ALD, Seven Episcopalians
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.