Augusta County: Diary of Alansa Rounds Sterrett (1860-1913)
September, October, November, and December 1860
Uncle Jed's brother, Nelson Hotchkiss, and his noble, sweet wife, Harriet (Russell) ran a boarding department for both boys' and girls' schools. Their children were Sarah, 13; Lora, 11; Elmore, 9; Olive, 7; Ned, 5; Stiles, 3. Sarah was my room-mate and for 50 years since has been my loving, loyal and dearly beloved friend. Aunt Sara's children were two - Nellie, 8; Annie, 4. Annie still had her nurse, "Toog". I rapidly became accustomed to colored servants. They swarmed everywhere, a jolly set; so fat, shiny and comfortable looking, and seeming kind and friendly, yet politely deferential, and I soon realized I had been transferred South of "Mason & Dixon's Line" to a peaceful, restful, happy land, and geographically, politically and socially new and refreshing to me. To find people "behind the times" and devoid of the restless "hurry and push" of the North seemed a beautiful dream. The people, rich and poor, were warm-hearted and hospitable. The men so chivalrous in their bearing to women. In those days "befo' de wah" there was a large and interesting circle of young folks in and about Churchville. So as different ones called on me I felt as tho' being introduced to the dramatis personae of a pleasing new romance from real life and enjoyed it accordingly.
Foremost among the ladies was Mrs. Dr. Gooch, a widow, and sister of Col. F. F. Sterrett. She had a queenly and gracious presence. Tall and large; fair, blue eyes, long abundant flaxen hair; beautiful teeth and a proud but bewitching smile; a perfect hand and small foot. No wonder she was so admired and sought after by all, especially gentlemen! I felt at once that she would prove a most desireable and congenial friend. She was very cordial and she said she should send her daughter Nannie, 11 years old, to take music and painting lessons of me.
I was soon busy with my singing, music, and painting classes. Nannie and Lora took painting and both music. They and Sarah were bright pupils; Sarah my most advanced musician. I taught drawing in my room, so the three "boon companions" were much with me and I was very proud of my interesting trio of "little women". They read aloud to me "Children of the Abbey", "Scottish Chiefs", "Thaddeus of Warsaw" etc. Old Dr. Wilson's daughter, Suie, was one of my guitar scholars. Eventually she became the first wife of Willie Hite (a son of Aunt Eveline Hite's of Bridgewater). One of the Loch Willow boarders was a lovely girl from Buffalo Gap, a Miss Lizzie Kunkle, afterwards the wife of John D. Hill, a member of the Churchville Cavalry. Another splendid girl was Ella Allen, who rode in every day behind her brother, Brown Allen, from Jennings Gap. She became the 2nd wife of Dr. R. S. Hamilton, whose first wife was Mrs. Henrietta Gooch (May Sterrett's own aunt). Among Aunt Sara's pupils were Marrie, Ellen and Hattie Cook. The latter married Louis Wise, of Florida. There were also Mary Lizzie Bear and Retta, and their cousins Rebecca and Siddie, &c.
One lovely P.M. Uncle Jed, Aunt Sara and I were invited over to Willow Glen, the old home of the Sterretts, to eat watermelons. We rode horeback to the outskirts of the village, where a pleasing picture met my eye. First, the old Sterrett flour mill, looking very picturesque and back from the road a considerable distance; then opposite it the garden and grapery. As we alighted at the stile, our attention was attracted by a Virginia trumpet creeper, which had wound about the trunk of a tall locust near by and gemmed its emerald foliage with its many scarlet trumpets, all quite four inches long, the first I had ever seen! The low rambling, old-fashioned house seemed lodged against the upward slope of a gentle declivity upon which was an orchard, and also the servant's quarters. The dormer windows of the upper (1/2) story gave it a very quaint expression, and a long front porch ran the length of the building from end to end, giving an air of comfort and hospitality which was unmistakable. There we sat to partake of the coming melon feast. But my hair having tumbled down in my ride over, Mrs. Gooch took me to the parlor bedroom, where I arranged my roving raven locks, while my hostess remarked, "You certainly have a lovely suit of hair, so long and glossy". The light came thro' a long open sliding window whose red curtain reflected a becoming tinge to my lips and cheeks and with the compliment raised my spirits still more. Mrs. Gooch introduced me to her sister, Miss Rebecca, (the housekeeper) and to her father, Capt. Henry Sterrett, (the dusty old miller) whom I noticed has a mischievous and merry twinkle in his blue eyes and whose thick, long iron-grey hair was as straight as an Indians! And I wondered where "the colonel" got his curly head! As we all sat chatting I had opportunity to take in the view. Across the road was the low-lying green meadow, through which ran the creek, traceable by the frequent water willows, and in its way filling the fore-bay which fed the big water wheel of the mill in plain sight. Its music I that day heard for the first time, but its soothing monotone was to bless and soothe me inumerable times in the future! I saw a path leading across the branch down to the spring-house, where for many years a grand old weeping willow had stood guard. Looking westward and over the hill I descried a delightful glimpse of the mountains blue! The whole scene made me think of Raselas and the "Happy Valley", especially as three of their slave boys stood alert and waiting a chance to serve these guests and their dear "old marster". So far and contented looking they were; Jim, John, and Leonard, and as black as their parents, Aunt Charity and Uncle Kit.
It was not long after this pleasant visit that Col. Sterrett began coming regularly to Loch Willow on Wednesday and Sunday nights, and usually on Friday evening Mrs. Gooch sent a boy over for my guitar, a horse for Nannie and me to ride, with a note inviting me to come prepared to remain until Monday morning. How I did enjoy those outings! The rides, farm rambles after apples, grapes and nuts; calls at the old grist-mill and getting weighed. The true, everyday life among the slave owners, where I saw and heard of no cruelty or oppression, and no one servant was overburdened, but each had their respective tasks. I fell in love with dear old Aunt Charity, the cook, and Amanda, the laundress. Then there was a dairymaid, a housemaid, a table waiter and an errand boy, &c. &c. The days had their charms, but the nights were impromptu receptions. One or more gentlemen were sure to "drop in" and one could generally count on Dr. R. S. Hamilton (associate of old Dr. Wilson), whose beaming face and banjo music and "darkey" songs could not be excelled by Polk Miller himself! So with the colonel's flute, my guitar, and Retta's and my vocal duets, the ensemble was pronounced "fine"! In fact on pretty moonlight nights our quartette distinguished itself on various occasions by serenading special friends. Retta often had one or two lady friends visiting her. Mag Baylor (Mrs. Wash. Swoope), her cousin Mag. Trimble (Mrs. George A. Hanger), Puss Fultz, Bettie Eidson, or Miller and Ginnie Cochran. A cousin of Retta's, Wm. A. Sterrett from Hebron (David Sterrett's old home, now a parsonage of Hebron church) was often a guest at Willow Glen and Wm. B. Sterrett made a visit this same year from Galveston, Texas, and sad to relate fell desperately in love with his captivating cousin Retta and as she was engaged to Dr. Hamilton, trouble ensued and many startling sensations; quite enlivening to so quiet a borough as Churchville!
A merry crowd at Willow Glen always inspired me with a wish to improvise a charade! So choosing my characters, I quickly "coached" them in a separate room, taking the most important part myself, and sometimes, by a slight change in costume, acting in two different parts. I was blest in the happy faculty of inspiring others with my boundless enthusiasm and thus my efforts were surprisingly successful. Retta was my ready, able and willing coadjutor; being a poet, a witty conversationalist and very quick-witted, I knew I could depend upon her part being perfect and telling. So after each act we left our audience to study out the syllables and at last to guess the whole word! It always proved a lot of fun and spontaneous entertainment.
Invitations from some of his particular friends were received by the colonel to bring Miss Rounds to see them. In compliance I was favored with a visit to Hill Crest, the sightly and delightful home of Bishop Glossbrenner, where I met his two daughters, Nealie and Josie, and saw a most interesting relic of the past in the shape of a diminutive piano that had once belonged to the Jefferson family.
Another time we were invited to a party at the Cochrans' country place, where the hostesses were Misses Miller and Ginnie Cochran, and the hosts were Messrs. Jim, Bob and Sam, all three members of the Churchville Cavalry. Jim was first lieutenant. That night while playing Blind Man's Bluff, Bob sat in the chair blinded and we all marched around him, each extending a hand to see if he could recognize the passer by. When my turn came he called out, "Yes, yes, this soft, crushable hand is Retta Gooch's". "Wrong! Wrong!" they all screamed. "Well, I'll be hanged!" exclaimed Bob. "I didn't know any other woman on earth had such a hand."
A third trip was three miles west to Oakwood, the estate of Gabriel Hite, to visit his daughter Ella, who became my devoted friend. Next a ride three miles east of Staunton to Bear-Wallow the charming country seat of Judge Fultz. There I was delighted to meet his wife and daughters, Puss and Gussie. Also Mr. John Alby, the tenor of the 1st Presbyterian church choir, a musician as well as a vocalist, and a successful clothier of Staunton. He was then courting Gussie, who later became his wife and was the sweet mother of Libbie Alby, a missionary to Korea with the Rev. Mr. Buhl, her husband.
Another treat that Col. Sterrett gave me was attending a concert in town, "The Cantata of Queen Esther". We put up at the Virginia Hotel and drove back next morning.
But of all my good times that never to be forgotten that autumn, the Tournament at Stribling Springs was the climax! How eager, glad and happy I was when that fair morning I saw the colonel's handsome turnout and spanking bays drive up to the Loch Willow stile. Glorious the day and drive of six miles to that romantic resort, where a large hotel and several rows of pretty cottages, two alum, a sulphur and Chalybeate spring. An enjoyable dinner over, the excited crowds gathered at the Tournament grounds. And I was at last to witness a real old Virginia Tournament! Soul stirring band music echoed and re-echoed through forest and from rocky mountain side. The knights in gay and varied costume mounted on their restless steeds looked handsome and "eager for the fray". Col. Sterrett, the Herald ("noblest knight of all") sat his fine charger like a commanding general, as he announced the names of the riders, while one by one, each dashed forward and essayed to cast his spear through the coveted ring in the arch over his head. How hearty and contagious the cheering when the Herald announced the name of the successful knight who had won the honor of dancing with the "Queen of Love and Beauty" at the coming Ball! And also when the 2nd and 3rd honors were conferred on the two knights who had won the privilege of dancing with the two maids of her royal Majesty, the Queen! That night I wore my black and green silk; The fashionable flowing sleeves worn with embroidered lace undersleeves having several strips of pink ribbon run through the meshes lengthwise. At my neck and in my hair were bows of the same becoming color. At 9 o'clock the ball opened with a burst of dance music -- amid profuse floral decorations -- pretty young girls beautifully gowned, brilliant lights, and gay knights in costume; the Queen in crown and diamonds; the Maids of Honor none the less lovely. The whole scene combined to present a picture rivalling any Vanity Fair! Early in the evening Rob Ruff (2nd lieutenant of the Churchville Cavalry) asked if I would join him in the next set. When I thanked him, saying "I never dance", he replied, "Well, Miss Rounds, I cannot doubt your word, but still I am convinced that anyone who can sing and play like you could certainly dance." I noticed, however, that the gallant and handsome lieutenant had no difficulty in securing a partner. My noble Prince Charming was a most graceful dancer, but that night he declined to take the floor, declaring he would prefer a promenade with me in the hall or on the long piazza among the Chinese lanterns and where we could hear the music and chat uninterruptedly, and I verily believe we were the happiest couple at that Tournament Ball!
Before November was over Retta and I had begun to plan for some Christmas gayeties at Loch Willow, in which all our circle agreed. So it was decided we would have three entertainments. 1st, an oyster stew; 2nd, a Christmas Tree; 3rd, some tableaux. So I was at Willow Glen with Retta more than usual, especially when getting up the costume of Minnehaha, a character for which I was unanimously chosen. I remember that amid the tryings on and dressings (behind closed doors) old Capt. Sterrett would knock at Retta's door and beg to come in and see how I looked, remarking that that was all he would see of those wonderful tableaux. So Retta gave him an occasional peep, which pleased him mightily and always after that he called me "Little Indian Girl" and would pull me down on his lap and ask me "Whatever makes your eyes so bright?"
The tree was very popular and well patronized. All had been busy making gifts and I did a monochromatic for Frank and made a pine cone watch case lined and faced in blue plush and edged with blue chenille cord. I did another in pink for Bob Ruff, but he was too jealous to come to our splendid tree, so never got his gift.
All three of our social efforts were successful, but No. 3 was the best. Our scenes were from Longfellow's Hiawatha, and Uncle Tom's Cabin. In the latter "Uncle Tom" was personated by the Sterrett's oldest slave, grey headed Uncle Kit Matthews, and Nannie Gooch made the loveliest "Eva". In the former we had a veritable wigwam, outside of which sat old "Nicomis" (Mr. N. H. Hotchkiss). Bob Ruff was Hiawatha and I the dusky Minnehaha. When I tripped down the stairs to the library door to be ready for my time, there stood Bob Ruff in blanket, paint and feathers, and when he saw me in flowing hair, black silk waist low neck and short sleeves, bordered with white fur, decorated with many strings of beads and spangles and tinsel ornaments on red petticoat and beaded moccasins, he exclaimed, "Oh, you beautiful Minnehaha! The character suits you admirably", and I was thankful when the cheering stopped and the curtain dropped for my turn! Frank liked me in all, but admired me most in Light in Darkness. Footlights lowered to enhance the effect, my hair floating over back and shoulders, costume white, gauzy and soft, attitude one of rapt devotion, hands clasped and eyes looking upward. It and Hiawatha were encored heartily.
