Posted tagged ‘Mary Jewett Telford’

Illuminated History Tour of South Perinton Cemetery and Mary Jewett Telford Dedication Ceremony

June 19, 2012
 
Our Illuminated History South Perinton Cemetery Tour and Mary Jewett Telford Dedication Ceremony is this evening, June 19, 2012.  Please join us at 7:00 p.m. at South Perinton Cemetery, 291 Wilkinson Road, Fairport, New York, as actors bring the lives of eleven cemetery residents to life.  The tour ends at the grave of Civil War nurse Mary Jewett Telford, where a ceremony will be held to dedicate her Woman’s Relief Corps flag holder.  We hope to see you there!
 
This tour is sponsored by Illuminated History and the Perinton Historical Society.
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Looking Back While Facing Forward

January 1, 2011

The end of the year brings reflection as we put to rest one year while looking ahead to a new beginning.  I’ll always remember 2010 as an incredible year for my Civil War soldiers project, as well as for the start of some new research projects. 

Martha Jewett & Evan Marshall visit Mary Jewett Telford's grave

In January, I met a descendant of one of my Civil War veterans.  Martha Jewett is the second great-grandniece of Civil War nurse Mary Jewett Telford.  Martha and her husband, Evan Marshall, drove to Fairport to attend my Illuminated History presentation for the Perinton Historical Society.  After Martha and Evan returned home, we spent a frantic two weeks emailing and calling each other in order to meet the deadline for Mary Jewett Telford’s nomination to the National Women’s Hall of Fame.  We will soon hear whether we were successful in our endeavor.

With February came a slight shift in my research, as I began to study the World War I soldiers of Pittsford.  February was also memorable as it was the first time I have formally interviewed a research subject.  Bill Cooper, a World War II veteran and survivor of the Battle of the Bulge, was my assignment.  Bill is a member of American Legion Rayson-Miller Post 899.  The stories he shared about his military experience and life with his wife, Margaret, were 

Bill Cooper, World War II vet

 inspiring.  I also had the opportunity to meet with Philip G. Maples for the first time.  Phil is the Director Emeritus of the Rochester Medical Museum & Archives.  Since then, I have volunteered research time to the RMMA, as well as spent time with Phil, who is himself a Civil War researcher and enthusiast.  I proudly headed to school in February to hear my daughter make her first presentation by portraying Civil War nurse Mary Jewett Telford.

March rang in another opportunity to interview a Battle of the Bulge veteran.  This time it was Ed Kinnen, also a   member of Rayson-Miller.  Ed and his wife, Ellen, graciously invited me into their home so I could talk with Ed about his World War II service.  We share a common love of genealogy, and I was happy to hear them speak of their children and grandchildren and the importance of sharing the family history with them. 

Lynda Skaddan & Jane Andersen, Telford descendants

The next few months went by in a blur as I once again collaborated with Pittsford Town Historian Audrey Johnson for our annual Pittsford Cemetery tour in May.  Theo X. Rojo, who researches the men of the 13th NY Infantry and the 22nd NY Cavalry, contacted me in May and we have spent much time emailing back and forth regarding those units and others.  June was the pinnacle of excitement.  I gave a tour at Greenvale Cemetery for the Perinton Historical Society members.  I was so pleased to meet Cheri Branca, one of my online friends and fellow Find A Grave contributor, who attended the Greenvale tour with her husband, Matt.  Jane Andersen and Lynda Skaddan, descendants of Robert Telford, made a special trip to Fairport with Lynda’s husband Ray so I could meet them at Mary Jewett Telford’s grave to discuss her life.  Mary was wed to Robert’s younger brother, Jacob Telford.  In June, I also had the opportunity to meet Norman and John Henry Miller, who are the nephews of Henry L. Miller.  Henry was killed at Belleau Wood during World War I.  Norm and John are not only veterans themselves, but they come from a long line of men who served their country, beginning with their great-grandfather, Civil War veteran Henry L. Mueller.

