D. H. Ramsey Library Special Collections and University Archives


"In Memorium E.L.R."
[Emma Lydia Rankin Memoirs]


"Portrait of Emma Lydia Rankin"[rich0002] from In Memorium E.L.R. [Memoires],  1863-65,
D.H. Ramsey Library Special Collections, UNC Asheville.

Title Julia and Richard Richards Collection
Creator Emma Lydia Rankin
Subject Keyword :
Emma Lydia Rankin ; Civil War ; War Between the States, 1861-1865  ; Mecklenburg County, NC ;  7th North Carolina Calvary ; Caldwell County, NC ; Kirkwood Home School for Girls ; Lenoir, NC ; Stoneman's Raiders ; Hickory Nut Gap ; Swannanoa Gap ; Presbyterians ; Rev. C. A. Munroe ; Rev. M.E. Powell ; Col. Logan Carson ; Rev. D. P. McGeachy ;  Rev. Jesse Rankin ; Carrie Stowe Harrison ; Turner Norwood ; Pleasant Gardens, NC ; Barium Springs Orphanage ;
Subject LCSH :
Rankin, Emma Lydia, 1838-1908
Rankin, Emma Lydia. Memoirs
Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Memoirs
Caldwell County (N.C.) -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865
Civil War -- North Carolina -- Asheville
North Carolina -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Personal narratives
Soldiers -- North Carolina
Rankin, Jesse
Rankin, Ann Delight
United States History -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865
Description A small book of memoirs of Emma  Lydia Rankin,  a Caldwell County resident, who was born July 29,1838 and died February 28,1908 in Lenoir, Caldwell County, North Carolina.
Publisher Original:  Lenoir, NC, 1863-65  ; Digital file: D.H. Ramsey Library, Special Collections, University of North Carolina at Asheville 28804. 
Contributor Julia Richards
Date original  
Date digital 2006-10-11
Type Collection ; Text ; Image
Format Memoirs cataloged for Special Collections
Identifier http://toto.lib.unca.edu/findingaids/mss/richards/default_richards.htm
Source M2006.
Language English
Relation Is Part of:  Julia and Richard Richards Collection, D. H. Ramsey Library Special Collections ;
Coverage temporal 1863-1865 ; 
Coverage spatial Lenoir, North Carolina ;
Rights Any display, publication, or public use must credit the D.H. Ramsey Library, Special Collections, University of North Carolina at Asheville. Copyright retained by the creators of certain items in the collection, or their descendents, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Acquisition  2006
Citation "In Memorium E.L.R.," in the Julia and Richard Richards Collection, D.H. Ramsey Library, Special Collections, University of North Carolina at Asheville 28804
Processed by Special Collections staff, 2006-10-11
Biography See particularly the biographical account in the Lenoir Topic below. The entire booklet is biographical in nature.


In Memorium E.L.R. [Emma Lydia Rankin Memoirs]

    [Cover of booklet] In Memorium E.L.R. rich0001_mod.jpg (297954 bytes)
    [Photograph of Emma Lydia Rankin.] rich0002_mod.jpg (214788 bytes)
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Emma Lydia Rankin

Third daughter of Rev. Jesse and Ann Delight Rankin.
July 29, 1838 — February 28, 1908.

This gifted woman received from her parents, both of whom were teachers of wide reputation, the benefit of a thorough clas­sical education, which would have qualified her for entrance to the higher classes of any of our colleges. She assisted them in teaching for a number of years, and when the infirmities of age came upon them, she, with her older sister, Miss Sarah, continued the limited home school known as "Kirkwood" Emma taking the active management of the school room, and her sister the art department.

She was eminently learned and accomplished, skilful in im­parting instruction to her pupils, and what is at least somewhat unusual with the sex, an expert mathematician who seemed to take positive delight solving difficult problems in the higher mathematics.
Training the minds and hearts of young women was her life work and she adorned the profession of her choice. Her pupils — she always spoke of them as "my girls" — came from excellent families in all sections of the State. A large part of the patronage of the school being from religious denominations other than that of the teacher. They reflected her faithful training in their lives and in them was fulfilled the prayer of the psalmist, "That our daughters become as corner stones polished after the similitude of a palace."

She inherited from a pious ancestry a love for the Presbyterian Church of which she was a devoted member for over three score years. To her strenuous efforts and most liberal contri-


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butions, the church is largely indebted for the fine brick Manse in Lenoir, built in 1893, and in a good measure the same may be said of the new Presbyterian Church built a decade later. Her aid to this church did not end with the completion of the ele­gant building. It was followed by a gift of the large and valuable lot in front of the church, which adds greatly to the convenience of the congregation and to the beauty of the grounds.

After the completion of the Manse, selling her old home she secured a lot near the homes of her two married sisters, and on it erected a large and convenient brick dwelling, almost a duplicate of the Manse building.

In this she and her sister Sarah resided during the remainder of their lives.

Her final active benevolent work and one which enlisted her warmest sympathy during the closing years of her life, was in aid of that noble charity, the Barium Springs Orphanage.

In the year 1875, "The Vesper Reading Club of Lenoir," which, as its records show, maintained its organization with regular weekly or bi-weekly meetings for over twenty years, appointed a committee of three of its members to report, if the way be clear, a plan for establishing a circulating library for the town. This committee, of which Miss Rankin was a member, reported favorably and resulted in opening the Pioneer Library, which, from a small beginning, grew with the years and, up to the era of the Carnegie Libraries, was perhaps the largest town library in the State. She was a moving spirit in it for many years, and during the last years of her life she served as purchasing agent and librarian, a work for which, so long as her strength remained, she was particularly fitted.

In her home, April 8th, 1907, she received a fall which frac­tured or otherwise injured the bones of the right hip joint.


