Diodorus of Sicily describes Gaulish women as being “nearly as tall as the men, whom they rival in courage”.
Quotes from Famous Celtic Lasses:
"If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation" Abigail Adams, (1744-1818) First Lady of the United States (1797-1801)
"It was we, the people; not we, the white male citizens; nor yet we, the male citizens; but we, the whole people, who formed the Union."
"Men their rights and nothing more; women their rights and nothing less."
Susan B. Anthony was a primary organizer, speaker, and writer for the 19th century women's rights movement in the United States, especially the first phases of the long struggle for women's vote.
"Somewhere out in this audience may even be someone who will one day follow my footsteps, and preside over the White House as the president' s spouse. I wish him well!" Barbara Bush, First lady to President George Bush.
"I have met thousands and thousands of pro-choice men and women. I have never met anyone who is pro-abortion. Being pro-choice is not being pro-abortion. Being pro-choice is trusting the individual to make the right decision for herself and her family, and not entrusting that decision to anyone wearing the authority of government in any regard." Hillary Rodham Clinton NY Senator
"The only tired I was, was tired of giving in." (on refusing to give up her seat on the bus to a white male) Rosa Parks, with Welsh heritage through her great grandfather.
Cartimandua, (or Cartismandua, ruled ca.43 BC - 69 BC), was a queen of the Brigantes, a British Celtic tribe who lived between the rivers Tyne and Humber, that formed a large tribal agglomeration in northern England. She was the only queen in early Roman Britain, identified as regina by Tacitus.
Camma, priestess of Brigandu, wife of Sinatos.
Boudica, (also spelled Boudicca), and often referred to as Boadicea, outside academic circles, (d. 60/61 BC) was a queen of the BrythonicCeltic Iceni people of Norfolk in Eastern Britain who led a major but ultimately failed uprising of the tribes against the occupying forces of the Roman Empire. (See Battle of Watling Street)
Chiomaca, wife of Ortagion, chief of the Tolistoboii of Galatia (189 BC).
Queen Teuta, (also Queen Tefta), was an Illyrian queen and regent who reigned approximately from 231 BC to 228 BC.
Macha Mong Ruad, daughter of Áed Ruad. After the death of her husband Cimbáeth, and defeating all claimants to the throne, she became the High Queen in 337 BC
Medb of Connacht.
Elen Luyddog, (widely known as Helen of the Hosts or Elen) was a Romano-British princess and the wife of Magnus Clemens Maximus, Emperor in Britain, Gaul and Spain, where he died seeking imperial recognition in 388 CE. She is also considered a founder of churches in Wales and remembered as a saint.
Scáthach (Shadowy), a legendary Scottish warrior woman and martial arts teacher who trained the legendary Ulster hero Cúchulainn in the arts of combat. Texts describe her homeland as "Alpi," which commentators associate with Alba, the Gaelic name of Scotland, and associated with the Isle of Skye, where her residence Dún Scáith (Fort of Shadows) stands.
"Rachel Carson, writer, scientist, and ecologist, grew up simply in the rural river town of Springdale, Pennsylvania. Her mother, Maria McLean Carson, bequeathed to her a life-long love of nature and the living world that Rachel expressed first as a writer and later as a student of marine biology. Carson graduated from Pennsylvania College for Women (now Chatham College) in 1929, studied at the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory, and received her MA in zoology from Johns Hopkins University in 1932.
She was hired by the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries to write radio scripts during the Depression and supplemented her income writing feature articles on natural history for the Baltimore Sun. She began a fifteen-year career in the federal service as a scientist and editor in 1936 and rose to become Editor-in-Chief of all publications for the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
She wrote pamphlets on conservation and natural resources and edited scientific articles, but in her free time turned her government research into lyric prose, first as an article "Undersea" (1937, for the Atlantic Monthly), and then in a book, Under the Sea-Wind (1941). In 1952 she published her prize-winning study of the ocean, The Sea Around Us, which was followed by The Edge of the Sea in 1955. These books constituted a biography of the ocean and made Carson famous as a naturalist and science writer for the public. Carson resigned from government service in 1952 to devote herself to her writing. Embedded within all of Carson's writing was the view that human beings were but one part of nature distinguished primarily by their power to alter it, in some cases irreversibly.