Thus swiftly and happily sped September, October and November. And December was passing and with it the most important event of my life, when I gave my hand and heart and future life into the keeping of another! I recalled the last evening before I left home, when sitting on my father's lap and brushing his hair and whiskers, he said, "Allie, I shall miss all these loving ministrations of yours when you are gone." "Papa," I said, "Do you know I am never going to marry until I find a man as near like you as possible, tall, blue eyes, fair skin and dark hair." But now I had found his counterpart in Col. Francis Franklin Sterrett, and we were engaged provided my parents did not object, Aunt Sara and Uncle Jed having heartily approved of the match, and my whole heart and soul being involved, my father and mother gave their willing consent and on Dec. 3l, 1860, Frank's 39th birthday, he called me his future bride!
Although frequently hearing the distant but angry mutterings of approaching War, little did we imagine a cruel 4 years' war would interfere and separate us! Despite the pranks of mischievous students at the lower house, "the colonel" continued his regular visits to Loch Willow. Sometimes on a dark night he found himself halted on his homeward way by a rope stretched across the road, which caught him just under the chin and temporarily intercepted the progress of horse and rider.
In January an unusual snow of 6 or 8 inches fell, whereupon the "hurry jumpers" were knocked together and presses into immediate use ere the snow should melt. I shared with other girls in the exciting, unexpected and ungraceful precipitate plunges into convenient snowdrifts! Our escorts pleaded "not guilty" when we emphatically declared our belief that complicity had designed these "unpremeditated" accidents' So we joked and laughed over our slaying adventures as best we could.
Through the kindness of my friends I witnessed two novel scenes that winter. A cake walk and dance of the Willow Glen servants and a "darkey wedding" at the home of a friend of the Sterretts to which they and I were invited. Both were comical, mirthful and hilarious affairs to black and white alike. The refreshments proved "tip top" and tony and lavishly prepared by these slaves and by them also dispensed to those "down at the house" as well as all at the "quarters."
But alas! fun and social recreations were fast being relegated to the background and fiery political speeches took their places. For "coming events cast their shadow before". The two antagonistic factions of North and South were daily growing more and more embittered and determined. The one declaring slavery must and shall go; the other vowing never to give up their slave property by force.
Jan. 24, 1861.
Frank called for me with new sleigh to take me to hear speeches of Augusta candidates for State Convention. Col. John B. Baldwin (a sweet, kingly looking man) spoke kindly and charitably of the north and so did all except Capt. Imboden.
Frank sent me "Dixie". Charmed with song, words and all. Sung and played for Uncle Jed, Aunt Sara and everybody -- all delighted.
President Davis inaugurated at Montgomery, Ala. The Peace Congress, with its 22 delegates from states north, south and west, met and adjourned with no apparent result than an increasing tendency towards war rather than peace. During this month (Feb.) commissioners from the Confederate States went to Washington to assist in a plan with Secretary of War (Seward) for a just and honorable peace adjustment, but were repulsed. Then followed news of great activity at the Navy Yard of New York, and later the departure of 75 ships for Fort Sumpter. The South having seceded and established its first Confederate Capitol at Montgomery, Ala., President Davis authorized, through his Secretary of War, the military protection of Charleston and ordered General Beauregard to go to Ft. Sumpter with 60,000 men and demand its immediate evacuation by Colonel Anderson and his whole force. Colonel Anderson refusing, the bombardment of Fort Sumpter began April 12 and lasted 22 hours, a grand and terrible sight which the fleet watch, but did not participate in. Providentially not a life was lost on either side. Colonel Anderson and his force left in order with music, and all their personal and material belongings. Thus commenced the most cruel and determined war (of four years) the world has ever seen.
Abraham Lincoln, the president, was inaugurated on March 4th and issued his Emancipation Proclamation March 12th. Fort Brown, Texas, surrendered to Texas commissioners.
Lincoln issued proclamation calling for 75,000 troops, and convening Congress on July 4 amounting to a declaration of war. (1787 the Federal compact for the Union was made.)
We hear of a bloody riot yesterday in Baltimore in which several lives were lost on both sides. Same day occurred blockade of all seceded states! Churchville Cavalry often drilling.
Frank in Richmond.
Package came to me at Loch Willow from Frank an elegant portfolio, with gold pen and pencil combination, and the sweetest of notes.
At Montgomery call issued for volunteers and Congress also adopted a Confederate Flag. Very like the U. S. flag. Instead of 13 stripes it has 3 large bars and 7 stars. Virginia, North Carolina, Arkansas and Tennessee have withdrawn from the Union and become members of the Confederacy!
Been busy making knapsacks for rebel troopers. Ladies here cutting out and making uniforms for the Churchville Cavalry Company. Work at Odd Fellow's Hall early and late. Mr. Arnold was formerly a tailor and helps night and day.
Saddest day I ever saw. Went to Odd Fellow's hall at 7:30 to sew, after bidding adieu to Capt. Grinnan, Mr. Galt and Bob Fisher. I gave Mr. Fisher a testament. At Hall Nannie Gooch handed me a dear note and apple from Frank. Afterwards gave me a beautiful boquet himself. Ladies provided a nice cold lunch for whole Company, after which Mr. Walker made most excellent and appropriate remarks and Mr. Arnold (Methodist minister) offered prayer. Then followed the sad farewells of mothers, wives, sisters, sweethearts and friends! Many a strong man quivered with emotion and tears fell from eyes unused to weep! We watched the cavalrymen as they mounted, whirled into line, waved their hats, and galloped out of night, leaving aching hearts to mourn their departure. They belonged to the army of Northern Virginia and were bound for West Virginia.
These "War notes" seem like a "bridge of sighs" as I read over journal from early in January and the social and home news seem like sweet rippling music of the stream underneath the sad "bridge". So I will copy verbatim a few pages by way of relief.
Evening. All in the pleasant library at Loch Willow listening to Uncle Jed read a speech of Secretary Seward's -- so politic, logical and artful.
A visit to Alice Hanger's home "Woodlawn" on Friday evening. Saturday it stormed, but we sat in our easy chairs around the blazing fireplace, played games, cracked nuts and jokes, ate apples and named the seeds.
Sunday, 1 P. M.
Turkey dinner and ice cream. To Bible class evening and home with Retta and Nannie to Willow Glen.
Frank took me and Nannie over to Loch Willow in sleigh, -- a short ride first, my last this winter, no doubt. After school in P. M. rode over with Nannie on "Billy". Night after moon-rise Retta, Frank and I went out serenading. 1st. Mrs. Harvey Bear; 2nd, Dr. Hamilton's; 3rd, Henry Seig's to serenade Kate and Angie. My guitar strings did not break and we fairly astonished ourselves! Closed up with a serenade to Rebecca Sterrett.
Heard to-day that Mr. Harvey Bear tho't he heard angels singing in his room last night!
Feb. 2. P. M.
call from Frank in parlor, and Miss Matt. Davis. Soon the latter insisted on going up to call on Aunt Sarah, much to our delight!
Frank wrote in my Diary: "Election day for State Convention, voted for Baldwin, Stuart and Baylor. Hope I gave judicious votes. If Northern and Southern representatives were as friendly as two of their constituents, the prevailing difficulty could soon be settled!"
Feb. 26. 5:30 P. M.
Rode horseback behind Aunt Sara to Mrs. Harvey Bear's. Met Retta Gooch there and her admirer, Dr. R. S. Hamilton. Soon Frank came. I was most agreeably surprised! A succession of surprises, for almost immediately my guitar made its appearance! Next and last, two pieces of music from Wm. B. Sterrett and Frank had brought in his pocket a huge rosy apple.
"Burly Gundy" (Retta's slave) came over for me. Started early for the woods with Retta, Nannie and Lora, with baskets for mosses, etc. Found forest treasures innumerable, filling our baskets, and making new discoveries of mossy nooks, miniature caves and fairy-like grottoes. Then from our restful rustic seats enjoyed pretty views of Loch Willow, Churchville and the meandering creek gleaming here and there in the valley below. Spent pleasant hour chatting or reading as the mood took us, until Rebecca Sterrett came and Mrs. Bear, both joining us in a nice lunch of cakes and apples, after which we were both loth to leave our forest resort and wend our way homewards.
March 7. P.M.
after school Uncle Jed, Prof. Oswald Grinnan and "Miss Allie" went down to the mill and were weighed. Uncle Jed 159, Prof. Grinnan 169 lbs.; I, 134-1/4. Then Professor and I continued our walk away over the hill to catch pretty sunset views and to look at the debris of Jan. 7 freshet. waves looked like burnished gold in rays of setting sun.
March 9. P.M.
after lessons, Frank called to take me to Bob Cochran's. Really went not only by water, but through it!
Frank home with me, after Sunday P. M. Bible class at Lutheran Church. Was called upon to act in new capacity of hostess and nurse. Christened my handsome china cup most agreeably.
On my room table found notes from Retta Gooch and Frank. Beside latter two sweet oranges. After school P. M. analyzed Hepatica and Spring Beauties. Do not bloom in Ahwagha Valley until May. Before tea a ramble with dear Sarah among "the cedars" for wild flowers. Adam Lee and Mr. Taylor left their fishing to climb the rocks and get floral specimens for us. Said it was too windy to fish and so attended us in our walk. After supper Annie had a fearful spell of croup, to which she was subject. Very ill until midnight.
My mother's birthday. P. M. at 3:30 went over to auction at store. A great jam. Frank found me a seat. Saw Bettie Eidson and Mag. Baylor for the first time. Left at 6 o'clock. After tea Frank came laden with good things as usual; apples, books, etc. Surprised me with a beautiful veil from auction!
Frank took me to Union Church. Enjoyed ride and services very much.
April 4. P. M.
Frank called for me with double buggy. I soon put on my wraps and new veil and we drove to Staunton, 6 miles. Left wraps at Virginia Hotel and we repaired to Rankin's gallery to have my picture taken for Frank. Before tea a pleasant call in hotel parlor from Mr. Alby. Admire his goodness, sincerity and refinement. He is a hump backed man, but his face is so pure, almost spiritual, language so choice and manners so charming. No wonder everybody loves him. Has fine business talent, a large clothing store, and is tenor singer in the choir of the Presbyterian Church, and quite an instrumentalist on flute and piano. Evening, 8 o'clock. Frank took me to attend a Band Concert at the Armory. Band looked superb in their new uniforms and with silver instruments glistening in an artificial light. "Dixie" created a furor of delight! Orchestra of stringed instruments very sweet. This brass band became later the famous "Stonewall Band" of Staunton. We put up at hotel for the night and returned to Churchville in the morning.
Watched with sad interest the Cavalry drill on the hill. Frank gone to Richmond to procure arms for his company. From 8:30 to 3 P. M. ladies sewing on knapsacks for the cavalrymen. Everybody excited and stirring. Kate Seig practiced with Mr. Cook's revolver. Ladies all came over to watch the drill at 4 P. M. Met Retta, Becca, Gennie and Miller Cochran, &c. Evening in library to hear Uncle Jed read the news.
News by stage that Harper's Ferry had been taken by Virginia troops and intercepted a train of cars loaded with Federal soldiers and powder to blow up armory and arsenal!
to M. E. Church with Aunt, Uncle Jed, Prof. Grinnan, Mr. Galt and Bob Fisher. Frank away. Company present in citizens' dress, except officers. Mr. Alfred Cook my escort back to Loch Willow.
1:30 P. M. Was giving Nannie music lesson when a package arrived for me, --lovely portfolio with Frank's picture inside, a sweet note, and gold pen and pencil! 4 P. M. Watched Cavalry drill, admirably done. Swords flashed in sunlight and bugle played at intervals. Their noble Captain looked very handsome and rode superbly. I was justly proud of "My own brave Cavalier". Evening, 8 o'clock. He came again to Loch Willow to honor my 24th birthday! Lovely moonlight night, windows open to the breeze.
Down in Laboratory watching Uncle Jed's experiments for his chemistry class. Made a solid out of a fluid,-- a fluid of two solids. Small lump of sugar contained the carbon. Experimented with phosphorous, &c. &c.
Analyzed botanical specimens with Lizzie Kunkel; wild columbine, Carolina Vetch, saxafrage, etc., for an hour. Beautiful denizens of the rocks and woodlands! So frail and yet so pure, innocent and heavenlike. Friday, April 26. Lovely boquet by Annie from "Uncle Frank."
Surprised at breakfast by a "private dish" by my plate! Upon inquiry Bob Fisher (who sat next to me ) remarked: "I went out hunting last evening and got you a bird!" "What kind?" I asked. "Well, I will consult a Natural History and then tell you the common and classical names", he said. I ate the bird and when I called it "so delicious" everybody laughed and I discovered I had eaten and enjoyed a pair of Frog's Legs! And I have relished them ever since whenever I was so fortunate as to obtain such an epicurean dish! At 9 o'clock walked over to the store and on to Willow Glen with Mrs. N. H. Hotchkiss. Found Retta (Gooch) there and soon after who should walk in but Frank! Gave me a sweet "good morning" and showed me his fine new revolver. Col. Crawford came before noon; spoke admiringly of Frank; asked for guitar music and for "Dixie", the song Southern soldiers love best. Pleasant ramble with Nannie. Evening Frank brought me letter from Pa and Ma. Both very anxious about my safety and begging me to try and get home while I could. Sat out in grape arbor with Retta. Soon Dr. Hamilton, Mr. Sam Bell and Bob Ruff came all to tea. After, guitar music and Retta and I sang duets, &c. At 8 o'clock all repaired to Lutheran Church to attend the "Sing". Mr. Bell my escort to Loch Willow. Uncle Jed called me to come to library and read my home letters. Then he said I could not and should not go home. Was safe here. Unsafe to travel now. Prof. Grinnan made a captain today!
