Sarah Eva “Sallie” <I>Gammon</I> Bickford


Sarah Eva “Sallie” Gammon Bickford

Embreeville, Washington County, Tennessee, USA
Death 19 Jul 1931 (aged 75)
Virginia City, Madison County, Montana, USA
Burial Virginia City, Madison County, Montana, USA
Memorial ID 102803619 View Source

Sarah was born into slavery and owned by the Blair Family in Washington County, Tennessee. Her parents were sold away from her before the Civil War ended. After The Civil War, Sarah relocated to Knoxville, Tennessee, where she was adopted by her aunt and uncle, Isaac Gammon and Nancy Blair Gammon.

She moved to Montana as a nanny for Judge John L. Murphy. She later worked in hotels as a domestic servant in Virginia City. She married John Brown in 1872 and had three children with him: William, Leonard, and Eva. William and Leonard died from diphtheria. She successfully sued John Brown for divorce due to cruelty toward her and their children in 1880. She was awarded custody of her daughter, Eva, but tragically, Eva died in 1881 from pneumonia.

Sarah married Stephen Eben Bickford in 1883. They had four children together: Stephen Eben Bickford aka Elmer Eben Bickford, Harriet Virginia Bickford Davidson, Helena Eva Bickford Hines, and Mabel Elizabeth Bickford Jenkins.

Her husband, Stephen, died in 1900 from pneumonia, leaving her the sole manager of Virginia City's water system. Along with the help of her children, she managed it until she was physically impaired by a heart attack in March, 1931. She died in Virginia City, Montana on 19 Jul 1931.

She was the first African-American woman to own and manage water utilities in Montana, and most likely was the first ever in The United States.

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  • Created by: Spanky
  • Added: 29 Dec 2012
  • Find a Grave Memorial 102803619
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Sarah Eva “Sallie” Gammon Bickford (25 Dec 1855–19 Jul 1931), Find a Grave Memorial ID 102803619, citing Virginia City Cemetery, Virginia City, Madison County, Montana, USA ; Maintained by Spanky (contributor 47039966) .