The weather very cool. Hardie and I strolled over the garden after breakfast. Bill and Zac sheared sheep, only 63 lbs. wool. I suppose they’ve lost a good deal. Had a nice snack, Hardie enjoyed it very much, had a chicken pudding for dinner. Zac has undertaken to plant some potatoes this evening. I told him he might have all he could make.
Fine weather, quite cool. I cooked breakfast. Patsy came out afterwards and ironed today. – – Hardie came unexpectedly to us this evening from Richmond, brought me some nice lemons. Pigeo reached Mary’s a day or two before he left, looking very well. He says will be at home as soon as I inform her what day to take the stage. – – The children, Bill, Zac, and Nan returned from the C. H. to breakfast and slept most of the day. No school for Zac, several days lost this week. – – Washington churned this morning.
A very pretty day after the morning. I am at work on Bill’s shirts. Nan assisting me making sleeves. She, in company with Bill and Zac, attended a Tournament at the C. H. this evening. Mr. Cooke came by to go with them. Nan rode George and Zac a horse of Mr. Cooke’s. – – James Claiborne came for a white dress and flowers for Nan after dark. She only went to see them ride, but through persuasion remained all night. – – Patsy sick today. I cooked on the stove. Gave Bill $.25 for the tournament.
We have fine seasonable weather, fine rain in the evening. Patsy washed today. – – Nan and I brought in the whitening things. Susannah went home from the field and Washington brought her to the house 5 o’clk. Bill went to Acquinton to Mr. Gary’s store, got a pair of shoes. Spent the day, returned to supper.
Very warm, but a pleasant breeze all day. Started ½ past eight to spend the day with Rose. Zac drove Shakespeare to the buggy. Discovered he was lame after we started, so we left earlier than we should have done on that account. Came by Martha Ann’s for Buck, who went there on Sunday, but had to leave him after all. They do practice so much deceit that if I were not compelled to have him, not any of that family should come on the land. Zac brought me several letters this evening, a very nice interesting one from Pigeo. I am pleased that she is willing to remain up the country during vacation, at the expiration of which time I wish her to return to Piedmont and make up the time she lost the first part of the session on account of sickness. I think from her letters I shall be much pleased with the progress she has made this year. She will be in Richmond on the 28th to remain a short time and return. – – Nan received a long letter from Bake, also one from George. – – Mrs. Tebbs and George came to see me in my absence. Sold him 2 bushels potatoes @ $1.25 pr. bush.
Exceedingly warm. Jim brought a load of wood this morning and then went about hauling wheat. He could not get on very well with the steers, so he had the wagon hitched, contrary to Bill’s instruction. He attended Court today. There was a notice sent me by the Comm. General in Chancery regards that long pending suit against Meredith’s administrator, which he turned over to Maj. Douglass, who will be here about the first of August to examine papers. I wish it was all over. I dislike a state of suspense so much. – – I sent word to Rose today by Zac that I would spend the day with her tomorrow if nothing prevents. Nan and I made a little commencement on Bill’s shirts, but she had to attend to the wheat being put in the barn by Bill’s request and so did but little on them. She and I went in the garden about sunset and picked a nice dish of peas for tomorrow dinner. Buck has not returned yet, he is sick I imagine. John cleaned today very nicely. He likes to do any little thing he can, it amuses him.
Very warm today. Zac undertook to drive Shakespeare and George to the carriage, thinking he could make the former go up the hill, but had to hitch in Fannie. Tried to teach Addison something about driving, but he’s very dull. We returned by Ju’s to dinner and Nan and I returned home to supper, and Zac rode Shakespeare to Acquinton. The scholars of the singing school meet there to practice. He came home after we retired. – – Bill remained at home all day. We returned soon after dinner and Nan and I had super on the stove. Buck went to see his Mama.
