Mary Ann Bickerdyke (Ball) (1817 - 1901)

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Birthplace: Knox County, Ohio,
Death: Died in Bunker Hill, Kansas.
Managed by: Elizabeth-Gaye Jeans
Last Updated:

About Mary Ann Bickerdyke (Ball)

Mary Ann Bickerdyke (July 19, 1817 – November 8, 1901), also known as Mother Bickerdyke, was a hospital administrator for Union soldiers during the American Civil War.

After the outbreak of the Civil War, she joined a field hospital at Fort Donelson, working alongside Mary J. Stafford. Bickerdyke also worked closely with Eliza Emily Chappell Porter of the Northwest Sanitary Commission. She later worked on the first hospital boat. During the war, she became chief of nursing under the command of General Ulysses S. Grant, and served at the Battle of Vicksburg. When his staff complained about the outspoken, insubordinate female nurse who consistently disregarded the army's red tape and military procedures, Union Gen. William T. Sherman threw up his hands and exclaimed, "She ranks me. I can't do a thing in the world."[1] Bickerdyke was a nurse who ran roughshod over anyone who stood in the way of her self-appointed duties. She was known affectionately to her "boys", the grateful enlisted men, as "Mother" Bickerdyke. When a surgeon questioned her authority to take some action, she replied, "On the authority of Lord God Almighty, have you anything that outranks that?

After the war ended, she worked for the Salvation Army in San Francisco, and became an attorney, helping Union veterans with legal issues. She ran a hotel in Salina, Kansas for a time. She received a special pension of $25 a month from Congress in 1886, and retired to Bunker Hill, Kansas. She died peacefully after a minor stroke.


Mary Bickerdyke's Timeline

Knox County, Ohio,
Age 30
Age 33
Age 37
Age 84
Bunker Hill, Kansas.
Linwood Cemetery Galesburg Knox County Illinois,