Oh, that was a trying year. I arranged with Roanoke College that John and Joe go there and Dr. Bittle and Dr. Davis sent me their daughters in exchange. We worked very hard. My dear mother at home, Jeanie and I at school. We taught all day until 4 p.m. and gave music lessons in the afternoon. This year I took boys and my father assisted with them. My mother had three young men for meals, Henry Fairfax, Fairfax Irving and a Mr. Snowden. She had a cook. Servants were reasonable then in price, so she had time to sew and see to things, but our life was very hard.
We did not know from day to day how we could live. My father had $30,000 due him and never could collect one cent but was forced to pay the $10,000 he owed on that untimely purchase. So our home had to be sold at less than half its value. It was heart breaking to them and to me who voluntarily undertook the responsibility. Jeannie was supposed to assume it also, but in 1869 in December the 31st she married Mr. Samuel White, and then I had an assistant to pay, not only her board but her salary. Of course this increased my obligations and everything was so uncertain. I had one boarder, Alice Smith, afterwards Mrs. Joshua Brown. Her board was paid by groceries and the sale of feather beds. We had more than we needed. And my mother had to sell old silver spoons that had belonged to Aunt Polly, the granddaughter of Governor Spotswood. My little brother Mercer always a brave boy, used to carry a spoon or fork every morning to Mr. Page, the jeweler and he would give him ninety cents and my mother used it to the best advantage. Flour was $14 a barrel but eggs, butter, meat, chickens, nor labor was so high.
My school proved a success. I did not visit, but helped in all church affairs. I remember an old folks concert in which I sang old fashioned songs and encored repeatedly. I had no practicing to do and nothing to woory* over as I wore a simple black silk (borrowed) and white kerchief and cap, also borrowed. We made over a hundred dollars for our little chapel which was then in progress of building. I went to the Wedding of Mary Griffin, a beautiful girl, and actually made a white overskirt and wore flowers in my hair. A cousin, Margie Logan, was married a few weeks thereafter and I wore the same dress. Jeannie was invited to be her bridesmaid. Margie made a lovely bride, but the poor child had a sad life.
I met this winter a cousin who was very kind to me, Robert H. Logan, a lawyer, trying to make his way too in the world. I thought him clever and handsome. He was so generous hearted and kind. He attracted me more than any man I had ever seen, not in any point of marriage, for such a possibility never entered my mind. I had too much else to think of. In December 1869 Jeannie was married in our little chapel. It was finished and decorated for Christmas, the first marriage and first decoration. I forget the details of the marriage. We could only give her $200 for the wedding. I had then an assistant, A Miss Lilla Boyden, daughter of Rev. Boydon of Cobham Albermarle County, Va. A Truly christian woman and satisfactory in every way, a delightful member of the family. We were devoted to her and much grieved at her death several years after of typhoid fever.
Another trouble, our house, the one we rented was sold to Dr. Oscar Wiley of Craig county who proved to be a steadfast lifelong friend, as did his wife. It was hard to find a house in Salem to rent and the expense of moving was an item to us poor things. We finally moved over the drug store in connection with a small house that was once owned by Mr. Penick. Here we were uncomfortably crowded and often hungry, our future impenetrable. My school was flourishing. There was great rivalry between schools, kept up by the pupils. A great deal was said of me by the puritans of the school, but I had friends among Presbyterians, although they did not patronize me.
John came and spent the summer. We stayed two years, and our school was quite an accomplished fact. I paid the rent, bought all the wood, paid the servants, doctor’s bills, had washing and sewing done. etc., so I felt glad and hoped to stay in Salem where so many were kind. Jeanie lived four miles in the country and came when she could. In December Jeanie’s oldest son was born. He was named Alexander after Sam White’s father. This was an event and we thought the little fellow fine.
This brings us to 1871. The public Schools were now instituted in Virginia so of course my school, like all others were decreased in numbers. Miss Boyden, I could not afford so I engaged Miss Bittle for half a day and we got along beautifully. She was a clever girl.
This summer my friend Mrs. James Andrews paid me a short visit and I returned with her for the rest of the summer. I enjoyed the time she was entertained once or twice in Salem. I remember a beautiful lunch given by Marion Hansbrough which Mrs. Andrews appreciated. She and her husband bothe* were faithful friends. When school was over I was completely broken down and as Mrs. Andrews gave me the trip. I was glad to go to gain rest and strength for the coming session. We went to Richmond. Mrs. Andrews wished to visit the battlefields around Richmond and Petersburg. When I arrived at the Exchange I heard of the death of a friend, Willie Worthington, who after the war went to New York City to live. I knew him well, he had visited intimately at our home Dungeness. He died of tuberculosis. Although I did not admire him altogether, he was too worldly, yet I liked him and regretted his death. I was feeling so badly I could not go around Mrs. Andrews and stayed in bed while she went alone.
Though feeling so badly, I enjoyed my visit for I loved her whole family, her husband especially was the soul of honor and generosity. Her boy Jimmie was very attractive and her mother was a fine type of woman. Now the whole family are dead, not one left. I know they were offended with me because I refused to marry Mr. Andrews nephew Robert Ripley.
This summer Joe and Mercer went to Tennessee to work with Mr. W.E. Brown John came from New York for a month. He was in the law office of Lord, Day and Lord. where he received a small salary. Our friend Rev. Wendell Prime got him the place. George came also and we enjoyed them. George was always a handsome fellow. John developed into an elegant young man and very clever. I could say more abount* them but have little strength or time. I get very tired. I must not forget the Valley Railroad which gave us all such hope for Salem’s future. The president, Robert Garrett of Baltimore visited us and the engineers we knew and strange to say we were all related, Dick Randolph, chief engineer, Richard Bolling, Ward, Buchanan, were to see us whenever in town. They worded* near Hollins. We enjoyed them and they did us. A great deal was done between Salem and Lexington. It was a woeful disappointment when the project was abandoned.