Disturbed by the profligate use of synthetic chemical pesticides after World War II, Carson reluctantly changed her focus in order to warn the public about the long term effects of misusing pesticides. In Silent Spring (1962) she challenged the practices of agricultural scientists and the government, and called for a change in the way humankind viewed the natural world.
Carson was attacked by the chemical industry and some in government as an alarmist, but courageously spoke out to remind us that we are a vulnerable part of the natural world subject to the same damage as the rest of the ecosystem. Testifying before Congress in 1963, Carson called for new policies to protect human health and the environment. From Linda Lear at Rachel Carson.org". Carson has been called the mother of the modern environmental movement. Rachel Carson is a charter inductee into the Ecology Hall of Fame
Among the ancient Celts women rulers and warriors were so common that when a group of Brigantine captives was brought to Rome in the reign of Claudius they automatically assumed his wife, Agrippina the Younger, was the ruler and ignored the Emperor while making their obeisance to her.
Flora MacDonald lived from 1722 to 5 March 1790. She is chiefly remembered as a heroine of the Jacobite cause for her part in helping Charles Edward Stuart - Bonnie Prince Charlie - "over the sea to Skye" from Benbecula in the Western Isles during his flight in the aftermath of the Battle of Culloden. Bonnie Prince Charlie arrived in Benbecula in June 1746. A companion, Captain O'Neill, sought Flora's help because she was the step daughter of Hugh MacDonald, who was known to be sympathetic to the Jacobite cause. After some hesitation - after all her own fiancé Allan MacDonald was a member of the militia on the lookout of Charles - Flora agreed to help.
On 27 June 1746 Flora set sail for Skye with a permit that included herself, a manservant (Charles's companion Captain O'Neill), an Irish spinning maid, Betty Burke (Charles in disguise), and a boat's crew of six men. They landed at what is now called Prince Charles's Point, a couple of miles north of Uig on Skye's Trotternish Peninsula. From there they went overland to Portree, where arrangements had been made for Charles to travel to Raasay in the hope of being picked up by a French warship.
Charles did eventually escape to France. But Flora was arrested after one of the boatmen had talked about the strange maid who had travelled with them to Skye. She was imprisoned, first in Dunstaffnage Castle, then in the Tower of London, where she was allowed to live nearby "on parole". Flora's story and her courage gained her much sympathy in London and in 1547 she was allowed to go free.Type your paragraph here.
Mary Hays McCauly
Those brave, strong and tall women were to be found even at battlegrounds. Whether they wore weapons and took an active part in the fighting or else only encouraged their men by yelling and shouting and cared for the wounded couldn't be proofed, but the former seems likely if we hear what Ammianus Marcellinus has to say:
“…a whole band of foreigners will be unable to cope with one [Gaul] in a fight, if he calls in his wife, stronger than he by far and with flashing eyes; least of all when she swells her neck and gnashes her teeth, and poising her huge white arms, begins to rain blows mingled with kicks, like shots discharged by the twisted cords of a catapult”.
In some early Celtic tribes the descendence of the mother seems to have been predominate and the women seem to have been free, proud and sexually rather promiscuous. Caesar reports, that in Brittany some women shared several husbands among each other. When rebuked by the Empress Julia Augusta because of her loose morals, the wife of the Caledonic Prince Argentocoxus answered:
"We fulfill the necessity of nature much better than Roman women do, for we have intercourse openly with the best, [Keira Knightley is once again front and centre in the epic adventure, King Arthur,] whereas you are abused secretly by the least!"
In "The Annals of The Empire" Volume 17 Book 1, British historian Alfred Edwards writes about the interesting attitudes of Celtic women towards Roman women: "The ancient Celtic women realized that they were physically superior to the ancient Roman women. Anthropological evidence has shown that the average female Celt was a foot taller and from fifty to a hundred pounds heavier than the average female Roman. Her bones and muscles were muchbigger and stronger in much the same way that the average modern man's musculoskeletal system compares to the average modern woman's. The differences were dramatic to say the least. These differences shaped the attitudes of the Celtic women. They saw Roman women as weaker vessels who should serve them in much the same fashion that they served Roman men. They derisively called Roman women "half women" and Cui Rainogh which roughly translates to those weaker than old women and young girls. There are even some stories about Celtic women raiding Roman households and spiriting away female citizens and slaves, who became their maids or concubines. These events were rare, but they did occur."
