photo: CCHS

March is Women’s History Month, and there have been many notable figures from the area, like Rosetta Wakemen, who left her Chenango County family farm in 1862 to help support her large family and ended up posing as a man in order to find work. She changed her name to Lyons Wakeman and piloted a coal barge from Binghamton to Utica.

It was in Utica that she enlisted in the Army for three years, earning her a bounty of $152. She stood shoulder to shoulder with other male soldiers and fought until dysentery tookher life in 1864. Her letters home are some of the best documentation of participation in the Civil War by someone from Chenango County . A book about her life and service called “An Uncommon Soldier” by Lauren Cook was published in 1994. The Chenango County Historical Society has an online exhibit celebrating her contributions to history as well as other local women, you can view it at chenangohistorical.org.

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