Throughout the rest of 2010, I gave a presentation for the American Legion Rayson-Miller Post 899 and discussed the 

John and Norm Miller at the grave of their uncle, Henry L. Miller

early history of the post and its members.  Audrey Johnson and I hosted another tour of the Pioneer Burying Ground in October, and I started a Facebook page for Illuminated History.  However, I think the biggest thrill has been meeting the veterans’ descendants and other researchers, both in person, by phone and online.  I spoke by phone with John R. Bacon, grandson of WWI & WWII Lieutenant Colonel Howard Bacon and great-grandson of Civil War vet John Buckley Bacon, after emailing back and forth for several years.  I spoke with veteran David Retchless about his military service, as well as those of his brother, father and uncle.  Tyler Emery, the current owner of the Retchless military memorabilia, and I have corresponded via email and he has graciously shared photos of the contents of the trunk he owns.  At the Pioneer Burying Ground tour, I met Gail and Marilyn, the daughters of World War I vet Raymond L. Hulbert.  I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Lloyd F. Allen’s daughters, Betty Anne and Katie, as well as his granddaughter, Elizabeth.  Dr. Allen, like his friend and neighbor Howard Bacon, had also served in both World Wars.

2010 was an extraordinary year.  Thank you for your interest in my project, and your appreciation for these veterans.  With your support, Illuminated History will continue to shine the light on these heroes for many years to come.

Family Ties

August 15, 2010

As a historian, my passion revolves around the past.  However, this year I had the most incredible opportunity to tie the past into the present when I met with descendants of the Jewett and Telford families.  Their ancestors, Mary Jewett, a Civil War nurse and Jacob Telford, a veteran of the 15th Indiana Infantry, had married in July of 1864. 

Martha Jewett & Vicki Profitt at Mary Jewett Telford's grave

January 19, 2010 was an exciting day for me.  Not only was I giving a Civil War presentation for the Perinton Historical Society, but I was also meeting Martha Jewett, a descendant of Mary Jewett’s youngest brother, Nathan.  Martha and her husband, Evan Marshall, had traveled from New Jersey to hear my presentation in which her ancestor, Mary Jewett Telford, featured prominently.  We met at my house and spent some time looking at photographs and the Jewett family bible before heading to South Perinton Cemetery to pay our respects to Mary at her grave.  Amazingly, Martha and Evan had come to Pittsford many times to visit their friends, but had never realized that Mary was resting only a few miles away.  Although Martha and Evan returned to New Jersey the following day, we were in touch many times during the following weeks as Martha and I worked feverishly on Mary Jewett Telford’s nomination for the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

Telford descendants Lynda Skaddan & Jane Andersen at Mary's grave

In April, a story about my Civil War project ran in the Brighton-Pittsford Post.  Several days later, I received an email from Lynda Skaddan.  A friend had seen the article and contacted Lynda.  As it turns out, Lynda is a descendant of Jacob Telford’s older brother, Robert.  On July 15, 2010 I had the opportunity to meet with Lynda, her sister, Jane Andersen, and Lynda’s husband Ray.  We met at the gate to South Perinton Cemetery and then proceeded to Mary’s grave.  It was such a warm day that we chose to sit in the shade of a large tree just a few yards from Mary.  With us was my friend, Floris Lent, who has been the keeper of the Jewett family memorabilia for many years.  Our time together was spent discussing Mary and Jacob, and Mary’s numerous contributions to society. 

This is a story about family ties.  For the first time in over 140 years, the Jewett and Telford families are once again linked and, I’m proud to say, I am now part of that history.

In the Works

June 23, 2010

E.J. Tyler Post 288 banner, Pittsford, New York

Now that my Pittsford and Greenvale Cemetery tours are over, I’m working on some exciting projects for the summer and fall. 

First is the booklet I’m writing about the charter members of American Legion Rayson-Miller Post 899.  The Post was organized in 1920, taking over where G.A.R. – E. J. Tyler Post 288 left off.  One of the charter members, Howard R. Bacon, was a son of Civil War soldier John Buckley Bacon.  The booklet will also commemorate the two men after whom the Post was named – Homer Rayson and Henry L. Miller.  In conjunction with the booklet is my October 30th presentation for the Rayson-Miller Post, which is open to the public.

In October, I will once again pair with Pittsford Town Historian Audrey Johnson to give a tour of Pioneer Burying Ground.  Despite the inevitable rain, discussing the pioneers of the town is always interesting.  Soldiers of nearly every conflict from the Revolutionary War through World War II are interred at the Pioneer Burying Ground.

