Thursday, December 19, 2019

1884 Grover Cleveland & 19C Politics of Personal Destruction

Grover Cleveland was rumored to have had a few skeletons in his closet, or at least there were a lot of tales during his first presidential campaign. He was accused of consorting with prostitutes, and it was revealed that in 1874, a young widow had named her son Oscar Folsom Cleveland, after both Cleveland and Oscar Folsom, his law partner. Cleveland, a bachelor, refused to deny paternity and supported the child, but he might have been covering for his married partner. The revelation inspired a famous campaign ditty: “Ma! Ma! Where’s my pa! Gone to the White House, Ha! Ha! Ha!” Grover Cleveland’s extraordinary dignity under fire during the campaign was said to be a factor in his election.

Daily Gazette, The (Fort Wayne, Indiana) Nov 1, 1884

The Unfortunate Woman Tells the Story of Her Acquaintance With Cleveland.

New York

During the last three months the story of Governor Cleveland and Maria Halpin has occupied much public attention, but until now no public word has been heard from the unfortunate woman, whose name has been on every tongue. The following is furnished as her sworn statement, witnessed by her son, who urged her to “tell the truth” regarding the points which bore hardest upon her in the defense of the Governors furnished by the latter’s friends:

“State of New York, county of Westchester. Maria B. Halpin, being duly sworn, says: I reside at New Rochelle, in the county of Westchester, state aforesaid. I am the person whose name has been published in connection with that of Grover Cleveland as the mother of his son. I have been induced to remain silent while the disgrace and sufferings brought upon my by Grover Cleveland have been discussed and criticised by the public and the press, and I would most gladly remain silent even now but for the duty which I owe to my aged and afflicted father, my children, and my sister, to whom my troubles were unknown until made public by a publication a few months ago. My duty to these relatives and to those friends who knew me before my acquaintance with Grover Cleveland, whose kind assurances of love and sympathy and confidence have reached me, compels me to make a public statement and denial of many of the statements which have been made public concerning me and my character and actions while in Buffalo.

“I would gladly avoid further publicity of this terrible misfortune if I could do so without appearing to admit the foul and false statements concerning my character and habits, especially those made by Mr. Horatio C. King and published with the alleged approval of Grover Cleveland himself.”

In reference to the introduction to Mr. Cleveland, she says:

“I deny that there was anything in my actions or against my character at any time or any place up to the hour I formed the acquaintance of Grover Cleveland on account of which he or any other person can cast the slightest suspicion over me. Up to that hour my life was pure and spotless as that of any lady in the city of Buffalo — a fact which Grover Cleveland should be man enough and just enough to admit, and I defy him or any of his friends to state a single fact or give a single incident or action of mine to which any one could take exception. I always felt that I had the confidence and esteem of my employers, Messrs. Hinman & Best and Flint & Kent, and this I could not maintain if I had been the vile wretch his friends would have the world believe. He sought my acquaintance and obtained an introduction to me from a person in whom I had every confidence, and he paid me very marked attention. His character, so far as I then knew, was good, and his attentions, I believed, were pure and honorable.

“The circumstances under which my ruin was accomplished are too revolting on the part of Grover Cleveland to be made public. I did not see Grover Cleveland for five or six weeks after my ruin, and I was obliged to send for him, he being the proper person to whom I could tell my trouble. I will not at this time detail my subsequent sufferings, and the birth of our boy, September 14, 1874. But I will say that the statement published in the Buffalo Telegram, in the main, is true. There is not, and never was, a doubt as to the paternity of our child, and the attempt of Grover Cleveland, or his friends, to couple the name of Oscar Folsom, or any one else, with that boy, for that purpose is simply infamous and false. Attached hereto is a statement prepared and to me submitted by the friend of Grover Cleveland to sign. But I declined to do so, because the statemtns therein contained are not true.

“Signed and sworn before me this 28th day of October, 1884.

“Notoary Public, Westchester county, N.Y.


The statement alluded to, and which she did not sign, is as follows:

“I have read the statement published in the Buffalo Telegram, of the date of ____, concerning myself and Mr. Cleveland, a statement which is largely false and malicious. Shortly after the death of my husband, some twelve years ago, I removed to Buffalo with my children. Some time after that I met Mr. Cleveland, and made his acquaintance, which acquaintance extended over a period of some months. During that time I received from Mr. Cleveland uniform kindness and courtesy. I have now and always had a hight esteem for Mr. Cleveland. I have not seen him in sever or eight years.”

Daily Gazette, The (Fort Wayne, Indiana) Nov 1, 1884

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Lydia Ann Meals account of the Battle of Gettysburg

Pickett’s Charge, Battle of Gettysburg 1863 by Charles Prosper Sainton.

