Oberlin Connections: Lucy Stanton Day

The following transcribed materials from the Oberlin College Archives. provide details about the life of Lucy Stanton Day, who lived in Chatham, Canada West in the 1850s. She participated, along with other members of the Chatham Vigilance Committee, in the 1858 rescue of Sylvanus Demarest. Biographical information about her and her work with the AMA can be found here: http://www.oberlin.edu/archive/teaching/projects/hist213/stanton/intro.html

Letter to Oberlin College from her daughter:

Los Angeles, California

March 22 1910

Mr. Gergon M. Jones

See y of Oberlin College

Dear Sir,

It becomes my sad duty to inform you of the decease of my be-loved Mother, Mrs. Lucie Stanton Day Sessions. My mother passed away at 4 A.M Feb 18 1910. She had a complication of diseases, pneumonia, la grippe and arthnia- the fever left her, at her advanced age, too weak to recover her former strength. She was confined to her bed thirty eight days. I nursed her day and night, the friends were very kind to come in and assist but I staid at her bedside that I might as far as human aid could, administer to every wish or desire; but God’s way is not our way and he took her to himself. We laid her to rest Feb 21 in Rosedale Cemetery. Enclosed see the obituary which I wrote from memory of what she had told me again and again: it was published in “The New Age”. The small clipping is from “The Los Angeles Times”. She leaves a husband Mr. L.A Sessions and a daughter Miss Florence A. Day. Mother always spoke of her days at Oberlin as being very pleasant ones. The blow is a hard one but we bow to His will. With love and highest esteem,

Very Truly,

Miss Florence A. Day

425A Bonnie Brae St.

Los Angeles, California


Library of Oberlin College: Data Collection of Alumni:

Library of Oberlin College

Oberlin, Ohio December 1, 1899.

  1. Full name: Lucie Stanton Day Sessions (Mrs. Levin)

Class of 1850.

  1. Present occupation: teacher, permanent.
  2. Post office address: 107 ½ E. Street, Chattanooga, Tenn.
  3. Temporary:  Shallow Ford, Tenn.

Degree of …. Conferred by: Graduated from the Female Department of Oberlin College 1850

B.L….Oberlin College 1894

  1. Other honours received, and civil and military offices held:
  2. Residence and occupation each year since January 1, 1895:

During the years 1897 + 1898 was Preceptress and Teacher in the Literary Department of A+M College, Nomal, Alabama. The remainder of the time Residence, Cattanooga, Tenn.

  1. Books or articles written or edited: Have written a number of articles which have been printed but are only of local interest.
  2. Date of church membership: 1844

Denomination: Congregational

  1. Date of marriage: 1853 or 1854 to William Howard Day

2nd June 26 1878 to Levi N Sessions

Is husband or wife living? Yes

  1. Children born ….. by first marriage, Florence Nightingale Day

Date: Jan 17 1900


Library of Oberlin College: Data Collection of Alumni

  1. Full name?  Lucy A. Stanton (Mrs. Levi N. Sessions)

Class of 1850

  1. Present occupation? Housewife
  2. Postoffice address: 748 E 16th St, Los Angeles, California
  3. Place of birth? Cleveland, Ohio
  4. Date of birth? Oct 16th 1831
  5. 1st Date of marriage: Thanksgiving 1852 or 3

To whom? William Howard Day

2nd June 1878 Levi N. Sessions who is living.

  1. Academic degrees received from institutions other than Oberlin:


  1. Other honours received, and civil offices held?

April 2, 1900 National Aide Women’s Relief Confrence. June 21-23 1893 elected Grand Matron of the Grand Chapter of the State of Tenn., held office 4 years. 1896+97 Preceptress of the Normal A+M College, Normal, Alabama.

  1. Military services?


  1. Residence and occupation each year since January 1, 1905?

748 E. 16th Street L.A


  1. Books or articles written or edited?

Have written a number of articles but have kept no record of them.

  1. Date of church membership?

Joined the old Oberlin church about 1852. After I joined the _____ Presbyterian in Cleveland, Ohio. In the 60s joined the African Methodist Episcopal of which I am now a member here.

(You will see that I am the first colored woman to graduate at Oberlin & therefore first in the U. States. Date of writing. May 18th 1908)


Library of Oberlin College: Data Collection of Alumni

  1. Full name? Lucie Stanton Day Sessions

Class of 1850

  1. Present Occupation? Teacher
  2. Postoffice Address? 748 E. 16th street Los Angeles, California
  3. Academic degrees received:

Degree of B.L conferred by W. G Ballantine (President) in 1894.

  1. Other honors received, and civil and military offices held:

National Aide Women’s Relief Corps in 1900. Preceptress Normal A+M College, Normal, Alabama 1896-97. President Local W.C.T.U Chattagoona, Tenn. 1893-1894.

  1. Residence and occupation each year since January 1, 1900:

Chattanooga, Tennessee

From 1884 to 1903 moved to Los Angeles, California

  1. Books or articles written or edited:

Numerous articles have been written a number of which have been published but have kept no account of them.

  1. Date of Church membership?

Oberlin Church 1846

2d. Presbyterian, Cleveland, Ohio 1861

A.M.E Toledo, Ohio 1864

Denomination? Belong to the same here

  1. Date of marriage? Nov. 25 1852

To whom? William Howard Day

June 26 1878 Levi N. Sessions ….. is living


  1. Children born: Florence N. Day is living with me.

Date: Feb 7 1905.


