Laura Haviland

Statue of Laura Haviland in Adrian Michigan  ( has recently been put into storage since City Hall was removed, a future site for her statue has not yet been determined )
Located in front of Adrian City Hall, at the intersection of M-52 and Church Streets.

This statue was dedicated June 24, 1909.

On the front, engraved in the marble: LAURA SMITH HAVILAND. On a bronze plate below her name is inscribed:

Erected By The
Adrian Woman’s Christian
Temperance Union
And The
Haviland Memorial

I was thirsty and ye gave me drink.
Matthew IIV 35

On the right side, engraved in the marble: 1808. On a bronze plate below the date of her birth is inscribed:

A Tribute to a Life Consecrated
To the Betterment of Humanity.
In 1839 She Established The
Raisin Institute of Learning.
Fearlessly She Combated
Slavery With a Firm Reliance On
Divine Protection, Devoting Time And
Means to Assist Those Escaping
From Bondage.

On the left side, engraved in the marble: 1898. On a bronze plate below the date of her death is inscribed:

During the Civil War She Nursed
The Sick And Wounded in Southern
Hospitals And on Battlefields.
Her Memory Is Revered By Our
Country’s Defenders.
She Founded the State Public
School for Dependent Children
At Coldwater. The Industrial
Home for Girls at Adrian Owes
Much to Her Efforts.

In 1997, in front of Laura’s statue is a wooden marker that reads:

Historic Women of Michigan
150 Years 1837-1987
Sesquicentennial Marker
Dedicated in Honor of The
Contributions of Michigan
Women to this State’s
Progress 1837-1987.

Placed by the Michigan Women’s Studies
Association and the Directors of the
Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame.

The marker continues:

Laura Smith Haviland

A woman of quiet and gentle persuasion, Laura Haviland was a pioneer social activist who devoted her life to others. In 1837 she cofounded with her husband, Charles,
the Raisin Institute, one of the first schools in the country to admit black students, and she organized one of the first stations on the underground railroad in Michigan.
As Superintendent and Stationmaster on the underground railroad, Laura Haviland aided between forty and one hundred thousand slaves who used this route
to freedom. After the Civil War, Laura Haviland became an officer in the Freedman’s Aid Society, and assisted in the relocation and adjustment of former slaves
in Kansas. She also worked for the temperance movement and helped to establish state schools for dependent children in Coldwater and Adrian.

Bolder Marking the site of the Raisin Institute in which she and her husband founded.  ( read below )

Laura Smith Haviland (December 20, 1808- April 20, 1898) was an American abolitionist, suffragette,  and social reformer. She was an important figure in the history of the Underground Railroad. 

During her life, Laura Haviland not only combated slavery and worked to improve the living conditions of Freedmen, she was also actively involved in other social causes, advocating for women's suffrage, and helping to organize the Women' Christian Temperance Union in Michigan.
In 1837, Haviland and her husband founded a "manual labor school…designed for indigent children," which was later known as the Raisin Institute. Haviland instructed the girls in household chores, while her husband and one of her brothers, Harvey Smith, taught the boys to perform farm work.   At the Havilands' insistence, the school was open to all children, “regardless of race, creed, or sex.” It was the first racially integrated school in Michigan
During the Civil War, Laura toured many refugee camps and hospitals, even venturing onto the frontlines, to distribute supplies to displaced citizens, freed slaves, and soldiers

Laura Haviland died on April 20, 1898 in Grand Rapids, Michigan,  at the home of her brother, Samuel Smith.  She is buried next to her husband in the Raisin Valley Cemetery in Adrian, Michigan.

Symbolically, at Haviland’s funeral, hymns were sung by a choir of white and African American singers, and then her casket was carried to the grave by a group white and African American pall-bearers.