Lydia Ann Meals was 20 years old in July of 1863.  This account was written late in her life, and is relatively short.   In her memories she recalls having to evacuate her home, and recounts the occupying Confederates sacking her house and ruining her possessions, which gets her mad enough to go toe to toe with a soldier.

Reminiscences of the Battle of Gettysburg, July 1, 1863

Lest we forget kindness shown us

After seeing the Army of the Potomac as they marched across what is now called "Confederate Avenue" and having seen a large number of Union Cavalry cutting across the fields, in order to join the main Army on the Chambersburg Pike, as well as hundreds of the Union Infantry on the same way, we decided to leave our home and go to a relative living quite near us. 

Several of our men who had stopped to fill their canteens with water asked if they might leave their knapsacks with us, which they did. I should imagine at about three o'clock the place at which we were stopped was surrounded by Rebels who were trying to rob two or three bee hives, how I did wish them all to be stung, (nice of me was it not?) but on a second our attention was taken up by the sight of a fire in the direction of our home. 

When mother [Nancy Meals] said "Lydia, I believe that is our place, and we will have to see. I said "among the Rebels," not knowing that we were surrounded by them. Some one back of me said, "where do you live miss?" I told him. "No, it is not your home, it is further away (as I found out afterward it was a house that was fired by the Confederates to oust some union Sharpshooters), but I will go with you if you are afraid." 

So we started. It took us about fifteen minutes, when we found our home in the hands of the enemy, who left the house when they saw us. Mother went up stairs with a pair of tongs. I picked up the remains of my best hat and parasol. I was very angry, one of the young rebels standing by eating an onion as we would eat an apple, said "have you any friends in the Army?" "Yes" I said "a brother in the Artillery no doubt fighting against you: The rebel was in A.P. Hill's Corps, just below in camp. Said the soldier, "how I would like to capture him. Said I, "it would take braver blood than you have to capture a brother of mine." 

Then mother came to the door with a lot of clothes in her tongs, which the rebels had left in exchange for clean clothing of my brothers who were in the Union Army and we had forgotten in our flight from home. "Hush" she said, "they might kill you," After a while a soldier who was in the yard, came to the door. We did not go to the door but looked through the window. In a moment there was not a Rebel to be seen. General Lee on horseback with two or three guards.

From In the Swan's Shadow

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Gettysburg Storekeeper Mary McAllister's account of the Battle

Mary McAllister was a citizen of Gettysburg who later in life gave her account of her experiences during the Battle of Gettysburg.  Mary was a store owner in town, and in 1863 was unmarried at 41 years of age.  She and her sister get caught up in the chaos of the battle in town, trying to care for the wounded and dying in the town.  Excerpted here is her recollections of the second day's battle.

July 2

A surgeon came over the next morning and he said, “We regret terribly about our Chaplain.  He was one of the best men.”  They had carried him into the yard and buried him.  His name was Rev. Horatio S. Howell (90th Pa. Inf.).  Well, we went through that first night as best we could.  

Next day, the second day of the battle, we went to work-for the rebels, too.  Martha cooked and did what she could and I undertook to bake bread.  I went on the street and the wounded begged so hard for bread and butter that I started to go to Scott’s, down the street, to try to find milk or butter.  Next, then, the wounded officers upstairs were making me go for some liquor some place and I went to Dr. Horner. He said, “Go to Alex Buehler’s drug store.”  So I went.  Alex said he would give me fifty cents worth in their canteen and he filled it.  Then there came a shell into their house and knocked a hole in the side of the front door, through the wall.  “Well!” he said, “you will be killed if you stay.”  As I went out, he said, “Don’t let them see it!”  

I think Col. Thompson (LtCol James McLean Thomson, 107th Pa.) was upstairs and two others.  One, a Capt. Gish (Capt. Jacob V. Gish, Co. B, 107 Pa.), was shot through the leg.  But they took the whiskey and divided it and you can tell it brought song.  So I never went for any more.  

The wounded ones downstairs were the ones I was most interested in.  All this time one poor man suffered awful.  He was struck with a bullet and it came around.  You could see it in his back.  I went into Mrs. Belle King’s where there was a good many surgeons and I begged them to come over and look at this man.  I said, “You can take the bullet out for you can see it.”  But they would not come and I threatened to report them and one of them sassed me a little.  Then I got Dr. Robert Horner (civilian physician of Gettysburg).  We had no light.  The gas was out and we had no lamps.  So Martha thought of twisting paper and dipping it in lard.  I held the lighted paper while the doctor took the bullet out. It was all ragged and the doctor gave it to the man and said, “There, take that and put it in your knapsack for a keep-sake.”  The man said, “I feel better already!”  I put wet cloths on the wound.  

