In 1847, two years before Minnesota became a territory, Harriet Bishop traveled from Vermont to St. Paul, the small but growing city in the American West. She came as a part of a program led by educational reformer Catharine Beecher to send women teachers to help educate and civilize frontier children. Bishop was the first of her class to volunteer to go West. She came both to educate the children of St. Paul and to exert her moral influence on the rough frontier town. Convinced that women were more capable than men of teaching morality, Bishop became active in many moral issues such as temperance, educational reform, and women's suffrage. She is credited with starting the first public school in St. Paul and the first Sunday school, which led to the first Baptist church in the area.
MNHS Reference Staff