Part of the American History & Genealogy Project

Women of the Woman's Relief Corps

 

Mrs. Abbie A. Adams
Mrs. Abbie A. Adams, twenty-third national president of the National Woman's Relief Corps, came to the office full of honors which had been given her in her own department. She was the first national president which the state had ever had, and the organization had been hard at work in it for twenty-two years. Mrs. Adams made an excellent presiding officer, and there was growth along every line while she was in office. Mrs. Adams is the wife of a veteran, and from her patriotic ancestry, some of whom fought in the Revolutionary War, she became a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. She is identified with many philanthropies, and is active in church work. An ideal wife and mother, she has such a fine system that everything goes on smoothly and nothing is neglected. Thoroughly imbued with the spirit of patriotism, she has by every means in her power, fostered patriotic teaching in the public schools. Mrs. Adams is m member of the Andersonville Board. Her home is in Superior, Nebraska.

Florence Barker
First national president of the Woman's Relief Corps. When the Woman's Relief Corps was organized as a national body at Denver in 1883, there was present Mrs. R Florence Barker of Maiden, Massachusetts, who at the time, was president of a large patriotic and benevolent organization of the state, called the Union Board Woman's Relief Corps. This, she with a number of other ladies represented at the Denver meeting. She had long been known for her good works, and had been assiduous in working for the soldiers during the Civil War, and after that, she married Colonel Thomas E. Barker, of the lath New Hampshire Regiment. After a life spent for the good of others, she passed on to her reward, September 11, 1897.

Mrs. Jennie Iowa Berry
Mrs. Jennie Iowa Berry, twenty-seventh national president of the Woman's Relief Corps, came to the executive's chair as one of the younger members of the order, but one who was born among patriotic surroundings, and whose earliest inspirations were those of loyalty to the old flag and our great country for her father was a soldier, and her mother one of the patriots who kept the home embers aglow, while the breadwinner was fighting for his flag. As she grew, the spirit of her patriotic ancestors possessed her, and when womanhood crowned her, she united her fortunes with the organization which was pledged to care for the nation's defenders and to teach the children to emulate their example. Gifted with fluent speech, she was always ready when called upon to speak a word for the flag she loved, and for its defenders.

She had been honored by her own corps and department, and came to the highest office within the gift of the order, fully prepared to carry on the work which had been given her to do. "Advance" seemed to be the watchword, and truly did the order respond to their chieftain's voice. Mrs. Berry and her husband lived in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Mrs. Harriet J. Bodge
Mrs. Harriet J. Bodge, seventeenth national president of the Woman's Relief Corps, came to the office fully prepared for its duties, and up to the mark in every way. From her earliest recollection she had breathed the air of patriot-ism, and she had further testified that she was loyal, by marrying one who^ when his country called, responded at once, "Here!" She is of Puritan and Revolutionary stock, and her family have shown their patriotism by giving members to every war.

Mrs. Bodge's eldest brother served in the Mexican War, and her youngest in the Civil War. Mrs. Bodge, when Miss Woodward, assisted during the war in work through the Sanitary Commission, and she belonged to a society which antedates the Woman's Relief Corps, the Daughters of the Republic. In 1868 she married George R. Bodge who had served in the Twelfth Connecticut Regiment. Mrs. Bodge was born in Charlton, Massachusetts, but for many years she and Mr. Bodge have made their home in Hartford, Connecticut.

Mrs. Mary L. Carr
Mrs. Mary L. Carr, eighteenth national president of the Woman's Relief Corps was born in Maine, but has lived for so many years among the towering rock-ribbed mountains of our Western land, that she seems ''to the manner born" and partakes of their steadfastness, strength and purity. She was a charter member of the Woman's Relief Corps, and her interest in the order has never waned, but time and talents are fully consecrated to its objects. Mrs. Carr comes of loyal stock and marriage to one of the nation's heroes only proves how deep rooted was her love of patriotism. Colonel Byron L. Carr enlisted the day Fort Sumter was fired upon and fought through the war and towards the last, indeed at the last, lost his right arm at Appomattox. Mrs. Carr is the widow of Colonel Carr. She has been a regular attendant at conventions ever since the National Woman's Relief Corps had its birth in Denver. She stands first when it comes to deciding judicial points. As an orator it would be hard to find her equal. Mrs. Carr lives at Longmont, Colorado.

