Sunday, 31 December, 1865

A gloomy dismal day. – – Zac took Nan and Rose to Zion in the buggy, drove Shakespeare. They returned to dinner. I would like to have gone but my health, the inclement day and George not being in condition to drive to the carriage prevented. – – Liv started on Fannie at three o’clk. for Richmond. The weather too bad for Rose to go over. Bill will take her over when he goes sometime in January. Sent a long letter to Pigeo by Liv to have mailed. – – Gave him $5 to get some medicine, a cap for Nan, and the rest for some trifles for Pigeo. Money is so hard to get I have to be very sparing. But if all will be contented, I am perfectly satisfied. Riches do not produce happiness. – – Bill stuck a splinter under his nail and suffered more intensely than I ever saw any one. I really thought he would have got lock jaw, he was in an agony. Slept in my chamber after trying different things. Gave him a hundred drops laudanum. – – Gave Liv my gold watch to have the chain mended. – – This is Monday morning. The old year has gone and I trust with it troubles such as we shall never have to encounter again on this earth. O, that a merciful God may watch over us and direct all our ways in time to come.

Saturday, 30 December, 1865

Found the ground covered in snow this morning, which soon turned to rain and we had a disagreeable day. Zac wrote to Pigeo and enclosed his letter in mine. Bill’s busy about something at the barn. Liv returned about 4 o’clk. Took dinner at Mt. Hope. Will go to Richmond tomorrow if the day will permit. – – I did some little repairs to a black muslin dress and sold it to Dellah for $3 this evening. Corbin pays for it out of his next year’s wages. – – Patsy cooked dinner today. – – I made a bargain with Dandridge today. Rented him a house and garden for $25. Am to give $23 for Patsy the ensuing year and one day in every week, also will allow her to cook every other week. – – Will give the same for Martha and allow her a day in every week. Will give them a dress a piece this winter.

Friday, 29 December, 1865

Quite a bright and beautiful morning, and I looked for Ju and Mag certainly to come down today and spend several days with us, but the former came about eleven and said both couldn’t come. Went out to meet with the boys, Bill, Liv and Zac, who had gone shooting before he came. He looks badly, his health is very indifferent. – – Poor child! It grieves me to see him in so much trouble. Wish I knew how to advise him or what to advise him to do. Unfortunate alliance! Why can’t the children be happy and contented in the enjoyment of each others society. These times are too critical and precarious anyway. Why do anything to mar the few tranquil moments we may enjoy in this life. I am in favor of marriage, but where there is no congeniality in married life, but a defiant and unyielding spirit, I had rather see them as distant as the poles. – – Mr. Smith, Yankee, came for the cows, four choice ones for $160.1 Liv rode Fannie away to take Miss __ to the party tonight at Mr. Robins.2 The children have no consideration or thought farther than the enjoyment of the present moment. – – Let Martha go with Dandridge to spend the day at Mr. Lipscomb. – – Dellah cooked dinner, Nannie fixed the table. Dr. Ju and some others will come tomorrow to hunt partridges, nothing preventing.

  1. Smith, the Yankee from King & Queen, does not return.  (back)
  2. Here Caroline inserts a blank for the name of Liv’s Miss, continuing her rather coy descriptions of her children’s courtships.  (back)

Thursday, 28 December, 1865

The same sort of weather still. I arose when the children arrived this morning, five o’clk., and made them go to bed. They enjoyed themselves very much. Unexpectedly to them, had dancing.1 Liv returned from there to his Uncle Billy’s and home tonight. Took supper at Mt. Hope. – – Had a beautiful evening and I’ve been looking for Ju and Meg all the evening. Rose and I walked to the barn and quarters, we were so lonely. Nan and Zac both asleep, and Bill out. Two gentlemen came to purchase ½ doz. cows. I had not as many to spare. Offered them four for $160. They are undecided whether they will take them till they return from King and Queen.

  1. Dancing was very much frowned upon by the devout at Zion. For Caroline’s thoughts on the matter see her journal entry for Wednesday, 19 July, 1865.  (back)

Wednesday, 27 December, 1865

The weather is cloudy, gloomy and rainy. Not very cold, but very disagreeable. Have been looking for Ju and Mag all day, but there has not been any 20 minutes during the day they could have come. We have sunshine and showers all day, real April weather. The wind shifted about 5 o’clk., and Zac and Nan thought they could venture to start to the wedding party at Dr. Edwards’, and got ready quickly and were off.1 She has been so lonely since Pigeo left. I am willing to indulge her all I can. Rose misses her when she starts, but she amuses herself some way though. Bill thinks the weather almost insufferable to him, hardly knows what to do with himself. – – Liv made an early start to Will’s this morning, rode a mule. – – Was at the party tonight.

