A pretty day. Had an early breakfast, got ready for Church. Bill remained at home. I went with Mollie in the buggy in order to bring Pigeo back. Wilkerson rode a mule. Went by Ju’s for her, but Mr. R. Pollard has taken her to Zion in his buggy. We both returned there to dinner. I left Mollie with Stuart, who I found quite sick, to remain a day or two, i.e., Ju said he would send a servant with her home tomorrow, as he wished to exchange a fowl. – – When we arrived home, was sorry to find Bill suffering from the affects of a chill. Pigeo complained of headache. I was indisposed, so none of us wanted supper and all retired early. Pigeo slept with me. Dr. Edwards was very interesting today and a large audience, read the resolutions of the Church to be signed by the members, a reorganization of that body that will meet for that purpose next Saturday and with fasting and prayers elect officers to Church business.
I arose quite early this morning, had breakfast and prepared a box to send Bake for Bill to take in the buggy to Enfield for the vessel. Fixed up two old hams, one a year old and the other two years, sausage, butter, ground peas, and Mr. McRae’s book and one I sent her to read.1 Then wrote a letter of six pages and Bill was off before eight o’clk. with Fannie to the buggy. Returned about ten and the vessel passed here about eleven. He took a snack, transplanted some turnips and then walked to the C. H. by Mr. Garrett’s on business and returned to supper. Handed me a letter from Liv brought down by Maj. Butts, who met with him in town while fixing up a box of confectioneries at Pizini’s to send Nan and some of her schoolmates.2 She has been quite sick for several days, but is now well.
- Col. Sherwin McRae (1805-1889) was King William County attorney some years previous. He then moved to Henrico County where he had a long, influential, and multi-faced career. It is likely this book was owned by McRae, but it is certainly possible he was the author. (back)
- Remember Maj. Butts is the local representative of the Freedman’s Bureau and Yankee officer. This is another example of how integrated he became in white KW society. There will be more. – – Antonio (1804-1869), Juan (ca. 1811-1866), and Andrew Pizzini (ca. 1816-1882) were brothers born in Corsica who came to the United States about 1829 and settled in Richmond, Virginia. The family quickly established itself in the city’s restaurant and food service business. Andrew Pizzini’s confectionary shop on Broad was a Richmond institution for many years. Mag wrote of visiting Pizzini’s in her short 1857 diary. (back)
A powerful shower of rain this morning about day and afterwards proved to be a right good day. – – The 3rd calf this morning, the two first are very thriving. We allow them all the milk, intending to make veal of them. Made a nice little place of butter this morning, only milk one cow, the same we have milked all the winter. – – Mr. Cooke came this evening to let me know he would start to Balto. in the morning and would take anything I wished to send, either to Hardie or Bake. Bill had gone to the C. H. I am sorry he is disappointed sending corn by this vessel as he expected to do. Was very much surprised when Mr. Cooke said the Capt. had made a load up the river. It makes but little difference, if the article doesn’t take a fall. I never like to put off anything for the last moment. Have experienced so much of the evil of it during the last few years that I think more than ever about it, but do not always profit by it. There are so many difficulties in the way of performing what we wish to do. – – The more I read the Bible, the more I am admonished not to defer making one preparation, which I daily strive to do. The more indifference I see manifested in others the more I feel concerned about it. They are allowing the poor, perishing, passing away things of this earth (though they know that it now lies under the curse of an offended God) to absorb their every moment of time that should be appropriated. The study of his word and a compliance therewith, in order to become the _?_of the beautified earth when the curse is removed and they shall be the inheritors of that which we are now heirs together with Christ. I love to dwell upon these things and must confess that I have _?_ _?_ _?_ time which should have been employed for him hitherto, I am now determined to redeem as much of it as possible and consider that I am doing the world no robbery. I will do the best I can for it, whenever it does not interfere or conflict with more important duties. If I forget the Lord, “let my right hand forget her cunning, if I do not remember this let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I prefer not Jerusalem, above my chief joy.” – – I feel so thankful that I have made up my mind not to be cast down by surrounding circumstances. I cannot help feeling daily that there is greater need now of making different preparation from what we have been doing. “Be ye also ready” seems to be always sounding in my ears, so much that I have been induced to prepare a suit for that solemn occasion in order to alleviate all confusion and trouble at such a time, and it is with pleasure I pull the drawer out and look at the last suit, which will so soon dawn and in exchange (if I am accounted worthy of the resurrection) shall receive a robe of righteousness to endure forever. Someone no doubt in reading this page will say I had the “blues,” nothing of it, I never felt more lightsome. I have fully realized all former anticipations and am satisfied that all is kindly and with the wise men can say that all worth living for is summed up in a few words, “Fear God and keep His Commandments.” The rest remains with him. I will trust him. I do believe his word and with all the capability and power I am possessed of will strictly adhere to that word which he has “Magnified about all His name.”
Found it raining this morning, pretty briskly, like it was trying to make up for lost time yesterday and half the day before. I have said all this month that I should not expect good weather sooner than the 4th of next month and I think the indications are in favor of it. – – We got along very quietly with all of our affairs, in every department, no one to complain at. The birds, chickens, cats and dogs are well attended to, have not lost chickens since they hatched a week ago, although the weather has been so unfavorable for them. – – Well it has rained steadily the whole day. – – Bill handed me $2 last night to put away (Jury Service). He is exempt for present Court still in session.
I arose quite early this morning. The stars are shining in at the window while I am writing. The sun shone all the evening yesterday. Bill found us sitting in the porch when he came from Court. The whole talk now is confiscation of land and dividing farms with our Colored brethren. Bill thinks this is the last Jury he will have the pleasure to be on composed of White men. Will not that be a fine state of affairs. What comes next? Pigeo got ready after breakfast and accompanied Bill on horseback to Ju’s to spend some time. She has been so much confined at home all this bad weather. She rode George and he Fannie. He returned to supper about twilight. It was nearly ready when he came. The freshet is higher and higher. No crossing at the Piping Tree at all or traveling to Rich. from this region of writing. This has been a lovely day, but the weather is not settled. I spent about an hour in the garden. It was so delightful to be in sunshine. Replanted a few strawberry hills that were missing in the square. The peas are looking beautiful. I then went and cut some four or five heads of cabbage for the cows. We have so many, more than we shall need. I have not been lonesome today, although little Mollie, blind John and myself are the only ones with in a mile of the house. Wilkerson came to eat his dinner and water the stock.
I do wish I had a new journal. I intend sending to Rich. for one when Bill goes over. Found it thick and misty again this morning. Bill made preparations for Court. – – Pigeo and I sent letters to be mailed to the children. I sent one of six pages to Hardie and a short one to Mary, with a message to Live and one a piece to Bake and George. We received one from Nannie, Liv and Hardie by Friday’s mail, but did not get them till last evening by Bill. Blind John has been watching the window all the morning to see whether it would clear off and spied a little piece of blue sky about 12 o’clk. and he yelled so loud it frightened Pigeo and myself right much. Bill started about that time, met Wilkerson driving the steers to the house without the cart. Left that in the mire where he had been hoping to bring a load of wood. Ju sent Milton down to borrow another peck of flour. Pigeo measured it while I wrote a note to Mag and fixed up the children’s letters to them to read by Milton.1
- This is Caroline’s only mention of Milton. (back)
Just the same sort of weather, drizzling rain all day. I never valued my books so much. I wonder what we would do with ourselves without them. The house is so wet wherever it could spring a leak, and damp everywhere else, that I opened all the doors and hoisted the windows and hung the bird cage out and brushed and dusted everywhere to see if it wouldn’t help it to clear off, but no, it would have its own way. Bill couldn’t stand it any longer. Got on Fannie. Thought he would go as far as Ju’s. On arriving at the swamp was afraid to swim the horse and turned back to the bridge across the Mill Creek and the water had been over that and started it out of its place, he thought. Ju was not at home and little Noah’s weary dove soon returned to the Ark. Could find no rest for the sole of his foot. – – Mr. Cooke arrived just before he returned and sat till bedtime. I took little Mollie and went down and prepared supper. Had some very nice potato pudding, little shapes of pastry, nice loaf bread, biscuits and other things. Set the table in the first room and had a fire in the old stove.
