The Life of MarySeacole
Mary Seacole was born in Jamaica an island in the Caribbean,in 1805. Her father was a soldier from Scotland and her mother wasa slave from Africa. When she was young however, her mother wasgiven her freedom so that she wasnt a slave anymore. Asa young girl, she often used to help her mother treatsoldiers as her mother knew how to cure people using localplants as medicines.
When she was twelve years old she travelled to England where shemet her fathers family for the first time and she stayed with themfor a year. Then she returned to Jamaica. When she was 31 years oldshe got married to Edwin Seacole. When he died, Mary begantravelling to other islands in the Caribbean. In 1851 she went toPanama. She owned a hotel there but she began treating people whohad a disease called cholera. She learned a lot about thisdisease and another disease called yellow fever which somepeople living in Jamaica suffered from.
In 1854 Mary returned to London. Here she learned that manysoldiers who were fighting in the Crimean War were being lookedafter in dirty hospitals. She went to the Crimea which is inRussia, by ship in 1855. When she got there she began to help treatthe wounded soldiers. She even used to go onto thebattlefield, where the soldiers were fighting, to help them.She was nursing soldiers at the same time as Florence Nightingalewho was also in the Crimea and was known as the Other Lady of theLamp. She helped many soldiers get better instead of dying fromtheir wounds. She came back to England a year later. As she wasquite poor many soldiers who knew her organized a big festivalwhere they collected lots of money for her.
She became really famous when she wrote her autobiography calledThe Wonderful Adventures of Mary Seacole, when she was 52 yearsold. This book was all about her life. She was so famous that sheeven treated Queen Victorias son when he became ill.
Gradually people forgot about her and she died in 1881. However ahundred years later nurses from the Caribbean and from Africa cameto England to celebrate her life. They paid to have amemorial stone put up for her so that more people would know abouther life and work.
Mary Seacole was famous as a nurse when there were few nurseshelping people who were ill. She was very skilled because she knewso much about the plants that she used to cure people. She wasextremely brave as she did not worry about being in danger during abattle.
Useful weblinks for this unit
Mary Seacole: KeyEvents
Aim: to rank key events in order of importance andto justify choices made
Re-read the passage about Mary Seacole and jotdown the reasons why you think she became famous.
Now list these reasons in order of importanceand say why you have made these choices:
Mary Seacole: planning anewspaper article
Aim: to take notes from sources and to use as basisfor structured newspaper writing
Make notes in the chartbelow in order to plan your newspaper article. Use the
present tense as you repretending that you are living at the same time as Mary.
Why is Mary Seacole famous?
Where is Mary Seacole from and what is herbackground?
What did she do in the Crimean War?
What has she been doing since she has been backin England?
What sort of person is she?
What do the soldiers think of her?