Biographies of Scots and Scots Descendants (G)
|Born in Lanarkshire, Scotland,
on July 29, 1742, Isabella Marshall grew up in Elderslie, near Paisley, in
a religious family and received a good education. In 1765 she married John
Graham, an army surgeon whom she accompanied to Canada in 1767. They lived
successively in Quebec, Montreal, and Fort Niagara and on the island of
Antigua, where John died in 1773. She then returned with her children to
Scotland and opened a small school in Paisley. Later she opened a boarding
school for girls in Edinburgh, where she also was active in various
charitable enterprises, notably a "penny society," a fund for
mutual relief in case of sickness to which the subscribers contributed a
penny weekly. The society later became the Society for the Relief of the
Destitute Sick. In 1789 she returned to America and settled in New York
City, where she opened a girls' school that was immediately successful.
She also continued her charitable work and in 1797 led a group of women,
Elizabeth Seton, in organizing a Society for the Relief of Poor Widows
with Small Children. Graham gave up teaching the next year to devote her
time to philanthropy.
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