Patterson Woman Served Two Governors

Birdwell ObituaryBirdwell Obituary Thu, Mar 14, 1929 – 1 · Greenville Sun (Greenville, Missouri) · Newspapers.com

The March 14, 1929 Greenville Sun carried the obituary of Mrs. J. N. Birdwell (other papers reported her name as J.M. Birdwell), which stated, in part:

“Mrs. J.N. Birdwell, aged Patterson citizen, passed away at her home there Tuesday after an illness of almost three weeks with pneumonia following an attack of the flu. Mrs. Birdwell was born in Jackson March 11, 1847, and had passed her 82 birthday by one day. She moved to Wayne county when a small girl and had since resided here, making her home at Patterson for many years, where she was loved and cherished by all citizens.”

The obituary also states that:

“Mrs. Birdwell bore the distinction of having been hostess and cook to [Confederate] General Sterling Price and his staff officers when they came through Patterson in September, 1864 on their way to Stoney Battery and Pilot Knob, where they routed the Union forces. Because of the good cooking of Mrs. Birdwell, General Price left several of his men at the Birdwell home as a guard to protect the young woman, then Julia English, and her sister, mother and aunt from bushwhackers and marauders. The English home was guarded under special orders from General Price for several months. It was the means of saving the family from the raids of the Northern spies, who might have burned their cabin because it had sheltered Price.”

Interesting to note is the fact that Mrs. Birdwell’s father was a soldier in the Union army.

Since Confederate General Price was a former Governor of Missouri, one can claim that with the inclusion of taking care of former Governor Baker in her later years, she had served two Missouri governors.

The obituary states that Mrs. Birdwell was buried in the Old English cemetery on the Ironton road one mile northeast of Patterson.

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