Also in the works is a research project for the Rochester Medical Museum & Archives.  I am in the process of culling the Rochester City Directories and census records in order to produce a comprehensive list of nurses in the Rochester, New York area from the Civil War through World War II.  Using newspaper reports and genealogical sources, an article I’m writing will feature the love story between a Civil War doctor and a nurse.  A second article is about a Rochester nurse who was accused of insanity…all because she chose to give away her personal belongings to friends instead of the family members she despised.

There are plans for the continued illumination of Civil War nurse Mary Jewett Telford.  She was an amazing woman with an incredible story to tell. 

It  looks as if it will be a busy summer.  Just the way I like it!

Mary Jewett Telford, Humanitarian, Part 2

March 31, 2010

Mary Jewett Telford, courtesy Floris A. Lent

We pick up Mary’s story in 1870, six years after her marriage to sweetheart Jacob Telford.  The Telfords are listed in the 1870 census as living in Grinnell, Iowa.  Living with them were two girls, Mattie Stokes and Olive Montgomery.  Mary and Jacob adopted several girls who were orphaned during the Civil War.  Mattie and Olive seem to be two such girls.  This is the first, and only, census in which we see the names of these girls and they seem to have faded into history after that. 

A move from Iowa to Denver, Colorado, was made in 1873 in hopes of improving Mary’s asthmatic condition.  In Denver, Mary’s abilities took wing.  A writer since her teenage years, Mary’s short children’s story, “Tom”, was published in St. Nicholas magazine in 1880.  However, Mary’s watershed year seems to have been 1883.  In July of that year, Mary became a charter member of the Woman’s Relief Corps (WRC), an organization dedicated to assisting veterans, their wives and their children.  Amazingly, this organization is still in existence and is entering their 127th year of service.  Later the same year, Mary was appointed to the Child-Saving Work committee on the Board of Charities and Corrections.  Mary followed that stellar year with another worthwhile cause in 1884 when she founded, edited and published the Challenge, a temperance journal which espoused the ideas of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (W.C.T.U.).  In the late 1880s, Mary became the editor of the Colorado Farmer journal, while contributing articles in newspapers from cities around the country. 

The Committee on Invalid Pensions of the House of Representatives passed a bill on May 24, 1892 granting a pension to Mary Jewett Telford based on her service as a nurse during the Civil War.  Less than two weeks later, Mary applied for her pension.  The money was surely welcomed, considering that the Telfords’ income consisted of Jacob’s $8 a month government pension from his service in the 15th Indiana Infantry, and from any money Mary brought in with her writing and editing ventures.

Mary did not seem to lose any energy or enthusiasm for her humanitarian efforts as she entered the autumn of her life.  In fact, she continued writing and editing and began to tour the country as a lecturer on the temperance circuit.  She counted W.C.T.U. founder Frances Willard as a friend.  Sometime in late 1900 or 1901, Mary and Jacob moved once again, to McMinnville, Tennessee.  It was there, in 1905, that Mary’s beloved husband Jacob passed away.  In keeping with his wishes, Mary had his body brought to Stones River National Cemetery, the former battlefield on which he had been wounded years before, for burial.

Headstone of Mary Jewett Telford at South Perinton Cemetery

Less than twelve months after the loss of her husband of 41 years, Mary discovered she had a health issue which required surgery.  Sent to the Hinsdale Sanitarium in Hinsdale, Illinois for care, Mary Jewett Telford passed quietly away on August 5, 1906 following a critical operation.  She was buried in Illinois.  Nine months later Mary’s older sister, Catherine Jewett Wilkinson, brought Mary’s remains back East and interred her beside their mother Hannah Southwick Jewett at South Perinton Cemetery in Perinton, New York.

Information about Mary’s early life can be found on my March 18, 2010 blog post, “Mary Jewett Telford, Humanitarian, Part 1”.

