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Posts Tagged ‘childbirth’

Saturday 23rd August 1862

Willie seemed better yesterday but still have fever. I sent Charlie after Dr. Hilliard this evening. Willie is not worse nor better. I think it is worms as his bowels are not very loose. We had a good season of rain this evening. I believe it rains every camp meeting here. The camp meeting at Asbury’s Campground began last Thursday.  I shall not go at all as Willie is not well & the buggy has not come back from Greenville yet. Parker took it there with Branton & co. & I hear today that the horse they worked to it (Hutsell mare) is give out down on the river. I must send for them this week. I have knit a little today, all I have done. I was down at the mill this morning & came by Mrs. Night’s. She has a fine son born this morning. She is doing very well.

Source: Diary of Cornelia Henry in Fear in North Carolina: The Civil War Journal and Letters of the Henry Family. Clinard, Karen L. and Russell, Richard, eds. (Asheville, NC: Reminiscing Books, 2008).

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July 27th Sunday

I did not go to Church today, last Tuesday Mr. Bethell and myself were sent for to go to Caswell to see Mr. Bethell’s Mother to tell her of the death of her daughter Louisa Sneed, who died the 11th of this month leaving an infant 11 days old, she left six children, two of her sons are in the army, how uncertain is life, she was a member of the Episcopal Church, professed a change of heart. I hope she has gone to rest.

I have felt the Lord had enabled me to cut loose of my affections from this world and set them on things above, how important it is to live near to God, to keep ourselves in readiness for death.

Henry Hairston died the 24th of June, youngest son of Mrs. Agnes Hairston, he was a soldier in the army.

Source: Mary Jeffreys Bethell Diary, 1853-1873.  #1737-z, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. http://docsouth.unc.edu/imls/bethell/menu.html

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June 20th

I have just received a letter from my daughter in Arkansa, she was tolerable well, Mr. Williamson was having chills. She has a son born 14th of April, named him Willie Bethell. I feel so sad about my daughter, the Enemy is at Memphis in 10 miles of her, I would not be surprised if they lose most all their property. I know they will feel so uneasy, but I look to God and pray to him to protect and defend my dear daughter and her family. I hope their lives will be spared that we may meet again is my daily prayer. Oh Heavenly Father, have mercy upon thy suffering people.

Source: Mary Jeffreys Bethell Diary, 1853-1873.  #1737-z, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. http://docsouth.unc.edu/imls/bethell/menu.html

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June 19, 1862

Father quite sick and has sent for the Dr. Went to see Mrs Spruill & her daughters.  It is sad when one feels how soon one is forgotten.  How true it is that “their place shall know them no more.”  Poor Rebecca but for the mourning dresses one would not have known that she was no more & yet they are not heartless people.  O far from it, none more so, & yet there we sat, her most intimate friend & her family, & tho she was in all our thoughts not an allusion was made to her.  The way of the world I know, but is it a good way?  Is it a way that we ourselves like? And yet from fear of “a scene” all repress the natural expression of the heart & pass as it were an act of oblivion upon the dead.  It is not right!  It is over cultivation—unnatural & injurious.  I will no longer accede to it, but speak freely & sorrowfully & as my heart prompts of those who have gone before me.

Went to see Samantha & carried her some little rarities and delicacies proper for her situation.  They were just in time for I found her with an Infant, a daughter, not two hours old!  So I made but a short stay promising to come again soon.  Read L Allegro, Penserosa, and Comus to the girls.  They had never read them before & were surprised to find how many quotations constantly on their lips were to be found in them.  Read also the contrast between Melancholy & Pleasure in Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy, thought by many to have given Milton the idea of L Allegro & Penseroso.  What a wonderful book, that. Burton is such a mine of thoughts, such a quarry of quotations, but the trouble with me now is that I cannot remember them as I once could.  Is it the war and its consequent preoccupation or is my memory less pliant than formerly?  I fear the latter, which is most mournful, as I have hitherto been gifted with a most excellent one, but nonsense, I talk like an old woman! and I am not yet a middle aged one.  I am still young and my memory shall not fail.

Tied my Grape Vines to their new trellises.  It ought to have been done before.  They would have thriven better.  They were given me by my dear papa, and I prize them the more on that account.  He wrote me that he could never expect to sit under them but wished me many happy years under “my own Vine & my own Fig tree.”  Dear old gentleman, he has left few behind him like himself, but he has been taken from the evil to come.  So we must not mourn for him, yet I miss him sadly.

Source: Edmondston, Catherine Ann Devereux, 1823-1875, Journal of a Secesh Lady: The Diary of Catherine Ann Devereux Edmondston 1860-1866. Crabtree, Beth G and Patton, James W., (Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Division of Archives and History, 1979). http://nc-historical-publications.stores.yahoo.net/478.html

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May 17th

We have received a long letter from our daughter. Mr. Williamson wrote that our daughter was confined on the 14th of April, had given birth to a son, and was doing tolerable well. (William Bethell Williamson.) I feel so thankful to God for blessing my dear daughter. I had faith to believe she would do well, the Lord heard and answered my prayer, glory and honor to his name. I will praise him with joyful lips, if I had a thousand souls I would give them all to God. Oh it is good to trust in God, “I called upon him in the day of trouble, and he delivered me, now I will glorify his name.”

