Dr. Mary E. Walker
The only woman to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor
A Brief Chronology of Dr. Mary E. Walker
Mary E. WalkerMary E. Walker was born November 26 at the family farm on Bunker Hill Road, in the Town of Oswego. She had four sisters: Aurora, Luna, Vesta, Cynthia, and one brother, Alvah.
|1850-51||Attended Falley Seminar in Fulton, New York.|
|1851-52||Taught school in Minetto, New York.|
|1853||Entered Central Medical College, Syracuse, New York.|
|1855||Graduated from Medical College as the second woman in the United States to become a medical doctor. Elizabeth Blackwell (Geneva, New York) was the first. Also, this year she opened a practice in Columbus, Ohio, which lasted but a few months.|
|1856||Dr. Mary Walker married Dr. Albert Miller, and they each opened a practice in Rome, New York.|
|1859||The marriage was in effect terminated when Mary ordered her husband out of the house, charging him with unfaithfulness though it was to take another ten years for the divorce to become final.|
|1861||Traveled to Washington, D.C. to volunteer her service in the hospitals during the early months of the Civil War.|
|1864||After taking a wrong turn on the battlefields, Dr. Walker was taken prisoner by the Confederate forces and was taken to a prison in Richmond, Virginia. Four months later she obtained her freedom in a prisoner exchange.|
Dr. Walker was the first woman to have been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.Awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, based on her many acts of bravery and heroism on the battlefield of the Civil War.
|1866||Traveled widely throughout England and France — gave many lectures to mostly receptive audiences.|
|1868||Traveled extensively throughout the United States on lecture tours. She was not as enthusiastically received as she had been in Europe and her lectures were not great money makers.|
|1871||Her book, HIT, was published. Also, in November she attempted to vote in Oswego Town, but was turned away.|
Walker, 1870.Much of the decade was spent lobbying in Washington, D.C. for the suffrage and other causes.
|1878||Her second book, UNMASKED: THE SCIENCE OF IMMORALITY, was published|
|1882||Sought federal employment and was finally awarded a job as clerk in the Pensions Office of the Department of Interior. Friction developed and the job lasted less than two years.|
|1888-92||Economic circumstances necessitated her lecture assignments at various dime museums throughout the Northeast. These were not much more than carnival sideshows.|
|1907||CROWNING CONSTITUTIONAL ARGUMENT was published. This was the most comprehense statement of Dr. Mary Walker’s approach to suffrage.|
|1917||Announced a plan to end World War 1 by inviting the German Emperor to her Bunker Hill farm for negotiations and compromise.|
|1917||Medal of Honor was revoked but was restored after her death.|
|1919||Dr. Mary E. Walker died on February 21, at her home in the Town of Oswego. Her final resting spot is Rural Cemetery in the Town of Oswego.|
A 20¢ stamp honoring Dr. Mary Walker was issued in Oswego, NY on June 10, 1982. The stamp commemorates the first woman to have been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor and the second woman to graduate from a medical school in the United States.