Monday, 30th April, 1866

Fine dew this morning and seasonable weather. The plants look very well put out Saturday evening. – – Hardie’s busy packing his trunk for Baltimore and dividing his clothes. It makes me feel right sad. He has been at home so long, but he is doing himself too much injustice for me to wish him to remain. I hope it will all be for the best, and though dark clouds sometimes gather, there is an assurance to the Christian that even thou clouds we so much dread, may he by his mercies break the blessings on our head.1 Therefore, we should not despair or despond while we have a kind, merciful Father who is able to do all things. – – Hardie and I transplanted about 150 tomato plants, including those Liv sent me. – – Bill set those potato plants left drawn Saturday evening. – – Patsy worked in the garden today. I cooked dinner. Had an excellent molasses pudding. I begin to improve very much on the stove and feel quite proud that I can do such nice cooking and all enjoy it so much. Make delightful soup, and have a variety of dishes the little stove cooks, and most excellent family dinner, and Buck and Addison render all the assistance I need.

  1. Certainly Caroline’s off-the-top-of-her-head version of lines from stanza three of William Cowper’s “God Moves in a Mysterious Way.” The church Caroline attended, Zion, would soon take the denominational name Christadelphian, which was footnoted earlier. For a contemporary Christadelphian analysis of the hymn, click here.  (back)

Sunday, 29th April, 1866

Quite a pretty day, but for being windy. Zac took Nan in the buggy to Acquinton to hear Mr. Caraway, an Episcopal Minister. Hardie rode a mule. Bill remained at home, and I went in the carriage to Zion, drove Shakespeare and George, Washington to drive. Returned by Ju’s to dinner and home to supper. The children arrived from Acquinton before I did. – – Liv had sent a nice parcel of beautiful plants for Ju and myself (tomato). I brought mine down in the carriage to transplant tomorrow. – – Zac received a letter from Bake, enclosing one to me also. – – Received the 8 remaining No’s of the Herald of Volume 1861.1

  1. 1861 was the last publication year of Dr. John Thomas’ Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come. While the American Civil War disrupted Dr. Thomas’ periodical writings, he used the time to travel, work on his three-volume Eureka, and coin the unifying name Christadelphian.  (back)

Saturday, 28th April, 1866

A very drying day. Washington is preparing the truck patches around the house. – – John Lewis took breakfast here this morning. I cooked today with Buck’s assistance, which is all I want. – – I don’t wish to infringe upon Patsy’s time. This is her day. We have the first calf this morning and it is certainly good news to me. We have gotten so little milk of late. Have not churned for a month or more. – – Johnny assisted the boys in putting up the paling around the garden, blown down last Saturday. – – Hardie rode to Acquinton this evening to meet with some of the Episcopalians, in order to assist in going through their forms, as Mr. Caraway will preach there tomorrow. (Episcopal) – – Transplanted about 600 sweet potato plants this evening by Patsy and Clarissa, could have set out 1500 plants I believe if we had commenced earlier. Zac returned this evening to supper, having spent last night with Johnny Willeroy at the store.1

  1. Willeroy is a very old King William County surname. Johnny Willeroy, now about 24, grew up near the Lewis Littlepages when they lived at Mount Hope. In the late 1850s John’s father, also named John, seems to have died. This may account for a John Wilroy, 17, listed as a Clerk and living with the Edward Acree family of King and Queen County in the 1860 US Census. Acree is listed as a Merchant, probably in Walkerton. Johnny is also likely the 18 year old John W. Willeroy who enlisted in the King and Queen Artillery the following year. After being wounded at the Battle of Seven Pines in 1862, Johnny returned to service, serving for a time as a clerk at General Wise’s headquarters. He then changed artillery companies and was later paroled in May, 1865. Johnny eventually moved to Kentucky and started a family. If any of our readers know more about Johnny Willeroy, please let us know.  (back)

