The editorial in the Feb. 16 Watertown Daily Times titled “Trailblazers of history” featured the story of U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Anna Mae Hays, one of two women who became generals on the same day in 1970, truly a trailblazer. Yet the other woman in the same photograph of that promotion celebration was a woman claimed by Sackets Harbor, Brig. Gen. Elizabeth Hoisington.
Elizabeth’s father commanded a battalion at Sackets Harbor’s Army post, Madison Barracks, from 1925 to 1931. During those years, she and her siblings attended school in the village.
In the family history she wrote in 1995, Elizabeth said: “In winter, when the roads became snow covered and stayed that way, the quartermaster at Madison Barracks loaded the school children into a horse-drawn sled and we had a wonderful sleigh ride to and from school.” In the winter of 1931, 12-year-old Elizabeth became a member of the newly formed junior group of the Sackets Harbor Girl Scouts.
Once she retired, Elizabeth returned to Sackets Harbor several times. In March 1990, Elizabeth spoke at the Celebrate Gen. Elizabeth Hoisington Day school assembly, dined with members of the Jefferson County Historical Society and toured Fort Drum. During her visit, she spoke at the Jefferson County Historical Society as part of its Women of Importance exhibition.
Again in 1995, during another visit, Elizabeth enjoyed several dinners in the village and remarked about seeing all the tourists since it was August.
In autumn 2000, not only did Elizabeth return to the north country, but she brought along her brother Perry. He and Elizabeth were the only brother/sister duo in the military to reach the rank of general.
Truly, the north country can claim Elizabeth as one of its own trailblazers.
Connie Brennan Barone
The writers are co-historians of the village of Sackets Harbor.