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page 5   [Photograph] Kirkwood [Home School for Girls], 1896.] rich0005_mod.jpg (247992 bytes)
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From the effects of this accident she recovered so far that she could, with the aid of a staff, walk for short distances, though not without discomfort, when on November 6th, following, she met with a similar fall in her home, which broke the bones at the same joint on the left side. From the effects of this misfortune she never recovered. Her strength gradually gave way, and for months enduring great bodily suffering, which the surgeon's skill, loving hearts, and tender hands always at her bedside, were powerless to control, her pure spirit took its flight to join her loved ones who had preceded her to that better land.

The accident which shortened this useful life, doubtless, re­sulted directly from weakness incurred by the constant loving care in nursing her maiden sister who was a confirmed invalid for over three years before her death. With her death, following that of her sister, the light literally went out of the house which had been kept bright and pleasant, abounding in hospitality for so many years, and a refined home as it had existed, was closed forever.

The writer feels assured that the spontaneous heart-felt tributes, which he is permitted by the writers to copy elsewhere in this booklet, to her refined Christian character and its far-reaching influence, will touch a responsive chord in the hearts of "her girls" and of many other loving friends into whose hands this memorial may come.

G. W. F. harper.

Lenoir, N. C, July 10, 1908.


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(The News, Lenoir, N. C., March 27, 1908.)


(By one of the many of "her girls" who rise up to call her blessed.)

Methinks there falls on listening ears,

The strains of Heavenly song, As at the shining gate there stands

A glad and happy throng Of those who press to welcome one

The Lord has loved so long. 'Tis she, the steadfast one,

Whose friendship made us feel That life with all its change and chance,

Still held things true and real. And as the angels lead her on,

Up to the waiting King, A shining peace is on her face

For joy that she may bring, Not empty hands to meet His clasp,

But full and running o'er, Of ransomed souls who watched for her

Upon the farther shore. For 'twas her life of righteousness

That shone, a strong white light, To point them, as the way grew broad,

To paths of truth and right. And hear ye not the Master's voice,

Saying, "Come thou faithful one, Thine is the crown, the victory,


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For a noble life well done." The world seems poorer now by far,

And the tears too ready start, Since we lost her smile and helping hand,

And the  sunshine in her heart. Yet let there be no selfish grief

At close of life so true, In gentle strength and wisdom rare,

She builded better than she knew. And those of us who tarry yet,.

In precious memory keep The lessons learned from her life book

So full and sweet and deep.

carrie  stowe  harrison.


Lenoir, February 28.—Miss Emma L. Rankin, daughter of the late Rev. Jesse Rankin, the first pastor of the Lenoir Presbyterian Church, died at her home here today in her 70th year. She was widely known throughout the State as an accomplished teacher, being for many years principal of the Kirkwood Home School for Girls. Her father and mother were noted teachers and she naturally inherited a love for her calling. She taught daughters and, in some cases, granddaughters of her pupils, and enjoyed the respect and love of her girls, who "rise up and call her blessed." Few women have exerted an equal influence for good in any community. She was held in highest esteem for her consistent Christian life, her noble work and her wide influence.

The funeral services will be held Saturday afternoon at the


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Presbyterian Church, of which she was a devoted member. The services will be conducted by Rev. C. A. Munroe, of Hickory, in the absence of her pastor, Rev. D. P. McGeachy.—Char­lotte Observer.

For the Presbyterian Standard.

On February 28th, Miss Emma Rankin of Lenoir, N. C., and daughter of the late Rev. Jesse and Ann D. Rankin, laid aside the1 infirmities of the flesh, and entered into the perfect life to be reunited with sainted father, mother and sister. She was a woman of strong character and endowed with a strong intellect which had been highly cultivated and used for the highest good of others. Her life was given to the work of teaching in which she was abundantly successful in training both intellect and hearts. Her influence had not been confined to the home which was a small village when she began her work there. Lenoir, which for years has been noted for the intelligence and high toned morality of its citizens, as the surrounding world well knows, has been largely indebted for this high standing among its sister villages and towns to the influence and teachings of the family of which Miss Emma Rankin was a member. Though no sons will perpetuate the memory of this godly household the influence of its noble example and teachings will be felt for generations to come. Miss Emma Rankin will have an enviable share in this influence through her pupils widely scattered in various localities. In such cases:

Why should we mourn departed friends,

Or start at death's alarms, 'Tis but the voice that Jesus sends,

To call them to his arms.
Greensboro, N. C.                                                                                  
 J. C. wharton.


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page 10   [Photograph of "Rev. Jesse Rankin", Presbyterian minister in Lenoir, NC and father of Emma Lydia Rankin.] rich0010_mod.jpg (170531 bytes)
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For the Lenoir Topic.


Born, lived, died, can be written of every animate thing as marking three great events of earthly existence. All men are born, all must die; but how few truly live. In living there is example, instruction and inspiration. "So teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom," prays the psalmist. What follows is seen only through the eye of faith. The subject of this sketched lived.

Miss Emma Lydia Rankin was born July 29th, 1838, and died at Lenoir, N. C, February 28th, 1908. Her father, the late Reverend Jesse Rankin, was the first pastor of the Presbyterian congregation of Lenoir, and planted the seed of what has since grown into so stately a tree. Her mother, Ann Delight, nee Salmon, was in every way fitted to be the helpmate of the strong man, to whom religion and society owe so much in this community. Sprung from such stock, it is not strange that the daughter should have inherited the fine, firm characters of the parents, together with the mental vigor which was com­mon to both.

Father and mother were both teachers of repute, and realiz­ing, as Scotch Presbyterians and their descendants alone seem to realize, the duty and importance of a solid education, they took care that their gifted daughter had all the advantages that the times afforded. So being fully equipped, Miss Emma early took up her life work, and taught in Salisbury, Shelby, Pleasant Gardens, also near Fayetteville and finally together with her elder sister, the late Miss Sarah Rankin, established "Kirkwood School" for girls, in Lenoir, over which for many years, she


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continued to preside. Upon the death of her sister, and finding her own strength failing, she decided to close the school. A successor might have been found, but there was no one that could give the school the individuality that has distinguished it under her; and by reason of which the beneficence of its mis­sion had been so marked. So with a pang that must have cut deep into her heart, she decided to discontinue "Kirkwood." Henceforth, she taught only by the example of a nobly discip­lined life, and a strong, gentle, loyal nature.