Uachtaráin na hEireann
The President of Ireland
1997 - Present
Mary McAleese was born Mary Leneghan on 27 June, 1951. In Northern Ireland in the Belfast area of Ardoyne, , a small Catholic enclave within Protestant dominated areas. She grew up in a deeply divided society where to be Catholic was to be treated as second class. When the recent round of 'Troubles' erupted in 1968, she saw the terrors of riots and intimidation at first hand. Family friends died in bomb blasts and gun attacks; her father's business was raked by machine gun fire; and her deaf brother crawled home bloodied from a loyalist beating.
Then there was the ceiling placed on future expectations. She tells of the day she spoke as a young girl of her desire to become a lawyer: 'The first to say, "You can't because you are a woman; no one belonging to you is in the law," was the parish priest who weekly shared a whiskey with my father. It was said with a dismissive authority intended to silence debate. My mother had inculcated into us a respect for the priesthood bordering on awe so I watched in amazement as the chair was pulled out from under the cleric and he was propelled to the front door. "You--out!" she roared at him. "And, you," she said to me, "ignore him!" It was the only advice I ever received from either parent on career choice!'
She married Martin McAleese in 1976 and they have three children, Emma, Sara-mai and Justin. After completing secondary studies at St Dominic's High School, Falls Road, Belfast, she graduated from The Queen's University Belfast and was admitted to the Inn of Court of Northern Ireland. She studied at the Institute of Linguists from 1991 to 1994 and is now a Member of the Institute of Linguists (London) and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
She is also a Barrister-at-Law of the Inn of Court of Northern Ireland and Barrister-at-Law of the Honourable Society of King's Inns, Dublin.
Her appointments have included two periods as the Reid Professor of Criminal Law, Criminology and Penology in Trinity College, Dublin; Director of the Institute of Professional Legal Studies at Queen's University of Belfast 1987-97; Pro Vice-Chancellor of the Queen's University of Belfast 1994-97; and she joined RTE (Irish National Television) as current affairs journalist and presenter 1979-81, continuing as part-time presenter until 1985.
Her many professional memberships include: The European Bar Association; International Bar Association (Northern Ireland Rapporteur); Inns of Court, Northern Ireland; King's Inns Dublin; Institute of Advanced Legal Studies; Irish Association of Law Teachers; British and Irish Legal Technology Association; Irish Centre for European Law; Co-Chair of the Inter-Church Working Party on Sectarianism 1994; Member of Council of Social Welfare (Dublin); Member of BBC Broadcasting Council for Northern Ireland; Founder member Campaign for Homosexual Law Reform (Dublin); Member, Catholic Church Episcopal Delegation to the New Ireland Forum, 1984.
On 11 November, 1997, Mary McAleese was inaugurated as the eighth President of Ireland.
Courtesy of Nancy Monaghan's Famous Irish Women
The following account comes from a Roman historian named Marcus Borealis. It was written during an invasion of Rome by Celts:
"The women of the Celtic tribes are bigger and stronger than our Roman women. This is most likely due to their natures as well as their peculiar fondness for all things martial and robust. The flaxen haired maidens of the north are trained in sports and war while our gentle ladies are content to do their womanly duties and thus are less powerful than most young girls from Gaul and the hinterlands."
An unidentified Roman soldier of the same historical period wrote the following: "A Celtic woman is often the equal of any Roman man in hand-to-hand combat. She is as beautiful as she is strong. Her body is comely but fierce. The physiques of our Roman women pale in comparison."
Mary Douglas Nicol Leakey was born on February 6, 1913. Her father, Erskine Nicol, was a popular landscape artist, and Mary spent much of her childhood in Europe, especially in the Dordogne and at Les Eyzies, a region rich in prehistoric art and archaeological sites, topics in which Mary became interested. Her idyllic life was shattered in 1926 when her father, to whom she was exceptionally close, died, and Mary and her mother moved back to London. Attempts to give her some conventional education failed when the rebellious girl was expelled from two Catholic schools. In 1930 she began auditing archaeology and geology\ university courses, and she worked on archaeological digs and as a scientific illustrator. She met Louis Leakey in 1933 at Cambridge, and soon began an affair with him. On his next expedition to Africa, she arranged to meet him there, travelled home with him, and soon moved in with him. After his wife Frida divorced him, they were married in late 1936. She returned to Kenya with Louis the following year, and in the subsequent decades worked in many excavations. An important discovery of Mary's was the first fossil skull of the extinct Miocene primate Proconsul. Mary primarily worked as an archeologist rather than a physical anthropologist.
