Achsa White Sprague,

 Medium Achsa White Sprague. USA.

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 Medium Achsa White Sprague   U.S.A.

Date of Birth: 11/17/1827 Date of Death: 07/06/1862

In the 1850's Achsa W. Sprague was amongst the best known spiritualists in the USA. She was born on a farm in Vermont in a place called Plymouth Notch.

At a very early age because of her very good academic ability, she was teaching other children when she was only 12. At the age of 20 she was taken very ill with rheumatic fever but carried on through the pain going about her normal work, when it got too much she had to take to her bed and was then bed ridden for six years with swollen joints, after trying all sorts of traditional and not so traditional cures always said it was the Spirit World that aided her recovery to normality. After her recovery Achsa started developing and did Mental Mediumship but was best known for her Trance Speaking and Automatic Writing of poetry and other works.

Whilst in that trance state she was speaking in front of large audiences with different voices of different Spirits. Through her talents she traveled extensively throughout the United States and Canada. Achsa Sprague also on her travels lectured on spiritualism,  from which she got the name of The Preaching Woman.

During her illness then throughout her later life, Achsa wrote a great deal of poetry and prose for a lot of Spiritualist papers of the time, The Green Mountain Sibyl, The Peoples World,  The World's Paper, and The Banner of Light.

This lady was a great advocate for women's rights also visiting prisons of many cities and always urging their reform, trying to bring about better conditions within their walls. She was an abolitionist and campaigned against slavery.

Her health went down hill towards the end and passed in 1861.

Quote from the letters in the archives.

She abandoned the materia medica of the day, experimented with magnetizing processes, with galvanic bands, with hypnotism, and with sensational seances, and came finally to a belief in mental healing, which with not strange physical manifestations had raised her almost instantly from her sick bed and seemed to her "the voice of God." She read widely in the poets and wrote voluminously, especially during the last few years of her life. Many of her compositions were produced by automatic writing -- at the rate of 4,600 lines in seventy-two hours on the first draft of "The Poet" -- in which she believed herself to be under the control of divine and mystic energies. Her poems which display no careful craftsmanship, are spontaneous expressions of spiritual anguish and despair, appeals for economic justice and equality, or exultant affirmations of faith and hope. Only a very small part of what she produced is represented by her published books, "I Still Live, A Poem for the Times" (1862) and "The Poet and Other Poems" (1864). Among her unpublished writings, which include essays, journals, and a play, is an autobiographical poem of 162 pages, which she composed in six days in such a nervous state that spinning-wheel, latches, and roosters were muffled for her peace of mind. In 1861 she became a victim of her old affliction and died a year later at the age of thirty-four.

Researchers who need any more information can find it in the archives of the library of the Vermont Historical Society

The papers of Achsa W. Sprague, were donated to the Vermont Historical Society in 1976 by Francis P. Twinem of Hackensack, New Jersey. The papers had been found in the Sharon, Connecticut, home of Twinem's brother L. Leonard Twinem, who died in 1968. Leonard Twinem had acquired the papers some time prior to 1941, and his collection included Sprague's diary and journal as well as the papers that are in this collection. Excerpts from the diary and journal were published in the September 1941 issue of Vermont History under Twinem's pen name Leonard Twynham. Francis P. Twinem did not know the location of the diary and journal when he donated this collection to the VHS.

This finding was prepared in 1995 as part of a project funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

 

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Dictionary of American Biography", edited by Dumas Malone, Volume XVII, Charles Scribner & Sons, New York, 1935. Sprague, Achsa W. (c. 1828-July 6, 1862) spiritualist, author, was born on a farm at Plymouth Notch, Vt., the sixth child of Charles (d. 1858) and Betsy Sprague (d. 1868). She was a connection of William Sprague, 1830-1915 [q.v.] and of the stepmother of Calvin Coolidge, who describes the family of Achsa Sprague as "very intellectual ... but nervously unbalanced" (letter to the author). At twelve she began teaching in a rural school, but a scrofulous disease of the joints overtook her when she was about twenty, and though for a time she continued her duties in a crippled condition, she later became a bedridden invalid for about six years. In 1854, having been restored to apparently normal health through the agency of "angelic powers," she became a trance medium and later a lecturer on spiritualism, and addressed large audiences throughout the country. she is represented by tradition as having a personality of rare charm; it is plain that she had a wide following. Known as the "preaching woman," she opposed slavery, visited prisons in numerous cities and urged reforms, and condemned what she said was the contemporary belief that "woman must be either a slave or a butterfly." She abandoned the materia medica of the day, experimented with magnetizing processes, with galvanic bands, with hypnotism, and with sensational seances, and came finally to a belief in mental healing, which with not strange physical manifestations had raised her almost instantly from her sick bed and seemed to her "the voice of God." She read widely in the poets and wrote voluminously, especially during the last few years of her life. Many of her compositions were produced by automatic writing -- at the rate of 4,600 lines in seventy-two hours on the first draft of "The Poet" -- in which she believed herself to be under the control of divine and mystic energies. Her poems which display no careful craftsmanship, are spontaneous expressions of spiritual anguish and despair, appeals for economic justice and equality, or exultant affirmations of faith and hope. Only a very small part of what she produced is represented by her published books, "I Still Live, A Poem for the Times" (1862) and "The Poet and Other Poems" (1864). Among her unpublished writings, which include essays, journals, and a play, is an autobiographical poem of 162 pages, which she composed in six days in such a nervous state that spinning-wheel, latches, and roosters were muffled for her peace of mind. In 1861 she became a victim of her old affliction and died a year later at the age of thirty-four. She was buried at Plymouth. [See biog. sketch by M. E. G. in A. W. Sprague, "The Poet and Other Poems" (1864); Adaldine Smith, "Achsa W. Sprague and Mary Clarke's Experiences in the First Ten Spheres of Spirit Life (Oswego, NY, 1862.); O. R. Washburn, in "Nat. Spiritualist", Feb. 1, 1932; W. J. Coates, in "Drift-Wind", Nov. 1927; death notice in Rutland Weekly Herald, July 24, 1862. The chief sources are materials in the possession of the author (clippings from "New England Spiritualist", 1855-57, and other publications; diary, letters, poems, sermons, etc.) some of which are being prepared for publication.)

