Front Cover
 Title Page
 Editorial preface
 Half Title
 The Branch and Bradford famili...
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Through some eventful years
 The years of reconstruction


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Through some eventful years
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00101391/00001
 Material Information
Title: Through some eventful years
Series Title: Floridiana facsimile and reprint series
Physical Description: xxviii, 378, 5 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Eppes, Susan Bradford, 1845 or 6-1942
Cushman, J. D. Jr.
Publisher: University of Florida Press
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 1968
Copyright Date: 1968
Subjects / Keywords: Eppes, Susan Bradford -- 1845 or 6-1942   ( lcsh )
Plantation life -- Southern States   ( lcsh )
 Record Information
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 442098
lccn - 68021660
System ID: UF00101391:00001


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Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page i
        Page ii
    Title Page
        Page iii
        Page iv
    Editorial preface
        Page v
        Page vi
        Page vii
        Page viii
        Page ix
        Page x
        Page xi
        Page xii
        Page xiii
        Page xiv
        Page xv
        Page xvi
        Page xvii
        Page xviii
        Page xix
        Page xx
        Page xxi
        Page xxii
        Page xxiii
        Page xxiv
        Page xxv
        Page xxvi
        Page xxvii
        Page xxviii
    Half Title
        Page A-i
        Page A-ii
    The Branch and Bradford families
        Page xxix
        Page xxx
        Page xxxi
        Page xxxii
        Page xxxiii
        Page xxxiv
        Page xxxv
        Page xxxvi
    Title Page
        Page A-iii
        Page A-iv
    Table of Contents
        Page A-v
        Page A-vi
        Page A-vii
        Page A-viii
        Page A-ix
        Page A-x
    Through some eventful years
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
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        Page 90a
        Page 90b
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        Page 318a
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    The years of reconstruction
        Page 339
        Page 340
        Page 341
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        Index 1
        Index 2
        Index 3
        Index 4
        Index 5
Full Text

ThroughZ Some Sv~entful Tears





of the 1926 EDITION
University of Florida, Press



of the 1926 EDITION



by the


Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 68-21660



COURTSHIP, marriage, and motherhood gave
wealthy women of the Old South distinction in life.
In keeping with Victorian patterns, young ladies ac-
quired competence in trivia; they danced at chaperoned
parties, blushed frequently, and swooned gracefully
whenever a male uttered such taboo words as "bull"
for male cow and "legs" for limbs. Marriage followed
courtship and the wife was submerged in household
duties, producing legal heirs, and chaperoning social
events for the younger set.
Few women escaped from their traditionally Vic-
torian place in society. The Civil War forced some
into supervising plantations, even into farm labor,
and others contributed to the war effort by knitting,
nursing, and offering succor to Confederate soldiers.
Male shortages opened classrooms to female teachers
who found the socially acceptable occupation to their
liking. Even before the war some southern women
spent their leisure hours writing poems and novels.
Augusta J. Evans won an admiring audience with her
many romantic tales. The drama and hardships of war
inspired the keeping of diaries, and in various decades
after the conflict, journals and reminiscences depicting
life in ante-bellum, Confederate, and New South pe-
riods were published. Two authors edited Mary Boy-
kin Chesnut's delightful Diary From Dixie, and Susan
Dabney Smedes's honeyed account, Memorials of a
Southern Planter, was printed and reprinted.
The notable raconteurs of Florida were Ellen Call
Long (Florida Breezes) and Susan Bradford Eppes
(Through Some Eventful Years) Mrs. Long, daugh-

vi Editorial Preface
ter of a Florida territorial governor who opposed
secession, penned an account that often criticized and
laughed at the aristocracy. Some of her contempo-
raries reacted by buying and burning copies of her
book, thereby increasing the monetary value of those
remaining. Mrs. Eppes, a granddaughter of a terri-
torial governor and the daughter of an ardent seces-
sionist, appealed to those who loved the Old South
and the "Lost Cause."
Mrs. Eppes's youth coincided with the Civil W7ar,
and in 1866 she married a former but impoverished
Confederate officer. To her the Old South remained
a glorious period, the Confederacy a gallant attempt
for independence, and Reconstruction a dismal era.
She lived for almost three quarters of a century before
her interest in writing was aroused by the revival of
the Florida Historical Quarterly. Mrs. Eppes's works
appealed to her generation of Floridians--those who
would always remember a romantic Old South, who
enshrined the Confederacy and saw Reconstruction as
a great evil. She outdid some other partisan South-
erners, made the pro-southern, biased writing of Dun-
ning School historians appear objective, and confirmed
the ideas of Floridians who found solace in a delight-
ful never-never land. Yet Mrs. Eppes was a twentieth-
century woman, supporting and direct-ing women's or-
ganizations. This activity seemed to give her account
of the past authenticity. Floridians loved her for re-
inforcing their prejudices and substantiating their
Professor Joseph D. Cushman, Jr., of the Florida
State University, and author of the introduction, is a
native of Titusville, Florida. In addition to a number
of articles on Florida, he has written A Goodly Heri-
tage, the standard account of the Episcopal Church
in Florida.

Editorial Preface vii
The University of Florida Press gladly acknowl-
edges the cooperation of Mrs. Margaret Knox Gog-
gin, head of the University of Florida Libraries, and
of Miss Elizabeth Alexander, librarian of the P. K.
Yonge Memorial Library of Florida History, in mak-
ing available copies of this and other Florida classics
for reproduction in the Floridiana series.
General Editor of the



A NTE-BELLUM Leon County and the Florida
cotton belt is the setting for Susan Bradford
Eppes's memoirs Through Some Eventful Years. In
the 1850's the locale was famous for its fertility and
productivity. Solon Robinson, an eminent scientific
farmer who visited the Bradford plantations while
traveling as a correspondent for a leading agricultural
magazine, described Middle Florida as an area which
possessed the "finest red land in America."' Cotton was
king, and King Cotton rewarded his loyal subjects
plenteously with material gifts. So eager were the
planters of this area for material rewards that the
same correspondent acidly observed that the majority
of them were "soil wasters, but money makers."2
The social, political, and economic nerve-center of
Middle Florida was the state capital, Tallahassee.
This tiny city enjoyed a pre-eminence in all three areas
that no other city in the state has before or since
equaled. The town was the social center of a pros-
perous and urbane landed aristocracy which moved
into the region with its valuable slave labor from the
fading tobacco areas of the upper South. By virtue
of being the capital of the state, the city was the po-
litical hub of a rapidly expanding commonwealth whose
growth was controlled and directed by the planter-
lawyer oligarchy which dominated almost every phase
of its society. Then, too, Tallahassee possessed eco-
nomic advantages that made it a center of financial
endeavor. It was the headquarters of a number of
dynamic but short-lived banks and the termini of two
railroads: the St. IMarks line which tied the town with

x Introduction
the Gulf ; and the Florida, Georgia, and Alabama line
which connected Tallahassee through other systems
with the Atlantic coast at Jacksonville and Fernandina.
The polished and venerable rector of Christ Church
(Episcopal) in Pensacola, the Reverend John Jackson
Scott, who made frequent visits to Tallahassee during
the ante-bellum period, spoke of the town in these
glowing terms: "The community .. has from an
early period been distinguished for a large concentra-
tion of comparative wealth, intelligence, refinement,
and of consequence, high social life. Besides the scions
of well known families in Maryland, Virginia, the
Carolinas, and Georgia, there have been worthy rep-
resentati~ves from other portions of this and other
lands, who removed here for purposes of business and
to build up homes for themselves and their posterity.
. .. Tallahassee being the capital drew to it the men
and influences from every section of the state, or as
it was then territory, that were most desirable, and
contributed towards making up a society that is seldom
found in so limited a space or place of no greater
population."3 The cleric goes on to qualify his remarks
by explaining, "It was not numbers so much as the
quality and complexion of character, that imparted in-
terest to its social life, and fixed the impress of a charm
on its society whose image became inwrouglit on the
mind of the time."4
Another evidence of the social tenor of the city is
found in the writings of a much-traveled reporter from
the Charleston Daily Courier, who came to report the
proceedings of the Florida Secession Convention in
January, 1861. He wrote enthusiastically upon his
arrival by train from Jacksonville: "W7e are in Flora's
capital, and a pet it is, worthy of Flora. With a popu-
lation of only 2000 and destitute withal of commercial
advantages, beyond its local trade, it is nevertheless,

