If you are visiting Caroline’s Journal for the first time prompted by the recent article in the VHS Member Newsletter, Welcome! The VHS staff has been wonderful to work with and we appreciate their support. But you have caught us taking a breather between projects.
Caroline’s Journal began over three years ago by posting the first entry – 1 June, 1864 – of Caroline’s volume #7 on its 150th anniversary. We continued daily for a little over three years when Caroline began writing in her new blank book and CJ7 came to an end.
As the project unfolded over the next three years there were many surprises, not the least of which was the ‘discovery’ of CJ1 and CJ2 at the Library of Virginia. So this winter we will begin again posting Caroline’s daily entries, this time beginning with 18 February, 1855, a Sunday, and as we learn, “A lovely day.” Join us, won’t you?
In the meantime you can drop into the ongoing journal of Caroline’s 18 year-old daughter Rose (http://www.roselittlepage.com/) which provides her take on the Littlepage family of 1853.
Further, you can sign up for daily emails alerting you of new posts on Caroline’s Journal. Look under the calendar on the sidebar.
So Welcome! Feel free to read below and poke around the website. You can even start with that first entry – use the ‘back’ arrow on the calendar – and read through CJ7 at your leisure. Hopefully we will see you again this winter.
Yesterday Caroline wrote of Bill riding away in the evening from Woodbury west toward Enfield “as far as the field” with Mr. Cooke, his future brother-in-law. As it was the day after the summer solstice, it is possible there was still twilight for Bill to see his way as he walked back toward Woodbury. These last sentences for 22 June, 1867 were also Caroline’s last in Volume #7 of her Journal. She likely began Volume #8 today, 150 years ago, in a new blank book. She may have been happy to set aside the old upside-down damaged store ledger which had been her confidant for the past three years; three turbulent years. She may have felt a renewal, a setting aside of the old with expectations for the future. But unless CJ8 comes to hand, we will never know. So it is sadly fitting that the last we have from Caroline describes a journey, an evening journey into twilight.
In 1869 “Littlepage, Mrs. CB” appears on the King William Personal Property tax rolls, the first time she is mentioned there by name. Then Caroline, 61, appears in the US Census the following year. Recorded living with Caroline were her son Hardie and his new wife Emily, Nannie, now 20, and John C., 24, a.k.a. Zac. Bill and Liv, still single, were living on a farm in New Kent. Lucy (Pigeo), now Mrs. John Cooke, is living next door at Enfield with son John Cooke, Jr. Bake is living in the northern part of King William with her dashing Capt. Arledge and two daughters. Mary Elizabeth (Molly) is still keeping the Garland Hanes, Jr. household near Richmond, now with five children about. And Dr. Ju and Mag are still at Oak Dale with two boys and three servants.
However, Caroline is missing from the PP tax roll for 1870. If, as seems likely, Caroline died not long after the Census was taken – as of 18 July – we oddly have no record, official or otherwise. And as of this writing, her resting place has not been established. Within a couple of years the Estate of Lewis Littlepage will disappear from the tax books, Woodbury will be divided and sold, and her children, for the most part, will further scatter. They, and her grandchildren, will live interesting lives.
I would like to thank all of you who have participated by reading Caroline’s daily posts. Reading in real time the daily entries of a 150 year-old journal for three years takes rare dedication and certainly inspired me to keep going. But it also provided a unique opportunity to experience the past somewhat like Caroline did her present, one day at a time. I hope at least this part of our past looks different to you now. And I would especially like to thank the Littlepage family members and others who have assisted with their questions, comments and research. Your active participation has enriched this project for our readers, and for me.
BUT WAIT! THERE IS MORE! I invite our readers to visit http://www.roselittlepage.com/, the 1853 journal of Caroline’s 18 year-old daughter Rose. Not only can one get an alternative view of life in the Littlepage household years earlier, this blog provides us a prequel to Caroline’s first two Journal volumes which I plan to post as a daily blog beginning early next year. These two journals, which run from February, 1855 to July, 1857 present a younger Caroline, introduce us to her husband, “the Major,” and a open a window into life in antebellum King William. If you liked CJ7, you will love CJs 1 & 2.
In the meantime I will be working on the new website, spending more time with Rose’s Journal, which I have been neglecting, and fine tuning the manuscript of CJ7. We have learned much since beginning this project over three years ago. But there is so much left to learn. Surprises are just around the corner. Stay tuned!