Thursday, 31st January, 1867

The weather has commenced to moderate somewhat. A considerable thaw is taking place this evening on the surface, i.e. the snow is melting and the water standing in puddles upon the frozen earth. Bill rode Fannie to the C. H. Court still in session. I sent by him for a hoop skirt and Balmoral for Nan, i.e. I wished to look at one of Mr. Slaughter’s before Bill goes to Richmond. He brought a hoop skirt and the only two Balmorals he had. I liked them very much and gave Nan one of each. She is getting ready for school. We concluded to take all. Bill had one charged to himself and presented it to me, but it was so gay I thought it would suit Pigeo better and she and I traded. She and Hardie called at Miss Cary’s this afternoon, returned to supper. Tom sick today.

Wednesday, 30th January, 1867

The weather intensely cold. I made a pair of pants this morning. Didn’t go down to breakfast, felt rather indisposed. About 12 I had some coffee made and enjoyed a snack with Pigeo and Nan very much. After having some few starched things ironed by Nan and myself, did some little repairs to Hardie’s overcoat before he and Bill started to the C. H. Both walked, it was so cold. Returned to supper. Nan and Pigeo together had just prepared a bountiful one. We only have two regularly cooked meals a day. All take a snack whenever they like, i.e. we take ours and the boys just when they are in place.

Tuesday, 29th January, 1867

The cold weather continues. Bill rode to the C. H. Court in session again today. Mr. Slaughter wishes to have the use of some men e.g., but is not prepared to receive it. – – Hardie remained at home till the afternoon when he accompanied Misses Cooke and Acree (who had been on a visit here) to call on Miss Cary at “White Bank,” Mr. Norment’s teacher. They remained till after tea and Hardie stayed till some time during the night. Bill returned to supper. Pigeo pretends to be principal in the dining room this week. She is teaching Mollie with great assiduity. She improves very fast.

Monday, 28th January, 1867

Quite a pretty day, some little thaw. I went in the buggy to Ju’s about 12 o’clk. Only saw him a minute or two, returned home at sunset. Rather a disagreeable ride though. Hardie drove the buggy. Bill was anxious that I should go, thinking perhaps I might be able to transact some little business that I had to do, but the opportunity did not offer. Therefore, we left sooner than we should have done in order for Mag to make preparation for some Magistrates. Ju sent word would spend the night with him. Nannie, dear little heart, soon went down and had our frugal meal prepared and a pot of hot coffee. Mag excused herself for not giving me a cup, which I should have enjoyed exceedingly after taking a cold disagreeable ride. I frequently indulge at odd times in the delicious draught. It seems to invigorate and refresh rather than stupefy the energies of the mind as many other things do, for instance the use of “tobacco,” hardened spirit, or indeed a narcotic of any kind, when indulged in prove to be most intolerable in their affects.

Sunday, 27th January, 1867

A bitter cold, bleak morning. No one except Bill attended Church. He returned to dinner. Hardie to my surprise had the buggy hitched and carried Mr. Palmer to Enfield. Old Mr. Grubbs left on horseback with them. I was pretty glad to see them start. The ice prevented them crossing the river. It is indeed a great privation to me not to be able to attend Church. Have not been absent as long since I have been a member of that Church. This is the 4th Sunday since I was there. Hardie returned about night, very cold. They all went down and got supper. I had been lying down.

Saturday, 26th January, 1867

The children returned from Ju’s about 5 o’clk. I arose at that time and made a fire and nearly finished off a linsey dress I have been about for Mollie. All retired, Mr. Cooke remained till the afternoon. Mr. Palmer, a gentleman from Baltimore, came in a buggy. He remained the rest of the day and spent the night. Mr. Grubbs came also to spend the night, about the time Bill returned, while we were at supper. Pigeo presided in my place at the table. I didn’t feel well enough to dress after officiating around the stove. Hardie retired sometime before the rest, having been dissipating two nights in succession, and feels the effects of it more than the rest. Bill left home about eleven for the C. H. to see Ju, took dinner there and returned to supper.