In my store I then traded in meats and bacon from the country people.  In a corner of the basement I threw some pieces of bacon on the floor and piled some old sacks over them.  The rebels had full sway through here, but the rebels were actually good to us.  They went to Boyer’s store at the corner and got cod fish and wanted us to cook them and Martha did.  Then other rebels came and went down to the basement.  This was after they had taken the wounded men out of the basement to the church.  They did that at night.  Well, I had barrels of molasses in the basement – a whole lot of it. The rebels drew out that molasses in crocks and carried it out.  (Note:  Miss Mary told me the “crocks” were new chambers which they had taken from the shelves of her store, but she thought I ought to write “crocks”).  At last I went down with a bucket and I said, “You must give me some of that molasses.”  Well, they said they needed it worse, but they took my bucket and drew it full, though they objected.  Mrs. King would sass them like everything, and she said, “Well, I see you are not very particular about what kind of molasses jars you use.”  “If you were as hungry as we are,” they said, “you would not care.”  I had just got in another barrel of molasses the week before and it was still at the warehouse.  They stole all my tea but I had some hid and I had some coffee.  About all I lived on was strong tea and crackers.  

Five surgeons stayed with us.  They told Martha she would have to cook for them.  So every now and then I would get this side meat from the basement and we baked cake with some shortening, baked it on a griddle on top of the stove.  As fast as I got it baked, they ate it up.  On the evening of the second day’s battle a rebel came and said he was going to guard us.  Then he got another one (Confederate soldier) and he got very sassy.  I ordered him out but he said he was not going to go, and he was ugly (in his speech).  He would taunt the wounded Union men.  I went out on the street and halted an officer.  He jumped off his horse.  I said, “There are two of your men upstairs and I want you to take them out.”  “Hi!” he says, “you got some Yanks up here, treating them fine, too.”  He did not deign to talk to those rebels, but asked what they wanted.  “Well,” one said, “she ordered us out and she got a little lippy.”  The rebel officer said, “I wish every one of them were out, but at the same time you get out.”  “Now,” he says to me, “you get me something to eat.  I have not had anything for a few days.”  So I took him back and there were these surgeons sitting around the table and all we had was bacon and bread and molasses.  He only ate a little bread and meat, then he called for a clean plate and took a piece of pie with a great flourish.  When he was done, he never said a word, but went out.  They (the surgeons) would have liked to know who he was, but did not ask him.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Sarah Barrett King's account of July 3, 1863 at Gettysburg

Battle of Gettysburg 

Sarah Barrett King lived on the east end of Gettysburg at the time of the battle.  On the first day's fighting she and her family are forced to abandon their home and seek shelter with their neighbors, as their house becomes occupied by Confederates.  She writes of her stay with her neighbors and some of the odd experiences she had while away from the house.  

Friday, July 3, 1863. 

Friday we were surprised to see Rebs planting a battery in front of the house but some distance away.  I called Mrs. Rhinehart's attention to it and she went out.  A Union shell dropped in their midst and the battery was removed.  They told Mrs. Rhinehart that they thought the house was unoccupied and that we had better leave.  Minnie balls were falling around and against the house and they said the Union men would think sharpshooters were in it and direct their guns to the house. 

We were all in the cellar, Mrs. Bender and her children and a young girl, Mrs. Warner, a sister of Mr. John Bender, my mother myself and five children with Mrs. Rhinehart and her family.  She herself was baking.  She came in the door leading to the cellar and called to us women, saying "there were Rebs here and they said we had better leave or we would be killed."  "What are you going to do about it?"  I said,  "what are you going to do?"  She replied, "I am going to stay.  I told them I would be killed if I left and I might as well be killed in the house."  I said, "I will stay."

We stayed in the cellar while the skirmish fight was taking place.  Whenever there was a lull we went up to look around.  The lot west of her house had many riderless horses, wounded and in agony.

The Rebs brought a wounded Michigan soldier by the name of Smith and laid him down on the porch, saying   he was a wounded Yank.  Mother was a good person at such work and without assistance we had him in comfortable shape very soon, gave him some bread out of our basket which he enjoyed and was grateful for.    Mr. Smith was taken to Miller's where there was other wounded.  Afterwards he went to Aunt Polly Culp, living across the street from us and he was cared for by her until he returned to his home in Michigan. 

In the morning of the cavalry fight a very fine-looking cavalryman dressed in light homespun butternut uniform stopped and asked which direction the soldiers had taken.  We told him.  In a few hours his body was brought to [our] house the blood flowing and he was laid on the porch.    He was an officer by the name of Sweet from Virginia.  We were told afterwards that he was carried away quickly but we never knew where. 

Thursday just before dinner a Louisiana Tiger rode to the front of the lawn tying his horse to a fine apple tree.  We saw him coming dressed in brown corduroy suit and fully equipped, looking finely.  I had to laugh myself at his style.  Mrs. Rhinehart received him as if he were an old neighbor.  He ordered his horse fed and a good dinner, saying "He had been to every house since leaving Gettysburg and couldn't get anything to eat and General Lee had said they should ask for food and if they would not give it he should demand it and that was what he was going to do.  He wanted a good dinner.  She asked him, "What do you call a good dinner?"  He replied, "chicken."  "Oh my," she said, "chicken.  Why you have chased all the chickens off."  "Go out and shoot it if you can find one" and then "Is there nothing else you think good." "Yes," he said "some nice ham".  "Well I have that", she said.  The soldier said "I will lie down and sleep until it is ready".  "All right," said Mrs. Rhinehart, opening the door leading to a bed room.  "I will go upstairs." he said.  It was not many minutes before she called him.  He was ready to come down.  Mrs. Rhinehart said, "he didn't want to sleep, he was hunting, I expect he has found the boy's clothes, but he didn't want to sleep." 

Mrs. R. was cooking summer turnips for our dinner.  They were not done in time for the Tiger.  She asked me to sit down with the guest.  He struggled some time with the ham and finally gave up the undertaking, substituting coffee.  The bread, he told her, was not fit to eat, and he added, "Madam, I can go to any cabin in Virginia, poor or desolate as it is, from Winchester to Richmond, with not a fence standing, and get a better than this."  She replied, "Oh, you have all that you came for," and he left.  We thought he wanted to find money.  He either did not find the clothing or didn't want it.  Nothing was missed but a thorough search had been made.  At this time Mrs. Rhinehart had coops of chickens ready for the market man. He didn't come so she hid them.  She had none for Rebs. 

Before the Tiger left as we had no news we asked him how the battle was going.  He said, "Union men badly whipped, dead and wounded everywhere.  Every house a hospital.  I expressed a wish to be home and he offered to take some of my children on his horse but I thanked him.  I would not leave behind the others.  The Rhinehart girls never knew fear after that visit.  Later others came for some milk and they seemed to enjoy the visit.

Mrs. Rhinehart located the great cannon duel before Pickett's charge.  We thought it was thunder.  "No," she said.  "That is cannon near Round Top." 

The night after the skirmish fight or cavalry fight she succeeded in heating her oven and had her bread in baking.  We had all gathered in her dining room to talk over the terrible day, didn't think of eating.  I was sitting in the window that opened on the lawn.  I think it was 9 o'clock or near that time.  A soldier on horseback brushed by the window coming around the north side of the house.  Others followed until it seemed a regiment gathered there. 

Mrs. Rhinehart, with her little short pipe in her mouth, went forward.  They said, "Mother, can't you give us something to eat?"  "Well," she said, "I just put my bread in the oven.  You fellows kept fighting all day I couldn't get my bread baked."  They went to the oven and pulled loaf after loaf out, tearing them open.  The dough was not baked inside and fell to the floor.  They said, "can't you bake it?" She replied, "there is the stove, put it on and bake it."  They wanted butter and she said, "Why, you drove off my cows.  How could I have butter?  I have apple butter."  She gave them that.  They were fond of it and some of them wanted to take the apple jack to camp.    While they were feasting two men in gray uniforms with black stripes came to me and said; "Madam, we will sit on your stoop tonight and guard your house.  Of course we can't take care of the barn and garden," and added, "That is unless General Lee does not attempt to take Culp's Hill tonight."  We felt perfectly safe then. 

Not five minutes after there was a whisper in the room and one after the other stepped out quietly and quickly.  going away in a southerly direction.  One more mystery was added to the day. 

From In the Swan's Shadow

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Letter from 17 year old Jennie McCleary, a witness to the Battle of Gettysburg

Letter published in Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, July 02, 1938.  Reportedly Jennie was 17 years old at the time of the battle.  She is writing to her sister Julia, who lives back home in Kittanning (Armstrong County) with the rest of Jennie's family.

July, 22, 1863

My Dear Julia: 

Agnes wrote day before yesterday and I suppose has told you nearly everything concerning the battle. Perhaps I can tell you some things she may have forgotten or did not hear of. But indeed I scarcely know how to begin, so many things have happened and in so short a time that I have gotten things confused. It seems like more of a dream than reality. I wonder sometimes how we passed through it all with as little fear as we felt and so small an amount of damage done to our home, which was indeed nothing to speak of, only the tearing down of our fences. That was done by the rebels on the second day of the battle. They made a road all the way through town so that, as they said, it would be a way of retreat if the enemy conquered. 

But I had better begin with the first day of the battle and tell you all I can of it. On Tuesday, which was the day before the battle, we were all down at Huber's corner looking at some of our men who were passing through town on their way the mountain to attack the rebels there. There were 5,000 of Beauforts Cavalry with 20,000 infantry following. They, however, did not get there that day. The cavalry were ordered back to town before they got to the Mountain, as it was supposed the rebel force there was to great for them to attack. They encamped there that night. 

The next day we heard the rebels were just out of town. we did not know how many there were, nor how many of our own men were here either. About 9 o'clock every person was ordered to leave the street as it was supposed there would be a fight out at the ridge. We never expected a battle, thought it would only be an artillery duel or something of that kind. kate and I went on the roof of the house watching it. We could not see the rebels and only part of our men. We saw shells fly in the air and then burst. We did not stay on the roof long; found the contest was going to be of a more serious nature than we at first supposed. 

We had been downstairs but a few minutes later when we saw an officer dash up the street and order ambulances to carry the wounded from the fields. Next came a soldier wounded in the arm and then an officer on horseback. He wore no hat, his head was tied up blood streaming down his neck. I then went over to Weaver's to help them roll bandages. We had not rolled many before we saw the street filled with wounded men. Men wounded in arms, limbs, head and breast. Oh, it was sickening to see them and hear their groans. Weaver's house was soon filled. I never thought I could do anything about a wounded man but I find I have a little more nerve than I thought I had. I could look at the wounds, bathe them, bind them up without feeling least bit shock of nervous. The tears came only once and that was when the first soldier came in the house. He had walked from the field and was almost exhausted. He threw himself in the chair and said, "Oh girls, I have as good a home as you. If I were only there!" He fainted directly afterward. That was the only time I cried. 

At first we thought our men would be victorious, as they had brought quite a number of rebel prisoners into town, but it was not long after we found out different. General Reynolds who had the plan of attack, was killed shortly after the battle commenced. He attacked them rather recklessly, too, I think. his command was but a small one and they were worn out with hard marching and then he was not aware that the rebel force was so large. After he was killed, General Doubleday took command but things went wrong with our soldier all day. It was about 12 o'clock when we were told to go to the cellar, the rebels were entering the town. If ever I wished myself at home I did then. There I was, the only one of our family shut down in a damp, dark hole with crying children and a poor young soldier who had received three wounds and had not yet been attended to and though he seemed to try his best could not keep from groaning. I cannot tell what my feelings were then. To be in that place, to know the rebels were in town, to hear shells bursting and expecting every minute they would fall on the house, was indeed horrible. If I had been with the rest I would not know were or what was happening to them. We were down in the cellar about two hours. 

While there a good many of our soldiers were killed in our street. I saw two dead ones lying in McCurdy's alley when I crossed the street to go home. Four of our men were carrying a wounded soldier down the street when a ball came along and took the legs off the two front men. There were some rebels killed too. kate and i were down at the end of our street the Sunday after the battle, when we saw the dead rebels that had been lying there since Wednesday. 

When I went home I found two wounded men at our house. Col Leonard shot in the arm and Dr parker slightly in the head. They are both from Massachusetts. Dr parker was wounded whilst coming down the college church steps. One of the rebel sharpshooters fired on him from Boyer's corner, the same ball that struck him killed the chaplin that regiment. All that day our house was full of soldiers, all wanting something to eat. That day we gave then everything we had and what do you think we had to eat the rest of the week? Nothing but bread and molasses and coffee without milk. I must say we felt rather poverty stricken. If we had been by ourselves it would have been nothing but to seat from 12 to 15 men to a table like that , with bread and molasses breakfast, molasses and bread for dinner and the same for supper was anything but agreeable, but they were very well satisfied to get even that. 

The next day of the battle, which was Thursday, we heard nothing but a continual roar of cannons and musketry. The firing began about 4 in the morning and lasted until dark. Our forces were on the cemetery hill and Round Top. We did not mind the shells so much, we were getting used to them. The greatest danger was from the sharpshooters. Early that morning some of the men we had overnight , I think that the chaplin, a couple of surgeons and the colonel were standing on the porch when a ball came and struck just above their heads. Indeed i had to laugh to see them jump, although it was not a laughing matter, for if it had been a little lower it would have struck one of them.They did not appear to mind it at all, laughed at themselves for jumping. A good many shells were thrown into town that day and came from our own men. The rebels had possession of the town and as there were a great many collected in the diamond they fired on them. We were not in much danger that day, all we had to do was keep in the house and run to the cellar when the shells became thickest. We retired about 11 o'clock. 

All were in bed but myself when there was a rap at the door. Papa got up and went to the door. There were two rebels there. They said that General Trimble and three of his aids wanted supper and lodging. Well, all we could do was get what we had for supper and made a place for them to sleep, although our house was full already. After we had fixed everything his aides came to say the General had concluded to stay where he was. They however took supper and went away. After they were gone Kate and I were standing in the kitchen when there was a knock at the door. kate went and there were two of our soldiers wanting bread. They had not gone when someone knocked at the other door. I opened it and three rebels asked for bread and permission to sleep in the kitchen. I gave then bread but of course did not let them stay all night. 

That night the rebels tried to break in the house but Captain Palmer, the one who is still here, called to them and told them it was a hospital and they went away. I must tell you about General Trimble. He was wounded in Friday's battle, had his leg amputated and was at the college hospital and very anxious to be brought to tow.. mcCurdy had him brought to their house. He had been there nearly two weeks when yesterday he was ordered taken to the hospital . He was very angry about it.When the surgeon went into his room he said: "General I have orders to take you to Seminary Hospital" Well the General refused to go and said it was certain death to go there. "Well, but General, my orders are to take you there" "Well", said the General, "give ne a week to stay yet" "General , I am ordered to take you now." "Well give me four days" "General you have been in the army long enough to kow orders must be obeyed". "Well give me until tomorrow then" "General the ambulance is at the door and you must go now" "Well is General Paul to be moved?" " General Paul is very comfortable where he is." The General was terribly angry and said it would not always be this way and they would retaliate. 

The third day of the battle was comparatively quiet, until about three in the afternoon and the cannonading began and such cannonading no one ever heard. Nothing can be compared to it. No one who has heard it can form any idea of how terrible it is. All felt that the day must decide who should conquer. The firing was kept up until sometime after dark, it never for a moment ceased. During the night we knew we were victorious, we saw the rebel train moving off. In the morning not a rebel was to be seen. How happy everyone felt. None but smiling faces were to be seen then. It was indeed a joyous fourth for us. " I wish you could be here now, "tis not the same quiet old place it was when you were here. The streets are always full of strangers, soldiers , ambulances and government wagons. 

Frank was here a week before last from Thursday until Monday. Richard is here now, is the leader of a band that belongs to one of the regiments here. We got Mr Earnest's note late evening. papa had gone to bed, was not all that well. I opened the letter, just expected what was in it. I knew he was drafted, that his congregation thought too much of him to let him go. Will he be here now? Oh I have so much to tell you but my sheet is full and I am so tired writing. I know you will excuse bad writing, have been writing so long my hand trembles. You ought to see Uncle Samuels house. It is just riddled with shot.

Give my love to every person. kiss dear little alice and paul for me. Write soon, Your sister, Jennie. - 

From In the Swan's Shadow

Monday, December 9, 2019

New York painter James Henry Cafferty (1819–1869)

  James Henry Cafferty (American artist, 1819–1869) Preparing to Fish

James Cafferty, one of the 7 children of an Albany tailor, was in New York by 1839, working as a sign painter. In 1841, he began 2 years of study in New York's National Academy school's antique class. His work was shown in a National Academy annual exhibition in 1843. That same year he was elected vice-president of the newly founded New-York Sketch Club.  During the 1840s and 1850s, Cafferty worked as a portrait, landscape, & genre painter. He also did book illustrations. For a period during these years he supplemented his income by selling artists' supplies. The American Art-Union purchased many of his landscapes for its annual lotteries, & he was a consistent exhibitor in Academy annuals, showing portraits & an occasional landscape through the 1850s. During the last decade of his life, still lifes - especially fish & game subjects - dominated his work.

 James Henry Cafferty (American artist, 1819–1869) A Young Girl

 James Henry Cafferty (American artist, 1819–1869) Midday Rest

James Henry Cafferty (American artist, 1819–1869) The Sidewalks of New York

 James Henry Cafferty (American artist, 1819–1869) News of the Day 1860

 James Henry Cafferty (American artist, 1819–1869) Newsboy selling the New York Herald 1857

James Henry Cafferty (American artist, 1819–1869) Portrait of Robert Fulton, 1852

Saturday, December 7, 2019

President Madison returns to Washington, a city of blackened and burnt ruins - August 27 1814

1814 White House on Fire. William Strickland, engraver. Library of Congress.

I know not where we are in the first instance to hide our heads.  James Madison, prepares to return to Washington, August 27, 1814. 

President Madison writes to Dolley Madison asking her to join him in Washington. August 27, 1814. 

The dragoons are ordered in readiness to guard the President to Washington. August 27, 1814 

President Madison receives a message from Monroe advising him to return to Washington to reestablish the government. August 27, 1814 

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Woman's Work - November, 1859 Diary of Sarah Young Bovard, 31-year-old mother of 8 in Scott County, Indiana

About the writer: Sarah Waldsmith Young was born on February 21, 1828 in Hamilton County, Ohio. She was the daughter of Abner Young, born 1799 in Maine, and Jane Waldsmith, born 1806 in Hamilton County, Ohio. Her husband James W. Bovard had been born in Steubenville, Ohio in 1828. They married February 29, 1844 in the small crossroads town of Alpha in Scott County, Indiana, which was nestled in southern Indiana.

