The Photo Request has been fulfilled.

 Mary Ann “Mother” Bickerdyke

Mary Ann “Mother” Bickerdyke

Original Name Ball
Mount Vernon, Knox County, Ohio, USA
Death 8 Nov 1901 (aged 84)
Bunker Hill, Russell County, Kansas, USA
Burial Galesburg, Knox County, Illinois, USA
Memorial ID 5416238 · View Source
Suggest Edits

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 Cairo, Illinois. 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 Members



Army Nurse "Mother to the boys in blue" 1861-1865



See more Bickerdyke memorials in:



How famous was Mary Ann “Mother” Bickerdyke?

Current rating:

81 votes

to cast your vote.

  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Florence Banks
  • Added: 5 May 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 5416238
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Mary Ann “Mother” Bickerdyke (19 Jul 1817–8 Nov 1901), Find A Grave Memorial no. 5416238, citing Linwood Cemetery, Galesburg, Knox County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .