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Wealthy Backus; Wealthea Backus; Wealtha Ann Backus
June 14, 1800
August 15, 1819
Gerrit Smith (January 11, 1819)
On June 14, 1800 Wealthy Backus Smith was born to Azel Backus and Melicenet Deming Backus of Clinton, New York. Her father, Azel, graduated from Yale College in 1787 and received an honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree from Princeton College in 1810. He worked as a minister and teacher before taking on the role as the first President of Hamilton College. From 1811 until 1814 Wealthy Ann attended the Litchfield Female Academy. In 1817 Wealthy become engaged to Gerrit Smith of Petersboro, New York and in 1818 they were married in Rochester, New York. Gerrit had attended Hamilton College in 1818, and became a noted abolitionist as well as a United States Congressman. Only seven months after their marriage, Wealthy Ann died of "dropsy of the brain" on August 15, 1819.
The Citation of Attendance provides primary source documentation of the student’s attendance at the Litchfield Female Academy and/or the Litchfield Law School. If a citation is absent, the student is thought to have attended but currently lacks primary source confirmation.
Records for the schools were sporadic, especially in the formative years of both institutions. If instructors kept comprehensive records for the Litchfield Female Academy or the Litchfield Law School, they do not survive. Researchers and staff have identified students through letters, diaries, family histories and genealogies, and town histories as well as catalogues of students printed in various years. Art and needlework have provided further identification of Female Academy Students, and Litchfield County Bar records document a number of Law School students. The history of both schools and the identification of the students who attended them owe credit to the early 20th century research and documentation efforts of Emily Noyes Vanderpoel and Samuel Fisher, and the late 20th century research and documentation efforts of Lynne Templeton Brickley and the Litchfield Historical Society staff.
CITATION OF ATTENDANCE:
1811 List of Subscribers, 1st Vol. "Universal History" (Vanderpoel, Emily Noyes. Chronicles of A Pioneer School From 1792 to 1833. Cambridge, MA: The University Press, 1903).
"Rules for the School and Family" and Names of the Young Ladies belonging to Miss Pierce's School in the Summer of 1814 (Litchfield Historical Society - Litchfield Female Academy Collection).
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