Frank wrote in my dairy as follows: "May 2nd. Morn. Read Richmond Dispatch. 8 P.M. A sweet visit to Allie. Felt too sad to talk much. Joy and sorrow mingled. My unhappy country! O, that I could avert the blow now ready to crush thy power!"
"Gloomy day. Paid Uncle Sam Sterrett a visit at Riverside. Heard he wished to see me before I left for Harper's Ferry."
"Jim Cochran dined with me 2 P. M. Cavalry drill. Day bright and bracing. 5 P.M. Political speech at Lutheran Church by Professor Hotchkiss. Glad to see Allie there. Met her on street. After sweet smile, dismounted, gave 'Uncle Jed' Billy to ride and away we two went, and Mrs. Jed Hotchkiss and Retta to Willow Glen to tea. All had such a nice visit. 10 P. M. with Allie to Loch Willow. Cheerful visit in library till 12."
Bob Fisher asked me at breakfast if I would make him a pair of trousers for his uniform. Promised I would. Worked hard on them all day in Mrs. N. H.'s room, before tea nearly done. After, walk to the "Cedars" with Sarah. Bob Fisher, Mr. Lee and Mr. Taylor joined us shortly. Enjoyable ramble. Had letter today from Papa, unexpected, but sweet and cheerful. Evening. Read news in library.
And now follows many blank pages in my 1861 pocket diary. A prolonged spell of inflammation of the bowels caused me much suffering and my friends feared I would not recover. But a kind Providence watched over me; Dr. Hamilton was devoted in his administrations; kept ice on my head and my dear pupils took turns in watching every night and all in the house were kind and good to me.
I copy from notes on separate slip of paper, made before I quite succumbed to illness, caused by over-exertion in sewing on heavy materials for soldiers.
"May 18. Uncle Jed rode in from from town. Brought me letter from Frank at McDowell dated 17th May. Uncle Jed an excellent one, too. Never more welcome letter than mine! Wrote sheet in reply. Soldiers in fine health and spirits and enjoying the beautiful mountain scenery."
"North Carolina seceded!"
"Very warm. I sewed at 0. F. Hall all day. Excellent picnic dinner down stairs, -- chicken sandwiches, pickles, pies, cakes, &c. and coffee. Henry Seig brought up to the sewing room 4 long strips. I basted, Aunt S. did machine work. Done and sent away before six. Evening, rested."
"Retta sent buggy for me to go with her to Hebron Church. Pleas. ride. Pretty church in large oak grove, full of horses and vehicles. Sermon by Dr. McFarland; sacramental occasion. Dr. McFarland referred to 'our distracted country', very solemn service. After church Retta took in Betty Eidson and we rode over to Meg Baylor's, an invalid, but looks so noble and liked her much. Beautiful home on an eminence, fine view, saw part of Lewisburg Cavalry and their wagons. Lovely ride home after dinner. Scenery along Middle River charming and at the village of West View from its high and commanding situation."
May 29. Morn.
"Sweet flowers from Nannie Gooch and Retta Bear. Read "Richmond Examiner". Alexandria full of Federal troops. Washington almost deserted! No mails and no departures from or arrivals at city. Pres. Davis and Cabinet leaving Montgomery for Richmond. To be the new Capitol! Nannie drawing lesson and heard class in astronomy. Fixing over striped lawn."
"Just heard that Retta Gooch had been thrown from her carriage in town and had ankle broken. Kate Seig with her and much bruised. Poor Retta was taken to Mr. Young's. Feel so sad and am sick myself."
"News received of grand battle at Great Bethel, near Yorktown, Va. Splendid victory gained by 11,000 N. Carolina troops under Gen. McGruder over 4,500 troops under Brig'r. Gen. Pierce. Fought 4 hrs., pursued and drove enemy back to Hampton. Southern loss, l killed, 7 wounded. Federal loss, several hundred."
"At Staunton with Retta. Artillery from Danville arrived. Saw them disembark, unload, etc. Retta been moved so she can look out of window. Puss Fultz to dinner and spent night with us. Call also from Dr. Reynolds. Retta sang several pieces with me (and guitar) for both. Mrs. Tait and daughter called with flowers for Retta. Like Mrs. Tait much."
"Loch Willow. Gathered and ate strawberries with Lizzie Kunkel."
"Went over to see Becca. Sewed all day on Frank's clothes. Pleasant time. Sarah over to tea and my company home later. I looked long and earnestly at the picture of "Soldier's Dream of Home" before I left. Think must copy. That eve. 9:30 Uncle Jed came. Brought me a letter from Frank at Beverly, W. Va."
"Letter from Frank, almost too sick to read it. Uncle J. offered his services, but were promptly but politely declined. That letter was a great comfort that night."
I now copy from another paper.
"Notes on the 1st battle of Civil War in Virginia. This encounter occurred June l, 186l, at Phillippi, W. Va., not far from the home of Eveline Sterrett Hite, 'Cherry Hill'. A letter soon after from F. described the 1st shot as wounding Jimmie Hanger, of his company (Churchville Cavalry) so severely that he had to lose his leg! He had run away from school to enlist as a southern soldier boy and it seemed sad that his military career was cut short as soon as it begun! But he was led to study over his misfortune and try to manufacture an artificial leg for himself and succeeded so well that he ultimately established several manufactories making artificial arms and legs for maimed soldiers! Frank wrote me that the enemy surprised the "Rebs" so suddenly that his Cavalry Co. had to make precipitate flight, leaving behind horses, tents and baggage; among the "spoils" was Frank's valise, and the following day one of my letters was published in the "Wheeling Intelligencer" headed 'A model love-letter'! A very aggravating and mortifying fact to Frank and me! So he asked me to burn every letter of his and all he should write me thereafter! That was a heart breaking request, but he declared he should destroy all of mine. So I planned to try and save my precious war-treasures. Put them in a close wooden box and secreted the box under one of the floor-planks of the attic at Loch Willow. Southern women everywhere were hiding their silver and other valuables in safe places and I felt quite comforted when I thought my letters were safe forever! But alas! when Frank wrote again, he said 'Did you burn my letters?' Then I had to confess what I had done and Frank said it would not be safe to leave them there. And so fate obliged me to destroy what would now prove most interesting heirlooms to my children and grandchildren, and would have afforded an excellent war-history of experiences from the pen of an eye witness during the campaigns of the Army of Northern Virginia."
Clothes on once more and sitting up like a very weak 'lady'. Was carried down in rocker by Mr. N. H. Hotchkiss and Amanda to parlor. Found Mrs. Sam Wilson there. Was drawn close to piano to play a little; calls from Maggie Eidson and Allie Hanger, then Dr. Hamilton. Played some on guitar for him. Lay on sofa till 7 P. M. Then Siddie Bear and Geo. Martin brought me chicken, sponge cake and berries. George a harvest boquet and message from his father. Siddie a letter from Frank to her mother.
A darkey at door with 'some goodies to make Miss Allie get well'. Then I saw Mary at door with basket and Becca bringing up the rear and laughing at my surprise. Found basket stored with fresh butter, bread and blackberry wine. Becca stayed till 2 P. M. We had a turtle dinner in Mrs. N. H's room. Aunt Sarah and children away at Mrs. Eubank's. Becca brought letter from F. in which he wrote 'enemy in sight!' Calls from Kate and Angie Seig. All very much excited over news from some returning soldiers. Say has been a severe battle and Jim Wilson and Mr. Twyman killed. Frank slightly wounded. I cannot believe such bad news!
Call from Dr. Hamilton. Says the two boys were killed, but Frank not hurt. Five or six of the Cav. Co. missing.
Terrible battle on Manassas Plains! Federal forces under McDowell and Patterson routed by Confederates under Johnson and Beauregard. Confeds. had but 28,000. Only 7,000 of them encountered the enemy. Loss 290 killed, 1200 wounded; while 4,500 Fed's. were killed, wounded and taken prisoners, besides the capture of a vast number of arms, handcuffs, &c.
After another nice visit at Willow Glen, rode Billy over [deleted: the] to L. W. at 10. Burley followed on foot to take horse back. Eve. sewed and took walk with Sarah, such a dear and sympathetic companion anywhere.
Lovely, happy day! Morn. early Nan came with letter for me 'from Uncle Frank'! Also letter from him to herself, her mother and to 'Uncle Kit Matthews' and one from Henry Hite. Mine best in all the world! This morn. weighed 1261/2 lbs.! Walk to the 'Cedars' p.m. to hear Mr. Clinebell's criticisms on 'Armageddon', good, but strange. Eve. So happy. Playing and singing.
at W. G. Call morn. from Rev. Mr. Arnold. Retta and I sang 'Love Not', 'Belle Brandon', &c. Serenaded the seamstress, Becca Cupps. Call from Aunt Rachel Lewis. Then with apples and grapes went to L. W. and gave Nan music lesson, then a call on dear Mrs. N. H. Then prac. piano and read Virgil. Nearly thro' 4th book of the [deleted: Eneid] [added: Aeneid]. Night perfectly beautiful.
Spent day at Kate Seig's with Retta. Kate showed us F's last letter, in which he spoke of coming home soon to get army supplies for his Co. Made the acquaintance of Miss Kate[deleted: 's] [added: Seig's] two sick soldiers, Messrs. Franklin and Burrows. Latter very intelligent, both agreeable. I played on Kate's guitar and sang duets with Retta and songs with Kate and Angie. Eve. A serenade at L. W. from some soldiers with banjos & violins. Very sweet. I played 'Marsellaise Hymn' for them in return. A most lovely night.
Drawing lesson to Nan, walked over to Churchville with Sarah [added: Hotchkiss] and Nan. [added: Gooch] Met Mr. and Mrs. Harvey Bear and Siddie, then Mary Lizzie [added: Bear], and her mother gave me handsome boquet of dahlias. Eve. finished reading 4th book of Virgil's [deleted: Eneid] [added: Aeneid]. Heard C. Cav. had been ordered to Monterey to guard stores.
After drawing lesson, over to W. Glen with Nannie. Eve. Sat out on the long porch in moonlight and played for Retta and Mr. Davidson. [added: Re]Becca [added: Sterrett]called me to come to din. room and see her table of fruit and goodies to send to the Camp. All busy till eleven o'clock labeling apples, bunches of grapes, &c. Slept with Retta in the dear little porch-room. Very cold. Felt sorry for poor soldiers in the mountains. R[added: etta]. & I had serenaded their three sick soldiers.
Mrs. N. H. and I drove to Mrs. Walker's, beyond Union Church. Found Dr. Hamilton there. That was pleasant, especially when an hour later Retta arrived on the scene with Jim Cochran. Latter so entertaining. All glad together. I saw Miss Harriet Hendren's paintings (oil colors and without a teacher!) Gave her some suggestions, at her own request. Such raw, crude effects I never before witnessed! Mrs. Walker sand and played Dixie with wonderful animation for a minister's dignified wife! (Had my guitar.) Sung and played songs with Retta. Mrs. Walker fell in love with 'Gentle words and loving smiles'. Delightful ride home after such a feast of good things as the Hendren sisters were celebrated for offering to their guests. At L. W. found Mrs. N. H. had received letter from Uncle Jed, who had been very sick! On way home from Green Bank. My poor, dear Uncle Jed. Mr. N. H. rode over with Retta and brought back letters to Sarah and me from Camp.
Morn. Music lesson to Sarah and Lora. Walked over to Churchville with some sewing for Susan Fisher to do for me. P. M. Drawing lesson. Uncle Jed called to me from library. I went in to borrow the dictionary. Told me to take it to my room - he didn't know as he would ever use it again - not in L. W. house.
Lovely autumn day. Mt. peaks are tinged with pink from the first frosts. Walnuts and maples turning yellow - air hot at mid-day and grasshoppers chirp and crickets sing. Mts. grand. To woods this morning - gathered golden rod, purple wild aster, everlasting, &c. Eve. Read 47 pages in Life of Scott, Battle of Chippewa so interesting.
Very warm day. Home with Nannie. Pleasant visit. Wrote letter to Frank while N. wrote to John Henry Hite. Becca brought me an apple, a quince and glass of cider. Had letters to read. Dressed B's [added: Rebecca's] splendid long, thick suit of dark brown hair. 2 p. m. Nan took me to see bird's nest in hazel bush. Took our books along and read under the willows by the brook near the dam. When we returned to house found Retta back from Union. Josie Glossbrenner called and both of us left at sundown. Before we left Ben Crawford came for grapes for poor Bob Cochran. Dr. H. with him. Heard Jas. A. Frazier is very low, not expected to live when they left. Was in battle of Greenbrier River. Only 4 on our side killed - an artillery fight.
Before church read in "Body & Mind". Retta called for me, but rest went to Union in big wagon. The woods so brilliant with red sumac, red vines, yellow patches made contrasts so vivid in sunlight.
Made so happy by Uncle J's return at dusk. I was the first to see and meet him. Flew down the stairs and rushed into his arms as soon as I saw him speaking to servants in the yard. Met me so cordially and looked so cheerful, bright and noble; more like old times than since war begun! Uncle J. in best of spirits. Sent word to Papa about me by Col. Segoine of 11th N. Y. Regt. Col. S. gave Uncle J. his sword! I'll finish letter to Ettie and send back by him. Les[added: son] that A. M. to Allie Hanger, Lee Dudley and Sue Wilson. Uncle J. gave me a pocket diary and some stationery. So glad to get both. P. M. Uncle J[added: ed]. came up to my room, admired my picture and Frank's - approved my system of teaching. Kindly inquired as to my needs. Said I should have everything he could possibly get for me. Must make out a list of items and give to him. Showed me his Sketch Book. Maps and various battle-fields, different positions of Jackson's camps. Had sketched all the country as he rode along from camp near Winchester here! A sketch of Gen. Jackson pleased me greatly. Easy, natural attitude - bending over dispatch just received.