Friday, 27th April, 1866

Quite cool again today. I made quinine pills for Bill. He succeeded in missing his chills, went in the dining room and remained till 2 o’clk. Did some little fixments in there for me, put up a shelf, &c. He and I are both suffering with sore mouth, nose and lips. Nan has gotten along very well today. Made all four sleeves to her shirts. We have 2 beautiful cats, Edna and Frolic, with a family of kittens a piece, most interesting sight. – – Mrs. Lipscomb came this evening. I promised her two kittens. Gave her a bottle of molasses, some asparagus and snaps to plant. – – Hardie returned to supper, and to my chagrin, forgot to bring my bird. – – Zac left for school with the intention of spending the evening and perhaps night also at Dr. Lewis’ in order to attend the singing at Acquinton Church. John Lewis came this evening to float, only caught 5 shad in all.1 – – Patsy worked in the garden all day today. – – It seems to me that I am all the time going about the house and fixing something. Nan will commence her studies I hope regularly next week. She has been prevented a good deal by sickness and Liv’s shirts, which she promised to make.

  1. This is probably cousin John Lewis Littlepage who floated with Hardie 4 days ago. The only other local “John Lewis” is John Roland Lewis who was known as Roland when a young man. But Caroline always refers to him in this volume as Roland Lewis.  (back)

Thursday, 26th April, 1866

Cold, cheerless weather, enough so to give anybody the blues. Hardie couldn’t stand it any longer, so he fixed up and rode Fannie to Mrs. Hill’s after breakfast. – – Patsy’s spinning today. I undertook to cook three meals. Think I improve a little, but I don’t find any time to work. – – Nan’s trying to do some on Liv’s shirts. Jim’s sick today.

Wednesday, 25th April, 1866

A cloudy, rainy, cold day. Bill and Nan remained in bed to take quinine. Nan succeeded in stopping hers, but Bill had a severe one and suffered very much. – – Hardie administered quinine to us all. I fixed a bosom on one of Bill’s shirts. – – Patsy weeded my square of corn, and onions cut up through inattention to what I said to her about a good many different things I had planted among the onions. – – I sold Randall a meddle of bacon today.1 Planted two rows snaps, one Mrs. Tebbs kind and the other Roses’ kind, or rather my old kind. I cooked dinner on the stove today, supper also. – – But I don’t believe I am adapted to the business, but I reckon I can do what others can. I am willing to contribute all I can in the great drama.

  1. A “middling of bacon” is a common cut of pork. Caroline uses that term twice in her Journal. But here she clearly writes “meddle.”  (back)

Tuesday, 24th April, 1866

A windy, disagreeable, cold day. Johnny and Hardie caught a few shad and came in to breakfast, and he left by himself and returned for his fish and brought a dish of salad. Hardie had an engagement to call on Hal, and the promise of my bird this evening. The first had the rheumatism and she thought it would recover, but it has not done so and she had given me another. Fixed the curtains for both dining rooms. – – Patsy’s weeding my square of corn in the garden. – – Buck has been cutting down some shrubs in the orchard for pea sticks. The wind has taken my garden palings down the 2nd time and broke the posts off at the ground.

Monday, 23rd April, 1866

A real foul day, showery. I am in bed nearly all day. Succeeded in stopping my chill. – – Bill attended court. Was taken with one as he was about to start. I gave him $22 to pay off some little bills. He was informed today that a suit would be instituted at the May Term in the “Merideth Case.” Hardie went floating with Addison and caught 81 herrings and 24 shad. John Littlepage came tonight to float with Hardie, caught 20 shad and 56 herring.1 We’ve caught 416 shad, including those caught tonight, Johnny having taken out his part. – – As the garden is too wet to work, I gave Patsy some wool to commence spinning for my stockings.

  1. Likely John Lewis Littlepage, 31, one of the sons of Col. Edmund Littlepage and thus one of Hardie’s 1st cousins.  (back)

Sunday, 22nd April, 1866

A very beautiful day. Nevertheless, I have to remain at home again on account of sickness. I dressed about eleven and sat up nearly all the rest of the day. Walked in garden, and about after dinner, Patsy cooked. Hardie rode Fannie to Acquinton and took dinner at Mrs. Hill’s, and returned to supper. Zac returned before him, having spent a day and night at Mrs. Hill’s, and one at Mrs. Lewis,’ attended Zion.