In 1959, Mary found the "Zinjanthropus" (Australopithecus boisei) fossil which was to propel the Leakey family to worldwide fame. From the mid-1960's, she lived almost full time at Olduvai Gorge, often alone, while Louis worked on other projects. She and Louis grew apart, partly because of his womanizing and partly because Louis was dividing his time between many other projects. In 1974, she commenced excavations at nearby Laetoli, and in 1976 her team found huge numbers of animal footprints that had been fossilized in ash deposited by a volcano. In 1978 they found what would be her greatest discovery, adjacent footprint tracks that had been left by two bipedal hominids.
Elizabeth Arden (ca.1878-1966) was instrumental in the development of the modern cosmetics and beauty salon industry. She was also an astute businesswoman.
The 30 years of prosperity that followed the bitter depression of 1893 to 1897 set Americans on the road to the "affluent society" and swept away the old ideas of behavior that had ruled the Victorian age. Particularly notable was the greater freedom achieved by women, who entered the world of daily affairs and began to pay increasing attention to their personal appearance. No one capitalized more effectively on these fundamental trends than Elizabeth Arden, whose dictum to American women--"hold fast to youth and beauty"--helped to create the modern cosmetics and beauty salon industry and made her the sole owner of a $60 million business.
Arden was born Florence Nightingale Graham in 1878 in Woodbridge, a suburb of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, to immigrant parents, her father Scottish and her mother English.
In 1750 Flora married Allen MacDonald of Kingsburgh. In 1773, like many other Scots, they emigrated, moving to the North Carolina Colony. During the American War of Independence Allen served with the British forces (in common with many other expatriate Scots). He was captured by revolutionaries at the Battle of Moore's Creek Bridge on 27 February 1776. Flora was exiled from the United States to Nova Scotia.
In 1779 Flora returned to Scotland and settled in South Uist amongst her clan. She was joined by Allan after his release in 1783 and they moved to Flodigarry, on the Trotternish Peninsula. in the Isle of Skye. Flora died on 4 March 1790, in a cottage now used as accommodation by the Flodigarry Hotel. To keep the Jacobite legend strong to the end, it is said that she was buried in a shroud formed of a bedsheet used by Bonnie Prince Charlie.
The Countess of Irish Freedom
"If you weigh well the strengths of our armies you will see that in this battle we must conquer or die. This is a woman's resolve. As for the men, they may live or be slaves."
In the first century AD, circa 61 AD, Prasutagus, King of the Iceni left half of his fortune to the Roman Empire to ensure good relations. He did this with the best intent for he foresaw a Britain, united under the Romans, and deduced that since the Empire was going to be there for a very long time, his people could be ensured of prosperity by his donation of wealth. But the local Romans were greedy. After Prasutagus died, a Roman garrison came in, demanded more money and when none was forthcoming, they beat the king’s widow and raped their two daughters. They even went so far as to hang the king’s widow, Boudicca, by her wrists in front of her people, and proceeded to flog her until she was unconscious. They had underestimated the Celtic queen and her wrath was to be felt all the way to Rome. She wrought her vengeance with utter devastation.
Boudicca’s Celtic army encouraged by a few other tribes angry with the Empire and by the Druids, who saw the Roman way of life as the end of their own, assaulted Colchester, the nearest Roman settlement. The Roman garrison there was too small to defend the town and withdrew to the temple complex. There they held out for two days until the furious Celts stormed it and slaughtered everyone within – men, women, and children, and the settlement was burned to the ground. Of course, the reason Boudicca’s tribe acted with such fury was that the people they killed were strong supporters of the Romans. She was joined by other tribes, as well as the Trinovantes to the south, who had their own reasons to hate the occupation. Roman veterans, who settled at Camulodunum (Colchester), had expelled the native people and appropriated their homes and land, treating them like prisoners and slaves. The Temple of Claudius was especially offensive, "a blatant stronghold of alien rule" that had to be supported by the very people whom Rome oppressed. Amid a series of portents and confusion, the Roman colonists appealed to the procurator for help. The few troops that were sent from Londinium were not sufficient, and the town soon was overrun and sacked. The Roman soldiers took refuge in the temple, but after two days, it also fell. Legio IX, under strength and marching south from its camp at Longthorpe some eighty miles away under the impetuous command of Petillius Cerialis, was ambushed and defeated. The procurator fled to Gaul, and Boudicca marched on Londinium. As Tacitus records,
"Neither before nor since has Britain ever been in a more uneasy or dangerous state. Veterans were butchered, colonies burned to the ground, armies isolated. We had to fight for our lives before we could think of victory."