Another fine morning. Sent Pigeo’s letter to the C. H. by Bill this morning. He has gone to several places on business of some sort or other. – – Zac finished weeding watermelons this morning. – – I shall begin to expect Pigeo and Bake home now every day, i.e., when this month is out. Hardie’s coming too in the course of a month, and then I hope we will all have a pleasant time together. Mary, Ju and Liv will make up the number, including of course their families. – – Sold Frank 500 potato plants @ $.30 paid $1. – – Cut out two shirts for Bill. Mrs. Lipscomb came on an errand, gave her some trifles. – – Zac walked to the C. H. this evening. He and Bill returned to supper.
The weather still fine. This is the third day Jim has cut wheat. Washington is laid up with toothache. Bill has a thin force in the fields. Wrote to Pigeo this morning. – – Patsy’s weeding early field peas today. Nan took a drawing lesson this evening. Commenced fixing her riding skirt. – – Hal laid her first egg yesterday, begins to keep her nest. Hardie’s becoming quite serious. Seems to be thinking how he will provide for his family. She comes off occasionally and flirts with him a little. – – Zac returned from school quite early and weeded watermelons, will finish them tomorrow morning before breakfast.
Another beautiful day. The finest weather I ever saw for harvesting, so cool and pleasant. Patsy’s finishing off the sweet potatoes. They are looking beautifully. – – Nan took Shallenberger Pills this morning on acct. of chills. Had the desired effect. – – Bill advertised the five bushels he bought to plant for sale. Find he has no time to plant them himself. – – I am at work on some chemise for myself, finishing off the third one today. – – Wrote to Liv this morning. – – Oiled the dining room floor this evening. – – Nan and Zac saw a ghost in the garden eleven eleven o’clk. tonight, a small figure of a woman dressed in pure white. Nan was frightened out of her wits.
Another fine day for any kind of work. No one left except Jim, who left with permission to cut wheat. Randolph ploughed the turnip patch and Washington the peas. Bill would take first one plough and then the other. – – Clarissa made up her mind to leave her husband last night and never remain another day with him, he is treating her very shabbily, but I went out and had a long talk with her and persuaded her to try him a little longer. She is a good wife and doesn’t deserve such treatment. I have a great partiality for her and will use all my influence to have matters amicably settled between them. – – Zac attended the singing. Rode Fannie and went to Chericoke to see Jack Braxton again respecting the money we sold him corn for last summer, and although it was sold for cash he has never paid a cent.1 Zac had not returned when we retired. – – Nan took another painting lesson this morning, but concluded she felt too badly to do anything and stopped. I gave her broken doses of tartar emetic and think it improved her during the day. Addison is sick. Gave him some also and he is much better tonight. Harriet came for bacon. Sold her a shoulder weighing 10 lbs. I tied up onions this evening and do so many different things in the way of drudgery, that when night comes I am so tired I am ready to tumble down anywhere. – – An accident happened to Mrs. Hill’s carriage today, but no one serious hurt.
- Caroline actually wrote “Cherry Coke,” anticipating the soft drink by about a century. But the accepted spelling of the Braxton residence is Chericoke, which is used here. (back)
Another fine morning, cool and pleasant. Sent breakfast to 7 hands, exclusive of ours. Finished the wheat, except gleaning, beautiful grain, but not an abundant harvest. – – Camm, Larkin and Bob Lipscomb in the field, sent a bottle spirits, sugar, &c to the field. Bill was in fine spirits last night, but this evening is in a peck of trouble. The hands all want to leave the cornfield in the grass and go out cutting wheat. If his bad wishes could exterminate the race, I don’t think there would be one on the face of the earth. I wish they would do as they ought to do and stand to their word and we would know better what to depend on. – – Gave Nan a painting lesson this evening, she made a very good start.
A most delightful morning. Eleven hands, in addition to our own, in the harvest field. – – Patsy, Addison and Phil carried breakfast to them. – – Buck came in time to churn this morning to have buttermilk for their breakfast. The rain prevented him last evening. Bill settled up with some of the hands this evening, gave $8.37. – – Patsy transplanted pepper plants this evening and replanted late cabbage plants, had white onions taken up. – – All that had fallen down. – – Finished off my three aprons this evening. – – Drew 400 potato plants for Mr. Trimyer. – – Patsy, Clarissa and Phil carried dinners.