It is the well-founded opinion of the writer, who has spent all his life in and near Lenoir, and has seen it grow from a disorderly and disreputable Court House village to its present fair proportions, that the town has never had any citizen, man or woman, to whom it owes so much and who has left a deeper impress upon its social and moral life, than Miss Emma Rankin.

There be those among us who never fell directly under her influence, who are better men and women because we have real­ized to our sorrow that we have fallen far short of the correct ideals that she taught and lived, and strayed widely from the straight path of righteousness in which she moved.

She was a woman of positive character. To her, right was right, and wrong was wrong. There was no middle ground. No compromise.

I have heard her called narrow in her views, but never in­correct. I have heard those who criticized her code as too rigid ; but I have noticed that such criticism generally came at times when the more liberal views of her critics had led them into excesses of which they were heartily ashamed, or as a salve to a disturbe'd conscience. The purity, the steadfastness, the correctness of her ideals were a constant rebuke to us who fell so far short of her standard ; and even the worst of us hastened to


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place our daughters under her care that they might learn her way, instead of our own.

She did not seek and did not have many intimates, but she had a host of friends who were bound to her with hooks of steel. Her girls, as she fondly called her pupils, loved and es­teemed her with a devotion that knew no change. During her last illness those that were near were constant in their interest in her, and those at a distance daily sent loving messages of cheer and hope. While on her sick bed she often said that this interest and sympathy from those she had taught gave her more real pleasure and gratification than anything else. We may never know how far the circle set in motion by her hand may extend, but we know "that her works do follow her." With all she was just and kind, good and charitable. Many poor there are, who owe to her comfort, help, and subsistance [sic] in time of sore need. These now that she is gone, will miss her ministering hand and sincerely mourn her loss.

Taken all in all she was a remarkable woman and we shall not soon again see her like.

edmund jones.

Lenoir, N. C, March 18, 1908.

(Presbyterian Orphans' Home, Barium Springs, Ar. C., Rev. John Wake field, Superintendent.')


Two privileges enjoyed by the Superintendent of the Or­phans' Home compensate for the great responsibility he bears and the anxiety he cannot escape. The first is the companionship of the children, cheerful, hopeful, buoyant, expectant,

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courageous, impatient to meet the responsibilities of life and confident of success and also of the tender, loving, patient, in­telligent, consecrated persons who have the care and training of them. The second is the sweet communion he holds, through correspondence, with the choicest spirits of the land and the cooperation he receives from them. Two of these choice spirits have recently passed away from earth and the Orphans' Home sustains an unspeakable loss. Both were pioneers in certain lines of work and deserve special mention.

One of them, Miss Emma L. Rankin of Lenoir, long the Principal of the Kirkwood School, a woman of high intellectuality and deep piety, appreciating the arduous labors of the house-mothers and seeing the small pecuniary compensation they receive, originated the "Mothers' Fund" for supplementing their salaries, showing these consecrated women that their labors were appreciated by those best prepared to put an estimate upon them. She rests from her labors but her works do follow her, and the Orphans' Home will always have reason to cherish and honor her memory. Her last days were days of great suffering, but the Orphans' Home engaged her thoughts and prayers.


R. W. boyd.

The Dispatch, Lexington, N. C., March n, 1908.

Miss Emma L. Rankin, who died last week in Lenoir, where she had lived for many years, teaching school, was the daughter of the late Rev. Jesse Rankin, who once lived in Lexington. Miss Rankin was in her 70th year. She was widely known as a cultured, accomplished teacher. As principal of Kirkwood

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School for girls in Lenoir, she taught many a young lady who was saddened to hear of her death. Her father was a noted Presbyterian preacher and educator.


The session of Rankin Presbyterian Church, Lenoir, N. C., mourns deeply the removal of our esteemed, honored and be­loved Emma Rankin by the death angel. We pray that our loss is Heaven's gain. We honored for her sympathy and Christ-like feelings toward us. Her donating to us a lot, upon which to erect a Presbyterian Church for the colored people of Lenoir. We honored her for her philanthropic spirit. We saw the trend of her soul; more blessed to give than to receive. She has cast her bread upon the water to gather after many days with Saints in glory. She has sowed the seeds of love among the poor, to reap a harvest of joy among angels.

Whereas, It has pleased God to call her from labor to reward ; be it Resolved: 1st. That we tender the bereaved family, our heartfelt sympathy. 2d. That we hold in fond remembrance her kind feeling toward us. 3d. That we appreciate what she has done for us. 4th. That we revere her lofty character. 5th. That a copy of these resolutions be sent to the family and a copy to the Lenoir News.

elder W. S. craig,
elder  turner  norwood,  mod.
M. E. powell,


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The sketch of her thrilling war experience was written in 1885 at the request of "her girls," and was not intended at the time for publication. It was published ten years later in the Charlotte Observer and copied in the Lenoir News.

It is given by request in this memorial as an example of the faith, courage, and self-reliance of a good woman under most trying conditions.

The "Pleasant Gardens," a section embracing a number of fine plantations on the Catawba River in McDowell County, North Carolina, was so named and occupied and cultivated before the American Revolution.

Major Ferguson, with his little army, raided this section in an attempt to capture Col. McDowell only three weeks before the battle of King's Mountain.

Lieut. Allaire of that corps, in his diary says, as recorded in "Draper's King's Mountain and Its Heroes:"

"Saturday, Sept. 16, 1780. Pleasant Garden is a very handsome place. I was surprised to see so beautiful a tract of land in the mountains. This settlement is composed of the most violent Rebels I ever saw, particularly the young ladies."

"Sunday, Sept. 17. Marched two miles to Buck Creek, forded it and continued two miles further to a Rebel, Major Davidson's plantation and halted."

Here may be found the ancestral homes of the Erwins, Carsons, Greenlees, Burgins, and other prominent families. The cuts of the locality were made for this memorial from recent photographs.


