Civil War Women Spies I

Lead: Of the many roles women played during the American Civil War, the most dangerous, daring and deadly was spying.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Espionage, someone has said, is the “second oldest profession.” It certainly has been a part of every major war in history. Of the thousands who engaged in spying during the American Civil War, among the most famous were women. It was a time when Union and Confederate women were called upon to take on many tasks theretofore considered unconventional – farming, nursing, factory work or office management. For the adventurous few there was spying. Civil War women spies were amateurs often motivated by fervent regional patriotism. Most of the time they worked alone, but occasionally as in the case of Elizabeth Van Lew were part of a team or spy “ring.” Women served as informants, smugglers, couriers, or guides.

 

 

First Ladies: Bess Truman

Lead: She didn’t like politics and thought of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue as the “Great White Jail, but she loved Harry Truman and if he wanted to live there she would be his partner in life and service.

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

                Content: Harry Truman first met Elizabeth Virginia Wallace at the Sunday School of the Presbyterian Church in Independence, Missouri. He was six, she was five. Until his death in 1972 at eighty-nine she never was far from his thoughts. Pursuing Bess was not easy. He was from a family of dirt farmers, she from one of the wealthiest in town. It took a long time and a lot of work on his part for Madge Wallace to warm to Harry and for the balance of her life Mother Wallace was a member of the Truman household, part of the price he paid to win Bess.

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Women Slaves – Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley – Part II

Lead: In 1861 dressmaker Elizabeth Keckley, former slave from Virginia, became the personal dressmaker and confidante of the President of the United States, Mary Todd Lincoln.

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts. 

                Content: In early 1861, Mrs. Lincoln accidentally spilled coffee on the gown she was to wear to the Inaugural Ball. A friend recommended Elizabeth Keckley the finest dressmaker in the District. The Lincolns were so pleased with her work that Mary Lincoln hired Lizzie as a dressmaker and personal maid. The two forged a friendship that would last for years. Lizzie became the First Lady’s closest friend and confidante during the Lincolns’ four years in the White House.

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The Last Full Measure – Rose Greenhow

Lead: For 400 years service men and women have fought to carve out and defend freedom and the civilization we know as America. This series on A Moment in Time is devoted to the memory of those warriors, whose devotion gave, in the words of Lincoln at Gettysburg, the last full measure.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In the summer of 1861 Washington hostess Rose Greenhow helped the infant Confederacy win the First Battle of Manassas at Bull Run Creek. Rose was born to a slaveholding family in southern Maryland in 1817. As a young woman, she moved to Washington City to live with her aunt who ran a boarding house in the Old Capitol Building. She earned the nickname “Wild Rose.” Charming, intelligent, and witty, Rose entertained frequently and cultivated friendships with some of the most powerful political figures of her time in Washington’s antebellum society.

 

Laura Ingalls Wilder

Lead: In 1930 Laura Ingalls Wilder began writing about her childlhood experiences on the American frontier. The result was classic literature read by young people and adults throughout the world.

                 Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

                 Content: The inspiration came from her daughter, Laura Lane, a San Francisco journalist. Then in her mid-sixties, Laura Wilder, writing on school tablets and using pencils, created eight loosely autobiographical novels, known collectively as the “Little House Books,” published between 1932 and 1943. They have been praised as vividly detailing frontier domestic life, seen through the eyes of a young girl.

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First Ladies: Anna Harrison

Lead: The wife of one President and grandmother of another, Anna Harrison never entered the White House as First Lady.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: When she was informed that her husband, William Henry Harrison had been elected President Anna Harrison was not particularly happy. "I wish that my husband's friends had left him where he is, happy and contented in retirement." Sick at the time of the inauguration, she declined the trip preferring to wait for the milder weather of the Washington springtime. Just after the President was sworn in he caught a respiratory infection and died of pneumonia. Until Ronald Reagan, Harrison at 68 was the oldest man to become President and his wife was the oldest First Lady. In many ways her life was similar to Rachel Jackson. Both of them shared their husbands with the nomadic life of the military, both aspired to national political office and both found comfort in their long stretches of loneliness in religious faith as devout Presbyterians.

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Abigail Fillmore

Lead:  Well-read and cultured, Abigail Fillmore maintained a well-tuned political sense in an otherwise lackluster administration.

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

                Content: When Abigail Power’s preacher father died in 1799, her mother migrated to Cayuga County, then on the New York frontier. Mrs. Powers took responsibility for the education of the children and so well did she did do her job that by the time she was nineteen Abigail was teaching in a country school near Sempronius, New York. In the winter of 1818, she looked up from her desk into the bright, inquiring eyes of a big farm boy who had appeared in her classroom with little notice. The eighteen-year-old was ambitious to become a lawyer and Abigail responded to his enthusiasm. His name was Millard Fillmore and after an eight-year courtship, much of the time spent apart as he was reading for the bar, they began a twenty-seven year marriage.

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First Ladies: Hannah Van Buren

Lead:  Like Jackson before him and Jefferson at the beginning of the century, in 1837 Martin Van Buren came to the White House a widower. Very little is known of Hannah Van Buren.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Born in 1783 she was the first President's wife to be born a United States citizen. They grew up together in Kinderhook, New York, attended the same school and were married in 1807. Martin read for the law and was county attorney, then they moved to Albany, the state capital where he served as state's attorney. The first year the family was in Albany was a very severe one and she developed tuberculosis, became an invalid and this mother of five sons died in 1819 at the age of thirty-six.

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