  1. This would have been a party in honor of the wedding the day before of Prestley Coleman Edwards and Mary Beverley Robinson. Prestley is the second son of Dr. Lemuel Edwards. Mary Beverley is the daughter of the late Capt. Samuel Robinson and wife Mary Susan Dabney. The bride may be the Mary Robinson who has been frequently mentioned previously.  (back)

Tuesday, 26 December, 1865

The children returned about 7 this morning, having enjoyed themselves very much, and they have slept all day nearly. Nan only awoke at bedtime to undress and go to bed. Rose has been like something lost all day. I did up a Swiss body for Nan to wear tomorrow evening. Zac lost a new handkerchief at Dr. Lewis’. They always lose something.

Monday, 25 December, 1865

This is a lovely day. Had an eggnog in the old Xmas bowl this morning. – – The boys attended Court. Nan and Rose spent the day mostly out rambling about. The weather is so mild and gentle. They all returned quite early in the evening with an invitation for Nan to go to Dr. Lewis’ party. She was soon ready and off for the night. Zac drove Fannie to the buggy, and Liv rode a mule. After they left, Bill and I discovered something was burning and went upstairs and found Zac had carelessly thrown candle snuff on the bed and set it on fire. Burnt through to the feathers.

Saturday, 23 December, 1865

Quite a pretty day, but cold. Liv and I had a settlement. Squared up and are even, except that I owe him $15. He and Zac spent the day at Ju’s, returned about dark. – – Randall beat some very nice hominy today. – – Nan and Rose had a nice time making and baking cakes in the reflector. They enjoy each others society so much. Took a long walk together this morning. She is a sweet child and so much improved. Bill commenced feeding two cows instead of five, and feeding them differently, i.e. on cut shucks and boiling water poured on them.

Friday, 22 December, 1865

A very beautiful day. Nearly finished Zac’s jacket. Martha ironed. My hen hatched today. Set her on ten eggs 8th day of Dec. and she hatched every egg. Nan and I went out to put them in the weaving room. – – Bill and Zac walked up to meeting again tonight. Liv and Rose came about dark, and Nan went into ecstasy. Had supper for them. The boys came while they were at supper. – – Liv brought me all the things I sent for by Hardie, 2 gals. whiskey, a gal. oil, ten pounds sugar, pair shoes for Zac $4 ¾. – – Sold the beef for $.08 ½ pr. pound. Bill has had some nice wood hauled at the pile. Brought letters from the C. H. from Pigeo for Nan and myself. She is very well pleased with her school.

Thursday, 21 December, 1865

I am still indisposed, but rose very early and cut out a roundabout for Zac, and commenced about it. Nan stitched up the seams. I got on with it very well today. Considering it’s a pretty day, I am expecting Liv. Bill and Zac went up to the meeting at the C. H. I sat up till they returned. – – Corbin came about that time. – – Zac carried ½ doz. ducks to Jeff Hill. – – Patsy made starch this evening for collars and things.

Wednesday 20 December, 1865

Not very cold, but showery all day. Had some cloth dyed for pantaloons for Zac. Patsy picked some ducks, dried up tallow, &c. Had a wild duck for dinner. Bill and Zac have been up the river most all day. Killed some ducks. Returned about sunset. – – Had a bag of wool picked over today and picked out some for counterpanes, also a little very nice for socks. – – Nannie busy finishing her socks for Xmas present for Bill and Hardie. She is quite lonely. I hope Liv will bring Rose down to spend the Xmas with her.

Tuesday, 19 December, 1865

An intolerable day for a journey, and I am so sorry. Hardie hesitated whether he would go or not, but decided to start about ten. Sent a couple of quarters of beef to Richmond to be sold. Hardie carried some wild fowls, a goose, four ducks and some partridges. Sent Mary some soup peas and potatoes. Sent letters to Bake and Mary. – – Loaned Hardie five dollars in greenbacks. He carried a ten dollar gold piece of his own. He carried my umbrella also. Sent a two gallon carboy for 2 gallons whiskey and a jug for a gallon lamp oil, ten pounds sugar, and a pair of shoes for Zac. Expect Liv to bring the buggy and things down on Thursday when he comes to spend his Xmas. It seems to me I am all the time complaining my health is intolerable. Patsy washed today. Hired Corbin a mule and tumbrel to bring his family down.

