Helen, Elvira, Marie, Filleaul, Charlotte, Margaret, and Alice: Gold Medal Winners by Linda Harris Sittig

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A young woman enters the pool arena, takes off her towel, and shakes her hands in an effort to calm her nerves.

When the announcer calls, she mounts the diving board and serenely walks to the front edge. One deep breath and then she catapults herself into space, tucking her body into not just one, but three forward somersaults before straightening out and diving into the blue waters of the pool—her body making a perfect entrance with no hint of a splash.

This girl is a modern Olympian, participating in a competition that dates back to 776 B.C. when the first Olympic Game was held in Olympia, Greece, to honor Zeus, the father of all Greek gods and goddesses.

The rules were different in the ancient Olympics. All the participating athletes had to be Greek citizens and could hail from every corner of the Greek empire, stretching from Iberia (modern day Spain) to the Black Sea (modern day Turkey). Athletes had to appear one month in advance of the games, in order to train, and attest that they had been practicing for the previous 10 months.

The games were always held at the first full moon after the summer solstice (approximately middle of July) and during the games a sacred truce was declared. No individual Greek city-state could start a war and no arms could be carried in the vicinity of Olympia.

And of course, the competition was open only to men.

In the beginning, the Olympiad lasted for one day and contained only one event—the stadion foot race of 600 feet. As the years progressed, the games added more events and stretched over a three-day, then five-day period. The agenda eventually grew to 18 events.

All contestants competed in the nude, perhaps to prevent clothing from slowing them down.

The ancient games included running, long jump, shot put, javelin, boxing, pankration (similar to martial arts), and equestrian events. For 12 centuries athletes walked through a special portal to enter the stadium for the main events, and the hippodrome for the equestrian races.

Events were not timed. You simply won if you beat out all the other competitors. Winners stood before a cheering crowd, estimated to be as many as 45,000 spectators sitting on the embankments around the stadium. The illustrious olive wreath was bestowed as a symbol of excellence. If an athlete broke a rule during the competition, he was then excluded from all future Olympiads.

And so the Olympics progressed for over a thousand years until in 393 C.E. when Emperor Theodosius decreed that all cult practices, including the Olympiads, be abolished.

Fast forward to 1894, Baron Pierre de Coubertin concocted the idea of re-inventing the Olympic Games. His intention was to have the modern games hosted in Paris, and he founded the International Olympic Committee. The countries that were invited, however, all voted to have the new games debut in Athens, Greece.

In 1896, after a hiatus of 1,179 years, the Olympics returned.

Women were still not allowed to participate on the grounds that they would overdevelop their muscles and prove to be uninteresting.

Ahem.

Four years later when the next round of Olympiads was scheduled to occur in Paris, France, at the 1900 World’s Fair, women athletes had won the privilege of competing.

The gold medals for women in the 1900 games went to the following:

Helen de Pourtales, Switzerland, part of the sailing team. She was 32 years old.

Elvira Geurra, Italy, competed in the equestrian events. She was 45.

Marie Ohner and Filleaul Brohy, France, competed together in croquet.

Charlotte Cooper, Great Britain, was the first woman to win in an individual event; tennis. She was 35.

Margaret Abbott, United States, won as part of the golf team. She was 23.

It would take another thirty-six years before African-American female athletes were allowed to represent the United States during the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.Then, in 1948, Alice Marie Coachman, at the age of 25, became the first African-American female athlete to be awarded a gold medal during the Olympics. She won in London for the high jump.

These women made Olympic history, not just by participating and/or  winning gold medals, but by being role models for all future female athletes.

Today, every participating country sends women athletes to the Olympics and more than 40 percent of all contestants are female.

Allyson Hopkins, thank you for asking how women became involved in the Olympics.

Thank you, readers, for supporting Strong Women in History. Please pass my blog onto friends and encourage them to become followers.

Catch me on Twitter @LHSittig or my website LINDASITTIG.COM. Want to learn about my favorite strong woman? Go to http://www.amzn.com/1940553024 for my novel, Cut From Strong Cloth.

Do you have a woman to nominate for Strong Women in History? Please leave me your information in the comments section of this blog.

~ Linda ~

 

 

 

 

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Margaret Gaffney Haughery: Saint of New Orleans by Linda Harris Sittig

 

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Almost two centuries before Hurricane Katrina wreaked devastation upon the city of New Orleans, Louisiana, a different type of villain stalked the city.

That villain was hunger. It rooted itself in the poor parishes of the city, and its tentacles clutched at the hundreds of orphans in the streets.