Introduction n


one of the most refined and elegant cities of the South.
Here are gathered many retired business men, mer-
chants and planters, bringing with them all the wealth,
luxury and taste of many years garnering up. Style
predominates to a great extent. Handsome equipages,
with liveried servants, and elegantly dressed occupants,
meet you at every turn, and you wonder at seeing all
this in the bosom of a country not yet developed, and
scarcely known to the world."5 The newspaperman
also described the houses and setting of the city: "The
residences here are mostly wooden buildings of pretty
architecture, with elegant gardens, and evergreens,
shaded by the stately natural oak. The visitor is re-
minded of Washington City frequently as he passes
along the streets. The residences are similarly scat-
tered along the broad avenues, and much of its ele-
gance, ruralized, and modified, is manifest among the
The family of Susan Branch Bradford were among
that class of citizens who manifested the elegance of
the city and the region. Susan, the youngest of five
daughters, was born on March 8, 1846, some ten
miles north of Tallahassee at Pine Hill, the extensive
seat of her father, Dr. Edward Bradford. Through
both her parents she was related to some of the most
distinguished and powerful families of the slavehold-
ing oligarchy. Her father, a descendant of the famous
New England family, moved in 1831 to Leon County
from Halifax County, North Carolina, with his three
b~rothers-Richard, who developed Water Oak Plan-
tation near Pine Hill; Henry, who lived on an estab-
lishment on the Thomasville Road; and Thomas, who
settled WTalnut Hill in the same vicinity. Susan's
mother, Martha Lewis Branch, was the daughter of
John Branch, the last territorial governor of Florida,
who in the 1830's carved Live Oak and W~averly Plan-

xii Introduction
stations from the rich, green hills three miles north of
Tallahassee.7 Before he became chief executive of the
territory, Governor Branch had a broad and varied
political career. After a number of terms in the North
Carolina legislature, he was twice elected governor of
that state, then United States senator, and was later
appointed Secretary of the Navy in the first admin-
istration of Andrew Jackson.8 His influence with the
Democratic Party at the local, regional, and national
levels was considerable. Branch was an important sup-
porter of William D. Moseley, a fellow North Caro-
linian, in his, race for the office of first state governor
against the powerful and energetic Whig candidate,
Richard K. Call."
The Edward Bradfords lived in Tallahassee for
several years while Dr. Bradford cleared his planta-
tion and prepared it for cultivation. During this time
he greatly enhanced his reputation as a skillful physi-
cian by his courage and his devotion to his patients in
the perilous yellow fever epidemic of 1836. Shortly
after the epidemic he moved his family, which had
temporarily taken refuge in North Carolina, into Pine
Hill,lo a large but simple Georgian home without col-
umns, reminiscent of those in the Bradford New Eng-
land heritage. For almost two decades Dr. Bradford
devoted his energies entirely to the supervision of his
plantations and to his family. He engaged his nephew,
Dr. W7illiam H. Bradford of nearby Edgewood Plan-
tation, to care for the medical needs of his slaves.
During 1852 the younger doctor made a number of
visits to his uncle's plantations. The more interesting
charges in W~illiam's day book include "Bleeding Ginny
$1.00," "Cupping and M~edicine for Tony $1.50," and
"Extracting two teeth for Ned $1.50."'1 Dr. Edward
Bradford did not return to medical practice until the
Civil W~ar when, in a humanitarian and patriotic ges-

In production


ture, he turned a portion of Pine Hill into a hospital
for wounded Confederate soldiers.
The retired physician had more than enough to oc-
cupy his time. His holdings included Pine Hill which,
in addition to growing several hundred acres of cot-
ton, corn, and forage for cattle, was equipped with a
cotton gin and cotton compressor, both of which were
rented on occasion to smaller planters of the neighbor-
hood who brought their cotton to Pine Hill for proc-
essing.12 Pine Hill also possessed a large sawmill with
a white sawyer in charge, a shingle mill, a brickyard,
a wheelwright's shop, a smithy, a tannery which made
shoes for the slaves, a gristmill, and a soap-making
establishment (pages 162-63, below). Horseshoe, a
productive acreage on Lake lamonia, and Texas, a
smaller unit north of Pine Hill, were devoted almost
exclusively to the cultivation of cotton and were in the
charge of overseers.
That Dr. Bradford was a successful planter and
entrepreneur is borne out by a study of the Leon
County deed books, tax rolls, the United States cen-
sus, and the business papers of the planter-physician.
After his arrival in Florida, Bradford acquired several
thousand acres of good land, portions of which he sold
off at a profit using the cash to clear and develop the
best acreage."3 By 1852, ~however, he was in a solvent
enough position to buy at public sale for $3,500 an
additional 560 acres near his holdings in the north end
of the county.'' Perhaps the best indication of his in-
creasing prosperity is found in an examination of the
slave schedules of Leon County. Dr. Bradford owned
some 27 slaves in the 1830's.l" By 1840, however, the
number increased to 41,ls by 1850 to 110,"7 and by
1860 to 142.1s From these figures it is safe to assume
that the allusions to the "good life" made by the au-
thor in Through Some Eventful Years are substan-


In tro duc tio n

tially correct, although her father never owned 300
slaves as she states.
Dr. Bradford was the most formative force in the
life of his youngest daughter Susan. She obviously
adored him. The two apparently had a nightly ritual,
before her father put her to bed, of talking over Susan's
reactions to and questions about the day's events. A
man of refinement and polish, a graduate of the Uni-
versity of Maryland and of Jefferson Medical College
in Philadelphia, Dr. Bradford took a keen interest in
the education of his children. He had a strong hand
in the selection of Susan's textbooks, which included
treatises on history, geography, philosophy, and arith-
metic as well as the tried and true McGuffey's Readers.
He also appointed the various governesses from whom
she received her education, except for a brief period
of instruction at the lamonia Female Seminary, an in-
stitution maintained by the planters of the vicinity.
Glimpses of the governesses are given in the pages
of Susan's diary. Maria Clement Robinson, the daugh-
ter of an English clergyman and widow of an Ameri-
can naval officer who was killed in the W7ar of 1812,
"Aunt Robinson" as she was called by the girls, did
a thorough job in the classroom and as a chaperon she
was without peer. Tall, commanding, and lynx-eyed,
she sat on the stairs during the dances at -Pine Hill
and observed "every movement, every glance" that her
young charges made. There were others: the learned
Miss Scammon from Maine, the lovable Miss Brewer
from Brooklyn, the abolitionist Mis~s Platt from New
York, and the tearful Miss Young, who looked as if
she couldn't "say boo to a goose." But the most fasci-
nating and mysterious of these governesses was Miss
Letitia Hannah Damer, who maintained that she was
the granddaughter of King George IV and Mrs. Maria



Whether Miss Damer was a granddaughter of
George IV or not (and the photograph facing page 91
does indeed display certain Hanoverian characteris-
tics) remains a mystery. What is certain is that she
and the other Bradford governesses must have been
reasonably dedicated and effective teachers. Royal or
common, they turned out a fairly well-rounded prod-
uct, a polished young lady, steeped in all the broad vir-
tues and narrow vices that made her class unique in
American history.
Susan Bradford's youth was filled with the delights
of plantation life: family visits, numerous weddings,
bountiful holidays, willing servants, enjoyable summer
trips, and gala tournaments, horseraces, and balls. The
closing years of the 1850's, however, brought a time
of national tension which was reflected at Pine Hill.
There were abolitionist plots, threats of secession,
John Brown's Raid, and finally secession itself in Jan-
uary, 1861. Most of the Bradfords, like Susan's fa-
ther, strongly advocated secession, although Susan's
brother-in-law Junius Taylor hoped to remain in the
Union even if there was a war. When Florida seceded,
the Bradford clan supported the Confederacy whole-
heartedly. The younger men enlisted; food supplies
from the plantations were sent to the front; Dr. Brad-
ford ran a hospital, started a saltworks, and used his
tannery to make shoes for the army. The Bradford
women knitted and sewed numerous garments for the
soldiers at the front, and tried to make life as pleasant
as possible for the wounded at Pine Hill and for the
soldiers home on leave.
In November, 1866, as Radical Reconstruction was
beginning, Susan Bradford married her "Soldier in
Gray," Nicholas Ware Eppes, at Pine Hill,"9 thereby
joining two of the most prominent families in Leon
County. Nicholas Eppes, a former officer in the Fifth

xui Inttro duc tion
Florida Regiment, was educated by private tutor and
at the West Florida Seminary. His father, Francis
Eppes, one of Thomas Jefferson's grandsons, was a
prominent Florida planter, mayor of Tallahassee,
founder of St. John's Parish there, premier layman of
the Episcopal Diocese of Florida, and a leader in the
creation of the Seminary W~est of the Suwannee (now
the Florida State University). The marriage, accord-
ing to family comments, was a reasonably happy one,
despite the fact that the loss of the Eppes family hold-
ings during the war caused the bride and groom to
move in with the Bradfords.
Nicholas Eppes took over the reins of Pine Hill,
after the health of Dr. Bradford failed, and attempted
to wrest from the plantation a living for his expanding
family. Six children were born to the Eppeses at Pine
Hill: Francis, who died in childhood, Mlartha Branch,
Susan Ware, Elizabeth Cleland, Alice Bradford, and
Edward Bradford. Only one of the children married
-Mlartha to her Cousin Richard Bradford.20 Nich-
01as, like his father, took a lively interest in public
education in Florida. He was elected to four terms
as Superintendent of Public Instruction of Leon County
and was serving in that capacity when he was brutally
killed on September 3, 1904.21 The murder was a tre-
mendous shock to Mrs. Eppes, the family, and the
community at large.
Although certain particulars of the murder are
clear, an air of mystery still surrounds the event. On
September 3 Nicholas Eppes was returning to Pine
Hill about dusk after discharging his daily duties as
county superintendent. He was shot to death in the
vicinity of Lake Hall, and the buggy returned to the
plantation bearing the corpse.22 Wild rumors began
to circulate at once that the murder was committed by
members of a fanatical Negro group known as "The

