It is peculiarly fitting that the Medford Historical Society should express its sense of the great loss it has suffered in the death on September 20, 1908, of Emma Frances Gill. Born in Melrose on January 15, 1853, she came with her parents to Medford in June of 1854. Here she grew to womanhood. She attended Medford's schools. She became a member of one of its churches. She joined its societies. She taught in its schools. She has left the impress of her character and the inspiration of her thought and example upon its history. She graduated from the Medford High School with the class of 1871, which contributed many teachers to our schools; and followed up its course by studying for her life-work of teaching at the Boston Normal School. She began her work as a teacher at Waltham in February, 1875, in the school of District Two, the Pond End School, where she remained until in the fall of 1878 she [p. 44] was transferred to the South Grammar School. She left Waltham in the fall of 1879 at the summons of Medford to return and teach here, as the assistant of Mr. Benjamin F. Morrison, at the Swan School. In 1887, on the resignation of Mr. Rufus Sawyer, the grammar grades of the Everett and Swan Schools were consolidated, and Miss Gill went with Mr. Morrison to the Everett School as his assistant there; and when the Washington School was opened in 1890 went thither with the grammar grades. Each of these transfers meant additional work and added responsibility, but her great opportunity did not come until the ninth grade pupils were transferred to the new High School building in 1897 and she was selected to go with them. Here her preeminent ability as a teacher of history was first adequately recognized and turned to account. She remained at the High School until her death, devoting herself chiefly to instruction in history. Descended from John Alden and Richard Warren of the Mayflower; from Capt. John Vinton of Braintree, who served in the Revolution; from Henry Adams, ancestor of presidents and statesmen; from John Sewall, brother of that judge who condemned witches and later had the courage publicly to condemn himself therefor; with I know not how many quarterings of colonial, provincial and Revolutionary ancestry; acquainted from her girlhood with thought and work for Medford's patriots, it was not unnatural she should be interested in the study of history. But she was more. She was enthusiastic over it. She had the ability to arouse the interest of her pupils in it, so that pupils who at first were indifferent became earnest students and grew to love history for its own sake. In 1875 she joined the Mystic Church when the First Trinitarian Congregational and the Mystic Churches became one. She was a charter member of Bunker Hill Chapter, D. A. R., and when Sarah Bradlee Fulton Chapter was organized in Medford transferred her membership [p. 45] to it, though she later withdrew. At one time she was a member of the Medford Women's Club. She was a member of the Medford Teachers Club, of the American History Teachers Club, of the Teachers Annuity Guild and a charter member of our Medford Historical Society. A lover of music, she at one time sang in the choir of the First Trinitarian Congregational Society. These things indicate something of her interests, her activities and her influence. In her home; among her friends; in the church; in societies devoted to the advancement of her profession, of her sex and of her city, commonwealth and nation; in her schools, she was a power for good. She carried with her into all she touched that finest of qualities, a strong and noble character. As we look back upon her life, recall the beauty of her person, the strength of her mind, the tenderness of her heart, the nobility of her nature, we rejoice in the conviction that while she is no longer with us in the flesh, her spirit and influence remain a lasting power for good in any community.—
W. C. W.