Mary Carson Breckinridge

Female 1881 - 1965  (84 years)


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  • Name Mary Carson Breckinridge 
    Born 17 Feb 1881  Memphis, Shelby, Tennessee, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Gender Female 
    Burial 1965  Lexington Cem, Lexington, Fayette, Kentucky, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Buried 1965  Lexington, Fayette, Kentucky, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Died 16 May 1965  Hyden, Leslie, Kentucky, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Notes 
    • Mary Carson Breckinridge was educated by private tutors in Washington, D.C. and in St. Petersburg, Russia. In 1894, Breckinridge and her family moved to Russia when President Grover Cleveland appointed her father to serve as the U.S. minister to that country. They returned to the United States in 1897. Breckinridge’s mother disapproved of her cousin Sophonisba Breckinridge’s going to college and starting a career. She helped ensure her daughter followed a more traditional path. Breckinridge was married in 1904 to a lawyer, Henry Ruffner Morrison, of Hot Springs, Arkansas. He died only two years later; the couple had no children. Following his death, Breckinridge entered a nursing class at New York City’s St. Luke’s Hospital. She remained there three years, taking a degree in nursing in 1910 before returning to the South. In 1912 she married Richard Ryan Thompson, a Kentucky native who was serving as the president of Crescent College and Conservatory in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. The couple had two children. Their daughter, Polly, was born prematurely in 1916 and died when only six hours old. Two years later, their beloved four-year-old boy, Clifford Breckinridge (“Breckie”) Thompson, died suddenly of appendicitis. Breckinridge's husband was unfaithful; they were divorced in 1920 and Breckinridge resumed the use of her birth name. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Breckinridge)

      Breckinridge turned to nursing to overcome the travails of her children’s deaths and her divorce, joining the American Committee for Devastated France. While in Europe she met French and British nurse-midwives and realized that people with their training could meet the healthcare needs of rural America’s mothers and babies. A deeply religious woman, Breckinridge considered this path to be her life’s calling. Since no midwifery course was then offered in the United States Breckinridge returned to England to receive the training she needed at the British Hospital for Mothers and Babies. She was then certified by the Central Midwives Board. She returned to the United States in 1925 and on May 28 of that year founded the Kentucky Committee for Mothers and Babies, which soon became the Frontier Nursing Service.

      Breckinridge had a large log house, called the Big House, built in Wendover, Kentucky to serve as her home and the Frontier Nursing Service headquarters. In 1939 she started her own midwifery school. There, Breckinridge conducted Sunday afternoon services using the Episcopal prayer book. She continued to lead the Frontier Nursing Service until her death in 1965. She has been honored by the United States Postal Service with a 77¢ Great Americans series postage stamp.
    Person ID I20031  mytree
    Last Modified 2 Jun 2016 

    Father Clifton Rodes Breckinridge,   b. 22 Nov 1846, Lexington, Fayette, Kentucky, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 03 Dec 1932, Wendover, Leslie, Kentucky, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 86 years) 
    Relationship Natural 
    Mother Katherine Carson,   b. 20 Feb 1853,   d. 02 Nov 1921  (Age 68 years) 
    Relationship Natural 
    Married 1876  [2
    Family ID F7245  Group Sheet

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 17 Feb 1881 - Memphis, Shelby, Tennessee, USA Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBurial - 1965 - Lexington Cem, Lexington, Fayette, Kentucky, USA Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - 1965 - Lexington, Fayette, Kentucky, USA Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 16 May 1965 - Hyden, Leslie, Kentucky, USA Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Maps 
     = Link to Google Earth 
    Pin Legend  : Address       : Location       : City/Town       : County/Shire       : State/Province       : Country       : Not Set

  • Sources 
    1. [S57] Find A Grave.

    2. [S74] Internet, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clifton_R._Breckinridge.


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