Clara Barton and a circle of acquaintances founded the American Red Cross in Washington, D.C., on May 21, 1881. Barton first heard of the Swiss- inspired movement while visiting Europe following the Civil War.
Returning home, she campaigned for an American Red Cross Society and for ratification of the Geneva Convention protecting the war injured, which the U.S. ratified in 1882.
Barton headed the Red Cross for 23 years, during which time it conducted its first domestic and over seas disaster relief efforts, aided the United States Military during the Spanish-American War, and campaigned successfully for the inclusion of peace time relief work as part of the International Red Cross Movement.
The Red Cross received its first congressional charter in 1900. This charter sets forth the purposes of the organization that include giving relief to and serving as a medium of communication between members of the American Forces and their families and providing national and international disaster relief and mitigation.
The Ticonderoga chapter of the Red Cross was active during WWI knitting for the soldiers. World War II again saw them knitting for the military and organizing fund drives to support the fighting men.
Over the years, they have taught first aid and swimming classes, given aid to fire and natural disaster victims, collected clothing for the needy, made and purchased blankets for Sunmount Sanitorium and furnished milk for undernourished school children.
The Red Cross is an independent, volunteer led organization financially supported by voluntary public contributions and cost- reimbursement charges. The president of The United States is the honorary chairman of the Red Cross.
This series of articles is compliments of Ticonderoga Heritage Museum, located in the 1888 building at the entrance of Bicentennial Park.