Pages

Thursday, July 16, 2009

1866 :: Death of little Josephine



Were it not for the words her father penned in his Civil War-era Journal, very little (if anything) would be known about the short life of Josephine Martha Hall, who died on this date . . . the 16th day of July . . . in the year 1866 . . . at the age of two years seven months and one day . . .


Little Josephine's Mommy is the sister of my 2nd great-grandpa, Samuel Houston Sharp (ca. 1839-1885), and Josephine's Daddy -- James Madison Hall -- is the stepson of my 3rd-great-grandma, Mahala Lee Sharp Hall nee Roberts (1816-1885). Beginning in January of 1860, J.M. Hall kept a daily journal -- until his own death less than two months following the death of his Josephine. Following are a few excerpts from that journal that pertain to Josephine. 

[FYI -- a short introduction -- throughout his 6+ years of journal-keeping (1860-1866), J.M. Hall always refers to his wife, Margaret Hall Stewart nee Sharp, as "the little woman" :: "Sam" and "Nellie" are my 2nd great-grandparents :: "Mrs. Beale" is Nellie's mother, and my 3rd-great-grandma :: "Mother" is Mahala . . .]



  • 15 Dec 1863. Today Sam and the boys finished the floor in the mill forebay and let down the gates to catch a head of water. The little woman was taken sick and at 11½ o'clock a.m. was delivered of a female child. She may truthfully be said to be a woman of ready conception and easy delivery. there were present Mrs. Bird, Mother, Nellie and myself, assisted by Rachael a negro woman. I sent for Dr. Murchison, who came but as usual too late to be of any service in his profession. . . .
  • 17 Dec 1863. . . . Sam rode out hog hunting but had no success. The little woman is doing very well after her confinement. Mother is still here attending to the new responsibility, whom we have this day named Josephine Martha Hall. . . .
  • 18 Dec 1863. . . . Sam rode out with Mr. Keen and succeeded in killing 6 hogs which the boys cleaned in the evening. . . . Mr. Keen came up to see the little new responsibility. . . . Mother rode down home and returned with Father in the evening, who came up to see the little stranger. . . .
  • 19 Dec 1863. . . . Sam rode out hog hunting but was unsuccessful. he however killed two fine turkeys. Mother is still here. The little woman is improving. . . .
  • 20 Dec 1863. Today Father, Mr. & Mrs. Bird came to see the little woman and the little stranger. Mother is still here. . . .
  • 21 Dec 1863. . . . I drove my horse (Rob) and buggy to Crockett and back. . . . I purchased one gallon of whiskey for which I paid 80$. 1 oz. of the oil of Sassafras at 5$ per oz. 1 lb. of candy at 3$ I record these prices for the benefit of those that come after me, in order that they may see some of the benefits that war brings upon the Country and people. Sam ground 8½ bushels of corn. Mother went home leaving the little woman and babe all doing well. . . .
  • 31 Dec 1863. This morning the ground was covered over two inches deep with snow. Father, Mother and Mr. Thomas Sharp all left, the two former for home, and the latter for the wheat region. Sam & I ground 6 bushels of corn & 10 bushels of wheat. In the evening the boys commenced work after their Christmas holliday. Weather clear and bitter cold. the mill pond being frozen entirely over one inch thick, and it continued to freeze all day even in the sunshine. At night it froze all the little woman's eggs in my room although I kept a large fire in it throughout the entire night. It is decidedly the coldest spell of weather that I have ever experienced in the State of Texas after a residence of 28 years. Thus closes my notes for the month of December and also for the year 1863 just passed and gone and now numbered with the things that were. whether the Almighty will spare me to chronicle the daily events of the incoming year is more than I know but trusting in Him I shall enter upon the pleasing task, which is useful as a reference and may be profitable to those who have an interest in me.
  • 3 Jan 1864. . . . I weighed my daughter Josephine who weighed 9½ lbs., rather light compared with the other children.
  • 23 May 1864. . . . My daughter Josephine was taken very sick with Cholera Infantum. Mother came up and remained all night. . . .
  • 24 May 1864. . . . Mother is still here. Dr. Murchison came to see my daughter Josephine who is still very sick. . . .
  • 25 May 1864. . . . Dr. Murchison again came to see Josephine who is still very sick but I think she has a change for the better. Mother is still here. I made a spool frame for the little woman. . . .
  • 26 May 1864. . . . Mother left for home. Josephine is improving. I commenced making myself a lounge to sleep on throughout the summer, if permitted to live. Nellie rode down to Mother's. . . .
  • 27 May 1864. . . . I am still at work making the lounge. Josephine is still improving. . . .
  • 28 May 1864. . . . I finished my lounge. Josephine is still improving and out of danger. . . .
  • 29 May 1864. Today I drove down to Mother's in my buggy & carried Florence with me. we remained there for dinner. Josephine is now well. . . .
  • 10 Jul 1864. . . . Josephine was taken with fever. . . .
  • 12 Jul 1864. Today the boys are engaged hauling some things up to the King house, to which place I have this day moved my family for the residue of the summer on account of their ill health at the mill place. Jimmy is still improving a little, so are all the rest of the sick except Josephine who still has the fever. . . .
  • 19 Jul 1864. . . . I loaned Genl. Beavers 40 lbs. of flour and delivered it to his girl Fanny. Josephine has recovered from her illness. . . .
  • 25 Jul 1864. . . . I drove my buggy over to Mr. Keen's and got him to . . . put a wrought iron back in my cooking stove. Mother came up and spent the day & took Fanny home with her in the evening. Florence is still sick. Josephine was taken sick with fever.
  • 4 Aug 1864. . . . Mother & Mrs. Keen came up and spent the day. Mrs. Keen again drew the thread in the harness & sley of the loom, which the little woman had cut out. Florence & Josephine both had fevers.
  • 5 Aug 1864. . . . The little woman wove 2 yds. of cloth. Josephine is sick with fever. Nellie is still down at Mother's. . . .
  • 14 Sep 1864. . . . I am at work soldering some old tin vessels for the little woman. . . . a hard wind blowing which prostrated the garden fence in many places, it also blew one of the house doors too and in its passage struck little Josephine on the head, inflicting a severe bruise. . . .
