Laura Goes to School

For the first time ever, Laura attended public school at age nine. During the period away she had accomplished a great deal under her mother’s guidance. Not only had she learned to read, write, spell and understand geography and mathematics, but she learned to sew, knit and observe the world through a lens very different from her classmates who hadn’t sailed on board a whaling ship or boarded a train from west coast to the east.

Young Laura had learned to laugh and be resourceful in a variety of situations. Living through the mutiny on board the Roman, she was able to endure terror in silence. Having a father who was gone for months at a time, she had also become her mother’s trusted helper and guardian of two younger brothers.

Laura graduated from Edgartown High in 1876 at the age of 14. By today’s standards, she was young to be a high school graduate. She would eventually study at the New England Conservatory of Music and the Maryland Art Institute. Laura went on to become among other things, an accomplished musician, teaching violin and piano, and serving as organist in the Baptist church.

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Martha's Vineyard Museum