Saturday, 21st April, 1866

Commenced taking quinine quite early and continued it till eleven, but the chill came and I suffered intensely all day with violent headache and effects of quinine. – – Nan is beginning to be an excellent little housekeeper, everything revolves on her. Of course, her studies are all neglected and her little feet are going pat-a-pat through the house all day. – – We had a terrific storm this evening. Blew all the fences down and two sides of the garden paling, and the most tremendous fall of water I ever knew in the same length of time. – – After the storm, Bill weighed out the servants meat, including John Banks. I didn’t allow Patsy to come out to get supper. The boys and Nan ate cold biscuits and molasses. Zac did not return last evening. Gone to call on some of the ladies I imagine, as he is such a lady’s man. Hardie planted the watermelon seed this evening. Bill rode to W. O. this morning about day to see Crouch. Sold him three lambs for $14, paid 7 ½ .

Friday, 20th April, 1866

A pretty day. I remained in bed till 10 o’clk. Arose feeling very feeble. Nan had a cup of coffee and some nice batter cakes for me. She did up the cuffs and frills nicely. Patsy ironed, was sick yesterday and the day before. Hardie got some pea sticks and stuck in another row of peas. He is such an obliging, good child. I shall miss him so much when he goes away, which he speaks of doing as soon as the boat commences running, either to Baltimore or New York. I gave Zac $3 this morning to get a pair of shoes at the Church. Hardie caught the second mole today, fixed the trap yesterday morning. They are very destructive in my garden. Bill’s having the potato ground broken up by Washington. – – I took blue mass tonight and made quinine pills for tomorrow. I do dread another chill so much.

Thursday, 19th April, 1866

A very beautiful day. – – Corned 18 shad. Patsy’s sick, so I got Clarissa to clean the fish and corn them. Salted 100 shad. Hardie and I spent the day at Ju’s, drove Shakespeare. I was taken with a chill about 2 o’clk. Mag had me some nice coffee made, while I sat by the fire in the kitchen till she could have one made in the chamber. I laid down then, and soon after Jo and Livinia came, and Mrs. Edwards also.1 After laying a while longer, I got up and went down and a little excitement made me feel much better. Bill attended the Freedmen’s Court today.2 – – And my little darling remained at home by herself at work on Liv’s shirts cut out this morning. – – My turkeys are so much trouble and no profit that I have given them up to do what they can for themselves, having no one to attend to them.

  1. Certainly Josephine (Joe) [Lewis] Baytop and her sister Livinia Lewis.  (back)
  2. With practically no training, few resources, and knowing nothing of King William County, 29 year-old Pennsylvania native Lt. John C. Chance landed alone at the West Point dock among strangers on 10 February, 1866. What he did have was a bad leg, the outsized hopes and fears of those he met there, and the modest support of a distant Army bureaucracy struggling in its new post-war role. Assistant Superintendents like Chance were the face of the War Department’s Freedman’s Bureau for most localities like King William County, a.k.a. its 3rd Division, 3rd Subdistrict. While the Freedman’s Bureau’s general mission of assisting the freedmen of the South rolled easily off the tongue, local situations and implementation varied widely, as did the attitudes and skills of the officers assigned to each community. All concerned – freedmen, former slave owners, ex-confederate soldiers, returning Union loyalists, northerners like Chance, and state and federal bureaucracies – were making it up as they went along. Not surprisingly, it would get messy in places. Nevertheless, within two months Lt. Chance had moved to the central part of KW and organized a functioning Freedman’s Court. His reports of court proceedings, county conditions, and his attempts to fulfill the Bureau’s mission were sent to his superiors and filed away to await microfilming, digitization, and now internet distribution. While most of the early cases seen in these courts involve labor disputes (pay and working conditions), Lt. Chance and his successors will soon grapple with more weighty issues, like larceny, assault, arson, incitement to riot – and questions of authority.  (back)

Wednesday, 18th April, 1866

Another disagreeable day, cold and rainy. Too much so for Zac to go to school. The Col. sent for bacon. Sent him a middling weighing 15 pounds. Hardie and Zac went out floating with the shad and herring seine, both caught 19 shad and some few herrings. – – John Banks drew his allowance last Saturday for this week, but he has had a bad week so far to work.1 Was here two or three days last week. Hardie walked to see the wheat this evening. Nan has gone fishing. She and I have been so busy fixing things in the basement that we are really tired. We do but little sewing. Made a table cloth. Caught 366 shad in all.