Found the ground well covered in snow this morning and pouring down rain, and before 2 o’clk. the rain had washed off all the snow. It has rained incessantly just as fast as it could pour down all day. Couldn’t go out to attend to anything scarcely. Did go as far as the hen house to feed my little chickens, eleven in number, and came by the smoke house and emptied two or three bags flour. Filled one barrel of fine flour and another of coarse. – – Bill has been at the barn with Wilkerson shucking corn most of the day, and seeing if there was any possible way to relieve the stock stable and lot and hog pen from what Bill says is nearly knee deep in water. He is afraid of their losing their hoofs from standing so long in water. Bill made a pair of bows for an ox yoke in the kitchen. He begins to lose his patience somewhat. – – Pigeo and I have been about little things. She complains of headache today, but I think she has the blues, this weather is enough to give it. She and I take alternately at the cooking stove. Bill thinks he would like to help too, but we think he has just as much to do as he can do justice by elsewhere, and only want him to make the necessary preparation for it, such as having wood and water in place. He is becoming right much of an epicure of late, and always wants something good.
Pouring down rain and has rained through the night. We have not had one clear day this month that I know of. – – Shocking accts, by the paper of “freshets” and inundations of cities and counties and loss of life &c. It has rained all day. It would have been in vain to attempt to keep a fire in the kitchen for poor John, so I had to take him in my chamber, couldn’t be so inhumane as to see him suffer for anything that is in my power to do for him. He seems to have new life since I have taken him in. Shelled some peas for me to sow when it stops raining and the ground dries. I finished off a letter to Bake and George today. Bill has his hands pretty full now.
Found it pouring down rain this morning. As soon as it subsided a little, Bill had Mr. Pollard’s flour up in the oxcart (400 lbs.) four hundred pounds, $17 pr. barrel, to carry to him. Tom drove the cart and he went on horseback. Had the flour weighed there by Mr. Lewis Slaughter on his scales, which made the flour weigh 15 lbs. to the box more than it had weighed at the Mill. There’s evidently a fault in his scales. After Tom returned about 12 o’clk., I told him I wished him to finish making soap in the kitchen, that needed boiling more, but he found no regard to it and went about something else. When I thought he was ready for me, I went out and found he had done nothing and was nowhere in hearing, so I called to Pigeo to come out. She and I hung the pot on and put the soap in and it soon made beautifully, and about that time sprang a leak in the bottom of the pot, and found it would soon all run out the spiders I sat under it.1 It ran over and John was frightened out of his wits and couldn’t get out of the way of it. I ran to the door and looked out and saw Tom at the wood pile and called to him to come immediately and help me, but he paid no regard at all to my calling him, except to say that he heard me and went on to the barn. At that time, Pigeo, looking from her window and seeing me turn about in the kitchen door, ran out to see what was the matter and helped me to save the soap. Just then Tom walked in and rushed to the fire to warm himself. I told him I had no use for him then, he might go on to the wood pile and cut wood and gave him a scold for not coming when I called him. He turned round and said he suffered no damned fool to speak to him in that damned way, and got up his things and left the kitchen, saying to send Mast. Billy after him if I chose and he would get the worst of it. What we experienced in that moment was more than we felt during the day from Sheridan’s Army, for we didn’t fear being killed by them, but a glance from that fiend sent daggers to the heart.
- A spider was a commonly used cast iron cooking pan which had a handle and three legs used to stand up in the coals and ashes of a fire. Caroline definitely writes “spiders.” So she seems to have put more than one spider underneath the hanging pot. Perhaps she was anticipating that leak. (back)
The same kind prevailing, but more moderate in temperature. – – Notwithstanding, Bill went to the Mill for the flour. Concluded to go in the boat as the roads were so bad. Got up as far as the White Oak and sent Tiler across to tell Wilkerson to bring the oxcart for the flour at W. H.1 He started through the rain. – – I have never known or heard of such weather. The news by the papers is thrilling. In some places, whole cities are overflown and hundreds of lives lost, houses carried off in the current, some persons having their houses tied by ropes and chains to prevent theirs moving off. But the Bible assures that the world shall no more be destroyed by water. Then we may expect to see good weather after a while. I do not expect any till next month. Then we shall have wind enough to dry up everything in a little while. I dread that more than the present. We have had so little wind during this month, we may expect a good deal next.2 – – Made the skirt of my dress today, and Pigeo made the sleeves. I washed some little things for her.