Mr. Garrett, the president, was very nice to us. They all were. Mr. Garrett gave me a position playfully one evening and said I should have a trip to Baltimore the first trip. That I never had but the position I got for Mercer. It was asked for for* Joe but he had decided to teach so I got it transferred for Mercer. They had come from Tennessee. George went out to fill Williams place who came home with typhoid fever. I had the best doctor in town. Aunt Martha and my mother did the nursing. Jeannie had a home now and Edith Nellie and Strother went with her. Her boy was a delight to them and Sam was always so kind they felt at home, and Jeannie is such bright company. Mercer recovered but could not go back to Tennessee. After he got strong I applied to Mr. Garrett and he gave the promised place. Jimmie got a clerkship at Yellow Sulphur Springs while he was there I went up on a visit to Cousin Elsie, my cousin Bob’s mother. I stayed three weeks. She was very kind and introduced me to very pleasant people. My cousin was there and added to my pleasure. He very kindly took me to Mountain, Va. a trip through the mountainous country. As we drove up the mountain there was a thunder storm. We had to drive on. In that unsettled region there was no place to stop. We drove up and up until we drove through the clouds unto the sun which was shining beyound*. Mountain Lake is a remarkable formation which in the memory of man had formed there and had no visible outlet. My cousin was very agreeable, bright and clever. He was educated at West Point Military Academy and would have graduated in July 1861 but deserted in April. All Virginians deserted where the call was made to arms by President Lincoln.
As I said previously we decided to leave the beloved home, my father, mother, and children to go to Ashland, the boys, Jim and Joe to go to Randolph Macon college, Edith, Mercer and Nellie to go to a private school. Strother was only five years old, George rented the farm, John went to teach with Mr. Dabney, Jeanie and I to go to Salem to teach. We were to meet at Dungeness and decide again what was best to do. So with sad yet glad hearts we started to make our fortunes. I had no money. My cousin loaned me some on my pioneer trip to Salem. My friend Rev. G.W. Prime rented the house in Ashland. If we failed in Salem we were to go to Ashland. I had no southern friend that (had) a penny more than I did, so being obliged to fulfil my engagement I went to Richmond to see my father’s commissioner and found him out of town. What to do then. I must have expressed my feelings, for Mr. Cardaza’s partner said, “Is there anything I can do for you?”
He spoke in such a sympathetic tone that I blurted out the need I was in. I wanted $30 and told him my trouble. He said, “Is that all. I don’t see why I can’t lend you that as well as Mr. Cardoza.”
“Oh will you? I will pay it the first money I get!”
“I have said nothing about pay, my young lady.”
So this good man loaned me the money. In a short time we went to Salem. George took us across the James River to Powhatan court house where Jeanie took what was called the Southside railroad. We had to change cars at Burkville for Lynchburg. We knew nothing of railroad travel, having always traveled on packet boat. When we got to Burkville a gentleman, a professor of Hampton Sidney College assisted us. He said he had a brother living in Salem, Judge Blair. I was always grateful to professor Blair.
When we got to Lynchburg my cousin, Mr. David Payne, introduced us to Colonel P. Taylor who was on the train. He was a courtly old gentleman and very kind. When we stopped at what is now Gedford City he introduced us to Mr. Samuel Griffin whose family lived in Salem. So we were fortunate again. We were soon in Salem, Colonel Taylor getting off at what is now Ronnoke* City. Then, simply, a railroad station with perhaps four houses, is now a city of fifty thousand. It has had a wonderful growth, and is called the “Magic City”.
This is a beautiful secion*, such a glorious agricultural country admidst* the smiling country. Around this station lay the lovely farms, the Taylors, Watts, and McClannahans. These splendid homes are swallowed up in the prosperous city. The N. and W. railroad has made the city with its workshops and hundreds of employees. Salem was considered first, but the Mayor and town council went hunting to avoid meeting the railroad men. They said they did not want the railroad. Now the citizens that succeed these dodards* suffer. But there wasno* city when we came, only a station.
(section*, amidst*, dotards*, was no*. A dotard is an old person, stuck in their ways)
When we arrived it was raining and we had a dismal reception. My cousin had arranged board for us with a widow and we rented the schoolroom and desks of our predecessor. We had thirty pupils, clever and obedient. My experience was very pleasant, and trustees considerate. We came, strangers in their midst, and had no reason to regret it. We taught English, Latin, French and music. I had no trouble in collecting bills or the management of the children. They seemed devoted to us and the patrons were satisfied.
We had little social life, we were so busy. I paid what I owed. When I paid the gentleman who loaned the money he expressed surprise at my promptness, and said I was welcome to have kept it as long as I wished. After a few months our landlady was disagreeable and I decided to find a more comfortable and congenial place, so we moved toanother* lady’s where we remained to the end of the session.
I was much interested in our mission. Only seven Episcopalians. We had service from the minister, Rev. Edward Ingle of St. Johns church, a country church supported by the wealthy land owners. Our services were held in the Masonic Hall over the Tin Shop. Mr. Ingle was anxious that we should have a chapel and the little handful commenced to work. He was most enterprising and solicited funds from the north. We bought a lot and soon the building was under way. The building was constructed with school rooms above which we were to rent at $100 a year. Among my pupils were a good many Presbyterians. It seems a spirit of jealousy possessed them and nothing was said to me. A few days before we left for Dungeness the lady with whom we boarded came to me and said she would be my friend and advised me not to return to Salem, as the Presbyterians had decided to engage Miss Fanny Johnston to establish a school and she said you will lose all your scholars.
“Why,” I said, “they have all told me they will return.”
“That does not matter, they won’t come, and I hate to have you and your sister disappointed and have you move your family.”
I was completely staggered by this. I went to my room and took up my Bible and opened at this passage, “Stay in the land and verily thou shall be fed.”
This decided me. I would stay. The next day I informed the trustees of the school. They were indignant and said they would do all they could for me if I would come back, and would look after my interest while I went home. Of course this silent undercurrent did not at all please me, but leaving everything in the hands of the trustees, I left for home. I had a picnic with the children, some of them had a pack of cards without my knowledge, but I made no protest, not feeling any. The next day a letter was brought to me, saying this gentleman would have to withdraw his children from his promise to attend my school the coming session as his conscience would not allow him to send his children to a school where card playing was allowed. I had already been told that he had promised his children to Mrs. Johnston before the cards were played. This I knew, so my contempt for his* was extreme.
