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Monday, December 22, 2014

God Didn't Choose Sides

One hundred fifty years ago . . . Christmas of 1864 . . . the last Christmas of the war between the states . . . the final Christmas of slavery . . . 

Our Georgia-born Josephine is living in Brazoria County, Texas, where she had been a resident for about five years . . . by this time she is probably quite adept at assisting her Confederate surgeon brother-in-law in providing medical service to the locals . . . in March of that year, Josephine had married a young Confederate soldier . . . and by Christmas time she was most likely very concerned about her family back in Georgia, especially her paternal grandma . . . Sherman had just completed his march across Georgia . . . and had offered Savanah to the President as a Christmas present . . . f
rom a music CD entitled God Didn't Choose Sides comes a song about Christmas in Savanah in 1864 . . . 

Meanwhile, elsewhere in Texas . . . the mother [Nellie] of Josephine's future daughter-in-law [Berta Mary] will be spending Christmas day in the home of her own mother-in-law [Mahala] . . . J.M. Hall will write about Christmas Day of 1864 as follows . . . 

Sunday, December 25th, 1864. Houston County, Texas. Today Sam Sharp & I with the children in the little wagon, Nellie & the little woman [Margaret] in the buggy, all drove down to Mother's [Mahala] where we spent our Christmas. We had a fine dinner & a good eggnogg. We passed the day very pleasantly. Weather cloudy & rather warm. 

This Journal entry brings to mind the following ca. 1844 verse written by Lydia Maria Child (1802-1880), who was born and died in Massachusetts [birthplace of the Mom of the Keeper of this family history blog] . . . 

Over the river, and through the wood,
To Grandmother's house we go;
the horse knows the way
to carry the sleigh
through the white and drifted snow.

Mom's mother, Elizabeth, died in Massachusetts, but was born and raised in Maine, where multiple generations of her family had lived and died . . . by Christmas of 1864, Elizabeth's paternal grandma, Jerusha, had buried at least two young children, one in March and one in June of that year . . . Jerusha's husband, Atwood, was a member of the 27th Maine Volunteers . . . Elizabeth's father, Thomas, would not be born until 1866 . . . 

In April of 1864, Elizabeth's maternal grandma, Phoebe, had received a letter written by her father, William, from the New Orleans Barracks . . . he was back home by Christmas of that year after serving three years with the 30th Maine Regiment . . . 

One hundred fifty years ago . . . Christmas of 1864 . . . the last Christmas of the war between the states . . . the final Christmas of slavery . . . 

Ancestors to the Keeper of this family history blog (in order of their mention) . . .

  • Josephine -- 2nd great-grandma
  • Nellie -- 2nd great-grandma
  • Berta Mary -- great-grandma
  • Mahala -- 3rd great-grandma 
  • Sam -- 2nd great-grandpa 
  • Elizabeth -- grandma
  • Jerusha & Atwood -- 2nd great-grandparents
  • TWA Smith -- great-grandpa
  • Phoebe -- 2nd great-grandma
  • William -- 3rd great-grandpa

      P.S. . . . also in 1864 . . . in New Paris, Ohio . . . Ben Hanby has recently written a new song for children . . . it is said that this was the first Christmas carol to actually mention Santa Clause . . . you will recognize this one in the following recording by George Strait . . . 

      1 comment:

      Liv Taylor-Harris said...

      Thanks so much for including "Up On the Housetop" performed by George Strait on the tour this year - great song indeed!
      On behalf of my slave ancestors, I'm thankful that God didn't choose sides and that the Christmas of 1864 was the final Christmas of Slavery.

      Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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