In 1919, Daisy and Ethel Mary Crocker helped organize Postes de Secours in 18 villages around Moislains, Arrondissement de Péronne, Somme, Hauts-de-France. They also founded and endowed a pouponierre (rough transaltion - childrens nursery / orphanage).
Most of the Somme was occupied and devastated during the war, 1914 - 1918. These four years were even spoken of at times as “the crucifixion of Picardy”. Albert, Péronne and Montdidier were reduced to a pile of rubble. 28,000 hectares of land and 381 villages were included in the red zone, a zone that was considered to be uninhabitable, but as the villagers returned, provisional housing usually in the form of wooden or corrugated iron huts, quickly began to be built. The area was in great need at the end of the war.
Today we have the Chunnel making London to Paris travel direct and dependable. But in the early 1900's, the distance, currents and trains all created a difficult journey. Just how difficult? Read this first-hand account.
"The comparatively short journey (modern editors note: 7 - 10 hours) between one and the other of the great European capitals is one which has demanded almost all the resources of modern science to overcome the natural drawbacks attending its peculiar features. Paris is, by rough calculation, about 260 miles from London which distance must be covered by the voyager in three stages.
In April 2019, I was invited to visit the deBuyer crypt and cemetery plot in Besançon where Daisy and her husband are buried. I took along a bouquet of muguet to lay on the grave.
It was a 2 hour+ train ride from Paris and Aymeric deBuyer met me along with his parents. I had only met his brother Yann, and my French being (very) limited, communication was warm and tolerant on their behalf, and comical on my end.
Daisy's mother Endemial Josephine Drane Burch Polk, like her father Willis Webb Polk, came from a family who could trace their colonial roots back to Maryland in the 1600's. James Anthony Drane arrived with the Baltimore party on "The Ark and Dove" from England, landing on the St. Mary's River, Maryland, March 25th, 1634. Lord Baltimore's wife was also a Drane.
The best protection any woman can have … is courage
-- Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Daisy's mother, Endemial Josephine Drane Polk was no wilting southern belle, and although she was a daughter of the south she held no allegiance to any of the rules or tenets of that society. Known to family and friends as Endie or EJ, she was born in St. Louis on April 13, 1835, the daughter of Reverend TJ Drane and Susan Keith.
In 1854, at 19 she married her first husband Ferdinand Leonard Burch. On the heels of this marriage, at 25 the war of the states began. And by her 30th birthday she was a war widow with 3 children (only one surviving to adulthood). By the end of the civil war at age 32, she remarried Willis Webb Polk a fellow widower and father to 2 children, only William survived to adulthood.
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