Charlotte Champe Eliot (Stearns)

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Charlotte Champe Eliot (Stearns)'s Geni Profile

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Charlotte Champe Eliot (Stearns)

Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland
Death: September 10, 1929 (85)
Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts
Place of Burial: St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Thomas Stearns, Jr. and Charlotte Stearns
Wife of Henry Ware Eliot, Sr.
Mother of Rev. Christopher Rhodes Eliot; Margaret Dawes Eliot; Charlotte Chauncey Smith; Marian Cushing; Henry Ware Eliot, Jr. and 4 others
Sister of Ellen Farley; William Channing Stearns; Susan Stearns; Frank Stearns; Martha Stearns and 3 others

Managed by: Private User
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About Charlotte Champe Eliot (Stearns)

Charlotte Champe Stearns Eliot, was a school teacher, poet, and social worker. She was the daughter-in-law of William Greenleaf Eliot, a leading minister in St. Louis, Missouri and a founder of Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, mother of T.S. Eliot, a famous poet, editor and literary critic, and spouse of Henry Ware Eliot, who ran the Hydraulic Press Brick Company in St. Louis, Missouri.

Charlotte was born in Baltimore, Maryland. She was born the second daughter of nine children from her parents Charlotte and Thomas Stearns. Her father, Thomas, was a merchant who attempted living in different cities, before he settled down as a merchant partner in the trading firm of Stearns & Bailey in Boston, Massachusetts. Charlotte attended private school and graduated from the advance class[citation needed] of the State Normal School of Framingham, Massachusetts in 1862.[1] She was employed as a teacher at a private school in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Her teaching career led her to Pennsylvania, Milwaukee at Antioch College and then back to Framingham and then to the St. Louis Normal School in St. Louis, Missouri.

Stearns married Henry Ware Eliot (1843 – 1919) on October 27, 1868, in Lexington, Massachusetts. They returned to Eliot's home city of Saint Louis, Missouri where they worked and reared their family. They had five daughters and two sons: Ada (Eliot) Sheffield, born in 1869; Margaret Dawes Eliot, born in 1871; Charlotte (Eliot) Smith, born in 1874; Marian Cushing Eliot, born in 1877; Henry Ware Eliot, Jr., born in 1879; Theodora Sterling Eliot, born in 1885 but died in infancy, and Thomas Stearns Eliot (T.S. Eliot), born in 1888. Charlotte's youngest child inherited his mother's literary skills and became the poet known as T. S. Eliot. In the 1870s when her husband hit bankruptcy, Charlotte taught school at the nearby Mary Institute

Thomas Stearns Eliot (T.S. Eliot) was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1888. The Eliot family, including his mother Charlotte, his father Henry and T.S.'s six other siblings resided at 2635 Locust Street in St. Louis, Missouri. Eliot attended Smith Academy and then furthered his education at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. When T.S. was at Harvard, Charlotte sent him the following letter:

"I hope in your literary work you will receive early the recognition I strove for and failed. I should so have loved a college course, but was obliged to teach before I was nineteen. I graduated with high rank, 'a young lady of unusual brilliancy as a scholar' my old yellow testimonial says, but when I was set to teaching young children, my Trigonometry and Astronomy counted for nought, and I made a dead failure."

Charlotte was a teacher for several years before she was a scholar and a writer of poems. Many of her poems appeared in religious periodicals. A collection of her poems, Easter Songs, was published in 1899. Her dramatic poem, Savonarola, was published in 1926 with the help of her son, T.S. Eliot. She was interested in the dramatization of events from medieval and Renaissance history that reflected the struggles of men who died for their faith. Charlotte's tone in her poetry was that of a dignified passion.

After her years as a teacher, she participated in social reforms including providing a house of detention for juveniles.

She also wrote a biography of her father-in-law, William Greenleaf Eliot, a Unitarian minister and leading citizen of St. Louis titled, William Greenleaf Eliot: Minister, Educator, Philanthropist (1904).

Charlotte left St. Louis and moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts after the death of her husband in 1919. Charlotte died in Cambridge in 1929 at eighty-six of a cerebral thrombosis. After her cremation, her ashes were buried next to her husband's plot in Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis. After Charlotte's death in 1929, Henry Ware Eliot Jr. placed her poems and literary work in the Eliot collection at Harvard University.

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Charlotte Champe Eliot (Stearns)'s Timeline

October 22, 1843
Baltimore, Maryland
January 20, 1856
September 30, 1869
St. Louis, Missouri, United States
St. Louis, Missouri, United States
October 29, 1874
St. Louis, Missouri, United States
July 25, 1877
December 7, 1879
St. Louis, Missouri, United States
July 25, 1885
St. Louis, Missouri, United States
September 26, 1888
St. Louis, Missouri, United States