Thurs, Oct. 3.
Uncle J.[added: ed] came up to my room to say good-bye. Was so sunny and buoyant. I sent my letter addressed to Cousin Chas. Sanford, Binghamton, N. Y.
Lovely weather. Mrs. Allen called to pay me Ella's bill of $9.00.
Allie Hanger called with buggy to take me home with her to Woodlawn. Said Miss Bettie said must take music along. Woods so lovely, charming drive. We met several army wagons loaded. Reminded me of a lonely traveler pursuing his homeward war from Kanawha! Wished I could be a little sprite and fly west to meet him. Enjoyed eve. much with Miss Bettie and Miss Mollie, &c. Their piano so sweet toned. All seemed to relish my pieces and it made it easier to play the difficult ones. Mr. Lightner entertained me with some episodes of his college life at Schenectaday, N. Y. Admired our northern writers.
A. M. sped with music and call from Rev. Mr. Preston and wife. They admired "Beautiful Zion", which I had just taught the girls. Mr. P. sang tenor to it and bass to "Beautiful Star". I admired him as extravagantly in the social circle as in the pulpit! P. M. Sweet ride home to Lock Willow.
Mr. Booth returned from Richmond with following articles for me, at war prices:
Pair kid gloves $3.50
1 paper of pins 1,00
Collar & cuffs 5.00
"Hoop skirts were $15.00, calico per yard $2.50. Unbleached cotton was $1.00 per yard, black silk $10.00. Cloaks $150.00."
A 'long, long, weary day', with lessons in drawing, piano and vocal classes. Was surprised when Nannie came in with the message 'Uncle Frank is home and says he's coming to see you to-night.' The hours simply dragged until 7:30 p. m. Then 'Miss Harriet' came up and in the words of one of my most popular guitar songs, gladly announced 'Somebody's waiting for somebody'. I wanted to rush down to the parlor, but tarried a little for spectators to adjourn, but they did not - so the longed for meeting was robbed of its romance. But I love to think of the dear face that met my first glance after a separation of six months! Of the tall, elegant man that rose to meet me - the tones of that sweetest, richest voice in all the world. How musical it sounded after the silence of so many interminable weeks of prolonged absence!
Eve. Sarah finished reading aloud to me Snot Bird, I busy sewing on my new debaige dress - thinking gay and happy thoughts the while!
Attended services at Lutheran church. Spied a splendid looking cavalry officer in congregation. Fell deeply in love with him. Such a figure, eyes and smile I'm sure no other man possesses! Eve. A visit from that very same man - too happy a time for words to describe!
A public Dramatic & Musical Entertainment given at Loch Willow by the "Churchville Ladies Association for the Soldiers". Through the assistance and handiwork of Mr. N.H. Hotchkiss the suite of parlor (with folding doors between) passage and library were transformed into a theatre. We had raised seats in library for an audience, a stage in parlor, with foot lights, a drop curtain with design of Confederate Flag (stars and bars) and beneath it the motto 'Our Brave Defenders.' Orchestra consisted of a Steinway piano and my music and singing classes. Admittance $1.00. Performance at 7:30 p. m., when curtain rose and a trio 'Overture to Tancrede' was given by self, Sarah Hotchkiss and Allie Hanger at one piano. (Mr. Booth stage manager, Mr. Lickliter doorkeeper.)
"1. Gossip, a play in 5 scenes, dramatised by self from an old Godey's Ladies book.
"2. Aunt Hepzibah's Beau, also dramatised by self.
"3. The Extortioner, composed by Retta Gooch. 5 scenes. Dramatis Personae, Dr. R. S. Hamilton, Sam Cochran, Robt. Love, John Hiser, John Stover, Geo. Booth, N. H. H., soldiers, servants, &c. Ladies, Mrs. Gooch, Kate Seig, Angie Seig, Miller Cochran, Va. Cochran, Mattie Cook, Sarah and Lora Hotchkiss, Allie Hanger, Lee Dudley, Sue Wilson, Nan Clark, Jinnie Stover, Siddie Bear and Allie M. Rounds, who acted in character of 'Isabel', Skinflint's daughter.
"4. Battle Scene. Mr. N.H. and self. Dramatised by self. Mrs. B. frightened by a mouse, which she declares is a rat, and Mr. B. scolds and screams 'Tis only a mouse'. At height of quarrel, curtain falls.
"Had crowded house. People came out in hacks from Staunton. Immense satisfaction expressed and the new theatrical troupe lauded. Proceeds $250, given to the Fredericksburg sufferers from the recent battle. Play repeated Jan. 7th. Proceeds $150, donated as above to Fred'b. Sufferers. I took part each time in Gossip, Extortioner and Battle Scene and was warmly congratulated by soldiers and citizens on the success of the evening. But the labors of drilling, rehersals, &c. were too much for me and I was sick for two weeks afterwards."
Jan. 20, 1863.
Been ill - in bed two weeks. Friends [added: have] been so very kind. Allie Hanger came three times, bro't me bottle blackberry wine 3 years old! from her mother. Can oysters from 'a constant friend' - who called often. Only doctor I had as Dr. Hamilton was awy. We discussed changes to be made in the spring when Mr. N. H. should sell Lock Willow, and the removal. Its bearings upon our future. A separation was inevitable. At 7 p. m. girls almost carried me down to parlor. Had biggest kind of fire in fireplace - so warm and cozy. Piano had been drawn up towards fire. First time I had played for so long! I enjoyed it once more. All children in to see and hear me and some of the servants, too, - a real family party. When I becaue weary I lay down and the girls played for me. Mr. N.H. and wife and Mr. Harvey called in to see 'Miss Allie'. Snow nearly a foot deep! I hope for a sleigh ride soon.
Wednesday. Getting stronger fast. Sewed all day on new poplin dress. Eve. Borne off at fairy-like speed over the snow by side of same constant friend who gave me my first Virginia sleigh ride in 1860. At dusk found myself snugly seated in Mrs. Sam Wilson's own room disposing of a tempting little 'snack'. Watched the stowing away to bed of two rosy lipped boys. Pet Charlie's eyes soon closed by the gentle rocking of his crib, but the little fat hands of Loydie suddenly unclasped and his childish voice sang, 'I wish I was in the land ob cotton'. Then after one verse, he asked, 'Mama, please take me up - I forgot to kiss Miss Allie goodnight.' It was sweet to embrace the childish form, have the soft round arms about my neck, to press my lips to that rosy mouth, and sweet memories of scenes in my own home rushed over me in that peaceful moment.
Snow melting fast. Felt depressed all eve. but all here at Lock Willow met me so cordially - children welcomed me at Mrs. N.H.'s door and fairly carried me to a rocker - took off my wraps and begged to know if I was quite well now, chatting of all that had happened while I was away. Lora surprised me with some neat pencellings of flowers. Sarah showed me her poor fingers, so sore from practising guitar 6 hrs. a day! Later Sarah and Lora bore me up to my pleasant room, a cheerful fire and freshly reddened hearth. Soon seated between the dear girls. Loral read me some stories she wished me to hear; Sarah sewed, looking up often with beaming smile into my face, as if to say, 'I love you just as dearly as if you were my oldest sister!' Presently a servant brought up a letter to me from my dear Uncle Jed, affectionate and cheerful, just like himself. Gave to L. & S. to read and a happy trio enjoyed it together.
Mr. N.H. Hotchkiss gone across Blue Ridge to look at a farm on James River. At night all in Mrs. N.H.'s room. Mr. Diedrich came with his violin and scattered cheer with its merry strains - which brought us all down stairs in a hurry; after supper to Mrs. N.H.'s large sitting room. In background servants were keeping time with thumbs and claps, all a very agreeable experience to me, such a relaxation after school duties of the day, for which I was physically unfitted. The jolly dance music led me to forget there was ought beside in this world of weariness and woe. My ear was charmed; my heart and spirits lightened. My eye was fascinated watching Lora, a natural ballet dancer, in her unstudied but graceful evolutions - readily carrying out a few suggestions I gave her and so perfectly as to surprise us all. I never can forget how beautiful she looked in her green muslin, without hoops, her glossy, jetty hair streaming over back and shoulders in massive waves - face and neck so fair by contrast - raven tinted brows and lashes, her finely chiseled lips glowing more and more like rubies every moment! White teeth gleaming out like pearls, eyes darkly bright but firm in their expression as usual whole face so sweet and attractive, indicitive, I felt sure, of a strong character. Wish I could paint her portrait, not with a pen, but with a brush as she looked when she arched her arms above her head, hair floating back in the air as she poised herself on toe of one foot before swinging around so queen like! I admire the lovely casket, but far more the soul gem it enshrines! Olive took the floor to-night for the first time in her life - seemed perfectly inspired by the jolly music. I wished her father could see her. Mr. Diedrich played several times for her to dance alone and she just seemed to float away on the gay airs. We were all convulsed by the antics of her little black kitten, which followed her in and out of every figure, whirling when Olive whirled, but with such an utter lack of grace and agility that our screaming applause seemed to mortify Tabby, for she soon skuttled away and could no more be prevailed on to supply merriment for the crowd!
Another delightful visit at Woodlawn (Mrs. Eidson's) with Sarah, Lora, Lee Dudley, Allie Hanger, Nannie Gooch, Retta and John Henry Hite. Went in big wagon - two mules - two horses. Had waited a week for roads to get dry, so started though traveling only tolerable - but we had a jolly ride. Went Friday - returned Sunday p. m. Sorry Frank could not be with us. Saturday snowed all day and that night. Had Maggie Eidson and Dr. R. S. Hamilton in the load going home and a slow ride, but as J. Henry Hite said 'We'd been visiting and had lots of fun.'
March 28. Sat.
A rainy but happy, cozy day at Willow Glen. Morn. Frank copied lists for me, $112. Spent some time singing with and playing for Miss Bettie Eidson, their guest from Woodlawn (Mr. Henry Eidson's) and reading 'Wait and See' by Virginia Townsend. Now and then when parlor was quiet and deserted mysteriously interrupted in midst of some interesting paragraph, but relished the pauses notwithstanding. Cleared off at sunset and so Frank and I rode horseback over the hills and fields to salt the cattle - get fresh air and fine views. After tea sung again with Miss Bettie Frank's two favorites, 'Come away, love' and 'Ever be happy'.
Frank wrote in my diary as follows: 'Attended M. E. Ch. Mr. Arnold preached. Allie there looking as lovely as ever. Visted her after tea. To my surprise found her out dining, but soon returned and we had a nice visit all to ourselves - after dark rained and stormed - good excuse for prolonging my visit. Allie loaned me her shawl to wear home.
Cold and windy all day. Attended Uncle David Sterrrett's sale of his property. Large crowd - things brought fabulous prices. Span farm horses $1,000, sale of personal property $8,000. I bought one coverlid $30, 1 linen table cover $10. After sale home with Sam Bell and spent the night. I thought how happy he might be there with all his wealth if only he had a good little wife, and how uncomfortable he was comparatively!
Remained housed all day. Wind intensely cold. Played backgammon with Sam a long time. Eve. Braved the weather to seek ladies' society in company with my bachelor friend Sam. H. Bell. At sundown found ourselves at Woodlawn. Miss Bettie away. Mollie, Lina and Alice at home. After tea played whist, Mollie my partner. Sat. morn. started home, still very cold. On way home called on poor Uncle Sam Sterrett. 80 years old, very feeble and lonely. No family to care for or comfort him. Felt very sorry for the poor old man. Home to dinner. P. M. met Siddie Bear on her way to Bishop Glossbrenner's - rode with her. Pleasant ride and call. None of all the girls I met during pat week can compare with my own beautiful Allie!
Very cold. Read 2 sermons of Dr. Alexander's on the deceitfulness of the human heart, and closed whole with the passage, 'Who can know it?' More embraced in these 2 sermons than in all the sermons I have heard since New Years.'
Notes to Memoir
And now come many blank pages in my journal covering weeks and months. During this interval occurred the final entertainment at beautiful old Loch Willow mansion, (now 1912 forever passed away) "Coronation of May Queen", a poetic cantata, both recitative and vocal, by different flowers.
The pleasing rendition of this cantata elicited much applause from an appreciative audience, consisting of many soldiers, citizens of Churchville and vicinity, and Staunton, all pronouncing this a "red letter day", with its cantata and concert following at night. The latter, as well as former, given by my vocal and instrumental classes. The Finale was a Refreshment Sale - all conducted for the pleasure and benefit of our brave Southern Soldier boys. At the midnight hour, as we laid our tired heads and weary frames to rest, we felt amply repaid for all our time, trouble and care in arranging this "farewell to Loch Willow".
The lovely poem, "Cantata of the May Queen", was lent us for the occasion by Miss Kate Seig. I afterwards copied it in a blank book and recently had same typewritten by Alice McGee for my Relic Album.
In choosing their queen all concerned, by unanimous vote, selected Miss Allie M. Rounds to represent her majesty, the Rose, as Queen of all the flowers.
