Folk Figures & Social Reformers Graves
William Anderson “Devil Anse” Hatfield. American Folk Figure. Born in what is today Logan County, West Virginia, he grew up in the hill country along the Tug Fork River and developed a formidable reputation as a marksman and horseman. He and his wife, Levicy, produced nine boys and four girls. He owned considerable property and ran a successful lumbering operation. A Confederate sympathizer after the start of the Civil War, he formed the “Logan Wildcats” guerrilla band after West Virginia became a state and was admitted to the Union in 1863. Some historians believe the famous Hatfield-McCoy feud found its beginning in 1865 when Asa McCoy, brother of the McCoy family patriarch, Randolph McCoy’s brother and Union Army veteran, was found shot to death. Others point to an 1878 complaint filed by McCoy against Floyd Hatfield, Anse Hartfield’s cousin, for stealing his hogs. Popular perception, however, favors the ill-starred romance between Anse’s son, Johnse Hatfield and Roseanna McCoy. William Hatfield refused permission for them to marry, the end result was Rosanna being pregnant and abandoned by her lover and her family. Two years later, Anse Hatfield’s brother Ellison was killed by McCoys, with his response being the killing his brother’s murderers, for which an indictment was issued but no further action taken. Tension between the two families remained high through the decade. On New Year’s Day 1888, Hatfield supporters burned the McCoy’s homestead, killing two adult children, Alifair and Calvin, and seriously injuring matriarch, Sarah. A reprisal raid netted nine Hatfield supporters but Anse Hatfield escaped. The sides were drawn into a pitched battle two weeks later, during which a deputy was killed. In September 1889, the captured Hatfields were tried for the death of Alifair McCoy, eight went to prison, a ninth hanged. The trials effectively ended he active feuding. Anse Hatfield spent the last years of his life quietly on his farm. He was once asked to go on the vaudeville stage, but it came to nothing in the end. He converted to Evangelical Christianity in 1911. He was never wounded, despite his violent life, and succumbed to pneumonia a decade later. His funeral was, at that time, the largest ever held in Logan County.
Randolph “Randall” McCoy. Folk Figure. He was the patriarch of the McCoy clan involved in the infamous American Hatfield-McCoy feud that occurred in eastern Kentucky and western West Virginia for almost 30 years. He was born the 4th of 13 children in the Tug River Valley, Kentucky. He served in the Confederate Army during the early years of the American Civil War and was a prisoner of war from 1863 to 1865. In the late 1870s the Hatfield family patriarch, Devil Anse Hatfield, was involved in a land dispute with Perry Cline, whose siblings had married members of the McCoy family, over a 5,000 acre tract of land that both held title to. Hatfield eventually brought a civil suit against Cline and Hatfield won in what was seen by the McCoys as a Hatfield friendly court. In the fall of 1878 Randolph McCoy brought charges against Floyd Hatfield for stealing one of his hogs. This allegation was a very serious offense at the time, as hogs were extremely valuable to the farming economy. Due to the statements made by Bill Staton, who was related to both families, the case was decided in favor of the Hatfields. The ruling further inflamed the feud, as he viewed the outcome as unfair. Later, brothers Sam and Paris McCoy were accused, tried, and acquitted of the death of Staton when the judge ruled Staton’s death an act of self-defense by the McCoy brothers. The peak of the feuding occurred when three of his sons killed Ellison Hatfield, brother of Devil Anse, on election day in 1882. Devil Anse retaliated for the killing of his brother by killing his Randolph’s sons Tolbert, Pharmer and Randolph Jr. McCoy near present day Matewan, West Virginia. On New Year’s Day 1888 his house was burned to the ground and numerous family members were slain by the Hatfields, including two of Randolph’s children, son Calvin and daughter, Alifair. His wife Sally was badly injured when she attempted to comfort Alifair, suffering several broken ribs and skull fractures. He and his remaining family members were able to escape to the woods and during the ordeal, his children suffered frostbite as they fled unprepared for the cold weather. Shortly after the massacre, Kentucky deputy Frank Phillips and a posse of McCoys chased down Jim Vance and Cap Hatfield, killing Vance. Phillips’ posse rounded up