History really comes alive to us when we read or hear about another person's experience. Understanding what people heard, saw and felt, even if they lived a long time ago, helps make the past more than just a series of dates and place names. On this section of our Web site, you can delve deeper into the stories of some of the individuals who lived and worked on Governors Island, and shaped its history. Click on the links on the left to read more.
Did You Know?
Oliver Otis Howard (1830-1909), from Maine, graduated from West Point in 1856. During the Civil War, he fought at Manassas; Fair Oaks – where he lost his right arm; Antietam; Chancellorsville; Gettysburg; Chattanooga; Atlanta; and participated in the march across Georgia. In 1865 he headed the Freedmans’ Bureau, which resettled and enforced the rights of newly freed African-American slaves in the South. His interest in their education led him to establish Howard University in Washington, D.C. and Lincoln Memorial University in Tennessee. From 1886 to the end of his Army career, he commanded the U.S. Army in the Eastern United States from Governors Island.