By the time she began her diary in 1859 at age 31, she had eight children: Oliver William, February 9, 1845
Marion McKinley, January 11, 1847
Maria Jane, February 4, 1849
Freeman Daily, January 9, 1851
Melville Young; December 6, 1852
Abner Sinclair, October 13, 1854
George Finley, August 8, 1856
James Carvossa, July 20, 1858.

One of her children had died before she began writing her diary. Oliver William Bovard died Nov. 11, 1857 at 12 years, 8 months and 6 days old. By 1866, Sarah would have four more children, two would go on to become college presidents.

Diary of November, 1859

NOVEMBER 3, 1859: I commence early to boil syrup, boil all day. Catherine and children comes-stays all day--warm and pleasant. Go in the afternoon to grind cane. Mother comes in the evening.

Sarah was boiling cane juice to make cane syrup. Syrup-making is a cold-weather task. The cane is cut close to the first heavy frost. Cold weather increases the sweetness of the juice, a delay would cause it to sour or ferment. As soon as the cane is cut, the grinding and pressing begins to extract the cane juice. Sarah talked of going to grind cane in the afternoon. Apparently there was someone nearby who had a mill or animal-driven crushing device. Cane syrup, molasses, and brown sugar all start with the juice squeezed from sugar cane stalks. The cane juice itself is only faintly sweet, and the original color is an unappetizing murky gray. To make cane syrup, the raw cane juice is boiled to evaporate the liquids and stabilize the sugars; the result is sweeter than molasses, with a rich caramel flavor. Sarah would boil her cane juice for hours in a kettle regularly skimming it to remove impurites. As it boils and thickens, dirt, leaves, bits of stalk, wax, and bark roll to the suface. Sarah might use a coarse collander attached to a long wooden pole as a skimmer. After each skim, she would probably lift the syrup and let it spill back into the kettle to hasten the evaporation. The boiling juice slowly thickens to syrup over the course of several hours. It's nearly finished when a spoonful of it runs down a sloping pan at a slow speed. The syrup is now a rich golden color. Probably Sarah would filter her syrup one last time, blazing hot, through a bed sheet into another kettle. After it cooled a bit, she finally would pour it into waiting mason jars or crocks.

NOVEMBER 4, 1859: Pleasant morning. I boil syrup cane juice till noon, then wash and warp my jeans at night. James helps me. Pap and mother went to Paris to day. Mother bought a fine shawl---$6.30. Clear day but very windy and smoky. Dry time--we wish it would rain.

Paris, Indiana is about 15 miles northeast of Jennings Township.

NOVEMBER 6, 1859: Very smoky. Sleep late. My throat is sore--bad cold. Brother Moses and family goes home to day. James goes with me to Gilead to meeting. Mr. Potts preaches--his text was "Enoch walking with God 300 years and then was not for God took him." Come home late. All well, we left little Jimmy home with the rest of the children. I write at night. The children reads their books and make noise enough.

After visiting for 11 days, Sarah's brother, his pregnant wife, and his 4 children faced a long carriage ride back home. On December 26, Moses' wife Martha would give birth to their 5th child, George Buchanan Young.

NOVEMBER 9, 1859: Pleasant and warm. We beam our 40 yards of jeans--takes us one hour to beam it--put it through the gears and reed. Mother comes with some filling. James still works at fixing our house-the doors and windows. We begin to want rain very bad--the corn is turning yellow for want of rain.

Here are some weaving terms Sarah uses:
Warp are the threads running the length of the loom across which threads are woven.
Weft or filling are the threads which are woven crosswise to the warp to form the web.
A reed is a comb with both sides closed which fits into the beater. It spaces the warp threads evenly and beats the weft into place.
Beaming is winding the warp, which is spaced out to its weaving width, onto the warp beam.

NOVEMBER 14, 1859: Up early this morning--commence washing with frozen water. The children goes to school. I wash hard. Get done against 2 o'clock. Norwood Tobias is here for dinner. Mother goes by to Catherines. James goes to mill with corn to Mayfields then hauls wood. I weave at my jeans. We are all well.

Norwood Tobias was the 21 year old son of neighbors William H. Tobias from Ohio and Sarah Sally Kashow from New Jersey who had married in Jennings County, Indiana, in 1835.

Catherine was Sarah's sister. Issa Mayfield, 46, was a nearby widower who lived on a farm with his 4 children aged 12 to 6.

NOVEMBER 18, 1859: Rained all day--commenced before daylight. James commenced his sled--went to paps for an auger--took their salt home. I wove all day. James quilted some. We are glad to see it rain. Jimmy went barefooted. He is a good boy--I do not get to nurse him much. I do not get to read my Bible enough--too much work to do.