nine Hatfield family members and supporters and incarcerated them. The feuding and warfare brought in political leaders of Kentucky and West Virginia. The Governor of West Virginia, E. Willis Wilson, accused Kentucky of violating the extradition process and appealed the matter to the US Supreme Court. Kentucky Governor Simon Bolivar Buckner sent his Adjutant General to Pike County to investigate the situation. In May 1889 the US Supreme Court decided against West Virginia (Mahon v. Justice) and the nine Hatfields would be tried in Pikeville. Private detectives hunted down many Hatfields, though Devil Anse was never tried nor jailed. In 1890 Ellison Mounts was executed in Kentucky for his part in the McCoy killings and the feud began to wind down with Mounts’ execution. He then moved his family to Pikeville, Kentucky, where operated a ferry and lived out the remainder of his life in bitterness and grieving and died there at the age of 88 after catching fire from a cook stove. On June 14, 2003, the McCoy descendants partnered with Reo Hatfield of Waynesboro, Virginia, to author an official truce between the families. The idea was symbolic, in order to show that Americans could bury their differences and unite in times of crisis. The Hatfield-McCoy feud has been the subject of a number of books and films, most recently the television miniseries “Hatfields & McCoys” (2012).
Betsy Ross. Revolutionary War Figure. Born Elizabeth Griscom in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, she has gained legendary status for her story of her role as a seamstress in the creation of the Flag of the United States, a legend that has no historical records to corroborate. A part of a devout Quaker family, she learned the seamstress and upholstery trade as a young woman, and opened up her own seamstress business, which she successfully conducted through most of her adult life. She married John Ross in 1773, a move that had her expelled from the Quaker Church because Ross was an Anglican. When the Revolutionary War began she wholeheartedly supported the Patriot cause with her seamstress skills by making blankets, tents and cloth cartridges for musket balls. Her husband was a member of the Pennsylvania Militia, and died supposedly in an accident, in 1776. She was commissioned to make flags for the Pennsylvania Navy, and continued to surreptitiously make supplies for Continental troops during the 1777 to 1778 British occupation of Philadelphia, despite the danger of being executed for treason if she was caught. She had married Joseph Ashburn in 1777, however, he was captured by the British Navy and died while being held in captivity in the Old Mill Prison in London, England. The man who brought the news to Betsy Ross about her second husband’s death, John Claypool, had also been imprisoned in London, and eventually became her third husband. After the end of the war and America gained it’s independence from Great Britain, she resided with her family on Arch Street in Philadelphia, and worked as a seamstress until 1827. She lived to the age of eighty-four, died in 1836 and was interred in Philadelphia’s Free Quaker Burial Ground on 5th Street. Twenty years later her remains were removed to Philadelphia’s Mount Moriah Cemetery. The legend of her participation in the creation of the first United States flag began in the 1870s, when her nephew submitted a paper to the Pennsylvania Historical Society detailing the Revolutionary stories he had heard about his aunt. The main story consisted of relating how in May 1776 she was commissioned by Continental Congressmen Robert Morris and George Ross (the uncle of her first husband) and General George Washington to sew the first standardized American flag with thirteen stripes and a blue field with thirteen stars in it, which had been designed by Francis Hopkinson. Betsy Ross’s contribution was to change the stars from having six points to five points (making them easier to cut and sew). This story is doubted by historians in the present day, as there is no contemporary documentation of this event having happened. It was taken as fact during the 1876 United States Centennial celebration, and Betsy Ross was elevated as a legendary female Patriot figure, a status many today believe she deserves regardless of the flag legend. What was believed to be her and her husband’s remains were removed from Mount Moriah Cemetery in 1975 during the United States Bicentennial celebration, and were brought to the courtyard that was created by the house on Arch Street in Philadelphia where it is believed she resided.