- This is Caroline’s first and only reference to Tiler (pronounced Tyler?). (back)
- While the unusual amount of rainfall Caroline documents in the spring of 1867 certainly disrupted lives on the eastern seaboard, the worst effects were felt across the mountains. The Ohio River basin was hard hit, with March 1867 is still known as the time of Chattanooga’s “Great Flood.” Closer to home the effects on roads and spring planting were widely discussed in Richmond newspapers. The causes and prediction of these weather events was much the topic of discussion, including contributions from the large number of folks who thought the moon effected weather. These were sometimes described by detractors as “lunatics.” (back)
None of us deserve any credit for early rising. Ju and his cart were in sight when Bill came downstairs. So much for keeping late hours. He went with Bill to the barn and had nine bushels wheat put in his tumbrel and staid till after breakfast. Took him in the garden to look at my peas peeping through the snow and looking beautifully. Reminded me of a child smiling through its tears. – – He and Bill in our wagon with wheat left at nine o’clk. Sent Stuart some potato pudding and ground peas. Bill carried for W. D. Pollard by arrangement to Duval’s Mill. – – He returned through the snow at dark without the flour. Disappointed in having it ground. Will go for it tomorrow.
This has been a lovely day. The snow went off rapidly, although it was some five or six inches deep, and the earth could be seen in places before night. Tho’ everything was freezing yesterday. – – Bill rode George to Duval’s Mill to see about grinding wheat and to look at a horse the Dr. has there for sale. Returned about sunset. Will take some wheat down in the morning. Ju will be down to breakfast and get his, I sold him some time ago. Finished Bill’s pants today and went about my dress Bill bought. – – Mr. Cooke came a few minutes after Bill arrived and staid till after eleven. Of course my rule was violated the 2nd night, for we did not retire till 12. – – Willie Walker spent the morning, left ½ past 12.
St. Patrick’s Day – Found it snowing again this morning, but after a while it cleared up and the wind blew violently all day. No one except Bill attended Church. Pigeo and I spent the day reading. I believe she wrote a letter to a friend. I condemn the practice, but they excuse themselves some way for it. Mr. Henley preached at Jerusalem and from there Bill dined at Mrs. Lewis’ and returned to supper. All retired early.
Found the ground covered in deep snow this morning and snowing fast, and continued through the day to hail, rain and snow. I’ve been sewing on Bill’s pants most of the day. – – Filled a bolster for his room this morning. Altered a new shirt for John. – – Bill rode to the C. H. this evening. Bought me a black calico dress @ $.23 per yard, 11 yds. Brought letters from Nannie and Zac to Pigeo and myself, also one from Eliza Ashly. They were all very interesting. – – Wilkerson and Tom shucked corn. Bill and I sat up quite late after Pigeo and Mollie retired. I found enough to employ me till 12, but got a little sleepy and went down and had some nice strong coffee for Bill and myself so that he might read to me while I worked, ½ past eleven and had finished my piece of work. I read till after 12 and retired. I fell asleep in about two minutes after touching the pillow. When I awoke, got up, made a fire and employed myself writing _?_ _?_ _?_ very busy, work a little before day, generally any time after 10 o’clk. and I awake. I have slept enough, but since winter has gone, I begin to feel the spring fever coming on and find it a hard matter to get out of bed till I see the light of day, so must try and get them all to retire earlier and rise earlier. I will commence this. – – I mean next week, this is Saturday.
Quite a pretty day. To my very agreeable surprise, Mrs. Lewis, Mrs. Bates, Roland & little Nora called to spend the morning.1 – – They enjoyed ground peas very much. They left about 10 o’clk. Loaned her a peck of fine salt. – – Messrs. Norment and Cooke came up soon after they left. Informed me that a vessel would be round on Monday to receive corn. I was just coming out of the kitchen where I had been to have a pot of soup put on by Tom. Clouded up before 12 and Mr. Norment remarked that he thought it _?_ a few hours.