One woman waged war against it: Margaret Gaffney Haughery.

Born in County Leitrim, Ireland, in 1813, Margaret emigrated to America at the age of five with her parents and two siblings. Arriving at Baltimore, the family settled into a hardscrabble life until 1822, when a yellow fever epidemic killed both the parents within days of each other. The fever also took the youngest child.

Orphaned at the age of nine, Margaret was then separated from her older brother when he wandered off into the city and simply disappeared.  A neighbor woman offered Margaret sanctuary in her home, but insisted that Margaret start working as a domestic washer-girl to earn her keep.

By the age of ten, Margaret had joined the American work force, but her wages went solely to her guardian.

Twelve years later Margaret left domestic servitude by marrying Charles Haughery. The young couple relocated to New Orleans, Louisiana.

Unfortunately, the climate did not agree with Charles, he soon contracted a sickness and died. A few months later their infant child, Frances, also perished.

Bereft and left alone once again, Margaret faced destitution, but she knew how to launder and press clothes. She sought employment at the St. Charles Hotel and soon had a place to live and a steady paycheck. On her days off, she volunteered at the nearby Poydras Orphan Asylum run by the Sisters of Charity.

The plight of the orphans must have struck a chord deep within Margaret’s soul. Perhaps she saw in them a former version of her younger self.

She began to save every penny from her job, eventually buying two cows which allowed her to start up a modest milk-selling business. Each morning she would pull a milk cart through the city and sell her milk door to door. At each house she asked for any left-over food she could take to the orphanage.

Whether she had the luck of the Irish, or good business sense, her two-cow dairy grew within two years to a herd of forty cows. In addition to milk, she began to offer cream and butter as well.

With the success of her milk business underway, Margaret decided to expand and thought about the type food she could provide the orphans on a daily basis.

Bread was the answer. With grit and determination Margaret opened one of the earliest steam bakeries in the South. The added bonus was that Margaret could now offer employment to others, and she increased her financial holdings.

With the success of the bakery, Margaret used her own money to finance the openings of four additional orphanages.

A further testament to Margaret’s tenacious personality occurred in 1861 when the Civil War reached New Orleans. Union General Benjamin Butler occupied the city and declared martial war with curfews and no-cross boundaries. Margaret ignored the warnings and drove a wagon herself to deliver a load of bread flour to an orphanage situated behind enemy lines.

When she died in 1882, pallbearers at her funeral included two Lieutenant Governors of Louisiana and the Mayor of New Orleans. During her funeral cortege, as her coffin was carried in the streets, thousands of people stopped what they were doing and stood by the side of the road to pay their respects.

Two years later, the city of New Orleans erected a statue in her honor. It was the first public American monument dedicated to a woman and the money had come in donations of pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, and dollar bills. At its unveiling, children from every orphanage in the city stood in attendance.

In spite of her generous charitable contributions through the years and her own sparse lifestyle, Margaret had still amassed a considerable estate. In her will, she left every penny to the different orphanages of the city; regardless of race, creed, or ethnicity.

Her will was signed with a simple cross. Too busy with feeding the poor, Margaret had never learned to read or write.

Thank you to Eileen Rice, follower of this blog, for alerting me to Margaret’s story.

I invite all readers to sign up on the right hand sidebar to become followers of this blog. I am trying to reach 1,000 readers this year. Currently the blog is being followed in 64 countries. You can also catch me on Twitter @LHSittig or my website, http://www.lindasittig.com. My debut novel, Cut From Strong Cloth is on Amazon.

~ Linda ~

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Eugenie Thomas Duke and Margaret Vossberg Hellmann: the Mayonnaise Queens by Linda Harris Sittig

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Many people erroneously assume that America is divided North and South by The Mason-Dixon Line; the survey boundary that separates Pennsylvania from Maryland and West Virginia.

In truth, America is divided North and South by mayonnaise.

Yes, mayonnaise, created in Spain and popularized by the French since the mid-eighteenth century, this condiment has garnished generations of American salads and sandwiches. Its long-lasting influence in our country can be traced to two families: the Duke’s and the Hellmann’s, or more specifically, Eugenie Thomas Duke and Margaret Vossberg Hellman.

A tremendous rivalry between the brands still exists with loyal fans steeply entrenched in respective camps. In order not to show any partiality (yet), I will present the stories in alphabetical order.

Eugenie Thomas was born in Columbus, Georgia in 1881. At the age of 19, she married Thomas Duke, an electrician, and the couple eventually moved to Greenville, South Carolina.