Source: Mary Jeffreys Bethell Diary, 1853-1873.  #1737-z, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. http://docsouth.unc.edu/imls/bethell/menu.html

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Friday 2nd [1862]

Mail came. I got a letter from Sister Jane. She has a daughter born 8th April, is not doing so well, is going home as soon as she is able, wants me to go with her. I would like to go if it is compatable with Mr. Henry’s interests. Atheline still sick. I read till dinner & then made Willie a dress.  I have made two of an old gingham skirt & am going to make one of my pink calico dress I brought from Salem, also Zona one of that & Willie one of yellow muslin, a part of a skirt Lou gave me for Zona & me of a skirt Matt S. gave me to fix a dress of one with & there was some left.

Source: Diary of Cornelia Henry in Fear in North Carolina: The Civil War Journal and Letters of the Henry Family. Clinard, Karen L. and Russell, Richard, eds. (Asheville, NC: Reminiscing Books, 2008).

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April 29

        Our servant Nat is some better, but cannot sit up much. We hope he will get well. Mr. Nubel Ratlif died last Saturday with the Palsy, he was 82 years old, made no profession of religion.

         My dear George is still feeble with the bowel complaint, he is quite weak, eats but little. I feel sad and gloomy today, these times of trouble do try my faith, but I hope it will all work out for my good. The Lord’s face is hid from me, darkness and gloom surrounds me, I cannot get any tidings from my daughter in Arkansa, have not heard from her in near two months.

         My dear Willie is in the army, exposed to the dangers of war, I have not heard from him in some time, I feel so anxious to hear from my dear children.

         I am just out of a spell of sickness, I have not recovered my strength yet, I feel a weakness in my womb, have to lie down to rest. In this time of trouble I will call upon the Lord, he is my only help, I pray for comfort and peace to my sorrowful soul. Our country is invaded by the enemy, we have heard of many bloody battles, thousands have been hurried into eternity. The enemy is advancing, and taken our citys and towns, the prospect is dark and gloomy. War, bloodshed, and desolation is before us.

Source: Mary Jeffreys Bethell Diary, 1853-1873.  #1737-z, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. http://docsouth.unc.edu/imls/bethell/menu.html

 

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April 15 [1862]

        This is a trying time for me, I have not heard from my daughter, Mrs. Williamson, in six weeks, I expect she is confined in childbed. I feel very anxious to hear from her.

         My husband is away from home, he went to see my boys in the army near Yorktown. I feel very anxious about my boys, I would not be surprised if they were in a battle, suspense and anxiety is so unpleasant, but I look to God and call upon him to comfort my troubled soul. I beg him to bless and protect my dear boys, George and Willie, and my dear daughter Mary Virginia.

         I am cast down and sorrowful, I cannot hear from my dear children, but my hope and trust is in the Lord. I find some relief in prayer, and reading my precious bible. I will try and be patient and resigned. I believe that God will hear my prayers.

         I have just heard of the death of poor Billy Lumpkins, I hope the Lord has mercy on him.

         Cousin Fanny Price died 6th April 1862.

Source: Mary Jeffreys Bethell Diary, 1853-1873.  #1737-z, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. http://docsouth.unc.edu/imls/bethell/menu.html

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April 8th

        I am able to sit up now, I have been quite sick, I was taken on Sunday at dinner time the 30th of March. I was taken with a cold feeling, pain and flooding. I was alarmed, sent for Dr. DeJarnette, he came immediately, but Mr. Bethell had given me 45 drops of laudnum,* which eased my pain and stopped the flooding. I am just as weak as when I give birth to a child, it was a trial to my faith and patience, but the Lord was with me, and blessed me and answered my prayer every day, he is good to me, I will praise him with joyful lips for sparing my life and raising me up to health again. I am well except weakness, I did not feel willing to die then, I wanted to live for the sake of my family, and wanted to love and serve God better than I had done. I promised the Lord that I would be more faithful in instructing my servants and children, and fast oftener. I thank God for afflicting me, it done me good, it has proved a blessing to me.

         I have given myself to the Lord, he is mine, I am his, I want to be instrumental in bringing many souls to Christ.

         I am looking for a letter from my daughter in Arkansa, I have faith in God to believe that she will do well when she gives birth to her child.

*laudanum: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laudanum

 Source: Mary Jeffreys Bethell Diary, 1853-1873.  #1737-z, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. http://docsouth.unc.edu/imls/bethell/menu.html

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Sunday 30th

Cloudy with occasional sunshine, very warm. Sam has been gardening some for the last week. I staid alone last night. Atheline slept in the house. Jinnie is getting dinner. She has been staying with Ruth (George’s wife) since last Tuesday. She has been confined. Fannie is sick with headache. The negroes gone to prayer meeting at Academy. Tena has Willie. Pinck gone up to Taylor’s with Tom Tidwell. He came back with Taylor last Thursday.

Source: Diary of Cornelia Henry in Fear in North Carolina: The Civil War Journal and Letters of the Henry Family. Clinard, Karen L. and Russell, Richard, eds. (Asheville, NC: Reminiscing Books, 2008).

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