This nurse pioneer became the 2nd Superintendent of the US Navy's Nurse' Corps, one of only 4 women in the US Navy's history to be awarded the Navy Cross, and the only one awarded whilst still alive. Her story is amazing and if you missed last week's blog, you might want to have a look at it today.
Of interest to blog readers is the fact that this NC recipient, (only one down from the Medal of Honor) was born at Chatham New Brunswick.
Possibly as a result of running that story a good friend in Nova Scotia emailed to ask me if I knew who was the first female hero in Canada to have a monument erected by government in honour of her heroism.
But the above monument at Drummund Hill Cemetery, Lundy's Lane was not erected till 1901.
Her utterance was somewhat of a twist from the ride of Paul Revere and William Dawes in Apr 1775. While Longfellow's poem made their warning that the British are Coming famous, it was somewhat off mark!
The two men were caught by the British before they had a chance to deliver what they didn't. That message was delivered by Doctor Sam Prescott. A man that shortly thereafter was caught by the Brits and taking to Halifax Nova Scotia where he died and probably buried in some unknown grave there.
And I might as well throw in that Sam had a sister... Lucy. She married a fellow named Johnathan Fay Jr. And a descendant of theirs was a woman named Harriet Fay. And she married a man named James Bush. And they had a son named Samuel Prescott Bush and further down this same line came two men who lived in the White House.
It's from way back in 1692 near Quebec at a place called Fort Vercheres (in new France.) This 14 year old Canadian born girl was left holding down the fort while her parents were off to town for supplies. When the Iroquios attacked the farmland outside the fort where she was gardening she escaped being captured, made it to the fort to protect her siblings and a few others and even managed to fire of the cannon to scare the natives away. Her actions over a two day period literally saved the fort and those within. Many a year layer her heroism was recognized and commemorated with the erection of the above monument at Montreal. But that was much later... in 1911.
So my Nova Scotia friend won the challenge by telling me the story that you need to look at yourself by googling the name... Mary Elizabeth Crowley.
Like the old Tom Sawyer books tell it, Cornelius Crowley and a brother arrived from Ireland at the shores of Saint John NB. From there to WALKED some 200 miles and finally sat down for a rest in the wilderness, not far from today's Pugwash Nova Scotia.
Soon they had log cabin built and a farm started. Then followed a marriage and ten kids. But as duties called the parents away, tragedy struck the cabin in 1869. A fire broke out and while most of the children were away or saved, it fell to Mary Crowley, herself only 12 yrs of age, to convince her 9 year old brother to jump out of a window. A 7 yr old sister was so distraught and suffering badly from burns. But Marry, also badly burned, carried her sibling out and both collapsed, but later lost their lives from the horrors that day.
My friend is a descendant of that 7 year old boy!
The Premiere and Legislature agreed unanimously. In 1870 the government funded and unveiled the above monument at the Catholic cemetery in Pugwash where Mary rests to this day.
Next week I will bring you another Nova Scotia story about a Medal of Honor man I am sure you have never heard of before.
And the following week I have some great updates on a story oft told in this space. And it will solve a 100 yr plus mystery at the same time.
cheers till then,