In 1917 thousands of soldiers were living at Camp Sevier, only six miles north of Greenville. Eugenia decided that she could start a sandwich business, making pimento, egg salad, and chicken salad sandwiches, and sell them to the army camp.

With the help of her daughter, Eugenia made the sandwiches daily, carried them on the local train to the camp, and sold them to the army canteens for ten cents each. Her profit amounted to two cents per sandwich.

The popularity of her enterprise led Eugenia to increase her sales by also selling sandwiches to the shops on Main Street and to local textile mills; eventually expanding her business to the fashionable city hotel dining rooms as well.

Five years into her sandwich business, Eugenia had received many letters from soldiers asking for the recipe to her delicious sandwich spread. Rather than give out the recipe, she started bottling her mayonnaise and selling it as a separate product. Her husband joined her in the business.

The ingredients included oil, egg yolks, and cider vinegar. Because sugar had been rationed during the years of WWI, she left it out of the recipe.

Her mayonnaise became known as Duke’s Real Mayonnaise and by 1929 they sold the lucrative business to the C.F. Sauer Company.

Eugenia lived to be 90 years old and left her culinary mark on mayonnaise history. Originally sold only in the South, Duke’s Real Mayonnaise is available across the nation, but has its most loyal followers in the Carolinas and Georgia. Duke’s is recognizable by its bright yellow cap.

Margaret Vossberg emigrated from Germany to the United States with her family at the turn of the twentieth century and settled in New York City. There, her family opened a very successful delicatessen.

In 1904 Margaret married Richard Hellmann, whom she knew from her earlier years in Germany. Richard worked as a wholesale grocer but had the immigrant’s aspiration of one day owning his own company.

One year into their marriage, Richard found a vacant store on Columbus Avenue on the Upper West Side of New York City. He promptly decided that he and Margaret could now open their own delicatessen.

They worked together day and night with hardly a break until the delicatessen was a success. A major draw was their mayonnaise. Made fresh daily, they tinkered with the recipe until they found the perfect combination. While the recipe was a closely guarded secret, most culinary researchers believed the Hellmann’s used oil, raw egg yolks, white vinegar, salt, sugar, and a dash of lemon juice.

The fresh batches of mayonnaise sold out quickly each day.

By 1912 Margaret and Richard Hellman entered the profitable market of manufacturing mayonnaise wholesale and distributed it coast to coast, but it still remained a Northern favorite.

Margaret died in 1920 and Richard sold Hellman’s in 1927 to Best Foods. The jar, however, still continues to have its iconic blue cap.

Eugenie and Margaret’s lives shared a familiar parallel—women who became business entrepreneurs through diligence and hard work.

It is hard to pinpoint today the fervent dedication people have to a particular brand of mayonnaise. Perhaps it harks back to childhood with the taste of a perfect pimento cheese sandwich or a summertime tomato sandwich on white bread. For the generations of Americans who grew up during the Great Depression, sandwiches laced with mayonnaise were a daily staple.

Regardless of where your loyalty lies, you can thank these two women for helping to bring the ultimate gift to America foodies—the perfect mayonnaise.

I was raised on Hellmann’s. Need I say more?

~ Linda ~

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Thank you for reading about Strong Women!

 

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Anna Connelly: Lifesaver by Linda Harris Sittig

building-690043_640One hundred forty-six people perished in a matter of minutes in one of New York City’s most horrific fires—The Triangle Waist Company Fire in March of 1911. Most of the victims were young immigrant girls, all of them perished needlessly.

A significant number of lives might have been saved if the owners of the garment factory, located in the Asch Building in lower Manhattan, had installed Anna Connelly’s invention.

Fires in New York City were nothing new, but by 1900 what had changed was the height of the buildings. As the city grew, the buildings grew upward into the age of the skyscraper.

Unfortunately, many, if not most of the fire wagons had ladders and hoses that were only capable of reaching the fourth floor. When fires broke out on the upper floors of a building, the conflagrations quickly spread and anyone trapped above the fourth floor had a dismal chance of survival.

The Triangle Fire broke out on the upper three floors of the ten-story building.

Safety codes were extremely limited and lenient at the turn of the twentieth century in cities across America. Like many other entrepreneurs, the owners of the Triangle Waist Company paid more attention to increasing their profits than they did to ensure the safety of their workers.

