Gettysburg 1863

Elizabeth Salome Myers, a teacher, was on summer vacation in 1863. She and everyone in Gettysburg knew the war was close so it was on all their minds. Salome probably wondered what would happen over the summer, how her life may be affected by the war. By July 1  the battles to the west of town hit Gettysburg and General Robert Lee and the Confederate army arrived. Instantly Salome’s summer, her whole life was taken over by the war- she began tending to injured soldiers in make do hospitals: her own home on West High Street and the Catholic church nearby. Salome kept a diary: The ties of the past: the Gettysburg diaries of Salome Myers Stewart 1854-1922.

Henry F and Alexander M Stewart

Salome’s first patient was Sergeant Alexander McFarland Stewart (1st cousin 4x removed, or cousin to Elizabeth Stewart 2nd great grandmother). Alexander was seriously injured and knew he was dying. Salome asked if there was anything she could do, he asked her to read from the Bible, so she did. After Alexander’s death Salome received a visit from Alexander’s mother and brother. Henry, the brother, thanked Salome for her kindness and care of Alexander. Henry (1st cousin 4x removed) and Salome would eventually marry and Henry joined as Corporal in the Civil War. The brothers were written up in a memorial book of the Company D, 149th Pennsylvania Volunteers.  The book has a short biography and a photo of each. (Henry’s bio is on page 87, photo on page 86f. Alexander’s bio is on page  86, photo on page 86c.) Alexander the older brother died at Gettysburg in July 1863, Henry died in 1868 from complications of a war injury.

Elizabeth Salome would return to teaching and received national recognition for her service. She was the treasurer of the National Association of Army Nurses for several years.

Elizabeth Salome Myers b. 1842

Elizabeth Salome (Sally) Myers married Henry F Stewart, 1st cousin 4 times removed, in about 1867. In the midst of the Civil War, Sally was a teacher in Gettysburg, PA. Most in Gettysburg understood the war could come closer to their homes, the Confederate Army was close by at Antietam. On July 1 of 1863  school was out for the summer and the battles began in Gettysburg. Sally was 21 and instantly became a nurse to the wounded and dying soldiers.

Alexander Stewart of the 109th Pennsylvania Volunteers was Sally’s first patient. She asked the soldier what he needed, he answered nothing. He understood he was going to die. Maybe Sally helped Alexander write a last letter to his family, she did this for many soldiers. Alexander’s family met Sally when they came to Gettysburg to pick up their son’s corpse. The Stewart family thanked Sally for all she had done. Later that summer Sally had a letter form Alexander’s brother Henry. Henry Stewart was a minister, he and Sally kept in touch. Eventually Henry and his mom moved to Gettysburg. Henry and Sally continued their friendship and then married.

Parts of Sally’s story are here at Civil War Sources and here at I’ve just ordered Sally’s Gettysburg diary The Ties of the Past, on Ebay, thank you SeattleGoodwillBooks.

Stewart, Salome M, and Sarah S. Rodgers. The Ties of the Past: The Gettysburg Diaries of Salome Myers Stewart, 1854-1922. Gettysburg, PA: Thomas Publications, 1996. Print.