Notes to Memoir
And now comes a long interval again of weeks and months, and many blank pages in my diary. But following the Final Entertainment at Lock Willow there occurred several marked changes. First the departure of Mr. N. H. Hotchkiss' dear family to "Sunny Side" farm, on James River, in Buckingham Co., Va., near Howardsville, a sweet place in a grove, on an eminence. I was charmed with its simple, quiet beauty. However, my health began to give way and in the midsummer I returned to Churchville and old Loch Willow, the former seat of Uncle Jed's Preparatory School, and now the home of Aunt Sara and the children, Annie and Nellie. During my short visit at old Loch Willow there occurred an episode in my life that proved to me in a very sad way that "the course of true love never runs smooth." Frank was brought home from the Army of Northern Virginia ill with a very severe attack of rheumatism. He had taken so much morphine to deaden pain it has affected mind, body and nerves and left him "in the depths". He was so blue, so depressed about the war and its outcome, the world looked very dark to him and to me! He knew of my intense desire to see my mother once more in her declining years, but had never yet been willing for me to undertake the perilous task of getting thro' the lines of both armies, Confederate and Federal! But now he relented and was willing I should make the experiment! Saying if he should live and the war ever be over, and the gulf between the north and south was not too deep and wide he would go to my home and marry me! I was paralyzed by this change of sentiment; my pride was touched and my heart deeply wounded. So I bade him good-bye, as I thought forever! How I got back to Loch Willow I know not, but I umbosomed my grief to Aunt Sara and she tried her best to comfort me. That night when I was utterly prostrated and crushed, she read in the bible to me and prayed with and for me.
The next morning I sent Frank a note relinquishing all the past and leaving him free of all care and anxiety about me and returned my engagement ring and all keepsakes &c., all of which were speedily returned, without comment.
My eyes soon began troubling me and I determined to try the sulphur water at Stribling Springs and put myself under the care of Dr. Hendren. So for several weeks I was an inmate of dear Mrs. Chesley Kinne's sweet home on the hill, near the hotel. Her husband was the proprietor and a noble man. To defray board expenses I gave their two daughters music lessons. I was tortured for hours daily with leeches on my temples. But finally and providentially a letter came to me from Miss Mary Julia Baldwin, Augusta Female Seminary, asking if I would come and take Prof. Ettinger's overflow of piano pupils (17) and teach vocal music; that Mrs. Crawford taught all beginners, but Prof. E. had more pupils than he could teach; that between times she would like me to assist the other teachers by classes in Dictation, Botany, History and Latin. Said she needed someone to entertain the boarders our of school hours with charades, plays, etc., such as she knew I possessed a talent for writing and managing. That the town was so full of soldiers much of the time it was not safe for them to take daily walks as heretofore and so there was sad lack of recreation and entertainment. So in Sept. I became a teacher at the A. F. Sem. and roomed with my dear old music pupil, Maggie Eidson (afterwards Mrs. Capt. Pete Wilson) and worked hard, as did all those teachers in wartimes.
I always loved the study of human nature and the A. F. S. boarders offered an interesting field for observation and inspiration - the various girls suggesting topics and characters. I was very busy and took my turn with the other teachers in study hall at night, but managed to write two charades that winter. 1st, Mad-a-gas-car, in 5 scenes - 5th whole word, the Queen of Madagascar. The 1st scene a glimpse in the music room of an insane asylum, where Josie English (daughter of Col. English, and afterward the wife of Dr. Eyster of Balto.), one of the charming flowers of the Sem., represented Jenny Lind and sang with piano several of that Prima Donna's beautiful songs. Queen Victoria was the character I took and after the entertainment was over, as my friends came up to congratulate me on the success of the evening, our pastor, Rev. Wm. E. Baker, shook my hand cordially, saying, "Well, Miss Rounds, I feel sure your feet must have pressed the boards of a theatre, for you have the stage walk and stage step perfectly." He was much surprised when I assured him I had never seen either the outside or the inside of a play house. Because I was a "perfect brunette" the girls had conquered and compelled me to sit on the throne of their Queen and with a full array of my pages and gaily attired attendants, we must have presented, as was remarked, "a most imposing spectacle", for we had ransacked the town for costumes, ornaments and draperies!
I am glad I saved the other charade, "In-dig-na-tion" and have it typewritten for May and my other grandchildren. In the 4th scene of that "tion" (shun) I took the part of the adopted orphan cousin and sung with my guitar the popular southern war songs.
I will now make several extracts from my journal while at the A. F. Sem'y. in Staunton.
Feb. 10, 1864.
Just bought this little pocket diary, only $7.00. A dozen ginger cakes $1.50, apples at $3.00 per dozen! School is over for another week. Work is a blessing and I am kept busy night and day - 17 piano pupils - 2 vocal classes, history, Latin and dictation, and must help Prof. Ettinger get up a musical soiree. Finished 'No Name' by Wilkie Collins. Very fascinating, but am sorry if it gives a true description of the morals of English society. - Looked over an old newspaper, 1st time for 6 mos. Read eloquent and fervent proclamation of Pred. Davis to Army. All Confederates have enlisted for the War! Feeling of hope is predominant at home and in camp. Yesterday sent letter and 9 pieces of music to my Sunny Side girls. The past four weeks have been unusually warm, yet bright and bracing.
Returned calls of Mrs. John Kinne, Mrs. Crawford, Mrs. Va. Waddell, Mrs. Dr. Waddell and Honey Warden. Latter accompanied me to Mrs. Heiskell's and Mrs. Woods. Latter a lovely place in a grove on a hill. Mrs. Forrest in a forest across the road, Blue Ridge just visible between the grand old trees. Reminded me of Mt. Prospect, Binghamton, and happy hours spent there.
Cold, bright Sabbath. Mr. Baker's sermon earnest and impressive on Stephen's death. I taught every Sunday p. m. for boarders in church - [added: (]now the M. B. S. chapel and a grand modern church on opposite side of street[added: )].
Severely cold. So sorry for the poor thinly clad soldiers out in the mts. Written letters to Jimmie Maslin, Becca and Aunt Sara.
Fri. p. m. After dinner in wagon with Mish and Dunlap girls, going to Mr. George Dunlap's. Pretty cold. Sun a little warm. Girls happy and singing gaily. Took Maggie Eidson and me to within 61/2 miles of Geo. A. Hanger's - walking kept us warm. Pleasant visit. To church Sunday morn. Mr. Preston preached on the Crucifixion. Enjoyed services. P. M. returned to Staunton. An old mill wheel on outskirts was a beautiful sight, with huge, long icicles pendant from the immense wheel.
Thinking more than usual about home and its loved ones. Felt homesick, gloomy and anxious. Determined months ago to get there this summer if possible.
Notes to Memoir
A letter from Papa in which he told me of Mamma's rapid decline, fixed my determination to plan to try to get thro' the lines of both armies, and when I had once decided it was duty, I felt that Providence would help me. So at 4 p. m. I went down to Uncle Jed's office, where Mr. Oeltman and Mr. Robinson were assisting him in drawing maps as fast as he surveyed them. Uncle Jed took a long walk with me and we discussed the situation and he promised to appraise me of any safe opening to start and to help me. all in his power - that if Pa could secure me a pass at Washington he tho't he could procure me one thro' the Confederate lines. This assurance was encouraging and braced my spirits.
The next day I told Miss Baldwin I would like to have a talk with her, but she was busy till after supper. Then she found me on my bed weeping and praying. She was surprised and distressed but did not blame me for leaving them. That day after dinner, as I was waiting in the parlor to give a music lesson, I saw a well known form pass on horseback! I almost felt my heart stop beating. I was glad he had recovered sufficiently to ride into town, but I felt as if. it was a "last look" and I don't know how I ever kept up until Miss Baldwin came. And when she heard all my sad story, she said, "My dear child, I know how you feel. I had just such an experience and I realize how you suffer - just how heartbroken you are." And she took me tenderly in her arms and pillowed my head upon her breast and let me cry, weeping and sympathising with me and tenderly caressing and kissing me like a mother, and with her arms about me, knelt beside my bed and prayed for me as none but an angel could. God bless Miss Mary Julia Baldwin!
The weary days that followed seemed to lengthen into never ending weeks while I waited. Cherished plans failed, cheerful openings suddenly closed up. Fresh opportunities tantalized by quick departure. Hopes were dashed. Prayerful wishes unfulfilled, until March 10th, when I decided to risk going down the valley by stage. One of my dear music pupils, Miss Estelle Hieronimus of Winchester, Va., having asked and received their cordial consent, invited me (through her parents) to go to their home, as soon as I arrived in Winchester, and remain until the coveted Pass from Washington arrived. When I heard of this unlooked for and providential arrangement, my heart leaped for joy! The next Sabbath Mr. Baker rec'd. into the church at communion, a young soldier of 18, with a crippled arm. It was a touching scene when surrounded by his sisters, he partook for the 1st time, the bread and wine!
Mon. March 7.
Eve. A goodbye call from dear Uncle Jed. He had just returned from a mt. survey and was about to start off on another. I watched him and his party of engineers gallop out of sight, with a haunting fear that I might never see him again! Letters from dear Sarah at Sunnyside and Jimmy Maslin, Moo[deleted: n][added: r]field, Hardy Co., Va.
Even. kept study hall for last time. Was surprised after when 20 of the girls presented me with a parting gift - a tiny gold charm in shape of a gracefully shaped pitcher, with garnet at the mouth! It had cost them $20. A servant called to say Mrs. Wise's spring wagon would come for me next day. At 11 o'clock (p.m.) took several of the girls and serenaded Miss Eliza Howard and then Miss Baldwin.
7:30 A. M. Went with Maggie Eidson to Dr. Jno. Hanger's, as he had offered to get my Confederate money changed into silver. At 10:30 rode out to Churchville in Mrs. Wise's wagon. Comfortable time, despite the wind and rain. Mrs. W. such good company. Found Aunt Sarah sick in bed. Hurried to get trunk ready. Broke down when the good-bye came. Annie and Nellie were quite discomsolate. Current prices in March 1864 were - Ladies' calf skin shoes, $40; Men's cavalry boots, $100; cotton cloth per yd. $4, silk $25; sugar per lb. $10, butter $4; flour $100 per barrel.
Friday, March 11.
Wm, Aunt Sara's man, drove me back to town early in Dr. Wilson's spring wagon. Disagreeable ride in rain. There at 8 o'clock to bid all good-bye at Sem'y. Spent day at Mrs. John Hanger's by previous invitation. Was sick and Mrs. H. gave me some apple brandy and a bottle to take with me. Dr. Hanger got me me a Pass from Commandant of Post. He tried all day to get my Confederate money changed into silver, but only succeeded in getting $7.50 in specie, as it took 26 of Confederate bills to buy one of silver!
dawned clear and bright. Three stages in line. I took the middle one. No ladies beside myself. A no. of congressmen from Strasburg - also a Capt. and a colonel. A Capt.C. B. Manton, who used to mess with Uncle Jed, belonged to the old Stonewall Brigade, captured when Gen. Stonewall Jackson was killed - taken to Camp Chase - after some weeks paroled to stay at home! Lived near Berryville, Clark Co. Very agreeable and entertaining. Shared my lunch with Capt. M. and a poor soldier who was going home without money to buy a single meal! Saw Mr. Coffman at Harrisonburg. Called on me at the hotel. Sorry to bid adieu to Capt. Manton at sundown at Mt. Jackson. I could scarcely keep back the tears. Felt so alone and night coming on. Left me in care of Mr. Baker, living 8 miles from Winchester. Moonlight, smooth macadamized pike. 4 hours more - but we travelled fast. Mr. Baker was very kind and attentive, but I grew too weary to be communicative and slept most of the way to Strasburg. There we found only tolerable accommodations. It was eleven o'clock and I was so worn out as to find it difficult to undress. Next morn. was the Sabboth, March 13th.
Mr. Baker kindly assisted me in getting my Pass endorsed by Capt. Davis, commandant of the Post. We encountered some difficulty because my 1st Pass did not have the signatures of persons (public men) whom he knew in Augusta Co. that could identify me. I told him of my Uncle Jed Hotchkiss, one of the Corps of Engineers on Gen.Stonewall Jackson's staff - said yes, he knew Maj. Hotchkiss well and if only had his signature it would be all sufficient. I was in a distressing dilemma! But Mr. Baker vouched for me and my tears seemed to turn the scale - for after one look at my brimming eyes, the provost left me and presently sent in my Pass!
Had a miserable dinner and at 2 p. m. we started in small hack for Wincester, Mr. Baker and I. Had to offer $50 before we could secure a driver and conveyance! Cool, but pleasant ride. Mr. Baker narrating how he was captured and imprisoned by Gen. Milroy - Mr. Baker left me at sundown and I rode alone the rest of the way - 8 miles. Mr. B. had intrusted me with several business letters to deliver to his friend and my future host, Mr. J. P. Heironimus - at whose door I arrived about 8 o'clock and where by Mr. and Mrs. Heironimus I was most cordially and hospitably received, although to them an utter stranger! And generously entertained for three never to be forgotten weeks, while waiting day after day for the desired Pass from Washington, D. C. to reach me. I whiled away many an hour beginning a hexagon worsted quilt - such as I had seen and admired on Grandma McClung's bed in her room at the A. F. Sem., where the girls gathered daily for awhile after supper to be "mothered" by that sweet, delightful old lady, whose gentle, loving influence combined, with that of Miss Agnes McClung, gave a home atmosphere to the Seminary it can never have again. (The matron was Miss Agnes McClung.)