I answered his note, telling him that cards was a subterfuge, that his children were as much bound to me as a gentleman’s word could make them. I left Salem quite indignant, but with many friends to battle for me. On my return, I had 60 pupils, though the year before only 30. My family decided to come, and we rented a house of only four rooms, for which I paid $25 a month, George rented our home. John taught again with Mr. Dabney and studied law with Mr. Tucker. My father, mother, Joe, Joe, Edith, Mercer, Nellie, Strother, Jeanie and myself moved to Salem.
I found my friends the trustees had worded nobly for me against bitter opposition. The Presbyterians had two objections to us. We were Episcopalians and Eastern Virginians, great crimes both, but instead of 30 we had 60 pupils. There were no public schools and as I had the family to provide for I had offered to take pupils for whatever the parents could supply, wood, provisions of all kinds, sewing, washing, doctor’s bills, anything. We Were a family of 8 with my father, mother and aunt Martha. We had only six rooms including basement, so we were so crowded that my aunt we feared would not be comfortable, so my cousin (her nephew) offered her a home. We were greatly distressed to see her go, but dared not oppose it, as we had no future. She came to see us every week and stayed several days, which my cousin did not like.
This summer we had crowds for weeks and passersby, once for three weeks a regiment, all that was left off Colonel Stevensons Kentucky regiment. Our very great friend Major John Reeve was in this command. We had the horses and servants to feed and were glad to do it. Our friends were completely nonplussed. They could not go home. An old cousin, Dr. James from Lancaster, Virginia stopped by to see us and stayed several months. He came to Petersburg in search of his son, who was wounded at the Battle of the Crater and he could hear nothing. He could not find him at Petersburg, so came to us. Poor man, he asked anxiously of every passing soldier they could tell him of his son. After many weeks he had the news that he had died of his wound. There was no communication and nobody had any money, so he stayed on until finally my father let him have the money, $40, with which he bought a horse and left for home. We were sorry to see him go. He was my father’s first cousin, a clever mn*, highly educated, and an old fashioned Virginia gentleman. We met him afterwards in Salem where we both lived and our families were very intimate.
We were especially fond of Cousin Robert, who was devoted to us anda* day never passed without a visit from him. He was ever kind and faithful until his sudden death.
In the fall of that year the boys, George and John went to Mr. Hilary Jones school, Hanover Acadany*. While there John was very ill, my motherhad* to spend several weeks there. There were no trained nurses then, but our dear aunt was with us. The servants were very good, much better than one could have supposed with the bad advise* given them. They remained and worked pretty well for a year.
(Academy*, mother had*, advice*)
In the meantime the provost marshalls, who were very common men, made themselves most detestible. We felt the injustice of this treatment and the indignities put on our President. General Grant acted the gentleman in his terms of surrender to General Lee and soldiers, but I see little humanity in loading President Davis in irons, even from the standpoint that he was a traitor.
Our future was like Egyptian darkness. Our father and mother were helpless, with 11 children, only two educated, and no income. The servants had to be fed. They could not go. The liberal Federal government failed to keep the promise of “forty acres of land and a mule”. So they were a great care to us. As we felt they were becoming a burden, we persuaded them to hire out.
Our house servants were so well trained and so well known, as our house was always full, they found no trouble in getting homes. We were soon with no help, and had to bring in our wood and do our cleaning. All the children helped. Everything was so hard on my parents. My father had no profession, having been a planter. There was no business, everything was disorganized. I shuddered then with apprehension and sympathy and shudder now at the recollection of its horrows*. No one gave the helping hand but our northern friends. One friend heard that our house was burned, and came to find us, doing all he could bringing food and clothes.
Another New York friend sent us a sewing machine, the first I ever saw. It cost $300. Our southern friends resented our acceptance of these gifts, but had they been offered to them their viewpoint might have changed.
I wish I could blot out those horrible days. We were all so miserable. My parents found it hard to adjust themselves to the new regime. Berefit* of every comfort, no money, no schools, friends scattered, labored, labor all gone, our beautiful lands lying idle, and we were on the verge of starvation. My father owed a money lender (a shylock) $10,000 which he had borrowed to buy a piece of land adjoining ours, which my father bought a few years before the Civil War began. He did not dream of was* and never doubted he could pay easily.
The clamor for debts increased. The owner of the mortgage became insolent and advertised our home. I went to Richmond. General Stoneman was in command. I represented the case. He was very gentlemanly and politely listened to my tale of woe, and granted “Injunction”. I went home rejoicing that we had a home for several months. In the meantime my father had $30,000 owing to him, which was useless to try to collect and of which he collected $300.
Here we stayed. My mother wrote to her nephew Colonel G.W. Hansbrough, a lawyer, who refugeed from West Virginia to Salem, Virginia during the war. He kindly came and advised us to sell the beautiful home Dungeness and pay debts and move to a small town where there was education and advantages. We had a tutor then for the boys, a Mr. Norris who instructed well, but could not afford anything. John was an unusually clever boy and said he was going to teach school, so I set to work to find him a position, and succeeded in finding him on* in Virginious Dabney’s Classical school in Middleburg London County, Virginia, which he filled most successfully, and at the same time studied law with Mr. John Randolph Tucker. John was in Middleburg for two years, graduated in law and decided to go to New York , But I am going too fast. George said he would rent the farm. My cousin thought I could get a school in Salem where he lived and invited me to visit him and apply for a school which would be vacant in the fall, a Mrs. Randolph giving it up to go on as a missionary to China. She asked me to succeed her and being also asked by the trustees of the school applied and got it, my sister Jeanie as my assistant. I returned home feeling very grateful to my cousin and his family for their kindness. He had three attractive children, Marion, Livingston, and Lila. The girls, aged 14 and 11 were to be my pupils. One very pleasurable event occurred. My father and George and John rode over to call on General R.E. Lee who was spending the summer with his brother Charles Carter Lee in Powhatan County.
