Audio: “Eliza ‘Mother’ George” featuring Tom Castaldi. Courtesy of WBNI-Fort Wayne.

As reads the Old Historic Marker located on Berry Street: “Mother George Civil War Nurse 1808 to 1865. The first Fort Wayne home of Mrs. Eliza E. George was near this spot. At the age of 54 she helped to make Civil War nursing history. Mother George, as she was known to thousands of Union soldiers, served with front line troops in Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia, and North Carolina. Time after time she braved Confederate gunfire to comfort the sick and wounded. Mother George died at her post in Wilmington, North Carolina on May 9, 1865, a victim of typhoid fever contracted from returning prisoners.”

Eliza “Mother” George was born in Bridgeport, Vermont and moved to Fort Wayne sometime before 1850. Her daughter, also named Eliza, married Sion Bass who moved to Fort Wayne from Kentucky in 1849. In 1863 Eliza George applied for duty with the Sanitary Commission, which was the forerunner of the Army Nurse Corps. A month after the war in 1865, Mrs. Eliza George passed away. Her body was brought back to Fort Wayne and buried in Lindenwood Cemetery with full military honors. Later that year the Indiana Sanitary Commission and the Fort Wayne Ladies Aid erected a monument in her memory at Lindenwood Cemetery.

Photos courtesy of ARCH Inc. and


  • The Bicentennial Heritage Trail Group, ARCH Inc., Essex Group, Inc., On The Heritage Trial, Fort Wayne,Indiana: A Walking Guide Book (1994), pp. 29-31.