Inttroductiont xvii
Before Day Club," an organization with numerous
chapters throughout Florida and south Georgia, lyay-
ing as its supposed objective the violent overthrow of
white rule in these two states. Three young Lake Hall
Negroes were arrested shortly after the murder: Isom
Edwards, George Caldwell, and Nelson L~arken. Ed-
wards, probably under pressure, confessed to the shoot-
ing and told local authorities about the clandestine
Before Day Club. He also implicated Caldwell and
Larken. All three Negroes were lodged in the Leon
County jail to the excitement of the town.23
In the meantime the body of Nicholas Eppes was
quietly interred with Episcopal rites in the family cem-
etery at Pine Hill, near the body of General Leigh
Read, whose death in the ante-bellum period had been
caused by an equally sensational and infamous murder.
Following the funeral, the mayor of Tallahassee called
a town meeting to quiet the fear of a violent racial out-
break in the county. Afraid that the prisoners would
be lynched if kept in the county jail, the sheriff secretly
transferred them by train to Jacksonville, where they
were placed in the Duval County jail for safekeeping.24
Within the next few days Edwards denied all knowl-
edge of the Before Day Club and in an interview with
a Florida Times-Union reporter stated that he had
murdered Nicholas Eppes because the superintendent
owed him twenty cents. Another town meeting was
held in Tallahassee, in which both white and colored
leaders promised to "unite in discovering and arresting
all violators of the law" without regard to race.25 The
excitement subsided somewhat after a Leon County
coroner's jury returned the verdict that Isom Edwards
fired the shot that killed Eppes and that Caldwell and
Larken were accessories. The coroner's jury further
declared that the deed was committed solely for the
purpose of robbery and that there was no evidence



given to indicate the existence of Before Day Clubs
in Leon County.26
The verdict of the coroner's jury had a calming ef-
fect on almost everyone except the widow and her
immediate family. Mrs. Eppes believed that the three
Negroes were hired by a group of corrupt state and
local politicians who were interested in selling large
tracts of state land at low prices and at large profits
for themselves.27 Her son, Edward Bradford Eppes,
put it this way: "The State Administration of Florida
had fallen into the hands of some very corrupt officials
who were making fortunes by selling the Public Lands
for a small fraction of their real value and secretly
dividing the ill gotten profits with the purchasers. As
twenty-five per cent of the proceeds of these land sales
go to the Public School Fund, this ring of grafters,
was of course, desirous of having all school officials
under the control of the ring in order to keep them
silent."28 In addition, Mr. Eppes stated that his fa-
ther was strongly opposed to such practices and would
have protested against them had evidence of the plan
come to his attention. Eppes felt that the leader of the
ring hired the Negroes to murder his father in order
to assure the success of the land swindle, and that the
deed was nothing short of a political assassination.
The trial, held in Tallahassee in January, 1905,
supported the verdict of the coroner's jury. Edwards
was convicted as the murderer, Caldwell and Larken
as accomplices. All three were sentenced to death. The
Negroes through their attorneys appealed to the Flor-
ida Supreme Court in the fall of that year, but the
justices upheld the sentence of the lower court. The
lawyers next appealed to the governor and the State
Pardon Board in one last desperate effort. Although
Governor Broward and the board refused to interfere
with the Edwards case, they agreed to hear the appeals



of the two accomplices at some subsequent date.""
On November 3, 1905, Isom Edwards died on the
gallows in the precincts of the Leon County jail while
a crowd of 5,000 people waited outside "eager to get
a look at the condemned man." Edwards, on the scaf-
fold, exonerated Caldwell and Larken by stating that
he alone had committed the crime."o After several
months delay and a personal interview with Caldwell
and Larken, Governor Broward commuted the sen-
tence of the court from death to life imprisonment on
August 3, 1906,3' thereby making a lasting and bitter
enemy of Mrs. Eppes and her family, who felt that
the only way to get to the bottom of the mystery was
to bring the Negroes to the scaffold in the hope that
they would denounce the true criminals.32 The family
contended that the white men who had instigated the
crime had exercised enormous influence to save the
Negroes from death and prevent the possibility of a
last minute confession that would implicate the true
murderers. As a result of the governor's act of clem-
ency Mrs. Eppes vigorously opposed Broward's cam-
paign for the United States Senate. She wrote a
scathing denunciation of him in a Florida newspaper:
"Behind a dullard's face he hides a crafty, scheming
brain,""3 a brain that would do injury to the people
of Florida.
The frustration which resulted from not being able
to bring to justice her husband's real murderers, plus
the heartbreaking ordeal of having to abandon Pine
Hill after his death,"' made a bitter impression on
Mrs. Eppes. She temporarily withdrew from society,
but after moving her family to town and after the
passage of several years, she became active again in
the social and cultural activities of Tallahassee. She
was a charter member of the Tallahassee Southern
Women's Association which later merged with the

x~x Introduction
Anna Jackson Chapter of the United Daughters of
the Confederacy, a member of the Caroline Brevard
Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolu-
tion, and honorary, president of the Florida Division
of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. She
donated the site for the Robert E. Lee MI~emorial on
the Thomasville Highway near Tallahassee. The Susan
Bradford Eppes Chapter of the Children of the Con-
federacy was named in her honor.""
After passing her seventieth birthday, Susan Brad-
ford Eppes embarked on a literary career. She wrote
three books: The Negro of the Old South (1925) ,
her personal recollections of the plantation system in
Leon County; Through Some Eventful Years (1926) ;
and Verses From Florida (1938), an undistinguished
little volume of poetry which she published at the age
of ninety-two. In addition to these three books, she
published articles in the Florida Historical Quarterly
and did considerable work on Andrew Jackson's ad-
ministration as military governor of Florida.
Mrs. Eppes's later birthdays were celebrated not
only by the family but by the entire town of Talla-
hassee, and as she reached her nineties they approached
the proportion of festivals. Notes, poems, and gifts
were sent to her from many people all over Florida
as she became a living symbol of a bygone era.
Susan Bradford Eppes died in Tallahassee July 2,
1942, at the age of ninety-six, and was buried beside
her husband in the family cemetery at Pine Hill."6

Before the reader delves into Through Some Event-
ful Years he should be cautioned about a number of
points. The first is that the author is an unabashed
romantic, and her book literally reeks of moonlight
and magnolias. Because defeat, emancipation, and re-

In trodcucti o n


construction were an abomination to her, she constantly
harks back to the prosperous 1850's which for her
were an idyllic time. It must also be remembered that
Mrs. Eppes is a bitter and unreconstructed Southerner.
Her complete devotion to the Southern cause prompts
her on occasion to distort others' enthusiasm for it,
as when she describes the patriotism of southern trioun-
taineers. They did not come "in crowds" to enlist, as
she states, but more often remained in their isolated
coves and sullenly defied Confederate conscription
agents. Furthermore, the diary that the author uses
as. a basis for her memoirs is in all probability largely
a literary invention. There is no trace of the diary
now, although the manuscript of Thzrouigh Some Event-
ful Years is in possession of a member of the family.
If the diary really existed it had a number of inaccura-
cies, the most glaring of which is the date given for
the Federal occupation of Tallahassee--April 17,
1865. The actual occupation did not take place until
M/ay 10, almost a month later. This misinformation
throws the whole chapter out of historic perspective
and greatly weakens the accuracy of the latter part
of the book.
There are also a number of technical or printing
errors in the book, the most obvious of which are
found on pages 43, 60, 128, 150, and 316. These, in
the main, are the fault of the printer, not of Mrs.
Eppes. Distance from her publisher, who was in
Macon, Georgia, probably prevented her from prop-
erly proofreading her text before it was put into print.
A perfectionist like M/rs. Eppes was not likely to let
such details slip by her.
The two most intriguing parts of Mrs. Eppes's
memoirs deal with M/iss Letitia H-3annah Damer and
with Captain John Yates Beall. The charming story
of Miss Damer (79-93), Pine Hill's "royal govern-

xxii Z


ess" who claimed she was a granddaughter of George
IV and Mrs. Maria Fitzherbert, could easily be dis-
missed as the romantic fancy of a highly imaginative
old lady attempting to glamorize her youth, but at a
second look the tale is not entirely outside the realm
of possibility. Most of the standard biographies of
George IV state that no issue came from his morga-
natic marriage with the beautiful English Roman Cath-
olic, Maria Fitzherbert. However, a recent biographer
of Mrs. Fitzherbert cautiously states that: "There
may have been children of his marriage [George IV's]
to nMrs. Fitzherbert. How well that secret has been
kept, how equivocally she [Mrs. Fitzherbert] an-
swered. Although there could not have been any real
danger of a Catholic pretender to England the topic
remained a dangerous one even after Mrs. Fitzher-
bert's death. Minney Seymour preserved the minia-
tures of two children sans nom, who she whispered,
were Mrs. Fitzherbert's. A boy and a girl whose fate
cannot definitely be proved. Many papers containing
circumstantial evidence were, alas, destroyed."37
It seems remotely possible that Minney Seymour,
the "adopted daughter" of Mrs. Fitzherbert, whom
George IV claimed as his daughter by Lady Horatio
Seymour, was in reality a child of the secret marriage.
If so, this would agree with the name at least of the
governess of Pine Hill because Minney Seymour mar-
ried George Dawson-Damer, the younger son of an
Irish peer. From this union five children were 'born,38
but it is unlikely that any of them visited the United
States. It is more probable that Maryanne Smythe,
Mrs. Fitzherbert's "adopted niece," was in reality her
own daughter by the future king, although this girl
could also have been the illegitimate daughter of Mrs.
Fitzherbert's brother, Jack Smythe. Maryanne mar-
ried Edward Jerningham, the son of Lord Stafford,

