Mary Cunningham Logan

Wife of Union General John A. Logan Image: John and Mary Cunningham Logan With children John Alexander Logan and Mary Logan Tucker Early Years Mary Simmerson Cunningham was born August 15, 1838 in Petersburgh, Boone County, Missouri, the daughter of Captain John and Elizabeth La Fontaine Cunningham. Her parents were of Irish-French ancestry. Mary’s maternal grandfather, La Fontaine, owned large tracts of land in Missouri that were farmed by slave labor, and her paternal grandfather was a slave owner in Tennessee. Shortly after her birth, Mary’s parents moved to southern Illinois where her father became registrar of the land office as well as an army officer. John Alexander Logan was born February 9, 1826 in what is now Murphysboro, Illinois….

Read Article

Mary Ann McClintock

Pioneer of the Women’s Rights Movement Mary Ann McClintock was one five women who met for tea in Waterloo, New York, but the conversation soon turned to women’s rights, or rather the lack thereof. The result of this meeting, and another the following day at the McClintock House, was the First Women’s Rights Convention, which was held at Seneca Falls on July 19-20, 1848. Born Mary Ann Wilson in Burlington, New Jersey of Quaker parents, she attended Westtown School in 1814 for one year. She married Thomas McClintock in 1820 and moved with him to 107 South Ninth Street, his store in Philadelphia. They had five children: Elizabeth (1821), Mary Ann (1822), Sarah (1824), Charles (1829) and Julia (1831). They…

Read Article

Harriet Forten Purvis

Abolitionist and Suffragist Harriet Forten Purvis was an African-American abolitionist and suffragist who helped establish the first women’s abolitionist group for blacks and whites, the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society. She fought against segregation and for the right for blacks to vote after the Civil War. Early Years Harriet Davy Forten was born in 1810 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the daughter of wealthy African-American inventor and businessman James Forten and educator and abolitionist Charlotte Vandine Forten. Hers was the most well-known black family in the city, who, according to William Lloyd Garrison, “have few superiors in refinement, in moral worth, in all that makes the human character worthy of admiration and praise.”

Civil War Nurses for the Union I

Nurses Who Served the Union Army Thousands of women served as volunteer nurses during the Civil War. At the beginning of the war, nurses were merely volunteers who showed up at military hospitals. However, Union officials soon saw the need for an organized nursing corps, and they appointed Dorothea Dix Superintendent of Women Nurses for the Union Army in June 1861. Image: Alice Farmer Risley receiving a kiss from a veteran (1936) Alice Farmer Risley Alice Farmer was born in Wilmington, Ohio on November 1, 1847. In fall 1859, the family relocated to New Iberia in the Bayou Teche region of Louisiana, where her father was a basket maker. As Unionists, the Farmers were not well accepted after the Civil…

Read Article

Smith Sisters and Their Cows

Suffragists and Women’s Rights Activists Julia Evelina Smith and Abby Hadassah Smith grew up on a wealthy estate in Glastonbury, Connecticut called Kimberly Farm. In their later years, the sisters refused to pay their exhorbitant property taxes until they were granted the right to vote in town meetings. Several of their cows were seized to pay overdue charges. Image: Kimberly Mansion 1625 Main Street Glastonbury, Connecticut Early Years Abigail Hadassah Smith (1797-1878) and Julia Evelina Smith (1792–1886) were the two youngest of a large family of women born to Hannah Hadassah (Hickok) Smith and Zephaniah Smith, a Congregational minister and lawyer. The sisters spent their entire lives at Kimberly Mansion, the Smith home at 1625 Main Street in Glastonbury, Connecticut.

Civil War Hospitals in Alexandria

Union Military Hospitals in a Southern Town Image: Photograph of Alexandria, Virginia during the Civil War Credit: Library of Congress On May 24, 1861, Union troops crossed the Potomac River and occupied Alexandria, Virginia – from the first days of the Civil War to the last. This occurred just one day after its citizens had voted to have their state join the Confederacy. Alexandria was the first Southern city to be occupied by Northern troops. Inadequate Medical Care When the Union and Confederate armies clashed on the fields near Manassas, Virginia in July 1861, the opposing sides had made few preparations to care for the wounded. When the routed Union Army came running back to Alexandria, no doctors or hospitals…

Read Article

First American Women Painters II

Women Pioneers in the Art of Painting In the nineteenth century, women artists signed their work with a first initial and last name to conceal their gender. They did not make significant progress until the second half of the 19th century, but they gradually became a force on the American art scene, winning prestigious commissions and awards. Image: Rocky River Landscape (1881) By Julie Hart Beers Julie Hart Beers (1835–1913) Julie Hart Beers, a painter in the style of the Hudson River School, was one of very few professional women landscape painters in nineteenth-century America and the only one to achieve fame. Beers took her first art lessons from her two older brothers, James and William, who were already well-known…

Read Article

Martha Thompson Pemberton

Wife of Confederate General John C. Pemberton Martha Thompson was born May 17, 1827 in Norfolk, Virginia. Little is known about her life except through her husband’s activities. She likely moved with John to many posts during his career in the United States Army in the East and the West, especially in the 1850s. John Clifford Pemberton was born August 10, 1814 to Quaker parents in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As a teenager, John decided that he wanted and college education and began preparing for the entrance exam at the University of Pennsylvania. While at UP, Pemberton decided to study engineering at the United States Military Academy at West Point. Using his family’s connection to President Andrew Jackson to secure an appointment.,…

Read Article

Christiana Carteaux Bannister

African American Hairdresser Who Saved Slaves Image: Christiana Carteaux Bannister Painted by her husband, Edward Mitchell Bannister Christiana Carteaux Bannister was an African American abolitionist, philanthropist, and businessperson in New England in the mid-19th century. She met her husband, artist Edward Bannister, at her hair salon in Boston; the two were active in the Boston Underground Railroad helping runaway slaves reach the next station. Early Years She was born Christiana Babcock circa 1820 in North Kingstown, Rhode Island to African American and Narragansett Indian parents. Her African American grandparents most likely lived and died as slaves. Christiana’s parents were probably born after Rhode Island’s gradual emancipation act of 1784 was passed, and so gained complete freedom at the age of…

Read Article

Women’s Mourning Customs in the Civil War

Honoring the Dead in Civil War America Image: Deep mourning clothing Veil on top of bonnet was lowered over face while in public Mourning is the process of grieving the death of a loved one. During the Civil War, Americans observed an elaborate set of rules that governed their behavior following the death of a spouse or relative. After the loss of a husband, the widow was not to leave home without full mourning garb and weeping veil for one year and a day. Mourning Etiquette During the 19th Century, most funerals were held in the home. In preparation for visitation and funeral services, the home of the deceased would show the community that there had been a death in…

Read Article