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Dexheimer, Florence Chambers, 1866-1925 / Sketches of Wisconsin pioneer women
([1924?] )

Sturtevant, Gene
[Susanna Alden Richards Van Valkenburg],   pp. [unnumbered]-69 PDF (1.3 MB)

Page 66

    I was born in Tioga County, Pennsylvania, Febru-
ary 1, 1838. We were a family of eight children, all
boys but seven. I was the youngest and was given my
mother's name. We grew up with the usual advantages
of the children of that day, and I taught my first school
when I was seventeen years old. In 1855 our family
came to Wisconsin, locating on a farm in Marquette
County, and I taught in the schools of that county until
my marriage in 1860 to Henry Van Valkenburg of Wau-
shara County.
    In 1862 he enlisted in the Heavy Artillery, stationed
at Alexandria, Virginia. Knowing of the great need, the
following year I offered my services free to the Govern-
ment, to nurse the sick and wounded in the hospitals at
Alexandria. In May, 1864, large numbers of soldiers,
sick, wounded and in desperate need of remedies, nourish-
ment and care, were brought to Alexandria. Delicacies
were difficult to obtain, but I, by soliciting from the men
of my husband's battery and from patriotic citizens,
secured broth and lemonade, and several times a day,
assisted by four boys in blue, who carried the big camp
boilers for me, visited nearly every hospital in the town,
dispensing the needed and refreshing beverages. After
something over a year of strenuous work and nursing, I
finally succumbed to the effect of untimely hours and the
poison of Potomac swamps and contracted typhoid fever.
When able, I was taken to my home in Wisconsin, where
I slowly recovered. In 1871, my husband and I located
in Oshkosh, where I have since lived.
    The Biographical Album of Citizens and Soldiers of
Wisconsin has this to say of Mrs. Van Valkenburg:
"Large in person, strong in intellect, indomitable in
courage and cheerfulness, she is, altogether, such a
woman as were those who made their memory sweet to
the suffering in the bitter hour of national trial. With
those who warded off the disasters of a terrible internal
struggle, the names of Mother Bickerdike, Cornelia Har-
vey and Susanna Alden Van Valkenburg are on the pages
of history."

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