Introductionz xxiii
giving little reason for her children to use the name
of Damer.3"
As for the possible son of Mrs. Fitzherbert and the
Prince of W~ales, there are a few clues--some whis-
pers, a miniature, and a legend from the Jesuits at
Georgetown. Concerning the legend, James Ord, an
American Catholic at Georgetown College, wrote Mrs.
Fitzherbert to inquire discreetly if he were not her
son by her marriage to the Prince of W~ales, but the
lady did not reply."0 It is interesting that Mviss Damer
was educated in M~aryland where rumors of the royal
offspring were so persistent.
Mrs. Eppes's account of the marriage of Prince
George and Mrs. Fitzherbert (90) is inaccurate in a
number of details. The union was, as she states, a
Christian marriage performed by a priest of the Angli-
can Church, but it was illegal not because Mrs. Fitz-
herbert was a commoner but because the Royal Mar-
riages Act of 1772 forbade the marriage of members
of the Royal family without the permission of the
sovereign,41 and because Mrs. Fitzherbert was a Ro-
man Catholic." The only way to make the marriage
legal was for Prince George to renounce his right to
the throne. This he did not do. Both parties under-
stood the legal impediments to the union and agreed
to keep the marriage a secret. Mrs. Eppes is also in
error when she states that Prince George put Mrs.
Fitzherbert aside when he succeeded his father as king.
M~rs. Fitzherbert was put aside twice, briefly in 1795
when Prince George married Caroline of Brunswick,
and again when he was made regent on the insanity
of his father in 1810. The prince ascended the throne
ten years later on the death of his father. But these
inaccuracies could readily be understood, since M/rs.
Eppes was only a girl in her early teens when the
Englishman with the "mutton chops" who came to get

xxiv Introduction
Miss Damer related his story in the drawing room at
Pine ]Hill.
Mrs. Eppes's acceptance of the Beall-Booth legend
as the explanation for the assassination of President
Lincoln indeed is in keeping with her blind devotion
to the Southern cause. One imagines that she would
welcome the story's defamation of Lincoln's character.
She relates a tale (213-16) similar to those widely
circulated in W;ashington, D.C., and Virginia after the
President's death, but embellishes it with a beautiful
Southern lady whose refusal of Beall's hand deter-
mined his future course of service to the Confederacy.
John Yates Beall, a Virginian by birth, was wounded
while fighting under Stonew~all Jackson early in the
war. According to Mrs. Eppes, he spent several
months convalescing in Florida at Pine Hill and with
the family of Dr. English in Tallahassee, during which
time he fell in love with a M/iss Martha O'Bryan. Not
being able to persuade her to marry him before he
went to England as a secret agent for the Confederacy
-to Miss O'Bryan's lasting regret--Beall entered the
secret service of General Lee's army instead, after a
famous Richmond physician proclaimed him unfit for
regular duty. Mrs. Eppes neglects to mention that
Beall proceeded to Canada where he actively led bands
of Confederate guerrillas in the Great Lakes region
in attacks against Federal shipping.
In 1864 Captain Beall was caught in civilian clothes
near Buffalo trying to derail a passenger train. He
was tried by a United States Army court-martial and
condemned to death as a spy. All the legends concur
that John Wrilkes Booth, as an intimate friend and
classmate of Beall (some accounts say that he was
engaged to Beall's sister, Lily), moved at once to save
the condemned man by arranging through political
connections in W~ashington a night-time interview with

In tro duc ti on


President Lincoln. He convinced the President who,
Mrs. Eppes states, "gave his solemn promise, pledged
his sacred word that Beall should not be hung." Seward
overruled Lincoln (some say the Secretary threatened
to resign if Beall were not hanged). Beall's execu-
tion--which took place February 24, 1865, on Gover-
nors Island, New York43-caused Booth in revenge to
plot the assassination of Lincoln. After the actor re-
covered from a "fainting fit" and "brain fever" he
"bought .. a pistol and all the world knows what
happened to Abraham Lincoln." Because of Lincoln's
obvious untrustworthiness Mrs. Eppes dismisses him
as "a kindly man but a weak one. .. To this day he
is looked upon as a martyr and yet the truth remains
that he died because he did not keep his sacred word."'
Authorities on the death of Lincoln"4 give little or
no credit to the Beall-Booth legend, mainly because
Booth began to plot against the President several
months before Beall's execution. It is interesting to
note, however, that President L~incoln did send a pri-
vate message to General John Dix, commander of
Governors Island, saying he would be glad if a few
days' respite could be arranged so that Beall could
prepare himself for death. But the President made
it extremely clear that he had no intention of inter-
fering with the death sentence." What caused the
temporary reprieve ? Wias it Booth's supposed mid-
night interview ? More than likely it was the result
of the great pressure for Beall's pardon from men of
stature in business and government. John WV. Garrett,
Richard S. Spofford, Governor John Andrew, and
Thaddeus Stevens all visited the President on Beall's
behalf, and a petition was gotten up in the Senate and
House, largely by Democrats, asking for a pardon for
Captain Beall on the grounds that he was acting
under a Confederate commission."" Probably Mrs.

,Ixxi Introduction

Eppes's whole story about Beall is in error, but fur-
ther investigation of the captain's alleged Florida visit
might prove interesting.
Although Thzroulgh Some Eventful Years has many
weaknesses in style and historical accuracy, as well as
an annoying inconsistency in the spelling of proper
names, the book has real value as a social history of
the ante-bellum, Civil War, and Reconstruction periods
in Florida. Also on its pages some of the most mo-
mentous events in American history are recorded from
the predominant aristocratic Southern viewpoint, a
viewpoint that is now as rare as it is anachronistic.
Whether these events were put down by a courageous,
patriotic young girl in wide-eyed na'ivetb or by a bitter,
disillusioned old woman in misty-eyed reverie is un-
important. The events and the author's reaction to
them weere recorded, making Through Some Eventful
Years a primary source of Florida history.

My special thanks go to Joseph J. Jones for provid-
ing me with both the Bradford and the Eppes family
papers. Without his kind help this introduction could
not have been written.
The Florida State University


1. Sol~on Robinson, editorial, The American Agricuclturist, X (1851),
2. Ibrid.
3. George R. Fairbanks, "Early Churchmen of Florida," Historical
Papers and Journal of the Semi-Centennial of the Church in Florida
(Jacksonville: Church Publishing Co., 1889), p. 16.
4. Ibid., p. 14.
5. "Florida on the Eve of the Civil War as Seen by a Southern Re-
porter," ed. William Warren Rogers, Florida Historical Quarterly,
XXXIX (July, 1960), 152.

In production


6. Ibid. Both Scott and the Charleston reporter support Mrs. Eppes's
view of Tallahassee and its society (214).
7. Tallahassee Daily Democrat, July 3, 1942.
8. Dictionary of American Biography, II, 596-97.
9. Eppes Scrapbook, unidentified newspaper clippings, Joseph J.
Jones, Jr. Collection, Tallahassee, Florida.
10. George S. Palmer, M.D., "Physicians of Early Tallahassee,"
A palachee (1944), p. 37.
11. Ibid., p. 38.
12. Lula Keith Appleyard, Plantation Life in Middle Florida, 1821-
1845 (Master's thesis, Florida State College for Women, 1940), p. 75.
13. Ibid., passim. Mrs. Appleyard made an extensive study of planter
holdings in Leon County in her thesis.
14. Bradford Papers, bill of sale, Dec. 6, 1852, Florida Collection,
Florida State University Library, Tallahassee.
15. Appleyard, p. 38.
16. U. S. Census, 1840, unpublished slave schedules.
17. U. S. Census, 1850.
18. U. S. Census, 1860.
19. Tallairassee Democrat, July 3, 1943.
20. Ibid.
21. Susan Bradford Eppes, "Nicholas Ware Eppes," a biographical
sketch, unpublished. Jones Collection.
22. Personal interview with Susan Ware Eppes, daughter of Nich-
olas and Susan Eppes, Tallahassee, Florida, Nov. 13, 1964.
23. Jacksonville Florida Times- Union, Sept. 8, 1904.
24. Ibid.
25. Ibid, Sept. 9, 1904.
26. Ibid.
27. Milton Santa Rosa Record, May 7, 1908.
28. Edward Bradford Eppes to Isaac D. White, Dec. 10, 1905, Jones
29. Jacksonville F;lorida Times-Union, Nov. 4, 1906.
30. Ibid.
31. State of Florida, House Journal, 1907, p. 70 (appendix to Gov-
ernor's Message).
32. E. B. Eppes to I. D. White, Dec. 10, 1905.
33. Milton Santa Rosa Record, May 7, 1908.
34. The plantation house fell into disrepair and was pulled down in
the 1920's. The materials were used by a member of the Whitehead
family to build a smaller house in the vicinity.
35. Tallahassee Democrat, July 3, 1943.
36. Ibid.
37. Anita Leslie, Mrs. F~itzherbert (New York: Charles Scribner's
Sons, 1960), p. 14.
38. Ibid., p. 232.

xxviii Introduction

39. Ibid., p. 10.
40. Ibid., pp. 14, 207.
41. William Corbett, The Parliamentary History of England (Lon-
don: T. C. Hansard, 1813), XVII, 384-85.
42. The Bill of Rights (1689) provided that no Roman Catholic
could be king of England, nor could anyone married to a Roman
Catholic. See Corbett, V, 108-11.
43. Lloyd Lewis, Myths After Lincoln (New York: Harcourt Brace
& Co., 1920), p. 196.
44. David Miller Dewitt, The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln
and Its Expiation (New York: The Mac~millan Company, 1909) ; Otto
Eisenschiml, Why Was Lincoln Murdered? (Boston: Little, Brown and
Company, 1937); Lewis, of. cit.; Isaac Markens, President Lincoln
and the Case of John Yates Beall (New York: printed for the author,
45. John Nicolay and John Hay, Abraham Lincoln, A History (New
York: Century Company, 1914), VIII, 19-20.
46. Markens, pp. 7-8.

