Eliza Wheaton Strong passes away
Elizabeth Frances Wheaton, the oldest surviving child of Judge Laban and Fanny Morey Wheaton, was born on April 15, 1795. Judge Wheaton doted on his only daughter, and was pleased by her marriage at the age of 29 to Dr. Woodbridge Strong, a prosperous Boston citizen. Judge Wheaton purchased a property for the young couple on Winter Street in Boston. Before he could turn the property over to the newlyweds, Eliza became ill. Laban and Fanny Wheaton moved into the property to care for Eliza before she passed away on March 26, 1834.
Eliza Strong’s death proved to be a catalyst for the founding of the Seminary. Judge Wheaton had initially proposed a stone monument to honor and commemorate his daughter’s life. Eliza Wheaton, who had long sought to establish some sort of educational institution for women, proposed a living monument to Eliza’s values. The Seminary was founded a few short weeks later, with courses beginning the following year in April, 1835.
Woodbridge Strong later remarried, and passed away in 1861. The Winter Street property remained in the Wheaton family until Eliza Wheaton’s death in 1905, at which point it passed to the Seminary. Under President J. Edgar Park, the property was sold and the proceeds formed the initial endowment of Wheaton College.