Clarissa Harlowe Barton was born on December 25, 1821, in Mass., to Stephen and Sarah Barton. She was the youngest of five children. Clara's father was a farmer and horse breeder, while her mother Sarah managed the household. The two later helped found the first Universalist Church in Oxford.
When Clara was eleven, her brother David became her first patient after he fell from a rafter in their unfinished barn. Clara stayed at his side for three years and learned to administer all his medicines, including the "great, loathsome crawling leeches".
As she continued to develop an interest in nursing, Clara may have drawn inspiration from stories of her great-aunt,Martha Ballard, who served the town of Hallowell (later Augusta), Maine, as a midwife for over three decades. Ballard helped deliver nearly one thousand infants between 1777 and 1812, and in many cases administered medical care in much the same way as a formally trained doctor of her era.
On his death bed, Clara's father gave her advice that she would later recall:
- "As a patriot, he had me serve my country with all I had, even with my life if need be; as the daughter of an accepted Mason, he had me seek and comfort the afflicted everywhere, and as a Christian he charged me to honor God and love all kind. "The door that nobody else will go in at, seems always to open widely for me." said Clara Barton. (internet history excerpt)
Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean as she landed in Northern Ireland about 15 hours after leaving Newfoundland, in 1932.