Civil War Nurses and Cemetery Tours

March 26, 2010

The East Rochester – Fairport Post just published a story about our Civil War nurse, Mary Jewett Telford.  Check it out at http://www.fairport-erpost.com/yournews/x1526472626/Civil-War-nurse-remembered-during-national-Women-s-History-Month.  After spending several hours interviewing me and Wilkinson family descendant Floris Lent, reporter Denise Champagne wrote a great article highlighting the incredible achievements of Mary Jewett Telford.  Photographer Jack Haley contributed a beautiful photo of Floris looking through the Jewett family bible.  Thanks to Denise, Jack and the Messenger Post newspapers for a nice tribute to Mary.

My Pittsford Cemetery tour has been scheduled for Saturday, May 15th, at 10:00 a.m.  Additional information can be found on the Town of Pittsford website, www.townofpittsford.org.  Pittsford Town Historian Audrey Johnson will discuss the local notables buried at Pittsford Cemetery, while I speak about some of the Civil War soldiers who rest there. 

Greenvale Cemetery in Fairport, NY, is the location of my June 8th tour.  Additional information about the tour will soon be available on the Perinton Historical Society website, www.perintonhistoricalsociety.org.  Many of the commanders of the G.A.R. Post #211 post are buried there.

Hero Highlight – Mary Jewett Telford, Humanitarian, Part 1

March 18, 2010

Mary Jewett Telford, courtesy Floris A. Lent

Here is the story of an incredible woman – daughter, teacher, nurse, wife, adoptive mother, author, editor, suffragette, humanitarian.  Her name was Mary Jewett Telford, and today would be her 171st birthday.

Mary’s story begins in Seneca, New York on March 18, 1839.  Mary’s parents, Dr. Lester Jewett and Hannah Southwick Jewett, were already parents to five children.  After Mary’s birth, another four children would join the Jewett clan.  Sadly, the Jewetts lost infants Ruth and Oakley within days of each in 1846, probably of diptheria or scarlet fever.  After their burial at Old No. 9 Cemetery in Seneca, the family made the decision to move to Lima, Michigan, to be closer to Lester’s brothers who had migrated there in the 1820s.

Mary was an exceptional child.  By the age of 14, she was teaching in the district school.  Later, she spent one year teaching at Morganfield, Kentucky, before returning home to Michigan.  It was there that her younger brother, William T. Jewett, enlisted in the 4th Michigan Cavalry.  Four months later, William was dead from typhoid fever.  Then Mary’s elder brother, Edward Jewett, joined the 124th Ohio Infantry.  Mary longed to assist the soldiers convalescing from their wounds.  Although she was denied a nursing position by the U.S. Sanitary Commission because she was too young, Mary persisted.  Michigan Governor Austin Blair, a friend of her father’s, gave her a special permit and Mary was off to war.

Working at Hospital No. 8 in Nashville, Tennessee, must have been exhausting for the young nurse who, for eight months, was the sole woman in the hospital occupied by six hundred soldiers.  Mary did her best to keep up with the requests for water and the calls for assistance of all kinds.  One of Mary’s duties was likely to have been the writing of letters for young men incapable of doing so themselves due to illness or injury.  How many letters did Mary write?  The answer is lost to history.  We do know that, on more than one occasion, soldiers sought her out many years after the war to thank her for being their angel during those dark days of war.  Mary was a strong woman, but even she could not withstand the constant lack of sleep and the strain of the stair climbing from ward to ward.  After a year, Mary left the nursing job she loved, shattered in health and spirits.

Her loved ones in Michigan awaited her return.  In addition to her family, there was a soldier who waited for Mary – her sweetheart, Jacob Telford, of the 15th Indiana Infantry.  Mary and Jacob married on July 8, 1864, at her home in Lima, Michigan.  We do not know when Mary and Jacob met.  Jacob, nearly six years older than Mary, was also native to Seneca, New York.  My romantic soul would like to think they had been childhood friends, separated when the Jewett family moved to Michigan.  Then, one day on her daily rounds at Hospital No. 8, she came across him again and recognized his clear blue eyes and shy grin.  Jacob had been severely wounded at Murfreesboro, Tennessee.  It is not a stretch to believe he may have been brought back to Hospital No. 8 in Nashville for treatment.  However it came about, they did marry and were not parted again until death.

There is much more of Mary’s story to come!  Check back soon for Part 2 of Mary Jewett Telford, Humanitarian.

Happy Birthday, Mary!


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