Sallie Chapman Gordon Law

Civil War Nurse and Humanatarian Sallie Chapman Gordon Law was the first recorded Confederate nurse in the American Civil War. She was the president of the Southern Mothers’ Association, a group of women from the Second Presbyterian Church in Memphis, Tennessee. She gave of herself without compensation or reimbursement of expenses. The great naval Battle of Memphis, June 6, 1862 Early Years Sallie Chapman Gordon was born August 27, 1805 in Wilkes County, North Carolina. Nothing is known of her early education, but she often exhibited evidence that it was thorough. On June 28, 1825 she married Dr. John Sandiford Law in Eatonton, Georgia, and they made their home in Forsyth, Georgia, where Law practiced medicine until 1834. They had…

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Eleanor Creesy, Navigator

Female Navigator of the World’s Fastest Clipper Ship Eleanor Creesy was the navigator of Flying Cloud, a clipper ship that set the world’s sailing record for the fastest passage between New York and San Francisco in 1851. She and her husband – Josiah Perkins Creesy, skipper – beat their own record two years later, and it was not broken until 1989. Image: Clipper ship Flying Cloud by Currier and Ives Flying Cloud, a Gold Rush era clipper ship, was commanded by Captain Josiah Creesy from 1851-1855. Eleanor Creesy sailed with her husband and served as his navigator throughout his career. Early Years Eleanor Prentiss was born on September 21, 1814, in Marblehead, Massachusetts. Her father was a master mariner, and…

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Civil War Beaufort SC

The U.S. Navy Attacks the South Carolina Coast The Battle of Port Royal on November 7, 1861 was the beginning of the end of the Old South. Beaufort was the first southern city captured by Union forces, remaining in their hands throughout the war. The town had been completely abandoned by its white citizens by the time Federal forces arrived there. Freedmen and their teachers (lower right) Beaufort Public Library was not damaged in the Battle of Port Royal After the battle, the freedmen flocked there, hoping to find an education. Beaufort, South Carolina Beaufort lies 10 miles inland along the Beaufort River which leads to the Port Royal Sound and empties into Atlantic Ocean midway between Charleston and Savannah,…

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Slaves in the White House I

Slaves and Presidents at the White House Construction on the President’s House began in 1792 in Washington, DC, a new capital situated in a sparsely settled region far from a major population center. Eleven U.S. presidents were slaveholders. Seven of those owned slaves while living at the White House: Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, John Tyler, James K. Polk, and Zachary Taylor. Image: Black cook working in the White House kitchen Damp and moldy, the ground floor was a difficult place for the White House staff to work and live. Photograph by Frances Benjamin Slave Quarters at the White House Not only did enslaved men and women work in the White House, but they also lived there;…

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Double-Cross at Ebenezer Creek

Freed Slaves Betrayed by the Union Army On December 9, 1864, USA General Jefferson C. Davis (not to be confused with Confederate President Jefferson Davis) and his men reached Ebenezer Creek some twenty miles north of the city of Savannah, Georgia. Davis was leading his XIV Army Corps toward that city during General William Tecumseh Sherman‘s March to the Sea during the autumn of 1864. Backstory Excerpts from Historynet’s article: Betrayal at Ebenezer Creek: Brigadier General Jefferson C. Davis had few complaints about the able-bodied black men who were supplying the muscle and sweat to keep his Union XIV Corps on the move with Major General William T. Sherman’s 62,000-man army. The black ‘pioneers’ were making the sandy roads passable…

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Frances Fuller Victor

Author of Dime Novels and Oregon History Frances Fuller Victor was a historian and historical novelist, who became the founding mother of all Oregon history. By the time she arrived in the Beaver State, she was already a well-known writer. Acknowledged by the Portland Oregonian as the Mother of Oregon History, Victor has also been described as ‘the first Oregon historian to gain regional and national attention.’ Early Years Frances Auretta Fuller was born in 1826 in Rome, New York. The Fullers relocated to Wooster, Ohio in 1839, where Frances was educated in a girls’ school. Frances and her younger sister Metta started writing and publishing stories and poetry – first in local newspapers like the Cleveland Herald and Sandusky…

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Teresa Kretzer

Sharpsburg Resident During the Battle of Antietam Teresa Kretzer is remembered for hanging a huge American flag over Main Street during the Civil War, much to the chagrin of her Secessionist neighbors. When the Southern army arrived she saved the flag she and her neighbors had made by hiding it in the ash heap behind the family smokehouse. Image: Main Street in Sharpsburg, Maryland in 1862 At the time of the Civil War, Sharpsburg was a rural village with rutted dirt roads; a place where many people kept cows and chickens in their back lots and tended big gardens. In September 1862, fighting from the Battle of Antietam (also known as the Battle of Sharpsburg) spilled into the town’s streets….

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Underground Railroad in Maryland

Underground Railroad in a Border State Along with the earliest legal references to slavery in Maryland in the 17th century, there were attempts to control runaway slaves through legislation. Acts of self-emancipation made slaves “fugitives” according to the laws of the time. The abolitionist movement that began in the 1830s and its Underground Railroad focused the nation’s attention on slavery to a much greater degree than earlier attempts to end the institution. Image: Kunta Kinte – Alex Haley Memorial Annapolis, Maryland Ed Dwight, sculptor The inscription reads: To commemorate the arrival in this harbor of Kunta Kinte, immortalized by Alex Haley in Roots, and all others who came to these shores in bondage and who by their toil, character and…

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Vengeance at Okolona

Cavalry Battle in the Mississippi Backwoods Standing at six feet two inches tall, broad-shouldered, athletic and powerful, General Nathan Bedford Forrest towered over most men of his era. As his personal weapons, Forrest carried a Colt 36 caliber revolver and an 1840 model cavalry saber, which he sharpened to a razor’s edge. Forrest did not send men into battle; he led them. Image: Vengeance at Okolona by John Paul Strain Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest Battle of Okolona, Mississippi February 22, 1864 Backstory In late January 1864, General Ulysses S. Grant sent General William Tecumseh Sherman with 20,000 troops to Meridian, Mississippi, an important railroad center. On February 1, Grant ordered seven thousand cavalry under General William Sooy Smith to…

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Mary Anna Cooke Thompson

Portland’s First Woman Physician An advocate for women’s rights throughout her life, she first broke through the barriers to women in medicine while she was raising a family in Illinois. Later honored as one of Oregon’s pioneer doctors, Mary Anna Cooke Thompson practiced medicine in Oregon for more than forty years. Image: Dr. Mary Anna Cooke Thompson Courtesy Joseph Gaston Portland: Its History and Builders Early Years Mary Anna Cooke was born February 14, 1825 in New York City. Her parents, Horatio and Anna Bennett Cooke, were both from England. The Cooke family moved to Chicago, Illinois when Mary was twelve.