Civil War Nurse, Harper's Ferry

Submitted by Otis Slusher.

     Buena Vista Painter was the daughter of Ignatius "James" Painter (b abt 1817 Md. - d aft 1861) and Elizabeth Cook (b abt 1816 Va. - d aft 1861). Buena was born abt 1848 (age 2 in 1850 census) in Virginia (surely a part of Va. that became W. Va.) - In 1850, she, her parents and then 2 sisters, Mary A. Painter (age 10) & Elizabeth Painter (age 4) were living in the Smithfield Division of what became Jefferson County, W.Va. An 1860 census index indicates that the family was living in what became Middleway Township, Jefferson County, W. Va. (in 1863). - During the early days of the Civil War, and at the young age of only 13, it is said that Buena actively served as a nurse to wounded and ill Confederate soldiers at her parent's home in Harpers Ferry, Va. (became Harpers Ferry, Jefferson County, W. Va., in 1863) - It is unknown, as to what became of her parents and siblings after abt 1861 but the family may have moved to Maryland sometime before 1872?
     Buena Vista Painter married John Thomas Benton Slater before 1872, possibly in Maryland. They had at least 5 sons who were born in Maryland between 1872 & 1888. John and Buena and the two eldest 2 sons were living in Baltimore, Md., in 1880. Sometime after 1888 the family moved to Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, where Buena's husband, John, died on 31 Jan 1903 of "burns, shock-explosion" as the result of injuries received in a horrible oil tank accident in Cleveland, Ohio.
     The widow, Buena, continued to live in Cleveland, until her death on 16 Dec 1910. She and her husband, John, are both buried in Woodland Cemetery in Cleveland.
     It is not known if Buena ever went into any form of professional nursing, but it is not believed that she did, as at age "32" she is listed in the Baltimore, Maryland census in 1880 as married & "Keeping House." She has not been found in another census until 1910 at age "60", by then widowed and living in Cleveland, Ohio, with no occupation shown.