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Medal winner


Only Woman Medal of Honor Holder Ahead of Her Time


By Rudi Williams
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON Whenever Ann Walker's brattish attitude emerged, her grandmother would often say, "You're just like your great-aunt Mary."

"When I was a teen-ager, I started to wonder, who is this great- aunt Mary?" said Walker, 74. "I sort of hungered for information about her, but I couldn't find much. Nobody, including my grandmother, seemed to care about her. She always said, 'Your aunt was always dressing like a man.'"

Her curiosity surged when one of her father's friends, a history professor, told her about her distant relative, actually her great-great-aunt, Dr. Mary Edwards Walker of the Civil War Union Army. He told her Mary Walker was the first American woman to be a military doctor, a prisoner of war and a Medal of Honor recipient. She was also a Union spy and a crusader against tobacco and alcohol.

"He told me she was always imitating men, and if she had dressed like a lady, she would have had a larger role in history," said Walker, a resident of Washington's Georgetown Aged Women's Home. A retired free-lance journalist, Walker said she's working on a book, "Woman of Honor," to tell the story of her aunt's Civil War exploits and her controversial life thereafter.

Such an honor to have someone like your great Great Aunt Mary in your ancestry. When I feel especially distant from my parents and siblings  and cousins...I especially appreciate hearing something about an ancestor who was more like me.

Best wishes with your book! Let me know if I can do anything to help,


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