Friday, 25th January, 1867

A little threatening for snow. The children returned ½ past 5 o’clk. I had just gotten up and made a fire. Mr. Cooke went on home. Pigeo and Nan just got right in my bed, after undressing. Said they enjoyed themselves very much. Ju had just returned from Richmond. He and Mag with Stuart were there. They will give them a little dance tonight. They sent Rosalie down for two pounds butter and ½ peck ground peas and loaf bread. Sent the two first articles, will send the other this evening. Mr. Cooke’s hands are getting ice, four in number. I had breakfast for the children at ten o’clk. Let them sleep till that time. Mr. Cooke came about 4 o’clk. on his way home from the C. H., where he had been to have something done to his sleigh. Returned in about an hour, and he and Hardie, with Pigeo and Nan, started to Ju’s at dusk. Mollie and I were taking the roughed dried clothes in. Sent Mag a bucket of risen dough to have baked at her request. I am feeling badly tonight. Tried my best to work, but could not. The fatigue I have to go through overcomes me. I am not equal to the task and I often complain more than I ought to, no doubt, for I never make anything by it. Oh for some kindred spirit, one in whom I could confide, one to advise with, and where I have done all I can, or know how to do, give one word of appreciation or sanction to lighten the cares and anxieties I have fallen heir to.

“My prospects are clouded that once were so bright,
My hopes are now blasted by sorrow sad blight,
and loneliness deep is pervading my heart.
While tears in profusion unbidden will start,
His place is now vacant, alone am I left.
Alone in my grief of my soother he left.
Alone in my trials – alone in my tears,
Alone in my doubts and alone in my fear,
But though waves of affliction may over me roll,
This thought is a balm in my grief hardened soul.
That Jesus will bind us the heart that is torn,
And temper the mind to the Lamb that was shorn.”

Thursday, 24th January, 1867

Quite a pretty day for getting ice. Mr. Cooke came while we were having breakfast, with his wagon and hands, and they, with our oxcart and mules in front, soon commenced the operation. – – Tom baked bread and boiled a joint of old bacon with cabbage in the kitchen. I cooked the rest of the dinner on the stove. I made an excellent beef soup, bird pie, baked tomatoes, sausage and jumbles, all very nicely cooked, to praise myself. Hardie went to the C. H. for ½ gallon whiskey, made a pitcher toast today. They all prevailed on me while at dinner to allow Pigeo and Nan to go up to a little dance given by Mrs. Pemberton. With some reluctance I agreed. They started after sunset, Mr. Cooke and Hardie with them in the sleigh. Some four or five young men have been skating out before the house this evening. The ice is some 7 or 8 inches thick they are putting in the ice house. I commenced about making a linsey dress for Mollie today. Plaited Pigeo’s blue mousdelaine skirt this evening. – – Patsy spent the night in the kitchen with Tom. She left before breakfast. Gave her a piece of China.

Wednesday, 23rd January, 1867

Quite a fine morning, but very cold. Hope Ju got safely to Richmond with his load yesterday, have some fears though. There is so much ice and the traveling so bad. Bill promised him to ride up there last night and sit till bedtime, but declined going on acct. of being too tired. He has been busy getting the ice house ready for putting in the ice tomorrow, repairing cart body, &c. Hardie rode Fannie over to Mr. Cooke’s to inform him, as he wishes to assist in filling the house. He returned with Mr. Cooke in his sleigh, driving Fannie with his horse and went to the C. H. together to see about having his mules shod for hauling. Hardie returned on horseback. Mr. Cooke went on home. Bill rode to Ju’s and sat till bedtime with Mag. Returned just as Hardie and I were about to take some coffee, in order to keep his eyes open to finish reading Dr. Edwards’ book, and joined us in some head cheese and coffee. I suppose Mag had taken supper before he got there, as it was nearly sunset when he left home. Brought a letter from Zac to Nan and his report for me, also a document from New York. The boys sat up till 12 and I did not retire till 2. Nearly knit a whole stocking for Mollie and put on the 2nd one. – – Patsy came to wash today.