  1. This is the first mention of John Banks by Caroline, surprising as he seems to have been working at Woodbury for a while. John appears on the KW Personal Property Tax Rolls from 1866 through at least 1910. The 1870 US Census for Acquinton township shows a 22 year-old John Banks as head of a household of four. With him are Harriett Banks, 38, Victoria Banks, 1, and James Carter, 12. Of these all are Black except Victoria; she is listed as a Mulatto. All, except little Victoria, are listed as Farm Laborers with no family relationships recorded. In 1876 John is listed on the tax rolls as purchasing 10 acres of land from A. (Agnes)Slaughter; it is assessed at $30. Four years later the Census shows John Banks, 32, is living with Liv Littlepage and his family, still a Farm Laborer but now listed as Mulatto. He appears on the Agricultural Census for that year owning a small farm with 5 acres under cultivation. The next year the Land Tax rolls indicate a new building on John’s land, probably a residence. Except for 1885 when they are listed as living in the Town of West Point, the John Banks family seems to remain on their 10 acre farm next to the Slaughters. The 1900 census finds John listed in Acquinton as a Black 50 year-old farmer. With him is Harriet, 60, his wife, and Arthur Carter, 14, his ward. They report they have been married 32 years and have had 2 children, one still living. John and Harriet appear for the last time in the 1910 census. He is 60 and she 65. It records they have been married 40 years, but now they list having no children. No further records of John or Harriet have been located.  (back)

Tuesday, 17th April, 1866

Quite cold, rainy and disagreeable. Patsy thought she had best wash today as it was not fit for garden operations. Took the skirts off one of my Va. Cloth dresses for her to wash and turn, and as she had quite a day’s washing, I thought I would try my hand on the cooking stove for dinner. Succeeded very well for the first attempt. They enjoyed dinner extravagantly. Took supper in the same room. First meal and they were all so pleased with the new room and thought it so suitable. The boys assisted me in moving some bedsteads, &c in different rooms for summer. Changed their room. Had the loom put in the office and a corded bedstead. – – Zac returned from school early this evening. Staid at his Uncle Hill’s on account of the rain. The Col. sent by him to enquire whether I would sell him some bacon. – – Bill rode to the Acquinton Church today and paid for Nan’s shoes $2.25, and returned the other pair.

Monday, 16th April, 1866

Quite showery today. I went in the garden after breakfast with Patsy and, with Bill’s assistance, transplanted a fine parcel of Early York cabbage plants. Came in when Patsy went about dinner, and Hardie and myself took down the loom and fixed cooking stove in place in the weaving room. Nannie’s delighted with it. Even blind John came to feel everything pertaining to it & made many observations on all he could see. Patsy washed the room after dinner and we commenced making a transfer of table fixtures and will take family meals in there. The room is so snug and comfortable.

Sunday, 15th April, 1866

A lovely day, and I am very much disappointed in not being able to go to Church. Zac started to walk before we found out that he was the only dependence for a driver. – – He and Hardie returned about twilight, the latter attended Acquinton. Returned to Dr. Lewis’ to dine and home to supper. – – Zac took dinner at Ju’s. I enjoyed an excellent orange very much Ju sent me. I sent them up some nice asparagus this morning by Buck on his way to see his mother, and cakes for Stuart. – – Bill, Nan and I remained at home all day. Dandridge came and brought Martha. I didn’t think she would presume to come on the place.

