Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Swisshelm, Jane Grey

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SWISSHELM, Jane Grey, b. near Pittsburg, Pa., 6 Sept., 1815; d. in Swissvale, Pa., 22 July, 1884. When she was eight years of age her father, James Cannon, died, leaving a family in straitened circumstances. The daughter worked at manual labor and teaching till she was twenty-one, when she married James Swisshelm, who several years afterward obtained a divorce on the ground of desertion. Two years later she removed with her husband to Louisville, Ky. In this city she became an outspoken opponent of slavery, and her first written attack upon the system appeared in the Louisville “Journal” in 1842. She also wrote articles favoring abolition and woman's rights in the “Spirit of Liberty,” of Pittsburg, for about four years. In 1848 she established the Pittsburg “Saturday Visitor,” a strong abolition and woman's rights paper, which, in 1856, was merged with the weekly edition of the Pittsburg “Journal.” In 1857 she went to St. Cloud, Minn., and established the St. Cloud “Visitor.” Her bold utterances caused a mob to destroy her office and its contents, and to throw her printing-press into the river. But she soon began to publish the St. Cloud “Democrat.” When Abraham Lincoln was nominated for the presidency, she spoke and wrote in his behalf and for the principles of which he was the representative. When the civil war began and nurses were wanted at the front, she was one of the first to respond. After the battle of the Wilderness she had charge of 182 badly wounded men at Fredericksburg for five days, without surgeon or assistant, and saved them all. She was a prolific writer for newspapers and magazines, and published “Letters to Country Girls” (New York, 1853), and an autobiography entitled “Half of a Century” (1881).