Mary Seacole died at her home in London, England, and is buried at St. Mary's Roman Catholic Cemetery in Kensal Green, London. Although Seacole was born and raised in Jamaica, she always considered herself a citizen of Great Britain, as Jamaica was a British colony at the time. This beautiful gravestone was restored by the Jamaican Nurses Association in 1973.

Photograph courtesy Maggie Jones

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    1. This beautiful headstone marks the grave of Mary Seacole, a pioneering British nurse of the 19th century. How old was Mary Seacole when she died?

      Mary Seacole was 76 years old when she died. The dates of her birth and death appear under her name, a common style on headstones.

    2. The headstone says Mary Seacole cared for the sick and wounded in the West Indies and the Crimea. Where are the West Indies? Where is the Crimea?

      The West Indies are a group of islands separating the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. The largest islands in the West Indies are Cuba, Hispaniola, and Jamaica.

      The Crimea is a peninsula in southern Ukraine, separating the northern Black Sea from the Sea of Azov.

    3. Mary Seacole is buried in London, England. Based on the information on her headstone, she was very well-traveled. In her travels, what bodies of water did Mary have to navigate across or around?

      To travel from Jamaica to Panama, the Crimea, and England, Mary had to be familiar with the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic Ocean, the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.

    4. What do the dates (1854-1856) at the bottom of the headstone represent?

      The worst years of the Crimean War, where Mary Seacole worked as a nurse, took place between 1854 and 1856.

    5. A large palm tree is carved into Mary Seacole's headstone. Why?

      Palm trees are native to Jamaica, where Mary Seacole was born. The design is simply honoring her West Indian heritage.

  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    Crimea Noun

    large peninsula on the northern coast of the Black Sea, and a republic of Ukraine.

    Crimean War Noun

    (1853-1856) conflict between the Allies (France, Britain, the Ottoman Empire and the Kingdom of Sardinia) and Russia.

    grave Noun

    specific place where a body is buried.

    headstone Noun

    stone used to mark a grave. Also called a gravestone.

    heritage Noun

    cultural or family background.

    island Noun

    body of land surrounded by water.

    Encyclopedic Entry: island
    Mary Seacole Noun

    (1805-1881) Jamaican nurse, traveler, and businesswoman.

    peninsula Noun

    piece of land jutting into a body of water.

    Encyclopedic Entry: peninsula
    travel Noun

    movement from one place to another.

    West Indies Plural Noun

    archipelago between North and South America, separating the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, consisting of the individual island groups of the Greater Antilles, the Lesser Antilles, and the Bahamas.