  • 15 Dec 1864. . . . I am engaged in making little Major a pair of shoes. Toby came up and remained all night. My daughter Josephine attained the first anniversary of her birth day, being just one year old. . . .
  • 25 Dec 1864. Today Sam Sharp & I with the children in the little wagon, Nellie & the little woman in the buggy all drove down to Mother's, where we spent our Christmas. We had a fine dinner & a good egg nogg. We passed the day very pleasantly. Weather cloudy & rather warm.
  • 31 Dec 1864. . . . Thus I close my jottings for the month of December and for the year 1864 which has just passed & gone and now numbered with the things that were. Whether the Almighty will spare me to chronicle the daily events of the incoming year is more than poor mortal man can foresee or know but trusting in his goodness I shall enter upon the pleasing task which is meaningful as a book of reference and may hereafter be profitable to those who have an interest in my affairs after I shall have shuffled off this mortal soil and been reaped to the bosom of my ancestors.
  • 9 Feb 1865. . . . Hardeman's Brigade that has been camped on the Elkhart for the past 6 or 7 weeks left for Tennessee Colony in Anderson County. The guard stationed at the mill in consequence of the removal of the soldiers were relived from duty in the mill & ordered to join their commands. Pet is still down at her Grand Ma's. Little Josephine is sick and has been for a few days past. . . .
  • 24 Jun 1865. . . . The little woman with Fanny Fitzsimmons & Josephine in my buggy drawn by my horse Rob arrived safe and sound in Liberty. Frank Stewart with the little wagon & mules also arrived safe, bringing down in the little wagon Florence and Jimmy also Louisa, Jemima, Conny and Wolf with sundry provisions etc. We all upon the invitation of Col. Jim Wrigley stopped at is house, of course I left John Booth's. The little woman passed my wagon on the road, they having left on the 16th inst. Jemima was taken down at the residence of my old friend Dan Dailey & safely delivered of a female child on the 17th inst. both Mother & child are doing well. . . .
  • 30 Jul 1865. . . . The little woman still doing the house work, and has a very poor chance in consequence of the sickness of little Josephine, who still has a fever. . . .
  • 31 Dec 1865. . . . Mrs. Beale came over and spent the day. . . . Thus I close my notes for the month of December and for the year 1865 which has just passed and gone and now numbered with the things that were. Whether the almighty will spare me to record the daily events of things passing around me for the incoming year is more than mortal man can know but trusting his goodness and mercy I shall enter upon the pleasing task which to me is useful as a book of reference and may hereafter be profitable to those who have an interest in my affairs....
  • 16 Jul 1866. Today about dawn I arrived in Houston and immediately left in an omnibus for the depot of the Texas and New Orleans Rail Road. we left the depot on the train at 9 o'clock a.m. for Liberty. I arrived home at 4 o'clock P.M. just in time to witness the death throes of my sweet little daughter Josephine Martha, who departed this life at 5½ o'clock, and now reposes sweetly upon the bosom of her Savior. She died at the tender age of two years seven months and one day. The neighbours generally came in and bestowed upon my stricken family such consolation as they could under our heavy trial. . . .
  • 17 Jul 1866. Today my poor wife is indeed a sorrow stricken and almost heart broken woman for the loss of our sweet little angel Josephine Martha. I performed the last sad rite for her little remains and had them interred in the burial ground at Liberty there to remain until her God shall call her again to meet him in the great day of accounts. My sweet little babe may she rest peacefully in the bosom of her God, and may this sad bereavement be for our future good. . . .
  • 18 Jul 1866. Today I drove up town in my buggy and while there paid the funeral expenses of my sweet little angel Josephine Martha which amounted to 55$ in gold. . . . My little woman is still suffering great agony for our sad bereavement. . . . Mrs. Buckley came over and spent the evening with the little woman giving her all the consolation in her power. . . .
  • 19 Jul 1866. . . . I paid Dr. Coleman his medical bill for his attention to my sweet little babe. Mrs. Beale and Mrs. Buckley spent the day with the little woman. . . .
  • 24 Jul 1866. . . . moved our quarters to the residence of Capt. Peacock who agreed to board my family during their stay in the Island City. I hired a hack and went with the little woman and children down the beach. . . . The little woman purchased a nice little Italian marble monument to be placed over the grave of my sweet little babe Josephine. . . .
  • 6 Aug 1866. . . . I received from Galveston by the way of Houston the little monument purchased by the little woman, and to be erected over the grave of my sweet little babe Josephine Martha. . . .
  • 10 Aug 1866. . . . Ed. Jones and Grand Ma Gayle arrived on the cars from Houston & Galveston and report the cholera prevailing at the latter city. . .
  • 18 Aug 1866. Today I left Liberty on the cars for Houston. . . . I carried with me $4000. in gold. . . . I am sorry to state that I drank too much brandy as medicine to prevent the cholera which is now prevailing in Houston. . . .
  • 23 Aug 1866. . . . Roberta is staying over with Grand Ma Gayle as Company for her. . . . Mr. Beard commenced to make a railing to enclose the grave of my sweet little angel Josephine Martha. . . .
  • 24 Aug 1866. . . . Roberta is still staying with grand ma Gayle as Company. Mr. Beard is still at work on the railing for little Joe's grave. . . .
  • 10 Sep 1866. Today I remained at the warehouse during the forenoon. In the evening I drove up town and while there settled in full with J. D. Skinner up to this date. I also purchased a few articles for the little woman. Capt. Redman returned from his visit to the Country in a state of intoxication, and was rather quarrelsome & abusive. Hicks & Ned are at work getting fire wood. Weather cloudy and hot, with occasional showers of rain. . . . [FINAL entry . . . he dies of cholera on the 12th . . . ]




