Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Civil War Nurse Lydia Weager Stewart

I did some exploring at www.fultonhistory.com and found obituaries for some Civil War nurses from our area. One such nurse was Mrs. Lydia Stewart. GAR Post #37 was named for her husband Charles H. Stewart, a Colonel in Company G of the 19th NY Volunteers. In 2005, I was able to obtain scanned copies of the charter for this Auburn NY Post from the NY Archives in Albany, which listed 61 members by name. This and other GAR Post information can be found at http://www.cayugacounty.us/portals/0/history/military/stewart_37.html

MRS. LYDIA A. W. STEWART, CIVIL WAR NURSE, DIES - Aged Auburn Woman Passes Away After a Lingering Illness—Funeral to Be H e l d Tomorrow. SPECIAL t o THE POST-STANDARD. — AUBURN. May 21. —Mrs. Lydia Anne Weager Stewart, 84, widow of Colonel Charles H. Stewart, died at her home, No. 4 John Street, today after a lingering illness. Mrs. Stewart served during the Civil War as a nurse, while her husband, for whom the Charles H. Stewart G. A. R. Post was named, was gaining renown on the battle line. She is survived by one son, Charles C. Stewart of New Haven, Conn., and a sister, Miss Jane Conger of San Gabriel, Cal. The funeral will be held at the house Sunday at 3 o'clock. Rev. Charles Gorman Richards, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church officiating. The Women’s Relief Corps, of which Mrs. Stewart was a member, and other G. A. R. organizations will attend in a body and take part in the burial services at Fort Hill Cemetery. Syracuse Post Standard Saturday, May 22, 1915.

A second obituary provides a bit more detail:


Shock Fatal to Widow of Army Officer living here nearly 70 years.
Following an apopleptic stroke suffered Saturday from which she never regained consciousness, Mrs. Lydia A. Stewart, 84, widow of the late Colonel Charles H. Stewart, died early this morning at her home, No. 4 John Street. For nearly 70 years Mrs. Stewart had resided in Auburn.
The deceased, although a remarkably active woman all her life, had been in failing health for the past eight months. Hers was a life of action such as few women have experienced.
For some time during the Civil War she braved the dangers and hardships of the battlefield as a nurse, fighting against the yellow fever which at times broke out in the army of the North. She worked side by side with her husband, the late Colonel Stewart, who passed away in May 1874 when all Auburn went into mourning.
Both the Charles H. Stewart Post, No. 37, G. A. R., and the C. H. Stewart Relief Corps, No. 11. were named after Mrs. Stewart's illustrious husband.
The deceased was a member of the Eastern Star Lodge here. She was born in Amsterdam, N. Y., January 22, 1831, and removed to this city when a girl. She was active in church work as well as taking part in the activities of the Relief Corps.
Her maiden name was Lydia A. Weager.
Mrs. Stewart is survived by one son, Charles C. Stewart of New Haven, Conn., and one sister, Mrs. Jane Conger of San Gabriel, Calif.
Funeral services will be held from the family home, No. 4 John Street, Sunday afternoon at 3 o'clock, the -Rev. Charles Gorman Richards, D. D., pastor of the First Presbyterian Church officiating. Burial will be made in Fort Hill Cemetery.

A Civil War Nurse from Scipio

The men of the Union Army suffered deprivations we can only imagine. The women and children left behind, some forever, struggled as well with meeting their basic needs for food, clothing and shelter. Our ancestors were a determined people, or we would not be here today.
Some women heard the call to duty on the battlefields themselves. From Scipio and surrounding areas, some women became nurses and gave the men comfort and care during the midst of sometimes horrible circumstances.
Many of us know of the work done by local legend Harriett Tubman, a woman of valor and courage rarely surpassed. You may be surprised to learn of some other local women who followed our troops into battle and helped many survive the cruel wounds and unsanitary conditions of battlefield hospitals and emergency surgeries.
One such woman was "Mother" Mary Brown Newcomb. Born in Scipio, she was totally untrained but chose to serve as a nurse for about 4 years. When her husband Hiram signed up with the 11th Illinois Volunteers, Mary accompanied him. Hiram died of his wounds early in the war, and after seeing to his burial, Mary returned to the battlefields and continued as a nurse.
She did receive a nurse's pension, and she wrote a book about her experiences that provides much detail to the conditions she and our patriots endured titled "Four Years Experience in the War." There is a copy of this book at the Scipio Town Offices.
A book has also been written about her, titled "Mother Mary Ann Brown Newcomb: Effingham Civil War Nurse" by Linda Hatke Ruhall RN PhD. Linda had contacted me when I was doing some research on "Mother Mary" and shared that Effingham IL was the final resting place for this brave woman.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Grand Army of the Republic

After the Civil War, Union soldiers formed Grand Army of the Republic or GAR Posts. Much has been written about these posts; today in honor of Memorial Day, here is a transcript of the application for a GAR Post charter for #632 Selah Cornwell in the town of Scipio:

Scipio Cayuga Co NY             July 10 1888
Assistant Adjutant General of the Department of New York
Grand Army of the Republic
We, the undersigned honorably discharged Soldiers and Sailors of the Army and Navy of the United States, now residents of Scipio, County of Cayuga, State of New York, do respectfully apply for a CHARTER for a POST of the Grand Army of the Republic, to be located at Scipio County of Cayuga under the jurisdiction of the Department of New York, G. A. R., subject to the regulations of the Grand Army of the Republic, an the Department of New York thereof.

Benj. S. Cain
T. C. Tallman
Leonard Williams
Frederick R. Hart
Wilbur M. Clark
Erastus Jordan
Samuel Winters
Chester Sincerbox
Philip Strong
Francis Flynn
A.W. Jaquett
P. T. Shorkley
James H. Hartnett
Morto Palmer
J. D. Adams

Crossed out:
D. P. Lapuer (?)
Benj. T. Gould
A. A. Austin

We recommend that Post Commander Frederick Cossum of Seward Post muster Cornwell Post
Please return Charter to Rev. D. P. Lapuer (?) Scipio Center NY