Tuesday, 22nd January, 1867

Very threatening for snow again this morning, but after a while the sun came out and the day has been tolerably good, but little thaw. I certainly am anxious to see the face of the earth once more, for it has been a long time since. I finished a letter to Rose and with some ½ doz. others sent by Bill this morning for Ju to take to Richmond, from Pigeo and Nannie. He returned about 11, bringing two bags of meal on George unexpectedly from the mill below, so he will not have to go across the river, which would be very dangerous. He and Hardie, with Tom to help, brought stock some fodder to the barn in the oxcart. Pigeo has a very good idea of cooking, I think. Her first meal was supper last night. Hardie and Nan and I had several hearty laughs at her, but we had no business in the dining room till supper was ready. We bothered her, he describing so many funny things that had taken place with Mr. Cooke and himself while away. She says she will not allow any one to come in hereafter. – – She has done first rate today. Cooks with dispatch and neatness, seasons finely, with judgment and economy.

Monday, 21st January, 1867

Some little thaw going on today. Bill went over In the buggy about eleven for Pigeo. They returned and after taking a snack, he went up in the sleigh to see Ju about going to Richmond and to bring the meal, but it had not been ground, so we concluded to try and break the ice and cross the ferry to Walkerton Mill. Hardie and Mr. Cooke returned from “Dewberry,” the name of Mrs. Cooke’s resident in Hanover, about 4 o’clk.1 The latter went on home after bringing Hardie by, driving one horse. Met with a serious accident with the other, “gored by an ox,” he thinks mortally wounded. Ju intends starting to Richmond in the morning. Bill had an idea of going at the same time to procure labor, but the severity of the winter would allow no work to be done, even if he had hands. Therefore, it would be useless to incur fruitless expense. Tom scarcely finds employment now, just to get wood, on account of the severe cold. Hardie commenced reading Dr. Edwards’ work. I think he will be pleased with it. Bill likewise.

  1. Mr. John McPhereson Cooke’s mother was Elizabeth Edmonia [Churchill] Cooke. Her husband, Rev. John McPhereson Cooke, died in 1861. Dewberry in western Hanover County is now on the National Register of Historic Places. Mrs. Cooke’s first husband was her cousin Thomas Nelson Berkeley of Airwell in Hanover.  (back)

Sunday, 20th January, 1867

Bill’s driving Fannie today. Led me to enquire of Tom after the welfare of George. After some deliberation he say’s he did not know where he was, so he still left me in doubt and I had him brought in the yard. He galloped him round quite gaily. Very cold and cloudy. I was afraid to turn out in the buggy, though I have missed two Sundays from Church. Bill took Nan and Millie to Zion and from there he went to Jerusalem and came by for them and home to dinner, all covered in snow when they came in. Commenced snowing soon after they got there and snowed several hours fast, and then turned to hail, rain and snow and continued till in the night. We all took supper at twilight in the chamber. Commenced reading a work gotten up by Dr. Edwards on Popular Christianity and the Christianity of the Bible. Pigeo will not be able to get home this evening.

Saturday, 19th January, 1867

Still intensely cold. The whole face of the earth covered with snow and sleet and no thaw. Bill started early in the sleigh with corn to the mill, drove two mules. Returned about 4 o’clk. and no meal. Said he has the promise of having it brought to the C. H. on Monday. He hitched Fannie to the buggy and took Pigeo over to Enfield to spend the night with Mrs. Harrison in the absence of her brother. He returned to supper. He bought some excellent cheese as he returned from the Mill at the C. H. Tom brought two loads wood this evening, the first time he ever drove oxen. I was pleased to see it. Did it of his own accord. He is very slow, but more to be depended on than Addison was. – – Nan and I gave the house a pretty general sweeping this evening. Found the perspiration standing on my face when I finished, although so cold. It has clouded up tonight and I would not be surprised if it snows again in less than 24 hours. – – Nannie has done first rate in the cooking stove this week, her first attempt. Hope Pigeo may succeed as well next week. If she does, I shall feel quite proud, and not so dependent upon the “Ethiopian race.” Blind John appears more cheerful and pleasant since it has developed upon the “Pale face,” as the Indians call us, to provide his meals and take them to him altogether.