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page 17   [The Col. Logan Carson mansion, Pleasant Gardens.]  rich0017_mod.jpg (285191 bytes)
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A North Carolina Woman's Experience in the Civil War.

The winter of 1863 found the writer employed as a school ma'am in a family school, in an old-fashioned farm house at Pleasant Gardens, in McDowell County, North Carolina. It was a huge old house, with long, wide porches, the original building constructed of logs 12 inches square, sometime in the beginning of this century or the latter part of the last. From time to time additions had been made to the main building, numerous offices had been built, and it had been for years a summer resort, well known to seekers of health and pleasure from eastern Carolina. Pleasure seekers were few at this troublous time, but one or two refugees, two or three school girls, the family, consisting of Col. Logan Carson, his wife and two little girls and myself occupied the wide old house. Besides it was, and has been for many years, one of the stopping places on the old stage line between Morganton and Asheville, and every morning the stage got in before daylight, bringing a load of passengers, generally soldiers, who waited for breakfast, and gave us the latest news. Our postoffice, Marion, being four miles distant, mails were not received till 11 o'clock. In excit­ing junctures, you could hear anything from the "reliable gen­tleman" who was generally at this breakfast table, so that our hopes and fears were often aroused, to be dashed or quieted when the mail arrived. Far removed from the seat of war, our only contact with the outer world was at this breakfast table.

Up to the winter of '64-'65 our experience of the trials of the war, was confined to the anxiety about friends in the army, and the privations which were lightly esteemed and cheerfully borne, hoping always for a joyful end. True we were far


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from blockade goods, but what cared we. Factory cloth, which our negroes used to wear, bought at a great price, and warran­ted to last "until six months after a treaty of peace" made most valuable underwear; and our homespun dresses, dyed in soft dark colors by our native barks and roots, with a thread of real indigo or madder, and made and fitted with as much care as would have been bestowed on handsome material in former times, looked, as we imagined, very stylish. The getting up of a bonnet was a difficult undertaking, as "sky-scrapers" were i,u the fashion when the war commenced, and continued in vogue with us till it closed, and it took no little to cover one of these aspiring frames; but I had from various ancient receptacles, gathered together silk, flowers, and above all, plumes, real os­trich plumes, all to match. The plumes covered a deficiency in the silk, and underneath was a piece of pasteboard, which sup­plied a deficiency in the frame, so the plumes were absolutely essential to the recherche effect of the grand combination. But one fatal Sunday, feeling unusually frisky when leaving the church, I proposed to one of the children to take my place in the carriage and let me ride the pony, accompanied by mine host, who always went on horseback. I only added the long riding skirt to my church costume and mounted for a four-mile ride. It was a clear, bright day in winter, with a stiff breeze blowing, and I soon found that I carried too much topsail, but managing, though with some difficulty, to keep my "sky-scraper" on, I sailed in triumphantly, meeting the carriage, which had come by another road, at the gate. The first remark of one of the children was: "O, Miss R., what is the matter with your bonnet?" I put my hand up—the plume was gone—and the pasteboard was bare. I walked on to my room, took the bonnet off, looked at the sore place for the space of a minute calmly


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took in the whole situation, and gave it up. I had forded both the river and the creek, and the plume was probably carried off by the fresh breeze in its clear sweep down the river. So search was useless, and I laid the bonnet clown "slowly and tenderly, fashioned so meagrely, so old, and so bare," and closely inspecting my second best hat, resolved to promote it to a higher position.

About a week afterwards, the children raised a great outcry, "O, Miss R., your bonnet is found." I ran down to meet the coming procession, and found them carrying the plume aloft, looking like an old rooster on a rainy day. A cursory glance showed that it was past recovery and "off duty forever."

However, more serious troubles were ahead of us. The in­vading army in a constantly narrowing circle approached u<. We had thought it highly improbable that a blue-coat would ever be seen in our secluded region, but rumors of raids and maraud­ers came thick and fast during the last winter of the war. Kirk's men were plundering in the counties adjoining us, and had come down within ten, and even five miles of us. We began to hide out our clothes an to arrange our valuables when we retired as to best protect them in case of a dash in the night. In the early spring of '65, it was confidently reported that the Yankees were coming both from the east and the west. One morning a gentleman well known to Col. C., came by from Asheville and said we might certainly expect them that day or the next, that he heard when only a few miles from Asheville that they had actually reached that point, and we might look out.

The day was passed in anxious suspense, and we looked up the road many times. It was Friday evening, and one of the school girls who lived in Marion was going home. A saddled horse stood at the gate, and a little negro boy, who had brought it for her, sat on a mule close by. Just then a cry came that


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page 21   [Photograph]  "Pleasant Garden Ford, Catawba River." rich0021_mod.jpg (362609 bytes)
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the Yankees were coming. I flew to the upper porch where I could best see the Asheville road, and there sure enough was a column of mounted soldiers winding slowly round the high hill that shut out the road from our view, at a distance something less than a quarter of a mile. On reporting this a general stam­pede commenced. The master of the house was rushed off through the back door, his wife entreating him to leave her and fly. Every darkey on the place, about fifty in number, placed their backs to the foe, and pressed forward. A beautiful creek flowed through the yard, along the banks of which was a road leading off at a right angle from the Asheville road. Down this road ran men, women and children—helter-skelter, pell-mell, some with a horse or a mule that they had been able to seize at the moment, but more on foot. The little girl, anxious to reach home, had mounted in hot haste and was clattering across the creek at 2 -.40 speed, followed by her muleterian escort. Before she had gone a hundred yards, the girth broke, and down came "lady, saddle and all." A negro man rushing ahead of her caught the horse and she, rising to her feet, nothing hurt, screamed, "Put me on, Uncle Davis, please put me on." And this time, either for greater security, the saddle being lost, or by accident, she took a position in which she could have used both stirrups if there had been any, and so, with bonnet off, hair flying, across the river, around and over the hills, in less than half an hour she made the four miles, and dashed into Marion and up to the male academy, where her brothers were, screaming at the extent of her voice, "Four thousand Yankees at Uncle Logan's ! Four thousand Yankees at Uncle Logan's !" a cry that she kept up down the village street till she reached her home.

