Puget Sound Civil War Roundtable

Civil War Education, Remembrance and Preservation

NURSE ELIZABETH PICKARD HUNT

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Nurse Hunt was born on November 2, 1834 in Indiana.
She passed away on April 13, 1912. She is interred in Old Tacoma Cemetery.

Her remembrances of nursing in Keokuk, Iowa are as follows:

At your request, I will give a few items of my experience in hospital life, although I cannot now remember all of them. At the time, my home was in Salem, Iowa and the hospital I worked in was at Keokuk, Iowa. There were three hospitals in the city. The one I worked in was called the Main Street Hospital. It was a large, eight-story building. I worked in the Fifth Ward. There were a great many patients, and I deeply sympathized with those poor heroes who had risked their lives to protect our homes.

I was employed by Dr. Huges (now deceased), who had charge. There was a great demand for nurses, and I took my place in May 1862 and left in August. My ward had ten cases of smallpox, and none of the other nurses were willing to wait on them, for fear of the disease. I told the surgeon I would stay. My people were very much alarmed, but I had friends in the city who said they would care for me. Soon, I was taken very ill with the varioloid form, and was removed from the hospital, but my health was so impaired, I was unable to return to the service, and I have never been well since.

I made application for a pension, but as I was not in the service six months, it was not granted. This seemed to me a little unjust, for I should probably have remained a year or two had I not been stricken down by caring for smallpox patients.

Elizabeth P. Hunt
Bloomingdale, Indiana