They spent a pleasant day, and a few weeks thereafter General Lee and his son, General Custer Lee returned the call and took lunch. How delighted they were! My mother had the best she could in our poverty which was appreciated and enjoyed by these gentlemen. I sang for them and the tears flowed down the Great General’s cheeks evidenced appreciation most toughingly*. At the close of the songs, he said to me, “Thank you, my child,” as he laid his hand on my shoulder. I have often thanked God for that caress. I count it as one of my treasures. We sat in the beautiful hall and had such as delightful afternoon, of course so sad, all of us completely at sea as to our future, which we endeavored to forget in this never to be forgotten hour. As we sat with all ten of us and my parents eager to catch each word and smile, my little brother Strother played with the General’s gold spurs (a present). Strother was so pleased that finally was emboldened to say “If you don’t mind I wish you would give them to me”. The general leaned forward and patted the little three year old fellow on the head.
“Oh, my son, they have to be won.”
It was nearing evening when they bade us goodbye. My father and the boys escorted them across the river and a part of their ride to Mr. Charles Carter Lee’s. General Lee refused lucrative positions and accepted the presidency of Washington and Lee University at Lexington, Virginia. This institution was called Washington College, and afterwards the double honor of Lee was added.
My grandfather, Reverend Joseph D. Logan taught in the university when it was first a simple school. My grandfather was said to be the cleverest of seven brothers who were in the Presbyterian ministry, sons of Mr. James Logan and Hannah, niece of John Know. I once had the papers of Logan family, natives of Scotland, but they with the Spotswood, Dandridge, Strother and Clayton genealogies were burned in the Atlanta, Georgia fire, May 29th, 1917, a loss I much deplore. Again, I digress. I wonder if all old people do so as much as I do. I return to 1868.
But I have again digressed. George was still in the 4th Virginia cavalry, and John was crazy to go. A friend of Jeanie’s came on a visit and offered to take John as his aid. He was colonel of a regiment, so finally our parents consented. John was a fine horseman and a good shot, so he was allowed to go. Colonel Bolton let him take a servant, George Nicholas, one of our dining room boys. There was great excitement in the family, white and black, when they left.
We lived along, anxious and hungrey*, getting news of the death of our friends at every battle and of great suffering among our soldiers. General Lee sent a request for food and everyone nobly responded. This left the whole section with a limited supply. We had nothing but meat and bread to give, so we lived on until spring. Then the fighting was concentrated around Richmond and Petersburg. We, my mother, Jeanie and I decided to go to Richmond, hearing that the cavalry would be ordered to the south side. We hoped to see our boys. We boarded with a Mrs. Wolfe on Franklin street. In a few days the cavalry passed through the city. It was a sad and solmen* procession of ragged, downcast, starving men who passed us by, horses lank and lean, scarcely able to march. Our hearts bled and tears overflowed as our dear “boys” went by. This was on Friday. We stayed a few days seeing friends. On Sunday my mother went to St. Pauls church, and I went to St James. Willie Worthing went with me. When we came out we noticed great excitement and horror depicted on every face and citizens rushing to and fro with pictures and valuables in their arms.
We hurried to our boarding house, and my mother had much to tell us. Jean was with us having also returned from church. The desolating news was that the enemy had captured Petersburg. This was a dark hour. Everyone left Richmond that could get away, the President and the Cabinet also. Of course there was no hope left for Richmond. There we were, forty miles from Dungeness, and no way to communicate. The canal, our only mode of transportation destroyed by Yankees, no telegraph. We were in despair. We packed our clothes with the assistance our maid Eliza gave us. She had gone to Richmond with us. We have our inherited silver with us so we fastened it under our hoop skirts. I was determined not to be captured by the Yankees and told my friends that I would walk home.
My soldier friends tried to get a conveyance, but it seemed impossible. All horses and mules were taken by the confederate government, taken while the owners were riding them. Once a friend of mine, Mrs. Julian Harrison was being borne to the grave and the hearse was stopped on the way to the cemetary and the horses taken. All was fearful.
Our landlady left us and all the boarders. We were left alone. She left us the little food she had and bade us goodbye with tears. Our friends came in to say goodbye and there we sat all night. About 3 o’clock, two friends, soldiers on furlough, knocked. We all three went to the door. It was Captain Edward Owen of Washington Artillery and Lt. Caskie Cabell. They came to say that they have taken two little dump coal carts from two boys at the point of their pistols. One had a lame horse and the other a blind mule. They asked if we would go.
My mother said if she could get two miles to a friend, Colonel Carrington, that she knew he would send us home. We doubted if the maimed and emaciated animals could get us there, but we started. I insisted on carrying our two trunks, so we unfastened the pieces of silver which we had worn all day, packed it in our trunks and started, Eliza decided she would stay in the city.
We got in the dirty carts, perched on our trunks. The gentlemen walked, urging the animals along. By this time the Yankees had entered the lower end of the city, set fires, and were bombarding. As we drove slowly and in silence, we heard glass in windows shatter around and could hear the tramp of the cavalry and the glaring flames. We hoped and prayed. The day began to break, and when we reached Colonel Carringtons they gave us a hearty welcome, as good a breakfast as they had and they gave us a road wagon, four horses, a driver, and a lunch basket of meat and bread. They started us on our journey to Dungeness, fory* miles, and as we drove along our driver showed great unwillingness to go, so our soldiers again drew their pistols.
As we went along we passed the patients from the hospitals and many others. The sick were so pale and hungry, that we decided to go hungry and gave our lunch to them. It was insufficient, of course.
We had great joy as we neared home. We stopped and fed the horses, we had brought food for them, and some kin* persons gave our party something to eat. We arrived at home about dark. Oh, the perfect delight of all, white and black to see us. My father was going the next day in search of us, having heard from those who arrived before that Richmond had been captured. My Aunt Martha told us she had been cooking (I mean the servants had) for the travelers. When we got there, the yard and house were full. The poor tired things were glad to sleep anywhere. They had no where to go, many remained for weeks. They came every day. We were kept busy.
