Mary Bowser


This picture was thought to be Mary Bowser but it is a different Mary Bowser circa 1900. There are no pictures to my knowledge of Mary Bowser, the spy.

I read about her on another site yesterday. She was a very interesting lady. Mary Elizabeth Bowser was the former slave of the Van Lew family.  Elizabeth Van Lew sent Mary to the Quaker School for Negroes in Philadelphia because she was exceptionally intelligent. Mary  infiltrated the confederacy by working as a servant in the household of Jefferson Davis in Richmond Virginia. Bowser was assumed to be illiterate and as a black woman was below suspicion. Practically invisible, she was able to listen to conversations between confederate officials and read sensitive documents gathering information that she handed over to the Union.


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