Susan B. Anthony. Social Reformer. One of the most famous suffragettes, she traveled, lectured and canvassed the nation for the vote for over sixty years while also advocating the abolition of slavery, women’s rights to their own property and earnings, and the right to organize and belong to women’s labor organizations. She dedicated her life to women’s suffrage while encountering hostile mobs, armed threats, objects were hurled while her image was hung in effigy or dragged through the streets of America. Born in South Adams, Massachusetts, her father, a liberal Quaker, was a cotton manufacturer. She was home schooled until enrolled in a boarding school in Philadelphia and at age fifteen began teaching, a career that would last for fifteen years. After the family moved to Rochester, the Anthony family members were active in the anti-slavery movement. Quakers met at their farm every Sunday, sometimes joined by Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison. Susan Anthony abandoned teaching and began participating in the movement for woman suffrage. Susan along with fellow suffrage activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton founded the American Equal Rights Association while publishing a newspaper ‘The Revolution’ with the masthead, “Men their rights, and nothing more, women, their rights, and nothing less” and began outlining their agenda for reform in print. Upon the resignation of Stanton as President of the National Woman Suffrage Association because of old age, Susan Anthony took up the mantel of leadership. She averaged 100 lectures a year and engaged in eight different State campaigns for a Constitutional amendment enfranchising women, while attending hearings before suffrage committees of practically every Congress until retirement. She suffered from a serious valvular heart problem in the latter years of her life. After attending a banquet in New York in honor of her eighty-sixth birthday, she had a serious attack of neuralgia. Returning home to Rochester, pneumonia developed and then she lapsed into a coma, resulting in her death at the home she shared with her sister on Madison Avenue in Rochester. Her Unitarian funeral was attended by 10,000 mourners. Black activist Hester C. Jeffrey, sharing the platform with the minister of the Unitarian Church, the Mayor of Rochester and the president of the University of Rochester, gave the eulogy for her deceased friend. The Susan B. Anthony House was the home of the legendary American civil rights leader during the most politically active period of her life. It was the site of her famous arrest for voting and the place of her death. The home is located in a Rochester Historic District where a nine-block area of 19th century middle-class houses and buildings are intact and preserved with the Susan Anthony House and Susan Anthony Square the centerpiece. The residence contains the original furniture and thousands of artifacts, documents, photographs and periodicals. All American adult women finally got the vote with the Nineteenth Amendment, also known as the Susan B. Anthony Amendment, in 1920, 13 years after her death. New York set a state wide holiday when it designated February 15th as the day to commemorate her life. In 1979 the United States mint created the Susan B. Anthony dollar in 1979 with the face of a woman who actually lived, memorialized on a United States coin on the obverse. She was the joint author with Elizbathe Cady Stanton, Ida Husted Harper, and Matilda Joslyn Gage of “The History of Woman Suffrage.”
Annie Oakley. Sharpshooter. She was born Phoebe Mosey in Darke County, Ohio. She never attended a regular school and was introduced and taught to shoot by her father in the woods around the farm where she lived. During hard times, she helped support her family with the game she caught. Her career as a sharpshooter started at age 17, when she defeated the noted marksman, Frank E. Butler at a competition in Cincinnati, Ohio. The two eventually married and traveled with the Buffalo Bill Show for 17 years (1885-1902). She assumed the show business name of Anne Oakley. On a trip to Europe, Queen Victoria of England was quite impressed with her abilities, and on one occasion the crown prince of Germany encouraged her to shoot a cigarette from his mouth. Her expertness in marksmanship at the height of her career made her the best known cultural icon in the United States. At 30 paces, she could slice a playing card held edgewise, shoot holes through coins at a similar distance and scramble eggs in midair. She shot ashes out of cigarettes, snuffed candles and shot corks out of bottles. A railroad accident in 1901 partially paralyzed her, but she continued to tour regularly. In 1916, she and Frank made Pinehurst, North Carolina their winter retirement home. At the famous resort known for its golf course, fox hunting, and its trapshooting range, Anne Oakley became a teacher. She taught women how to defend themselves as well as the fine art of trap shooting. Her health began to fail, suffering from pernicious anemia and possibly lead poisoning from all the ammunition she’d handled. In 1922 the couple moved back to Darke County, Ohio where the anemia took her life. When Frank was told, he simply stopped eating and died 18 days later. The couple is buried near the woods where little Annie Mosey first hunted and trapped to sustain her impoverished family.
