Clara Barton was a strong woman. When she saw a problem she went right out in the mess and fixed right up. That is what makes Clara Barton who she was.
On December 25th, 1821, a girl named Clarissa Barton was born in Massachusetts. Her nickname was Clara. Clara ran away from snakes, spiders, and thunderstorms. When Clara was 12 her brother David fell from a barn roof. Clara nursed him for 2 years! Clara thought getting married and having kids wasn’t life for her. At age 18 Clara became a teacher. In 1852 Clara started a free school in New Jersey. It grew to over 600 kids! The townspeople built a bigger school and hired a man to run the school because they didn’t think a woman could run it. In 1854 Clara moved to Washington D.C.
In 1861 the Southern states broke away from the rest of the states because the new president (Abraham Lincoln) spoke against slavery and wanted to free the slaves. Abraham called men from the North for the Union Army. The Civil War had begun. In 1862 Clara set off to Virginia where she nursed at her first battle. She nursed men with broken arms and legs, stopped blood from flowing out, and nursed other kind of wounds. She even nursed her cousin, Ned Barton. A doctor called her the “Angel of the battlefield.” On April 9th, 1865 the Confederate Army surrendered. The Union had won!
In 1869 Clara went to Europe and learned about the Red Cross. In 1870 France went to war with Germany and Clara became a Red Cross Volunteer. After that war Clara went back to America and went to a hospital because she could not write, read, or comb her hair. After she got better she tried to convince the government to join the Red Cross. In 1881 she succeeded and became the president of the Red Cross. At the beginning the Red Cross fought forest fires, floods, and one hurricane! (and helped 35,000 people who were homeless!) In 1898 the Red Cross went to Cuba and nursed the soldiers there. In 1904 Clara was asked to step down from president. It was the saddest day of her life.
In 1905 Clara started the National First Aid Association of America. It taught people how to care for other people. She also worked on books and her garden. On April 12th, 1912 Clara died at age 90. She had health problems, but surprised everyone by doing things no other women would try.