Charity Rusk Craig
Mrs. Charity Rusk Craig, the sixth national president of the Woman's Relief Corps, comes of patriotic stock, and has shown her patriotism by her work while a member of this great patriotic organization. She is a woman of fine presence and is gifted in speech.

For a number of years her home was in Viroqua, Wisconsin, but for some time past she has been living in Asheville, North Carolina.

Sarah R. Fuller
Mrs. Sarah R. Fuller, third national president of the Woman's Relief Corps, was one of those who crossed the continent to help found the organization. During the last year of the Civil War her husband lost his life on Southern soil, and left his wife to raise their little son. Since that time she has been devoted to the work of caring for the veteran and his dependent ones.

The beginning of her service antedates that, however, for early in the war she became a member of the Christian Commission, and early and late, gave her services where they were needed. She is a versatile woman, and has done a great deal with both pen and voice to build up the order she loves so well.

At the meeting in Denver she was chosen national secretary, and at the third convention was elected national president. Her love for the order has not abated, and in her own department she has served in every office. She is life member of the Executive Board of the National Woman's Relief Corps, and is also a member of the Andersonville Park Board. Her home is in Medford, Massachusetts, where she is honored and loved by everyone.

Mrs. Mary C. Gilman
Mrs. Mary C Gilman, twenty-sixth national president of the Woman's Relief Corps, came to the convention which elected her enthusiastically endorsed by the Grand Army of her state, the Woman's Relief Corps of her state and by hundreds in other states. She had served her own department well and faithfully in minor offices, and in the highest within their gift. As a presiding officer she was unequaled. In the home life she was without a peer, and in philanthropic work she was ever ready to do her whole duty. As her husband said of her, she had been his right arm ever since she had pledged her loyalty to him, and she was the moving power of the Woman's Relief Corps when she took upon her the responsibilities attached to the office of executive. Mrs. Gilman is the wife of Commander-in-Chiel John E. Gilman of the Grand Army of the Republic, a veteran who left his right arm, when a mere boy, upon the bloody field of Gettysburg. Their home is in Boston, Massachusetts.

Emma Stark Hampton
Mrs. Emma Stark Hampton, the fifth national president of the Woman's Relief Corps, is one of the women who revised the beautiful ritual of the order. She is a lineal descendant of Israel Stark of Revolutionary fame and her father was also Israel Stark. He was associated with the Christian Commission daring the Civil War. A brother of Mrs. Hampton lost his life while at the head of his regiment in the battle of the Wilderness. Mrs. Hampton rendered valuable assistance during the war, and since that conflict, her zeal has not relaxed in the interest of those who wore the blue. She is a literary woman, and has long represented the Woman's Relief Corps in the National Council of Women of the United States. Her home is in Detroit, Michigan.

Mrs. Belle C. Harris
Mrs. Belle C Harris, twenty-eighth national president of the Woman's Relief Corps, had long been a worker in the order in the Sunflower State, and was well known in the national, when she was elected to fill the highest office within their gift. Nature endowed her with a voice of rare sweetness, and many times at convention, has she been heard in song, to the delight of all, and merited the sobriquet which her friends have bestowed upon her of "The sweet singer of Kansas." But not alone for this is she known. There are other things which appeal to the highest and best, and these she has in a rare degree, firmness, justice, executive ability, charity for all and loyalty to country, flag and friends. Mrs. Harris was born in Pennsylvania, and she married Charles Harris, who was a soldier from Iowa, and past commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, of Kansas.

She is rounding out her silver anniversary as a member of the Woman's Relief Corps, and right nobly has she come up to every requirement in that time. At the Convention in Rochester, New York, over which she will this year preside, she will read a report which will go on record as one of the best which has ever been given, for everywhere in the order there are signs of new life and vigor, and the auxiliary of the Grand Army of the Republic is being crowned with the greatest honor and success, a membership almost 166,000 strong, a full treasury, with no liabilities, and having spent in relief since their organization more than three and a half millions of dollars for the Civil War veterans and their dependent ones. 

