is one name among them all [Iowa's daughters] we will ever cherish
in our hearts... a name which every true woman delights to honor; a name
shall ever live in the heart of a grateful statethe name
of ANNIE WITTENMYER!"
Mary Darwin, 1863
Wittenmyer, known as Iowa's wartime hero, was living in Keokuk,
Iowa when she first became concerned about sanitation for the
wounded and the cleanliness of the food served to soldiers during
the Civil War. She worked throughout the war to improve sanitary
conditions, organizing diet kitchens for Union Army hospitals
as well as serving on a hospital ship at the battle of Shiloh.
Most of her time, however, was spent at the Iowa Soldiers Orphans
Home that started in Farmington in 1864 and later moved to Davenport.
Over the next 10 years, more than 720 children were cared for
at the home and at branches in Cedar Falls and Glenwood. Born
in 1827, Wittenmyer died in 1900 at age 73. The Davenport Institution
was renamed the Iowa Annie Wittenmyer Home nearly 50 years after
her death. Wittenmyer was inducted into the Iowa Women's Hall
of Fame in 1975.