Monday, 18 December, 1865

I am feeling much better this morning. Commenced letters to Bake and Mary for Hardie to take to Richmond tomorrow on his way to Danville. Rose very early and wrote till light. Killed a fine little beef this morning and returned the quarter we got of Ju. It looks 13 lbs. of being the same weight. Sent it up by Addison in the tumbrel. He sent Bartlett down for 4 pounds butter. I sent it to him @ $.50 per pound. – – Cut out a vest and roundabout for Zac (Va. cloth). Finished Hardie’s three pairs of white kid gloves and commenced cleaning and repairing Saturday. – – He and Zac went out and killed four wild ducks and a goose before dinner. I am very certain I had an ague about eleven o’clk. tonight. Zac rode to the C. H. to meeting and returned at nine. Bill went out to look for geese. Came in about eleven.

Sunday, 17 December, 1865

The day is quite inclement. Zac was the only member of the family who attended church. I was taken sick soon after he left and remained in bed most of the day. There was not a lady at Zion. – – Mr. Walthall preached at the C.H. at night, and all three of the boys went. Walked up and returned about ½ past nine. – – Zac brought some ½ doz. letters for us, three from Bake.

Saturday, 16 December, 1865

Still severely cold. The boys have tried hard today to kill some game for Mary. Hardie thinks of going to Danville in a few days, and will go by then. I do think it is a shame that we cannot have a mail from Richmond done. – – I mended up and cleaned some kid gloves for Hardie today. Zac’s pants fit him beautifully. – – Nannie’s blue dress fits her well also. She deserves all the credit for it. – – Tom has been sick ever since he came from Richmond. He is beginning to go out a little. I agreed with him to sign him till the 1st of Jan., at which time will hire him if I like. – – I am signing Corbin also till he can get away to bring his family down. We find it very difficult to get a tumbrel. – – The hands are getting wood. Addison cuts it up at the woodpile. – – Sent Martha to Ju’s to carry them some galivant peas for soup. – – Bill and Zac went up to Walkerton Mill today. Brought my water bucket, for which I am to pay $.75.

Friday, 15 December, 1865

Bill attended a sale today (“Hogans”).1 Gave him $25 to settle taxes and to take on my account at Mr. Slaughter. – – He went up from the C. H. in Co. with Ju, who’s been very complaining all the winter and looks very badly. – – Hardie and Zac went out shooting partridges, the latter went to Ju’s. Hardie returned before he did. Only killed 2 or 3 partridges. – – I made some potato pies while they were gone. They all enjoyed them very much. Bill made no purchases at the sale, wanted mules and a tumbrel. Finished Zac’s pants. Exceedingly cold today, commenced freezing hard in the night last night. – – Corbin is waiting here to get a cart to bring his family down. Fendall is very anxious that Bill should accompany Alice and himself to Richmond and wait on them on the 20th, but I am not much in favor of it.

  1. The 1866 King William Tax Rolls show Walker Hogan (1800-1880) of Egypt in Hanover County owning two tracts of land on the Pamunkey north of Chericoke, home of the Braxtons. The large track was known as Hillsboro; the home, however, is no longer standing. As Eygpt is still located on Cold Harbor Road near the site of the Gaines Mill battlefield, it is possible Hogan moved for a time across the river to his property in King William where his name appears on the 1865 Gilmer map. With the deaths of two of his sons during the war years, and now in his 60s, Hogan may have been liquidating assets.  (back)

Thursday, 14 December, 1865

Arose very early this morning and cut out a pair of very nice Va. cloth pants for Zac, and I basted them and Nan stitched them up while I did other pants. Zac is trimming off and fixing up the flowers in the circle. He is very fond of flowers and I like to see it, shows a refinement of taste. He attended to Addison carrying manure in the garden at the same time. Martha is preparing a little piece of ground in the garden for the balance of my onions. – – Nan has to neglect her studies right much, but after Xmas she will be able to do better. – – She assists me a good deal in housekeeping. She will be more fond of it when she is done her dress. Bill had the cane mill taken up this morning. He and Hardie killed 4 ducks, and after getting a snack, he went to see Jeff Hill about sending by him to Richmond.1 Didn’t get back till in the night. The boys generally sit in my chamber and read till bedtime. Zac reads the Bible to me before he retires. Bill carried 8 wild ducks to Jeff.