A quantity of rain fell today. Only Zac attended Church, he returned to dinner. Carried those letters and George Tebbs promised to take them to Richmond in a day or two. – – It rained in torrents almost all evening. I let Buck go to see his Mama, and gave him ingredients for cakes to get his Mama to make for himself and the little children. – – Cousin Lem from some course or other did not attend today. Zac got me some nice raspberries this morning on the river bank.
A delightfully pleasant day. Zac rode to Mr. Trimyer’s for the two scythe cradles Bill carried there yesterday. Herman came from the field to grind and fix up one of them to cut with. Commenced cutting wheat today. Sent meals to the field for 8 hands, I believe, besides our own, including George Lipscomb. Sent meals for Bill and Zac likewise. We are giving at the rates of $2.50 per day for cutters and hands. Bill sent Addison to the C. H. today for a ½ gallon spirits. He brought me a letter from Hardie requesting me to enclose all his letters to Liv to be sent to his address, of which he will keep him advised. He wrote from Richmond, but expected to leave for Danville. Fixed up four letters besides writing to Liv and himself to send to him tomorrow from Church if I can hear of any one going to Richmond. – – Nan assisted me about some calico aprons this evening.
Quite cool today. I did not go down to breakfast. Starched some things, shirts, &c, a couple of coats for Zac. – – Mrs. Lipscomb came today. Gave her some necessaries, she is very needy. – – Zac returned about eleven o’clk., spent the evening in company with some girls at Capt. Bagby’s at Locust Grove.1 Patsy ironed this evening, worked in the sweet potato patch, got dinner, &c. She is an obliging good servant, generally speaking. Forgets herself sometimes.
- Capt. Bagby is likely Alexander Fleet Bagby, (1840-1915). In 1862 he married Fanny Singleton Walker, daughter of Temple Walker, (1790-1868). Locust Grove in King and Queen County is the ancestral seat of the Walkers. In 1866 it was occupied by William Henry Walker, Fanny’s half brother. Mrs. Fanny Bagby would make national news in 1896 as the first woman elected to a political office in Virginia when she was selected as a school trustee in West Point. The Commonwealth quickly ruled her Constitutionally ineligible for public office. (back)
Intensely hot today. Zac walked up to the singing, did not return this morning. I made a pair of pants for Bill today. Finished them out. Patsy’s at work in the garden. Came up a blow this evening, but no rain. It is needed right much. – – Bill carried two scythe cradles to get Mr. Camm Trimyer to fix, drove George to the buggy.1 – – Nan finished off a high neck body to her calico dress today.
- We met John Camm Trimyer in a footnote on 19 October, 1865. (back)
The warmest day we have had. Zac arrived from the party to breakfast. Don’t think he will feel much like study today. – – I cut his hair before starting to school. Cut out a pair of coarse linen pants for Bill to make just as soon as I can. He has just come in. Had discovered that he has cultivated his corn wrong. Should have put dirt to it instead of running the cultivator. – – Instead of the singing school going on today, it has been changed and will take place tomorrow. – – Patsy washed today. I allowed Nan to cook a snack on the stove, her first attempt. – – Horace came for Ju’s guano.
Quite a pretty morning. Martha Ann and Sutherland came early in a new buggy presented her by himself. She has such good affectionate children. We spent a very pleasant day. Patsy worked in the garden in order to get dinner without having to send to the field for her. Had an early supper, I cooked it on the stove. – – Frederick came for Buck, but I would not give him up. I reasoned a little rationally to him and he was willing for him to remain. Bill took a snack and went to Walkerton Mill, returned to supper. – – Zac returned from school before they started home. Had received an invitation to a party at James Roane’s, rode Fannie.1 – – I walked to the out gate to look at Bill’s hogs. He has a pretty parcel, and prides himself right much on them.