In the meantime, Mrs. C., and I, with three children stood


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on the porch with hearts in our throats, awaiting the dreaded approach of the Yankees, who looked much less formidable near at hand than far away. They made no stop, but went slowly riding by, a company of some 50 or 60 men — some with Confed­erate uniforms and some with no uniform at all. When they had nearly all passed I turned and broke out into a laugh and cried out, "Are we going to let these men pass without finding out who they are. Let us run and speak to them." So the older girl and I ran to the gate, and found on halting the troop, that it was a company of Vaughn's men — some of our own precious cavalry, who for some months had been roaming round in our mountain fastness, seeking what they might devour, and now had unwittingly caused this panic. When the situation was ex­plained they were much amused, and rode on with the inclina­tion, it seems, to humor the joke. The first person they met happened to be the very man who had come from Asheville in the morning and brought the first report. On his return from Marion he had met the little girl, and though hearing her screaming report, had determined to go a little nearer and see for himself ; but meeting this cavalcade he wheeled his horse, and as he did so, some of the boys for fun, fired their pistols, which he, of course, thought aimed at him. He galloped back, arriving in Marion shortly after the school girl, confirming her report, and adding that the Yankees were just behind and had fired on him. The result was that by the time these men rode quietly into the village, the whole male population had gone, without "standing on the order of their going." A recruiting officer who had been there for some months never stopped till he reached Rutherfordton, 28 miles distant, where of course, he told the tale as "twas told to him."

But there came a day when "wolf" was cried in earnest.


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About the middle of April, I went on Friday evening to spend Saturday with a friend, two miles off, across the river. Sunday morning before daylight I awoke to find one of the ladies of the family standing by my bed with a candle in one hand, and an open letter in the other. I shall never forget the ghostly picture. The tall figure with face as pallid as the night dress she wore, the dim blue light, and the whole foreshadowing of evil. The letter was sent by special messenger from Statesville, and in­formed us that Stoneman's raiders, which had dashed in out of the State some weeks before, had appeared at Salisbury, released their prisoners, captured our forces there, and were en route for Tennessee, probably via Asheville. It is impossible to realize now the dread terror with which we received these tidings. All the horrors, of which we had heard from others, were about to burst upon us, and I was away from home. Oh, how I longed to be there. But to reach my home, I would have to go meeting the raiders, and no one would take me and run the risk of being captured, both man and horse. I could only be still and wait and trust. We went to church, and our blessed old pastor gave us all the hope and strength he could gather from the Bible, reminding us that there were lions in the way, but God could shut the lions' mouths. The scenes of the week brought up his words with great force. I went back to Col. C.'s from church, and in the morning a scene of active preparation commenced—the biggest burying I ever attended.

Huge excavations were made—one I remember large enough to hold a piano box, which was filled with hams and buried in an old house near where the sorghum had been made the fall before, and the litter was spread over it to hide the fresh earth. I blistered my hands burying a box of Confederate money.. It was only a foot long and about half as wide and deep, but I


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thought I would never get the hole deep enough, and I chose a soft place too. It was Col. C.'s money. About this time 1 be­gan to think I had more clothes than I knew what to do with, though my wardrobe would have been a show in these times. Large quantities of clothing, including my most valuable trunk, were sent to a cabin a mile or two off the road, so poor looking that we thought it would offer no temptation to search, and so it proved, for we saved everything that was there. To me it seemed idle to secrete when every servant on the plantation knew where everything was hid—in fact, did most of the hiding, but, to their honor be it said, not a single disclosure was made to their friends and our foes. Tuesday morning the horses and mules and cows were driven off up the creek, and hid out in the bushes a few miles from the road and then we sat down in dreadful expectation to wait.

About noon a small squad of men passed, sent by General Martin to reconnoiter. General M., commanding our forces at Asheville at that time, and had come over with his small force to the top of the Blue Ridge to offer what resistance he might. In a very short time they came galloping back, saying the Yan­kees were just across the river. The time had now come when all who had determined to abandon the post must leave. Mrs. C. urged her husband to hide out in the mountains, as he could be no protection to his family, and it would be a relief to her to have him out of the way. So off he went, and most of the darkeys disappeared, leaving Mr. C., with her two little daughters and myself standing in the front door watching our skirm­ishers, who were stationed at the front gate and told us they would fire at the Yankee videttes from that point. The ap­proaching troops were now heard, but instead of coming up the direct road, they were on the road up the creek that passed the


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end of the house, and came into the main road at the right angle. As the house was in this angle we saw in a moment that we would be right in the line if there should be any firing, but just then our captain lifted his cap and called to us that he had concluded not to fire from that place lest the enemy should burn the house.

As they wheeled and galloped off the Yankees caught sight of them and dashed after, firing on them, our men firing back. We were dreadfully afraid that they would capture our boys, but they did not, nor touch one of them. It was said that one of the raiders was killed, but I cannot vouch for the truth of this. It was stated afterwards in some newspapers that this was the last skirmish of the war. If so, it was a remarkable co­incidence of dates for it was the I9th of April—exactly four years from the clay on which the first conflict occurred in the Confederate war and also the anniversary of the day on which the first blood was shed in the Revolutionary war.

By the time this little skirmish was over the horrid blue' coats were swarming in and through and around the house. We stood in the front door, hoping to keep them out, but when we looked back, they were pouring in the back door, and every other door and window. They rushed past us and up the stairs and in every room. Every office and out house seemed to be full of them, and still they came. It seemed to us that there were about a million of them, but I suppose there were only a few hundred in the yard. An impudent lieutenant demanded of me where the horses were secreted. He hooted at my reply that the negroes had taken them off and hid them. He asserted that he was a Southerner—a Kentuckian, and knew as much about negroes as I did, and that was a likely story which I was telling. I told him that if he was a Kentuckian he ought to be ashamed


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of being in that band of marauders. After some more insolence he departed in search of the horses, saying, "Be sure, miss, we will find them; Yankees never fail in search." In the meantime Mrs. C. and I took seats in the porch and waited an hour or two until the road and the house began to thin out, and hoping that they had all passed, we began to reconnoiter. The pantry was as bare as old Mother Hubbard's cupboard. Most of the meat had been taken out of the smoke-house, and what was left was thrown down on the floor and a barrel of vinegar poured over it and then covered with dust and ashes. It was some consola­tion that the next set that came along took this same meat and ate it.