  1. Jefferson Hill is recorded as heading a free Black family in King William from 1840, when he would have been about 20, to 1860. In 1850 his family’s listing is next to the Lewis Littlepages. While I have not been able to find him listed in the 1870 Census he does appear in 1880, living in West Point. He may be the T. Jeff Hill recorded as a US customs inspector for West Point in 1873.  (back)

Wednesday, 13 December, 1865

A bright, beautiful morning. Nan and I were up very soon and Martha perked coffee before light. Bill undertook to make a finish of the sugar cane today. Hardie and Zac attended to it while he rode to the C. H. to ascertain something respecting the Federal Taxes and to know the amount of our taxes.1 Zac thoughtlessly made a fire under the boilers and cracked one of them. Bill returned just before night. Had the molasses brought in. It doesn’t pay to put off grinding as late as this. Yields very little, comparatively speaking, and the molasses is not as bright. – – Bill brought the news of Mary King’s marriage to Col. McLaughlin at Mr. Spiller’s yesterday morning by Mr. Turner.2 Corbin came last night to see if I would not take his family back to live. He is willing to come he says on almost any terms. I told him $60 was the most I would give him by the year and rent him a house for his family.

  1. King William County’s Federal Excise Tax list for 1866 shows Mrs. C.B. Littlepage owing a dollar each for a carriage and watch, and 2.00 for her piano.  (back)
  2. The marriage of the “old” Col. to Caroline’s niece (28), who we first met back on 11 June, 1864, seems to come as a surprise to Caroline.  (back)

Tuesday, 12 December, 1865

A close, rainy day pretty much. The boys hardly knew what to do with themselves. I am very much indisposed all day. Hardie’s complaining also from the same cause. – – Bill tried on his pants. They fit very nicely. I’ve been trying to cut out a suit for Zac all day, but felt too badly. – – I wish I felt well and adequate to the task which is before me. I should not despond, I would not complain.

Monday, 11 December, 1865

Another pretty day, till late in the evening it came on to rain. I had a piece of mixed jeans starched by Patsy for Zac, a suit of clothes, finished off a pair of pants for him today, and am now finishing off a pair for Bill. Both Va. cloth. Had black eyed peas scalded for winter use. I always have that done to prevent the bugs cutting them. They are so much nicer and the family are all so fond of them. – – Hardin and Zac went up the river and did not return till after breakfast. – – Bill sent Addison in a tumbrel to John Harris and to the mill.1 Got a little corn from one place and a few peas from the other. Martha ironed the jeans while I laid down from indisposition.2 Nan read while she did it. Bill killed an otter tonight.

  1. In the early decades of the 1800s free colored families named Harris began appearing on the King William census and tax rolls. Frankey Harris, over 55, is listed in the 1830 US Census. She is heading a family of seven, the lone male being under the age of 10. Frankey, however, never appears on the KW tax rolls and no Harrises are listed on the next census. In 1844 a Sterling Harris is listed for the first time on the KW PP Tax rolls. Six years later we learn more about Sterling from the 1850 census. He is 40 and a sailor. With him are Ann (30), and Thyrsa (9). But Sterling’s is not KW’s only free colored household listed in that census. Eliza Harris (38) heads what seems a three generational family. Living with her is John (20), Mary (16), William (14), and Thomas J., (1). That year, 1850, both Sterling and John Harris appear on the PP tax rolls for the first time. They will eventually be joined by William, a.k.a. William (Todd) Harris. Sterling will remain on the tax rolls through 1859. But the following year he is missing, Ann Harris (35), likely Sterling’s widow, now heads the household in the 1860 census. With her is William Harris (18). As this William does not appear in the census ten years earlier, this creates questions as yet unanswered. Two more free colored Harris families are listed in that 1860 census. Listed next to Ann is Louisa Harris (25). With her is Nancy (45), her mother or aunt perhaps, and two boys, Ira (9) and Cornelius (1). In 1852 Louisa is listed as a land owner, 17 acres 6 miles south of the Courthouse. Last is the Eliz. Harris who appeared on the previous census. She is now listed as 55 and the household includes Jim (30), John (27), Mary (26), Todd (22), Thomas (9), Jim (jr.) (7), Jeff (6), and Mary (4). This John Harris is then likely the son of Eliz. Harris. Now in his mid-30s, within the last year John has purchased 1 acre of land from William A. Gresham near Mantua Ferry on the Mattiponi, just downriver from Woodbury. While this is the first mention of the Harris family in Vol. 7 of Caroline’s Journal, it will not be the last. The detail of this footnote foreshadows the difficultly we will have identifying the Harrises from now on.  (back)
  2. Readers may be surprised to learn than the terms “jean cloth,” and “jeans” made from it, were in widespread use well before the Civil War. Legend has a young Levi Strauss, who immigrated from Germany about 1847, learning about “Kentucky” jeans and jean material when we worked for his sister’s husband’s dry good business in Louisville. He went west to San Francisco in 1853, and eventually decided to produce jeans from a tough blue denim material. And that was that.  (back)

