Posted tagged ‘Woman’s Relief Corps’

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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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”.

Mary Jewett Telford, A Woman of the Century

March 10, 2010

Mary Jewett Telford (1839-1906), courtesy Evan Marshall

March is Women’s History Month.  In honor of that, I’d like to share with you an amazing woman with a Civil War connection.  Her name was Mary Jewett Telford.  I’ll soon post a Hero Highlight of Mary that gives you more information about her fascinating life.  In the meantime, check out the electronic postcard made by Evan Marshall, second great grandnephew-in-law of Mary Jewett Telford.

Exciting Illuminations to Come!

February 23, 2010

Although it has been over a month since I last posted, don’t think I am slacking off.  If anything, I am busier than ever planning more illuminations!

  • On Wednesday, I will interview a World War II veteran about his experiences during and after the war. 
  • Thursday’s agenda includes a meeting with the Pittsford Town Historian to discuss various research avenues.
  • I’ve been contacted by a local author who specializes in archives.  He wants to discuss the possibility of co-authoring an article with me about the Civil War.  My appointment with him is on Saturday. 
  • My tour at Pittsford Cemetery, co-hosted with Audrey Johnson, has been scheduled for Saturday, May 15, at 10:00 a.m.  I’m looking forward to seeing some of my old friends, and meeting new ones as well, as we delve into the lives of our local Civil War soldiers and other Pittsford notables.
  • Another cemetery tour, for the Perinton Historical Society, has just been scheduled for Tuesday, June 8, 7:00 p.m., at Greenvale Cemetery.
  • I am hard at work writing an article about Civil War nurse and Woman’s Relief Corps charter member Mary Jewett Telford for an upcoming issue of the Perinton Historical Society’s newsletter, the Historigram.
  • Genealogy is a daily part of my life.  If I am not researching my Civil War soldiers, then I am working on the genealogy of my friend, Floris A. Lent.  Amazingly, Floris has many Civil War soldiers in her family.  She is also related to Dr. Robert O. Wilson, a Methodist physician who was in Nanjing, China in the 1930s during the Nanjing Massacre. Not only that, Floris is also related to Susan B. Anthony on both sides of her family.   Some people have all the luck!

In the coming weeks and months, many changes will occur on Illuminated History.  Although my heart remains with my Pittsford Civil War boys, I will begin to illuminate other local history as well.  My research into the Perinton Civil War soldiers will be shared, as will my interviews with local World War II veterans.  I’m very excited to illuminate local history for you, and I welcome your comments and suggestions.  Please feel free to post a message on Illuminated History, or email me directly at vprofitt@rochester.rr.com.

Illuminations

January 20, 2010

Thank you to everyone who attended my Illuminated History:  The Civil War Soldiers of Perinton presentation last night at the Fairport Library.  I was overwhelmed by the positive response, and the genuine interest in my Civil War boys and our Civil War nurse, Mary Jewett Telford.

Mary Jewett Telford, courtesy Floris A. Lent

Mary Jewett Telford, courtesy Floris A. Lent

It was a pleasure speaking with so many of you before and after the presentation:  Brian Burkhart, who is diligently tracking the men of the 108th New York Volunteer Infantry;  Herb Swingle, who created quite a stir with his connection of John Wilkes Booth to the Rochester area;  Gary Maybee, who shared with me the story of his own Civil War treasures; and Melissa Talma, who took the time to write me an eloquent email expressing her enthusiasm for my project and for learning more about our Civil War heroes.

The heroes illuminated last night included:

George B. Wiltsie, courtesy Jason Puckett

George B. Wiltsie (1837-1865), 4th New York Heavy Artillery.  Died of typhoid fever contracted as a result of starvation at Salisbury Prison.  Buried at Pittsford Cemetery.

Kingsley Brownell (1845-1924), 21st New York Cavalry.  Seriously wounded outside Martinsburg, WV and forced to ride 9 miles as a POW before being paroled 8 months later.  Buried at Pittsford Cemetery.

Major Harvey E. Light (1834-1921), 10th Michigan Cavalry.  Major Harvey survived the war and became a prominent citizen in the Pittsford community.  Buried at Pittsford Cemetery.

Mary Jewett Telford (1839-1906), Civil War nurse.  Served at Hospital No. 8 in Nashville, TN.  Nurse, author, suffragette, editor and charter member of the Woman’s Relief Corps.  Buried at South Perinton Cemetery.

Other Civil War soldiers mentioned during the presentation were:

William B. Lyke (1839-1904), 4th New York Heavy Artillery.  Captured, along with George B. Wiltsie, at Reams Station.  Died in 1904, age 65.

Kingsley Brownell, courtesy Mark A. Lannan

Kingsley Brownell, courtesy Mark A. Lannan

Albert E. Lyke (1841-1933), 4th New York Heavy Artillery.  Shot through the jaw at Spotsylvania.  Took his first plane ride in 1928, at age 87.  Died at age 92.

Edward H. Lyke (c 1843-1864), 4th New York Heavy Artillery.  Brother of William B. and Albert E. Lyke.  Mortally wounded at Petersburg.

Henry Root (c 1845-1899), 4th New York Heavy Artillery.  Drummer boy.  Drowned in 1899 after suffering a seizure and falling into the water while fishing.

Jerome Brownell (1843-1921), 108th New York Volunteer Infantry.  Brother of Kingsley Brownell.  Wounded at Gettysburg.

Jacob Telford (1833-1905), 15th Indiana Infantry.  Husband of Mary Jewett Telford.  Wounded at Murfreesboro, TN.

John H. Thurmon (1843-1919), 2nd Missouri Cavalry.  The only Confederate soldier buried at Pittsford Cemetery.

Harvey E. Light, courtesy Doug Light

Harvey E. Light, courtesy Doug Light

Special thanks to descendants Martha Jewett, Evan Marshall, Clay Feeter, Floris A. Lent, Jason Puckett, Mark A. Lannan and Doug Light for supplying me with photos and information about their heroic ancestors.  I very much appreciate the services of Laurie T. Hall who taped the presentation, Charles Profitt as tech guy, Margaret Pilaroscia of the Fairport Library and Alan Keukelaar of the Perinton Historical Society.

There are many more illuminations to come!  Please check my “Cemetery Tours and Presentations” page for information about upcoming events.


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