HANNIBAL — The Hannibal Historical Society will host Rev. George DeMass at 7 p.m. Oct. 21 at the Hannibal Municipal Building on Cayuga Street, next to the DMK Middle School, where he will share an update on Dr. Mary Walker.
Refreshments will be served following the presentation.
Dr. Mary Edwards Walker, born in the town of Oswego Nov. 26, 1832. In 1855, she earned her medical degree at Syracuse Medical College, married and started a medical practice. She volunteered with the Union Army at the outbreak of the American Civil War and served as a surgeon at a temporary hospital in Washington, D.C., even though at the time women and sectarian physicians were considered unfit by the Union Army Examining Board.
She was captured by Confederate forces after crossing enemy lines to treat wounded civilians and arrested as a spy. She was sent as a prisoner of war to Richmond, Virginia until released in a prisoner exchange.
After the war, she was approved for the Medal of Honor for her efforts to treat the wounded during the Civil War. Walker is the only woman to receive the medal and one of only eight civilians to receive it. Her name was deleted from the Army Medal of Honor Roll in 1917; however, it was restored in 1977.
After the war, she was a writer and lecturer supporting the women’s suffrage movement until her death on Feb. 21, 1919. She is buried in the Rural Cemetery, town of Oswego.
DeMass is president of the Oswego Town Historical Society. He resided on the DeMass Road in his early years, became a Presbyterian Pastor and served in Baltimore, Maryland for many years. Upon retiring, he returned to his boyhood home and is actively involved in the community.