- This is likely James Madison Roane, 55, of Uppowac, upriver from Woodbury on the Mattiponi about 5 miles. James’ wife Mary Catherine [Waring] Roane had died five years earlier leaving, according to the 1860 US Census, four boys and two girls, ages 11 to 2. James seems to have remarried two months earlier to Maria Linsey Dobyns, 26. Perhaps this is a party in her honor. (back)
Another fine day. – – Sent breakfast to the field for John and Harriet. – – Col. McLaughlin sent for bacon and lard. Sent 9 lbs. bacon and 5 lb. lard by his boy. He wrote a polite note and informed me that he had seen Maj. Douglass and gave him the points as regards Zac’s fitness to enter the “Military Academy,” desiring him to use his influence with Gen. Smith in getting him a situation there. I appreciate the Col’s. kindness much.1 – – Gave Nan medicine last night, but she is no very better today. In bed most of the time. Zac returned from Richmond about 3 o’clk. Purchased a suit of clothes, some sugar &c. Sold butter @ $.35, gave $.12 ½ cents for sugar. Received letters from Mary Rose and Mollie. Mary sent a Gipsey bonnet, i.e., Nan to exchange for hers for Rose.2 Zac gave $17 for his clothes, displayed very little taste in his selection, and I don’t think the man lost anything by the sale of them. Bettie and Tom came this evening for Buck, some whim has struck them I suppose. I did not let him go. I shall not give him up unless they have some good reason for taking him away before Xmas. Martha Ann sent word by her she would spend the day with me tomorrow. I shall be very much pleased to see her. Sent a letter to Ju this evening by Buck to take to Richmond tomorrow for Bake and George Arledge.
- Major Beverley Browne (B. B.) Douglass is a King William lawyer, politician, and soldier. He married into King William’s Pollard family and lives at Cownes, up the Mattiponi from Woodbury past Aylett’s. (If there is a historical King William figure in need of a biography, it is Douglass.) General Smith is Superintendent of Virginia Military Institute. He served from its founding in 1839 to 1890. (back)
- The fashionable Gipsey (Gypsey, Gypsy) hats of the day were a flat-crowned, wide-brimmed straw hat with ribbons passing from the crown over the brim and tied in a bow under the chin or at the back of the neck. It was closely related to the Pamela hat. (back)
A very beautiful day. Nan and I attended Zion, drove Shakespeare and Fannie. Had some trouble with the former on the sandy hill. – – Bill remained at home as his custom is for his own particular reason. – – Cousin Lem immersed his daughter-in-law this morning and was suffering very much with neuralgia.1 – – Sent my letter to Ju by Washington, requesting him to send it to Richmond by the 1st opportunity. – – We returned home to dinner. Nan slept nearly all the evening. She is very much indisposed.
- This would have been Mary Beverly [Robinson] Edwards, 17, wife of Presley Coleman Edwards, Lemuel’s second son. (back)
It bids fair to be a fine day for Mary to travel. I sat up very late last night writing to Pigeo. Gave Mary $5 more for her, making 10 with what I gave Liv. Gave her $17 for Zac and 1 for Nan, making $28 in all. I am very particular, because money is so hard to get and there is such demand for all I have. I just begun to realize that Mary has spent a week with me. She came so unexpectedly and being sick gave me some uneasiness of mind and now that she is so much better and gone, I grieve for her absence and feel as if I wanted her with me so much, but I know that she is too much wanted at home to remain longer, so I must be contented. – – Bill attended the Militia Meeting at the C. H. – – Brought another letter for Hardie, which I felt it my duty to reply to in his absence, and accordingly wrote a response to the letter and will send it to Richmond by the first opportunity.
The warmest day we have had. Ju came down early to see Mary and said Mag and Stuart were on their way down to spend the day. Mary improves hourly, and I have no doubt will soon regain her usual vivacity. Mag and Stuart came about ten o’clk. We all spent a very pleasant day together. Zac remained at home for two reasons, one to assist Bill in thinning corn, and the other was he had mashed his thumb riding for the ring yesterday, practicing with the boys.1 – – Mary and Nan walked with Mag part of the way when she started about ½ an hour by sun, and returned just before supper was ready. – – Mary made preparations to make an early start in the morning. Zac will take her over in the buggy and drive George. I fixed up a bucket of butter to sell.
