Nancy Cornelius Skenandore Memorial

Erected 1914 by Connecticut Indian Association
Hobart, Brown County, Wisconsin
44.495301,-88.18156 (enter the cemetery here)
 44.49246,-88.184758
(the marker's location inside the cemetery)

NANCY CORNELIUS
wife of
Daniel Skenanduore
and daughter of
Elijah J. & Elizabeth
Cornelius
Born at Oneida, June 13, 1861,
graduated from the Hartford, Conn.
Training School for Nurses in 1890,
practiced her profession in Connecticut,
and as superintendent of the Oneida
Mission Hospital until 1905.
Entered into rest Sept. 2, 1908.

Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord.
They rest from their labors, and their
works do follow them.

This memorial is erected by the
Connecticut Indian Association 1914. 

The marker is located at the Oneida Holy Apostles Cemetery, on the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin Reservation, on southbound Freedom Road / County Highway U/E, south of its intersection with Airport Drive / Highway 172, Oneida, near at 2937 Freedom Road, Oneida / Hobart, Wisconsin 54155.

NOTE: Enter the cemetery at the entrance next to the Holy Apostles Episcopal Church. Take the "high" road that leads to the top of the hill. Once you come over the crest and start heading down the other side of the hill, you will see the Nancy Cornelius Skenandore Memorial on your right. You can't miss it!

100 years after it was erected,
the Nancy Cornelius Skenandore Memorial is rediscovered

While doing research on July 22, 2014, for a Brown County Historical Society article, I learned about the memorial, erected in 1914, and recorded in the minutes of the Proceedings of the (Wisconsin Historical) Society at its Seventy-Fifth Annual Meeting held October 20, 1927. Within the hour, I was in the car and headed out to Holy Apostles Cemetery, just 15 minutes from where I live and also the burial site of Revolutionary War Veteran and Oneida Chief, James Powlis. With help from the volunteer groundskeeper (who just "happened" to show up), Nancy's memorial was rediscovered. Well, how cool is that!? 

There are now many more questions to be answered (as none of this information could be found online): Who was the Connecticut Indian Association? What prompted them to come all the way from Connecticut to Green Bay, six years after Nancy's death, to erect the memorial? Was there a ceremony the day the memorial was dedicated? If so, who was there? How did Nancy end up at the Hartford Training School for Nurses during a time when tribal children were generally relegated to government boarding schools? There must be a very interesting story of tenacity, courage, and perseverance behind this gray memorial marker . . .

And just to qualify, it was not the Oneida who lost track of Nancy Cornelius Skenandore, it was the rest of us!

By Elizabeth Hannink, RN, BSN, PHN
Nancy Skenandore . . . was the first Native American to train as a nurse. She was able to achieve this distinction at a time when most still lived on reservations and received very little formal education, much less professional preparation. It was a time of boarding schools for tribal children — education mixed with intense efforts to assimilate the children into the larger society.

Use the "Oneida Holy Apostles Cemetery" label below to view all markers at this location; there are several.


Nancy is buried with the Cornelius family;
the memorial marker is the gray one on the left.
The many friends of Miss Nancy Cornelius among our readers, especially in Connecticut, where she studied for a trained nurse and after graduation followed most successfully her profession for several years in some of the best families of the State, will be glad to her of her recent marriage to Mr. David Skenandore. We received an engraved invitation to the wedding. It took place on Easter Sunday at five o' clock p.m., at Hobart Church, Oneida, Wis.
All heartiest congratulations and best wishes are tendered to Mr. and Mrs. Skenandore.
The Indian's Friend, Vol. XV., No. 9, New Haven, Conn., May, 1903.
We chronicled last month the happy news of the  marriage of Nancy Cornelius to David Skenandore of Oneida, Wis., on Easter Sunday. Since then Mrs. S. T. Kinney has forwarded us a letter from Nancy in which she announces the coming of the happy event and gives some facts which will interest her many friends in the East. She says in part:
"My dear Mother Kinney and all my kind Yankee Foster Mothers: -- Since you allow me to claim as your adopted daughter I want to tell you and wish you to adopt a full blooded Oneida Indian as your son, who I am going to marry on Easter. His name is David Skenandore. He is about ten years older than myself and lives here on the Oneida reservation. We all have known him for many years as a good honest Christian man and a member of Hobart church. He is not a rich man, but can give me a comfortable home when I get tired of working at our Oneida Hospital, although I do not expect to give up my work here unless Father Merrill will want to change nurses. Even if I do leave my Hospital work I feel I shall be happy if Mr. Skenandore proves to be as kind and faithful and true to me as I think he is."
The Indian's Friend, Vol. XV, No. 10, New Haven, Conn., June, 1903.

Nancy Cornelius Skenandore died September 2, 1908. The marker was placed at her grave in 1914 by the Connecticut Indian Association.

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