Frank E. Butler. Western Sharpshooter. Born in Longford, Ireland, he was a marksman in Wild West variety shows and was the husband of sharpshooter Annie Oakley. He moved to the United States at the age of 13 and after a series of odd jobs, he developed shooting skills and toured with variety shows. After meeting Oakley at a shooting competition in Cincinnati, Butler married Oakley on August 23, 1875. Together they developed their shooting act, joined the Sells Brothers Circus in 1884, joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show in 1885 and remained until leaving it in 1901. As Oakley became a solo star attraction, Butler was her manager plus also did some performing until they retired as team in 1902. Butler also worked as a representative of the Union Metallic Cartridge Company and as a salesman for the Remington Arms Company. After the death of Annie on November 3, 1926, he stopped eating which led to his own death at age 74.
Helen Keller. Social Reformer, Civil Rights Activist. After losing her sight and hearing when only 19 months old, Helen Keller would learn to read and write with the help of Anne Sullivan of the Perkins Institute for the Blind; this extraordinary process was later immortalized in William Gibson’s 1959 play “The Miracle Worker.” Keller graduated from Radcliffe College with honors in 1904, wrote several books, and became a ceaseless advocate for a number of causes and organizations, including both pacifist and veterans’ groups, the American Foundation for the Blind, and the International Workers of the World.
Mary Harris “Mother” Jones. Social Reformer. She was born in Ireland, moved to Canada with her family when they fled the Great Famine in the late 1840s, and then when she was 23, she moved to the United States. She became a teacher in Michigan in 1859. She moved to Chicago, and later to Memphis, where in 1861 she married George E. Jones. George and their four children died in 1867 during a yellow fever epidemic. She returned to Chicago, then she lost everything she owned in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. After this she joined the Knights of Labor, then became involved mainly with the United Mine Workers, as an organizer and educator. She was known for organizing the wives and children of striking workers in demonstrations on their behalf. She assumed the persona of “Mother Jones” by claiming to be older than she was, wearing outdated dresses and calling the male workers that she helped as “her boys”. After 1900, she began to fight against child labor. In 1903, she organized child laborers to take part in a march with banners demanding “We want to go to school and not the mines!” She attempted to get newspaper publicity for the bad conditions experienced by child laborers, and she tried to meet with the president to discuss the plight of child laborers, but the president refused to meet with the marchers. During the Paint Creek–Cabin Creek strike of 1912 in West Virginia, she spoke to and organized laborers. She was eventually arrested and tried in a military court, and was sentenced to twenty years in the state penitentiary. After almost three months of confinement, she was released when the Senate began an investigation into the conditions in the local coal mines. Later she helped organize coal miners in Colorado, was arrested and served some time in prison, and was escorted from the state. She attempted to stop striking miners from marching into Mingo County, West Virginia, in late August 1921, by claiming (possibly bluffing) to have a telegram from President Warren Harding offering to work to end the private police in West Virginia if they returned home. She remained a union organizer for the UMW into the 1920s and continued to speak on union affairs almost until she died. An account of her experiences in the labor movement was published in 1925, called The Autobiography of Mother Jones.