- Nora is Roland’s little sister, Nora Moore Lewis, born 1858. So she is about 9. (back)
Raining and hailing powerfully this morning and soon turned to a regular snow, but did not last very long. Cleared up and the sun came out about noon and remained the rest of the day. I don’t remember that there has been one clear day this month, nor indeed do I recollect one since the 18th of Feb. – – I do so many things in the course of the day that when night comes I can scarcely remember one thing I’ve done. – – Had all the pine wood cut for the stove that was in the office. I wish to have it nicely cleaned up. Pigeo has an idea of trying her hand on a piece of cloth if I will put it in the loom. – – Tom made an entire failure in getting dinner today. He is very slow and good for nothing, but better than nothing.
Will it never stop raining? What a foolish question. Bill walked up to where the Yankees’ vessel was lying and went on board to give them a piece of his mind for their impertinence yesterday, some right sharp words passed between himself and them. Thought they would have had a row at one time. – – Pigeo sat in the chamber most of the day. Cut out 4 chemise for her. – – We went down after dinner and made and baked some delightful potato pudding.
The rain continues. I think if the weather would clear up I should be entirely restored to health. – – Pigeo finished off the 2nd pair of drawers for Bill. I am still about his pants. – – Bill rode up for the mail this evening, but there is no traveling to Richmond. Consequently, no letters or papers. Mr. Cooke came to let him know something about a vessel at the White House taking in corn. – – Three Yankees with all the appearance of the race, came in the entry and knocked at the door this evening wishing to know if the Man of the house was at home. They went in the kitchen on their return to the vessel and said all they could to John to make him dissatisfied, “cruel witches,” and hardly know him. – – Bill finds anything for Wilkerson and Tom to do, the weather is so bad, I suppose he had plenty of jobbing for Tom when he is not cooking.
It rains all the time, day and night. Incessantly poured down all night. Pigeo employed herself upstairs till about 10 o’clk. teaching and writing a very pretty and appropriate letter, which she brought down for me to read. I did so and approved it very much, and so did Bill. – – I got Bill to ride to Ju’s this evening to see Stuart, who is sick. He was better. I always feel uneasy, whenever he is sick. – – Pigeo assisted me on some work for Bill this afternoon. – – Mollie studies well and recites beautifully, better than any child I’ve ever heard. Pigeo understands the art of teaching her perfectly. – – I am feeling much better today.
A disagreeable and unpleasant, rainy day. No one, I believe, attended Church, all remained at home. I, in bed all day with a violent attack of neuralgia. Pigeo read to me some during the day. – – Bill rode out in the evening. – – Mr. Cooke came by on his way from the C. H., where he had gotten that far on his way to Church, in co. with the Mr. Garrett’s, who finding the weather too bad returned from that place. Mr. Cooke left through the rain about 9 or 10 o’clk. I generally send supper in the parlor by Tom, who places the waiter on the tea table and leaves. He officiates now in most any capacity and does very well, i.e., I complain at him, but generally encourage him all I can.
Found it raining slightly this morning. Our men wish to go to Richmond today on a visit. Bill paid them ½ their wages and gave them leave, all four. He has been going in different directions all day. Procured his boat at last and went up to Walkerton Mill. Carried 8 bushels corn. – – I sowed some seed in the garden today, though there has been a mist of rain all the time. Sowed 4 rows Tom Thumb peas, cabbage seed, kale, radish, &c. My first peas have been up several days. We have all, including Pigeo, been right much troubled in mind too. It seems that there is always something to annoy or perplex us. The state of the Country and other things are sufficient to try men’s souls now. – – Commenced a letter to George and Bake this morning. Pigeo made some ginger cakes this evening.
The sun rose beautifully, but in less than ½ an hour was obscured by clouds. We were certainly in anticipation of some good weather. Pigeo employs herself mostly teaching Mollie. She progresses well. I am about a pair of pants and two pair cotton flannel drawers for Bill. Sew a little just when the time offers. Have such a variety of employment that very little of my time is devoted to the needle, comparatively speaking. I believe I allow myself more time for reading now than I ever did before and do it with purity, for I have cheated myself a great deal in this respect, hitherto. Has been a part of my regular work for years. – – I mended the match to a beautiful candlestick today. Hardie and I had tried before but did not succeed, and I could not give it up. They were a pair of sticks I valued most highly. – – Bill went up for the mail this evening. A letter from Liv informed me therein that he thought it improbable that Mary would visit us this spring, gave no particular reason. Spoke of Mr. Cooke’s getting his buggy broke returning from Ayletts, he and Billy Pollard. – – Pigeo retired early tonight. I sewed an hour or two. – – Bill dined at Mrs. McGeorge’s. Went there to meet Camm on business, Mr. Garrett I should have said. – – Tom is dripping some excellent lye for soap. – – Pigeo and I had a chicken and some other little things on the stove in order that Tom might finish scattering the manure in the garden.
