Sketches of Wisconsin Pioneer Women - Kenosha
compiled by Florence Chambers Dexheimer, not dated.


Louise K. Thiers
pages 29-31
Author -- Flora B. Dexter
Kenosha
The subject of this interesting sketch was born in Whitesboro, New York, on October 2, 1814, the daughter of Seth Capron, who, when a boy in his teens, enlisted in Washington's army.

Under the command of Lafayette he fought through the campaign at Newport, and served under Washington at West Point, where he was given command of his commander's barge. When Washington left West Point to bid farewell to his soldiers, Seth Capron was the last man to take his hand.

Lafayette's friendship for the young soldier grew out of an incident at Newport in 1780, when a bullet intended for Lafayette narrowly missed Capron.

"One of my earliest recollections," said Madam Thiers, is the departure of my father for West Point to meet General Lafayette when he returned to America for a visit. I recall very clearly the preparations for the trip, and knew, even though I was a little girl that my father was going to meet the French General, who had been his friend since the Siege of Newport."

She also remembers the opening of the Erie Canal, and recalls how wonderful it was to travel four miles an hour.

She rode on the first steam railway from Schenectady to Albany, and recalls how the train was let down with a stationery engine because the road was so steep. She has seen Halley's comet twice. The first time was in Baltimore in 1835, and she remembers how loud the African Americans prayed, believing that the world had surely come to an end.

Many incidents are related by Madam Thiers of her early life in Southport, Wisconsin (now Kenosha), where she came with her husband, David S. Thiers, whom she married in New York City on April 6, 1847. In this pioneer city they reared their family of four children, sharing in the meanwhile with their new neighbors and friends the many privations and hardships incident to life in the middle west in the late forties.

She tells of the tallow dip and the open fires for cooking, and, in this connection, volunteers the opinion that "conservation" is not new, for she often saved time, energy and fuel by preparing the food for a week -- roasts, beans, pies, bread, all in one baking.

This remarkable woman rejoices at the advent of the prohibition movement, and has approved and worked for woman's emancipation, showing her interest and enthusiasm by voting regularly as the elections occur.

Her interest in the late war was shown in her patriotic efforts to provide as many comfortable garments as her feeble hands could make for our boys in France. Her knitting was beautifully done and could have been offered as a sample for the younger to follow. She adopted as her Godson a French soldier, Marcel Joy, who had been deeply stirred by reading of her interest in the war, and the one hundred pairs of socks she had knitted for the French babies.

The Thiers family are of French ancestry, and gave to France one of her presidents.

Madam Thiers has reached the age of 108 years, and enjoys life as evidenced by her intense interest in current events. She is a member of the household of her daughter, Mrs. Charles Quarles, 434 Farwell Avenue, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Madam Thiers has the distinction of being the oldest Real Daughter of the American Revolution, and her birthday is always observed by the Milwaukee Chapter, their tribute taking the form of a rose for each year of her life.

As to the secret of her long life, this is what she says:

1. "I attribute my long life and good ealth to a light diet, careful eating."

2. "Keeping alive my interest in life and daily event."

3. "Being happy myself and doing what I can to make others happy."

Submitted [to "Sketches of Wisconsin Pioneer Women"] by Kenosha Chapter D.A.R.

Mrs. Cordelia A. Perrine Harvey
pages 142-144
Author -- Antoinette Cowles Kent
Beloit

Early home, Kenosha. Marries Louis P. Harvey in 1845. Moved to Clinton Junction; thence they removed to Shopiere in Rock County. There they remained until 1859, when Mr. Harvey became Secretary of State, necessitating their removal to Madison. His wife on the day of the firing of Fort Sumpter was interested in the soldiers. To each of the Harvey Company she gave a Testament and a Bible. She gave all her time to helping the soldiers.

At Savannah, Tennessee, where he had been caring for sick and wounded soldiers, he was drowned while passing from one boat to another. This event fixed in Mrs. Harvey's mind the purpose to carry on the work he had left undone. Mrs. Harvey had unusual tact and charming manners. Her ministrations were such as to give her the title, "Wisconsin Angel".

In the early fall of 1862 she went to St. Louis as sanitary agent. Here she spent many weeks visiting hospitals at Benton's Barracks and Fifth Street. Afterwards she proceeded to Cape Giravdeau, ministering to the sick and dying soldiers being brought in from the swamps and the river hospital boats. Day by day she visited every sufferers' cot, bringing to them fresh flowers and hope and comfort. She induced the Western Sanitary Commission to send to her comforts that were suitable to sick and wounded soldiers.

Mrs. Harvey visited Wisconsin where she interested the women and directed their work for the soldiers. In October, she revisited the hospitals. After returning to St. Louis November 1st, the surgeon in charge commended her work so highly to Governor Solomon that General Curtis gave orders that she was to have all needed sanitary articles and all transportation free to visit all general hospitals in his command and all regimental hospitals. Mrs. Harvey bore this document in person to President Lincoln. He sent it to the secretary of State with these words written on the back of the letter: "Admit Mrs. Harvey at once and listened to what she has to say." Secretary Stanton could not then give her an answer. Twenty-four hours later an order was issued establishing convalescent camps, and Harvey Hospitals at Madison, Milwaukee and Prairie du Chien.

