Nurses run in my family. My 2nd great-grandfather Aaron Webster was a nurse during America’s Civil War. My father’s sister, Anna (Webster) Watkins was a nurse, as was my sister, Kathi Webster. Close and dear first cousins also followed that selfless profession. None of them died in war time.
Many of the American nurses of World War I worked under the auspices of the American Red Cross, while still others were considered members of the U.S. army. They did not hold rank, nor did they receive any military benefits when the war ended.
They put themselves in the direct line of both danger from the bombs and poison gas, but also cared for highly contagious military patients. Their sacrifice cannot be stressed enough, and yet they received little or no recognition. According to a newspaper article in a Lebanon PA edition of January 1919, over 200 WWI nurses died from influenza, that they contracted from caring for their soldier patients.
National Nurses Week is celebrated this year from May 6-12 2017. To honor nurses everywhere, one must start with those who lost their lives practicing their profession. The following newspaper article, in the Asbury Park Evening Press of Friday, November 10, 1922, mentions by name those nurses who died during World War I. PLEASE NOTE: This list is not complete. It is a partial list based on the information at hand by the author of the newspaper article.
MEMORIAL LIST SHOWS 161 “GOLD STAR WOMEN” GAVE LIVES IN WORLD WAR. “CHICAGO, Nov. 10 (AP)–One hundred and sixty-one names of “gold star women”–American girls who gave their lives in the World war–are found on the list made public today by the Women’s Overseas Service league, compiled as a feature to Armistice day. Most of them rest under French soil, some in far-off Siberia, Armenia, China and Manila, and others in England.” [Editor’s note: This list is now more than 161 as I have added names from other official lists].
Plans for a perpetual testimonial to the former service women of the American Expeditionary Forces were announced in connection with the list, which will be presented at the league’s convention here in June, next year, Chicago headquarters of the league said in the announcement.
“There is a handsome bronze tablet in the army and navy building in Washington, memorializing the mules and horses who died in the war, but nowhere in Washington is there found a record of the women who died–except army nurses–until we compiled it,” declared Miss Helen C. Courtenay, originator of the memorial movement.
Jane A. Delano, beloved head of the Red Cross nursing service, who died at Savenay, April 15, 1919; Marion Crandell, Y.M.C.A. canteener killed by a German shell at Chalons-sur-Marne, March 26, 1917; Winona C. Martin, killed in a Paris hospital by a bomb from a German air raider March 1918, and Ruth Landon, by a shell in St. Gervais church, in Paris; the Cromwell sisters, Dorothea and Gladys of New York, who came to a tragic end at sea Jan. 19, 1919, as they were about to set sail for home, and two other sisters, Viola and Ruth Lundholm of Petaluma, Calif., both army nurses, who died within six days of each other in October 1917, in different hospitals in France, are among the outstanding names.
Nettie Grace McBride and Edith Barnett are buried in Tumen and Tombsk Siberia, and Edith Winchester in Erivan, Armenia. Their home addresses and those of Nina Louise Seymour, who died in Toule, France, and Alice A. Ireland, in Base Hospital No. 101, and information of other women who died in the service is being sought by Miss Irene Givenwilson, curator of the American Red Cross museum in Washington, chairman of the memorial committee.
Following is the list of “gold star women.” Cities named are those given as emergency addresses when the women sailed for France.
[Editor’s Note: In October of 2019 I discovered two more lists of Army and Navy nurses, in the The American National Red Cross Annual Report, recruited through the Department of Nursing of the American Red Cross. They were Red Cross nurses, dietitians, or nurse’s aides engaged in Red Cross work, who died or were killed in service from the time the United States entered the war up to June 30, 1918. These additional names are marked with a “+” and the second group who died or were killed in service during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1919 are marked with a double “++” . In October of 2023 I discovered an additional list of Chicago Illinois-area nurses who died during WW1 who are marked with a “#.” Note that the names that were already in this news article that also appear on the two additional lists will not have the added cross or pound sign appended. These individuals are buried in various cemeteries in Europe and in the United States.]
Phoenix–Hazel E. Morton++
Altaville–Elizabeth F. Lee.
Bakersfield–Inez E. Reed++
Cupertino–Teresa E. Rodgers++
Dos Palos–Ida Henrietta Vietmeier | 2nd listing
Fort Jones–Maud Evans.
Fullerton–Patricia L. Byron+
Glendale–Emma M. Franklin++
Hollywood–Pauline H. Field; Mary Agnes Moore
Oakland–Ethel Marion Burk++, Drusilla Casterline++, Edna Hanley++
Petaluma–Viola E. Lundholm; Ruth W. Lundholm.