"Who's Who In American History", page 499. SPRAGUE, Achsa W., spiritualist; b. Plymouth Notch, Vt., circa 1828; d. Charles and Betsy S.; Following sudden recovery of disease of the joints after being bedridden 6 years, attributed restoration of health to divine powers, 1854; trance medium, lectured all over U.S.; devoted reformer, outspoken on condemning slavery; writer large quantity of poetry, many produced while under "automatic control." guided by divine forces; afflicted with old ailment, 1861, survived only a year. Author: I Still Live, a Poem for the Times, 1862; The Poet and Other Poems, 1864, Died July 6, 1862.

"Early Families of Plymouth, Vermont", page 381. Achsa White Sprague was an intellectual woman of wide influence, an author, a militant reformer opposed to slavery, an early advocate of women's rights; she became a Medium and traveled extensively throughout the East giving lectures. She lived across the road from the Plymouth Notch schoolhouse and it is recorded that she preached the sermon at her father's funeral before a large audience.

"
Vermonters", page 109
PLYMOUTH
1828. Acshsa W. Sprague
Preacher, teacher, spiritualist and poet. [4, 5]

 

Achsa W. Sprague

This is photograph by Jen Snoots is of the cemetery where Achsa is buried, it is in Plymouth Notch Cemetery, Plymouth, Windsor County, Vermont, USA.

 

The Achsa Sprague papers, 1840-1862 (bulk 1852-1861), are primarily letters to Sprague during the period of her life when she was most actively touring and lecturing as a Spiritualist. Some of the correspondence is personal providing local news about Ludlow, Plymouth, and Brandon, Vermont. Among family and friends who were regular correspondents are sisters Celia Sprague and Sarah Randall, cousin Ephraim Sprague, and Delia C. Pollard. Other letters are from followers and fellow spiritualists. Repeat correspondents include Benjamin Starbuck of Troy, New York, Cyrus T. Parker, J. H. Crawford, Adolph Eiswald, and Ethan Allen Hitchcock. Many letters invite Sprague to lecture throughout the country. There is mention of Spiritualists' conventions held in Rutland, Vermont, June 1858; Utica, New York, September 1858; Boston, Massachusetts, May 1859; South Royalton, Vermont, January 1860; and Oswego, New York, July 1861. Several letters in 1860 suggest that Spiritualists unite and even write a constitution, and again in June 1862 it is suggested that the mediums organize. There is correspondence about articles Sprague wrote under the pseudonym Bell, for the World's Paper, a Spiritualist newspaper, published by A. C. Estabrook of Sandusky, Vermont. Estabrook published the Green Mountain Sibyl beginning in 1858 and there is correspondence about that publication as well. Primarily a Spiritualist, Sprague also was an advocate of Women's Rights, an abolitionist, and was very aware of the political and economic unrest of the time; these topics are covered in her correspondence. Biographical or historical data : Achsa W. Sprague was born November 17, 1827, in Plymouth Notch, Vermont, one of several children of Charles and Betsy Sprague. She received a district school education and began teaching at age twelve. When she was twenty she began suffering from an unidentified disease which today might be diagnosed as arthritis. She investigated all types of cures, traditional and non-traditional, and when she regained her health in 1854, she credited the Spirits. She became a trance medium and lecturer and traveled throughout the United States and into Canada. She wrote poetry and prose, both during period of illness and health, and was published in The Banner of Light, the World, and the Green Mountain Sibyl. Her health again deteriorated and she died iJuly 6, 1862. Achsa Sprague is buried in Plymouth, Vermont.

 

Books by her

Author: Achsa W. Sprague Publisher: Kessinger Pub ISBN-10: 1432530003 Subject: POETRY ISBN-13: 9781432530006 Format: Paperback

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