Elizabeth Payson (1818–1878) was born in Portland, Maine. She had a feeble constitution and often battled sickness. Her writing talent became evident at an early age and she wrote for "The Youth's Companion" magazine. She had a natural gift for teaching and taught in a school in Richmond, Virginia. She had a religious life, but it wasn't until 1840 that the love of Christ became alive in her soul. She married Rev. George Lewis Prentiss in 1845, who was a pastor and became a professor of pastoral theology at Union Theological Seminary in New York. She published "Stepping Heavenward" in 1869 and it became very popular.
Aunt Jane's Hero.
The Home at Greylock.
Thoughts Concerning the King.
Fred, and Maria, and Me.
Elizabeth Prentiss descended from Puritan ancestors:
Edward Payson, a puritan, came to New England in 1635 on the ship Hopewell arriving in Roxbury. He married Mary Eliot, the sister of John Eliot, Apostle to the Indians.
Samuel, Edward's son, married Mary Phillips.
Phillips, Samuel's son, born 1705, who studied at Harvard and was a reverend.
Seth, Phillips son, born 1758, married Grata, who studied at Harvard was pastor of a church in Rindge, New Hampshire.
Edward, Seth's son and Elizabeth's father, born 1783, married Ann Louisa Shipman, was educated at Harvard and pastor in Portland, Maine.
Grandfather (paternal) – Seth Payson
Grandmother (paternal) – Grata Payson
Father – Edward Payson – educated at Harvard College and pastor in Portland, Maine.
Mother – Ann Louisa Shipman
Husband - Rev. George Lewis Prentiss, D.D. – Presbyterian pastor in New York City, later a professor of pastoral theology at Union Theological Seminary in New York.
Cousin – George E. Shipman of New York.
1846 – Annie L. Prentiss - first child. Sometimes called "A."
1848 – Edward Payson Prentiss - second child. Died in January 1852. Called Eddy.
1852 – Elizabeth Prentiss – third child – Bessie died the same year in May.
1854 – Minnie W. Prentiss - fourth child.
1857 – George C. J. Prentiss - fifth child.
1859 – Henry S. Prentiss - sixth child. Sometimes called "Swiss Boy" because he was born in Switzerland.
Lizzy Wood – she was Anna in "Only a Dandelion."
Miss Julia D. Willis – childhood friend, the Willis family was a literary influence.
Anna Prentiss Stearns – sister to George Lewis Prentiss (Elizabeth's husband); she married Rev. Jonathan F. Stearns D.D.
Susan and Anna Warner – sisters who became well known authors. Susan Warner wrote The Wide, Wide World.
1818 – born in Portland, Maine.
1830 – moved to New York, where her sister opened a school for girls.
1831 – she made a public profession of faith and joined Bleecker St. Presbyterian in New York.
1831 – moved back to Portland.
1840 – crisis of thoughts that led her to devote herself entirely to Christ.
1840 – moved to Richmond Virginia, and taught in a Mr. Persico's Girls Boarding School. Listened to Rev. Dr. William Plumer.
1845 – married George Lewis Prentiss, moved to New Bedford, MA. George pastored South Trinitarian Church.
1850 – moved to Newark, New Jersey, George the associate pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church.
1851 – moved to New York, George pastor of Mercer Street Presbyterian Church.
1858 – George resigns his pastorate because of poor health and is given a prescription to travel abroad.
1858 – traveled to Switzerland and other countries for two years.
1860 – traveled to England and visited Westminster Abby, the Tower of London, Bunhill Fields and the grave of the Dairyman's Daughter. They visited with Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Abbott.
1860 – September arrived back in New York.
1861 – spent the summer in Newport.
1867 – lived at the parsonage at Thirty-fifth Street, New York for six years.
1869 – spent the summers at Dorset, Vermont for 10 years.
1869 - Stepping Heavenward published in installments in the Chicago Advance. Then it was published as a book in October.
1873 – George became professor of Pastoral Theology, Church Polity and Mission Work at Union Theological Seminary in New York City.
1878 – Elizabeth died at Dorset, Vermont.
List of books that Elizabeth Prentiss wrote:
Aunt Jane's Hero
Avis Benson; or, Mine and Thine, and other Sketches
Christians in Counsel; or, The Pastor and his Friends
Flower of the Family (The): A Book for Girls
Follow Me and other Stories
Fred and Maria, and Me
Golden Hours: Hymns and Songs of the Christian Life
Henry and Bessie, or What They Did in the Country
Home at Greylock (The)
How Sorrow Was Changed into Sympathy: Words of Cheer for Mothers Bereft of Little Children
Little Lou's Sayings and Doings
Little Preacher (The)
Little Rosa; or,The Old Brown Pitcher
Little Susy's Little Servants
Little Susy's Six Birthdays
Little Susy's Six Teachers
Little Threads: or, Tangle Thread, Silver Thread, and Golden Thread
Mamma's Talks with Charlie
Nidworth and his Three Magic Wands
Only a Dandelion and other stories
Our Ruth: A Story of Old Times in New England
Pemaquid: A Story of Old Times in New England
Peterchen and Gretchen; or, Tales of Early Childhood (Translated by)
Six Little Princesses and What They Turned Into
Story Lizzie Told (The)
Story of the Percys (The), Ever Heavenward; or, A Mothers Influence
Tried, Precious, Sure: Thoughts Concerning the King
Urbané and his Friends. By Cousin Susan
More Love to Thee, O Christ
George Lewis Prentiss Booklist:
A Memoir of S. S. Prentiss. Edited by His Brother.
Life and Letters of Elizabeth Prentiss.
The Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York: Historical and Biographical Sketches of Its First Fifty Years.
Some of the Providential Lessons of 1861. How to Meet the Events of 1862. Two Discourses, Preached December 29th, 186, and January 5th, 1862.
The Free Christian State and the Present Struggle: an Address Delivered before the Association of the Alumni of Bowdoin College.
A discourse in Memory of Thomas Harvey Skinner.
The Agreement between Union Seminary and the General Assembly.
Lessons of Encouragement from the Times of Washington.
Our National Bane; The Dry-rot in American Politics. A Tract for the Times Touching Civil Service Reform.
Prentiss, George Lewis, Life and Letters of Elizabeth Prentiss, New York: Anson D. F. Randolf & Company, 1882.