Historical records matching Fannie Battle, Spy & Angel of the Poor
About Fannie Battle, Spy & Angel of the Poor
Mary Francis "Fannie" Battle (1842-1924) was a Nashville humanitarian and social worker who was known during her lifetime as "The Angel of the Poor" because of her great humanitarian spirit and compassionate service to benefit underprivileged children. Born near Nolensville, Tennessee in 1842, Miss Battle was educated at the Nashville Female Academy. She was the daughter of Joel Allen and Adeline Sanders Mosely Battle, with seven siblings in the household. Her father was prominent in military and legislative affairs of Tennessee and the family was raised in prosperous circumstances prior to the American Civil War. During the Union occupation of Nashville, Miss Battle became a Confederate spy, with her father and brothers serving in the Confederate Army.
Two of her brothers died at Shiloh and her father was taken prisoner. Fannie Battle herself was caught smuggling documents and later incarcerated in the Old Capitol Prison in Washington, D.C. In the post-war period, she returned to Nashville as a public school teacher at Howard School and several other local schools from 1870 to 1886. In the 1880s, Miss Battle became active with the Nashville Relief Society, United Charities, and soon established first a daycare program near the cotton mills in North Nashville and then in 1891 established the Addison Avenue Day Home, Nashville's first daycare facility. In 1924, the Day Home was renamed The Fannie Battle Day Home in honor of the great social reformer and humanitarian.