Geneva E. Casstevens

Geneva E. Casstevens

Birth
Etna, Coles County, Illinois, USA
Death 14 Oct 1918 (aged 27)
Liverpool, Metropolitan Borough of Liverpool, Merseyside, England
Burial Clarksburg, Shelby County, Illinois, USA
Memorial ID 76020988 · View Source
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Army Nurse killed in action in World War I. The American Legion post in Beecher City, Illinois is named in her honor.

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Unit W
The only woman listed in the Honor Book as a WWI fatality was a Unit W nurse, Geneva Casstevens (1871-1918). She grew up in Beecher City, but transferred her nursing registration to Springfield before joining the unit. Unit W, which included 12 area physicians, 50 orderlies and 21 nurses, was formed and commanded by Major (later Lt. Col.) D.M. Ottis, a surgeon associated with St. John’s Hospital. Ottis formed the unit in the fall of 1917 and raised $10,000 for equipment and expenses. The unit was abruptly called up in January 1918 and sailed for Europe on May 1, 1918. It was deployed to a military hospital at Knotty Ash, near Liverpool, England.

The unit reported one other death — that of Capt. Francis Fletcher (1879-1918), a physician who practiced in Auburn and Chatham, from a perforated ulcer. “No other losses were suffered by the unit, although many of them were severely ill with influenza and from the strain of the work which fell upon them during the raging epidemic of this malady,” the Journal reported in May 1919. Unit W cared for a total of 14,000 patients at Knotty Ash, first under tents and later in a hastily built hospital designed by Ottis and his staff. Capt. Robert Smith told a Journal reporter when the unit returned:

Our patients were American and Canadian soldiers. Practically all of them were medical cases until after the signing of the armistice when thousands of wound cases passed through our hands. Practically all of those who lived through the first 48 hours after having been wounded or having undergone surgical operations, lived through their treatment when they reached our base hospital and were sent home as convalescents. The greatest number of patients that we cared for at one time was 1,250. This was during the influenza epidemic.

Most Unit W members returned to Springfield in May 1919, although six nurses were detailed at the last minute to Russia, where Allied units briefly intervened in the Russian Revolution. All but one of the group were from Sangamon County. They were: Nellie Alvey and Bertha Weinert of Buffalo, Annie Ferguson of Springfield, Ethel Foster of Chatham, Mary Talbott of Glenarm and Mary Korloski of Decatur. After working in Murmansk and Archangel, the last nurses returned to the U.S. in July 1919.

Source : Sangamon County Historical Society



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  • Created by: NOMDEPLUM
  • Added: 5 Sep 2011
  • Find A Grave Memorial 76020988
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Geneva E. Casstevens (26 Feb 1891–14 Oct 1918), Find A Grave Memorial no. 76020988, citing Mount Zion Cemetery, Clarksburg, Shelby County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by NOMDEPLUM (contributor 47117241) .