Thursday, January 6, 2011

Martha Parks Lindley

6th U.S. Cavalry
When William Lindley enlisted in the 6th U.S. Cavalry, his wife, Martha Parks Lindley, did not want to be left behind. Wearing his clothes, she joined his regiment under the alias James Smith. Although she told the recruiter that she had been a soldier, she was actually a mother who was leaving her two children behind with her sister. Her husband pleaded with her to go home and take care of them, but she insisted on staying in the army. “I was frightened half to death,” she admitted, “but I was so anxious to be with my husband that I resolved to see the thing through if it killed me”

Although her husband was hospitalized in October 1862, Martha stayed with the unit until her discharge in August 1864. Life as a soldier presented many new opportunities for her, and one of them turned out to be voting. In 1864, still in her disguise as Jim Smith, she cast a ballot for Abraham Lincoln – the first and last vote of her life, since women could not legally vote until 1919.


  1. Jessica Lindley DaleMay 11, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    I just came across this blog while doing research on my G,G,G grandmother Martha Lindley!

  2. Good for you, Jessica! The purpose of this series of blogs is to help genealogists find their adventurous female ancestors. I'd love to hear more about Martha. Have you any stories you'd like to share about her? Email to