Saturday, 14th April, 1866

A lovely day, by far the prettiest one we have had this Spring. Zac went down to Mr. Henley’s to enquire whether the young ladies would attend the Fish Fry at Walkerton, and to offer himself as an escort if they did, but they had made previous engagements, so he and Nan went in the boat by themselves. Started about eleven. Wore her new shoes. – – Bill returned from the W. O. to breakfast. He went there last night to see about a corn planter and some things Mr. Crouch said Liv had sent from Richmond, but they were not there. – – Commenced planting corn today with the planter. – – Hardie has not returned yet and it’s now six o’clk. I’ve been alone all day pretty much and have spent it very pleasantly, recalling past happy days and would drop a tear to the memory of those I can never recall. “Often like the evening shade comes the memory of former times on my mind, pleasant but mournful to the soul.” “Ossian.”1 I’ve not done much work today. Apparitions have been in and through the house in every direction, passing occasionally the different rooms to recall some little incident of pain or pleasure, but all will soon have passed away and oblivion will leave not trace, but enough. – – Nan went in the garden and cut a fine dish of asparagus this morning. She is a darling little creature. I would like to gratify most of her wishes. She is such a reasonable, consistent child, more so than the generally of children at her age. She and Zac returned about 6. Had a terrible storm soon after they arrived. I never saw so black a cloud, it really looked awful. They spent the day very pleasantly and had a nice company. Hardie accompanied Miss Lockhart and Nannie Winston from Liberty Hall on horseback and returned with them to Dr. Lewis.’ He and Miss Lockhart changed horses, the latter was thrown soon after leaving Enfield, but not hurt, only frightened.

  1. While certainly in the style of Macpherson’s Ossian, I have not been able to locate this particular sentence.  (back)

Friday, 13th April, 1866

A beautiful morning. At Hardie’s earnest entreaty, I sent Shakespeare to the field by Addison to take Fannie’s place in the plough for him to ride her down the County. – – My heart often sickens at the prospect ahead. My hopes have ceased to climb, and I often find myself sitting like “Patience on a monument smiling at grief.” 1 – – Hardie started about nine o’clk. Took a box of “photographs” he brought from Annapolis and those he brought from Paris. Miss Lockhart was acquainted with some of the officers and wished to see them, I believe. Patsy prepared a square and sowed long snaps and butterbeans. Nan planted a row of onion button, particular kind. I planted cucumber seed among the onion hills. – – Cut a large dish of asparagus today. – – Mr. Crouch brought a cooking stove down from Richmond purchased by Liv. – – Nan is very much delighted, but I think she will soon get tired of it. New things take very well for a while, but old ones endure. I bought it only for an emergency. – – Paid Mr. Crouch $2.75 to bring it down. – – Jim carried some cultivators to the Acquinton Church for repair and brought me two pounds red paint. – – Zac came by then and brought a pair of shoes for Nan. – – He and Randall went out floating. Only caught 3 shad, making 347, and Hardie 12, making 359.

  1. Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, Act 2, Scene 4. Spoken by Viola, concealed as Cesario to the Duke, Orsino.  (back)

Thursday, 12th April, 1866

Another cloudy, drizzly day. The Yankee officer from W. O., on behalf of the “Freedmen,” hold a Court at the C. H. today. Bill has gone up.1 Hardie caught 26 shad last night and took them to the W. O. this morning. Saw a man who laid claim to the boy as being his stepfather and took him.2 – – Patsy’s ironing today. – – Hardie killed a curious kind of a fowl, nearly as large as a goose. 344 shad caught in all. – – Sowed butterbeans around the frame today. – – Sent Buck with a piece of bird pie to Mrs. Lipscomb. She sent me some butterbeans, cucumber seed, &c. – – Bill went out with Hardie before supper floating.

  1. The unnamed Yankee officer is 1st Lt. John C. Chance mentioned in a footnote on 5 April, inst. The Freedmen’s Bureau Field Office Records, 1865-1872 for Virginia are now online on the free FamilySearch website (https://familysearch.org). Even better, the records have been indexed by name. Lt. Chance has 162 entries. The logistics of setting up a Field Office in King William must have been difficult, especially among white landowners highly suspicious of  his mission. Chance initially was headquartered at West Point. But this week he moved operations to King William Courthouse. What is interesting in this journal entry is that Chance seems to be residing near White Oak Landing, and while Caroline certainly knows it, she cannot bring herself to write his name.  (back)
  2. See yesterday’s entry about this boy.  (back)

