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Adams General Hospital, Memphis, TN, Civil War
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Joined: 10/18/2011
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Created By:Michael Fiske

    I am transcribing letters written by my 2nd great Grandfather, Thomas Hannah, Jr., to his wife Elizabeth Marshall Hannah in Belvidere, Illinois, while he was a soldier in the Illinois 95th Infantry, Company G, during the Civil War.

For most of 1863, he was stationed at Adams General Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.  In his letters, he mentions the names of women nurses with whom he worked.  Some of them I can decipher.  Others are difficult to read.  Is there a source for women nurses at Adams General Hospital?  Have others done research?

Thank you.


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Joined: 10/18/2011
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Created By:Michael Fiske
I have been able to read several of the names of nurses at Adams.  These are: Mrs Mannon, Miss Powell, Mrs Messeroll, Miss Cowell.  Two women are mentioned by their first names, Mary and Maggy.

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Created By:Michael Fiske

I have made progress.  I discovered the book "Our Army Nurses," compiled by Mary A. Gardner Holland, published in 1895, and now online at http://openlibrary.org/books/OL6923557M/Our_army_nurses.  On pages 90-92 is a summary of Margaret Hayes' service at Adams General Hospital.

“We arrived safely, and I was immediately assigned to the Adams General Hospital, No. 2 (which had just been opened to receive the sick and wounded from Arkansas), in Ward 2 Room B, where there were seventy-two men.  I think the ward master was one of the kindest men I ever knew.  Poor fellow!  He went through the war, and returned to his home with the regiment, but only to die soon after his arrival.”

 

“I often think of my ‘boys’ and wonder where they all are.  The old ones are mustered out, the young are now gray and old, and would not know me or I them if we should meet.  I have even changed my name.  I was Mrs. Maggie Meseroll then; they called me ‘Sister Maggie.’”

The ward master was my 2nd great grandfather, Thomas Hannah Jr.  Wow.


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Created By:Michael Fiske

Using census records and other online resources, I have been able to determine the following.

 

Margaret Meseroll Hayes was born in December 1834 in New Brunswick, Canada.  She declares that she came to the United States in 1834 in the 1920 census, but it must have been slightly later.  She claims to have become a naturalized citizen in 1851 in the 1920 census.

 

In 1860, Margaret lived in Manlius, LaSalle County, Illinois.  A child Alice, age 3, born in Illinois, is listed with her.

 

Margaret became an army nurse on 17 February 1863, serving at both Adams General and Gayso Hospitals in Memphis, Tennessee, until 2 July 1865.  This is related in an article in the Suburbanite Economist Chicago, Illinois, 25 August 1905.

 

In the 1880 census, Margaret Hayes is found living in Santa Barbara, California, a widow with two daughters, Alice M Hayes, born about 1857 in Illinois, and Jennie M, born about 1868 in Minnesota.

 

According to 1900 census records, Margaret lived in Los Angeles Ward 6.  The records state she had four children, two of whom were then living.  The 1920 census shows her as living in Los Angeles District 73, District 393.

 

Margaret filed for an invalid’s pension on the basis of her Civil War Service in December of 1926.

 

Questions remain.  Was Margaret’s maiden name Meseroll or did she marry a Messeroll?  Did she ever marry a Mr. Hayes? Where did Alice live during the Civil War?

 

This has been an interesting exploration of a fascinating woman.  I will continue the search.

 


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Created By:Michael Fiske
I have one name to add to the list of nurses at Adams.  She is Helen M. Burnell, born 1 March 1830 in New York.  Helen and Margaret are presented in an article from the Riverside Daily Press, Riverside, California. 30 April 1930, as representing the depleted ranks of Civil War nurses at the G.A.R encampment in Riverside.  Apparently Helen and Margaret met at Adams hospital.  Another nurse mentioned in this article is Mrs Mary Catlin, age 86 in 1930.  She resides in San Diego and was born in Ypsilanti, Michigan, but spent part of her youth in South Dakota.
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Created By:Michael Fiske
I have further information on Helen Burnell.  She was born 1 March 1830 as Helen Merrill.  She married first, Thomas Beckett (1824-1857), second, Kingsley Abner Burnell (1824-?).  She died 2 March 1933 in San Diego, California, and is buried in the Spring Lake Cemetery in Aurora, Kane County, Illinois.
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Created By:Thomas Bahde
Michael, I am interested in your ancestor, Thomas Hannah, Jr., and his service with Company G of the 95th Illinois Infantry during the Civil War. I am researching H. Ford Douglas, a black abolitionist with whom Hannah served in Company G, and I have been trying to identify all of the letters and diaries that still exist from the regiment, and especially from Company G. I came across a few excerpts that you posted online from Hannah's letters in the context of the company's other famous soldier, Albert Cashier, and wanted to get in touch with you. Please contact me at bahdet[at]gmail.com if you would be willing to talk about sharing the results of your research.

Thanks very much,
Dr. Thomas Bahde
Oregon State University

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Created By:Michael Fiske
If you find this interesting, please follow up on the following posts:  Lettie Covell; Mary L Mannon; Civil War Nurses, Memphis: and Margaret Meseroll Hayes.  They add additional information.
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Created By:Michael Fiske
I have a new name to add to the list of nurses who worked at Adams Hospital.  She is a Mrs. Hill.  On 24 June 1863, Thomas Hannah wrote to his wife Elizabeth:  "the nourses and myself have been fliping pennys tosee wich of us should buy lemons to make 8 pies 2 a peace and Robert Hazill hasto buy them and Mrs Hill a nours in Hospital is going to bake them for us andfurnish flour and sugar."
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Created By:Michael Fiske
A web page for Thomas Hannah, Jr. and the Civil War nurses has been established on the "Historic Memphis" web site.  The link is http://historic-memphis.com/memphis/thomas-hannah/thomas-hannah.html.  Thank you Gene Gill.

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