We could here* the fighting going on, but no news and we were so anxious about the boys and our army. On April 9th General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Grant. This sad news was brought to us by a straggler. We knew it was inevitable. Our soldiers, people and prisoners were starving and exhausted, dropping by the wayside as they marched. Where were our boys? We watched and prayed for them with anxious eyes. The house was full of soldiers wondering where they would go. At last, as we sat on the porch one afternoon, we saw two horsemen coming toward the house. They looked dejected and weary. As they came nearer, we recognized my brother John and his body servant George Nicholas. We hurried to meet John, and he literally fell in our arms, completely unnerved. George, the servant, said, “You see Mistus, I brought Marse John back like I promised you. I got him home by the hardest, Mistus, but I kept my word.”
Colonel Boston was shot in the last battle the day before. John was riding by his side in battle when he was shot and instantly killed, falling on John’s horse. It was a terrible shock. Fortunately George, my brother, was in the same battle and helped to bury him. He was buried in his uniform without a coffin. They marked his grave.
The next 9th of April the surrender was made at Appomattox Court House. John was detailed to convey the sad news of Col. Boston’s death to his family. His sister worte*, “I opened the door and there sat this soldier boy with his hear* on his arms, weeping. I asked him, “My dear boy, what is the matter?” “I have to tell you Colonel Boston is killed’. He was sore distressed. I almost forgot my grief in his.”
After delivering his message John thought he ought to go back to the army. George, his servant, spoke, “No sir, Marse John. You ain’t got nobody to report to. General Lee done surrendered. We’re going home to Mistus.”
So they came. We were all so glad George had so much sense. Then we all asked for my brother George. They said George did not surrender but left the day before after Colonel Boston was buried, for Lynchburg, hoping to join General Johnston. But when they arrived they saw the futility of it and retraced their steps. Dr. Fleming, Dr. Miclie and George came together. There was great rejoicing, though our hearts were very sad.
Well, we lived anxious and sad. We went to Richmond to see friends. I stayed often with our cousins the Bookers who lived on Clay street just opposite of Jefferson Davis, so I saw the Davis’ a good deal in their domestic life. Mrs. Davis and her sister Miss Margaret Howell, I admired them physically. They, especially Mrs. Davis, were very clever and brilliant in society, but her lack of innate refinement was too evident. President Davis was greatly her superior. He was as refined as he looked, always the gentleman. The children were very attractive. I saw them very often–Maggie, Jeff and Joe.
I was there visiting Cousin Carrie when dear little Joe climbed the railing of the upper porch and fell over and was killed. It was a terrible tragedy to the city. Horrible events were not common then as now, people had time to realize the horrors. Winnie Davis was born during the “Confederacy” in the Executive Mansion. The Davises are all dead now. Maggie married and may have children. I don’t know, she lived in Colorado. Jeff died of smallpox, unmarried. Winnie lived with her mother in New York City. She had a liberal pension from the impoverished Southerners, but did not care to cast her lot with them. She and the children are buried in Richmond, at Holywood Cemetary. Here I will state that the Confederate Monument in Soldier Cemetary was designed by a great friend of mine, Captain Charles H. Dimmock who married first Judith Monte of Baultimore* (Ernie’s mother) and second, my especial friend Lizzie Selden, a fateful friend and school mate who still lives and remembers me. We have corresponded for fifty years. But this is a digression. I do* back to my life in Richmond the last year of the war.
My sister Jeanie and I visited our friends, Mary Gibson, who was in the whirl of society, intimate with Davis and cabinet. So we knew them all. We did not attend festivities. Our hearts were too sad, my sisters death and George in hourly danger, our starving people. Not a day but some dear one was killed, battles raging around us. I could not approve of balls and parties and frivolities. We had so little to eat, our soldiers and prisoners on the verge of starvation. The south was blamed because she did not feed her prisoners well. How could she when all ports were blockaded and our own were no better off. No hand was given to help us, we were helpless, all our men had to fight and left the fields, nobody left at home but women, children and old men. If our northern brethren had seen another side to the vexed question. Possibly we were to blame not to compromise as many of our people urged and many in the North would have done. But our people, North and South were ignorant of each other and prejudiced and the politicians did all their evil hearts could do to fan the flame. Someday we will know.
Our people could not realize the cruelty in their hearts. Such men as That* Stevens, Sumner Stewart, I was once at West Point when Johnson, after Lincoln’s death, traveled through west and north with his cabinet. I saw them all as they went to lunch. I was invited to partake, being with a prominent party, but my heart was too sad and my feelings too bitter to break bread with them, so with tears I turned and left. This is a great digression again, but I don’t regret it for I might fail to write it later.
Our industries, our plantation were wonderful. We raised cotton, sugar cane, spun cotton and wool. We still had the sheep the Raiders did not get. We raised all crops and vegetables, but think of our large family and the army and prisoners and so many in the city, and 200 servants to feed and clothe. We put up an old fashioned hand loom. One of the women could weave, so she set to work and wove the cloth for their clothes, for towels, blankets, and sheets, We raised flax and she spun tablecloths and napkins and even beautiful cloth for our dresses. By this time our clothes were wearing out and there was no way to get any more. We had no coffee, no tea, no lights, We made all the soap we used, plaited straw for hats and bonnets, some made shoes. Some of the servants went barefooted and so did the children. We preserved and dried fruits, made starch, in fact did everything. I remember we used to go in the fields and for “Life Everlasting” to make yeast and sassafras roots for tea. We tried many substitutes for coffee, toasted wheat, sweet potatoes, etc. but nothing was fit to drink. But we did not mind all this.
