Cudmore: Mohawk Valley woman was Civil War nurse

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Ann Maria Bullock Schram was a volunteer nurse in Maryland during the Civil War. 

Montgomery County historian Kelly Yacobucci Farquhar first learned of Schram when Farquhar consulted a computer list of the birthplaces of Civil War nurses.

Ann Maria, born in Ephratah in 1834, was the eldest daughter of Solomon and Sarah Bullock.  Her father died in the early 1850s.  Ann Maria married Daniel Schram of Ephratah in 1856.  Their first child, a son, was born a year later.

Before 1860 the Schrams moved to Amsterdam where Daniel was a stone mason.  When war broke out Daniel enlisted in the 32nd New York volunteer regiment and headed south where he fought in the battle of Antietam in September 1862.

Ann Maria “wanted to do her part,” according to Farquhar, and with child care and other assistance from relatives and friends she went to Maryland as an unpaid volunteer.

A sketch book of Civil War nurses compiled 30 years later stated that Ann Maria worked under supervision of Dr. Charles Haynes, a surgeon from Brighton, Massachusetts, at a field hospital in a barn outside of Frederick, Maryland.

There she attended to wounded and sick soldiers.  She may have cared for her husband, who was wounded in the battle of Antietam.

Farquhar said, “She was working probably 14 hours a day and they were cooking and cleaning. They were feeding the soldiers.  They were tending to their wounds, they were writing letters home for the soldiers.” 

After eight months Ann Maria was sick from disease or exhaustion.  Daniel too was in rough shape from his wounds and was discharged from the Army in December 1862.  Ann Maria left Maryland at the same time or a bit later and they returned to Amsterdam.

After the war the Schrams had a daughter.  By 1870 Ann Maria and her two children moved to Fort Plain where her mother was living.  Daniel was off finding work in Syracuse and in Herkimer.

Daniel joined the Grand Army of the Republic or GAR post in Fort Plain.  Ann Maria became active in veterans affairs, especially efforts to reach female nurse veterans.

Farquhar said, “She was well known and traveled to Niagara Falls and to other states when they had reunions or different events.  So she and Daniel traveled far and wide.”

There is a pension application on file at the National Archives for Ann Maria but Farquhar so far has not been able to access the document. 

Farquhar said, “Daniel had attempted suicide. He’d lost his eyesight.  I’m sure he had PTSD.   It seemed from everything I can find that she kept him going, supporting him.  Unfortunately they had family setbacks.  Their son had been an alcoholic and had some difficulties with his own family.  Their daughter died at the age of 36.”

A few years before the Schrams died they sold their home in Fort Plain and moved to Albany, apparently one of their grandchildren lived there.

Ann Maria died in 1911.  Daniel died in 1915 at the Soldiers Home in Steuben County.  They were both buried at Fort Plain Cemetery.

Farquhar has great respect for Ann Maria: “She faced a lot of adversity.  Being near the front lines of battle must have been mind-shattering.  Just the horrors that she probably saw and what she had to do to provide some level of comfort for these men that she didn’t know.  Maybe she did know some of them, maybe some of them had served with her husband and had been from Amsterdam.  That just takes a lot of resolve I think.  And everything she went through afterward.”

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