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.
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.
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.”
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 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 Ruch 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.
San Francisco–Thelma Eisfeldt; Nellie G. Galliher.
Hollywood–Pauline H. Field; Mary Agnes Moore
Petaluma–Viola E. Lundholm; Ruth W. Lundholm.
Fort Jones–Maud Evans.
Altaville–Elizabeth F. Lee.
Des Palos–Ida Henrietta Vietmeier.
Denver–Hattie M. Raithel.
Leadville–Clara M. Orgren.
Waterbury–Alice J. Knight.
Plantsville [corrected from Plattsville, see comments]–Irene Mercedes Flynn.
Decatur–Camille O’Brien. [see the link for updated information. A special graveside ceremony will be held on April 18, 2019 to honor her.]
Winchester–Norene Mary Royer
Chicago–Lucille Pepson; Carmelita O’Connor; Antoinette W. Lippold.
Evanston–Helen Burnet Wood.
Beecher City–Geneva Gastevens.
Decatur–Florence A. Hinton. [U.S. Army Base Hospital No. 12, Europe]
Roanoke–Grace G. Buell.
Washington–Crystal E. McCord.
Jeffersonville–H. Mary Rapp.
Carroll–Kathleen C. Kennebeck.
Council Bluffs–Ruby Smith.
Edgewood–Ruth Cutler; Elsie May Hatch.
Fort Madison–Dorothy E. Koellner.
Abilene–Grace W. Hershey.
Eddyville–Katherine P. Irwin*.
Andover–Frances E. Bartlett.
Baltimore–Daisy Adams, Charlotte A. Cox and Grace Belle Micheau.
Detroit–Mabel A. Ragan; Charlotte Schonheit.
Blanchard–Hazel E. Babcock.
Battle Creek–Alice V. Murphy.
Buchanan–Gladys N. Lyon.
Roxbury–Anna K. Welsh; Evelyn Jane De Mers.
Cambridge–Helen M. Burrage.
Chelsea–Mary C. Burke.
Somerville–Katherine V. Golden; Gertrude O’Connor.
Sheffield–Maud Victoria Kells.
Dorchester–Grace L. Malloch.
Needham–Mrs. Charles McDonald.
Amherst–Elizabeth Stearns Tyler.
Truro–Blanche Newton Small [U.S. Army Base Hospital, Camp Lee, Petersburg, Virginia] *Not found on original list, editor has added*
Duluth–Lydia V. Whiteside.
St. Hilaire–Nora E. Anderson.
Carollton–Margaret Eleanor Kerin.
Queen City–Katherine Hoffman.
Omaha–Maude Mae Butler; Marion G. Crandell.
Newark–Esther Slocum; Florence L. Athay.
Jersey City–Catherine McGurty.
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.
Holland–Florence H. Trank.
Buffalo–Magdalena 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 McBreen; Edith Barnett.
Norwich–Mary K. Cairns.
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 E. Greene
Concord–Lucy N. Fletcher*
Charlotte–Felicita W. Hecht.
Golden Valley–Sabra Regina Hardy.
Springfield–Helen J. Courtney.
East Liverpool–Elizabeth L. Russell.
Hillsboro–Ima L. Ledford.
Allentown–Mary Ellen Appel; Anna Marie McCullen.
Philadelphia–Marion H. White; Nellie J. Ward.
Pittsburgh–Kathryn M. Joyce.
Summerville–Jessie P. Baldwin.
Watsontown–Helen Fairchild. [U.S. Army Base Hospital No. 10, Casualty Clearing Station, Europe]
Scranton–Eugenia C. Hosie.
Pottstown–Harriet L. Kulp.
Landsdowne–Mary C. Stevens.
Bellevue–Alice L. Thompson.
Providence–Caroline H. Christman.
Pawtucket—Henrietta I. Drummond.
Manville–Teresa M. Murphy* [credited to New Hampshire]
Burlington–Luella M. Wheeler.
Achilles–Cornelia E. Thornton.
Charlottesville–Anna D. Reveley.
Clarksburg–Lucinda L. Rose.
Seattle–Tilda A. Thorkelson; Mrs. Jessie Chisholm; Alice Stevens Drisk.
Erma L. Shaw; Jane Minor Hendricks; Jane A. Delano.
Ashland–Nellie M. Dingley.
Gilmanton–Eileen L. Forrest.
Lake Geneva–ELizabeth L. McDonald.
Richland Center–Dorothy Beth Millman.
Alma–Orma A. Schreiber.”
[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].