Our servants were well behaved and loyal. Their minds had not been poisoned and they were attached and faithful. My mother did a great work. Our home was an Industrial School. She trained the young negroes in all household departments. We had carpenters, blacksmiths, wheelwrights, shoemakers’ shops. And the farm had horses and cattle, so the negro boys could go into any of these vocations. The young girls were taught to cook, wash and iron, to sew, spin, card and clean up. To work in the dairy, to milk, churn, and were often allowed to work in the flowers. We had a conservatory that was a joy in the winter, filled with exquisite blooming plants, and in springing summer our yard, a large one, was like Eden’s bower. My Aunt Martha Strother lived with us. She helped my mother in every department, was 14 years older than my mother, and like a mother her and to us. We were devoted to her. she was a model of refined beauty, of great intelligence, and the most devoted Christian, always carrying the Golden Rule as her guide. Our home was hers to come and go as she pleased.
She was our sympathizer in all troubles and the one to bind our wounds and bruises. She was our mother’s half sister, her mother was Martha Payne, her grandmother a Dandridge, so was a cousin of my father. They were devoted to each other, both living at Retreat. The home of Mr. and Mrs. Georege Woodson Payne. Aunt Martha was the niece of Mr. Payne. My father, the great great great nephew of Mrs. Payne, and their adopted son.
But I must go on with the war. I digress too often. The summer of 1864 passed. John at home from school, crazy to go in the army. We had visitors all the time, house parties, our city friends and wounded soldiers on furlough never forgot us. George, a bright and brave boy, happy in the army. We sent food whenever we could. Our army concentrated around Richmond. After Christmas I was still teaching. Jean, Joe, Edith Mercer and Strother was still our baby and such dear one. Jean and Joe were beautiful children and so much admired. My mother loved to take them with her, they were different. Jean as dark as an Indian, with splendid eyes and features. Joe was like my beautiful sister, same gentle disposition. I remember his gentle dignity with Jean who was quick tempered and overbearing. Joe never lost his temper and so they got on well together and were very devoted. Joe made some quaint little speeches. He broke Jean’s wheelbarrow, who raged aroung*. Joe finally said, “Jean, I told you three times I was sorry I broke Your wheelbarrow. Now I tell you, I don’t care if I did!”
Another time someone asked him, what is Christmas, Joe?
“A big turkey cooked in a long oven, and a whole lot of pizen things,” meaning pies and things.
There were no cooking stoves, and everything had to be baked or roasted in ovens. The pots swung on the racks. The meat roasted on the spit, a rod also put on the rack. The fireplaces were huge, often the whole end of the kitchen. I wonder what the present day darkey would say to that condition of things.
Every drop of water was brought from a distance, up a steep hill, but there were little boys whose only duty was to do this. They played, and when water was wanted, a bell summoned them. Another set of boys prepared food for the cows. Large iron kettles were used to boil food called a mash. Turnips, beets, and corn mean* was given to the cows when these boys brought them in at night. They enjoyed this nice hot supper.
All these home scenes are like pictures in my mind. I see the faces. And my life then is like a dream. All was pleasant and if there were unhappy hours they faded from my memory. I have much that I could tell of the home life, but I haven’t time, for it makes me tired. My back aches so and I am nearly blind. It is strange that I remember so much and there is so much to tell.
We had no hope and wrote to our friends in New York who set to work to find him in the Northern prisons. For four months we thought he must be dead and our home was very sad. In my absence in Richmond trying to get news, George’s horse was sent home by the Captain. I was not at home but the family told me how the horse seemed to know his rider was gone. He would turn his head toward the saddle and neigh. The servants, always emotional, cried and gave evidence of distress, When the saddle bags were opened and all his belongings so neatly packed, they cried out, “Oh Lord, why did Marse George go to fight them Yankees!”
The horse was a beauty and everybody’s pet. He was kept in the yard and many tears were shed over the missing Soldier. The fourth month my father received a few lines from George saying that he was a prisoner at Fort Lookout and had been ill and unable to write. He had been kept in close confinement for several weeks and was told he and others captured with him would be shot. They endured a great deal, were kept in a closet and could not lie down. With little food and guarded by negroes, they were offered freedom if they would take the oath never to fight for the south, which they refused to do. In the wee bit of a note my brother asked to have ten pounds of tobacco and invested in material for a restaurant on a small scale with the money which he received upon selling the tobacco. Then our northern friends found him and his wants were supplied. He remained there eight months and at last got away by paying the doctor twenty-five dollars in gold. He was greatly lionized on his return. He was well after a long spell and much suffering. He was home only a few weeks and then returned to his command. He escaped without a wound or further imprisonment.
John was crazy to enter the Army now, but was still in school, I think it was in Lynchburg in September 1863. We had soldiers all the time. They all seemed to enjoy our lovely home. It is impossible for me to mention all. So many of our friends were killed, a battle always meant sorrow. Sidney Strother, Ellis Munford, William Mean, John Jountaine and so many others. We had a visit from Philip Hazall who was engaged to my sister Mollie, a very devoted lover of hers and friend of mine. The three, Phil, Sidney and John Reeve were life long friends of ours. All dead and she too, and I am left to mourn their going away.
These were my three dearest friends. I corresponded with them from my fourteenth year all through the War. Sidney was the first to die and the others lived through the war and some years after John went to Henderson, Ky. and died there. Some years after my sister’s death, Philip Hazall married the beautiful Nancy Triplet, famous for her wonderful beauty and the episode of Meadecar and McCarthy duel. She was engaged to Meadecar who was killed. McCarthy was imprisoned for some months but was finally exonerated. This marriage of Philip Hazall’s was not a happy one. She died first and he finally died at Retreat, a sad life he had.
I am afraid my life will seem very disconnected. I write as I remember and often put things in the wrong place.
We had many girls to visit us, and some spent months. Things were narrowing down. Foods and clothes were scarce. We living in the country were enabled to send boxes to soldiers in camps. I remember many we sent. One to 2nd Maryland where our tutor Mr. Burk was enlisted. I had a note of thanks from Colonel Dorsey, also from Washington artillery, a Louisiana regiment. A number of officers were our guests. Captain Ed Owen and brother William Owen who after the war wrote a history and wrote of our home and the hospitality he and his friends enjoyed there. He died several years ago. He went back to North Carolina and married. He was a very attractive man.