A legion, the IX Hispania, arrived too late to defend and was itself surrounded by angry Celts, and butchered. Londinium (London) and St. Albans were also overrun, and Tacitus claims some 70,000 Roman citizens perished. It eventually took a force of 10,000 Legionnaires under the command of Seutonius Paulinus, to stop Boudicca and her bloodlust troops. There was a series of battle and conflicts and some 80,000 Celtic Britons died in the subsequent battles. Boudicca herself, knowing the outcome of the surrender of Vercingetorix, decided to take her own life with poison rather than let the Romans get their hands on her and parade her around Rome. Seutonius Paulinus, a determined general, pursued the Druids (whom the Romans suspected of fueling Boudicca’s anger) all the way to Anglesey where he surrounded them and destroyed every remnant of druidic influence he could find. The druids were effectively wiped out in Britain after that only remaining in Ireland and isolated parts of the British Isles.
Celtic Women of Import
Constance Gore-Booth was born into a famous Anglo-Irish family on Feb. 4, 1868 at Buckingham Gate, London. Her father, Sir Henry Gore-Booth was an explorer and philanthropist with a large estate in Co. Sligo. The Gore-Booths were known as model landlords in Sligo. Perhaps being raised in this atmosphere of concern for the common man had something to do with the way Constance and her younger sister Eva would conduct their later lives. Eva would become an advocate for labor and women's suffrage in England, and Constance would become the most famous women of the Irish revolutionary movement.
In 1887 she and Eva were presented at the court of Queen Victoria with Constance being called "the new Irish beauty" by some. In 1893 she went to London to study at the Slade School. Then, in 1898, she left for Paris where she attended the Julian School. It was there in Paris that she met Count Casimir Dunin Markievicz, an artist from a wealthy Polish family that owned land in the Ukraine. Casimir and Constance married on Sept. 29, 1901; Constance Gore-Booth was now the Countess Markievicz. In 1906 she rented a cottage in the Dublin hills. The previous tenant had been Pádraic Colum, a poet, and he left old copies of the revolutionary publications The Peasant and Sinn Féin there. Reading these, Constance knew she had found the cause to inspire her life.
In 1908 she became active in nationalist politics, joining Sinn Féin and Maud Gonne's women's group, Inghinidhe na hÉereann. She went to Manchester, England, in 1908 and stood for election there with her sister Eva, who was now deeply involved in social reform there, running her campaign. In 1909 she founded Fianna Éireann, an organization which was similar to the boy scouts but began teaching young boys military drill and the use of firearms.
In 1911, now an executive member of both Inghinidhe and Sinn Féin, she would go to jail for the first time for her part in a demonstration against the visit of George V.
As the WWI began, Constance was in the center of the pressure cooker of social and political upheaval that was building in Dublin. Home rule had been promised and then put on hold for the duration. Irish boys were dying in their thousands on the Western Front, and in England there was talk of conscripting Irishmen. The valve of the pressure cooker was capped now, but the pressure was building quickly, something had to give. On the 24th of April, 1916, it exploded in the streets of Dublin.
Most women in the movement participated in the '16 Rising as nurses or by running messages through the streets between groups. Not Countess Markievicz. She had earlier joined Connolly's Citizen Army, and was second in command to Michael Mallin in St. Stephen's Green. She supervised the setting up of barricades as the rising began and was in the middle of the fighting all around the Green. At one point, when a young girl was wounded with several bullets and undergoing surgery, Markiewicz left the room, returning in a minute to tell her, "Don't worry, Margaret, me dear, I got the wretched blighter for you." It was during the fighting, moved by the faith of many of the men around her and that faith's connection to the long struggle for Irish independence, that she first contemplated conversion to Catholicism.
Mallin and Markievicz and their men would hold on to Stephen's Green for six days, finally giving up when the British brought them a copy of Pearse's surrender order. The English officer who accepted their surrender was Capt. Wheeler. He was a distant relative of Markievicz and offered to drive her to jail. "No offence, old feller, but I much prefer to tag along with my own," she replied. As they were marched through the streets she came in for special ridicule from many Dubliners who had were upset with the rebels for the shut down of the city for a week.
