Woman of the Century/Annie Wittenmyer
WITTENMYER, Mrs. Annie, reformer, Woman's Relief Corps and temperance worker, born in Sandy Springs, Adams county, Ohio, 26th August, 1827. She is the daughter of John G. Turner, descended from an old English family. Her paternal grandfather, James Turner, fought in the War of 1812. Her maternal grandfathers fought in the Colonial War between France and England and in the Revolutionary War. Her mother's ancestors belonged to an Irish family. She received a good education. In 1847 she became the wife of William Wittenmyer, a merchant, of Jacksonville, Ohio. In 1850 they removed to Keokuk, Iowa. Five children were born to them, all but one of whom died in infancy. ANNIE WITTENMYER. She now lives in Sanatogo, Pa., with her only surviving child. In Keokuk she engaged in church and charity work, and opened a free school at her own expense before public schools were started When the war broke out, she became Iowa's volunteer agent to distribute supplies to the army, and was the first sanitary agent for the State, being elected by the legislature. She received a pass from Secretary of War Stanton, which was endorsed by President Lincoln Throughout the Civil War she was constantly in the field, ministering to the sick and wounded in the hospital and battle-field. She was under fire at Pittsburgh Landing, and was under the guns in Vicksburg every day during the siege, when shot and shell were living and balls filled the air with the music of death. When warned of her danger, her reply was: "I am safe; He covers me with His feathers and hides me under His wings." She was personally acquainted with the leading generals of the army, was a special friend of General Grant, and accompanied him and Mrs Grant on the boat of observation that went down the Mississippi to see six gun-boats and eight wooden steamers run the blockade at Vicksburg While in the service, she introduced a reform in hospital cookery, known as the Special Diet Kitchens, which was made a part of the United States army system, and which saved the lives of thousands of soldiers, who were too ill to recover on coarse army fare. In 1863 she started the Soldier's Orphans' Home in Iowa, the first in the Union. She was the first president of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, serving five years without a salary. Beginning without a dollar in the treasury, she won the influence of the churches, and her efforts were crowned with success. She established the "Christian Woman" in Philadelphia, and was its editor for eleven years. She now is associate editor of "Home and Country," a magazine published in New York, edits a Relief Corps column in the New York "Weekly Tribune," and is a frequent contributor to the "National Tribune" and other periodicals. As an author she has taken high rank. Her "Women of the Reformation" is a standard work, and her hymns are found in numerous collections. In Relief Corps work she has been a leader, first serving as national chaplain, then as national president, and later as national counselor. She compiled the Red Book, made up of official decisions, now the recognized code of laws of the order. She is chairman of the board of directors of the National Relief Corps Home, Madison, Ohio. After five months of earnest work she secured the passage of a law by the Fifty-second Congress to pension army nurses. The establishment of the Kentucky Soldiers' Home is largely due to her efforts. As an orator she is intense and persuasive. She has lectured to multitudes at hundreds of camp-fires on her personal experience in the war, which she tells with pathos and fire. She is still active, untiring and full of vigor, and is very popular among the veterans wherever she goes.