Fathima M.

Vancouver, British Columbia

Vancouver Heritage Fair

The Great Pretender

Being a spy, mail carrier, and a nurse can be tiring, but being all that and disguising as the opposite gender can be even more tiring! That's what Sarah Emma Edmonds had to do! In 1841 Sarah was born. Her father was very upset that she was a girl instead of a boy. He wanted a boy because the boy would help with the farming , so he treated Sarah very badly. When she was 17 she ran away because of her father. She disguised herself as a man so her father wouldn't be able to find her. So she got a job which was to sell bibles. Then she traveled to Flint, Michigan and joined as a man to help the American civil war. She became a nurse at first, but she later had malaria, so after she was better she became a mail carrier because if she went back the other nurses would question her where she went so she had to become a mail carrier. Then they would find about her true identity. When she heard that a spy agent was killed she immediately signed up to become a spy. It was probably really hard for her to be disguised as a man and work for the American civil war! The amazing part is that she was from Canada!

What was the most interesting thing you learned about your topic?

The most interesting thing I learned about my topic was that Sarah had to disguise as a man to help the American civil war! Furthermore, she had 3 jobs which were really hard. She was a nurse, spy, and a mail carrier. She was really brave to work for the American civil war because if you get caught you might get sent to jail or even killed! Isn't that frightening?

What important lessons have you learned that you want to share with other Canadians?

Sarah had a ton of bravery if she didn't she would have not pretended. Also, Sarah had to believe in herself to make sure no one would notice that she was a woman. Sarah put these two strengths together and helped the American civil war and showed men that women can do what men can do also. If you believe in your self, and if you are brave you will surely achieve your goal.

How would you compare your life today to the lives of those studied in your project?

I am very lucky that I wasn't born in the 1800's because women or girls weren't allowed to do many things, like play sports, help the war, vote, help with the farming, be an engineer and more but, most importantly the equality between men and women. Men had way more rights then women. That's why Sarah's father wanted a boy to help with the farming. Also, because of the reason of equality Sarah had to disguise as a man to help the American civil war.