They were taken to Dublin Castle and the Countess was then transported to Kilmainham jail. At her court martial she told the court, "I did what was right and I stand by it." Her conviction was assured, only her sentence was in doubt. She was sentenced to death, but General Maxwell commuted this to life in prison on "account of the prisoner's sex." Given a choice she would probably have been added to the list of those dying for the cause. She told the officer who brought her the news , ".... I do wish your lot had the decency to shoot me."
Constance was released from prison during the General Amnesty of 1917. In 1918 she was jailed by the British during their bogus "German Plot," aimed at defeating the anti-conscription forces in Ireland. While in prison in England, Countess Markievicz became the first woman elected to the British Parliament, running as a Sinn Féin candidate. When the first Dáil Éireann was seated two months later, she was appointed the first Minister of Labour and went on the run from the British. She would go to jail twice during the course of the Anglo-Irish War of Independence and was released from jail to attend the Anglo-Irish Treaty debates. She strongly opposed the treaty and had an angry exchange with Michael Collins the day the anti-treaty forces walked out of the hall. She called the pro-treaty advocates "traitors." Collins replied by calling her something that would cut even deeper: English.
When the Irish Civil War broke out Constance was once more involved with the actual fighting, helping to defend Moran's Hotel in Dublin. Later she toured the US raising funds for the Republican cause. After the Civil War she regained her seat in the Dáil, but her Republican politics ran her afoul of the Free State government again and she was jailed. Along with 92 other women prisoners, she went on hunger strike and was released after a month. She joined Eamon de Valera's Fianna Fáil party in 1926 and was elected as one of it's candidates in 1927. However, a month later that she became sick and died in a public ward at Sir Patrick Dunn's Hospital. It may have been appendicitis or cancer, some say it was simply overwork.
When Countess Markievicz was taken to the Republican plot at Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin for burial, it was said that as many as 300,000 people turned out on the streets to bid her goodbye. At the graveside, de Valera gave the eulogy.
When young girls are searching for history's female heroes, they should be told the story of Constance Gore-Booth, the Countess of Irish freedom.
Suffragette, surgeon, and, some say, spy, Dr. Mary Edwards Walker is the first and only woman ever to earn the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Mary Edwards Walker was born on November 26, 1832, in Oswego, New York. Her father was a self-taught doctor who believed strongly in equal rights and equal education for his five daughters. He thought that women’s fashions were constrictive and even unhealthy and discouraged his daughters’ wearing them. Mary took his advice to heart and adopted a style of wearing loose garments over a sort of trouser called, “bloomers.”
In 1853 Mary enrolled in Syracuse Medical College, the nation’s first medical school and one of the few that accepted women on an equal basis with men. In 1855, at the age of twenty-one, she graduated. A year later she married another physician, Doctor Albert Miller, a classmate at Syracuse. In a radical move for the time, Mary kept her maiden name. Dr. Walker and Dr. Miller set up a practice in Rome, New York, but it failed. The public was not ready to accept a female physician. The marriage ended in divorce in 1869.
When the Civil War broke out, Dr. Walker rushed to enlist on the side of the Union. She was denied a commission as an army surgeon but volunteered anyway serving as an assistant surgeon at the U.S. Patent Office Hospital in Washington. From there she was transferred to the Union front lines to work side by side with male field surgeons. Though the fighting she saw was fierce and her work impeccable, the army refused to promote Dr. Walker above the status of “volunteer.”
Finally, in 1863, she got her army appointment becoming assistant surgeon of the Army of the Cumberland and the first female army surgeon ever. Shortly thereafter she was transferred to the 52nd Ohio Infantry. Even in uniform Dr. Walker was controversial. She wore trousers, a modified men’s uniform jacket, and carried two pistols at all times.
On a number of occasions Dr. Walker crossed enemy lines to assist Confederate civilians, treating sick women and children with supplies taken from Federal stores. In 1864 she was captured by Confederate troops and sent to prison as a spy. Whether or not she was spying remains a matter of some debate. After four months behind bars she was exchanged, along with two dozen other Union doctors, for 17 Confederate surgeons. It is said that Dr. Walker expressed great pleasure at being exchanged, “man for man.”
