ATTACHMENT     Thumbnail Sketches of Women of the Civil War Era (Focus on Hoosier Women)

Instructions to Teachers:  This list includes a few notable women among hundreds of others who lived throughout Indiana during the Civil War Era. The list is included to provide incentives for students to research other women, especially local ones, through the Indiana Rooms at the Library, websites and by interviewing who know other women of achievement.  

BARTON, Clara (1821-1912) assisted on the battlefield and founded the American Red Cross in 1881 (not a  Hoosier).

BEECHER, Eunice (1812-1897) was an activist and writer from Lawrenceberg and Indianapolis and the wife of Henry Ward Beecher.

BLAKER, Eliza (1854-1926) was an educator in Indianapolis who established and became the president of Teacher’s College of Indianapolis (Butler); she lobbied for texes to support public kindergartens.

BOLTON, Sarah Tittle (1813-1893), from Madison and Indianapolis, was an activist for women’s rights and a poet recognized as the Pioneer Poet Laureate of Indiana.

BONDY, Jane (1810-1877) was known as Ozashinquah, a Native American of the Miami tribe and daughter of Frances Slocum.

BRADLEY, Lydia Moss (1816-1908) was a business woman, philanthropist and educator from Vevay.

CARLETON, Emma (1850-1924) was a business woman and writer who authored books on antiques.

CHASE, Rhoda Castle (1833-1893) was a Civil War nurse who became blinded by small pox.  She lived in Muncie, Mishawaka, LaPorte, Wabash, Danville and Indianapolis; was the wife of the 21st governor of Indiana and raised five children whom she never saw.

COFFIN, Katie (1803-1881) was a Quaker activist from Fountain City (Newport), known as the Conductor of the Underground Railroad, who was responsible for the freedom of thousands of slaves.

COFFIN, Rhoda (1826-1905) was a Quaker minister, prison reformer for women and world missionary from Richmond.

COLFAX, Harriet (1825-1905) was a lighthouse keeper in Michigan City who was appointed by President Lincoln and was credited for saving lives and ships on stormy Lake Michigan.  She is honored in the Old Lighthouse Museum.

DYE, Charity (1849-1921) was an educator and author from Indianapolis who wrote Torch Bearers of Indiana, an early tribute to Indiana women of achievement.

FINLEY, Martha 1828-1909) was a writer of children’s books from Indianapolis.

GARR, Julia Meek (1859) was a civic leader and founder of the Fort Wayne Historical Museum.

GEORGE, Eliza (1808-1865), a Civil War nurse from Fort Wayne, died of typhoid while serving with Indiana soldiers in the South.

GOLDEN, Bella (1842-1919), an actress from New Harmony and Newcastle, traveled to give plays in thirteen states.

GOODWIN, Frances (1855-1929), a sculptor from Henry County, had works displayed in the Indiana Statehouse, US Capitol and Henry County Historical  Society Museum.

HOWE, Julia Howe Ward (        ) edited an abolitionist magazine and wrote a poem that was sung as the “Battle Hymn of the Republic (not a Hoosier).

KETCHAN, Susan (1841-1930) was an artist known for her paintings from Indianapolis.

KROUT, Caroline Virginia (1852-1931) was a novelist from Crawsfordsville.

LARRABEE, Harriett Dun (1851-1932) was an educator from Greencastle who founded a women’s school.

PORTER, Gene Straton (1863-1924), one of Indiana’s most famous authors and environmentalist; she wrote many classics based on nature and family and was a self-taught photographer.

RABB, Kate Milner (1866-1937) was a journalist from Rockport.

RUNCIE, Constance Owen Fauntleroy (1836-19ll) was an activist of the famous Owen family of New Harmony.

SAY, Lucy Sistane (1801-1886), an artist and educator from New Harmony, taught drawing and watercolor.

SEWALL, May Wright (1844-1920) was an educator, activist and peace worker from Franklin and Indianapolis; she was the founder of a girls’ classical school and instrumental in winning women’s right to vote, as well as an organizer of fifty women’s clubs around the world.   

STREIGHT, Lovina (1830-1910) was a Civil War activist from Irvington and Indianapolis; she followed her husband’s regiment South and became known as the “Mother of 5000 Soldiers”; her portrait hangs in the Statehouse.

THOMAS, Mary, M.D. (1816-1888) was a medical doctor, suffragist and Civil War nurse; she was one of the first female medical doctors.

TUBMAN, Harriet (circa 1820-1913), born a slave herself, helped many slaves to freedom.

WALLACE, Susan (1830-1907) was an author, poet, religious writer and philanthropist from Indianapolis.

WALLACE, Zerelda Sanders (1817-1901) was an activist and lecturer on temperance and suffrage; she was the wife of Governor David Wallace and stepmother of Lew Wallace.

WILSON, Jennie (1856-1913) was a music composer of hymns from South Whitley.

WOODWARD, Etter (1844-1924) was a tent revivalist from Indianapolis.

WRIGHT, Mary (1793-1875) was a musician who cloisteed herself in a cabin in Vevay and is featured in the local museum.

Sources for Biographies of Women (and Others) from the Civil War Era*

Places and People:

Local Libraries—Indiana Room, clipping files, vertical files

Local and State Historical Museums, Societies and Bureaus

Local historians and senior citizens

Printed Resources: (small sampling of readily available materials)

Bains, Rae, Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom. (Location unknown): Troll Associates, 1982, tells the moving story of a slave who escaped and then returned to guide many others. (Student)

Coffin, Levi. Reminiscences of Levi Coffin. New York: Arno Press, 1968, offers personalized perspectives of people, Quakers and free and escaping slaves, on the route to freedom. (Teacher/Advanced Student)

Parker, John P. His Promised Land: The Autobiography of John P. Parker, Former Slave and Conductor on the Underground Railroad. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1996, is a moving story of a determined free man in helping fugitives across the Ohio River into Indiana.  (Student)

Reit, Seymour. Behind Rebel Lines: The Incredible Story of Emma Edmonds, Civil War Spy. Harcourt, 1988, relates the adventures of one woman who lived a soldier’s life until discovered. (Teacher/Student)

Winter, Jeanette. Follow the Drinking Gourd. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1988, is a beautifully illustrated book about slaves and their travels led by the North Star. (Student)

Yellin, Jean Fagan, and John C. Van Horn, The Abolitionist Sisterhood: Women’s Political Culture in Antebellum America. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1994, provides background on movements and women meeting the challenges of public life in a men’s world. (Teacher)