Interesting Story Thin Premise for Biography

By Schlichenmeyer, Teri | Telegraph - Herald (Dubuque), June 15, 2014 | Go to article overview

Interesting Story Thin Premise for Biography


Schlichenmeyer, Teri, Telegraph - Herald (Dubuque)


"Electa Quinney: Stockbridge Teacher" by Karyn Saemann, 2014, Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 120 pages

The end of the school year can be very sad.

You might have to say goodbye to friends; either you won't see them for a few months or ever, because they're moving. You'll leave behind a favorite class, your spot in the lunchroom and maybe your favorite teacher.

But what if he or she left you? In "Electa Quinney: Stockbridge Teacher," by Karyn Saemann, you'll read about miles and milestones one educator achieved more than 150 years ago. But you'll also read about a lot of things having nothing to do with her.

When Quinney was born in an Indian village in New York in 1807, life for her was different than for most Native American children.

Electa was a Stockbridge Indian. For many years, her ancestors had woven parts of European culture into their daily lives. Stockbridge Indians, at the time Electa was born, had Christian churches, farms and livestock, and they fluently spoke English. They had formal schools, too, though Electa went away to boarding school when she was about 7 years old.

By the time she was 15, she was a teacher with her own classroom.

In 1828, Electa left New York and moved to Wisconsin. Six years earlier, the Stockbridge (who had come from Massachusetts in 1785) were "pressured" to sell their New York land to newly-arrived immigrants. With nowhere to go, they accepted an offer of a place to live from the Menominee Indians of Wisconsin. By moving to Wisconsin and accepting a job at a school near Green Bay, Electa became the state's first public schoolteacher.

That didn't mean she only taught school, though. …

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