Elisabeth Chapline Herndon (1871–1957)

Sarah Elisabeth Chapline Herndon was the only volunteer Red Cross nurse from Arkansas to serve in the Spanish-American War.

Elisabeth Chapline was born on April 4, 1871, near Sweet Home (Pulaski County) to William Heros Chapline and Mary Murray Chapline. Her father was a landowner and planter. She had one brother and two sisters.

Chapline attended the Arkansas Female College in Little Rock (Pulaski County) and nursing school at Chicago Baptist Hospital in Illinois. When war broke out in 1898, Chapline was too young for enlistment but was admitted as a contract nurse. She served in Fernandina, Florida, and at Camp Cuba Libre in Panama City, Florida. She was one of 1,700 volunteer nurses to serve in the war.

Chapline married Robert E. Herndon Sr. of Little Rock on June 22, 1922, and the couple lived in Little Rock.

After the war, Herndon was a member and served a term as president of the Edward Winfield Camp, United Spanish War Veterans Auxiliary. In 1930, she was elected a vice president of the Spanish-American War Nurses.

Herndon died on July 24, 1957, and is buried in Little Rock National Cemetery.

For additional information:
Martha Leona Chapline Collection. Arkansas State University Museum, Jonesboro, Arkansas.

“War Nurse.” Arkansas Democrat. April 17, 1955, p. 7.


Brenda Fisk Keech
Arkansas State University Museum



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