With the tornadoes carving a path of destruction in the Untied States and with the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War, only one female deserve to be remembered on Female Friday: Clara Barton.
On Christmas Day in 1821 in Oxford, Massachusetts, Clarissa Harlowe Barton was born. Clara as she became know was one of five children. At 11, she received her first patient, her brother David. For three years she cared for him and that started her life in nursing.
Almost three decades later, her nursing skills helped the men fighting against their brothers in war. Nine days after the start of the Civil War, Clara tended the soldiers quartered in the US Senate chamber in Washington. She was dedicated to these injured men so much so that after the first Battle of Bull Run, she established a main agency to obtain and distribute supplies. Even that wasn’t good enough for her. She was then given a pass to ride in army ambulances to provide comfort and nurse the injured back to health.
With the end of the war, in 1865, President Lincoln placed her in charge of the search for missing union men. A daunting task but one she gave her all to. As luck would have it, a young soldier named Dorence Atwater came to her. He had a list of 13,000 deceased Union men. Atwater had carried this precious list through his time in the Andersonville prison. The list became known as The Atwater List as Clara Barton named it in her official reports. Both Atwater and Burton sent 42 headboard carvers to Andersonville and became known as the Angels of Andersonville, which was her second nickname. The first was The Angel of the Battlefield.
She became a celebrity in her time with her lectures seen by the populace, meeting with Susan B. Anthony on Women’s rights and as well as Fredrick Douglas about Black’s rights. In 1869, she learned about the Red Cross and Henry Dumant’s Book, A Memory of Solferino, during her trip to Geneva.
On May 21, 1881 in Dansville, New York, Clara became the president and founder of the American branch of the Red Cross or the American Red Cross. To continue helping people in need, she sailed to Istanbul and opened the first American International Red Cross. Her works continued in Armenia as well as hospitals in Cuba. Needing funds to continue her works, she teamed up the New York World Newspaper to accept contributions for relief efforts. Nowadays, we text in our donations. Her last field operation was the relief effort for the victims of the Galveston Hurricane, the deadliest in US history in September 1900. She resigned four years later at age of 83.
On April 12, 1912 at the age of 90, she died in Glen Echo, Maryland, which is also the location of the Clara Barton National Historic Site.
The Red Cross still serves this nation in every tragedy we have suffered. And it’s one of the greatest services this nation has. Not to preach but if you can give $1 or 5, or whatever you can, please do and help people get back to their normal lives. And if you did as an American, I thank you.