Mrs. Agnes Hitt
Mrs. Agnes Hitt, fourteenth national president of the Woman's Relief Corps, was born in Greencastle, Indiana, where her parents had removed from Kentucky several years before the war. They were prominent people, and the best folk of the state were visitors. In the home, one of the oldest friends being War Governor Morton.

Mrs. Hitt's father and her only brother enlisted as soon as the call came for volunteers, and the father left an arm on the field before Richmond as a proof of his patriotism. Two years after the war the daughter was married to Major Wilber F. Hitt, who, when only twenty was assistant adjutant general of a brigade, and then for meritorious conduct on the field of battle, was brevetted captain and major. Mrs. Hitt is well known for her deeds of charity, and her work for patriotic teaching in the public schools. She and her soldier husband live in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Mrs. Calista Robinson Jones
Mrs. Calista Robinson Jones, nineteenth national president of the Woman's Relief Corps was teaching in Chicago when the Civil War broke out. To show her patriotism, she, with two other teachers, sat up all one night to make a flag to throw to the breeze the next day. When the banner was completed they raised it over their school, and so far as is known it was the first flag to be raised over a schoolhouse in Chicago, and perhaps in the state. All through those dark days, she worked with the various societies which had sprung up, and in every way possible showed her loyalty to her country and its defenders. From her entrance into the order which promoted her to its highest office, she worked for all its interests and was faithful in performing all its duties. Mrs. Jones made an excellent presiding officer. Her home is in Bradford, Vermont

Mrs. Kate K Jones
Mrs. Kate E. Jones, twenty-fifth national president of the Woman's Relief Corps, had held a number of offices in the National Organization before she was elected to the highest. While she was national patriotic instructor, she worked so energetically, and to such good purpose, that all her assistants were enthused, and the patriotic work went forward with leaps and bounds. She was particularly interested in the preservation of Andersonville, and while she was national president the convention voted to present the beautiful park which the Woman's Relief Corps had made, to the United States Government, as a gift, free and unencumbered. Mrs. Jones was made chairman of the committee, and with the other members never rested until the transfer was made last year at Atlantic City, Congress previously having accepted the gift. Mrs. Jones is a poet, and writer of prose as well. Her home is in Ilion, New York.

Elizabeth D'arcy Kinne
Mrs. Elizabeth D'Arcy Kinne fourth national president of the Woman's Relief Corps, was reared in Massachusetts, and lived in the Bay State until after her marriage. When the Civil War broke out, Mr. Kinne was living in California, but came east and joined the second Massachusetts cavalry, and while adjutant of that regiment he met, wooed and won Miss D'Arcy. Mr. Kinne served with Sheridan in the Valley of Virginia until the close of the war, then with his wife went to his western home, where they have resided ever since.

Soon after the organization of the Woman's Relief Corps, Mrs. Kinne saw that it was to be a factor for great good, so entered heartily into its work, and organized a corps in her own city. She helped to raise $1,000 with which to procure bedding and other necessities for the State Soldiers' Home. She also helped to found the home for nurses, soldiers' widows, mothers and orphans, at Evergreen near San Jose. Every veteran finds in Mrs. Kinne a warm friend, and no one asks for help in vain at her door. Her home is in San Francisco, California.

Mrs. Sarah J. Martin
Mrs. Sarah J. Martin, fifteenth national president of the Woman's Relief Corps, was born in Wheeling, West Virginia, March 21, 1840. After her education was finished and just before the breaking out of the war, she met and loved George W. Martin, and soon the call to arms came and the boy lover enlisted in the 25th Ohio volunteers, and marched to "the front," with his sweetheart's promise as the beacon to guide him. At the battle of Gettysburg he lost his right arm, but that only bound his sweetheart the closer to him, for she saw that she was needed the more. He offered to release her, but she was faithful and true, and they were married October 24, 1865. They settled in Brookfield, Missouri, and here all her married life was spent. She was always interested in the old soldier and in the principles of patriotism. Nothing was too hard for her to do for her country or its defenders. She passed to her reward April 3, 1900.