Located on the corner of Washington Place and Greene Street, the Asch Building had been designed with wide open upper floor patterns, making  the space ideal for garment work. The rooms were gigantic with numerous long tables for cutters of the cotton fabric. The building had two small elevators and each floor had an exit door that was shielded by a partition. This purposeful design guaranteed that only one worker at a time could exit. The night watchman could then inspect each girl’s handbag, in the event she was trying to smuggle extra scraps of cloth out of the factory.

If you take the high flammability of cotton, small elevators, a puny fire escape, wide open rooms, and an exit that would allow only one person at a time to vacate the building…it was a space designed for a fire calamity.

According to the newspaper reports, the fire broke out on the eighth floor, quickly spread upward, and the workers trapped within the Triangle Company had literally no chance of survival. Some jumped to their deaths down an empty elevator shaft, others leaped from windows, but most of them died in the flames.

In 1887 Anna Connelly of Philadelphia had submitted a patent for her newest invention—a fire escape bridge. The precursor to modern-day fire escapes had already been invented, but Connelly’s patent was for a bridge type structure that would connect adjacent buildings at the roof line. If a fire broke out and people could get to the top of the building, they could escape across the ‘bridge’ to safety at the building next door. In the patent drawing, one can see that the bridge was open at both ends, and had steel or iron railings along the sides to prevent anyone from falling off—especially people running and pushing in panic mode.

Little is known of Anna Connelly’s life. According to city records, she was already filing patents by 1877 for less significant inventions, but her fire escape bridge is her most valuable contribution.  Like many other women inventors, her name is only mentioned briefly in history. No modern fire escape safety system bears her name.

If only the owners of the Asch Building had paid attention to the potential lifesaving ability of her invention, the Triangle Fire might have had a different outcome.

I hope you enjoyed learning about another strong woman.If you have not yet signed up to be a follower of this blog, please do so on the right sidebar.

You can also catch me on Twitter @LHsittig or my web page: http://www.lindasittig.com. My books appear on Amzon.com.

~ linda ~

 

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Sanora Babb: Strong Woman of the Dust Bowl by Linda Harris Sittig

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This particular strong woman is near and dear to my heart, because of her one supposed failure.

Born in 1907 in Red Rock, Oklahoma, when the land was still a territory, Sanora Babb moved frequently as a child. When she was six, her unemployed father moved the family to eastern Colorado to homestead a 320-acre farm, where hundreds of acres were devoted to growing grasses for the making of brooms.

The isolated farm sat on the vast High Plains of Colorado and the family lived in a single room dugout, their home ‘papered’ on the inside with sheets of newspapers. Those pages were Sanora’s first exposure to the world of written stories, and journalism. Using the newspaper sheets, Sanora taught herself how to read.

After repeated crop failures the family moved on, first to Kansas and eventually to the panhandle of Oklahoma. There, Sanora and her sister were finally able to attend school. Although Sanora was eleven when she walked into her first classroom, she later graduated valedictorian of her high school class.

She worked odd jobs after high school while writing on the side, and landed her first journalism job as a cub reporter for the Kansas Garden City Herald.  Then in 1929, she moved to Los Angeles and was hired by the Los Angeles Times.

The stock market crash a few months later, plunging the country into the Great Depression. Sanora found herself unemployed and homeless. Undeterred, she found work as a secretary, and she continued to write.

On a trip home to see her mother, Sanora was astounded to see families she had known as prosperous, now waiting on soup lines along with evicted farmers. The visit made her acutely aware of the misery that the Dust Bowl and The Great Depression had thrust upon the people of the Oklahoma.

By 1938, Sanora was back in California and hired as an assistant to Tom Collins, the head of the local Farm Security Administration program. Together they traveled throughout the central California valley talking to migrant workers about federal programs that could offer them assistance. Everywhere they traveled, Sanora took copious notes for a novel she was writing about the Okies experience of surviving the devastation of the Dust Bowl, only to find a system of widespread discrimination in the migrant worker camps.

A year later she sent her manuscript, Whose Names Are Unknown, to Random House, and the editor, Bennett Cerf was so impressed he offered her a publishing contract. Her novel told the story of two Okie families whose lives had been decimated by the Dust Bowl and had packed up all their belongings and headed to California where they hoped to establish new lives. Once in California, they encountered bigotry and hatred and the hellish experience of life in the migrant camps.

Sound familiar? It should. While Sanora was taking notes about the migrant families, her boss Tom Collins was secretly sharing those notes with a friend who was also writing a novel. That friend was John Steinbeck.