Friday, 18th January, 1867

The weather still intensely cold. Ju came about ten and staid till after dinner. Gave him some nice hot coffee and warm loaf bread, which had not sufficiently risen for breakfast. He went with Bill to the smokehouse to examine the pork. As so many persons have found theirs injured, we feared ours might be also. They were somewhat under the impression that it was, upon examination, but I thought otherwise. Any how, to satisfy them, I made Tom boil ½ a large shoulder in the kitchen and found it perfectly sound. Bill took Pigeo to Enfield in the buggy. They intend to spend a day or two with Mrs. Harrison in the absence of her brother. Bill has been busy today fixing a sleigh to go to Duval’s Mill tomorrow, as the river is frozen and we can’t get to Walkerton Mill, where we have a standing turn.1 Pigeo and Nan, with little Mollie, went to call on Mrs. Harrison this evening. Found Mrs. Norment and Miss Cary there.2 She made Pigeo promise to go over tomorrow evening and spend the night with her, as she will be alone. I repaired and did up a Va. skirt for Nan while they were gone. I was particular to do so because Bake wove it. It has been so very cold the last two nights and wood scarce, that I have taken the children in the chamber with me to sleep. Bill shelled corn tonight after going for the mail.

  1. DuVal’s Mill, owned by the enterprising Dr. Phil DuVal, is mentioned in Rose’s Journal and appears on the 1853 KW Land Tax Rolls as “Mill on Mattiponi.” While it does not appear on the Gilmer map, it would remain DuVal’s Mill until about 1874 when James I. Littlepage, one of Col. Edmund’s sons, would purchase it. Today it is in the center of Sandy Point State Forest, at the end of 641.  (back)
  2. We will learn that Miss Cary is a teacher employed by the Norment’s at White Bank. Unfortunately, we will not learn her given name or anything about her.  (back)

Thursday, 17th January, 1867

Quite a pretty morning, but very cold. Mr. Cooke left before breakfast and returned again at eleven. All hands went to work at the barn to see the damage done to the sleigh, and started away again about 2 o’clk., didn’t wait for dinner. Bill returned to supper. Roland, I suppose, went home. Mr. Cooke and Hardie came after we had finished supper, so I had to prepare another for them. Pigeo proffered to wait upon them and took the water in the parlor. I imagine they dined and supped at the same time, for I don’t know where they took dinner. Hardie got ready after supper and left with Mr. Cooke in his buggy and the sleigh hitched on behind with the intention of making a visit with him tomorrow to his Mother’s in Hanover, where they will spend several days. They are certainly wild boys. Don’t know what is to be their fate. Have fears sometimes for their safety, but I have always heard it said that “nought was never in danger,” so I suppose it will be all right with them, for they hearken at no remonstrance, but go their own way, and that will eventually (if they turn not) lead them to destruction, although there is a way for them, so plain, that a wayfaring man, though a fool may not err therein. – – Patsy came this morning to wash, but it was so cold I dismissed her after giving her some hot coffee and biscuits.

Wednesday, 16th January, 1867

Well it hasn’t snowed today, but bitter cold. Mr. Cooke and Roland came about 10 o’clk. and they hitched Fannie with Mr. Cooke’s horse and all hands got in and went to the C. H. with the intention, I believe, of making a call on some young ladies. – – It’s now nearly 7. Pigeo and Nan are playing duets, the boys have not returned yet. I sent a note to Ju by Bill desiring to see him on some particular business. – – We all retired at ten and after 10 o’clk. the boys, Bill, Hardie, Roland Lewis and Mr. Cooke came in having spent the evening at Mr. Norment’s. – – Broke their sleigh at the Sandy Hill, the horses ran off home. Bill and Roland came on, left the other two with the sleigh after taking a nap. They despaired seeing the horses again, so they walked home. Came in quietly, retired.

Tuesday, 15th January, 1867

It snowed this morning till 12 o’clk., as fast almost as I ever saw it. I think it has averaged a snow for every 24 hours since the first one. After the boys finished ironing off the runners to their sleigh, they hitched Fannie and both went over to Mr. Cooke’s, started about 10 o’clk. Fixed them to the sleigh, went from there to the C. H., and then returned about 4 o’clk. driving 3 horses and Roland Lewis on horseback. Staid a short time, and Mr. Cooke and Roland left to attend a party. Tom shucked some corn today. I’ve felt sad today, but the boys think I look sour. I am making a couple coarse underskirts for myself.

