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Poughkeepsie Female Institute

PFI image

The Hasbrouck’s two youngest daughters, Louisa and Laura, both received secondary education at the Poughkeepsie Female Collegiate Institute. This was a private institution founded in 1848 by Dr. Charles H.P. McLellan that occupied a three story brick building on the corner of Mill St. and Catherine St. Under Dr. McLellan’s guidance, the school would take root and prosper, apparently doubling in size from 1856 to 1860. McLellan would act as principle until 1862 when he was succeeded by Reverend C.D. Rice. Both principals strove to instill in their students a sense of high moralism and virtue. Furthermore, as was popular at the time, it is known that physical exercise was deemed very important, as is evident by the emphasis on daily walks and use of the school’s gymnasium. Courses offered during Rev. Rice’s time as principal included basics in arithmetic, geography, history, English, and the sciences (botany, chemistry, physiology, astronomy, and geology), as well as mental philosophy and natural theology. Many students, including Louisa and Laura, boarded at the school. In the local press, the boarding rooms were described as “large and airy, neatly furnished and well warmed and ventilated.” The school was briefly as Cook's Collegiate Institute, by 1884 the school was renamed Lyndon Hall School and remained such until its closing in 1909.


Sarah Maria May 4th

From Sarah Maria to Laura and Lousia while they are attending school in Poughkeepsie. Dated Friday evening May 4th (1849).

"My dear sisters - I wish very much that I could just look in on you this evening, and see how you are doing - + what you are about. I hope you are quite settled by this time - + begin to feel yourselves at house - But you did feel a little home sick on Wednesday - when we left you - did you not?"

"Mother is quite well again, and has been out all day planting flower seeds - our seeds are ready the warm weather - And we have put out the oleander too - to see if it will not recruit."

"Father says Ann must be Laura now for she is the youngest so he sends her after his shoes... And Mother sends her on all the errands she has - but I am afraid she will grow obstreperous after a while - and be a little rebellious."

Your affectionate sister, Sarah Maria