Woman of the Century/Mary Cole Walling
WALLING, Mrs. Mary Cole, patriot, born in Pike county, Pa., 19th June, 1838. She is a lineal descendant of the patrician families of Stephen Cole, of Scotland, and Hannah Chase, of England. She was known during the Civil War as "The Banished Heroine of the South." Her parents moved to Cass county, Ill., in 1850, where, in the same year, she became the wife of Captain F. C. Brookman, of St. Louis, Mo., who shortly after fell a victim to yellow-fever. MARY COLE WALLING. The young widow went to Texas, where she became the wife of C. A. Walling. She was the mother of four children, in a happy and luxurious home, when the alarm of war was sounded, and her husband joined the Confederate army. The wife's patriotism and love for the Union was so pronounced that, in 1863, she was warned by the vigilance committee to "leave the country within a few hours." The heroic woman, with four little children, the oldest a mere baby, ordered the family carriage, and, with a brother eleven years of age for a driver, started through the wilds of Texas for the Union lines, with no chart or compass for her guide save the north star. The brave woman engineered her precious load for twenty-three days, and her joy at the first sight of the flag she loved so well repaid her for her trials. Upon learning that seven of her brothers were in the Union army, where they all fought and died, she determined to lecture in defense of the Stars and Stripes, and was so cordially received that, upon being introduced to a large audience in Cooper Institute by Horace Greeley, he declared her "The greatest female speaker of the age." She delivered speeches in nearly all the large cities of the North. On 10th May, 1866, the United States Senate passed a resolution according to her the privilege of addressing that honorable body, which distinction was unprecedented in the history of our country. Before that distinguished body she delivered her famous argument on reconstruction. Surrounded by her children in her Texas home, as a fist literary task, she is writing an autobiography of her ante-bellum days and and her subsequent trials and successes.