The spring-house was as bare as the pantry, and as far as we could see, nothing was left to eat. Some old turkeys which were setting had their heads cut off, but were still "a setting" in headless dignity on their nests. Another squad of regular plunderers now came into the yard, and we resumed out stand in the front porch. They demanded clothes, provisions, etc., and threatened, if not supplied, to sack the house. We told them to sack away; that their own people had been there, and they would not be apt to find much left. They started on their rounds, but soon returned for the keys. It was then discovered that the keys had been carried off by the first set (a good many of them were found weeks afterwards scattered over a wheat field near the house). They pretended not to believe this, and declared with very rough language that they would open the doors anyway. (A few of them had been left locked.) We soon heard them splitting out the panels with an axe, but finding little or nothing, they soon rode on cursing the house and its inmates as they went. Night was now drawing on, and to heighten its horrors, a dark thunder cloud was rising in the


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west, and when we went to Mrs. C.'s room to try to arrange for the night, we found that we had no light. The candles were in the press with heavy oaken doors, the keys were gone, and we had not skill or strength to break the locks Or split the doors. The very idea of being left in darkness, and those wretches so near us! Just then some of the negroes came peering around, and one of them told us that Col. C. had been taken prisoner, but was paroled (he was over 60 years old) and had sent him down to see if Mrs. C. was willing for him to come home and stay that night. She was not willing, for she thought both he and we were safer if he was absent, so she sent him word to remain where he was. There was a large pile of new shingles at the back door with which to recover the house. We carried in enough of these to keep a light all night, built up a fire and sat down after bolting and barricading the door as best we could. The room was in desolate confusion, the beds thrown down on the floor, bureau drawers out and pulled to pieces and darkness and discomfort all around. We had no supper and wanted none. The children went to sleep, but Mrs. C. and I kept watch. We afterwards learned that there was a camp on each side of us, but the rain fell in torrents, and there was little passing and no stopping until the morning light, for which we were most truly thankful.

Aunt Hannah, the negro cook, came early in the morning to say that she had some breakfast for us, but " 'lowed it was not worth while to bring it up there—some of 'em would be coming along and snatching it." So we marched off to her cabin, where she had set a table as neatly as she could, and pre­pared for us a turkey, cut up and stewed, saving part un­cooked for future meals, scrambled eggs, bread and butter and rye coffee. From the same hospitable cabin we got all our


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meals for the next five days, the negroes catering for us, and using their own rations, which had been given to them for the week only the day before, and which the Yankees did not take. Col. C. came in and informed me that the raiders had come through Lenoir, where my home was, and now my troubles were increased ten-fold by anxiety about my dear ones there.

A clear beautiful morning followed the rain, and as the house was too forlorn to occupy, we took possession of the front porch again. Very soon another regiment that had camped below commenced passing. Fewer stragglers came in this morning, and they, finding nothing, remained but a short time. The gate was open, and a mounted soldier turned from the column, and galloped up to the very door, and said, "I would like to see Miss R. Is she here?" If his Satanic majesty had called for me, I could scarcely have been more aston­ished, but I stepped to the edge of the porch, and announced that I was Miss R. "I guarded your father's house when in Lenoir," said he, "and here is a letter which I promised to deliver to you." I seized the letter, but turned with eager inquiries to the man. "How long were you in Lenoir? What did you do there?" "Oh, Lenoir was not injured by us at all, we stopped there one day with our prisoners but no houses were burned." I knew then that they had eaten up the meagre [sic] supplies which the village afforded, if nothing more. I thanked him as he rode away, and then turned to the letter. O, how glad I was to get that letter, and to hear that my folks had come off so lightly in the sore visitation.

About this time a young lieutenant rode in, bowed politely, and asked for a drink of water. He looked more like a gen­tleman than any of them I had seen, and I made bold to tell him how his men had been behaving and asked him if he could


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not stay and guard us while a negro regiment that was just coming in sight was passing. He politely acceded to my request, and ordered a big black negro in an officer's uniform, who was just going into the back door, back to the lines. Oh! how horrid those negroes looked in that blue uniform; and how the air was filled with oaths! But that was characteristic of their white comrades also. Did our army fill the air with blas­phemies as they marched along? How thankful we were to have protection, even for this hour. The officer guarding was Lieutenant Davis, a Kentuckian. He told me that he had been raised by a good father and mother, and that he was heartily ashamed of being in such a command—that his cheeks had tingled at the outrages they had committed ever since they started from Tennessee. I told him I thought he had good reason to be ashamed. He said that the stragglers who followed the raid, and belonged to no command, were the worst, and that as the regiment just passed was the last, we would probably be more annoyed than we had been before, but he was the officer of the day, and if stragglers should come in, to say that he had just left, and threaten them with him. Regretting that he must leave us so unprotected, but compelled he said, by his duty, he now followed on.