Surprised to see her husband quilting. Her baby James Carvossa had been born on July 20, 1858. Baby James would die after Sarah stopped her diary, on July 20, 1864.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 1859: Cloudy, make a kettle of pumpkin butter--very good. I weave some. Mother comes out awhile. I fill quilts. Maria Jane irons, James finishes his sled. Marion went to the [post] office. Freeman and Melville and Aby and George all disobedient children. I hope they will get better.

Pumpkin butter is thicker than apple butter and usually eaten as a spread on breads. The taste depends on what spices you have on hand; the recipe is very easy. The mixture is so thick, that it is splattery when cooking and must be stirred constantly. Bring it to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for about 30 minutes.3 1/2 cups of pumpkin, pureed 3/4 cup apple juice 1 - 2 teaspoons ground ginger 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves 1 cup sugar 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Not sure how Sarah stored her pumpkin butter. With so much family living nearby and her own family of ten, perhaps it disappeared quickly. If she did store it, I hope she used a boiling water bath to can it, because in the 19th century, the govenment did not tell you what to worry about. Today the USDA recommends not canning pureed pumpkin, because the density and pH vary too much-- which can lead to botulism. The 21st century advice seems to be to freeze or refrigerate pumpkin butters. No freezers in Sarah's day.

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 1859 ; Blessed Sabbath morning. We are all well as common. Up late this morning. James and I went to Gilead to meeting. Brother Potts preached. His text was, "Ye are my friends as long as you do whatsoever I command you."--5 chapter and 14th verse of St. John.

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 1859: Up early this morning. James goes to husk corn for Mrs. Miller, then hauls corn in the afternoon. I weave hard afternoon and mind the children, cook dinner, sweep, wash in the forenoon, sew at night thinking how much work I have to do and how to get it done.

Mary Miller was an 80 year old widow who was born in Virginia and lived with a 35 year old William Miller and a young housekeeper in Jennings Township, Scott County, Indiana.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 1859 This is Thanksgiving Day. I feel thankful that all is as well with us as what it is. Pap and mother have gone to Deborah's to day. Cool, and cloudy. James hauls rails for his fence--then is very sick at night. I weave all day--almost out of heart. So much to do here. Here comes Mary Ann Tobias with Ruth's jeans. My thoughts don't get much rest.

Mary Ann Tobias, 23, was Mary Ann Whitsett who married John J. Tobias, 26, in Scott County, Indiana in 1854. They lived nearby in Alpha and had one child at this time, Edward who was nearly 2.

Ruth was probably Ruth Ann Kashow, 34, who married William Jefferson Young, 30, Sarah's brother. They lived in Jennings Township, Scott County, with their 4 children: Maurice Pierce, 7; Eleanora, 5; Viola Jane, 3; and William Arthur, 1.

No Thanksgiving celebration on this day.

TUESDAY NOVEMBER 29, 1859: Up early and off to town. Beautiful day, warm sun--some streaked white clouds-cool air-white frost. The children goes to stay with Catherine (her sister.) Isaac goes to town. We get to town before sun down. James stays at the tavern and I stay at Mrs. Byrds. I seen and heard many things, but with very little satisfaction amid poor encouragement. This is a very wicked world, but I do not see much of it. I did not sleep much. The boats made such a noise and I was uneasy about home and children.

James and Sarah traveled to Madison, Indiana, on the Ohio River. They dropped 7 of their 8 childern off to spend the night with her sister, Catherine Sampson, who had 2 of her own.

Isaac Sampson, Catherine's husband, traveled with them.

James and Isaac spent the night at a tavern/inn. Sarah and her nursing baby boarded at a local home.

Madison was about 25 miles from home. Madison is located on the north bank of the Ohio River 46 miles upstream from Louisville Ky, and 88 miles downstream from Cincinnati Ohio. It prospered in the 1st half of the 19th century, when river travel conveyed goods and people into the midwest. It began to decline in the 1850s as railroads began to criss cross the land.

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 30, 1859: Leave town (Madison) at half past 9--sick and tired. Not enough money to buy what I need. James (husband) buys 5c worth of cake and l0c worth of cheese. We get home just dusk-the roads very good. We stopped at Julia Roseberry's a few minutes. A beautiful warn day--begins to look like rain in the evening. The children all well--done well. Marion (son, 12) and Maria Jane (daughter, 10) goes to a spelling to night. I slept very sound last night was very tired. Little Jimmy (son, 1) was such a good babe at town--never cried to trouble me any. I bought Maria Jane a shawl for $l.25. Caroline McLain come home with Maria Jane from spelling.

Julia Roseberry was Sarah's aunt. Sarah's mother Jane Waldsmith's sister Julia Ann Waldsmith (b 1819) married Samuel Roseberry (b 1817) in 1841. They lived about 14 miles away in Jefferson County, Indiana.

You might enjoy reading Sarah Bovard's Diary from its beginning in January of 1859. Free websites containing all diary entries include: