Mary, 1805 – 1881, was a medical practitioner born in Kingston, Jamaica.
After Kingston was hit by a cholera epidemic, Mary used herbal medicines to treat individuals, using remedies such as lead acetate and mercury chloride to help her patients recover. A young woman who loved travelling, Mary learned how to use local plants and herbs after visiting Cuba, the Bahamas and Haiti, and used her knowledge during the Crimean War.
Mary moved to London to become a healer and help the British Army, but faced rejection as a female practitioner. She then travelled to the battlefront in Crimea and opened the ‘British Hotel’, where Mary sold food and drink to British officers and provided medical care in their hour of illness. Despite having little funding, Mary became the most sought-after nurse in Crimea, earning the name “Mother Seacole” after she began healing the deadly wounds of British officers.