Frances C. Perce-Stratton
1873 - 1954
Frances Perce-Stratton was a talented singer who toured in the U.S. and Europe at the beginning of her career and then taught voice and directed choirs at Lancaster Junior College, now Atlantic Union College, and Washington Missionary College, now Washington Adventist University, from 1917 to 1925. She ended her career by serving as music director at a Veterans Administration facility in Pennsylvania.
Stratton was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the oldest of eight children born to Sarah M. and Legrand Winfield Perce, a Civil War Union veteran. After marrying and becoming a widow with two children, she moved to South Lancaster, Massachusetts, in order to place her children in the Seventh-day Adventist school located there and teach music and voice culture.
After two years of teaching at Lancaster Junior College, she was invited in 1919 to teach at WMC. The school paper observed at the beginning of her first year that "Her experience as a vocalist in Europe, and her teacher's experience in the New England states, makes her a competent head for the vocal department." She continued in that position for the next six years, conducting the choir and also directing an orchestra at the Review and Herald Publishing House. During that time she frequently sang on campus and at other Adventist venues in the region.
In the late 1930s, she was appointed music and recreation director at the Veterans' Federal Hospital in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, a position she held until 1945, when she retired because of ill health. She returned to Takoma Park, Maryland, where she resided near WMC and her two children, Barbara and Arthur, who were living in the area, until her death, at age 70. Barbara had married Richard Bolling, a congressman from Missouri, and Arthur was an attorney in Washington, D.C.
Sources: 1910, 20 and 30 U.S. census records; Washington Missionary College newspaper and Annual, The Sligonian, 1917 to 1923 issues; obituary in the Columbia Union Visitor, 30 September 1954, 7; Social Security Records; Faculty listing from Hail Columbia, an unpublished history of Washington Missionary College prepared by Theofield G. Weis, 1944-46.