Notes to Memoir
Mother and daughter, "Grandma" and "Aunt Agnes" were so good to everyone and kindly gave me the pattern of plan of putting the bright colored patches together with black, Mrs. Hieronimus' friends called on me and donated many gay an dchoice pieces for patchwork. It was a sweet home - with fine conservatory where they raised oranges and lemons. The town was occupied first by the "Yankees" and then by the Rebels. We could tell at night by the sound whether the troops passing along the streets were on the saddles of the Yanks, as they squeaked like new and the thud and tramp of the cavalry horses proclaimed their well shod steeds - while the poor Johnny Rebs made a very different impression in their turn. Whenver the "coast was clear" we took walks about town - to the public gardens - Mt. Hebron cemetery - to the Fort, built by Gen. White and used after by Banks and Milroy - battle grounds, fortifications, etc., and the various churches. I had been sorry to travel on Sunday to reach Winchester, but it was my only alternative, as they told me a raid of Averill's was daily expected up the valley - but I found kind friends and every attention and so enjoyed my frequent visits with Mrs. H. to the greenhouse, among her oranges and lemons, roses, verbenas, geraniums, etc. And thus the time of my detention passed until April 4, when the journey over unknown country of 22 miles was begun to Martinsburg!
After the farewells to my kind host and hostess, I started in a small oldfashioned one horse hack - steps and door on each side and open in front to the driver's seal. This was occupied by an old grizzled darkey - Uncle George - one of the old time respectful polite kind, of whom I was not at all afraid. My trunk was fastened to the rear and I had the one seat to myself. I felt so thankful for past blessings and not at all nervous or timid, for I seemed to hear the promise, "I will never leave or forsake them!" It was a dull, cloudy, chill day, but I rejoiced over every foot of the road as so much accomplished toward my desired haven. My important and precious Pass was safe in my hand bag and I was going on to Papa! A misty rain began to fall, but I was comfortable. I had enjoyed an early and fine dinner, so was neither tired or hungry and the rain could not touch me - so we plodded on, altho' our driving nag was thin, old and slow of gait. But after 5 or 10 miles he was forced to stop his jog and take a rest. All at once down came my trunk into the middle of the road! So "Uncle George" and I were soon attacking the situation and in due time the repacking was over, the trunk tied together and lifted inside the vehicle, one end rest on my seat and the other end on the front seat. The position cramped my knees and crowded Uncle George, but there was no other way and we traveled on, uncomfortable, silent and patient as possible. At length, as an early dusk grew on apace, we saw before us on a hill top a soldier on horseback. I recognized him as our first outpost! The hill was short, but steep, and when we were about half way up came the loud command "Halt!" I said to the darkey, "We can't stop, so drive right on." I was not the least bit frightened, but very indignant as he yelled again "Halt!" "We will halt," I said "when we get to the top." He rode up in front of us as if to block our way and asked, "Who are you? Where are you going? What do you want?" I answered coolly "I'll show you presently" and produced my Pass, which he examined critically - then returned to me saying, as if confering a great favor, "Pass on." Before long we encountered several infantry outposts; but they were gentlemanly and on telling them I wished to see the commanding General of their camp, they offered to take me directly there. On arriving at the woodland where were many troops and tents, several soldiers approached and I asked one of them to please inform the General that a lady wished to speak with him. He soon returned with the message. "The General is at supper, but will be here shortly." When he came I found him very pleasant and a perfect gentleman, so when I had shown him my pass and explained that my father was awaiting my arrival in Martinsburg, he said, "All right, Miss Rounds. I will order a guard for your protection the remainder of the way to town and to the Provost's office." I thanked the General heartily for his great kindness, we shook hands and presently I found myself "traveling in state", escorted by a convoy of soldiers filed on either side of my vehicle. But I smiled to think for friendly were the darkness and misty rain of the dimly lighted streets in partially concealing the ludicrous spectacle of a bony horse, an antiquated carriage, an old grey headed negro and a girl within, half hidden by her trunk and altogether paralyzed, she thought, by its cruel pressure; all affording a picture of a Southern spy under arrest and being taken before an officer of the law! When at last we halted I asked one of the guard to please run up to the office and ask for Dr. Nelson Rounds. He quickly came back with the news he had not come back from supper, but would probably be there now in a few moments. My guards were faithfully at their posts of duty when I heard my father's voice in the distance. He was hurrying back and saying, "Yes, I have been here about 3 weeks waiting for a safe chance to send my daughter her Pass so she could meet me here and we could go right home together." "O, Papa!" I cried. "I am here, right here." The next moment Pa's arms were around me, his loving, warm lips pressed to mine! O, the relief in that sudden change from care, anxiety and solicitude to the restful love of my father's protection; the music of his sweet voice that I had not heard for nearly four years! We drove at once to a saddler's shop and while my trunk was rehinged and strapped, I took a much needed refreshment at a restaurant close by and Papa settled accounts with Uncle George. Then we repaired to the depot, checked our baggage, got our tickets and sat down to wait for a belated train. The tantalizing bulletin board promised its appearance in "an hour or two", and so sped the whole night, but I got several happy naps on Pa's shoulder and was delighted that we were at last "homeward bound!"
Notes to Memoir
We got an early breakfast and were quickly on board when the train for Harper's Ferry left at 7 o'clock. We arrived there at 3 p. m., but were doomed to another delay, until 9:30, when we took the sleeper for Harrisburg, Pa. In the morning the first thing that greeted my sight was the broad, noble Susquehanna, alive with rafts. It reminded me sadly of the Potomac and the loved blue mts. of the Shenandoah Valley! I saw soldiers in blue on the train, at the stations, but they failed to elicit my admiration and sympathy as the "boys in Gray" would have done. As we proceeded farther and farther north, I noted the prosperity and public pride of the country, evidenced in farms, villages, towns, highways and by-ways. Meadows were green - pasture lands rich in herds of fat horses, cattle and sheep. I saw no wildness of barren, neglected fields, no women ploughing or planting corn, no ashes of burned homes, none plundered, wrecked or abandoned. On one side of Dixon's line, plenty, comfort, peace; on the other desolation, want, sacrifice, trouble, poverty and war.
I had admired the view at Harper's Ferry - the scenery as we approached Baltimore - and now we were nearing the beautiful cities of Harrisburg, Pa. and Elmira, N. Y. Here we were detained again, but at Waverly (where Rev. Leland Jackson Huntley, Ettie's husband, was pastor of 1st Baptist Church) we were gladly surprised by seeing Mr. H., Ettie and Nellie Huntley! Ettie kindly rode with us to Smithton's, where we bade her good-bye and were once more homeward bound to Nichol's parsonage. There joy and sadness were mingled for me amid affectionate welcome, and caresses - for my mother was so pale and thin, tho' convalescing - but my dear brothers Fred and Arthur were now young men, tall as I, and my sisters, too, Emma, Mattie and Ruth, were superb young ladies. So I felt almost as if among strangers and it remained for us to grow accustomed to each other. How the girls laughed when I unpacked my trunk! "O, Allie!" they said, "Your clothes are so out of style and funny!" When I told them the debaige I had on cost $200, they nearly took a fit! The very next day goods for a new dress was bought and I taken to a dressmaker post haste - and then as I tried on my new waist the anti-slavery madam ordered, "Hook it up yourself!" "Thank you", I answered "I prefer to do so." On all sides I seemed to be curiously stared at as a monster of a red hot rebel, and I felt I was being dubbed "a copper head" for daring to like the South and to believe they were right! So when I found the whole family packing up to leave in a few days for a new pastorate at Berkshire, Tioga Co., N. Y., I was rejoiced and very much relished the change from Nichols to Brookside Parsonage!
There the town was mostly one long street, on which were residences, churches, stores, P. O., &c. At one end our new home nestled in a lovely sugar maple grove, thro' which ran a babbling brook, where we all would meet to visit, read, sew, or write letters as the case might be. It proved an oasis in the desert of life to me. I soon found myself among kind neighbors and friends. I was made the organist - head of a large infant class - and had also a large class in piano music, as there happened then to be no other music teacher there. So I was very busy and gave my sisters lessons, too. Besides I taught on the intervening days of Tuesdays and Fridays a class of piano pupils at Newark Valley, 6 odd miles away. Pa had a comfortable buddy and a gentle horse and I enjoyed the drive in early morning and returning in cool of evenings. Sometimes I stayed all night with one of two intimate friends, Sophie Noble or Amelia Patterson, whom I knew 4 years before when we lived there and Pa was pastor (and I left in 1860 for the Southland!) Occasionally one of the girls would accompany me and visit old friends. A nephew of Sophie Noble's was one of my scholars and a niece was another.
I also took French lessons of Amelia Patterson, she having had fine advantages at a French boarding school in the vicinity, where was a colony of cultured Swiss French, who insisted their accent and pronunciation was purer than the Parisian.
Among my new friends at Berkshire was a Mrs. Lily Ducloux, whose maiden name was "L'Esperance de Dieu". We were all fond of these dear French people, one family in particular - that of Mr. and Mrs. Albert Chavannes, with whom we corresponded for several years.
Until this April of 1864 I had never seen my baby sister Clara Gertrude! But now the family chain was united. At one end, the eldest child Allie, the southern girl; at the other the youngest, baby Clara, now nearly three years olf, having been born at Newar[deleted: d][added: k] Valley August 10, 1861. I loved her dearly and she was my almost constant companion about the house or out in the maple grove. She sat in her high chair at table beside me and I loved to study the expressions of her changing countenance. She and Pa's large blue eyes and long eyelashes. She added her music to that of Ma's two canaries, "Allie" and "Frank", and with the cheer of Ma's flowering plants and vines helped to make our parsonage home bright and happy.
Early in April visited Ettie in Waverly with Emma. Afterwards to see cousins Esther Comfort Sho[deleted: w][added: e]maker and Phebe Lamb Harris at Owego. Trips to Newark Valley and lessons to my Berkshire class filled up my time. Often so tired at night had to be helped upstairs.
All at church except me. Quite a procession, Ma and Pa, Emma, Mattie and Ruth, Fred, Arthur and Clara! Wrote letter to John in Penn. The household pets, Bessie and Jack, Cotton Tail and Tabby Cat were disgracefully noisy for Sunday. Everytime Jack attempted to help himself to the saucer of mill, Tabby would box his ears soundly and then the thumping and scampering antics were most undignified and ludicrous!
Monday, Apr. 13.
Music lesson to Ruth, French lesson to Emma. Analyzed flowers in grove with Clara near me - canadian Violet, Bishop's Cap, Mitie Wort, American Valerian. Lovely spring weather now. Grove more charming every day. Enjoy my rides thro' Ahwaga Valley much. The graceful elms putting on their luxuriant robes. Pleasant trip to N. V. yesterday. Dinner at Sophie's. The Noble family are all Southern sympathisersand dubbed by outsiders as "copperheads". Comforter of mine. "News of a victory in N. W. all right along the Rappahanock". I feel more at home politically with the Nobles than at Brookside Parsonage. To be wise and discreet there I have to keep a padlock on my lips. On way home called with Sophie on Amelia and after on Dr. and Mrs. Root, formerly of Virginia. Sympathize with the South, as do my Swiss friends and Ettie and Leland Huntley. To others I do not dare express my sentiments.
Visit from brother John. Also from Leland and Ettie on their way to Philadelphia to attend the Baptist May anniversaries.
Delightful drive to N. V. Lessons and French as usual. Feel miserable, no strength. Dr. Tappan advises tonics and is trying to build me up. Sophie says use fresh air, plenty of water and hydropathy instead. Received my regular batch of news from "the other side," encouraging. Ma left for a visit to Owego yesterday.
Am feeling better to-day. Been trying Sophie's receipt of diet, sitz baths, compresses, &c. Nice drive with Pa out to the beautiful Brookfield school for boys.
I am housekeeper and cook now, as Emma is complaining of headache and fever. Sent for Dr. I shall add nursing to my other professions at once. Read speech of President Davis in U. S. Senate, Jan. 10, 1861. Grand and so prophetic! Letter from Ettie describing their delightful visit to Philadelphia. Mrs. Collins sent me a basket of firm red apples, Mrs. Williams a bottle of rhubardwine. Both fine. Dr. Tappan will have Emma up in a few days, but I am breaking down. Must write for Ma to come home to her two sick girls.
The month nearly gone, but such a busy one to me. What a blessing is work to a sad heart! Best to have no leisure in which to nurse regrets or give way to forebodings of the future!
A letter once more from Aunt Sara. Was sent under separate cover to Phillippi, W. Va., care of Frank's eldest sister, Mrs. E. A. Hite, who lives in the country at Cherry Hill, so called from its variety and quantities of cherries. Aunt Sara says all are well and Virginius (Frank) himself again and extremely anxious to get tidings of me!
Was just improving from an attack of diptheria, when a letter came to me, via Phillippi, in Frank's own handwriting, sealed and no eyes had read it but mine! What a comfort! He called me "Ever dear and precious Allie". Yes! The old pride in and love for me were there! He wrote asking if I could ever forgive his consent to my going North in the dangerous time of Civil War. Said 'twas racking pain, heavy cares and pressing fears conspired to make him do it. Begged me to ask my parents if they could pardon such unkind and unjust treatment of their noble child. And if we all could and would forgive him he promised to devote his whole remaining life to my care and happiness; and as soon as the war closed and it was practicable, he would come to claim me for his bride! This tangible proof of his long continued devotion caused the tears of joy to start, but thro' them I saw a glorious rainbow of promise, peace, hope and love. They said to me, "How bright and happy you look! Now you'll soon be well and strong!" After this I loved my south window more than ever. The sunshine seemed to stream in warmer, the air to be more balmy, the bird music sweeter than before. There I penned a prompt reply to one I had never ceased to love, granting entire forgiveness and bearing the sincere assurance of a cordial welcome to Brookside Parsonage whenever he should favor us with a visit!
Ah, me! How little we either of us dreamed that a long dreary waiting of 18 months must elapse are that happy day should arrive.