I cannot attempt a history and will only give a few personal experiences. We were subject to Raiders at any time. We were never in the line of battle, But these raiders would search houses and take and destroy valuables and were boisterous and rude. My mother would have to meet them. My father took off the horses, negroes and sheep to save them. We had a private ferry, there was no public one, and he would carry his possessions across the canal and sometimes he would be gone a week. Our year’s supply of meat and lard my mother would divide among the negroes. She knew the Yankees never searched their homes, and she would tell them, now you take so many hams and so many kegs of lard. Remember, this is your living as well as mine. It was always returned just as she handed it to them. They were faithful and so respectful we felt we could and did trust them. All the time I was in charge alone in my parents absence they were respectful and considerate of my every wish. We had to hide all silver and jewels and valuable books. My mother used to hide the silver under the growing plants and wherever we could think safe.
So when the alarm that the Yankees were coming came, we would begin hiding. They never found our valuables. Several times they came so unexpectedly that we had to give all these things to a trusted servant. Once my mother hurriedly threw the silver in a common potato sack and gave it to our gardener to hide. “Hide it where you think it safe, Daniel.”
We did not see the silver for three weeks as the Yankees were in the vicinity that long and my father across the river. He would send the servants over at night for more food. Finally, the Raiders left, and of course, left little food behind them.
Another time, the most tragic of all, may mother gave the silver to a man, Alfred Brooks. The enemy were coming in sight. “Take it Alfred and don’t let them get it.” They came as usual, rude and drunken, rushing everywhere ungoverned. One of the officers said, “Where is Alfred Brooks?”
“Here I am, Sir.”
“Where is that silver you have hidden? Come now, no lies.”
Alfred said, “I can’t tell you sir. I promised my mistress to keep it for her. ”
The officer said, “I will see that you tell, and raised his pistol. My mother was so frightened she called out, “Oh Alfred, tell. Don’t let them shoot you!”
But his wife who stood by him said, “Don’t you tell, Alfred, because if he chooses to be a dog, let him shoot.”
The officer dropped his pistol and turned to my mother and said, “I could not shoot such a brave man, madam.”
She gave him a grateful look and said, “Thank God!” This was our last experience with Raiders. Our life went on, so dreary and sad. We knew how our soldiers were starving and without clothes. We saw our chance of victory was waning and our cause was losing. We had word of the death of our tutor Mr. Burk, defending a bridge in Halifax County, Virginia. He was instantly killed. We were distressed at his death. Our friends Stuart and Jackson dead made us sadder and more hopeless. My father, who opposed secession not that he felt that “We did not have the right,” but our utter inability to win and he felt every death a sacrifice. He thought our leaders would have seen the inevitable result as clearly as he did, but he was in full sympathy, doing everything he could until the day of his death when he was 88 and some months.
Abraham Lincoln was nominated president. We still held to the Union but when Lincoln made a call for soldiers and then set the negroes free, the manhood of Virginia, loving their state more than the Union and feeling that the U.S. had no owner, finally uprose.
My cousin, Robert H. Logan was at West Point in his fourth year, left with his other companions for their homes. They asked no leave and our U.S. soldiers, among them the General (then Colonel Lee) resigned. It is said that Colonel Lee walked the floor all night before he resigned and a sad heart decided in favor of his state. He and my father thought alike in politics but after they decided for their state they were heart and soul for Virginia.
Mr. Burk announced at the breakfast table that he was going to join the Southern Torries. We had wondered what he would do. He said his mother’s family was from Maryland so he would enlist, I think, in the second Maryland regiment. My father gave him his proper equipment. We made his bedding, etc. He was greatly excited and joined his company and regiment forthwith. We were all so busy, knitting, making shirts, etc. We had no supplies so we tore our sheets into strips for bandages for soldiers, scraped out linen shetts* and tablecloths into lint. We felt we were defending our rights. We had no hospital stores. At first we got on fairly well, but soon our little store was exhausted. We had no factories and soon needed clothes as well as food. I cannot appempt** from memory after fifty years to give correctly any statement, so I shall only give my personal experience. We were so interested and worked making shirts, pants, knitting socks, sweaters, and making bandages.
My sister and I went to Richmond, as we knew so many there. All the cabinet and their families and the President. There were many soldiers also, Richmond being the capital. They were frequently there. General Robert E. Lee, J.E.B. Stuart, Fitzhugh Lee and company. I knew President Davis and his family well, also General R. E. Lee. His daughter Mildred I knew very well. We often sent boxes the first and second years of the war. After that we had nothing to send. Our hospitals were crowded and very poorly equipted*, so the people in the country established hospitals, caring for those wounded and sick and they recuperated. So as our Rectory was vacant, (our Rector having gone to war) we furnished it with cots, provided a matron, and each day two ladies of our Church provided everything for their day. We always went with Mrs. John C. Rutherford. They had sent us all we could accommodate. They improved rapidly and went back to fight and others came in their place. We enjoyed doing for these men, most of them from Georgia and North Carolina. Several were ill and only one died and was buried in our church yard at St. Paul’s Church.
This year in the summer my sister Mollie visited in Lynchburg and from there went to Lexington to see our brothers George and John who were at Virginia Military school. She had an illness which developed into typhoid fever. My father and mother were summoned to her bedside. My youngest brother was just a year old and had never been weaned. I volunteered to take care of him and urged my mother to go. My sister was ill many weeks and got so homesick the doctor said she would never get well there. So in December he let her come home.
My dear beautiful sister was so wasted and worn. I had charge of everything. Fifty hogs were killed and I had all this to see to. The lard had to be rendered up and there was a house full of company. My father and Aunt Martha all had to go to my sister. The servants did their part well and were respectful and obedient, so I got along. My baby was very troublesome for about a week and then slept pretty well. He missed his mother so much, I always felt that he was my child. We were always together. He graduated at sixteen and a half. He went to school to* me until he entered Roanoke College. After he graduated he went to New York where he lived, a bright newspaper man. After serving in the bank for two years he was a reporter for the Commercial Advertiser and New York World. He reported Gen. Grant’s illness and death and his work was highly appreciated. He was presented by the paper with a gold watch and chain with the inscription, “In token of services rendered.” My brother Joe has the watch and chain. My family was absent six weeks and then brought my sister home.