Mrs. Mary Sears McHenry
Mrs. Mary Sears McHenry, eighth national president of the Woman's Relief Corps, comes of Revolutionary stock, being a direct descendant of Isaac Sears. Her husband was an orderly sergeant during the Civil War, afterwards settling at Denison, Iowa, where he became a prosperous banker. Mrs. McHenry came to the head of the order fully prepared for the duties, having passed through all the chairs in her own department, she therefore made an exceptionally good presiding officer.

Mrs. Flo Jamison Miller
Mrs. Flo Jamison Miller, sixteenth national president of the Woman's Relief Corps, came to the responsible office, one of the youngest who had ever presided over the National Organization. She was fitted for her duties by several years of service in her department. Zealous to an amazing degree, she saw the needs for a home for soldiers and soldiers' widows and expended every effort in realizing the ambition of the women of the order, and rested not until their efforts were crowned with success. Mrs. Miller was among the first to carry patriotic teaching into the public schools, and failed not to speak and write upon the subject, in season and out of season. She is the efficient corresponding secretary of the National Council of Women of the United States, and thus is in touch with many thousands of patriotic and progressive women of this, the woman's century. Mrs. Miller is the daughter of Colonel W. H. Jamison, of Grant's old regiment, the 21st Illinois. Her home is in Wilmington, Delaware.

Mrs. Sarah C. Mink
Mrs. Sarah C. Mink, eleventh national president of the Woman's Relief Corps, was born in the town of Mayfield, New York, April 7, 1857 and again we record the fact that this woman was of Revolutionary stock, and her patriotism was tested in the time that tried men's souls.

When the Woman's Relief Corps was organized in the state of New York, Mrs. Mink zealously went to work to upbuild the order, and she served as executive in the local organization, and in her department a number of terms. The convention which elected her to the highest office also adopted resolutions advocating the introduction of patriotic teaching in the public schools, and as this was a subject very dear to her heart, she entered into it with all the strength of body and mind, and a grand foundation was laid upon which thousands of patriotic characters have been built. Mrs. Mink was the wife of Major C. E. Mink. She passed away at her home in Watertown, New York, December 3, 1896.

Mrs. Fanny E. Minot
Mrs. Fanny E. Minot, twenty-second national president of the Woman's Relief Corps, is a native of Barnstead, New Hampshire, but when quite young removed with her parents to Concord, where she has since resided. She is descended from John Pickering, who went from Massachusetts to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, as early as 1633, having originally emigrated from England. In 1874 Miss Pickering was married to James Minot, a veteran of the 140th New York Volunteers, and cashier in the Mechanics Bank in Concord. Mrs. Minot is interested in everything which tends to uplift humanity. She is a member of the Concord Woman's Club, a member of Rumford Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, is much interested in literary and educational matters, and has for many years been officially connected with missionary and charitable organizations of the city. Her home is in Concord, New Hampshire.

Hannah R. Cope Plimpton
Mrs. Hannah R. Cope Plimpton, Woman's Relief Corps worker, was born in Hanover, Ohio, June 30 1841. She is in a direct line of descent from Cope, a Quaker who came to America with William Penn in 1662. After their marriage her parents immigrated to the then "Far West" or eastern Ohio, and Miss Cope became one of the teachers in the public schools of Cincinnati. It was during the spring of 1862 after the battle of Shiloh, when the wounded soldiers were sent up the Ohio River to Cincinnati, and the call was made for volunteers to help take care of them that she, with her mother, responded and did whatever was possible to minister to the needs of the sick and afflicted soldiers, providing such things as were needed in the improvised hospital. Many of the convalescent soldiers were taken into Miss Cope's home, until finally the old orphan asylum was secured and fitted up as comfortable as possible and called the Washington Park Military Hospital

After her marriage to Mr. Silas W. Plimpton and removal to Iowa, she took an active part in temperance work serving as treasurer and secretary in various societies. At the institution of John A. Logan Corps, No. 56 in March, 1885, with Mrs. McHenry as its president, Mrs. Plimpton became her secretary. The following year Mrs. McHenry was elected as department president, and Mrs. Plimpton as department secretary. In December, 1889, Mrs. McHenry was elected conductor of the John A. Logan Corps and Mrs. Plimpton was her assistant They both served in that capacity until the national convention held in Boston, in August, 1890, when Mrs. Plimpton was appointed national secretary of the Woman's Relief Corps. And for years she has continued to work for the interests of this patriotic order.