John “Johnny Appleseed” Chapman. American Folk Figure. Born John Chapman in Leominster, Massachusetts, his father was a Minuteman who fought at the April 1775 Battle of Concord and later served in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. It is not known exactly when he left New England and started his westward journey. He did not randomly scatter seeds but was a practical nurseryman. The pioneers were moving west and he realized there was a need for supplying seeds and seedlings. The homestead law required each settler to plant fifty apple trees the first year. Apples were a practical food necessity for early settlers. John stayed ahead of the pioneers and started many nurseries throughout the Midwest by planting seeds which he bought from cider mills in Pennsylvania. He owned many tracts of land throughout Ohio and Indiana using this land to plant apple seeds, transplant seedlings and set out orchards. He sold apple seedlings to those who could afford to pay and those without money would provide housing, food or other needs in exchange. He was known as a zealous preacher who followed the teachings of a Swedish scientist and theologian. The sect was known as the Church of the New Jerusalem or Swedenborgians. John shared his religious tracts and his bible with anyone who would listen. He wandered the midwest for over fifty years from western Pennsylvania through northern Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois traveling barefoot with no more belongings than he could carry on his back. During the War of 1812, he traversed northern Ohio alerting settlers of British movements and positions near Detroit while also warning them of possible Indian raids. An article in Harper’s New Monthly Magazine ran an article called “Johnny Appleseed, a Pioneer Hero in 1871. He was officially labeled with his nick name. While caring for one of his orchard in Allen County, Indiana he was stricken with pneumonia and sought help in the cabin of his friend William Worth. The fever took his life at age 70. John was buried along the St Joseph River. Worth became a substitute minister using Chapman’s ever present bible to recite a few passages over his grave. His path through the East and Midwest is today dotted with many monuments to his memory. Leominster, Massachusetts has the greatest claim as the city found his birth certificate in 1930 and have honored their native son in many ways: A elementary school in North Leominster bears his name. The road that passes by his birthplace is named after him where a granite marker rests on the site of the farmhouse where he was born. His bronze bust graces the entrance walk to the public library. Finally an imposing wood statue weighting 800 pounds was carved and set up inside the City Hall. Dexter City, Ohio where his family is buried has a unique monument made of thousands of rocks and stones contributed by people throughout the United States. Urbana College, Urbana, Ohio honors Chapman for his help in securing land when a group of Swedenborgians founded the school. Finally: A few miles north of Ft Wayne, Indiana is a 12-acre memorial gravesite. It is the centerpiece of the vest-pocket site named the “Johnny Appleseed Memorial Park” located on the St. Joseph River. A nearby river dam bears his name. The actual grave has been lost through development and natural recycling. Many of his trees were carried further by pioneers ending up in many western states. People in the midwest today, point to a tree in their yard and proudly announce it as a “Johnny Appleseed” original.
Marie Laveau. American Folk Figure. Known to history and popular lore as a legendary “Voodoo Priestess”, the details of her life have proven to historians as elusive and ambiguous. In the nineteenth century, she was the single most storied figure in the substantial New Orleans, Louisiana “voodoo” milieu. Though her birthdate is unknown, there are reports of a young Laveau leading Voodoo ceremonies in Congo Square (now Louis Armstrong Park) as early as 1830, and it is generally thought that she was born in 1794. Her house on St. Ann Street where she worked as a hairdresser was a popular destination for supplicants of all ethnicities who bought her charms and potions to inspire love and protect from (or cause) harm. Perhaps her most celebrated mystic feat was the alleged rescue of a Frenchman from the gallows early in her career. In some versions of the story, she invoked a great storm that caused the noose to slip from the convict’s neck. In more elaborate tales, she is said to have magically influenced a New Orleans magistrate to set the accused free. The date of Laveau’s death is also a matter of some dispute, with some reports having her performing ceremonies as late as 1890 (although these later appearances are generally thought to have been by her daughter). Some Voodoo adherents believe that Marie Laveau is still alive, but there is a folk consensus that she died in 1881 (as reported in local newspapers) and is interred in an unmarked Greek revival tomb in New Orleans’ Saint Louis Cemetery No. 1. To this day, the tomb is the object of adoration and the site of Voodoo offerings, with many visitors marking their pilgrimage by adorning the tomb with at least one large “X”.