Back in New York, Bennett Cerf and Random House were on the verge of publication when Viking Press launched The Grapes of Wrath to immediate success. Bennett Cerf had to make the decision of rescinding Sanora’s contract because he felt that a second novel on the same subject would not sell.

The Grapes of Wrath went on to win the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and made John Steinbeck a household name.  When asked about his research on the book, Steinbeck said he had made a few visits to the migrant camps with his good friend Tom Collins, and he would be forever grateful for the notes provided to him by Collins. Sanora Babb’s name was never mentioned.

Sanora decided not to attempt another novel but continued to write short stories. She became the common law wife of James Wong Howe, a noted Hollywood cinematographer, but could not legally marry him because of California’s anti-miscegenation laws (marrying a person of another race). Those laws were repealed in 1948 and Sanora formally married James in 1949.

She did go on to write several novels and at the age of 97 her original novel, Whose Names Are Unknown, was published. She died the following year in 2005. Critics have compared The Grapes of Wrath to Whose Names Are Unknown and have ascertained that Sanora’s novel was written with the eye of a true journalist, marrying raw details to unparalleled human compassion for a group of people who defined the true meaning of being an Okie.

Sanora Babb, I hope I did you proud. The Grapes of Wrath will never mean the same to me again.

Thanks to blog follower, Bucky Schriver for Sanora’s name.

If you have not yet told a friend about this blog, please do and ask them to become a follower. My goal is to reach 700 followers by summer. Catch me on twitter @LHSittig or www.lindasittig.com or on Amazon with my novel, Cut From Strong Cloth.

Linda 

 

 

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Isabelle Eberhardt and Noor Inayat Kahn by Linda Harris Sittig

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It has often been said that actions speak louder than words. However, actions coupled with the written word can last even longer.

Both of the women I have chosen for this month’s blog hail from unique backgrounds. Blessed with good educations, they exhibited courage in the face of tyranny, and both followed the Muslim faith.

And, although separated by several decades, they both drew inspiration for  writing while living in Paris, France.

Isabelle Eberhardt was born in Switzerland in 1877 and from her teenage years showed a strong interest in the history of North Africa. Extremely competent in languages, she spoke French, Russian, German, and Italian, and later became fluent in Arabic as well.

In addition to languages, Isabelle had a talent for writing and became published by the age of eighteen. After the success of her first written piece, she began to focus her writing on the culture of North Africa, even though she had never been there. Two years later, after several more pieces were published, she journeyed with her mother to Algeria. Together, they chose to live outside the European quarter, and thus alienated themselves from the French population.

When her mother died a few months later, Isabelle decided to convert to Islam and remain in Algeria. She soon began to dress as an Arabic man in order to freely roam throughout Northern Africa to explore the culture. When her funds ran out, she left for Paris to write about French colonialism.

She eventually returned to Algeria, met an Algerian soldier and married him, and continued to write. For the next several years she studied Islam, wrote for newspapers advocating the theme of decolonization for North Africa, and traveled widely.

At the age of twenty-seven, in 1904, while renting a small mud house with her husband, a flash flood struck the area and Isabelle was killed. Many of her previously unpublished manuscripts were made public after her death and she was eventually regarded as a force of literacy action in the decolonization movement.

It would take Algeria another fifty-eight years before the country achieved independence from France.

Noor Inayat Kahn was born ten years after Isabelle Eberhardt died, but she was also a champion against political oppression.

Born in Moscow to a Muslim-Indian father and American mother, Noor Inayat Kahn initially moved with her family to London. Soon, the family relocated to Paris where Noor received much of her education and became fluent in both English and French.

She started her writing career penning children’s stories, but when France fell to the Nazi occupation in 1940, Noor escaped to England. There, she joined the British Women’s Auxiliary Air Force and trained to become a wireless operator.

Her mastery of dual languages made her an asset and she was quickly recruited to become a special agent. She would go on to spend two years as an active member of the French Resistance transmitting messages to the British.

In October of 1943, she was arrested by the Gestapo and sent to solitary confinement in a German prison. One year later she was transferred to the Dachau concentration camp and executed by a firing squad.

She was thirty years old.

Both Isabelle and Noor left their mark on the world through their writings, their courageous acts against political domination, and by being strong young women.

It helps to remember that good people exist in all parts of the world, regardless of religious and ethnic diversity.

Strong women might come from a variety of backgrounds, but they are united by their passion of trying to make this a better world for others.

Thank you to Harley Gamble who shared Isabelle’s story with me.

And, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE BLOG! Strong Women in History is starting its 5th year with over 600 followers in 64 different countries. Give the blog a birthday present by sharing it with a new friend and telling them to become a follower, too.