Mrs. Carrie R. Read
Mrs. Carrie R. Read, twenty-fourth national president of the Woman's Relief Corps, was elected to that office from St. Louis, Missouri, where for twenty odd years she had been identified with the work of the order, having from the first given it the preference over all others. Mrs. Read was born in Maryland Her father was a minister and a loyal man, and when the soldiers were passing through Baltimore, did all in his power to help them. Her father's brother, Charles H. Richardson, was adjutant in the 9th Maryland Regiment.

During the St. Louis World's Fair, Mrs. Read was chairman of the Woman's Relief Corps Committee. During her administration the Woman's Relief Corps celebrated their silver anniversary by presenting $6,000 to the Grand Army of the Republic. For several years she had made her home in Washington, D. C.

Sue A. Pike Sanders
Mrs. Sue A. Pike Sanders, ninth national president of the Woman's Relief Corps, is another who has Revolutionary blood in her veins, but she is not so proud of this, as that she is a patriot herself, and had four brothers in the Civil War, two of whom languished in Andersonville for many months. During the war she was a teacher in Bloomington, Illinois and made a flag and raised it over her schoolhouse. She also belonged to the Soldiers' Aid Society of that town, and gave through it valuable aid to the cause. Mrs. Sander's home is in Bloomington, Illinois.

Kate Brownlee Sherwood
Mrs. Kate Brownlee Sherwood, second national president of the Woman's Relief Corps, was one of the organizers, acted as secretary at the first meeting and was elected national senior vice-president at that meeting.

She is an Ohio woman and was one of those who ''waited" during the Civil War, while she also worked with her might, for not only the soldier husband, but for all who had gone at their country's call. Her husband is General Isaac R. Sherwood, a member of the House of Representatives of the Congress of the United States. Mrs. Sherwood is without a peer as an executive officer, is gifted with the silver tongue of oratory, and has also been blessed above many in that hers is the pen of a ready writer. She has exceptional literary ability, and her poems are found in nearly all the state libraries. Every schoolboy and girl knows her patriotic poems. She is an indefatigable worker, and will not rest until the last roll is called. Her home is in Toledo, Ohio.

Mrs. Lodusky J. Taylor
Mrs. Lodusky J. Taylor, twentieth national president of the Woman's Relief Corps, was the first to hold that office from the far Northwest. She came before the convention with all the members of Minnesota, both Woman's Relief Corps and Grand Army of the Republic endorsing her, and when she went out of office had lived up to the expectations of all her co-workers, and redeemed every pledge made at the beginning of the administration. Mrs. Taylor was born in Le Soeur, Minnesota, being the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Patton, who were of New England Puritan stock, and were early pioneers of the North Star State. She has for many years been engaged in promulgating patriotic principles among the children of the schools of her own town and state. Mrs. Taylor lives in Le Soeur, Minnesota.

Mrs. Lizabeth A. Turner
Mrs. Lizabeth A. Turner, thirteenth national president of die Woman's Relief Corps, casting aside the superstition of ages, accepted the nomination for national president upon a Friday, and was accorded an unusual honor, for her election was unanimous.

Great things were expected of this thirteenth president, for she was from the pioneer state in the work, the ''mother of the order" Massachusetts, and the twelve months which she served, justified the faith which had been put in her.

Mrs. Turner's home was in Boston. When she was not twenty she was left a widow, and the Civil War coming on while her heart was yet sore from bereavement, she gave her love and devotion to her country, and entered into the work of caring for the soldiers and their loved ones at home, with the same zeal which characterized the efforts of her after life. Before she went out of office, Andersonville Prison was given to the Woman's Relief Corps, to be cared for and made into a park. Mrs. Turner was unanimously chosen chairman of the Andersonville Board, and served faithfully, making the hard ground to be fruitful, and the desert of the stockade to blossom as the rose. She served as chairman of the board until her death, which occurred at Andersonville, while there in the discharge of her duty, April 27, 1907. She was beloved by every member of the order not only in Massachusetts, but all over the United States, and by the Grand Array as well. A beautiful monument at Andersonville has been erected by the Woman's Relief Corps as a testimonial to her worth and work.

