Safford, Mary Jane
- Sarah H. Gordon
Safford, Mary Jane (31 December 1834–08 December 1891), Civil War nurse and physician, was born in Hyde Park, Vermont, the daughter of Joseph Warren Safford and Diantha Little, farmers. Mary had three older brothers and one or two sisters. In 1837 or 1838 the entire family moved to the frontier town of Crete, Illinois, in Will County, on the Indiana border about thirty miles south of Chicago. Mary, an unusually intelligent child, received some education at home under the tutelage of her mother. To further her education, Mary was sent to Canada, probably near Montreal, during the early 1840s. There she learned French, needlework, and German. According to contemporary documents, she then undertook further educational travels in the United States and the West Indies before returning to Illinois to live. Her father died when Mary was fourteen, and her mother died the following year. She subsequently lived with one of her brothers, Alfred Boardman Safford, who had prepared for a legal career but became a successful businessman....