1Throughz Some Eventful Tears


*John Branch married Eliza Fort
Lwue Oak

The Branch and Bradford F~amilies

Henry Bradford married Sarah Crowell

Sally *Margaret John
married married I
~Dr. James Hunter "Daniel S. Donelson *Martha Lewis married Edward
Hickory Hill Pine Hill
*Eliza Susan W~illiam
married married Live Dak
*William Bailey *Arvah Hopkins

Judge Hilton

*Sarah *Margaret *Martha
married married married
OJunius Taylor *Amos Whitehead *Patrick Houstoun
Neckanothing Mossview Lakeland

*Nicholas Ware Eppes
Pine Hill

*Those mentioned in book

*Thomas I Richard
Walnut Hill Water Oak



~e~B~B:~ ~j
~B~a~: :, dV.
n~T~ ;i;

5 ~ps":

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a~O~L" L


~ ~c~c~rrrs~p

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" -L~ ~

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MARll i~~%gl W, 88857 BZE AMIMjlWB R "E9~Y~U~Y~




---~- -rc--



"Oh, wad some power
The giftie gie us,
To see oursel's
As i'the~rs J'Pe u's."J




The Bradford Coat of Arms F__, __,_,_ ;rontisfiece
IMrs. Wthite-S punner, of Bel fast, Ireland Facing page 9 I
IMy Soldier in Gray! .___-,--,,, Facing page 3 I8
The Eppes Coat of Arms ,_____., Facing page 339



I Social Life in the Old South II___,__,,,1
II When the Serpent Entered Eden ,___,__ 30
III When the Abolitionist Editor Came to Grief ----- 38
IV A Few Explanatory ~Words 4------- _- 3
V Leaves from a Child's Diary -________ 46
VI A Summer in North Carolina ,_______ 67
VII Leaves from the Diary ,________,, 72
VIII WVedding Bells -__--_----_--_--_------------ 94
IX Home to Florida -_--, __-___,_,I12
X Leaves from the Diary ----------_, I19
XI Politics in Eighteen Hundred and Sixty I,,,,,28

Table of Co ntents--Co ntin ued

)(II Florida Secedes 1---------------33
XIII Leaves from the Diary ----_,_-_,_--__---------35
XIV WC7ar and Sorrow ---_-- _____-_--37
XV Refugees from Tennessee 1______,, --95
XVI Captain John Yates Beall ,____-____,213
XVII The Department of South Carolina, ~Georg a
and Florida -------,--, ___,220

XVIII "M~arthy") --------- -------- 242
XIX W~chen We Wedlked in Gethsenane -------265
(11 Leaves from the Diary _____,,_,,,_270



I Days of Change -----------------------------339
II The Birth of the Ney South ------------------341
III Negro Rights ------------------------------354
IV The Ku Klux Klan -_------------------------358
V The Southern W~oman's MV3emorial Association --363
VIl The hospitality of the thav South --------------367
1011 A Ney Begituring __ ____ _____,,_,____ -370






To those who have read "The Negro of the Old South"
this book needs no introduction and no apology. It really
seems to be needed, the one to complete the other. To
those who have not, we wish to say a few words.
The white people and the negroes of the Old South were
so intimately associated that it is impossible to tell the
story of the one without a large mixture of the other.
In these days, when it is quite the fashion to rail against
"The Free Negroes," we, of the Old South, to whom
many of them are still dear, take but little part in this.
Sentiment is strong in the Southern heart and we cannot
forget their faithful service in the days, or the years of
war, when, but for them, our women and children, our
men in camp and on the field of battle, would have starved
and suffered. UCngerateful would we be if we put a ban
on the entire race because some have proved themselves
unworthy. In these pages we have adhered as strictly to
the truth as in our former narrative--we deal not in
fiction-all is fact.

Life is a mixture of sorrow and joy,
There is no bliss without alloy,
There's never a rose without its thorn,
N~o mortal has yet to perfection been born;
But the dear OLD FOLKS are morally sure
That all was perfect in DAYS OF YORE.




I N the middle of the last century the South had
reached the zenith of prosperity and power. Ex-
cept in almost inaccessible mountain regions, or on
some desolate coast plains, there was none who was
poverty-stricken, or so few that they escaped mention
and were so well provided for by their wealthy neigh-
bors that they were poverty-stricken in name only.
There was a certain class in the south, corresponding
to the yeomanry of England and no doubt descended
from them, that occupied a position peculiarly its own.
Respected by the class above them and treated with all
consideration, they still did not stand on an equal social
footing. They were possessed of many desirable quali-
ties, of good habits and, for the most part, they were
strictly religious and true to family ties. Occasionally
one of these men could be induced to take over the man-
agement of a plantation for some wealthier neighbor
and the planter, who was so fortunate as to secure the
services of such a one was the envy of his contempo-
raries. But by far the greater part of the South was
composed of men of wealth and often of distinction as
well. With abundant means and leisure for study, the
men and women of the Olld South stood unequalled in
education, accomplishments, and mental ability. Added~

Through Some Eventful Years


to this they had a graciousness of manner and that true
politeness, which is so sweetly expressed in a little
couplet often taught to children in the primary grades,
"Politeness is to do and say
The kindest things, in the kindest way."

Here was a good material for Social Life, where, "In
honor preferring one another," is the oil which makes
the wheels go round.
The hospitality of the Old South is far-famed; and
yet, there is a reason for this, which we have never
heard mentioned. The original settlers of our country
were not so very dissimilar. To our mind the later
difference in characteristics was caused by differing eir-
cumstances. Those who settled in bleak New England
suffered many hardships, and not the least among these
hardships was an actual scarcity of food and this con-
dition lasted for many years. Even when a modicum
of prosperity was theirs, it was not so great that they
could afford to takee no thought for the morrow." It
is very difficult to be hospitable when the where-with-
ill is lacking, as it was, without doubt, in these early
days. This close care for daily expenditures became a
deepseated habit, and we know that habit becomes
second nature.
In the South it was different; the climate was mild,
vegetation was quick to come and it also came in great
abundance; fruits ripened on every side; birds and
flowers filled the soul with joy, even in the midst of the
hardships, which in one way or another, came to all
niew settlers in the New W~orld.
WC7as it any wonder that these settlers in the favored
Southland held out a generous hand to all? Their very
hardships and discomforts made them the more ready
to help others. Lonely at times themselves, they opened
their homes to others, who also knew the pangs of

The Social Life of the Old South


homesickness and longing-"'the more the merrier." So
it came about that crowds collected and were made
welcome. Such, to our mind, was the way in which
the lavish hospitality of the South was acquired. How-
ever that may be, it certainly was the case that in the
mid-century days of which we write, there was nowhere
on earth such a social structure as the cultured men and
women of the Old South had built up.
On every plantation stood a Mansion of many room
and comfortable furnishings, and besides this, small
houses, of one or two or three rooms, were provided for
the overflow from the Mansion House. Large stables
and carriage houses there were also, and extra room
in the "negro quarter," for the coachmen and servants
of the visitors, for this was an era of "House Parties."
With colored servitors, enough for every demand, with
horses for both pleasure and service, and with all the
luxuries of life easily obtainable, it was but little trouble
to the "Lady of the M~anor" to have her house full of
guests and to entertain them royally.
So it came about that company came in crowds; they
came mostly in carriages, they brought with them their
maids and men, usually in a baggage wagon, along with
all the necessary belongings of the visitors. Company
in the Mansion also meant company in the Quarter,
and place and food to be provided for the horses as well.
Think of it!-Yolu, who, in these latter days, groan
over the thought of "company to stay."
Often these visitors were relatives, sometimes dear
friends, but occasionally they were barely acquaintances,
who presumed upon the well-known hospitality to make
for themselves a good time without expense.
The weeks preceding and following Christmas were
a round of gaiety, a party somewhere every night, and
dining were equally popular. The Old South excelled
in horsemanship, and equestrian parties were an every-

Through Some Eventful Years


day sight, along the beautiful and romantic drives and
bridle paths of this God-favored land. We give you
a little poem which tells of si Florida Christmas of long
ago :


MIemory is a kindly friend,
She brings us back the vanished hours,
When Time, the thief, would have us think,
His footsteps only trod on flowers.
'Tis Christmas Eve, young hearts are gay,
The windows glojw with mellow light,
Vines twine about the polished stair
And everywhere are roses bright.

Holly boughs, with berries red,
Upon the walls are seen,
With the tiny, shiny Yupon, like
Rubies 'mid the green.
Mistletoe, with berries white,
Hangs high in the grand old hall
And the flame of many candles
Casts a beautiful light o'er all.

To linger neathh the mistletoe
No youth nor maid would dare,
For Aunt Robinson watches the young folks
From a seat on the vine-wreathed stair.
The double doors are open wide,
Guests come crowding through the gates,
Inside, the fires burn brightly
In the fine old brass-trimmed grates.

Mother's music fills the air,
Perfect in time and measure,
The floors are cleared and everything
Awaits the dancer's pleasure;
The boys all seek their partners
When the rhythmic sounds they hear,
Each couple turn with one accord
And dance to the tune of "The Forked Deer."