Monday, 14th January, 1867

Just such a day as yesterday, only a little worse. Snowing when I awoke, but soon turned to rain and rained hard all day. I think, Bill is shucking some corn. Nan went down and had a nice dinner on her own. Fixed a nicely fried steak and other things, all apropos. The boys came in just in proper time. I think Hardie is making new runners for their sleigh. I finished off a pair of stockings for Nan, knit Pigeo a pair before Xmas. Intend knitting Mollie a pair after I finish the pair I have on hand for Nannie. Made a coarse bib apron on purpose for Pigeo and Nan to cook in. Don’t know what turn the former will have for it. I think Nan has a right good idea. The first principle I wish them to learn is neatness in the dining room; the next, dispatch. Season everything to the taste and serve while hot. Every member of the family have to make themselves useful now. Even little Mollie passes the cups around the table and begins to know which side to go. Hardie killed three partridges.

Sunday, 13th January, 1867

One of the worst days I ever witnessed. It is now pouring down rain upon the thick sleet and deep snow already on the ground, and so cold that I can’t tell how rain can fall without freezing. We all spend the day within doors, except occasionally the boys go out to attend to feeding and bring in wood. I laid my plans yesterday as regards some little domestic concerns. Nan presides in the dining room this week. She has done very well today. For the beginning, had an excellent peach and pear roll for dinner, as well as some delightful soup, besides other things. I went out to feed my fowls about 12 o’clk. and John kept up a roar of laughter in the kitchen at my slipping about on the sleet trying to make my way to the hen house. The house has been quiet today, all hands are engaged in reading. Tom went to visit his Mama, although the rain was falling fast, after dinner. Pigeo copied some poetry. I’ve spent the day reading and thinking mostly of the absent, sometimes sad, but hope all things may be for the best.

Saturday, 12th January, 1867

Intensely cold, but the sun shines brightly and it’s quite a pretty day. Bill driving the oxcart and hauling wood ready cut, or rather sawed and mulled by Hardie himself and Tom, the right length for the fireplace, nice oak wood. – – I cooked breakfast this morning. Nan finished off a shirt for Bill, and I starched it while in the dining room. – – Pigeo finished hemming the body of a linen chemise for me and sewed up and nearly finished hemming another. I am sad today. It requires a greater effort on my part to control my feelings than I had imagined. I can’t help reverting to the past and recalling those halcyon days when a kind husband exerted himself almost beyond his strength to procure every comfort that could render me happy. – – He had his faults, but I do not see them now. His many virtues seem to throw a mantle over all. I now have to combat the ills of life alone and try very hard to cast away the shadows that so often becloud my pathway, endeavoring at all times to fix my mind upon the prospect in view, which we may only look at mentally, i.e., by the age of Faith, that Faith which is founded upon the testimony of God’s holy work. Our short-sighted visions and narrow mind too often darkens the prospect and makes the present more unbearable.

Friday, 11th January, 1867

The ground is pretty well covered again in snow, i.e., it has snowed three or four times upon the first snow. Nan and I arose quite early and about day the sleigh drove round the circle. They were pretty well covered with snow. Hardie and Mr. Cooke retired to take a nap, and Bill attended to feeding. Pigeo went to her room also. – – Patsy cooked breakfast. It seems to be a hard matter for them to get off. Addison went with Dandridge to bring a cart to move them today. They left about 4 o’clk. P.M. The wedding party awoke and took breakfast between 12 and 10 o’clk., and soon had the sleigh hitched to call on the bride, Pigeo, Nan, Hardie and Mr. Cooke. It is now ten o’clk., I am writing in my journal, they have not returned yet. – – Mollie and I took a walk to the quarter through the snow after they all left. I had a hearty cry at parting with my faithful Patsy. She and Martha came upstairs to take leave of me. Bill and I were fixing the lock on the door between Mary’s room and front rooms. He rode George to the C. H. at 4 o’clk. – – Mollie and I are the only ones in the house, and Tom and Blind John the only ones in the kitchen, or on the land besides. Mollie is now dozing in the chair and will soon retire, and I shall be entirely alone. She and I went down and took supper, but I intend taking a cup of strong coffee presently to keep my eyes open, for I intend sitting up till they come. – – They have just returned, ½ past eleven. Had a little dance at Ju’s on their return home. This is a lovely night, though very cold. The moon shines brightly on the snow.