San Francisco–Thelma Eisfeldt; Nellie G. Galliher.
Sana Anna–Cora M. Keech++(dietitian)
San Pedro–Nell Hurley++
Seabright–Marion Pearl Turner++
Strathmore–Lydia Muriel Buck++
East Aylmer–Kathleen E. Symmes++
Greenfield, Ontario–Jennie McIntosh++
Lake Megantic–Sophia Ellen Morrison++
London–Daisey E. Wiggins++
Montreal–Cecelia E. Miller++
Peterboro, Ontario–Marion L. Overend+ (died in aeroplane/airplane accident)
St. Catherine—Lillian M. Murphy++
South Tilley–Anna A. Walker++
Toronto–Constance M. Caplain+, Ella Dalton++
Waterbury–Alice J. Knight, Hazel Foster++
Plantsville [corrected from Plattsville, see comments]–Irene Mercedes Flynn [Find-A-Grave #1] [Find-A-Grave #2].
Plainville CT–Monica Brock++
New London—Catherine J. McGuire++
New Haven—Helen A. Moakley++
Stamford—Mary C. Nurney++
Andalulsia–Therese “Theresa” Burmeister [daughter of Ludwig Burmeister of Andalusia IL, born 30 June 1888 in Scott County IL; died 25 January 1919 at Great lakes Naval Training Station of pneumonia due to influenza. Her funeral was held at Trinity Cathedral with burial in Fairmount Cemetery, Davenport Iowa. Members of the 9th Ordnance Guard of the Rock Island arsenal were pall bearers. ]
Aurora–Mrs Alma Rogers#
Beecher City–Geneva Castevens/Casstevens/Casstevenes [Springfield IL].
Pepson [editors note: The newspaper is incorrect, this is Lucile/Lucille Pepoon#, buried at Etaples Military Cemetery per her obituary; cenotaph in Chicago IL].
Chicago–Miss Alice Belling#; Mrs. M. Engstrom# (Home Defense Nurse); Miss Margaret England#; Miss Ethel Knapp# (Home Defense Nurse); Carmelita/Carmelite O’Connor; Miss Marguerite O’Connor#; Antoinette W. Lippold., Ora Margaret Gore+#, Curry D. Breckenridge+#, Alice Lea++#; Hilga Ophaug++; Mrs. Frederick W. Tice#;
Chicago Heights–Helen G. Sage++#;
Decatur–Florence Anne Hinton.# [U.S. Army Base Hospital No. 12, Europe] [buried Greenwood Cemetery, Decatur IL]
Evanston–Helen Burnet Wood. – killed aboard the U.S.S. Mongolia
Kewanee–Miss Charlotte H Williams#
Neponset–Hester Marie Girvin++#
Unknown (Not in original newspaper article, added by blog editor) — Edith Wood, Emma Matzen.
Virginia–Nellie [should be Nelle] Robertson*.
Roanoke–Grace G. Buell.
Washington–Crystal E. McCord.
Jeffersonville–H. Mary Rapp.
Fairmount–Ethel O. Leach++
LaFayette–Florence Le Claire++
South Bend–Mrs. Mary M. Sebastian++
Carroll–Kathleen C. Kennebeck.
Cedar Rapids–Pauline A. Quigley++#
Council Bluffs–Ruby Smith; Barbara L. Seiler++#; Hortense E. Wind++(dietitian)
Edgewood–Ruth Cutler; Elsie May Hatch.
Emmetsburg–Katherine T. Kane
Fort Madison–Dorothy E. Koellner.
Harlan–Rose E. Buman++# [Omaha, Nebraska]
Iowa City–Miss Rowena B. Spence#
Ossian–Edithe G. Becker++
Ottumwa–Amber R. Story++#
West Liberty–Elsie Davis [Elsie died in a hospital at Pittsburgh PA due to pneumonia which followed influenza. She graduated from West Liberty High School with the class of 1894 and had been a nurse for many years. She volunteered for Red Cross work and was placed in the Pittsburg Institution. She is buried in Oak Ridge Cemetery, West Liberty IA]
West Liberty–Ella M. Noring++ [Ella M. Noring, b 17 Nov 1891 in IA, daughter of Joseph & Helena (Gall) Noring. She died at Camp Merrit, NJ where she was waiting for transportation to France. Buried Oak Ridge Cemetery, West Liberty IA.]
Castle Town, Roche, Ireland–Helena Courtney++
Abilene–Grace W. Hershey.
Colby—Etta Coover++ – her name can be found on the Thomas County, Kansas Veterans Memorial
Ogallah–Ruth B. Farney++
Marquette—Edith B. Hokanson++
Sawyer–Alberta I. Weigner++
Eddyville–Katherine P. Irwin*.
Louisville–Mrs. Hattie B. Hayes++
Andover (or Norway)–Frances E. Bartlett.
Presque Isle–Pearl Pennington+
Bar Harbor–Helen Frances Donovan++[per newspaper reports she graduated in May 1918 from New Rochelle NY hospital where she has taken the full training course for nurses. On Oct 2, 1918 the newspapers announced that she was the second nurse to die at Fort Dix from influenza contracted while working there, and that her remains were sent home to Bar Harbor Maine where her mother lived]. Houlton–Miss Josephine Aberethney; Violet E. Robinson++ [The daughter of Wesley Robinson of Houlton, Maine, she was a graduate of the Rhode Island Hospital in Providence RI and was an assistant and superintendent of the Augusta General Hospital and the Gardiner General Hospital in Maine. ]
Patten–Jessie B. Mariner++
Rockland (or Portland)–Jane B. Mercer++
Winthrop–Mary Frances Emery++
Baltimore–Daisy Adams, Charlotte A. Cox and Grace Bell(e) Micheau;
Govanstown–Marie Antoinette Moss++
Amherst–Elizabeth Stearns Tyler.
Cambridge–Helen M. Burrage.
Chelsea–Mary C. Burke.
Dorchester–Grace L. Malloch.
Fitchburg–Elizabeth O’Connor and Priscilla Alden Crocker | News story about both [NOT in original newspaper article, added by the blog editor]
Mattapoisett–Florence “Lizzie F” Eastman++
Middleboro–Nina Louise Seymour. -died in Toule, France.
Needham–Mrs. Charles McDonald.
Roxbury–Anna K. Welsh; Evelyn Jane De Mers.
Sheffield–Maud Victoria Kells. [Miss Maud V Kells, 27, United States army nurse, of Pittsfield, died recently of influenza in Winchester, Eng. She enlisted August 1 as an army nurse, was sent to Camp Devens and after one month’s training there received her passports for service abroad. She was stricken ill soon after sailing from an Atlantic port and was ill during most of the trip across. Miss Kells was an only daughter of Mr and Mrs. Abraham Kells of Canaan, Ct, and for four years prior to her enlistment in the service had lived with Mr and Mrs. William R. Hagyard of 203 Bartlett Avenue, Pittsfield. She graduated from the Henry W Bishop memorial training school for nurses in Pittsfield in 1915. Miss Kells is the first Pittsfield woman to die in the service.– Springfield Republican, Tuesday 5 Nov 1918, Springfield MA]
Somerville–Katherine V. Golden; Gertrude O’Connor.
Swampscott–Alice O. Potts [born 8 Aug 1887 in Lynn Massachusetts, daughter of John Alven & Julia Esther (Barnstead) Potts. She is buried in Swampscott Cemetery, Swampscott MA. American Red Cross Nursing Service. Enlisted September 1918. Died November 16, 1918 at Monessen, Pennsylvania of influenza, while in service of the Red Cross Emergency Hospital. On Swampscott MA Honor Roll. ]
Truro–Blanche Newton Small [U.S. Army Base Hospital, Camp Lee, Petersburg, Virginia] *Not found on original list, editor has added*
Watertown–Mary E. O’Connor++
Detroit–Mabel A. Ragan; Charlotte Schonheit.
Blanchard–Hazel E. Babcock.
Battle Creek–Alice V. Murphy.
Buchanan–Gladys N. Lyon.
Calumet–Emma M. Butler+#[Chicago IL]
Crosswell–Miss Mable A Ragan#
Jackson–Hattie M. Newkirk+
Whitehall–Fannie/Fanny May Erickson++
Grand Rapids–Florence G. Hankinson++#; Vera M. Rockwell++#
Escanba–Anna Elvina Larsen++# [Chicago IL]
Royal Oak–Margaret I. Parr++
Bay City–Goldie N. Travis++#
Gaylord (or Flint)–Mayme L. Wright++#
Duluth–Lydia V. Whiteside.
St. Hilaire–Nora Emelie Anderson.
North St. Paul–Mary H. Cummings++
St. Paul–Anna Marie Dahlby++
Minneapolis–Effie A. Larsen++
Roscoe–Clara H. Sauer++
Carollton–Margaret Eleanor Kerin.
Queen City–Katherine Hoffman.
St. Louis–Mrs. Catherine W. Cecil+
Schlater–Margaret Eleanor Keirn++
Diamond–Ina E. Klinfelter++
Omaha–Maude Mae Butler; Marion G. Crandall [YMCA volunteer, killed by enemy shell in March 1918 at Ste. Menehould, France, also credited to Alameda California]; Miss Ada E. Fisher#
Lincoln–Helen M. Sargent++
Newark–Esther Slocum; Florence L. Athay.
Jersey City–Catherine McGurty; Mary Norton++
Haddon Heights–Elizabeth H. Weimann.
Madison–Annabel S. Roberts [U.S. Army Base Hospital No. 2 British Expeditionary Forces, France]
Summerville–Emma E. Menn; Elizabeth McWilliam.
Swedesboro–Grace Mabel Lowe++
Trenton–Matilda F. Wells++
Somerville–Elizabeth C. McWilliams++(Red Cross Nurse’s Aide)
Fredonia–Annie Maria Williams.
Holland–Florence H. Trank.
Buffalo–Magdalena/Magdelene M. Volland
Clyde–Marjorie R. Vrooman.
New Rochelle–Lorraine Ransome.
Brooklyn.–Alive Cunningham Rogers; Winifred L. Heath.
New York City–Edith White; Frances Moeschen*; Edna McCauley; Sophia Haarman; Dorothy Hamlin; Dorothea Gay; Ruth Landon; Dorothea Cromwell; Gladys Cromwell; Anna/Anne McBreen; Edith Barnett; Rose Kaplan+, Frances McCulloch+, Florence Beatrice Graham++, Mary Healy++
Norwich–Mary K. Cairns/Cairnes.
Suffern–Florence W. Campbell.
Rockville Center–Winona Caroline Martin.
Rochester–Blanche A. Rowley.
Elmira–Mabel R. Morey.
Canadaigua–Marsha D. McKechnie.
Palmer Falls–Alice Hagadorn.
Philmont–Katheryne [Katherine] E. Greene
Nyack-on-Hudson–Charlotte S. Stagen/Stegen+/++
Ardonia–Louise E. Byrne++
North Bergen–Anna Clements++
Flushing LI–Grace M. Falkinburg++
Hempstead LI–Magdalene Ficken++
Hastings-on-Hudson–Beatrice May Gorman++# [Chicago IL]
New Rochelle–Daisy Kirketerp++
Middletown–Rose Kirkwood Young++
Bloomsburg–Irene I. Jury++(dietitian)
Charlotte–Felicita W. Hecht.
Morgantown–Ettie M. Perkins++
Golden Valley–Sabra Regina Hardy.
Attica–Edith Ayres/Ayers. Killed 20 May 1917 in an accident aboard the USS Mongolia, enroute to France.
Springfield–Helen J. Courtney; Louis Linn++.
East Liverpool–Elizabeth L. Russell.
Cleveland–Anna E. Whitely+
New Richmond–Eunice Jennings++
Willoughby–Laura O. McGrath++
Circleville–Garnet O. Peck++
Oklahoma City–Emma Kotte++
Norman–Caroline Rose Walch++
Hillsboro–Ima L./I.l Ledford.
Akron–Anna E. Kemper++
Allentown–Mary Ellen Appel; Anna Marie McMullen#[Chicago IL]; Meda L. Hertzog++;
Bellevue–Alice L./M. Thompson++
Bellwood–Ethel May Goshorn++
Bradford–Estelle A. Knapp++
Chambersburg–Mary E. Minick++
DuBois–Elizabeth M. McNerney++
Germantown–Anna M. Murphy++
Landsdowne–Mary C. Stevens.
Media–Alice A. Ireland
Philadelphia–Marion H. White; Nellie J. Ward, Lydia D. Shrope+; Marie L. Hidell++; Maud Amelia Munn++; Edna E. Place++; Edith M. Winchester++; Marion White++(Red Cross Nurse’s Aide)
Pottstown/South Pottstown–Harriet L. Kulp.
Ridgeway–Claire/Claire Agnes Ledden/Leddon; Florence M. Young++
Scranton–Eugenia C. Hosie, Theresa V. Collins++
Summerville–Jessie P. Baldwin.
Trout Run–Lillian F. Cupp++
Watsontown–Helen Fairchild. [U.S. Army Base Hospital No. 10, Casualty Clearing Station, Europe]
Yardley–Miriam E. Knowles+
Providence–Caroline H. Christman., Florence Thorpe+; Constance Martin++; Marie E. Trimble++
[Notes: both Constance Martin and Marie Elisa Trimble** (See end of post) were Reserve USN Nurses who were working at the Base Hospital No. 4 in Providence Rhode Island at the time of their deaths. Constance Martin died 17 Sep 1918]
Pawtucket—Henrietta I. Drummond.