Dr. Walker spent the rest of the war practicing at a Louisville, Kentucky, women’s prison then at an orphanage in Tennessee. She was paid $766.16 for her wartime service then given a monthly pension of $8.50. That was later raised to $20, but it was still less than most widows’ pensions.
On November 11, 1865, Dr. Walker was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for Meritorious Service. A portion of the award’s text reads, “… it appears from official reports that Dr. Mary E. Walker … has rendered valuable service to the Government … and has devoted herself with much patriotic zeal to the sick and wounded soldiers, both in the field and in hospitals …”
In 1917 her Medal of Honor was taken away when Congress revised the standards to include only those who engaged in “actual combat with an enemy.” Dr. Walker suspected the real reason for the revocation was her involvement in the women’s suffrage movement. A relative told the New York Times, “Dr. Mary lost the medal simply because she was a hundred years ahead of her time and no one could stomach it.” Dr. Walker refused to give the medal back and wore it every day until she died.
In 1977 The Army Board reinstated the medal posthumously citing Dr. Walker’s “distinguished gallantry, self-sacrifice, patriotism, dedication, and unflinching loyalty to her country, despite the apparent discrimination because of her sex.”
After her service in the Civil War Dr. Walker became a writer and lecturer. She traveled the U.S. and Europe giving speeches on dress reform, women’s rights, and the health risks of tobacco and alcohol. She became the president of the Dress Reform Association and prided herself on the numerous times she was arrested for wearing full men’s dress.
Among the writings she left behind are two books: a combination biography and commentary called, Hit, and Unmasked, or the Science of Immortality.
Dr. Walker died in her hometown of Oswego, New York, on February 21, 1919. Her birthplace on Bunker Hill Road is an historical landmark. On June 10, 1982, a 20-cent stamp was issued in her honor. It commemorates the first woman to win the Medal of Honor and the second to graduate from medical school in the United States.
“[U]ntil women have a voice in making [laws], they must of necessity be imperfect, as are all laws, where … woman has had no voice in their making.”
"I am the original new woman...Why, before Lucy Stone, Mrs. Bloomer, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony were—before they were, I am. In the early '40's, when they began their work in dress reform, I was already wearing pants...I have made it possible for the bicycle girl to wear the abbreviated skirt, and I have prepared the way for the girl in knickerbockers."
New World Celts Logos designed and copyrighted by Michael S. Dunlap trademarks applied for. Copyright 2000-2010 NWC, Inc.
The NWC is an all-inclusive 501 (c) (3) charitable benevolent society. The New World Celts is not to be confused with, nor to be associated with and never will be associated with any racist organization. We are very proud of our members of Celtic heritage and equally proud of our members of Native American, African and Asian heritage. We disavow wholeheartedly any connection with or attempts by any racist organization to link themselves to us via the internet or by using our name or symbols to further their own cause. We are very proud to be Americans, Australians, Canadians, and New Zealanders and as such, aspire to the golden ideals of ancient Celts: that all are equals.
An Artillery wife, Mary Hays McCauly (better known as Molly Pitcher) shared the rigors of Valley Forge with her husband, William Hays. Her actions during the battle of Monmouth on June 28, 1778 became legendary. That day at Monmouth was as hot as Valley Forge was cold. Someone had to cool the hot guns and bathe parched throats with water.
Across that bullet-swept ground, a striped skirt fluttered. Mary Hays McCauly was earning her nickname "Molly Pitcher" by bringing pitcher after pitcher of cool spring water to the exhausted and thirsty men. She also tended to the wounded and once, heaving a crippled Continental soldier up on her strong young back, carried him out of reach of hard-charging Britishers. On her next trip with water, she found her artilleryman husband back with the guns again, replacing a casualty. While she watched, Hays fell wounded. The piece, its crew too depleted to serve it, was about to be withdrawn. Without hesitation, Molly stepped forward and took the rammer staff from her fallen husband’s hands. For the second time on an American battlefield, a woman manned a gun. (The first was Margaret Corbin during the defense of Fort Washington in 1776.) Resolutely, she stayed at her post in the face of heavy enemy fire, ably acting as a matross (gunner).
For her heroic role, General Washington himself issued her a warrant as a noncommissioned officer. Thereafter, she was widely hailed as "Sergeant Molly." A flagstaff and cannon stand at her gravesite at Carlisle, Pennsylvania. A sculpture on the battle monument commemorates her courageous deed.