Mrs. Emma R. Wallace
Mrs. Emma R. Wallace, twelfth national president of the Woman's Relief Corps, came to the executive's chair fully equipped for the arduous duties of the office, for she had had many years of experience in her own department where she had filled all the chairs, and had been a wise counselor for years. She was saturated with patriotism, for she knew the hardships of the camp, the field, the hospital, having faced them all with her soldier husband when she went to the front a young wife to share the joys and sorrows of the one who bad laid his life upon the alter of his country. She brought succor to the sick, and comfort to the dying, and her oldest child was born within sound of the guns, at Natchez. She had a fine judicial mind, and was always appealed to if a knotty question arose in any of the deliberations, and was sure to see the way out She suffered an apoplectic stroke last year and after lingering, a patient sufferer, passed away 10 June, 191 1, at her home in Chicago, Illinois.

Margaret Ray Wickins
Mrs. Margaret Ray Wickins, tenth national president of the Woman's Relief Corps, came to the office from her home on the free soil of Kansas filled with enthusiasm, and after many victories won in the upbuilding of the order in her state. While the Civil War was in progress, she gave her time and services whenever there was need, and when hostilities closed, she was as ever, ready and willing to help those who had stood by the flag.

Mrs. Wickins lives in Paris, Illinois.

Mrs. Sarah D. Winans
Mrs. Sarah D. Winans, twenty-first national president of the Woman's Relief Corps, came to her office fully prepared for her duties by years of services in her department, and by work before that, for the veteran.

From the beginning of the Civil War until its close, she had been assiduous in promoting the work of the Sanitary Commission, and in looking after the comfort of the soldier in the hospital, on the field, and in the camp. When the Woman's Relief Corps was organized, she found that her work was only begun, and that the field had widened, but her shoulder was to the wheel and she asked for no discharge.

She made a splendid executive, and when her year was finished found that there was other and more sacred work to do. She was made a member of the Andersonville Prison Park Board, and when the chairmanship was made vacant by the death of Mrs. Turner, what more natural than that she should be asked to fill the vacancy, and right nobly has she fulfilled the trust. Last May 30th, it was her duty and privilege to present a monument and tablet (upon which are memorialized the history of the gift of the park to the Woman's Relief Corps, and their transfer of it to the United States Government) to Mrs. Belle C. Harris, national president of the Woman's Relief Corps, who in turn presented it to a representative of the Government, Captain Bryant It stands within the stockade at Andersonville. Mrs. Winans is the daughter of a minister, and the wife of a soldier who carries the marks of battle upon his person. Their home is in Toledo, Ohio.

Annie Wittenmeyer
Mrs. Annie Wittenmeyer, seventh national president of the Woman's Relief Corps, went out as a young woman, in charge of a nurse corps, under orders from Governor Curtin of Pennsylvania, and her name is lovingly mentioned, and her presence fondly remembered by thousands of old soldiers who came under her kindly ministrations in the dark days of the war.

She was not only all through the war, but many times was actually "under the guns." If one thing more than another established her fame, it is that she was the first to think of establishing diet kitchens, and hundreds of soldiers are alive today, because of the clean, nourishing food which was provided them under her direction.

It was through her influence that hundreds of army nurses have been pensioned in their old age. She is also well known as a poet, and "I have entered the valley of blessing so sweet," is as well known, as her poem telling of the miraculous breaking forth of the spring at Andersonville during the Civil War when "The prisoner's cry rang up to Heaven; God heard and with His thunder cleft the earth, and poured His sweetest water gushing there."

Mrs. Wittenmyer died a few years ago at her home in Saratoga, Pennsylvania.  

Women of America

Source: The Part Taken by Women in American History, By Mrs. John A. Logan, Published by The Perry-Nalle Publishing Company, Wilmington, Delaware, 1912.

 

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