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The Blue Book of Iowa Women A History of Contemporary Women

Compiled by Winona Evans Reeves, 1914.


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One of the greatest heroines of the Civil War, of whom General Grant said "No soldier on the firing line gave more heroic service than she rendered," was an Iowa woman.  Annie Turner Wittenmyer was born in Sandy Springs, Ohio, in 1827.  Her husband was Wm. Wittenmyer, a merchant.  They moved to Keokuk in 1850, where she conducted a free school at her own expense.  In 1862 she was appointed by the Iowa legislature, State Sanitary Agent.  Secretary Stanton issued a pass which admitted her and her supplies through all army lines.  Over $150,000 in Iowa alone passed through her hands in money and supplies.  Later she entered the service of the Christian Commission, having charge of the diet kitchen; the first one opened was in Nashville.  She raised the hygienic excellence of these kitchens to a higher grade than had then been known in military life.  Until the winter of 1865 she constantly cared for the sick and wounded on the field and in the hospitals.

Through her influence the soldiers' Orphans Home in Davenport was established, the first of its kind in the United States.  She was National President of the W. R. C. and practically wrote its code of laws.  She was first national president of the W. C. T. U.  She inaugurated the plan under which the Woman's Home Missionary Society of the M. E. church operates.  Largely through her influence the federal law pensioning army nurses was passed.  She was the author of "Under the Guns, a Woman's Reminiscences of the Civil War," and other books.  President Lincoln, General and Mrs. Grant, were personal friends.

She died Feb. 2, 1900, having in her life rendered public service of a very high order.



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