I will never forget her wan face and the smile she gave me the night she arrived. The fever left her and the Doctors Harris and James were more hopeful and saw no use to continue visits but in a few days she died of exhaustion. The doctors said I could not nurse her as I wanted to, as the little boy was so attached to me, and my poor mother so worn with nursing my sister I had to keep him in his waking hours, but whenever I could I was ministering to her. She loved me to run* her limbs and one night as I rubbed her she talked of her joy at being home. “Oh Anna, I am so glad to be with you, I missed you so.” Then she moaned and I arose and called the family in. She knew no one to speak but seemed to know we were all there. In a few moments she was quiet and her spirit had gone to be with her Savior she loved and truly worshipped. She was a lovely Christian, beautiful in character and lovely in person, as our minister wrote in her obituary:
Beautiful as sweet
Young as beautiful
Soft as young
As gay as soft
As merciful as gay.
She was greatly missed, being loved by both young and old. Her funeral I shall never forget, when she was borne to the grave by our slaves. I could not leave my boy, so all left the house. I could see them wind through the field, followed by so many friends, and all the children. After the burial services the servants who had borne and followed her to the grave asked permision* of Marster to sing, which of course was granted. The sound floated top* to me at the house, That night the servants came and asked me to come in the hall and asked to pray with Master and Mistis and the chillums. That prayer is still in my mind and heart. Those golden days were saddened when she left us.
Our lives went on. We had had a governess since October who was engaged by me in the absence of my parents. I watched her closely and did not think her efficient as a teacher nor faithful in her services, so when she left for Christmas I told her so and requested her not to return. It developed that she intended leaving in a few weeks to be married. I was glad she was to be provided for. Now I taught them. My sister Jeanie went to school in Richmond.
We missed my sister. Besides her lovely companionship she kept the house always bright with company. She was so greatly admired she was never at Dungeness that her friends did not crowd around her. Wherever she went there was a train of followers. Conditions were entirely different. It was no burden to entertain and our home was open door to all. A friend of my sister’s Mr. William Aunas of New York did not forget the hospitality he had enjoyed with us and was kind to my brother George when in prison. So was our former tutor, Rev. Wendell Prime. They searched for him and found him at Lookout Mountain. We did not know for four months whether he was living. Owing to illness he could not write.
My brother George went into the War the spring of 1863, joining the 4th Virginia Cavalry commanded by Colonel Harrison and was in General Litz Lee’s division. He was scattered at Fort Kennon, sometimes called Fort Wilson on James River Peninsula. General Lee ordered troops to go and stop negro devastations in that sector. He did not require his troops to go, but asked for volunteers. My brother and Mr. Sam White and many others did so. Mr White later married my sister Jeanie. After the fight my brother’s name was in the list of wounded and missing. I went to Richmond and General Custis Lee went with me to camp to see a soldier who had returned from the fight, who said he must be dead, for when he saw George last he was dreadfully wounded.
Another fall, the Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church convened at St. Paul’s church. I was allowed to go very often, and though young, about 15 years old, I enjoyed the services. The number of Bishops awed me and I recall even now some of the sermons. I knew some of the Bishops, Bishops Meade and Johns of Virginia both grand in mind, manner and appearance, Bishop Johns a fine orator, Bishop Meade unique in his simplicity and rugged strength. I remember Dr. Dix of N.Y. and Dr. Hodges of N.Y. whose wonderful voice and elocution held all spellbound. I recall these personalities distinctly, and the whole thing made a vivid impression upon me. Thank God for these beautiful memories. I never saw a convention that made a like memorable memory. I think it was the next summer I was confirmed at Old Beaver Dam Church. At that time our church, St. Paul’s, had no clergyman so the confirmation was held there. I recall a little circumstance — when I tried to untie my bonnet, the strings would not untie. The dear old Bishop Meade saw my confusion and said, never mind child, just push your bonnet back. My realife* at his considerate kindness gave me joy then and will never be forgotten. Venerable old Patriarch, I wonder how many hearts have been gladdened by your ministrations. Read more
We had a boat and often visited our neighbors. Nearly all lived as we did, on the banks above the canal. It was a most delightful life, so free from care. The servants (were) happy too, so lighthearted and devoted to us. When I was old enough I taught them to read and had Sunday school every Sunday afternoon, which some did not like to attend. I always visited the sick and read the Bible and sang hymns. They used to say, “Here comes that angel child to sing for us.” Read more
In the fall of this year, 1855, my sister and I went to boarding school in Richmond. Mr. Hubert Pierce Lifefors*, who was trained to the Jesuit Faith and destined for their ministry, by some incluence*, I know not what, departed from the religion of his fathers, escaped from his surroundings to Virginia where he soon rose from visiting master to the head of a female school (Mrs. Meeds.) He was a most accomplished and elegant man, being physically and mentally gifted. He was the best educator I ever saw. He left his Jesuit religion behind him in France and was a devoted Episcopalian. He had a wonderful school, having pupils from Southern states. When the Civil War came upon us, he moved to Montgomery, Alabama, but did not live very long. His first wife, Miss Mary Williams, was a relative of my mother. His second wife was a lady of Montgomery, who after his death moved to Baltimore, and had a fashionable school called Madam Lefebres*. My sister and I went together there and always stood at the head of the class, she first and I second. Our school days were happy and provitable.* I developed a fine voice, sung solos at all concerts and led choruses. My sister was a fine performer. We both played in all concerts. Excuse my part of this compliment, but alas, there is no one living to do it, so I simply tell the truth. After two years, my sister stopped school. I went two years more. It was the custom for girls to stop school at eighteen. Then when I reached the required age, my sister, Jennie, was out. We all three made many friends, some have been lifelong. Even now at 76, I have correspondents — Mrs. Charles H. Dummock, Lizzie Sedlen of Glancester County; Miss Sallie Coles of Albemarle, Mrs. Julia Randolph Sage — I have letters from them now in 1919. It would take a column to tell of my many friends there and probably interest no one but myself. Read more