Clara Barton was born December 25, 1821. Her father was Captain Stephen Barton, Sr., and her mother was Sarah Barton. Clara had two older sisters, Dorothy, Sally, and two brothers, David, Stephen, Jr. Dorothy and Sally were teachers. Stephen was also a teacher, and David helped on the farm. The family lived on a farm on the top of a hill just outside Oxford, Massachusetts.
Clara was very shy and bashful as a child. She would not recite in school. Clara was always shy with strangers. Her sisters would take her to buy clothes and materials to make art projects, clothes, toys, and books. If Clara were not available, then they would go buy her presents. If they were not with her, then they were teaching or studying. Her brother, David, helped her father on the farm. David taught Clara how to swim. Stephen, her older brother, taught Clara horseback riding. Her father, during his free time, would tell Clara his adventures during the war. Clara's favorite story was "Emmaline's Golden Hair." Clara's mother taught her baking. She was especially good at baking gingerbread men.
Clara forgot her shyness and herself when she helped others. She found her strength in fighting battles for other people who needed help. Clara once nursed her brother, David, when he had a fever that lasted two years. For two years, she would put leeches on him to suck out the bad blood, then she would remove them very carefully. She nursed him for two years and skipped her birthday to take care of him. The doctor found out that if he took David to a hospital, and put him in a hot steam bath, he would soon be cured.

A plague of smallpox spread through the village. Clara went from house to house caring for people. When she got the smallpox, her family hired a doctor to care for her. Clara soon got well. She began teaching school at age 18. The children were wild at first. Clara was mad, but with help from her family, she showed the students, her strength and skill. The children were never rude again. Clara left teaching and moved to Washington, D.C.
She searched for a job as a nurse. Finally, when the Civil War began in 1861, she got a pass to search for missing soldiers on the battlefield and cared for them. Once she found a young soldier lying on the ground, she put medicine on his wounds and wrapped him in old sheets. This was during the war of Chantilly. She kept him alive for three days before he died. Clara also saved two men from bullet shots during the Battle of Bull Run.
On one of Clara's rounds of searching for wounded soldiers, she found ten sick and wounded Union soldiers. They were suffering from pneumonia and dysentery. The following day, she loaded them into two cattle cars and took them to a hospital. She saved all those men. She was called the Angel of the battlefield.
Clara was given two gray skirts and a short gray jacket similar to those worn by some soldiers. She also received four white aprons with large pockets, a washable petticoat, and a flannel dressing gown. For street work she was given a black dress and a black straw bonnet. She also got towels, old sheets, soup, cologne, sponges, small stoves, and a lamp.
Clara's work healing soldiers ended in 1869. Clara traveled to Europe to rest for four years. While in Europe, Clara heard about the International Committee of Red Cross. It was formed in Switzerland. The American State Department refused to be involved. Clara worked closely with the International Committee for the Red Cross, learning how the organization


worked. She watched them in action during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71. During the war, Clara setup a sewing shop, which helped the poor women earn a living.
Clara returned to the United States in 1873. She was 51 years old. She retired to upstate New York. In 1877, War broke out between Russia and Turkey. Clara began speaking out about the Red Cross and the importance of an Organization to help people when there is a war or natural disaster. Finally, in 1882, the Senate ratified