Background on Life and Death of Lucy Sibley McGlauflin


Of mournful yet preciously sacred interest is everything relating to Mrs. McGlauflin. Following is a brief sketch of her life, taken from the paper published at her childhood’s home, Cuba, N.Y.: —

“Mrs. W. H. McGlauflin, better known to her earlier friends as Miss Lucy Culver Sibley, died at her home in Atlanta, Ga., Sept. 19, after a brief illness. Funeral services were held in Atlanta Sept 21, and at the Universalist church in this village Friday, Sept. 24, the Rev. Mr. Fisher of Canton officiating, assisted by Rev. M. Alvord of Friendship.

Mrs. McGlauflin was born in Cuba, N.Y., Nov. 23, 1857, where her mother, Mrs. Freeman Sibley, and her brothers, Frank B. and Fred L. Sibley, are living. Most of her early life was spent at the old homestead, attending the public schools of the town until 1878, when she entered Cornell University, remaining two years, then teaching a year, going back there for a third year, and afterwards teaching again. She was ever a thorough, earnest student and a deep thinker; her mental capabilities far exceeding her physical strength.

Sept. 28, 1887, she was united in marriage to Rev. W. H. McGlauflin. They went directly to Rochester, Minn., when, after a most successful and enjoyable pastorate of four years, they moved south, and in the year 1891 she engaged with her husband in church extension work at Harriman, Tenn. The winter of 1892 she spent at Emerson College of Oratory, Boston, Mass., where her exceptionally fine abilities were perfected to that extent she charmed all by her grace and marvelous expression. Returning to Harriman, she taught physical culture and elocution in Harriman University. Her inability to receive all applicants and the constant demand for recitals attesting to her popularity both as a teacher and an artist. The beautiful new church, of their faith, stands as a memorial of Mr. and Mrs. McGlauflin’s successful work in Harriman.

In May, 1896, a new field of labor was entered upon at Atlanta, Ga. Here Mrs. McGlauflin taught Art of Expression in Miss Hama’s private school up to the time of her illness.

She was an honored and beloved worker in the National Young People’s Christian Union, before which body at its annual Conventions her fine addresses and inspiring presence have been a great factor in the onward movement of Christianity. But in the new and wider life she still clung with rare tenderness to her early associations and the friends and scenes of her girlhood.

To those most near her, death has brought an almost inconsolable sorrow and her large circle of friends will realize their loss more fully as the years pass and the old-time reunions do not bring her beloved presence among them, yet her memory will be a silent influence ever increasing until who can say what the harvest of this good woman’s sowing shall be.

It has been well said that ‘everybody loved her.’ The reason for this was both because of what she was in person and character, and because of what she did.

The hundreds of children she has influenced through her phenomenally successful primary Sunday school department work, the W.C.T.U., and the Chautauqua assemblies which she aided by her personal counsels and public recitals, the poor, the sick, and the disheartened, who were never forgotten by this woman, but received visits, flowers, and cheering letters that made life brighter —to all these she will remain a persistent force that will continue to mould and fashion Christian character.”

An Atlanta friend writes as follows : —

“On Tuesday afternoon, Sept. 21, the Atlanta friends gathered at the home of their pastor, Rev. W. H. McGlauflin, to express their sympathy for him in his great bereavement—the death of his beloved wife, Lucy Sibley McGlauflin.

The services were conducted by Rev. W. S. Vail of the Unitarian church, who spoke most tenderly of the noble character and gentle womanliness of her whose spirit had gone before.

At the close of Mr. Vail’s remarks, Rev. G. B. Stowall of the Baptist church arose, and, in earnest and heartfelt words, expressed his sympathy with the husband and the mother, and his deep appreciation of the help and inspiration that Mrs. McGlauflin had been to him. Mr. Stowall will soon join our church here, and his words were most fitting, witnessing the fact that, though so modest and unassuming, she was ever busy in the Master’s vineyard. The choir sang feelingly several of her favorite hymns. The choicest of flowers filled the house, and their sweet fragrance seemed to remind us that they, too, mourned for her who in life was wont to cherish even the tiniest blossoms. In the evening Dr. McGlauflin and Mrs. Sibley, Mrs. McGlauflin’s mother, started for Cuba, N.Y., Mrs. McGlauflin’s girlhood home, where they took her body for its final resting place and where funeral services were held.

We shall miss her more and more as the days pass. In the Y.P.C.U. meetings we shall miss her words of cheer and encouragement, ever urging us on to better and nobler endeavors. In the Sunday school the little children will deeply mourn, for she was as a wise and loving mother to them.

But we must not falter. The influence of her life and precept will go on in the faithful efforts which we, her fellow-workers, will put forth through the coming years.”

We quote from a letter from a friend in Rochester, Minn., where Mr. and Mrs. McGlauflin endeared themselves to our Union and church, and from which place our young people called them to be our Southern Missionaries :

“There were services and decorations at Grace Church last Sunday in memory of Mrs. McGlauflin, our former pastor’s wife. Roses and smilax were gracefully draped on the pew she used to occupy, and beautiful roses adorned the communion table. At the Young People’s service many spoke of her beautiful life and its effect for good only on all with whom she came in contact. None knew her but to love her, and, while she has passed from our earthly view, her life and memory will ever remain an abiding blessing, and she still lives ii> the hearts of all who knew her. Many words of sympathy were spoken for Mr. McGlauflin at the loss of such a true and loving wife and earnest helpmate.

What a heavy blow her death is to us all; but if we only remember how much she loved us and our movement, it may be an inspiration for better and harder work and a desire to live more nearly her life which was most certainly Christlike.”

We quote a few lines from a personal letter from Dr. McGlauflin:

“Mrs. McGlauflin was in usual health up to the latter part of August, when symptoms of a serious nature developed. A council of three of our best physicians decided that an operation was the only chance of recovery. This was performed on Saturday, Sept. 18, and seemed to be successful, and all indications were favorable for eight or nine hours after, when nervous exhaustion followed, and she sank peacefully to the final rest at 4 o’clock Sunday afternoon. . . . Her last letter home written before her mother came to her contained, among other beautiful words, these: ‘Should such a thing happen that I should not rally, death seems not unpleasant. I fear it not at all and, should it come, I feel quite ready for it, and peaceful and happy concerning it.’ Conscious almost to the last moment, she had a pleasant word for all, a smile, a hand pressure, and so we parted.

A funeral service was held at Atlanta, . . . then the sad home-coming and funeral at Cuba, N.Y., on Friday, Sept. 24, with Revs. L. B. Fisher and F. M. Alvord to speak the heart-word of the hour. The service was in the Universalist church, where, ten years ago, Sept 28, we were married. These same clergymen officiated on that happy occasion, and now they came together in the same place when the shadows gathered after ten years of 8 on shine.

The floral tributes were abundant from individuals and many organizations, the one from the National Y.P.C.U. being very fitting and expressive —a pillow of roses with harp at one corner and raised above it a cross with our letters, N.Y.P.C.U, —cross and harp also of roses. So we laid the body in the family lot, under the trees, amid scenes familiar to her youth, and covered with the flowers she loved.”

Source: Onward found in Google Book, Vol. IV, No. 37, October 15, 1897, Page: 146

Also see Onward article announcing her death.