7 comments:

Ruth said...

Wow! Powerful...and so sad. Thanks so much for sharing this with us. An unusual insight into life in the 1860's.

Ruth

Janice Tracy said...

Thank you for sharing this sad, but poignant post about your ancestors' lives during a very difficult time. You are so very fortunate to have this diary that provides such insight into life in Texas during the mid-1800s.

Pearl Maple said...

Thank you for sharing. It is easy to forget what fortunate times we live in with much advances in medical treatments in the last generation.

You have so many lovely things going on in your blog space.

Life Goes On said...

What a wonderful posting. What a wonderful diary you have from your ancestor. thank you for sharing with us

BeNotForgot said...

Thank y'all so much for dropping by to get to know our little Josephine -- I'm glad you enjoyed her brief life story!

My introduction to this journal of her father's began with me planning a family reunion in 1998 . . . and then actually going to visit a distant (previously unknown) cousin.

You gotta follow through with those leads -- you never know where they will take you!

Beth Niquette said...

That was an amazing powerful blog. How hard their lives were! It is a wonderful thing to have discovered such a treasure as this journal. Goodness. It must have been so hard back then--yet life had many small pleasures within the hardships...

Teresa Wilson Rogers said...

Great post, thank you for sharing. You are very fortunate to have your ancestor's diary and to have this glimpse into their day to day lives. I particularly enjoyed how he called his wife the "little woman."

Related Posts with Thumbnails