Wednesday, 11th April, 1866

Very gloomy, disagreeable weather. Hardie and Zac caught 18 shad last night, making 318 in all. – – He and Bill went shooting snipes and killed 15. Found a boy to row the boat and brought him up with him, a small boy that used to belong to Col. King. Patsy weeded my square of peas this evening after cleaning those 18 shad, making 82 salted. Zac brought a pair of shoes to stretch for the Col., shotteshed and danced in some time in the parlor.1  – – Nan was well enough to play a few airs. – – She has just learned a pretty little song from one of my family’s Journals, “Halie’s Secret” 2 – – She and I went down and made some excellent buns today. The best I ever tasted, we really enjoyed them. – – Nan has a very sore mouth from fever, the most she complains of now. – – Hardie and the little boy went out floating before dark. It has drizzled rain most all day.

  1. What was Zac is doing in the parlor besides dancing? Click on “shotteshed” above and make suggestions.  (back)
  2. “..one of my family’s Journals.” suggests an Ellett family tradition of journal keeping, well before Caroline began keeping a journal of her own. And I have been unable to find any references to a song by that name.  (back)

Tuesday, 10th April, 1866

Almost as cold as December. Zac and Hardie caught 25 shad last night, making 300 in all. – – Nan missed her chill today. Hardie gave her the quinine when he and Zac came in from floating last night about 12. I had retired. She sat up in order to take it at that time, as her chill came on so early in the morning. – – Ju came by on his way from the W. O. and sat one hour or two. I laid down after dinner feeling very badly, and Hardie read aloud till I fell asleep. Bettie came just as I was about to get up and brought Buck, who will remain the rest of the year for his victuals and clothes, agreeably to an understanding between Frederick and myself. – – Bettie brought me some nice salad, and I sent Parky some sausage.

Monday, 9th April, 1866

A cold, disagreeable day. Had the potato plants covered last night. Prepared another bed, fearing the cold weather might injure those already out, as so many persons had lost theirs. Picked out the few remaining seed, about 3 pecks. – – Nan’s up today, but very feeble and looks very badly. – – Bill dug the bed out and Jim hauled the manure. Addison put in the wheat chaff instead of corn stalks like the other and when Zac returned from school, he and I put in the potatoes. Hardie came about that time. Had been to accompany Miss Lockhart on horseback to Liberty Hall. Had a nice time at Mrs. Hill’s he said, and was very much pleased with Miss Lockhart.1 He and Zac went out floating after he changed his clothes. – – Bill rode to the W. O. this evening to see the fishermen about trespassing on our property, burning rails, wood, &c. – – Planted cucumbers today. Patsy washed today. I think she is very anxious that I should agree for Martha to come back, but I prefer that she should take her pleasure and enjoy herself elsewhere at present. They are performing rather too much for my way.

  1. Liberty Hall, located on the Pamunkey upriver from Elsing Green across Jack’s Creek, originally belonged to the Claiborne family. It was the home of Mrs. Anne [Lewis] Munday until her death, mentioned by Caroline on 9 October, 1864. Lockhard was not a surname associated with King William County in those days, but Lukhard certainly was. However the 1860 and 1870 US censuses yield no appropriately aged Miss Lockhart/Lukhard. The pen and ink drawing of Liberty Hall was created by Rex Merrill Allyn as part of the WPA Federal Art Project in Virginia. The image is available online courtesy of the Library of Virginia at https://lva.omeka.net/items/show/222.  (back)

