boy" because he was born in Switzerland.
- Lizzy Wood – she was Anna in "Only a Dandelion."
- Miss Julia D. Willis – childhood friend, the Willis family was a literary influence.
- Anna Prentiss Stearns – sister to George Lewis Prentiss (Elizabeth's husband); she married Rev. Jonathan F. Stearns D.D.
- Susan and Anna Warner – sisters who became well known authors. Susan Warner wrote The Wide, Wide World.
1818 – born in Portland, Maine.
1830 – moved to New York, where her sister opened a school for girls.
1831 – she made a public profession of faith and joined Bleecker St. Presbyterian in New York.
1831 – moved back to Portland.
1840 – crisis of thoughts that led her to devote herself entirely to Christ.
1840 – moved to Richmond Virginia, and taught in a Mr. Persico's Girls Boarding School. Listened to Rev. Dr. William Plumer.
1845 – married George Lewis Prentiss, moved to New Bedford, MA. George pastored South Trinitarian Church.
1850 – moved to Newark, New Jersey, George the associate pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church.
1851 – moved to New York, George pastor of Mercer Street Presbyterian Church.
1858 – George resigns his pastorate because of poor health and is given a prescription to travel abroad.
1858 – traveled to Switzerland and other countries for two years.
1860 – traveled to England and visited Westminster Abby, the Tower of London, Bunhill Fields and the grave of the Dairyman's Daughter. They visited with Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Abbott.
1860 – September arrived back in New York.
1861 – spent the summer in Newport.
1867 – lived at the parsonage at Thirty-fifth Street, New York for six years.
1869 – spent the summers at Dorset, Vermont for 10 years.
1869 - Stepping Heavenward published in installments in the Chicago Advance. Then it was published as a book in October.
1873 – George became professor of Pastoral Theology, Church Polity and Mission Work at Union Theological Seminary in New York City.
1878 – Elizabeth died at Dorset, Vermont.
List of books that Elizabeth Prentiss wrote:
- Aunt Jane's Hero
- Avis Benson; or, Mine and Thine, and other Sketches
- Christians in Counsel; or, The Pastor and his Friends
- Flower of the Family (The): A Book for Girls
- Follow Me and other Stories
- Fred and Maria, and Me
- Gentleman Jim
- Golden Hours: Hymns and Songs of the Christian Life
- Henry and Bessie, or What They Did in the Country
- Home at Greylock (The)
- How Sorrow Was Changed into Sympathy: Words of Cheer for Mothers Bereft of Little Children
- Little Lou's Sayings and Doings
- Little Preacher (The)
- Little Rosa; or,The Old Brown Pitcher
- Little Susy's Little Servants
- Little Susy's Six Birthdays
- Little Susy's Six Teachers
- Little Threads: or, Tangle Thread, Silver Thread, and Golden Thread
- Mamma's Talks with Charlie
- Nidworth and his Three Magic Wands
- Only a Dandelion and other stories
- Our Ruth: A Story of Old Times in New England
- Pemaquid: A Story of Old Times in New England
- Peterchen and Gretchen; or, Tales of Early Childhood (Translated by)
- Religious Poems
- Six Little Princesses and What They Turned Into
- Stepping Heavenward
- Story Lizzie Told (The)
- Story of the Percys (The), Ever Heavenward; or, A Mothers Influence
- Tried, Precious, Sure: Thoughts Concerning the King
- Urbané and his Friends. By Cousin Susan
- Young Servant: Aunt Susan and Her Nieces
- More Love to Thee, O Christ
George Lewis Prentiss Booklist:
- A Memoir of S. S. Prentiss. Edited by His Brother.
- Life and Letters of Elizabeth Prentiss.
- The Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York: Historical and Biographical Sketches of Its First Fifty Years.
- Some of the Providential Lessons of 1861. How to Meet the Events of 1862. Two Discourses, Preached December 29th, 186, and January 5th, 1862.
- The Free Christian State and the Present Struggle: an Address Delivered before the Association of the Alumni of Bowdoin College.
- A discourse in Memory of Thomas Harvey Skinner.
- The Agreement between Union Seminary and the General Assembly.
- Lessons of Encouragement from the Times of Washington.
- Our National Bane; The Dry-rot in American Politics. A Tract for the Times Touching Civil Service Reform.
Prentiss, George Lewis, Life and Letters of Elizabeth Prentiss, New York: Anson D. F. Randolf & Company, 1882.