Although she was well know for her services to other people through her life, her true fame came when she organized the American Red Cross.
Clarissa Harlow Barton was born on December 25, 1821 in North Oxford, Massachusetts. She was the youngest of five children. Although she was very shy she loved to help people. (Hamilton, 17).
Most of her siblings were schoolteachers. They taught Clara how to read, write, ride horses, and do math problems by the time she was five. She was one smart little girl. She learned how to be a nurse when her brother David fell from the barn roof and he became very ill. For two long years she stayed by his bedside helping in every way possible, from giving him his medication, cleaning his wounds, or just keeping him company. (Hamilton 17-18).
At the age of 17 she became a schoolteacher and got a badge of honor for having the most disciplined class. She taught for about 13 years then returned home to further her education. After she graduated from Clinton she moved to Bordentown, New Jersey where she began teaching again at a school for families who could pay for their education. (Hamilton 25-26).
In 1852 she finally got her wish of starting a public school. With in one year she had 600 students. Even though Barton made the school the board decided that it was too large for a woman to run, so they hired a male to take over. In 1854 Clara resigned and left Bordentown. (Hamilton 29).
She moved to Washington D.C. where she was the first woman to enter public office and even got the same salary as the male clerks. But she was forced to resign due to the cruel treatment of the other clerks. She returned home for 3 years then was called back to Washington by President Abe Lincoln to take her job back. She spent a lot of her time making friends with people who held high offices. (Hamilton 31).
In 1861 the Civil War started. Clara began getting supplies, food and other stuff and distributed them to the soldiers.