Eliza Chappel School

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Eliza Chappel School Soundex Code C140

2135 W. Foster Avenue

Chicago, Illinois 60625

Eliza Chappell, (Full Name: Eliza Emily Chappell Porter) an American educator, was the first Chicago teacher paid by public funds in the middle 1800s. Mrs. Chappell was born Thursday, November 5, 1807 in Geneseo, New York. She was only sixteen when she began her teaching career and over the course of her life helped establish schools in almost every region of the United States.

Ms. Chappell opened a school for small children in Rochester, New York in 1828. In 1831, she traveled to Michigan and began tutoring at a frontier settlement on Mackinac Island. After a few months she opened a school for mixed-raced Indian children.

Ms. Chappell helped established schools in Chicago in 1833. In 1835, she married Reverend Jeremiah Porter. While in Chicago, she became Director of the U.S. Sanitary Commission (1861-1862), whose main job was to solicit, collect, and distribute food and medical supplies for the Union Army.

Mrs. Porter helped organize hospitals and directed the work of caring of casualties from the Battle of Shiloh. She was also instrumental in recruiting volunteer nurses for hospitals in Savannah, Georgia and Memphis, Tennessee where she established a school for African American children.

This outstanding woman later joined Mother Mary Ann Bickerdyke in Chattanooga, Tennessee to care for soldiers wounded during General William Tecumsah Sherman's march to Atlanta, Georgia. Throughout the Civil War, Mrs. Porter inspected hospitals and continued to open schools in Oklahoma, Wyoming and Texas.