The Social Life of the Old South

I 5

Both "North" and "South Carolina"
Are danced with Christmas glee,
Then "Molly, Put the Kettle on
And W7e'll All Take Tea;"
"Fisher's Hornpipe" speeds our steps,
Which makes it very handy
To execute some brilliant stunts
For "Yankee Doodle Dandy."

Then come quadrilles, as stately
As Grandmother's minuet;
Next, like a crowd of children,
Wer merrily dance the "Coquette."
Tired, we stop for supper--
So many good things to eat--
But time is short, and most of us find
WVe have little wings on our feet.

Waltzing is not in favor here,
Yet a venturesome lad and lassie,
A~re circling smoothly around the room,
To the strains of "Tallahassee."
Mother's fingers again touch the keys,
"Sir Roger de Coverley" rules the hour
Young and old stand up on the floor,
Moved by the music's compelling power;
For who of us all fatigue could feel
WI~hen Mother played the "Virginia Reel?"

The dance is over-goodnights are said-
Put out the lights and go to bed;
'Tis time for Santa Claus' reindeer sled;
'Twill soon be Christmas M~orning.

With Christmas Morning came the Christmas Tree.
On this tree were gifts for everyone beneath the roof-
tree of the old home; generally gifts of money value,
as well as tokens of friendship and love.
Sometimes sorrow came to one of these luxurious
homes, for grief is no respecter of persons. In these
trying hours there were no gay crowds, no feasting--

T'hroughr Somre ~Eventful Years

this would have been mockery--but quietly came kind,
sympathetic friends, and nothing that the hand of love
could do was lacking. If the shadow of death rested on
one of these homes love, which never wearied, did all
that was possible to comfort and console.
The social life of the South was not entirely within
the home; every summer preparations began early in
the season for a general flitting to "LThe Springs" or
perhaps instead of the springs, it was the sea-side. In
either case the getting ready was a work of time. Or-
ders were sent to N~ew York, dressmakers were called
in, the home-seamstresses were put to work and such
studying of styles from Godey's Ladies' Book. Trying
on, careful fitting, the tucks, the frills, the shirrings,
flowers- appliqued on silken robes, the finest of lace-
trimmed lingerie, and real lace at that, for an imitation
in lace or jewels was not permissible.
After weeks of this strenuous toil, trunks were
packed by maids, who were as proud of the fine clothes
contained therein as if they, instead of the mistress,
wicere to w~ear them. WChen there were children in the
family this work was greatly increased, for "M1~ammy"
never willingly allowed her "Chile" to be out-dressed
by anyone's else. "A vain people, these Southerners,"
you say ?-W-ell, perhaps so.
M~ammy and the maids had their preparations to
make, too; for they must be the very pink of neatness
to be around their "w-hite folks." AL beautiful sight
all this made, w-hen the resort w~as at last reached. The
youths and maidens, vivacious and bright, their native
beauty set off by the becoming costumes; the fathers of
families, dressed in the unique stytiles of the day, high
collars, with many folds of the finest white lawn, skil-
fully arranged about the neck, the elaborate shirt front,
the neat fitting suit of French broadcloth, the best pro-
curable, turned-sole boots, which shone like unto a

The Social Life of the Old South


mirror; to crown all this, a high, silk beaver hat. The
mothers, handsomely gowned in materials suited to
their complexion and position, gracious, cordial, with
a sweet dignity, and yet, withal a little anxious. The
grandfathers, white-haired and stately, dressed styl-
ishly, of course, but showing a slightly greater desire
for comfort as well, for their clothes of handsomest
material, do not fit quite so closely, the boots, just as
shiney but easier pattern. Courtly they were and given
to complimentary speeches. They liked to dance too,
did these gray-haired Cavaliers, and many a flattering
whisper was breathed into girlish ears, as they threaded
the mazes of the dance. Sweet, harmless flattery,
meaning nothing sav-e the tribute of age to lovely youth.
And the grandmothers! W e must pause for a fresh
supply of words, words which are adequate to describe
their charm and grace. Gowned in the handsomest
of materials, with priceless lace draped about their
shoulders, a cap of this same lace crowning their snowy
tresses, while diamonds shone resplendent, wherever
good taste allowed a diamond to shine. How sweet
their voices, how winning their ways, how they beamed
upon the young folks, who, in turn, smiled back at them
and softened to confidence under the kindly influence
Keen eyes too, these grandmothers had, for nowhere
in all the world was there ever a stricter chaperonage
than the Old South demanded and at "The Springs"
temptation was great. There were drives through forest
roads; there were horse-back rides, where one could
speed up or loiter as the case required; there were long
walks through shady lanes and, in the intervals of the
dance, there were short strolls in the cool of evening,
or they sat on the broad piazzas, while the Southern
Mloon looked down on happy lovers.
Like the hummingbird, flitting from flower to flower,
these pleasure-seekers were not stationary, but all con-

Through Some Eventful Years

tent one day, the next would find them preparing to
depart. Someone had been telling of the delights of
the WIhite Sulphur this summer, or a party coming
in from the sea-side would tempt them to the surf and
rolling tide. So, Amy would collect the various be-
longings, Malinda would pack the trunks, Godfrey
would bring the carriage to the door and another mer-
ry crowd would take the road for "green fields and
pastures new," while Starling followed on with the
proverbial "Big box, little box, bandbox and bundle,"
conveyed in a vehicle called, in those days, "A Demo-
crat. Th~is was nothing more nor less than a high
spring wagon, roomy and comfortable and drawn by
a pair of sturdy horses. Through Virginia, North
Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee these
travelers, or Such as these, were a common sight during
the Summer months.
Then, with the first warning of coming Winter they
would turn their faces homeward again, just as anxious
to get back as they had been to leave home. Back to
the plantations to make ready for the festivities of the
winter season, to get the children back to their studies,
to enjoy, once more, the comforts of home. For they
returned to homes which were kept in beautiful order
during the absence of the owners, spotlessly clean, lux-
uriously comfortable, and were welcomed by smiling
black faces and willing hands. These relieved the
home-comers of every care, even removing the wraps
and bonnets, as their "white folks" sank into easy
chairs and listened with rapt attention to the happen-
ings, while they were away. Memory calls up Mammy's
tender touches as she divested us of travelling apparel,
bathed us gently and laid us in our little bed in all its
gleaming whiteness. Nothing like that, where we had
been, and surely nothing like the goodnight hug Mam-
my gave us ere she blew out the light.

The Social Life of the Old South


Oh, for "Lthe days that are no more." Many and
varied were the amusements of the next few months.
In the early Spring there was always a tournament, fol-
lowed at night by a Fancy Ball, where the successful
knight, who had taken the greatest number of rings,
crowned his chosen ladye faire the Queen of Love and
Beauty. Would that I had an enchanted pen from
fairyland, instead of this prosaic typewriter, that I
might do justice to this most charming of all enter-
Riding out from Tallahassee, along the Thomas-
ville Road, look to your right, where you will see a
rather unusual valley with a high hill on either side.
WIe say a rather unusual valley because it lies in a
straight, unbroken stretch for quite a distance. In
days gone by, these two hills were crowned by lovely
woods; at the time the tournament took place the dog-
wood was in bloom and so numerous were these beau-
tiful trees that the hills seemed covered with a lacy veil.
Yellow jasmine gave a touch of gold and the turf be-
neath was white with the delicate ho~ustonia.
Southern men were said to be "born horsemen," if
they were not so born they lost no time in learning, and
every Southern boy rode fearlessly and gracefully.
Every gentleman owned a. riding horse and great was
his pride in his favorite. Petted and loved, horse and
rider were almost as one and, when these well-trained
men and horses appeared upon the tournament field,
it was a grand sight. Each one selected some character
to personate and each knight wore his ladye's colors.
The characters were well-chosen; the costumes hand-
some and tasteful; both horses and riders were beau-
tifully decorated.
Upon an open space next to Tallahassee, on a height
which commanded a view of the entire length of this
valley, carriages and other equipages of every descrip-
tion, filled by an eager, excited throng, collected; far

Through Somze Eventful Years

down the valley an arch had been constructed and, sus-
pended from it, was a small ivory ring; on the right
hand was the judges' stand, where six judges sat in
state. Far up the wooded slope on the right, hidden
by the thick woods, stood the knights on their im-
patient steeds, reined in, awaiting the sound of the
bugle and the loud voice of the Herald, as he shouts out
the name of each knight. The crowd, too, is growing
restless, when suddenly the clear notes of the bugle call
all to attention, "The Knight of the Lone Star," shouts
the Herald, and the knight comes forth, on a milk-white
horse, clad from head to foot in gleaming white satin,
with a large star blazing upon his breast. The blonde
wearer is conscious that he is looking his best--no touch
of anything but this dazzling whiteness except a bouquet
of violets on his left lapel, his Ladye's Colors, his guer-
dion. Like a flash he rides down the valley, his lance
poised and he bears off the ring, amid the clapping and
shouting of the excited multitude. Proudly he rides
down the course and draws rein before the judges'
stand, presenting the ring on the point of his lance.
And so the first score is made.
Again the bugle sounds, "Knight of the Sun, Moon
and Stars," calls the Herald. Dashing down the hill-
side he comes and, if the beautiful severity of the first
knight had called forth admiration, all thought of him
is lost in the amusement afforded by this astounding
figure. On his head the sun shines brightly, on his
broad back is a moon, which is evidently full, and stars
of every size and all degrees of brilliancy are plenti-
fully sprinkled. With poised lance he dashes for-
ward through the arch; but alas--the ring still hangs
undisturbed. With bowed head he rides slowly up to
the stand and another score was made. Many jests
are made at his expense, one of the spectators asking
if "the sun had suffered an eclipse ?"
The winding notes of the Bugle--"Robert Bruce,"