I took early stage at 7 o'clock for Newark Valley. Lessons all the A. M. Eve. Ma called for me at Sophie's with buggy and we had a nice ride of 16 miles on fine road to Owego - where we shopped till dark. Stayed at dear Cousin Scott Harris'. Next morning Amelia arrived on stage and at 10 o'clock she and I started for Humphreysville, Penn., to visit our brothers, Joseph Patterson and John Rounds.
Amelia and I visited the big saw mill, Joseph showing us his fine Washington engine, its machinery, working, &c. After I arranged John's trunk, took needed stitches, and read John's private paper, the "Observer", edited and compiled by and for himself, for mental diversion. P. M. He and I walked to the pine woods, sat on a log and chatted, he reciting his experiences the past five months and also a synopsis of his life for 4 years past. This interchange of confidences was very sweet and grateful to us both. All spent eve. at old Mrs. Weiss'; where there was a piano, so we had music and sang together out of Golden Choir and the Jubilee - had all four parts. Seemed so like old times with John singing by my side.
Joseph took Amelia, John and me in a carriage to Buttermilk Falls, 4 cascades. Passed Campbell's Ledge at head of Wyoming Valley. On same Mt. side Joseph pointed out Falling Spring, a sheet of 50 ft. in depth. We saw it [added: in] returning that night and falling from such a height its music was very sweet, wild and romantic. We stopped to listen and I fell into a pleasant reverie from which, when the horses started, I disliked to waken. We were traveling along side the canal and the lights of approaching baots streamed across the dark water, as on hearing the locks their horns sounded musically in the distance and carried me back where bugle notes always do.
p. m. We visted "Queen Esther's Rock". We gathered flowers from the very spot where the heartless Queen had stood and let the blood of the poor mangled whites flow beneath her cruel feet! She was of Indian and French descent and very influential with the Indians, in the time of the great "Wyoming Massacre", when a brave lot of old men and boys were met and overpowered by a large force of British, tories and Indians and brutally slaughtered. We also visited the monument at Wyoming, erected by the descendants of these noble patriots. In a beautiful quiet spot near the village we ate our picnic supper. We bought strawberries from a garden opposite, whose owner from 1/2 acre had already sold 5 bushels at 40c per quart! As we rode through this far famed Wyoming Valley I feasted on its blue mts., wonderful scenery and delicious air. We passed thro' Kingston and by the Wyoming Seminary, where Ettie, Emma, Mattie and I had all been students. Recalled the times when I used to ride over the 2 miles from Wilkes-barre to Kingston in one of 3 omnibuses running from Wilkesbarre to Kingston when Pa was pastor of the M. M. church in Wilkesbarre, 1850 and 1851. Enjoyed crossing the covered bridge 1/4 of a mile long over the Susquehanna; this immensely long bridge of two roadways and raised foot-walk on either side, was lit up by gas and rafts were floating peacefully down the river. We drove to the Exchange Hotel and put up for the night.
Next morning our carriage was in waiting to take us to Prospect Rock. Started at 8 o'clock for the Mountain Top House, where we relished a cool lemonade and then pursued our way on foot to the crest of the mt., which commanded an extensive prospect for many miles in each direction. Wilkesbarre, Kingston, Plymouth, Wyoming and Troy, all were plainly visible along the river and with our spy glass we decerned the Sem'y. at Kingston and the monument at Wyoming. It was from this lofty point "Prospect Rock" that the Indians formerly took their treacherous observation upon the valley below. On returning to the hotel we visited the Billiard Rooms and a gentleman kindly explained the game to Amelia and me. Said the balls cost $40 and the tables $600 apiece. A rest on the back piazza and one more iced lemonade, and we started to visit a coal mine! There was one not far away and Amelia and John had never seen inside one before, altho' Joseph and I had both been within such dark, black underground caverns. We decided to enter by a drift rather than a shaft or a slide. It was a new mine and not many chambers to explore. But the click of the picks in the hands of the miners, the little lamps fast on the front of each laborer's cap, making the darkness visible, as well as the columns left at intervals to support the walls overhead - the track on which the mules conveyed the loaded box cars to the entrance, made a depressing picture we were thankful to forget as we emerged once more into daylight and life above ground.
We stopped for a rest and a good dinner at Eagle Hotel. There I read in N. Y. Tribune that Petersburg, Va. was not yet taken, a Federal defeat in Mississippi - Hunter making a d[deleted: i][added: e]tructive raid thro' Shenandoah Valley. Here gold gone from $1.26 to $30. Comfortable, happy ride beside John on back seat to Greenwood. The quantities of laurel in bloom along the mountain roads looked by starlight like patches of snow. That pleasant midnight drive will long be remembered as the delightful close of my 3rd visit to the celebrated "Valley of Wyoming."
At night in my room read that Hunter had left the "Valley I love". Glad and sad am I! "Hope on - hope ever!" Perhaps this month will seem shorter than the 3 preceeding ones. Yesterday read that 2 whole corps of Grant's men were surprised and captured before Petersburg - went thro' fire and smoke to recapture it. A daring feat. Also read the characteristic manifesto of Confederate Congress to the world. Hope and pray it may produce a saving impression and thro' its instrumentality this cruel, inhuman war may speedily close!
Long, sweet letter from Eveline Hite. So full of deep, kind interest - and to know at last accounts my beloved one was safe! Henry Hoover taken prisoner again. Retaken May 12, with 500 others. Capt. Imboden, another Staunton man, captured. H. Hoover incarcerated at Fort Delaware. Saturday gold was quoted here at $2.75, calico at 371/2c pet yd., wool $1.00 per lb., muslin 40c.
N. Y. Tribune of July 7th editorially pronounces the public as well thro' its phase of despondency - "The days of partial rest Gen. Grant has given his army are a better assurance of progress than if he kept on hammering at the gates of Petersburg! Grant's Army had undergone such fatigue as even Napoleon (the most pitiless of generals) seldom required of his soldiers; but this lull in the storm is only portentious of future activities." A dispatch states that Hunter's whole command was at Charleston, W. Va. and had defeated Rebs in 5 engagements! Destroyed property to the amount of 5 million dollars! In mills, factories, tanyards, furnaces, foundries, &c., &c., thro' the Shenandoah Valley to Lynchburg. Gen. Seigel kept up the havoc to Martinsburg and back as far as Harper's Ferry. The Sec'y. of Treasury having resigned, Senator Pitts was nominated, but he declared that office would kill him in 6 weeks! Public debt is now one billion, 740 million, 30 thousand, 689 dollard and 50 cents!
This whole Newark Valley, July 14, perfumed with "newmown hay". Hear the rattling of mowing machines all day long. Pa stacked away 2 loads hay in the barn. He and Freddie quite proud that our little me[deleted: d][added: a]dow was so productive. Harvest dinner to-day. Veal cutlet[deleted: t]s, mashed potatoes, &c., and cherry pie.
Dispatches full of "Rebel Invasion", "Raid", &c. "Rebels desperately in earnest" etc. Last Saturday I was in Owego and pained to see a car load of Confederate prisoners. Sympathizers crowded around and handed in everything nice to eat they could. Very dry and hot. Thermometer 96o in shade. Dry from Minnesota to Iowa and diptheria and pestilence prevailing. Groves withered, fruit trees crisp and yellow, dust 4 to 6 inches deep in roads. Crops affected, corn suffering for rain. Federals surprised before Petersburg, Va. and several regiments of colored troops nearly all swallowed up! Worst troops in army led assau[deleted: n][added: l]t, troops who had fared badly on various former occasions. Not a large loss for an army that had fought in the battles of the Wilderness and of Spottsylvania, so an editorial runs! I frequently read expostulations to "Put the war thro' by daylight" and "Let the devil have his due."
Great naval battle off Cherbourg between the Alabama and the Kearsarge. Capt. Semmes says he will start a new Alabama! 13,000 Confederate prisoners are being removed from Point Lookout to Elmira! - John, Ruth and Mama went berrying. I got dinner. Dear, sweet, fascinating Clara by my side. How can I ever leave her! At night sung her to sleep and after lay down bside Fred and Artie, as usual, and improvised stories until they were sleepy, after kisses innumerable from all three.
Delightful drive home from Newark Valley. Showers had sweetened the air and the sunset lovely. Scenery Italian in coloring and outline; grouping of elms so graceful and artistic. Luxuriant vines, drooping branches and clumps of alders along margin of the winding stream, blushing in the smiles of the radiant sky above all are painted on the beautiful walls of memory's studio, never to be effaced. Often in my drives to and fro, the 6 miles are shortened by such views and by translations from Paul and Virginia.
N. Y. Tribune (Horace Greely, Ed.) reports failure of Grant to take Petersburg. July 11. A terrible mine explosion before Petersburg! Papers say "Badly managed", "Somebody blundered". It seems more Federals were slaughtered than Rebels. The charge for the mine in Burnside's front was 8000 lbs. powder, planted in 8 chambers. The ya[deleted: r][added: w]ning chasm was 200 by 50 ft. Union loss 6000 - Rebels 800. "Many of the regiments before Petersburg had not been paid for six mos. None had drawn a cent for 4 mos." In consequence, there was great suffering and discontent among ra[added: n]k[deleted: e] and file. Read of another battle at Winchester 24th inst. betweel Jubal Early, Brook and Averill. Early was victorious.
On Aug. 8th I attended my dear friend's wedding, Amelia Patterson to Edward Nowland of Newark Valley. I was 1st bridesmaid. My partner a Mr. Elwell (Principal of a graded school at Hancock, N. Y.).
Very intelligent and sociable. We rode in a heavy fog to Newark Valley. On arriving I was given the bride's boquet to arrange. Ceremony at 8 o'clock. Three carriages containing the 6 waiters followed next that of the bride and groom. After the vows were plighted an elegant breakfast enjoyed. Salads, &c., and 8 kinds of cake made by Amelia's own hands! The wedding certificate signed, the procession started on that beautiful drive of 16 miles to Owego, the county seat of Tioga. It was 9 o'clock. The sun had come out and the air cool and bracing. We sang a great deal. A. had a fine soprano voice. Mr. N. tenor and I also, Mr. E. supplying the bass. Our carriage was next the bride and groom. Delightful trip and whole party were served a grand dinner at the Ahwagha. After music in parlor. Then I went down and bought cards for my S. S. class and a pretty blue dress as birthday gift for dear little Clara. We all accompanied Mr. and Mrs. Nowland for some distance along the river on their way to Binghamton. River was broad and still - sail boats sailing lazily over its glassy bosom, and with the blue hills, made a picturesque scene, and the day a pleasant memory.
Sept. 2, 1864
I am so weary with the cruel monotony of these war times. The days seem weeks, the weeks months, and the months are years to me! I often feel that I cannot longer endure this uncongenial political atmosphere! I wait and watch and weep and pray and throw myself upon the loving care of the All Wise One, who will never leave or forsake me. But oh, I am so hungry to hear tidings from my darling since May 2nd. Oh, the suspense of not knowing his fate! What a blessing work i[deleted: t][added: s] to the sad and weary ones of Earth. I work hard with my music classes - the vocal, too - and my infant S. S. pupils. They are so sweet and bright. Shall give a concert at M. E. Church this Fall, with my piano, guitar and vocal classes. My ambition is to make enough money to purchase a new cabinet organ for our chruch, one with a longer keyboard, more stops and a knee swell. It will cost about $160, but I am determined to accomplish it for Papa before I leave and it will be sweet to bring in my brothers and sisters to assist me. So I hope "the darkest hour is just before day."
Dec. 28, 1864.
The XMas S. S. Festival of our church, which I conducted, passed off successfully, as did the preceding Concert. I had many willing helpers, all seeming pleased to do my bidding, trimming the auditorium &c., while I was drilling the children in the S. S. room. Mamma superintended the decorations, culminating in a handsome arch, which she made of evergreen letters on a white background - "Peace on Earth - Good Will to men - Glory to God." The church was crowded and program enjoyed.
On Jan. 30 gave a "grand concert" in Berkshire M. E. Church. Musical and Dramatic. Wrote short dramas for the very brightest youngest children and one for the young ladies. Had stage carpeted, on it one piano, 2 guitars. All passed off beautifully. House packed. John, Alfred, Arthur, Ruth, Clara, Mattie and Emma assisted me and I a proud sister of my sextette!
Concert repeated at Newark Valley M. E. Church by request. Full house again and many congratulations and better than all, a full purse!
("19th of September")
And now on this 19th of September I am charmed to find that by the "sweat of my brow" I have earned enough "filthy lucre" to send an immediately for a new cabinet organ for my dear father's church! - And my ambition fulfilled, I can leave a tangible memorial behind me when I flit Southward! For I've had a short, hurried letter from Frank saying he hopes to be with me early in October. But has been very busy since the surrender settling up his father's business and estate. (Capt. Henry Sterrett died during latter part of Civil War.) This he finds a most discouraging task amid the sad conditions now prevailing thro' the entire south, where every sort of industry is paralyzed. Just as soon as the public routes of travel are again established northward, he will leave all his work and cares and fly to me as fast as steam can bring him. So I am occupied early and late with something far more absorbing than music! and have a dressmaker in the house sewing on my trousseau! I consider myself most fortunate in a gift of the latest N. Y. fashions (patterns) from my dear friend, Emma Howe, of Newark Valley, who early in Sept. married Mr. Proctor, a young Boston lawyer! So her new patterns play right into my hand!