Mrs. Harvey was the originator of the establishment of the Wisconsin Soldiers' Orphans Home at Madison in 1866. Mrs. Harvey was superintendent until May, 1867.

Wisconsin Women of the War gives account of many touching events in connection with her work as Army Nurse. She inspected Hospitals in Corinth, Jackson, and LaGrange. In Vicksburg she induced General Grant to have all sick soldiers sent to a northern camp. At Young's Point, near Vicksburg, Mrs. Harvey became ill and returned to Madison until fully recovered.

She again visited the hospitals on the river as far down as New Orleans, making Vicksburg the center of her field of labor. She also visited Washington and induced Lincoln to establish hospitals in Wisconsin for sick soldiers. Senator Howe drew up a petition at the proposal of Mrs. Harvey and Mrs. Eliza Chappell Porter.

(Mrs. Frank S.) Antoinette Cowles, Daughter (D.A.R.) No. 30546, 635 Park Ave., Beloit, Wisconsin, Dec. 27, 1923.

Mrs. Cordelia A. P. Harvey
pages 47-49
Author -- Mrs. William McKinney
Fond du Lac
Among the women whom the Civil War brought to the front as leaders, such as Dorothea Dix, and Anna Dickinson, Mrs. Cordelia A. Perrine Harvey from Wisconsin deserves a place. In some respects she was a National figure, one of the great army nurses whose work was not limited by state lines.

The early life of this remarkable woman did not differ from that of other Wisconsin women of her day, who spent their lives in small towns, busy with the daily routine. She lived for many years in Kenosha, where her father's family, the Perrines were prominent in the decade of the forties. There she taught school, and there she was married to a school teacher, Louis P. Harvey. They removed to Madison in 1859, when Mr. Harvey's election as Secretary of State made his presence in Madison necessary. Mr. Harvey was a person of strong personality and in 1861 the people of Wisconsin elected him Governor. From the day of the firing on Fort Sumpter both he and his wife showed a deep interest in the Civil War.

In the busy days which followed the first call for troops, Mrs. Harvey entered with enthusiasm into the work for soldiers and their families.

In the spring of 1862 Gov. Harvey went South in order to learn whether the sick and wounded Wisconsin prisoners were well cared for. He stopped at Cairo, Mound City, and Paducah, also at Pittsburg Landing. From there he went to Savannah and as he was about to pass from one boat to another, his foot slipped, and he fell in the water and was drowned before help could be secured.

While this tragic event was taking place, his wife totally ignorant of the shocking incident was busily engaged in collecting money for the relief of soldiers' families.

She was not a woman to spend her life in mourning, however, and when the intensity of her grief had somewhat lessened, she began to ask herself what her duties in life were to be. A settled conviction possessed her that her duty in life was to finish the work which he had left undone. She soon began to inquire where and how she could be most helpful to Wisconsin soldiers. In 1862, Governor Salomon appointed her Sanitary Agent at St. Louis, and for four years she rendered acceptable service in the Southland for Wisconsin soldiers.

Her tact was unusual therefore she succeeded in accomplishing things which other people failed.

Her motherly heart and sympathetic figure caused the men to call her the Wisconsin Angel.

She began by visiting hospitals, in order that she might find out where improvements were most needed. Afterwards, Mrs. Harvey proceeded to Cape Girardean where hospitals were being improvised for the immediate use of the sick and dying -- then being brought in. She visited day by day every sufferer's cot -- taking with her all the hope and comfort she could find in her heart to give them.

In 1863 Mrs. Harvey went to Memphis from which place she sent a letter to the Governor of our state urging him to establish a hospital at that place. After visiting Memphis Mrs. Harvey inspected hospitals at Corinth, Jackson and La Grange. About April 1st she was overcome by the Miasma and was obliged to return north where she recovered her health.

On her return trip south she visited Washington and obtained from Abraham Lincoln permission to establish a hospital in Wisconsin for convalescing soldiers.

Although Mrs. Harvey was the Sanitary Agent for Wisconsin she paid little regard for the state lines and her work may be truly regarded as National.

When she returned from the south in 1865 she brought with her six or seven orphans of the War, whom she had found there, not inquiring on which side their fathers fought. Soon after this she established a Soldiers Orphans Home in Madison which was in existance until 1874, when the state feeling the need for retrenchment, closed the institution.

*** Mrs. Harvey at one time lived in Fort Atkinson and taught a class in the Congregational Sunday School. She is still remembered by some of her scholars as a little woman with a sweet face hid under a small bonnet with a long widow's veil; a loving personality, quick, keen and jolly.
This information obtained from Millie C. Brandel.

Mr. G. H. Pounder, Fort Atkinson soldier in the Civil War, relates this experience. He with a number of other men were ordered to Missouri to fill up the depleted ranks of the Wisconsin Company, and were sent by mistake to Mississippi. They tried and tried to get back but all efforts failed until they wrote to Mrs. Harvey. In a very short time Mrs. Harvey was able to do what the Generals had not succeeded in getting done. She had the rank of Colonel given her by President Lincoln.
Florence Dexheimer.





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