The Social Life of the Old South


shouts the Herald, and Robert Bruce, a veritable Scot
in the plaid of his house, dashes into view, lance
drawn, and bears off the ring in triumph.
"The Unknown Knight," shouts the Herald, and
from the wooded depths flashes forth a most imposing
figure. A large horse of midnight darkness, his flanks
shining like satin. A splendidly proportioned figure,
clad in gleaming armor sits on this magnificent charger;
his cap is on, his visor down; every minute detail has
been carried out. The Unknown Knight has spared
neither time, thought, nor money on his disguise. We,
who loved the history of the Middle Ages, look on
entranced; on every tongue is the question, "W~ho can
it be ?" He rides like the wind. He has been plan-
ning this for weeks, but now, alas, he is to find that even
one confidant is oftentimes one too many. His mother
is the only sharer of his secret as she sits beside the
Princess Murat in her landau. Losing her self-posses-
sion in the excitement of the moment, she stands upon
the seat of the landau and screamed, at the top of her
voice, "LIt's Phil-just Phil--nobody but Phil." W1e
are all sorry for him, to have his dream so rudely dis-
There were many more contestants, but we will men-
tion only one. After several others had shown their
skill the Herald called "The Knight of the Mist."
Slowly he came forth from the lacy boughs of the dog-
wood; he did not take the beaten path--once in the open
he drew rein as if to give to all an opportunity to take
in the significance of his dress. The horse he rode was
a dapple-gray, slender and graceful, as beautiful in
form as if he had come direct from "Araby the Blest,"
his rider wore a costume of gray velvet; the gray of the
clouds we sometimes see at evening by the sea-shore,
when water and cloud are almost indistinguishable on
the sky-line. A soft felt hat of the same hue was-caught
up at the side with a silver buckle. Wreathed about

Through Somre ~Eventful Years


him in graceful lines was yard after yard of gray tulle,
giving the impression of wreaths of mist rising in the
sunshine. Just over his heart his ladye's colors ap-
peared; a diamond ring, from which flashed rainbow
lights at every motion of the rider, was fastened by a
rose-colored ribbon.
Doffing his hat to the assembled multitude, he puts
spurs to his horse and fairly flew through the long
valley to the arch, and bore away the ring.
This ended the first round, each knight had three
chances. Again the bugle's call and the Herald's voice
summoned the young chivalry of Florida to prove the
claim each one had made for his "Ladye Faire." Again
the M/isty K~night carried off the honors. The third
round was called, Robert Bruce and the Knight in
Gray each had taken the ring every time--it was a tie.
Once again the clear notes of the bugle called the
knights to combat--this time only two took part--two
rings were hung within the huge arch and "Robert
Bruce of Scotland" and the "Knight of the Mist" came
riding furiously abreast, with lances couched and faces
set. On they came--excitement had reached its height,
which one will win ? Alas! for the Bruce had lost.
He dropped out and the knight from fairyland bore
the ring aloft upon his lance and rode slowly down the
Again the twenty knights are lined up before the
judge's stand. As they had been before the contest
began that they might be instructed in the duty of a
true knight. The judge who addressed them might
have risen from the grave where he had "lain for cen-
turies dead," so well did his robes correspond with the
pictures of the past and so knightly was the language
he used. N\ow they had come that he might address
the victor and reward his v-alor. Beautifully he spoke
and then came the ending, "Sir Knight, you have done
valorously; into your keeping I now give this crown,

The Social Life of the Old South


place it upon the brow of your Ladye Faire, and pro-
claim to all the world that she, and she alone, is the
Queen of Love and Beauty."
With words which would have sounded well from
the lips of Sir Galahad himself, the knight received
the crown and, bearing it on the tip of his lance, he rode
down the lines looking closely into every carriage--
cunning fellow, he knew just where she was. It was a
blushing girl before whom he finally stopped. At his
10w-spoken words she bowed her head and he placed
the crown upon her sunny tresses. An open barouch
drawn by glossy bays drew near, and Sir Knight as-
sisted his Queen to alight and seated her therein; Robert
Bruce had found his maid of honor and she, too, was
seated beside the Queen. The respective knights rode
on either side and the others followed, riding two and
tw o.
Oh, the cheers, the enthusiasm and then the hurrying
off to complete some last little preparations for the
fancy ball, held that night in the Hall of Representa-
tives in Florida's Capitol. What this Ball was like
we will leave to your imagination, but it is safe to say
that the youth and beauty of old Tallahassee tripped
"the light, fantastic toe" until "the wee sma' hours."
In those halcyon days there came to Tallahassee a
very attractive young lady from Vermont; she came
to take the position of governess in one of our most
prominent families and she soon took part in all, or
almost all, of the gayeties of our little town. At one
of these tournaments, which were of yearly occurrence,
she was crowned Queen; quite a small girl at the time,
the writer remembers well the circumstances. This lady
married one of Tallahassee's most noted physicians and
they finally made their home in Jacksonville. Happen-
ing to be in this latter city two years ago, we bethought
ourselves of this friend, whom we had not seen for
forty years. She gave us a warm welcome; we talked

Through Some~ Eventful Years


of friends who were left to us here; we recalled those
who had "gone on" and after awhile we asked if she
remembered the day she was crowned Queen of Love
and Beauty? Of course she remembered--what woman
could forget? WI;e talked it over and by this time we
had other listeners. W~e told' of the current issue of
"The Floridian and Journal" in which a full description
was given of the brilliant affairs; winding up with this
paragraph: "If the boys of Vermont did as much ex-
ecution with their guns as the Green M~ountain girls
do with their eyes, it is no wonder they have left such
a record on the pages of history."
The dear old lady's eyes filled with tears, she laid
her hand upon ours and whispered, "I am so glad you
came, the weight of years seems to have rolled away.
I feel almost young again." In a few weeks more she
was brought back to Tallahassee to leave it no more
forever. We shall always be glad we made that visit.
We have spoken of the strict chaperonage practised
in the South; parents had leisure to look after their
children, not only the little ones-to these "mammy"
could attend; but the lads and lassies of a larger growth.
In most families there was a middle-aged relative, us-
ually a spinster, who, though possessed of many charms,
had not seen fit to marry. To parents the aid such
a relative could render was simply invaluable. In the
household at Pine Hill this place was filled by "Aunt
Robinson," as she was called by all the young people
of the entire family connection. She had a history and
it is well worth telling. She was the daughter of an
English clergyman, refined, educated, accomplished and
beauti ful.
In the year 18 xx Captain James Robinson was in
command of a United States M~an-of-W~ar and for three
years he had been aboard his ship and when his "ship-
leave" reached him he was in Liverpool and, glad to
have the opportunity of seeing something of "The

Thre Social Life of the Old South


Mother Country," he stopped a while. Here he met
and loved Maria Clement and they were married and
life looked lovely to them.
A year later Captain Robinson was summoned to his
ship, as war between the United States and England
had been declared. Of course it was a hurried trip and
M~rs. Robinson could not accompany him. Three
months later, with her six weeks' old son, she sailed for
Philadelphia to join her husband. As the ship she was
on sailed into the harbor his ship was sailing out. They
passed so close that she could see him distinctly and she
held her baby up that he might see his little son.
Captain Robinson was killed in the first engagement
and she was left alone in a strange land, homeless and
almost penniless. She was told that her husband had
sisters in Enfield, North Carolina; it took all she had
to pay her way to them and when she got there she
found that they, too, were in straitened circumstances
and obliged to work hard to keep body and soul to-
gether and she took part in the daily work. One day
the Governor's carriage drove up to the house. Her
little boy, a strikingly handsome child, was playing
around the door and the Governor's lady was pleased
with him and asked some questions. His mother came
out, was introduced and there and then began a friend-
ship, which was lifelong. Arrangements were made for
the aunts to take care of the child and M~rs. Robinson
took the position of governess to the little girls of the
Branch family.
She proved to be most satisfactory and M~rs. Brad-
ford, the mistress of Pine Hill, was her oldest pupil.
In the meantime, Mrs. Robinson had, with some assist-
ance from friends, given her son a fine education, he
studied medicine in Philadelphia and when, in I832,
the Branch and Bradford families came to Florida, the
young doctor and his mother came with them.
Tallahassee society welcomed him warmly, and the

