Mary Desha

Mary Desha was born on March 8, 1850, in Lexington, Kentucky. She was educated and even attended the University of Kentucky for a short time. Her family became impoverished by the Civil War and the women were needed to provide an income. Miss Desha and her mother opened a private school and several years later, she accepted a position with the Lexington public school system where she worked for several years before taking a job as a clerk in Washington, DC. 
After a few years in Washington, she eventually accepted a teaching position in Sitka, Alaska, in 1888. She found the living conditions of the Alaskan natives unacceptable so she wrote a protest to the government in Washington which resulted in a federal investigation. She returned to Lexington and later Washington, DC where she continued in the civil service until her death. She spent a lot of her free time working hours acting as an Assistant Director of the DAR Hospital Corps during the Spanish-American War in 1898. Upon her death, her fellow Daughters honored her memory with the first memorial service ever held in Memorial Continental Hall.

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