Found the rain coming down heavily this morning and the snow and hail still lying on the ground. Notwithstanding, Mr. Cooke left at light. If it were not for God’s Covenant with man, I should be thinking we were about to have another flood. The sun came out this evening and the stars looked more than lovely tonight. They were something of a rarity. – – Bill went to the C. H. this evening, returned Ju’s paper. Wrote two letters for Tom to carry to the P. O. tomorrow morning, one to Balto. and the other Norfolk respecting oats and tar. He returned to supper. The people are in a great state of excitement on acct. of the late laws about to be passed.
It has rained and rained incessantly all day. The ground has been covered with sleet and snow, and to our surprise found the little calf alive and had it brought in the kitchen today. It showed signs of life and I believe it will live. Bill put it with the cow about 10 o’clk. in the carriage house. Mr. Cooke came over this evening with his wagon and returned the machine he borrowed some time ago. The rain increased during the evening and night so that he had to remain all night. Bill walked to the C. H. after dinner on business and returned through the rain to supper. – – I have suffered with neuralgia all day. – – Bill borrowed a paper from Ju with The President’s messages. Some alarming Bills have passed the two houses.1
- Four days earlier the US Congress passed, over President Johnson’s veto, the “Act to Provide for the More Efficient Government of the Rebel States,” a.k.a. the First Reconstruction Act. It divided much of the former Confederacy into five military districts. Virginia was to be the only state in the First Military District. The first US Army officer with the responsibility to oversee Virginia’s government to protect citizen rights, and to steer the state into meeting Congress’s requirements for restoring it fully to the Union, was Major General John M. Schofield. (back)
It has rained every day since Friday, and the last two days mixed with hail. O! the weather is choking! But for having some corn to shuck, Bill would have no employment for the hired men, although their expenses are so heavy. Tom cooks as a regular thing. I cook occasionally. Cut out a pair of Va. Cloth pants for Bill this evening while he rode George to the C. H. for the mail, a letter from Hardie to me and one to himself. (This evening, instead of yesterday, as I wrote on the other side.) He returned at nine through the rain and turned George out to find the stable himself, but he preferred the wheat patch and took out to it, where he remained all night. Bill discovered a young calf when he went to feed George, lying in a hole of water, and took it up and put some straw and laid it on. The rain is coming down so fast I would not be surprised to find it dead in the morning. – – Mr. Parr sent $2.50 in postage stamps for the little barrel returned.1
- This may refer to the barrel of oranges Caroline mentioned on 15 November. Caroline mentioned Israel M. Parr & Sons of Baltimore on 2 August last year. (back)
Pigeo came down and got in my bed this morning. About 3 o’clk was aroused by the severe thunder and vivid lightning. Little Mollie soon followed her and both got in bed. I arose and had my cup of coffee and went to writing fast in my journal and now I will commence a letter to my little pet Nannie, so far away at school. Debt now some 6 or 8 letters. – – Well, I finished my letters to Nan and enclosed it in an envelope with one from Pigeo, and Bill had it mailed this evening. Returned to supper, brought me an interesting letter from Hardie, who I am pleased to see has established himself permanently in business in Baltimore. Speaks on coming on when the weather fairs and take Pigeo there on a visit. She will be much pleased by the invitation she has received and will avail herself of that opportunity to meet her friends in that place. His letter was very gratifying to me. _?_ _?_ are _?_on Tuesday through mistake, as I failed to write this morning, immaterial though.1 – – I dipped candles this evening. Tom made the preparation. Finished just before dark. Bill rode to the C. H. after fixing my hen house against the minks. Turned all the fowls out of the office and they were pleased to have their habitation secure against their enemies. – – We have had the greatest continuation of wet weather I ever knew. The whole face of the earth is covered over with water, a complete deluge.
- The journal has sustained severe water damage on this page. (back)