Thursday, 10th January, 1867

The weather has been bad during the week, snowed several times. The children are busy fixing for the wedding. Nan curled Pigeo’s hair and Hardie and herself were ready to start at six o’clk. Mr. Cooke came over, and Bill had the sleigh hitched up and they were soon off. Pigeo, Hardie and Mr. Cooke went by Enfield for Mrs. Harrison. – – It commenced snowing about 9 o’clk. We retired early tonight. I cooked an early breakfast this morning and Bill and Hardie drove two mules to the sleigh round to Martha Ann Littlepage’s.

Wednesday, 9th January, 1867

Had an early breakfast this morning for Hardie to go over and assist Mr. Cooke about making a sleigh. After finishing it, they both came over in it, driving Fannie and Mr. Cooke’s horse, and took Pigeo and Nan to the C. H. Spent a short time at Ju’s. Mag sent me Lilli’s letter to read, a very interesting one. Mr. Cooke left the sleigh and went home on horseback. Will be over tomorrow evening and take Pigeo to the wedding. – – Patsy cooked dinner today, the last one she will cook for me I reckon. – – I sat up quite late tonight. Cut out a flannel skirt and nearly made it for Pigeo, and bound my Va. Cloth dress skirt, just to cook in when it comes upon me to do so. I shall not be so fond of it I imagine, for when any one thing becomes a duty, it often proves to be less a pleasure.

Tuesday, 8th January, 1867

The weather extremely cold. Bill rode up for the mail this evening. He and Hardie returned together, went down and took supper. Pigeo made her white swiss body today. Nan is making chemise for herself, and I am about a Va. Cloth dress. – – Dandridge is expecting to move his family away, every day he is trying to get a cart. I know I shall grieve to see my faithful servants go. – – Pigeo ironed some little things today.

Monday, 7th January, 1867

The weather moderate, i.e., no freeze going one on. Had starching and ironing done today by Patsy. I starched things in the dining room. Pigeo ironed her things she intended to wear to Nannie’s wedding.1 Thought she could do it better than anyone else. – – Hardie rode Fannie to Mrs. Hill’s this evening after helping Bill to fix the buggy.

  1. Anne Barbara (Nannie) Lewis, daughter of Dr. John Latane Lewis and Barbara Joanna [Winston] Lewis, will marry Dr. William Virginius Croxton on the 10th.  (back)

Sunday, 6th January, 1867

The weather rather more moderate, but too inclement to attend Church. Bill and Roland ventured out, one to Jerusalem, the other to Acquinton. The former dined at Larkin’s and the other at Camm’s, and returned home about ten. There were very few at Church. Hardie remained with the children and myself at home. Had snow cream and a snack in the chamber. We enjoyed the Sardine very much, some Bake brought me in the summer, very nice indeed. I prepared dinner, would call in Patsy. I gave each of the children a chapter to commit to memory, including Hardie. Nannie was the first to recite. Pigeo knew hers and Hardie pretended to know his (3rd Chapter of Matthew).

Saturday 5th January, 1867

The weather continues cold. The river has been frozen over ever since Xmas nearly. Roland Lewis came about eleven to spend the day. Had another nice bird pie for dinner. We have abounded in all kinds of game ever since the boys came home, and now that Hardie has a new gun, he sports a good deal, rather a 2nd hand gun purchased of Mr. Warren Lipscomb for $25 New Year’s Day. – – Nannie finished her cloak this evening. She deserves a great deal of credit for it. Has been busy sewing on it ever since Tuesday. I repaired a pair of cloth pants for Hardie today. He and Roland went over to spend the evening at Enfield. Did not get back till 10 o’clk. They enjoyed the evening very much, eating oysters and drinking eggnog. – – Jim moved his family to Mrs. George’s today. Pigeo sent Nannie Lewis bands by Tom, and she returned her skirt she made for her.

Friday, 4th January, 1867

We have had terrible weather during the week, too bad for anything. Jim hauled wood today. Clarissa twisted some knitting yarn, and came in to bring it. I sewed the buttons on Hardie’s coat. Bill rode on Fannie and gathered some nice persimmons, then went up for the mail. He, Hardie and Mr. Cooke returned by Larkin’s and took supper. – – Harriett Banks sent one pair of the socks she had to knit. I gave her cotton for two pair. – – A nice bird pie for dinner today.