Recognizing Unsung Women Veterans

11 Nov

Hello everyone, LMA here reporting on Veteran’s Day, also known as My Pub’s third sib’s birthday.

Yes, it was a bittersweet moment back on this pre-ultrasound day in 1969 when My Pub and two  brothers waited with Grandma by the phone. My Pub was so hopeful that her father would call any minute and report the birth of a sister – at last!.

The phone rang. Everyone jumped. Grandma picked up the receiver and, only hearing one end of the conversation, My Pub nearly died of anticipation.

Grandma: “Oh, that is wonderful news.”

Grandma: “The children? Why they are absolute angels” (This was a lie.)

Grandma: “What a lovely name! Has a beautiful ring.”

Grandma: “Deary me. Oh my.”

Grandma: “Goodness gracious. Who would have thought?”

Grandma: “Big kisses from all of us to that precious little cherub. We will see you soon. Kiss-kiss-hug-hug!”

(Thoughts in My Pub’s head at the time: Grandma, hang up the damn phone and tell me I have a sister!)

Alas, it was not to be. Yes, Grandma did eventually hang up the phone, but no, My Pub had yet another brother. What a let down!  That was until she got over herself. She and Brother Number Three are lifelong friends.

But that’s not what today’s post is all about. Today, we celebrate Veteran’s Day. As you know, based on my previous iteration, I, Louisa May Alcatt, am a veteran of the Civil War. There are not too many of us walking around these days, especially on four legs.

I am not the only women to serve our country before it became common place to do so. There are scores of us, but here I highlight four. I think you’ll find them impressive. Hope you thank a Vet today! xo, LMA

Cathay Williams disguised herself as a man and went by the name William Cathay so she could serve as a Buffalo Soldier in the Civil War. Cathay is not only the first documented woman to enlist in the United States Military, she is also the first African-American woman to do so.

Cathay Williams disguised herself as a man and went by the name William Cathay so she could serve as a Buffalo Soldier in the Civil War. Cathay is not only the first documented woman to enlist in the United States Military, she is also the first African-American woman to do so.

Born in Ireland, Jennie Hodgers stowed away on a ship to the United States, where she went by the name Albert P.J. Cashier and served as a man in the Union Army. After being discharged, Jennie continued living as Albert and even voted in elections well before women were allowed to do so.

Born in Ireland, Jennie Hodgers stowed away on a ship to the United States, where she went by the name Albert P.J. Cashier and served as a man in the Union Army. After being discharged, Jennie continued living as Albert and even voted in elections well before women were allowed to do so.

Deborah Samson disguised herself as Robert Shirtliffe and volunteered in the Revolutionary War. Robert's gender was discovered by a military doctor who treated her for fever. He kept her secret and Robert continued to serve her country.

Deborah Samson disguised herself as Robert Shirtliffe and volunteered in the Revolutionary War. Robert’s gender was discovered by a military doctor who treated her for fever. He kept her secret and Robert continued to serve her country.

Sarah Edmonds went by the name of Frank Thompson and served, disguised as a man, as a male nurse and spy for the Union Army.

Sarah Edmonds went by the name of Frank Thompson and served, disguised as a man, as a male nurse and spy for the Union Army.

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7 Responses to “Recognizing Unsung Women Veterans”

  1. Bruce Thiesen November 11, 2014 at 8:36 am #

    Pub’s Grandma knew how to keep a young one antsy. I’m guessing she was your father’s mother.

    And btw, where else is anyone going to get the the stories on early American women soldiers this Veteran’s Day? Nowhere, I suspect.

    • Louisa May Alcatt November 12, 2014 at 12:55 pm #

      For once, bruce you’re wrong. Maternal grandmother. xo LMA

      • Bruce Thiesen November 12, 2014 at 11:42 pm #

        I don’t know how I missed that. I thought I “read” the conversation between your dad and grandma just right.

  2. liz feltham November 11, 2014 at 10:23 pm #

    Amazing stories! Cathay Williams, in particular, who had to overcome more than just her sex. Great work, as always LMA. Glad you’re back.

  3. bernecho November 12, 2014 at 12:04 pm #

    LMA, this was fascinating as always. I love learning important American history from your blog.
    Mimi

  4. LB November 12, 2014 at 12:09 pm #

    Your blog is so educational! Love it
    Thanks for telling us about these brave women – and bravo to the physician who kept Deborah Samson’s gender a secret!

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