You can catch me also on Twitter @LHsittig, my website at http://www.lindasittig.com, and Amazon: http://www.amazn.com/1940553024. I am currently hard at work finishing my second novel, Last Curtain Call, which features a strong female protagonist caught up in the violent coal mining strike of 1894, and was inspired by the life of a real woman.

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Florena Budwin and her 500 Sisters by Linda Harris Sittig

 

shutterstock_553813One hundred and fifty-two years ago Florena Budwin faced the agonizing truth that her husband was dead and she was on the verge of being captured as a Yankee prisoner of war.

The previous year, in 1864, at the age of nineteen, she had faced the momentous decision of either watching her husband march off to fight for the Union Army, or dress like a man herself and accompany him.

A few days later she enlisted with him.

By the best estimates, more than five hundred women became soldiers during the Civil War. Some, like Florena, joined so they could be with their husbands, others were drawn by a variety of factors and perhaps even the supposed adventure of marching off to war.

While both the North and the South assumed that the War Between the States would be concluded in a few months time, we have the hindsight to know that it lasted a full four years. To date, almost as many casualties occurred during that war, as from all other wars combined in which Americans fought.

Among the casualties of the Civil War, were women like Florena Budwin.

After her husband was killed soon after enlistment, Florena was captured by the Confederates and sent to the South’s most notorious prison camp—Camp Sumter, or Andersonville as it was commonly known.

Prison camps existed on both sides and early in the war prisoner exchanges were facilitated. However, as the war dragged on, Ulysses S. Grant concluded that released southern prisoners would pose additional security threats and the exchanges were permanently halted for both North and South.

For prisoners like Florena, it meant the difference between possible survival and certain death.

While none of the prison camps, North or South, were a walk in the park, Andersonville became synonymous with almost no hope of survival. Completely surrounded by a 15-foot high stockade wall of Georgia pine, another barrier of logs was placed 12 feet inside the outer stockade. If any prisoner attempted to cross the inner barricade perimeter, he (or she) was shot on sight. The demarcation point became known as the dead-line; coining a new term in the America lexicon.

Prison camps in the North, like the infamous Libby Prison in Richmond, VA were fashioned from existing buildings, and used for barracks. But in the South, the prison camps were open stockades and prisoners lived in makeshift tents exposed to the elements. It was up to each prisoner to construct his own shelter.

Hastily built in January 1864 to accommodate 10,000 men, the Andersonville prison population would swell to 33,000 before the camp’s twelve-month life came to an abrupt end.

Florena was among the 33,000.

The location of Andersonville had been chosen as a prison site in the western Georgian hills because it was remote, surrounded by acres of timber, and serviced by a rail line. An added benefit was that a fresh running stream coursed through the property.

In theory, the stream could have been used for washing and drinking. But after months of a brutally hot Georgia summer and the arrival of 400 additional prisoners arriving every day, the water source soon became diminished. The little bit of the stream that continued to run became contaminated when Confederate officers housed upstream, used it as a latrine.

With virtually no hygiene or toilet facilities, diseases in the prison tent-city exploded. Food rations were scarce, housing was a series of tattered canvas tents, and dysentery (debilitating diarrhea) claimed more victims than any other diagnosis.

As the ugly war raged on, the Confederate Army sorely needed all sources of available food and supplies for their own troops. There was no surplus that could be spared for captured Federal prisoners.

By the late fall of 1864 when Union General W. T. Sherman tore across the South, the Commander of Andersonville Prison, Captain Henry Wirz, decided it would be better to transfer his prisoners to other camps, rather than let them be liberated by Sherman.

Florena Budwin, still posing as a male soldier, was shipped to the Florence Stockade, near Florence, South Carolina. She died there from pneumonia in January 1865—just a few months shy of the end of the war.

While the name of Andersonville Prison still retains its former notoriety, there were roughly 100 prison camps in the Civil War and the northern prisons held their own badge of infamy for the deplorable treatment of their Confederate prisoners.

Both sides harbored women as soldiers, and both sides harbored women as prisoners.

While General Sherman is remembered for his devastating March to the Sea, his troops carving a path of total destruction sixty-six miles wide from Atlanta to Savannah, he is also remembered for saying, “War is Hell.”

No doubt Florena Budwin and her 500 sisters would have agreed.

You can also find me on Twitter @lhsittig and find my books on Amazon at http://www.amzn.com/1940553024.

~Linda~

 

 

 

 

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