Sunday, 10 December, 1865

We were all up and had breakfast rather earlier than usual in order to go to church sooner. Randolph drove and we were there in good time. Hardie rode Fannie, carried Ju a duck. All of us returned to dinner. Bill and Zac remained at home. I was sorry the latter should have done so, but he thought he had a good excuse. – – Cousin Lem continued from where he left off last Sunday, Christ’s Sermon on the Mount. – – Will speak on the Kingdom on the 24th Dec. Invites all to come and hear. – – Walker came to see me this morning to rent a house for himself and family. I did not decide with him positively. Tom came in this morning and brought me a letter a piece from Mary, Bake and Liv, the latter giving me an account of Pigeo’s trip to Mr. Goss’s school. I am pleased to hear from them all. They are well and happy and doing well. Tom got down last night.

Saturday, 9 December, 1865

Rather an inclement morning. Came on to hail and rain about 1 o’clk. Bill rode out and took dinner at Ju’s. Returned to supper. – – Martha finished twisting sewing cotton in the chamber today. – – Nan and I finished a pair of socks a piece for the boys. – – Dandridge came today to kill Patsy’s hog. Loaned him a barrel. – – Hardie and Zac employ themselves reading. I feel like being in bed half of my time, am never well. Too sick to be up and not quite sick enough to be in bed.

Friday, 8 December, 1865

This is Father’s birthday, born 8th Dec. 1772. Would be 93 years old if he were living, died ten years ago. – – Ma has been dead twenty-five years, yet how vividly do I picture them to my mind and recall my childhood days. – – Time how fleeting are thy wings, we take no note of it, but from its loss. – – This has been quite a pretty day. Zac’s burning the broom straw and dried grass in the yard. Bill had the few turnips the sheep left brought to the house and put in the garden. Jim and Randall then hauled fodder.1 – – Hardie killed five ducks at a shoot today. Sent Ju a loaf of bread, some broiled duck and corn beef by Martha this evening. Thought to find him in bed sick. I scarcely see a well day, my health has been very delicate this fall and winter, and Nannie, my little “Doctress,” annoys me to death about dieting myself and taking pills. Wakes up in the night to enquire whether I took my pills at bedtime. Hardie and I are suffering from the same cause and taking the same medicine.

  1. This is the first appearance of Randall. Is he a new “hand?” If so, why hasn’t Caroline mentioned him?  (back)

Thursday, 7 December, 1865

I arose early this morning and repaired a shirt by the lamp. Then wrote in my journal. Finished Bake’s letter and sent it by Tom to Richmond this morning. Wish I had know his intention of going sooner. I would have written to Mary and Liv. Am anxious to hear from Pigeo. Gave Ju another dollar. Owe him $.50. Zac copied some recipes for Bake out of my book. Bill and Hardie are out with their guns most of the day. Ju sent Bartlett down to request me to get him some oysters when the boat passes down the river. I sent him three fine shad by him. He has been sick again. – – I am doubling and having twisted some red and white yarn for some socks for Stuart. Also, some fine sewing cotton for Martha to twist. – – Plated Nan’s blue muslin skirt and out out the body for her. – – A Mr. Ike came to enquire whether a man had been here to rent a house.1

  1. The unknown Mr. Ike does not reappear.  (back)

Wednesday, 6 December, 1865

Another lovely day. Never saw more beautiful weather in Dec. Finished the corn today. Zac went to the field a short time. Bill and Hardie up the river. Killed another duck in addition to two in the house. They came in before sunset. – – Patsy commenced spinning some wool. Had some things starched. Martha finished ironing. I ironed the boys shirts. Can iron them more beautifully than ever Parky did. Then repaired several. – – Bill gave Patsy a scold this evening.

Tuesday, 5 December, 1865

A very good day. Bill attended Mr. Pointer’s sale in King and Queen.1 Only bought an ox chain @ 7/c. Returned after we had supped. – – Martha ironed. Nannie, my little house-keeper, made a very nice partridge pie for dinner. I am feeling right badly today. She made me some of the nicest and best waffles I ever tasted. – – The boys spend most of their time with their guns. Go out a good deal at night and kill a great many “varments,” ducks, birds, &c.

  1. No likely Mr. Pointer has come to hand.  (back)

Monday, 4 December, 1865

Hardie went partridge hunting. Bill and he returned together with a nice lot of them. Took their guns again and went up the river and killed ducks and muskrats, I think. – – Zac went to the Acquinton Church for the two forks Mr. Houchings had to mend. Took Addison when he returned and had some manure put on my asparagus bed. – – I am right much indisposed today, but I repaired Hardie’s coat and gloves. Patsy washed.