Maria Dickinson (Sabin) Longley

Maria D. S. Longley, courtesy of the Stone House Museum, Belchertown

Maria Dickinson Sabin was born on 24 August 1840 in Belchertown, Massachusetts, the eldest daughter in the farm family of Lyman and Lucy (Colton) Sabin.  She graduated from Mt. Holyoke Seminary in 1862 and began teaching at Harrisburg Female Seminary in Pennsylvania. In 1871, she returned to Belchertown and became the second wife of Joshua G. Longley, a merchant and gentleman. To them was born one daughter, Marion Sabin Longley.  Joshua Longley died in 1875, leaving several children from his first marriage for Maria to raise.

She returned to teaching that year, taking a position at the Metzger Institute in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, as a Latin and literature instructor.  She was at the girls’ school for nine years, eventually becoming principal, but having to resign to care for her ailing father.  During these years, she still spent a great deal of time in Belchertown.

Wing C. Tong, courtesy of the Stone House Museum, Belchertown, MA

She never was far from teaching, however.  In 1878, she taught for ten weeks in the Belchertown public schools.  She also taught in a private school in Belchertown.  She was a member of the Belchertown school committee for many years. And in 1879, she hosted Wing Chang Chun Tong, a student in the Chinese Educational Mission.  When Wing Tong was recalled to China at the conclusion of the project, he inscribed a photograph of himself, “To my teacher, Mrs. Longley, from her good wisher and pupil, Wing C. Tong, Hartford, Ct., U.S.A., Aug. 8th, ’81”

Maria D. (Sabin) Longley, courtesy of the Stone House Museum, Belchertown, MA

Maria D. S. Longley was a founding member of the Belchertown Historical Association and a trustee of the Clapp Memorial Library.  She was an active member of the Belchertown Congregational Church and was the oldest congregant of that church, before she moved away.  For that last few years of her life, she lived in Downingtown, Pennsylvania with her stepdaughter and spent summers with her stepson in Poughkeepsie, NY, where her death occurred.

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2 Responses to “Maria Dickinson (Sabin) Longley”

  1. ed rhoads Says:

    One correction and one question:

    The Chinese student’s name was Wing Chun Tong, not Wing Chang Tong.

    What is the source for the date (1879) that Mrs. Longley “hosted” Wing C. Tong?

    • camcca Says:

      Hi, Ed. The source for that was a newspaper clipping from the Springfield Republican, 10 April 1879 that indicates that Wing Tong was already studying with Maria Longley at that time.

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