THE FIRST OFFICIAL MISSING PERSONS
INVESTIGATOR, CLARA BARTON
By Barbara Maikell-Thomas
Gary Scott, a National Park Service regional historian very recently uncovered
boxes of civil war memorabilia in a attic of a governmental building slated
for demolition. What was found point in the direction that the first missing
persons specialists was very likely a woman.
Miss Clara Barton was born in North Oxford Mass., in the year 1821. Before
the Civil War broke out, she was a teacher and governmental worker. When
the Civil broke out, she became one of the famous "Angel's Of The
Battlefield". Her job turned into a one of nursing and ministering
to wounded soldiers, sometimes in hospitals and sometimes of the blood
spilled battlefields. Barton went on to establish the American Red Cross
in 1881, making her a very famous and important figure in our country.
The lesser-known period of Baton's life, the post civil-war; per Red Cross,
is now coming in to the spot light because of this very recent and exciting
finding of documents found by a construction worker in a sealed crawl
space. A government building that sits halfway between the White House
and the Capitol once housed Clara Barton's "Missing Persons Office."
After the Civil War a prisoner of war brought Barton a list of dead soldiers
who had been detained in the Andersonville Confederate Prison camp in
Georgia. Barton returned to Andersonville and was able to mark the graves
of thousands of Soldiers. 45,000 Union soldiers were detained at Andersonville,
13,000 dying from extreme exposure, disease and starvation. Thanks to
Miss Barton publishing a list of those names in newspapers, many people
were able to learn the fate of their loved ones, and also where they were
People begin sending Barton thousands of letters pleading for help in
finding their missing family members. Barton then became the first woman
to run a government bureau "The Missing Soldier's Office." Miss
Barton tracked down missing soldiers by various methods. Not only did
she publish prisoner of war lists, she took the names of those sent to
her, compiled lists and sent them to post offices across the country.
As in our modern day profession of skip tracing, many dead beats and intentional
skips where also found.
Among the items discovered were clothes, slippers and household items
that indicated that the office many have been used as a residence for
Miss Barton. Within the discovered material, a sign was found that marked
the location of her missing persons office. The sign read:
MISSING SOLDIERS OFFICE
3RD STORY ROOM 9
Miss Clara Barton
Also found were many documents
pertaining to her office. Historians say that Clara Barton's operation
tracked down 22,000 men from the 1865 to 1868. After going on to establish
the American Red Cross in 1861, Clara Barton died in 1912.
Ralph D. Thomas PI Vintage Collection
THOMAS INVESTIGATIE PUBLICATIONS, INC.
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF INVESTIGATIVE SPECIALISTS, INC.
SPY EXCHANGE AND SECURITY CENTER
P O Box 82148, Austin, Texas 78708
Showroom: 9513 Burnet Road, Austin, Texas 78758
Phone 512.719.3595 Fax 512.719.3594
To The Spy And PI Vintage Pages
2006, Thomas Investigative Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.
Thomas Investigative Publications, Trademark, 1981.
National Association Of Investigative Specialists, Inc, Trademark, 1986.
Spy Exchange, Trademark, 1999