Sarah Prentiss

Second Grade Class of the Mendocino Grammar School, 1921. Front row L-R: Delphine Valenti, Katherine Silva, Lebania DeSilva, Marie Christiansen, Ruth Knack, Katie Lawrence, Thelma Barnes, Buster Salvador, Domingo Valador, Laura Nichols
2nd row: John Granskog, Harold Hee, Dolores Silveria, Kenneth Maxwell, Pete Donoho, Louie Fratis, unidentified, James Paoli, Arthur Moilenan, Rose Silva, Sarah Prentiss
3rd row: Jesse Paoli, Janet Nystrom, ? Norberry, Herman Costa, Melburne Martin, unidentified, Mary or Roland Rogers, Haugh Stauer, Carmel Paoli, Flora DeSilva
4th row: Emily August, Iris Martin, Juanita Luis, Mary Paoli, unidentified, Irene Granskog, Alfred Nichols, Minnie Silva, unidentified, unidentified.(Kelley House Collection, Kelley House Photographs)

February 25, 1912 – Sarah Prentiss began teaching the 1st and 2nd grade classes at the Mendocino Grammar School. Miss Prentiss, who never married, was a devoted educator over the course of her 18-year career in Mendocino.

Born in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1870, Sarah came to California with her parents in 1887. Following her graduation from the Los Angeles State teacher’s college in 1891, she taught in Southern California schools. By 1912, she had taught in a number of school districts, including Point Arena and Manchester, before arriving in Mendocino where she lived for the rest of her life.

“A great many Mendocino boys and girls, now grown to manhood and womanhood, owe the basis of their education to this faithful teacher who for many years, until her retirement, presided over the primary department of the Mendocino elementary school, and who by her patience and understanding won their affection and the respect and gratitude of a long line of parents.”

In 1930 Miss Prentiss retired from teaching and became active in church and civic affairs. She loved to write letters and kept in contact with many of her former students and friends through correspondence. In Sarah’s obituary, the Beacon wrote, “She was a very dear woman, understanding and kind, and her former pupils were numbered among her friends to the last.”

Sarah died in June 1949, leaving funds in her will to buy an organ for the Mendocino Presbyterian Church. The Sarah L. Prentiss Memorial Organ was dedicated on December 30, 1949, and served the church for more than 55 years.

New Exhibit! Neighbors Across the Pond – Vintage Photographs & Objects from the Ford & Kelley Family Collections. Exhibit includes glass bottles, dolls, and clay pipes excavated from the historic Kelley Pond. Thursdays through Sundays, 11 am to 3 pm. Located at 45007 Albion Street, Mendocino.