Henry Weston Smith. Folk Figure. During his life time, he was a Civil War soldier, doctor, prospector, and, most of all, he was a preacher for practically all his adult life. He was first married in 1847, but his wife and child both died within a year. He became a Methodist preacher at the age of 23 while still living in Connecticut. In 1859 he married for the second time and had four children. He moved to Massachusetts and joined the states 52nd Infantry during the Civil War. After the war he became a doctor. But he felt a higher calling and in 1876 he relocated to the Black Hills of South Dakota to minister to the miners of the gold rush. He walked beside a wagon train from Cheyenne, Wyoming to become the first preacher on any denomination in the Black Hills. On May 7, 1876, he held the first church services ever in the hills in Custer City, South Dakota, the first town in the hills. He had a congregation of 29 men and five women. After preaching there again the following week, he was once more walking beside a wagon train. This time his destination was Deadwood. The streets of Deadwood became his church and he usually could be found preaching in front of one of the stores. To make ends meet, he did a little prospecting and worked a few odd jobs. Worldly wealth was never an objective for Smith. After church on August 20, 1876, he tacked a note on the door of his cabin that said, “Gone to Crook City to preach, and if God is willing, will be back at three o’clock.” A local resident discovered his murdered body alongside the road to Crook City. He had not been robbed and there was debate about his killer (s). Some thought Indians, some thought thieves in spite of the lack of robbery, and some thought saloon people who were unhappy with his conversion of sinners. His body was returned to Deadwood and a member of his flock performed the service. He was buried in a hillside grave, but later relocated to the Mount Mariah Cemetery. In 1914, a large monument was erected alongside highway 85 near the place he fell. A highway improvement program in 1995 required the monument to be relocated. A new monument was constructed and on August 20th, 119 years to the day of his death, the new Preacher Smith Monument was dedicated. The highlight of the dedication was the reading of the sermon he planned to preach in Crook City on that fateful day. For being in the Black Hills for only a few short months, Preacher Smith had a tremendous impact on the community. Smith was portrayed in the American television series “Deadwood” by Ray McKinnon.
Dr Robert Holbrook “Bob” Smith. Social Reformer. A surgeon and physician, he was the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous. Raised in a very religious home in a community where consumption of alcohol was considered immoral, he had his first taste of alcohol when he was nine years old. As a child, he was forced to attend church services up to five times a week, which caused him to vow that he would never attend church once he was no longer under parental control. He attended Dartmouth University where drinking beer and hard cider were his primary activities. He graduated from Dartmouth in 1902, and then sold hardware for three years. He persuaded his parents to send him to medical school at the University of Michigan. His continued drinking led to his expulsion after his second year. His father enabled a transfer to Rush University where hard liquor replaced beer and his binge drinking escalated. He was given one last chance to graduate only if he did not drink for two more semesters. He finally became a doctor at the age of 31 in 1910. He worked as an intern in a hospital for about two years and was so busy that he did not drink heavily. He married in 1915 and went into private practice in Akron, Ohio. He moderated his drinking while practicing medicine, specializing in colorectal surgery, only drinking after work but taking sedatives to get through the day. Soon he began drinking heavily again and checked himself into more than ten sanitariums and hospitals to try to stop. He thought that Prohibition being passed in 1919 would help as alcohol would not be available, but he got exemptions for medicinal alcohol and continued to drink. In 1933 his wife attended a lecture by Frank Buchman, a member of the Oxford Group founded by Harvey Firestone. The Oxford Group was a religious movement whose members practiced self-improvement by performing self-inventory, admitting wrongs, making amends, using prayer and meditation and carrying the message to others. Attending Oxford Group meetings did not help him recover. Then he met Bill Wilson, a businessman who stayed sober by helping other alcoholics through the Oxford Group. Bill Wilson was in Akron on a business trip and was afraid he would relapse into alcoholism. Someone referred him to Dr. Smith and the two alcoholics were able to talk about their alcoholism from having shared experiences. Using the Oxford Group as a model and adding the element of alcoholics talking to alcoholics the two men founded Alcoholics Anonymous. June 17, 1935, the date that Dr. Smith had his last drink of alcohol is, acknowledged as the founding date of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Leonard Phillip Matlovich, Jr. Social Reformer. A Technical Sergeant in the United States Air Force, he was a proud, gay veteran who challenged the Air Force policy on automatically discharging gay service members as “unfit for military service.” In 1975, a decorated veteran of the Vietnam War with 15 years of service, he openly announced his sexual orientation, and the Air Force promptly discharged him. In 1980, he successfully sued the Air Force for reinstatement, and the court ordered the Air Force to allow him to rejoin the Air Force. However, he settled for a one time payment of $160,000 from the Air Force, and did not retire. The case ruling allowed gay men and women to remain in the military as long as they abstained from any form of sexual activity and kept “in the closet.” Later, he lived in San Francisco, California, and became active in the Gay Rights movement. His court case was made into a TV-Movie “Sergeant Matlovich vs. the US Air Force” and was telecast on August 21, 1978.
