Lucy Nickolson Lindsey

Of all the spunky ladies I love to write about, Lucy Nickolson Lindsey of Missouri was one of the spunkiest. She was difficult to research. I could find nothing about her birth and death, but I did find lots of information about one incident in her life. And I just have to tell you about it. During the Civil War, Missouri was a border state. Yankees and Rebels commingled all over the state, and it was difficult to tell friend from foe. Missouri was under martial law, and the Provost Marshals ruled absolutely. All legal processes and civil rights we think of as normal today no longer existed. In August 1861, Confederate General Sterling Price occupied Springfield, Missouri. There existed…

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Lottie and Ginnie Moon: Confederate Spies

Sisters Who Spied for the Confederacy Image: Lottie and Ginnie Moon Born Charlotte and Virginia, the Moon sisters were from Virginia, the daughters of a doctor. In the 1830s, the family moved to Oxford, Ohio, in the southwestern corner of the state. One of Lottie’s suitors was a young man from nearby Indiana named Ambrose Burnside, and sources say that she jilted him at the altar. She finally settled down with Jim Clark, who soon became a judge. After Dr. Moon’s death, Mrs. Moon enrolled Ginnie in the Oxford Female College and moved to Memphis. One of the teachers criticized Ginnie for her Confederate leanings. She dropped out of school and went to live with Lottie and Jim, who were…

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Elizabeth Van Lew

Elizabeth Van Lew

Union Spy in the Confederate Capital Elizabeth Van Lew, a well-to-do resident of Richmond, Virginia, recruited and operated an extensive network of spies who gathered intelligence for the Union in the shadow of the Confederate White House. Van Lew was also an Angel of Mercy for the Union soldiers who were being held at Libby Prison near her home. Her gifts of food and clothing meant the difference between life and death for many inmates there. Early Years Elizabeth Van Lew was born October 25, 1818 in Richmond, Virginia, the eldest daughter of Eliza Baker Van Lew and John Van Lew, a prominent Virginia businessman who owned a prosperous hardware business and several slaves. Elizabeth attended a Quaker school in…

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Mary Elizabeth Bowser

African American Spy During the Civil War Mary Elizabeth Bowser was a freed slave who worked with Elizabeth Van Lew as a Union spy in Richmond, Virginia during the Civil War. Van Lew sent Bowser to the Quaker School for Negroes in Philadelphia in the late 1850s. After graduating, she returned to Richmond, where Early Years Mary Elizabeth Bowser was born a slave on the plantation of John Van Lew, a wealthy hardware merchant in Richmond, Virginia. The exact time of her birth is uncertain, but believed to be about 1840. After Mr. Van Lew died in 1851, his daughter, Elizabeth, a staunch abolitionist, freed all of their slaves. Mary Elizabeth remained in the Van Lew household after she was…

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