Library of Oberlin College: Data Collection of Alumni

Kindly fill and return as soon as possible to Azariah S. Root, Oberlin, Ohio.

Full name: Mrs. Lucie S. D. Sessions

Class of 1850

Present occupation: Teaching

Post office address: no. 107 E. St. Chattanooga, State of Tennessee

Professional and other studies since January 1888: Latin + Review of English Branches.

Residence and occupation EACH YEAR since January 1888: Chattanooga, Tennessee. Taught in the Chattanooga Public Schools from 1884 to 1890, Since that time have taught Select School. Taught one year in the Loomis Seminary.

Civil offices held and honors received: (blank)

Books or articles written or edited: Written articles. –Religion in Public Schools, The Culture of the eye and the hand. Various lectures on Temperance.

Date of marriage: June 26th, 1878

To whom? Levi N. Sessions

Number of children: One

Date … 1894

I did not receive this until Jan 1895. Very respectfully, L.S.D Sessions


Newspaper Article:

Pioneer Race Leader called to her Reward

 Lucy Ann Stanton was born October 16, 1831, in Cleveland, Ohio. Whew she was 18 months old her father, Samuel Stanton, taking her by the hand, walked her to the corner and bought a china pitcher, which is still an heirloom in the family, returned to the house, sat in the rocking chair and died.

 Although his death was a great blow to her mother, he left them well provided for, so that at the proper time she was able to enter college. He also told his partner in business to take care of his wife and baby, which in due time he did, her mother becoming Margaret Brown.

When Lucy Stanton was small and during all of her young life, the slavery question was at its great heighth, and the need was great for workers against slavery. She was a collector for the Underground Railroad Station and the house of her stepfather, John Brown, has had as many as 13 runaway slaves in his house at one time waiting to slip across Lake Erie to Canada. She had the opportunity to hear the fearful and shocking tales of the slaves who had received such harsh treatment and to see the scars on their backs where they had not yet healed from a severe whipping with a cat o’nine tails or other means of torture.

These incidents led her to be thoughtful even beyond her years and she would announce with great vehemence. “I shall live to see slavery done away with, and then I shall go south and teach.”

When she was a child there were only about 3 colored children in the whole town and she usually played with white children who would say, “Come and go to my school; her mother would get her ready and she would go and stay until some visitor, one of whom was a Baptist minister, would come in and say “Everything is all right but one, and that is the little dark face,” and then she would have to leave. In this way she was turned from every school in Cleveland, Ohio, which led to her being sent to Oberlin College, where in 1850, she graduated with honors and delivered the valedictory address, being the first colored woman to graduate in the U.S.A, at which time the president arose and said, “If  you have any doubt of the feasibility of giving the colored girl and boy an equal chance let that essay be the answer.”

Soon after graduation she married William Howard Day who had graduated from Oberlin in 1847. Their union was blessed with three children, William, Eliza, and Florence; the first two dying in early childhood.

The passage of stringent black laws for the furtherance of slavery such as the following: “Any person who gives a fugitive slave a crust of bread or a drink of water shall be fined $1000 and six months imprisonment and one half of the fine shall go to the informant,” caused them to move to Canada.

Having been a widow for many years, she married Levy N. Sessions June 26th 1878, in Fayette, Mississippi, where she had been teaching since 1871, the first school after Reconstruction.

Her first school, she taught in Columbus, Ohio, where she was the principal, and Charles Langston was trustee of the school and was also her assistant.

Her whole life has been given to teaching and doing good among her own people; organizing temperance societies and other societies.

In 1896-7 she was preceptress at Normal A and M College, Normal, Alabama. She is also past national aid of the woman’s relief corps.

For four years she was grand matron of the grand chapter order of the Eastern Star of the State of Tennessee and jurisdiction. She has been president of the W.C.T.U for many years. She has taught in Ohio, Miss., Tenn., Ala, and Ga.

Lucy Stanton joined the Oberlin church during a great revival, about the close. Everybody had been converted so she had decided that there was no religion for her and that she must be lost. As she stood in her room she could look over into the cemetery and she said she was not praying just at the time at all, but as she looked she saw the tombstones bow; the trees bowed and everything seemed to say, “Praise God,” and the front of her dress was just as wet as if she had poured water on it from tears she had not realized she had shed.

After leaving school and returning to Cleveland, she joined the Second Presbyterian church in which she had been raised, as her mother was a Presbyterian.

When she went South, there being no other churches where she was except Baptist or Methodist, she joined the Methodist church so that they could build and have a place in which to worship.

Mrs. Sessions and family moved to Los Angeles August 17th, 1903, where she has since resided, bringing her letter and connecting herself with the A.M.E church. Her advanced age hindered her from being as active as in former years, but at the time of her death she was president of the Mite Missionary Society, chairman of the program committee of the Progressive Woman’s Club, a member of the City and County Federation and a member of the W.C.T.U.

She arranged all her business affairs before the New Year, stating what she wanted done two weeks ago, being conscious of her serious condition. Her death was quiet and peaceful….

(end of photocopied article)