A nurse’s grave

In the records of headstone inscriptions for St. Michael’s churchyard in Lichfield, we find the following entry.

Sacred to the memory of Elizabeth Logan who died February 28th 1878. Having acted with Miss Nightingale in the Crimea on her return she followed the profession of sick nurse for which she was eminently qualified by her skill and experience. A strong sense of duty and great kindness of heart. No one who witnessed her self—denying exertions in aid of suffering humanity could ever forget them. Well done good and faithful servant. Thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things. Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.

The burial register tells us that she was 66 when she died and the register and lived on Dam St. In the 1861 census she is recorded as a nurse, lodging with a greengrocer and his wife on Market Street. She there identifies herself as “Mrs” and her birthplace is given as Glasgow. This leads me to conjecture that she was widowed before she went to Crimea, and probably had no children, although there are lots of other possibilities of course.

In the records of Miss Nightingale’s nurses she is noted as coming from Edinburgh and having been recommended by “Dr Simpson and others and committee of Nursing home” and was “one of the very best nurses, returned on the Ottawa, July 1856”. Florence Nightingale writes of her to her friend Lady Cranworth, from the Barrack hospital at Scutari in early July 1856.

My probable last letter to you is merely to say that Elizabeth Logan, nurse, whom I have sent home by the Ottawa is, on the whole, the one I consider the most respectable and sober, efficient, kind and good of all my nurses, the one I most hope not to lose sight of, the one I have the deepest regard for. She wishes for a private situation. If she comes to you for a character, I think you may be perfectly safe in recommending her. She is an excellent nurse.

Praise indeed from such as she. We read of Elizabeth briefly again in August 1856 when she wrote to Miss Nightingale saying her wages had not been settled (one presumes by the army), and in February 1857 when she wrote thanking her “for the Sultan’s gift and for her help in securing her present agreeable situation”. Would that we knew what the gift and her situation was!

And that is about as much as we know of her. The fact that she was probably a widow with her husband’s name makes her very difficult to trace through the census and baptism and marriage registers. Indeed Elizabeth Logan is not an uncommon name in Glasgow and Edinburgh around that period. So we have no details at all of her early life, or what she did when she returned from Crimea, other than that she finished up in Lichfield. In addition, sadly, her grave can no longer be positively identified, and there are a number of broken or very worn monuments in the region where a1984 survey by the Birmingham & Midland Society for Genealogy & Heraldry (Midland Ancestors)  suggests it is to be found. But the presence of her grave in the churchyard does balance to some degree the many soldiers graves found there, including of those who fought in the Crimean War.

So to end with a plea – if any reader can provide any more information about her life, it would be hugely appreciated.

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