Col. C. had been about the house all the morning, continually urged by his wife to hide out again, but reluctant to leave. Scarcely had Lieutenant Davis gone before we saw half a dozen men dashing up the creek, whooping and yelling and cursing, and as drunk as they could be. There was a still house half a mile down the creek, and straight from it they came. Col. C. was in the parlor and there was no time to get out unseen. Mrs. C. entreated him to remain quietly seated on the sofa, which was on the same side with the door, which opened on the front


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porch, and in the doorway we stood to keep him from being seen. The wretches left their horses at the gate, fairly ran up the walk, and two of them rushed up to Mrs. C., and with cocked pistols nearly touched our breasts, demanded all the watches and jewelry in the house. Col. and Mrs. C. had hid their watches, but mine was concealed on my person. I had no idea of giving it up. I knew they were only threatening, and did not suppose they intended to shoot us, but in their tremulous, drunken hands, I knew there was great danger of the pistols firing. We threatened to report them to the officer of the day, who, we told them, was near at hand, but they cursed him and all other officers, and said they belonged to no command and feared nobody. Still we stood there, determined to keep them from seeing into the room. Mrs. C. was an invalid, and with extreme terror for her husband, who was so near her, and yet so powerless to protect her, I feared she would faint, but she did not. We stood our ground and they stood theirs, holding their pistols pointed close to us, and making horrid threats of what they would do if we did not disclose the hiding place of various hidden treasurers, but especially of the watches, which they declared they would have—every one of them, and more­over that they knew exactly how many there were in the house. Two more of the gang now called out that they were going to burn the house and placing some straw and other light material on the floor of the porch, they put a match to it, and up it blazed. We thought our time had come now sure enough, but there was nothing to do but escape ourselves, and there was time enough for that; so we just stood still, and to our surprise they knocked out the fire themselves before the floor had fairly caught. Some of them in the meantime had been looking about the house, and finding it so bare, came out saying, "Come along


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boys and let the women alone, there's nothing to be got here," and so they left. As soon as they were out of sight Mrs. C. turned to her husband and said, "Now go, and I beseech you not to come back again while these dreadful creatures are about. You see you can be no protection to me, and I am a thousand times more afraid when you are here. They threaten to kill, but they would kill you." So he went but he did not stay.

For several hours we now sat in solemn stillness. There was no passing, and we began to hope that it was all over, and that we had seen the last of them but it was a vain wish.

A captain with 50 men now came over with a flag of truce from General Palmer to General Gilliam. Palmer had turned off at Morganton, going across by Hickory Nut Gap, while Gilliam was attempting to cross at the Swannanoa Gap. He came in and ordered supper for his men to be served in half an hour. Mrs. C. told him there was nothing to cook, and she had no one to cook it if there was. "Cook it yourselves," said he with the most impudent tone and manner. "I intend to have supper, and if you don't get it for us, I will turn my men loose in the house." That was not a very serious threat, considering the condition of the house after his people had been loose in it a day or two. We gave him to understand that we neither could nor would cook for him, and in marched his men. We heard them setting the table in the dining room and making a great clatter, and wondered what they were doing. So far as we knew there was not a thing to eat in the house. After an hour or more they filed out, and the captain, after stopping for another insolent word with us, rode on.

We then ventured into the house to see what they had been doing. At the dining room door we stopped and laughed. A long table was set out, covered with the remnants of a feast


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that seemed to have been composed of corn batter cakes, and sorghum, and over everything, floor, table, dishes, chairs and all, they had smeared sorghum. We raised our skirts and tipped across to the kitchen where the same scene of dirt and confusion met our eye. Mrs. C. then remembered that she had a bag of meal and a keg of sorghum thrown up above a half open ceiling in a narrow entrance leading to the kitchen, and this, overlooked by the others, they had found.

We made no attempt to clean up and the house remained in the condition they had left it for days. Night was now at hand and we began to dread going into the house. It seemed safer in the open air. We, two lone women and two little girls, felt so awfully desolate and forsaken in that great bare house in darkness. We hoped, however, that the last enemy was far on his way, and we would see no more of them till the judgment day. Just at dusk, however, here came a long column marching back. General Martin had come from Asheville to the top of the Blue Ridge, and so obstructed the narrow moun­tain road, by felling trees and throwing in large stones that, as one of the Yankees told me "it would take a month to clean out the road." So they were all returning and would "go around by Hickory Nut Gap." Just to think of having all that army pass us again! Col. C. now came in, and said that a regiment would camp out before the door, and the colonel—Howard, I think was his name—would make his headquarters in the house. I stepped out into the porch which was filling with men, in­quired for the officer of the day, and, in the fading twilight, recognized the man who presented himself as Lieutenant Davis, our friend of the morning. Informing him that Mrs. C. was sick and ready to give up with fatigue, I begged him to put a guard at the door of our room. He brought up his colonel, in-


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troduced him, who expressed great regret at the treatment we had received, promised all we asked and bowed himself off. Supperless, we bolted ourselves in, fixed up the beds and went to sleep and slept all night. Col. C. called to us to look at the camp fires but we did not care to see them. I am surprised that he thought they looked pretty, as they were built up of rails, leaving exposed his growing fields.

The next morning our polite colonel- started on an early march. On one side of the road was a broad field of wheat, now the latter part of April, giving promise of abundant har­vest. A halt was made, which for a moment we did not under­stand, but the explanation came soon enough. The fence was torn down, and over and over the growing wheat that cavalry galloped in wanton destruction. This was after the war was over, Lee having surrendered, though the raiders would not believe it. A flag of truce had been sent from General Palmer to these men only the evening before, so this piece of malicious­ness was purely gratuitous.

This was only a repetition of the day before. One man wanted shirts for the hospital. Col. C. told him he could not find one in the house, he was sure. "Well, sir," pointing his pistol at him, ^give me the one you have on." He went in the house and took it off and was left with only his flannel under­wear, and the man rode off with his shirt.

One party found an old rifle and a musket, and with great furore [sic], broke stock and lock, and dashed them over the terrace into the creek. Never shall I forget the horrid clangor of those great cavalry spurs and sabres [sic] as they dragged over the bare floors of those long passages and porches. Mrs. C. was still sick so we could not remain out doors* Without ceremony they rushed in and out of her room, a kick at the door was the


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only way in which they asked permission to enter. We left the doors open after a time to avoid this. Once a mere boy with a. red head and a redder face—hot from the bottomless pit he looked—ran in as if pursued, jerked open drawers, banged the closet doors, and at last reached up on the high old-fashioned mantel, pulled open the old clock door, and down it came with a bang on his head, the weights falling out and the whole thing coming down with a crash on the floor. All this time he had seemed never to notice that the room was occupied; but just then his pursuer appeared with a raised sabre [sic], and out of the back door, one after the other, over the banisters of a high porch, away they went, and we saw them no more. We had missed our breakfast that morning, for just as we entered Aunt Hannah's door, two or three blue-coats ran out with the break­fast in their hands. It was a little tantalizing, but we had not much appetite, and I don't think we were as much disturbed as Aunt Hannah was over it.