Ma and I have been twice to Owego on shopping excursions and purchased about all I shall need, and Pa has bought me a "Saratoga", so as fast as finished I drop my things inside, so it and my travelling basket suggest that I really must soon be going on a "bridal trip"! Pa and Ma have given me a beautiful wedding silk, a light brown seeded silk, $50, and we have the stylish black lace, jet beaded sets, $10, for caps and cuffs of sleeves and collar piece. It is to be worn on the approaching "church wedding occasion", with white kids, dainty white lace bonnet and a rather large circular cape of soft White French merino, tied with long white silk cord and tassels. My "going away" gown is now finished - a dark tan ladies' cloth suit, with coat all trimmed with several bolts of ribbon to match - skirt very full - 7 breadths!
[Memoir addition: (A contrast 50 years after is the other extreme, when in 1913 a dress can be made and worn of only 3 or 4 yards of goods, and but 1 yd. in circumference! Oh, the silly, ridiculous freaks of the Goddess Fashion!)]
I do hope and believe Frank will admire all of my wardrobe; he is so observing and knows when a lady is dressed tastefully and becomingly. My green silk was fortunately so full it could be remodeled into a handsom Princesse and the decorations on skirt and sleeve are of the "buckle and tongue" pattern, made of black velvet ribbon and spangled with steel beads. The dress I like best of all is a dark brown Alpaca, with white hair stripe-corded at arms and bottom of basque in white, with while ball buttons at bottom of skirt a deep ruffle of darker solid brown alpaca, machine fluted, and one of same at wrist of sleeves. My black silk is being made over, too, so I think my trunk will soon be filled!
Ma and sisters making all kinds of cake and good things.
Everything is done now that I can think of and my trunk packed! Every single night I listen for the ten o'clock stage to stop, but it passes by in cold and heartless indifference! Oh, what if he should not come! There may have been a R. R. accident that has delayed, perhaps killed my darling! How can I endure this prolonged [deleted: ex][added: sus]pense another day!
Well, I was spared the waiting of but one more "long, long, weary day", for on the night of Oct. 5th something happened. At ten o'clock, when the stage passed by, I sat in the parlor disconsolate and with a touch of earache. The night was cool and raw and I was on the floor in a heap beside the warm stove heating my handkerchief and pressing it to my ear, with my head on a nearby ottoman. After a half hour or so my ear became easier and I more comfortable, so that when I heard a knock at the front door, I was rather loth to get up and answer the summons. But on one else had heard the knock and I went on, wondering who could call at such an unseasonable hour. I unlocked and opened the door, when lo! and behold! who should be standing there with valise in hand, but "my own brave Cavalier!" "Why, Frank!" I exclaimed. "Did you drop from the clouds? The stage went by some time ago." "Ha! Ha!" he laughed. "I was tired and preferred to walk from the hotel, though they told me it was quite a long walk to the end of the street." As soon as I could recover from thiswonderful surprise I ran to proclaim the glad news to the rest of the household. First I brought in Ma and Pa to be introduced and I ran to the diningroomto help make the coffee and spread the supper for our way worn guest. None of my family having ever seen Frank before, I was curious to note their first impressions. Ma came out first and I eagerly asked, "Ma, how do you like my sweetheart?" "Oh, I love him already and can believe he is all you have represented him to be". The girls, Emma, Mattie and Ruth, went next to shake hands and offer words of welcome to the new brother to be and when they came back confessed to have "fallen in love" at first sight and they praised his sweet, rich voice - his military bearing, etc. At the first opportunity I asked Pa what he thought of my Cavalry officer. "I admire him very much indeed, Allie, and believe you have chosen well." All this overflowed my cup of bliss and until the "wee sma'" hours I was so happy the reality seemed like a most beautiful dream!
While I write, Ma is having a good long talk with Frank. We spent the morn. in the grove beside the "Babbling Brook", with no listener but little Clara, who flitted about, gay as a bird. We had so much to tell and the saddest news to me was that our dear Retta Gooch Hamilton was no more. She died Sept. 8! And we are to be married Oct. 8. Next Sunday! I hear Ma saying to Frank, "You will have to curb Allie's ambition. It has always been greater than her strength. So to keep her you will have to hold her in check and make her rest." So now I'll fly back.
Oct. 19. [Describing events of Oct. 8]
Willow Glen, at Churchville, Augusta Co., Va.! Here again in dear Retta's cozy little porch room. Frank's room used to be at the other end of the long porch. Ours is "West End" and now that we are nicely settled and well rested, I must jot down some memoranda of that final Sunday at home - when "Miss Rounds" disappeared forever! That joyous, beautiful morning in the church, when Pa read the notices; this came last "There will be a marriage ceremony in this church at 8 o'clock to-night." Then he read the 2nd hymn, but I fear its beauty was unappreciated for a rustle seemed to pervade the congregation and many eyes were turned toward the handsome stranger beside Mrs. Rounds in the minister's pew; and not a few looked around to see if "Miss Allie" was at her post before the new organ in the gallery. She was there, but so disconcerted that she found it difficult to play the tune thro' first as a prelude, and while the first verse was being sung, actually lost her place and had to stop and listen to the choir before she found it again! As soon as the benediction Amen was spoken, she hurried home to avoid observation - the gaze of the curious and the amused smile of friends.
That P. M. Ma and the girls made boquets for the altar table and the pulpit and with the help of a kind friend and neighbor, burnished up the chandelier to lend added brightness to the night scene.
Pa gave me a gold watch that had descended from his uncle Amasa Lynde of Canada among other keepsakes after his death. It being a large Hunting case, Pa had procured in its place a pretty small one with white face, I wished Frank to "Christian" the watch for me, so I had already a chain made of a strand of my long jet black hair. It had gold clasps at each end and a plate in the center, with "Frank" on one side and "Allie" on the other. Frank was delighted with the chain and I with the watch. My three sisters acted as my maids and dressed the bride! All pronounced the ensemble lovely. Frank kissed me, the bell thrilled my every nerve as the whole family followed in the wake of the officiating minister, Rev. Nelson Rounds, D. D., across the street. As the bell ceased, Frank and I, with our waiters, Mr. and Mrs. Albert Chavannes and Mr. and Mrs. Allen, walked over to the church. One couple of our attendants entered the right aisle, the other couple the left aisle, starting a little in advance of the bride and groom, who took the middle aisle, and thus all met before the altar at the same time. Pa had married sister Henrietta, but I thought I never heard his voice sound sweeter than this night when he propounded the marriage vows to Frank and me. Frank's responses were so clear and dignified I was encouraged to do likewise, altho' my heart was beating loudly and I realized the solemnity of the hour that made us husband and wife.
As we passed down the aisle I could hear the audible whispers of "Yankee and a Rebel" and I felt like saying, "You are greatly mistaken. It is two Rebels!"
On our return to the parsonage parlor, Ma served refreshments to the bridal party of 6 and the family of 8, three kinds of cake and lemonade - congratulations from each and all followed - the parting good-nights said and I flew to the girls' room and undressed - then with kisses and loving embraces, I left them and went to Frank in the South chamber, where Frank and I read together the page for Oct. 8th in my "Mind and Words of Jesus", and kneeling side by side, asked God to bless our united lives!
Next morning, Oct. 9, after an early breakfast, we were in haste to make the journey of 16 miles by private conveyance to Owego (Tioga Co.) to meet the N. Y.Express. The parting adieus over, the cavalcade started. First Pa and Ma in their buggy, Frank and I in a second, and our waiters bringing up the rear in two more vehicles. We halted a moment twice at Newark Valley to bid my dear old friends, Amelia Patterson Nowland and Sophie Noble, farewell. The day was glorious and Frank was charmed with the Ahwagha Valley by daylight, as coming he made the trip at night. I was proud to point out the line of sugar maple groves all along the pike. Arriving at the depot we had a half hour to wait and Pa said, "Well, Allie, I have a new chapter to add to your wedding trip! About half way here I met and was accosted by a man, who stopped his horse and asked, 'Isn't this Dr. Rounds?' 'Yes,' I said, and he proceeded to relate that he was on his way to my home to visit my daughter Alansa and to renew if possible the sweetheart ties of his and your early years at N. Y. Mills! 'I am John Haslehurst' he said. I told him my three daughters at home would be pleased to entertain him till Mrs. Rounds and myself returned this p.m., but we were just now accompanying you to Owego on your wedding trip, etc. He looked much surprised and disappointed!" We were all amused a[deleted: nd][added: t] the unexpected incident, but Frank seemed to enjoy it most.
We arrived in New York about 11 o'clock that night. The streets were ablaze with artificial lights and Frank rode on the outside of the omnibus to enjoy the show. We seemed to ride miles before reaching the famous St. Nicholas Hotel on Broadway - then the finest in the city. Luxury seemed to reign supreme.
After breatfast next morning, Tuesday, Oct. 10, we were surprised to meet in one of the reception rooms Mr. Gus Seig and bride! The morning was cool and as I felt the salt breeze, Frank tho't I needed a set of furs. Accordingly bought me a set of furs to match my travelling suit, water mink, cape, muff and cuffs. At night we visited the theatre and saw and enjoyed "East Lynne".
Wednesday a.m. had our photos taken.
Thursday went to Philadephia and visited cousin Wm. B. Sterrett and wife Lizzie, whose mother kept a large, 1st class boarding house. There we were most hospitably entertained. Unfortunately I had a bad headache and so Cousin Lizzie accompanied Frank "sight-seeing". On Tuesday p. m. in N. Y. we had witnessed from our balcony the passing of a long procession, in celebration of the birthday of Father Matthews, a Catholic Temperance Reformer. One of the bands played a march which struck me as being particularly sweet, and afterwards I found the music - Fredonia March - committed it to memory and often play it for the sake of dear "Auld Lang Syne".
Notes to Memoir
We left Philadelphia for Staunton and spent a night at Aunt Sarah Ann Hotchkiss' - where Nellie and Annie were delighted with my dresses, etc., and where I met once more my dear friend, Sarah B. Hotchkiss, who was then attending the A. F. Sem. and boarding at Uncle Jed's, on Water St.
Next day, Oct. 14, we arrived a[deleted: r][added: t] dear old Willow Glen. The "wedding trip" was over, but our "honeymoon" but just begun. (Sept. 1913. And I am happy to say it lasted for 34 years!) And I sang with heart and lips, "The happiest time is now!"
We are boarding for the present here with Rebecca, Dr. R. S. Hamilton and his sister, Mollie. The latter I shall teach and give her music lessons. They all talk of moving up to Hill Top before long.
Jan. 10, 1866.
Letter from Ma says she is homesick to see me. Misses me sadly and all of them do. How I long to whisper in her ear my joys - my hopes and my fears!
When Frank returned from town to-day bro't me a beautiful little sewing chair, $8.00, so very comfortable. (It has had a history of its own, for in it I named each one of all my five children.)
Have bought a bible dictionary and a larger volume, Testament and Psalms, for our evening worship. Uncle Jed had given me $5.00, the price of the Confederate money I left with him to get changed before I went North in 1864. All with expenses paid $6.50.
In Staunton - went to church services at Lunatic Asylum. Rev. Mr. Dice preached in their handsome chapel. Prof. Ettinger played the fine organ. I felt a great sympathy for the poor insane inmates and so thankful for my reason.
Sat in parlor p. m. with Mollie Hamilton and Mary Lizzie Bear. Then enjoyed an hour's practice on piano. After tea, in our cozy room - Frank reading in big rocker; I knitting pair of stockings. If all the pleasant thoughts I had were woven into my knitting, there would be not a few happy chapters - as I rocked in my sewing chair, Letter to-day from Emma saying John was clerking for Mr. Ziba Bennett in Wilkesbarre.
Dressed in green velvet and Frank took me down to spend day with Mrs. Harvey Bear. A very sweet visit. Read the beautiful poem Retta had written for her after Mr. Bear's sudden death in Army of Virginia. Think it by far the finest production I ever saw from Retta's pen. Found it good to "weep with those who weep."
Mollie Hamilton getting along nicely with her studies and music. Eve. Frank brought up the saddle horses and we rode up the hill beyond the woods to get the fine view. Coming back through the fields we watched from our horses as the brilliant sunset glowed and then faded - and I thought
"All that's bright must fade,
The brightest still the fleetest!"
Morn. Fed colt, Charlie, to make him love me. Enjoyed inhaling the bracing air and listening to red and bluebirds. Rode with Frank to top of hill facing Elliott's Knob. Magnificent view from summit in all directions. In a grove nearby coziest spot for a cottage. Night begun Frank pair of woolen socks.
Aug. 1, 1913.
I pause here to insert a page of "now" by way of contrast with the "then of 1863". The July papers of our day fill me with a joyful gratitude as I read the accounts of the recent Peace Jubilee celebrated at Gettysburg, Pa., July 1st to 5th inclusive, and the actors were 70,000 Federal and Confederate Veterans who met to review the scenes on the fields and hills around Gettysburg on July 1, 2, 3, and 4th, 1863, where was fought the most terrible engagement of the Civil War. It was called the "turning point", for although many fierce battles succeeded this up to the surrender of Robt. E. Lee to Ulysses Grant, April 1865, at Appomattox, yet Gen[deleted: .] Pickett's advance to meet the Yankees in the face of a murderous shower of artillery is acknowledged by universal consent to have been the bravest and grandest charge in all history. He was writing a last letter to his sweethear[added: t] wife - a few pencilled lines each day, which was so beautiful, so eloquent, so tender and pathetic, it would start tears from the stoniest heart!
At the Reunion, 50 years after, the cordian handshakes, the sincere smiles, the hearty words of welcome and the acknowledgements that time had melted away the asperities of antagonistic feelings, and the ready assertion that they now believed every man on the other side in 1863 had fought for what he thought was right - the sweet and forgiving spirit these old men exemplified in this, their last earthly meeting, reminds me of the angelic song, "Peace on earth, good will to men! Glory to God in the Highest!"