Sunday, 8th April, 1866

Found it raining this morning and it bids fair for a rain day. Nevertheless, Liv started again to Richmond. Loaned him my umbrella and gave him a small piece of advice on leaving, which I hope he will profit by. – – The rest of us spent the day at home. Rained steadily all day. I wouldn’t allow Patsy to come out to get dinner. Had a snack and early supper. The rain slacked a little about that time, but soon set in to hail and rain again, and when we retired, the hail was pelting the windows. – – Bill covered up the potato bed. I walked in the garden late. In the evening, but it was so cold, soon came in. – – Gave Nan quinine, but her chill came on sooner than it did Friday, and she remained in bed all day. She looks very badly indeed. – – Frederick came just as supper was ready to inform me that Buck would be down in the morning to remain the rest of the year. I agreed to take him for his victuals and clothes, and told him he should be treated kindly and good care taken of him. I also told him I had a strong attachment for all the children, just as much so as if they were still my own property. I feel as if I had an interest in them all. – – Weighed out meat for the hirelings today. Contrary to my intention, I forgot it yesterday evening. Bill returned from where he went yesterday, this morning before day, but did not disturb us. Someone came for a pig. He brought me $2, making $10 he has sold 5 for. How I do dislike so many business transactions on Sunday, but it seems that it cannot be avoided. – – The times are very unpleasant to me at present. I do hope we shall have some kind of order and better regulations before very long. The Yankees have stirred up the Country. I hope they will settle it soon. They shall have all the credit, “All is well that ends well.” I agree with Pope to some extent that “Whatever is, is right.” – – Set a hen on 9 turkey eggs. – – Bill’s hat met a sad fate last night.

Saturday, 7th April, 1866

Quite a change in the weather during the night. Had a slight rain last night and soon turned very cold. – – Two women came for potato seed this morning. I told them they could try and pick out ½ bushel, though I hardly thought there were as many there. They said Washington would pay for them, but I soon disabused her mind, and they went home without them as they had no money. – – I weeded a row of peas today and it really tired me as much as if I had weeded a square. – – I finished a pair of coarse sheets today I commenced yesterday, and wrote a letter to Rose this morning before breakfast, thinking Liv would leave for Richmond, but on reaching the W.O. where Zac took him in the boat, he found himself again disappointed and spent the day there to my very great chagrin. I gave Zac quite a reprimand. Bill went to the mill this evening. Took Hardie’s pistol with him.1 – – It’s now Saturday night and Hardie has not returned from Mrs. Hill’s yet. Think he must be enjoying himself finely. Frederick sent Tom for a peck of potatoes. He owes me for them. Had my second asparagus today. – – Nan is very much wasted from one chill. – – My Irish potatoes are coming up finely, and my potato bed is nearly covered over with plants, cornlings are up, &c. Liv went to have feeding done for Bill tonight. – – How cartam exciting the W. O. shore is now.2 Zac had been much better employed at his books, I think.

  1. Click on the word pistol to see Bill Littlepage’s Civil War revolver. It is an 1861 Remington, probably very similar to Hardie’s. It is now owned by David Littlepage, a great grandson of Bill. Thanks to Jenny Littlepage Wilkinson for sharing the photograph.  (back)
  2. The transcriber renders these two words “cartam exciting.” I don’t think so, but remain stumped. Click on the phrase and tell us what you think. BTW, I love the word “cornlings.” Another word I have never heard before, but the meaning is clear.  (back)

Friday, 6th April, 1866

The most beautiful weather I ever saw. Mr. Pitross (the gentleman who came for hides yesterday evening) left after breakfast (with 7 hides).1 – – Sold the last bushel potatoes this morning to Claiborne.2 They have been a greater demand than I ever knew them. – – Liv left for Richmond this morning, Gave him $35 to purchase a cooking stove. Let him have $5, gave him $2 to purchase Fulton’s Bookkeeping for Zac and another book to return or exchange.3Gave him $1 to purchase a net for Nan, and fifty cents for seed, stamps and John’s tobacco he had purchased. Also sent Pigeo’s muslin and some cakes. Took up chamber carpet and Patsy cleaned the floor. – – Filled a straw bed, made up several beds, the first thing of the kind she ever did for me. – – Corned the shad Liv and Hardie took to the W. O. this morning. Were not in time to sell them, 45 in number. They returned about eleven. Liv was disappointed in getting a conveyance to Richmond. – – Nan had a chill ½ past nine and was in bed the rest of the day. And, Oh me! I am so tired when the day is at an end, I almost go to sleep undressing. – – Had the first asparagus today. Hardie attended a party at Mrs. Hill’s this evening. Bill and Liv were invited also. Hal promised him the other day to send me a mate for the canary. ——— 275 in all.4

