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Muncy Female Seminary noted for former First Lady

By Staff | Mar 14, 2019

BARB BARRETT/The Luminary Now a private residence on the corner of Main and Pepper Streets in Muncy, this was the former location of the Muncy Female Seminary, a boarding school that was chartered in 1840 for the education of young women in the “arts, sciences and useful literature.”

Editors Note: The following story is an excerpt from a series in August, 2018,

written for the Williamsport Sun-Gazette

MUNCY – The Muncy Female Seminary was chartered in 1840 “for the education of Female Youth in arts, sciences, and useful literature.” The school attracted young women from Muncyand boarding students from as far away as Baltimore and New York state.

The Female Seminary, similar to a private high school today, was noted not only for its alumnae – young women from the Wallis, Petrikin, Montgomery, Ellis and Rankin families, among others – but also for its most famous faculty member, Rose Elizabeth Cleveland.

She was the youngest sister of President Grover Ceveland and was hired at the age of 23 to teach Greek and Latin in 1869 at the seminary.

In 1885 she was chosen by her newly elected, but unmarried, brother to serve as his First Lady.

The Seminary opened with about 25 students and grew quickly. At one time there were 200 students, according to Katherine Yurchak’s “Where Wigwams Stood” (1994).

Prior to the opening of the school, young girls in Muncy were educated either at home or at church. The newly established school struggled for several years to attract and keep teachers. It changed locations and affiliations often. The first location was at the corner of Main and High Streets before its final location on the corner of Main and Pepper Streets in Muncy.

During the times when the school was closed, various churches took on the responsibility of educating the young ladies of Muncy.