Documents 4: Lucy Stanton Day to
Michael E. Strieby, 21 May 18641

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The concluding document of this collection is a letter written by Lucy Stanton Day on 21 May 1864, to Michael E. Strieby, who served as the corresponding secretary of the American Missionary Association. During this time period, respectability and morality were very significant. The Association considered Lucy Stanton a divorced, single mother, and hence not fully respectable. Ultimately this resulted in the rejection of her application to teach at the AMA school for freed people in the South. The document transcribed below expresses Stanton Day's unhappiness with this decision and illustrates her efforts to defend her morality and express the difficulty of her situation.

Document Text:

Cleveland May 21st, 1864

M. E Strieby


I called upon Reverend J. Thome2 Thursday for the purpose of stating to him certain domestic difficulties in which I needed his advice and sympathy. This I am certain no just or good man could withhold knowing the circumstances at least I am assured of hearty sympathy of Mr. Thome; who informed me that he had that day written you, but as he was not at the time concerned with the fact, he could not state them but gave his opinion from previous knowledge of the reasons mentioned.

In this matter I think I have a right to feel aggrieved. In my letter to you I made such allusion to my position as should have assured that I did not shrink from an investigation. Had you in your letter to me asked to know the facts so far as they would appeal my relations to the Executive Committee, I could have placed in the hands of anyone you might have named, letters to prove that when Mr. Day3 went to England our relation were most amicable. You will see by the enclosed letter all our misunderstandings have occurred since. The only accusations, as I can prove by numerous letters that he has ever made are uncongenially of the disposition that he has ceased to love me that I have complained of his course. He desires a divorce or rather desires me to obtain one which I have not made up my mind to do.

The Reverend T.H. Hawkes, who has read the letters that have passed and repassed between Mr. Day and myself, and who has given me this advice and Christian sympathy wrote to Mr. Day a kind friendly letter asking an explanation, and pointing out in there the claims he's held upon him. Mr. Day did not even answer the letter. The 25th of June it will be five years since I have seen Mr. Day. When he arrived in New York he wrote asking me what I would do. I answered requesting him to meet me that we might talk over our affair - He did not answer the letter. The Rev. W. King4, whose letter is enclosed, you probably know as being at the head of the Mission of the Elgin Association at Buxton5 Canada West (the gentleman whom Mr. Day accompanied to England). Mr. King was acquainted both with Mr. Day and myself previous to his going to England-being Pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Buxton of which I was a member and Sabbath School teacher while there-having a personal knowledge of facts in the case he is certainly qualified to decide- His letter of course was written without any reference to my application for a situation, I simply send it as containing nearer the required information than any other I have received from him.

I am sorry that it has seemed necessary to trouble you with so long a letter but I felt that justice and my own good name demanded this much of me. Please me the testimonials that I have previously forwarded to you as they will be of service to me as also please enclose with them the letters I now send.

Trusting that I will have your forbearance for any expressions that may be unwise or unseemly

I am with respect
Truly as ever,
Lucie Stanton Day

[1] Transcribed by Lisa Hoak

[2] James A. Thome (1831-1873), was born in Kentucky, and was converted to abolitionism at the Lane Theological Seminary. He received a theology degree from Oberlin in 1836, and became a professor Rhetoric and Belles Letters at Oberlin College, 1838-1848. In 1848, he was appointed the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Brooklyn, Ohio. Thome voiced his strong support for abolition and worked as an agent of the American Missionary Association in England and Scotland.

[3] William Howard Day, Lucy Stanton Day's first husband, and fellow Oberlin alumnus.

[4] Rev. W King was a Presbyterian minister and founder of the Elgin Settlement, which was the last stop on the Underground Railroad and also included the Buxton Mission.

[5] Elgin Association at Buxton was formed to raise money for a colony for fugitive slaves in Canada. It was supported and named after Lord Elgin, a British Governor General.