|Birth: ||Nov. 22, 1835|
|Death: ||Apr. 20, 1868|
Helen Gilson was born in Boston in 1836. She worked as a teacher until 1858 until throat problems prevented her from continuing in this work, then she took a position as governess for her uncle, Frank Ball Fay in Chelsea, where he was the mayor. When the war broke out Fay left for Washington to volunteer his services to aid the wounded and recover the dead. Helen Gilson went with him. Frank was later called away, but Helen remained in Washington. She later left Washington to treat the wounded on the battlefields. She took special pity on the black soldiers, who seemed to be getting less attention for thier wounds, and she resolved to do something about it. She wanted to see a Colored Hospital Service. Her colleagues all tried to talk her out of the idea, but she would not take 'No' for an answer and proceeded to push for this. In the end she went over everyones head and went directly to the commanding general with her thoughts. She was able to convince him of the need and she was granted permission to organize the hospital. She got her hospital and it consisted of a square mile of tents which filled with wounded. Conditions were terrible, but she remained at her post until the fall of Richmond on April 2, 1865. By now she was sick with malaria herself.
She left the army in July and recuperated in Long Island, NY, then she returned to Chelsea. She was again summoned by Frank Fay, who had opened and orphanage for black children in Richmond and needed her help. She returned to
Chelsea again in October of 1866. She married E. Hamilton Osgood on October 11, 1866 in Chelsea.
The marriage lasted just over a year for Helen died in childbirth on April 20, 1868 at the age of 32. She apparently had been too weakened from the malaria and any other maladies from her wartime service. Her child did not survive either.
Woodlawn Cemetery and Crematory
Created by: William Sweeney
Record added: May 28, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 37641027