Clarissa Harlowe “Clara” Barton. Founder of the American Red Cross (Angel of the Battlefield). Clara Barton was born on Christmas Day on a farm near Oxford, Massachusetts. She was a teacher and a government worker before heading off to minister the wounds of soldiers, often on bloody civil war battlefields. Barton was so close to the front lines at the Battle of Sharpsburg that a bullet passed through her clothes and killed the wounded soldier she was tending. She came into the missing soldiers business when a prisoner of war brought her a list of dead soldiers from the legendary Andersonville Confederate prison camp in Georgia. Nearly 13,000 of 45,000 confined Union soldiers died of disease, filth, starvation and exposure. Thanks to her work, Barton was able to return to Andersonville and mark the graves of thousands of soldiers, She later published a list of their names. Once people realized she had found dead soldiers, she started receiving thousands of letters from mothers and daughters. As head of the missing persons office, Barton became the first woman to run a government bureau, receiving $15,000 in congressional appropriations and working with her own staff. She went to Europe and visited Switzerland. A group of men called on her and told of an organization called the International Red Cross Committee. Each member wore a badge – a red cross on a white background. On the battlefield the men who wore it were always welcome. Clara Barton came back to the United States and began work toward organization of an American Red Cross. The government agreed to permit such an organization. Barton was the first president and served as its head for twenty-two years.
Sara M. Hinson. American Folk Figure. Founder of the holiday “Flag Day”.
John Luther “Casey” Jones. American Folk Figure. He was killed in the wreck of the Illinois Central Train #1 (“The Cannonball Express”) at Vaughan, Mississippi on April 30, 1900 at 3:52 a.m. He stayed with the train to slow it down as much as possible, and was the only one who was killed in the wreck. It is believed that his selfless actions saved his passengers from injury and possible death. He is memorialized to this day in the famous ballad of “Casey Jones” by his friend Wallace Saunders. The spelling of Casey’s “hometown” was Cayce, Kentucky, which is pronounced “Casey.” He himself actually signed his nickname as “Cayce,” but letters from his wife in much later years show her spelling it “Casey.”
Alfred “Alferd” Packer. American Folk Figure. Known as the “The Colorado Cannibal.” His name is often misspelled as “Alferd,” an error that stems from his own illiteracy. His victims were Frank “Butcher” Miller, Israel Swann, James Humphreys, George Noon, and Shannon Wilson Bell. Born in Pennsylvania, he enlisted on April 22, 1862 in the 16th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War, and was mustered out at Fort Ontario, New York on December 29, 1862 suffering from epilepsy. On June 10, 1863, he reenlisted again, in the 8th Iowa Volunteer Cavalry Regiment, and was mustered out again just ten months later in Cleveland, Tennessee, again due to his epilepsy. In 1873, he was in Provo, Utah, looking for gold in the rich Utah hills. In November 1873, he was with a party of 21 that left Provo for Colorado, to attempt to find gold in the Rocky Mountains. In early January 1874, the party met with Cheyenne Chief Ouray at the Indian encampment near Montrose, Colorado. On February 9, 1874, he and five others decide to push on for gold, leaving the others behind in the Indian encampment. Two months later, on April 6, Alfred Packer arrived alone at the Los Pinos Indian Agency near Gunnison, Colorado. A month later, he wrote his confession, stating that Bell killed the other men, and he killed Bell in self defense. Since there was no food, and they had brought inadequate provisions, he lived by eating the dead men. (A second confession, written in March 1883, gives more detail, and a third confession, written on August 7, 1897, is even more detailed. However, each confession contradicts the earlier confession in numerous details as to how the men died, and who killed whom. The only consistent “facts” are that Packer admits to killing Bell after Bell attacks him, and that he ate some of the dead men’s flesh due to starvation hunger). A search party that was dispatched to the site found the bodies as described. Alfred Packer escaped from jail, and went into hiding under the alias “John Schwartze.” In March 1883, a former fellow miner, Frenchy Carbazon found him hiding out in Cheyenne, Wyoming. He was arrested and returned to Colorado, where he was tried and sentenced to death. In 1885 his death sentence was reversed by the Colorado Supreme Court due to a “grandfather’s clause,” and he was retried and sentenced to forty years in prison. In January 1901, Colorado Governor Thomas, convinced by newspaper muckraker Poly Pry, granted Packer conditional parole, and he was freed from prison but not allowed to leave the state of Colorado. Upon release from prison, he moved to Deer Creek, Jefferson County, Colorado, where he lived for the rest of his life, as a vegetarian. He died in Phillipsburg, Colorado. In 1980, the story was made into a movie, “The Legend of Alfred Packer,” and a folk song was written about the incident by Phil Ochs.