- While Ring Tournaments first became popular in the South prior to the Civil War, their renewal after 1865 reinforced the romantic, chivalric values that underlay “The Lost Cause.” Glamorized by English writers popular in the South, most importantly Sir Walter Scott, these values were publicly displayed in costumed, stylized outdoor pageants that glorified genteel white womanhood (Queens) and white male skill and honor (Knights). For the recently defeated these public events provided an opportunity to reconstruct their self-image through the demonstration of quasi-martial horsemanship and displays of devotion, while also harkening back to idealized, if medieval, “better days.” (Unfortunately, there is also a straight line between the make-believe knights of these pageants and the Knights of the White Camelia and the Ku Klux Klan.) So popular were these events that eventually Ring Tournaments would be referred to as the “National Sport of the South.” While interest in these tournaments would wane in the late 19th-century, they remained popular along the tidewater of the Chesapeake, especially in Maryland where jousting was named the Official State Individual Sport in 1962. We will learn that the tournament Zac mashed his thumb practicing for will be held on the 4th of July at West Point. The “in-your-face” date and location are emblematic of local white resistance to the current state of affairs. (back)
A beautiful day. Mary’s like another person, so much improved in spirits and better every way, as regards appetite also. – – Bill rode to the C. H. and Camm’s, returned to dinner. Sold Harriet $.50 worth butter.1 – – Zac brought several letters, Pigeo’s photograph among them, a letter for Hardie from Danville.
- Harriett Banks, wife of John Banks. (back)
Mary remained in bed this morning. I sent for Ju by Zac as he went to the singing school. He rode Fannie and went by the C. H. Ju was not at home, but came as soon as he returned, got here about 10 o’clk. Took dinner and then waited on Mary. She was much better afterwards, and got up and dressed and soon revived in spirits. This is fine growing weather. Bill had the peas in the orchard cultivated this week.
Quite a pretty day. Liv made an early start for Oakland. Fixed him up a snack. Zac took a ride with him, neither waited for breakfast. I am right much indisposed today and yesterday too from sitting up rather late. Mary and I sat up very late tonight talking and reading letters. I did some repairs to the boys’ drawers and shirts today. – – Mary and I sat in the dinning room while we had a nice supper prepared early in the evening. She enjoyed it so much, i.e., as far as her health would permit. – – She had a violent fit of hysterics after supper and I determined to send for Ju in the morning. Gave Liv $5 for Pigeo. – – Zac brought letters from Hardie, one from Danville, one from Liv and an ambrotype from Pigeo.
Pretty weather after so much rain. Ju spent the morning and agreed with me as regards bringing Pigeo down the country sooner than the last of Oct. Thinks it would be economy to board her at Mr. Goss till that time. – – Zac made it late starting to school this morning. Mary will remain till Saturday, at which time I promised to send her over in the buggy, Zac to drive George. Ju took Stuart home with him. I shall miss him so much. He and I had a settlement up to this time. Bill transacted it with him. – – Mary’s health is not good. I was anxious for her to call in Ju and satisfy me as to an opinion I have formed as regards her situation. Her health indicates disease of some kind. She would not consent though. – – Liv and Nan called on Lu Lipscomb and staid till after supper. They were caught in a shower. They came in while we were at supper.
A very inclement day. Tremendous rain last night and a great overflowing of the swamps. Bill arrived just after dark from Cohoke. We had finished supper. After getting his, we all soon retired and about ½ past eleven Mary and Liv came. I was the longest time arousing any of us. We were so much delighted to see them that all except Bill dressed and went down and had supper for them, and then Mary and Nan, with Little Carrie Lewis (the sweetest baby I ever beheld) retired in the back chamber.1 I would not allow them to talk, knowing that Mary would suffer for it tomorrow, so we all went to sleep as soon as we could.
- Caroline Lewis (Carrie) Hanes was born 24 October, 1865. (back)