Manville–Teresa M. Murphy* [credited to New Hampshire]
Lead–Edith June Cattles++
Casa Blanca–Kate Dodson++
Austin–Alma M. Furr++
San Antonio–Elina Winson Hill++
Achilles–Cornelia E. Thornton.
Charlottesville–Anna Dade Reveley.
Clifton Forge–Victoria R. Good++
Petersburg–Mrs. Felicita Hecht++
Clarksburg–Lucinda L. Rose++
Seattle–Tilda A. Thorkelson; Mrs. Jessie Chisholm; Alice Stevens Drisk; G. Mary Welsh++
Arlington–Emma J. Thorsen++
Erma L. Shaw; Jane Minor Hendricks; Jane A. Delano, Mabel E. Eichhoff+; Olive Schureman++
Charleston–Rose A. Young+ [her sister was living in Charleston, W.V. at the time of Rose’s death. She was born in S. Carolina and died in a army camp in Mississippi.]
Clarksburg–Lucinda L. Rose.
Wheeling–Alice M. Young++
Gormania — Charlotte A. Cox [not on original list, added by editor].
Milwaukee–Edith Janet Bailey+; Miss Charlotte H. Baenen#
Ashland–Nellie M. Dingley*.
Gilmanton–Eileen L. Forrest.
Lake Geneva–Elizabeth L. McDonald.
Richland Center–Dorothy Beth Millman.
Alma–Orma A. Schreiber.#[Chicago IL]
Viroqua–Amy L. Bishop++#
Eau Claire–Anna M. Cosgrove++
[end of news article]
I have linked to 3 of the above nurses, i.e. Lucy N. Fletcher, Katherine P. Irwin, and Teresa M. Murphy, who all had ties to New Hampshire and about whom I wrote detailed stories. Other noted WWI nurses are shown directly below.
New Hampshire WWI Military: U.S. Army Nurse Lucy Nettie Fletcher of Concord NH (1886-1918)
New Hampshire WWI Military: Army Nurse Corps Teresa Margaret Murphy of Concord NH (1891-1918)
New Hampshire WWI Military: Phillips Exeter Academy Infirmary Nurse Katherine Patterson Irwin (1870-1918)
Chief Nurse of WW1 Expeditionary Forces, Red Cross Chief Nurse Harvard Unit, Peter Bent Brigham Hospital School of Nursing Founder, National Association President and Pioneer of American Nursing: Nashua New Hampshire’s Carrie May Hall (1873-1963)
New Hampshire WWI Military: The Nurses of Base Hospital No. 6 aka “The Bordeaux Belles”
Manchester New Hampshire Teacher, WW1 Red Cross Nurse, Public Health Nurse, Women’s Rights Advocate, Civic Leader, Clubwoman: Elena Mae (Crough) Lockwood (1884-1962)
Please note that there were other nurses who died during WWI who were not sent to Europe, but who volunteered in state-side military hospitals. One such nurse was Marion Pearl Turner, who died of influenza on Mare Island, San Francisco. Another was Jane “Jennie” McIntosh of Canada and Laconia, New Hampshire who died of influenza at Rock Island Arsenal, IL. If you know of others I will include them here.
I hope that you celebrate National Nurses Week in a fitting way. You can thank a nurse in your family, a neighbor, a friend. Or you can pause to remember a nurse who has died in WWI or in any war. Just speak aloud one of their names with reverence and gratitude.
World War One: The many battles faced by WW1’s nurses (BBC News)
They Gave Their Lives (Nurses from the Civil War to Today)
[Editor’s Note: this story is part of an on-going series about heroic New Hampshire men and women of World War I. Look here for the entire listing].
2nd Editor’s Note: I don’t think that the memorial referenced in this story was ever built. I do know that now the United States has The Women’s Memorial–Women In Military Service that was asking for financial support in 2018. This memorial was conceived in 1985 and the groundbreaking was held in 1995. [NOTE: as of 9 September 2018 this web site for public relations and fund raising has been taken down].
Third Editor’s note: additional information on Marie E. Trimble of Providence RI. Maria Elisa Trimble, b 1883 Preston, Nova Scotia Canada. daughter of William T. & Anna (Bell) Trimble. Arrived in the U.S. About 1896/ In 1910 US Census boarding, a nurse in a hospital in Providence RI. She died 13 September 1918 in Providence RI, in the flu epidemic, aged 35 years. She was working at Base Hospital No. 4, Providence RI at the time of her death.]