Johns Hopkins. Financier, Philanthropist. He was an important investor in the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and used the railroad during the Civil War to transport Union troops to the front. In addition, he was president of Merchant’s Bank. A Quaker philanthropist, upon his death he left 7 million dollars to found many institutions including Johns Hopkins University, Johns Hopkins Press, and Johns Hopkins Hospital.
Mary Elizabeth Garrett. Philanthropist, Women’s Education and Suffrage Pioneer. She helped lay the foundation for the modern American medical education system, and the entrance of young women into it. Raised in a family of privilege (her father was railroad and shipping magnate John Work Garrett), her educational accomplishments were limited, but she was to learn the ways of business and philanthropy as her father’s confidante and secretary. In 1878, Garrett and some like-minded friends founded the “Friday Evening” group (which was to remain active until around 1895) with the vague goal of improving the educational lot of young girls. Her father’s death in 1884 left her and her associates with the means to develop specific projects; in 1885, they founded the Bryn Mawr School for Girls, a college preparatory institution in the Baltimore suburbs, based on the Pennsylvania college of the same name. The school opened in 1890, and Garrett turned her attention to medical education. Johns Hopkins University (on whose board Mr. Garrett had served) was in the process of building a medical school. At the time, men and women were trained in separate institutions; the men’s facilities were, for the most part, of poor quality, little more than trade schools, and those for women fewer, and worse. Johns Hopkins had a problem; the original endowment was not going to be nearly enough. Garrett offered to make up the deficit, but with the stipulations that women would be admitted on the same basis as men, and that all candidates would have to meet certain standards of educational accomplishment. The conditions were accepted, the first modern American medical school opened in 1893, and Garrett took up the cause of Bryn Mawr College. The Pennsylvania institution was in need of money, which she was willing to supply, again with a condition; that her “Friday Evening” friend M. Carey Thomas be made president. The trustees were eager to get Thomas, the bargain was concluded, and Bryn Mawr became a world-class facility. Garrett then set her sights on the increasingly contentious fight for Women’s Suffrage. Poor health was to limit her involvement, though her financial backing continued, and helped insure later success. She lived her final years at Bryn Mawr, essentially retired from public life after 1909, and died of leukemia. Her full story is told in the 2008 “Mary Elizabeth Garrett: Society and Philanthropy in the Gilded Age”, by Kathleen Waters Sander.
Kim Peek. American Folk Figure. He was an American prodigious savant known as a megasavant. He had a photographic or eidetic memory, but also social developmental disabilities, possibly resulting from congenital brain abnormalities. He was the inspiration for the character of ‘Raymond Babbitt,’ played by Dustin Hoffman, in the 1988 movie “Rain Man.” He was not autistic and likely had FG syndrome.
Mattie Eliza Howard Coleman. Missionary, Suffragist. Born in Tennessee, in 1870, she was one of the first African American women to become a physician graduating from Meharry Medical College. Active in religious rights and freedoms, she married R.J. Coleman, a CME minister in the Tennessee Conference in the early 1900s. She organized a women’s bible forum and was the first president of the Women’s Missionary Council, Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, serving 1918 to 1939. She died in 1942. Note: Dr. Coleman’s grave has the dates 1918-1993, this is not her birth and death dates. These dates reflect when the Missionary Council celebrated the 75th Anniversary of Women’s Missionary Council.