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Sarah Staley

Gaining the Eternal Victory

Sarah Staley grave siteFor years, Sarah Staley’s unmarked grave rested on a windy hillside in Westview Cemetery overlooking the very place where the Battle of Atlanta was fought. In October 2001, on what would have been her 157th birthday, college alumni and officials placed a marker on her grave.

Sarah A. Staley was one of the founding members of the Toccoa Falls Institute faculty. Sarah StaleyIn 1911 she moved to Georgia at the request of Dr. and Mrs. Forrest. While attending Nyack Institute, Dr. Forrest worked as a houseboy for Miss Staley, who was an elementary school principal in Brooklyn.

After Haddock Inn, which housed Toccoa Falls Institute, burned to the ground on March 7, 1913, Sarah remained firm in her commitment to God’s vision for the school. Sarah Staley in New YorkWhen Dr. Forrest asked her what she thought he should do, she replied, “Of course, Richard, we’ll go on. We can’t stop. The Lord called us to do this work. There’s my house up on the hill. Use it any way you like.” (from Achieving the Impossible with God )

Sarah’s house (Staley Cottage later known as Forrest Cottage), became the new home for Toccoa Falls Institute. Classes were held in her basement and no thought was given to quitting what God had called her and the Forrests to do. Had Sarah advised Dr. Forrest differently, countless individuals would have never been trained to teach and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.

She was one woman—one retired New York schoolteacher—who chose to say no to doubt and discouragement. In doing so, she was used by God to alter the future of many. Often when people face discouragement, they want to give up or seek an easy solution to the problems they face. But when Sarah faced what appeared to be a sure defeat, she trusted God and gained the eternal victory!

Sarah Staley's headstoneIf you would like information on the location of Sarah Staley’s grave site, you can call Westview Cemetery.