Another night now came on with all the terrors of darkness. I felt comparatively strong during the day, but the utter help­lessness of two weak women and children made my heart faint at night. We were entirely alone. After the encounter about the shirt Col. C. again left, having promised his wife not to re­turn till the Yankees were all gone. We fastened the doors of our room as securely as possible, determined not to open them to any comers, but knowing well how easily they could be forced open, we could only hope and pray that none would come during the night. Whenever we heard horses hoofs our hearts would rise up in our throats, but when we heard the splash in the creek, we knew they had passed for that time, and thanked God for that.

Sometime after midnight we heard a halt.    In breathless


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terror we listened to the sound of spur and sabre [sic] and heavy tramp up the walk, through the passage, down the long porch of the L, in which was our room, and straight to our door, where the sound stopped, with a kick on the door. Not a word could we titter. A rough voice cried, "Open the door. We want a light to go to the barn." No answer. "Open the door, or we'll break it down," was howled with an oath from the outside. Mrs. C. then spoke, "I have but one piece of candle" (she had found this in one of the rooms) "and I cannot give it to you." "Give us a piece of it," they cried. "I have no knife to cut it," said she. "Open the door and we'll give you one." She hesitated. After a moment she said, "If you'll promise not to come in, I'll open the door wide enough to get the knife, and give you a piece of the candle." They promised. I did not trust to "honor among thieves" and expected them to push in. But she opened a crack in the door, got the knife, gave them the candle and off they went. Just after daylight, the same rough voice was heard at the door. "Open this door, I tell you, or I'll break it open," and heavy kicks followed under which the door threatened to give way every moment. We now concluded to open the door. A man, rather old, with the most frightful countenance I think I ever saw, pushed in. I think I should know that face after all these years. He came pretty near where I was standing, and immediately spied an insignificant breastpin which I wore habitually, and had not thought of concealing. "Give me that pin," he insolently de­manded. "No, you cannot have it," I said. "If you don't take it off, I'll take it off for you," he replied. "No, you will not dare touch me," I said. I moved back toward the fire-place, where there was a large iron shovel, keeping my eye fixed steadily upon him as he slowly moved after me. I determined


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if he attempted to touch me to seize the shovel, and do the best I could with it. 1 never took my eyes off him, but did not allow him to shorten the distance between us, as he moved to­wards me, I moved back till we had gone half way around the room. I persistently refused to let him have the pin, and to all his horrid threats told him he dare not touch me. "Dare not," he said. "I fear not God or man." "I fear God," said I, "and you cannot harm me." After many minutes, as it seemed to me, he moved off, leaving me weak-kneed, and ready enough to drop into the nearest seat. A few days before a lady in Lenoir had been knocked down and robbed or her watch by one of this same gang of marauders, and I know of no earthly reason why this wretch should have desisted, but just at that hour, as I afterwards learned, my clear father was on his knees, imploring the protection of God on his absent child, amid the dangers by which she was surrounded.

The day passed in comparative quiet, only a few stragglers, and they employing themselves in digging around for buried valuables, but not one thing did they get. It was found that they had dug within six inches of the box of hams, and still failed to find it. The horses had been found on the second day, and the children's pony was paraded up and down at the front door before their tearful eyes before they carried them off. Toward evening, quiet settled upon us. No raiders had passed for hours, and we were beginning to breathe freely as we sat in the soft April sunlight, which seemed to be the only thing that vile man could not mar. Down the road from Morganton at last rode two men. They might be friends, but for fear they might be foes, we retired to the back of the house, and shut the door. In a little while we heard a knock at the front en­trance. "O, Mrs. C.," I cried, "that's no Yankee! They come


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in with a kick, and never with a knock." I flew to the door, and there stood a Major in the lovely Confederate uniform. It seemed to me months since I had seen a friend, and I thought he was the handsomest man I had ever seen. He introduced himself as Major Herndon from Asheville (I learned later a brother-in-law of Governor Vance), and I seized the hand which he offered with both mine, and came near kissing him. Mrs. C. now came forward, recognized him, and begged him to stay all night. He said he wanted to stop, but his servant at the gate was in charge of two fine horses which he was anxious to get home without encountering any Yankees. We told him none had passed since noon, and we thought the horses could be sent to a place of safety. We walked to the gate with him, and while we were consulting about the best disposition to make of the horses, one of the negroes came running around the corner crying, "Run, massa, run; for God's sake, run! They's a comin' from the still house just as drunk as they can be!" One leap to his horse's back, and with "Good-bye, ladies, I am sorry to leave you," he was gone. Back we ran to Mrs. C.'s room, and shut the door, but from the window we could see and hear the drunken crowd whooping and cursing. In a moment they rushed in, and were standing before us with pis­tols presented, crying, "Meat, give us meat, or we'll shoot you." Mrs. C. told them they might have all they could find, but there was none there. Finding we were not to be intimidated by pistols and oaths, they left us, and after a fruitless search in the smoke house, they rode off. If I remember aright, these were the last of the raiders that we saw but it was days before we felt secure.

Time and space fail me to relate the result of the inventory taken soon after, but I will only say that old Aunt Lucindy's


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shroud was one of the things that this noble army took away with them. She was an old African — a "king's daughter," of course, in her native land. She was said to be over a hundred years old, and had her shroud laid up in her "chist" for many years. A rapacious blue-coat dragged it out, put it on, danced around in it to the infinite horror of the negroes, and, in spite of their entreaties, carried it away.

E. L. R.


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