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Mary Ann "Mother" Bickerdyke
Original name: Ball Bickerdyke
Birth: Jul. 19, 1817
Mount Vernon
Knox County
Ohio, USA
Death: Nov. 8, 1901
Bunker Hill
Russell County
Kansas, USA

Civil War Union Army Nurse. She was born Mary Ann Ball and passed around to family members because of the early death of her parents, first to grandparents and then to an uncle. At 30, she married Robert Bickerdyke, a sign painter and musician who was a widower with children. An early abolition activist, she transported escaping slaves in his wagon. Soon after moving to Galesburg, Illinois, Robert died. A member of the Galesburg Congregational Church, she was active in providing support to the men serving in the Union Army stationed at a nearby military camp at Cario. She devoted the next four years nursing Union troops through some 20 major battles while setting up some 300 field hospitals. Her study of botanical medicine which stressed the benefits of clean water-inhaling steam, wet compresses, herbal teas, healthy soups, and "nature's water" in fruits and vegetables and above all cleanliness is credited with saving more lives then inept physicians working in filthy conditions. More than 400,000 of the estimated 620,000 Civil War deaths occurred from disease, not battle wounds, because of unsanitary conditions. She was given the nickname "Mother" by Union soldiers. Following the war she returned to Galesburg, and was instrumental in obtaining pensions for veterans and for Civil War nurses. However, old age forced her to return to her childhood home near Mt Vernon, Ohio to be near her family where she died at the age of 84. Her remains were transported back to Galesburg, Illinois and she was interred next to her husband. (bio by: Paul S.) 
 
Family links: 
 Spouse:
  Robert Bickerdyke (____ - 1859)*
 
 Children:
  James R Bickerdyke (1850 - 1904)*
  Hiram Ball Bickerdyke (1854 - 1909)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Inscription:
Army Nurse "Mother to the boys in blue" 1861-1865
 
Burial:
Linwood Cemetery
Galesburg
Knox County
Illinois, USA
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Florence
Record added: May 05, 2001
Find A Grave Memorial# 5416238
Mary Ann Mother Bickerdyke
Added by: Laura McQuaid
 
Mary Ann Mother Bickerdyke
Added by: anonymus
 
Mary Ann Mother Bickerdyke
Added by: anonymus
 
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