Heroine Names: A Memorial Day salute

When Memorial Day—then called Decoration Day—was first observed on May 30, 1868 to honor and decorate the graves of the Civil War dead, much of the impetus for it came from women—particularly in the South.  It was a woman poet who conceived the idea of wearing poppies on Memorial Day to honor those who died serving the nation during war. 

Over the years, though, the emphasis has been on the brave G.I. Joes who sacrificed their lives.  But we’re here to say that there were many equally courageous women who played their parts in and out of the military—as soldiers (sometimes disguised as men—we have to assume they didn’t have to pass a physical), battlefield nurses, scouts and guides, spies (many), messengers and couriers.

Here are the heroine names  (including a few unusual ones) of some of the outstanding women who served from the Revolutionary War to World War II—worthy namesakes all.

Amabel Scharff Roberts—World War I

Anne Hennis Trotter Bailey –Revolutionary War—sometimes known as “Mad Anne” for her recklessness

Annie G FoxWorld War II

Beatrice Guilden Byerly—Revolutionary War

Cathay Williams, aka William Cathay—Civil War

Clara Barton (born Clarissa Harlowe) – Civil War

Edith Greenwood—World War II

Ellen May Tower—Spanish-American War

Frances Slanger—World War II

Ginnie Moon—Civil War

Hannah Harringon Clark—Revolutionary War

Harriet Tubman—Civil War

Irene Robar—World War I

Jacqueline Cochran—World War II

Jane Rignel—World War I

Jennie Hodgers, aka Albert Cashier—Civil War

Linnie Leckrone—World War I

Loreta Janeta Velazquez , aka Lt. Harry Buford—Civil War

Lottie Moon—Civil War

Lucy Brewer, aka George Baker,–War of 1812

Margaret Cochran Corbin—Revolutionary War (the first woman to receive a government pension as a disabled soldier)

Martha McFarlane McGee Bell—Revolutionary War

Maud Fitch—World War I

Nancy Hart Douglas—Civil War

Opha Johnson—World War I

Pauline Cushman—Civil War

Sarah Borginis—Mexican-American War

Sarah Emma Edmonds, aka Franklin Thompson—Civil War

Sarah Rosetta Wakeman—Civil War

Virginia Roush d’AlbertLake—World War II

……………………………………………………………

Wishing you all a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!

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8 Responses to “Heroine Names: A Memorial Day salute”

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Abby Says:

May 27th, 2011 at 5:38 am

What a great list! And sisters named Ginnie and Lottie Moon had to grow up to do something adventurous. 🙂

Valentina Says:

May 27th, 2011 at 5:56 am

Wow, I don’t think I know half these women. Another metionable war heroine is Sybil Luddington from the American Revolution. At the age of 17, she traveled 40 miles by horse in the rain at night to gather her father’s men so they could help prevent the British from burning Danbury, Connecticut

Zinkyowl Says:

May 27th, 2011 at 7:16 am

I’ve got two more…
-Elizabeth Van Lew: a spy for the north in the Civil war, living in upper class Richmond VA. I’ll give you her first ame isn’t that different, but I think he name as wole is quite stunning!
Molly Pitcher(Mary Ludwig Hays)- Diliverd water to soldiers during the Revoluinary War.
Both of these women have very intresting stories, and fabulous names!

purpleprose78 Says:

May 27th, 2011 at 9:45 am

I read a biography about Molly Pitcher as a little girl. She was awesome and I wanted to be here.

Since my Grandma was in the WAVES during WW2, I thought I’d give some other names from that group.

Mildred McAfee – first female commissioned Naval Officer
Harriet Ida Pickens and Frances Wills – first African American female Naval Officers

And my personal, though totally unimportant to history female hero, Dorothy (Dot) Evans, my grandma.

Lisa Says:

May 27th, 2011 at 12:11 pm

The Moon sisters comment piqued my interest…Apparently, they were committed to the Confederacy (and assumably propoents of preserving slavery)–a big detractor in my mind, and I think a reasonable caution about investigating name origins before committing.

Mandy Says:

May 27th, 2011 at 1:14 pm

Ginnie and Lottie Moon. I read that their real names were Charlotte and Virginia. I never heard Ginnie used as a nickname for Virginia.
Cathay Williams is quite an interesting name. She joined the army dressed up like a man, the first African American female to enlist as a soldier. Now that’s something. Sounds like another Hua Mulan story though. It might be usuable if it wasn’t pronounced like cafe, the Spanish word for brown.

aimvonb Says:

May 27th, 2011 at 5:18 pm

I also wanted to give a shout out to Molly Pitcher!!! (I did a report on her in the 7th grade):)

dayjoysky2815 Says:

August 6th, 2012 at 1:55 pm

I want to add a very amazing heroine.

Irena Sendler was a Polish Catholic social worker who served in the Polish Underground and the Żegota resistance organization in German-occupied Warsaw during World War II. Assisted by some two dozen other Żegota members, Sendler smuggled 2,500 Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto and then provided them with false identity documents and with housing outside the Ghetto, thereby saving those children from being killed in the Holocaust.

The Nazis eventually discovered her activities, tortured her, and sentenced her to death; but she managed to evade execution and survive the war. Late in life she was awarded Poland’s highest honor for her wartime humanitarian efforts and also was nominated for (but did not win) the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. She appears on a silver 2009 Polish commemorative coin honoring some of the Holocaust-resisters of Poland.

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