Mrs. Caroline Baker [Ellett] Littlepage, born 1810, of Woodbury in King William County, Virginia, kept a journal for many years in the mid-1800s. Her most complete known volume – 1 June 1864 to 22 June 1867 – and a wonderful transcription, were generously donated in 2003 to the Virginia Historical Society (Mss5:1 L7332:1) by Louise Eichhorn Schroeder and Dudley M. Eichhorn in memory of their mother, Ruth Littlepage Barnett Eichhorn. In order for Caroline’s voice to reach a wider audience, each of her entries will be posted here on the 150th anniversary of the day they were recorded, beginning 1 June, 2014.
“Yet Another” Civil War Diary? No. Caroline kept her journal long before, and well after, that war. On 18 February, 1867 Caroline wrote, “This day 12 years ago I commenced keeping a journal.” After this volume ends it is likely she continued in a new book. She wrote in spite of, rather than because of, the wrenching events unfolding about her. While Caroline’s thoughts certainly can provide insight into those times, they are better used as a rare window into the daily lives of an extended family, and a rural tidewater Virginia community 150 years ago. I invite our readers not to burden Caroline’s words with what we have had the opportunity to learn since she put her pen to paper, opportunities she would not have.
Annotations and occasional commentary will be provided. You can contact me with comments, inquiries or suggestions using the “CONTACT ME” button at the top of the page. As Caroline’s journal is but one window into the past, I would be pleased to receive from our readers any additional information pertaining to the Littlepages, Elletts, King William County of the period, and the people Caroline and her family knew. Old photographs and primary source materials would be especially welcome.
This blog is dedicated to Ethel Littlepage [Jackson] Ahern (1909-2011). She never tired of reminding me her mother was a Littlepage.
My thanks to Louise Eichhorn Schroeder and her brother Dudley M. Eichhorn, the late Peggy Dinehart for her transcription and sketch of Woodbury, Beverly Pearce for typing the transcription, and the Littlepage family for preserving and remembering. E. Lee Shepard and other members of the staff of the Virginia Historical Society continue to provided support and encouragement for this project.
Bibb C. Edwards