Clementina Jones (1814-1900)
Daughter of Thomas Henry and Nancy (Merwin) Jones, born in Schodack, N. Y. (near Troy), furnishes the subjoined interesting sketch of her career:
“My father died four months before I was born, more than eighty-one years ago. I attended the district school, but acquired the best part of my education at home. I had a pious and intelligent mother and two well educated grandmothers. It was not only from books I learned, but all that should be taught in Christian families. I learned a trade also. My mother and I being all that remained of four generations who had dwelt in our dear home, it was decided to rent it and we moved to Troy, where I worked until the winter of 1837, when I entered Troy Seminary as a day scholar. Mrs. John Willard being acquainted with those who had always known me, and three generations before me, manifested special interest in me, and soon after my entrance to the school as day scholar, at her request, and with my mother’s approval, I became a boarder, from which time the Seminary was to me ever a dear Christian home, like the happy one of my childhood and youth.
“In November, 1839, I went to Pennsylvania, prepared to teach all the English branches taught in the Seminary, and French and music also. Later, when my health required a change, I returned to the Seminary and studied Latin and drawing. When I had ac quired a sufficient knowledge of these, I went South and taught six years in Virginia. Again my health failed and I returned to the Seminary, which I was not permitted to leave until well enough to resume my work in the South. Can I ever forget all that was done for my comfort and happiness?
“The next year I spent my vacation in Troy, and feeling it my duty to reand a half, I was persuaded by a gentleman of North Carolina, who had known me in Virginia, to teach in his family. My mother urged my going, and I took with me one of my pupils, Albertine Van Valkenburgh. We remained two years. Afterwards I built a house at No. 18 Seventh Street, in Troy, and taught there until burned out in the great fire of 1862.
“My mother and I then moved to Lansingburgh, where I opened a school. I was then forty-seven years of age and had taught nearly twelve years.
“Mrs. Willard endorsed me as follows:
“‘It gives me pleasure to commend Miss Clementine Jones to the friends of education. Long acquaintance with her as a pupil in our Seminary and a teacher in this city, enable me to bear unqualified testimony to her thorough scholarship and untiring energy, and to the excellence of her moral and religious character.
May 20, 1862. ‘SARAH L. WILLARD.’
“As to my writings, I published a book, ‘Shades of Sorrow dispelled by the Sunshine of Love,’ and translated a French story, ‘Marie, or True Nobility.’ I have written a great deal for newspapers and magazines.
“Could I present a true picture of all I know of the Willards, that has never been publicly stated or alluded to, all would exclaim like the Queen of Sheba, ‘the half has not been told us,’ but as I cannot, I will only say,
Fain would I tell the world their worth,
But it would be vain to try,
No human pen can it portray;
Their record is on high.”
In 1896 Miss Jones, with cheerful interest in life, and a notably fine presence, is passing her declining years in her home at 688 First Avenue, Lansingburgh, N. Y.
Emma Willard and Her Pupils: Or, Fifty Years of Troy Female Seminary, 1822-1872. NY: Mrs. Russell Sage, 1898. 193-194.