  1. Does anyone see anything else but “Pitross?” Click on his name to see the original text.  (back)
  2. Probably Maj. Claiborne Johnson Hill.  (back)
  3. George W. Eastman, Jr., the son of the co-author of Fulton’s, would add a new word to our language, Kodak.  (back)
  4. “275 in all” refers to Caroline’s running total of shad caught this spring.  (back)

Thursday, 5th April, 1866

Very warm today, disagreeably so. I was late getting out of the dining room this morning. Washed the windows and did various other things that used to be Martha’s business. Sutherland came to spend the day.1 – – Bill attended the Yankee and Freedman Court today.2 – – Liv and Hardie floated last night and caught 39 shad. Liv took them to the W. O., but found no carts there to take them. Brought 34 back. We have caught 265 in all. – – Patsy jobbing a little in the garden and circle today. – – Liv speaks of going to Richmond tomorrow, and Nan and I made some ginger cakes to send Pigeo and the children, and I am so tired every day when night comes that I hate to move. Nan and I do what we used to have some ½ doz. employed about. – – I cut a small bunch of asparagus this morning. – – Larkin sent for a bushel sweet potato seed, and Sallie Hill ½ bushel, both paid. – – Sent $2.75 to Susan Finch by Bill when he went to the C. H. for cake making. Nan hemmed two handkerchiefs for herself after getting through her lessons. – – Bill returned about 4 o’clk. Susan Finch was not there. He paid Dandridge $2 for Addison, the 75 cents to Randall who went up to the C. H. after feeding his mules and eating his dinner. Bill assisted Hardie in straightening his seine. Sutherland left soon after and Hardie went floating.

  1. Sutherland Gregory Littlepage, 20, is the youngest child of Col. Edmund Littlepage (1804-1856) of nearby Cool Spring, and the grandfather of Ethel Littlepage [Jackson] Ahern, to whom this website is dedicated.  (back)
  2. While the Freedman’s Bureau was established in the US War Department in March of 1865, it did not directly make its presence felt in King William County until eleven months later. An office was established at West Point that month by Lt. John C. Chance, a native of Pennsylvania. Severely wounded in 1862 at the Battle of Charles City Crossroads (Glendale), Chance was captured and eventually paroled. Discharged as permanently disabled, he then joined the Veterans Reserve Corps. When his regiment disbanded after the war, he was ordered in January 1866 to report for duty to the Freedman’s Bureau. Chance was posted to King William County the following month. He served there until June, 1866 when he was reassigned to South Carolina where he served the Bureau until October 1867. While Caroline will not mention Lt. Chance by name, she will mention his successor. In turn, the Littlepages will appear early and often in Bureau correspondence. The story of the Freedman’s Bureau in King William has never been told. But from preliminary research, it deserves attention.  (back)

Wednesday, 4th April, 1866

A lovely day. Instead of Dellah’s coming out to get breakfast this morning, the whole family, Corbin and all made a general slave porridge last night. – – Patsy went to work in the garden after breakfast preparing a square for ground snaps, and Nan and I planted them, four rows snaps and 14 of ground peas. – – Miss Mildred Garlick wrote me a note and sent a $1 for a bushel potatoes. Mr. Spiller came in his buggy for 3 pecks, paid. Liv and Hardie went out last night and caught fifty-three shad, making 224 in all. – – Zac sat in my chamber till quite late filling a sheet of foolscap to Bake, who likes so much to receive long letters.

Tuesday, 3rd April, 1866

Very pretty weather. Liv and Zac went out last night and caught 15 shad, making 171 in all. – – Dellah and Corbin returned last night and had quite a row at the quarters with Patsy and Dandridge. No one cooked us any dinner today. Patsy’s sick and Dellah refuses. This is a very unpleasant day to me. Liv walked to the C. H. after taking a snack. – – I altered an underskirt and faced it today. – – Hill sent Jack with a note for one bushel potato seed. Will pay the money hereafter. Sent Rose a shad.