circa 1819Eliza Lusher is born in Southampton to enslaved parents Anthony Darrell and Lettice Jones
1825Lusher’s father obtains his freedom
1827Lusher’s parents are married
1834Slaves are emancipated in Bermuda and throughout the British Empire.
1837Eliza marries John Henry Lusher
1838Lusher gives birth to her first daughter Eleanor
1844Lusher has a second daughter, Carunay
1852Lusher’s husband, John Henry Lusher, dies.
1853Lusher nurses British soldiers stationed in Dockyard and their wives
1855Lusher petitions the British government to send her to Scutari, Turkey, to nurse soldiers; Britain declines to take up her offer
1856Bermuda is hit by a second outbreak of yellow fever Lusher nurses 85 patients over several months, all of whom recover.
1858 Parliament denies Lusher’s request for financial compensation
1859Lusher dies and is buried at Warwick parish church
“That your Petitioner is a widow with two daughters and maintains herself by nursing the sick.
“That in 1853 when the yellow fever prevailed so mournfully in these Islands, Your petitioner nursed a great many of the soldiers wives resident in Ireland Island and although Colonel Oakly promised that your petitioner should not go unrewarded yet the melancholy and sudden demise of the gallant Colonel frustrated the expectation which such a promise had naturally raised.”
“That of the 85 persons whom your petitioner attended during their sickness and her services were extended over several months so few were able to remunerate her at all the total amount of her receipts scarcely reached the sum of £6 in all.”
- Excerpts from Eliza Lusher’s 1858 petition to the Governor, reprinted in Heritage, by Dr. Kenneth E. Robinson, page 275
Photo: Collection of Dr. Kenneth E. Robinson. Courtesy of Mrs. Rosalind Robinson
19th Century Church Registers of Bermuda Indexed by A.C Hollis Hallett, Second Edition. A joint Publication of JuniperHill Press and Bermuda Maritime Museum Press, 2005
Mind the Onion Seed by Nellie E. Musson, Musson’s, Hamilton, Bermuda, 1979
Heritage by Kenneth E. Robinson, MacMillan Publishers Ltd. London and Basingstoke, 1985
“Miss Nightingale and The Nurses for The Army”, The Royal Gazette, Tuesday, January 2, 1855