Through Some Eventful Years

next year he was married to M~ary, daughter of Gov-
ernor William P. Duval. The young couple, accom-
panied by the devoted mother, settled at St. Joseph,
at that time holding forth great promise. A few years
later a tidal wave wrought destruction to the town and
then yellow fever swept the remainder of its citizens
off the face of the earth.
Dr. Robinson was buried there and his mother, with
his young wife and little daughter returned to Talla-
hassee. After tha-t time she made her home at Pine
As time wore on she became more cheerful and great
was the assistance she rendered her whilom pupil in
raising her daughters. No Spanish duenna was ever
more lynx-eyed or severe than Aunt Robinson, and we
strongly suspected that she had eyes in the back of her
head, sometimes wondering if she had ever, ever car-
ried on the least little bit of a flirtation, or, in all her
young days, ever cast a "come hither" look at any boy.
W7e did not dare to do any of those things. The house
was large, it had been built with a view to entertaining
and the rooms opened into each other in such a manner
as to give to one, sitting in the wide hall, an uninter-
rupted view of all. Aunt Robinson's favorite seat was
in this hall and if dancing was going on she sat on the
broad, winding stair and we who danced below knew
she saw every movement, every glance. WYe were pret-
ty well guarded, you may be sure. Tall and command-
ing, with a figure still erect and stately, handsome, too,
in spite of advancing years, always well-dressed, our
chaperon was one we could not fail to respect and
obey. W~e sometimes resented her uncompromising
attitude toward youth and its failings. W~e did not think
aunt Robinson had ever been young; we did not know,
however, until long after the many trials she had en-
There were things our parents never discussed in our

The Social Life of the Old South


presence; one of these was money. Never had we heard
it intimated that wealth made one better, or poverty
made one less desirable; personality was the criterion;
personality and family with great stress laid upon
this latter qualification. So we grew up attaching no
importance whatever to the prestige of wealth, nay
more, we did not know it existed. Our grandfather
was given to quotations, one of his favorites was this:
"Honor and fame from no condition rise,
Act well your part, there all the honor lies."
Another we often heard from his lips was:
"He who steals my purse steals trash,
'Tis his, 'tw~as mine, it has been slave to thousands,
But he wrho filches from me my good name,
Takes that which not enriches him, yet leaves me poor indeed."
Raised in such an atmosphere it is not to be won-
dered at that we thought little of poverty or riches. It
was the custom in our home, and doubtless was in other
homes as well, when we wanted the cash for any pur-
pose to open our purses and lay them on our father's
desk, they were never left empty and when we saw the
purse was closed we knew we might safely take it away.
Now-a-days an allowance is the thing, but money was
given to us as we needed it and while we enjoyed the
spending, it was a matter of little moment.
That wealth does make a difference, we learned in
later years. The very first intimation we had that one
was judged by the amount of money he possessed, came
as a distinct shock.
It was in the Spring of 1865, on the 9th of April
that General Lee surrendered the Army of Northern
Virginia and this was quickly followed by the fall of
th'e Confederacy. We will not tell you here how we
grieved over "The Lost Cause." At that time we were
"Where the brook and river meet."

Through Some Eventful Years

In the Old South there was no fixed time for a young
girl to "enter society," in fact it was often said that
Southern children entered society at birth. M~ammy
would bring her nursling into the parlor to see company,
before the mother could leave her room; the baby was
always an important member of the family. As the little
;one grew large, mammy grew prouder and much more
strict. Her child was taught all the points of good-
breeding, the polite salutation, the modest answer when
spoken to, the quiet demeanor. When the child re-
mained unnoticed was the rule, not as now, the excep-
tion. The reason for this is readily to be perceived,
-mammy was there, looking on, and woe be to the un-
lucky one who dared to be pert, or forward, or, as
mammy would express it, "fergit yer manners." This
goes far toward explaining the modest demeanor of
those ante-ballum days.
There was a custom in the social regime of the Old
South, which we have deeply deplored, that is the way
in which N~ew Year's Day was observed. It was "a
day at home" for Southern ladies, a beautifully ap-
pointed table stood in every parlor, on this table was
the richest of plum cakes, beautifully ornamented;
small cakes of various kinds were also served. But:
alas for "'tee-totalers," as those opposed to drinking,
in those days, were called. A large punch bowl held
-the place of honor in the centre of the table. A capa-
cious silver ladle was in this bowl, glasses of handsome
pattern flanked the bowl and the guests who came in
.numbers helped themselves liberally. On New Year's
Day the gentlemen were expected -to call on all their
lady friends and by the time the round had been made,
you can imagine the result. A bad custom, which has
passed away, yet, we hear of intoxication still. At
parties, where "the flowing bowl" had flowed too freely
in some directions, one of the privileges mammy claim-
ed was to carry cups of strong, black coffee to her favo-

The Social Life of the Old South


rites among the sufferers, giving as her excuse, "Ain't
he comin' ter see my young lady ?" or perhaps, "Ain't
I done hep' ter nuss him when he wus little ?"
But we have not told you how we first heard of the
value of money. Having just entered upon young lady-
hood, we, of course, received attention, and we were at a
party, for we of the South felt that we must do what
we could to cheer up our returned soldiers, we heard
our name and unconsciously listened. "She has one
follower the less tonight, where is the Captain?" We
did not turn but we recognized the voice which answer-
ed, "The Captain is evidently of the-opinion that Miss
with a hundred thousand dollars and IMiss
-----with nothing, are two distinct persons." It
was the first time we had ever heard that money was
considered before standing and character, but it isn't
always so.
With the disastrous close of the war, social condi-
tions in the South underwent such a change as comes
to few countries. A few families tried to hold out in
the same old manner, but soon these also had to go
under. There was no longer the handsome incomes.
to meet these heavy expenditures. Life in the South-
land became a life of anxiety and in many instances,
of toil.



IN the early fifties of the last century it would have
been difficult to find a lovelier home than that of
Doctor Edward Bradford, at Pine Hill Plantation,
Leon County, Florida. It was situated amid rolling
hills and green forests, with little streams here and
there, and a clear, quiet stream wending its way to one
of the placid lakes, which beautify this fair land. God's
Country, its people claim it is, and it is worthy of the
name, or rather it was worthy of the name at the
period of which we write.
In the grove of towering pines stood a large and
stately mansion; white and green, as a country house
should be. Rose-gardens and shrubbery of many kinds,
grew around the house, while away, on every side,
spread smooth and velvety lawns. But do not delude
yourself with the thought that this was the work of
nature, it took skilled work and many hands to keep
all this in beautiful order. Thorough-bred Kentucky
horses grazed in the pastures, cows from Alderney and
Guernsey chewed their cuds contemplatively and fur-
nished the richest of cream and the yellowest of butter
for the inmates of the mansion.
Away towards the east the cabins of the slaves could
be seen; not that the owners ever spoke of them in that
manner, to such they were variously known as "M/y
People," "My black folks," "My hands," "The quar-
ter folks," and by some they were spoken of as "M/3y
niggers," though but few used this mode of designa-
tion, for it was not liked by these dusky people them-
selves and was generally avoided.
At Pine Hill, (We will drop the word "Plantation,"
which was always made use of by the servants on this

When the Serpent Entered Eden

3 I

and adjoining plantations, but rarely by the owners
and their intimate friends.) the cabins were kept in
good order and in perfect repair, a corps of carpenters
being maintained for this purpose. At the beginning
of every summer the cabins and fences and out-houses
were given a coat of whitewash, serving the double
purpose of lending beauty and brightness to the scene
and besides being a sanitary measure. These cabins
were not huddled together, but there was ample space
around each one for a dooryard and garden, while
shade trees were everywhere in evidence.
It was a beautiful place and many were the visitors
there. Guests were continually coming and going.
There were evening parties, attended by the elite of the
community; house parties where the guests were not
only of the immediate neighborhood but often from
other states as well, for in those days, though there
were no automobiles, people thought nothing of start-
ing out for distant points in their carriages, with an-
other conveyance for baggage and servants, and pro-
longed visits were made. Social life in the Old South
differed, in many respects from that of any other coun-
try; naturally this would be so, for surroundings were
different. These large plantations were like a little
world within themselves; the hospitality of the old-time
Southerners is proverbial; nothing was spared to make
the friends they entertained have a delightful time:
individual tastes were studied and catered to; con-
genial souls were sought for these house-parties, which
were often like wheels within wheels.
Here were assembled gay ladies of fashion, gentle-
rnen of leisure, statesmen and earnest scientific devotees,
professional men, many of them celebrated far beyond
their "native heath" and most of all, the gentlemen
planters; men who owned large holdings of land, who
employed overseers to look after the minutiae of the
plantation, while they directed. They were often aided

Through Some E~ventful Years

in giving these directions by articles published in the
various agricultural magazines, plentiful, both in the
North and in the South.
When this set got together the listener would be
sure to hear discussed scientific farming, in all its phases.
In the winter the various modes of plowing, ditching,
etc., the rival merits of this, that or the other fertilizer,
the best method of heating cotton seed for the compost
heap. Then spring would come and with its coming
the topics of the hour changed to planting corn, sugar-
cane and that greatest of all staples, cotton. A little
later in the year the first question asked, when these
enthusiastic planters met, was, "Have you finished chop
ping out cotton ?"
Next came that terrible enemy, the grass; if the
weather was wet the grass grew apace and every hand
on the place who could handle a hoe, was called into re-
quisition. So the year went on through all its changes
and the interest of these planters never waned, their
ardor never cooled.
One of these agricultural magazines was edited by
Solon Robinson, an Abolitionist of the most pronounced
type. Many of the business men of west Florida, at
that time, were from the North; particularly was this
true of the brokers and commission merchants. A very
popular firm was Brodie & Pettes. M~r. Pettes was a
bachelor about middle-age and M~r. Brodie was a mar-
ried man with quite an interesting family; both men
came South with strong Abolition sentiments, which,
for business reasons, they tried to cbnceal.
Mr. Pettes married a Tallahassee girl and Mr. and
Mrs. Brodie, and the children as well, fell deeply in
love with the Southern people and took very kindly in-
deed to being waited on by the dusky servitors, who
held so strongly, the sympathy of the folks at the
North. In fact it was no longer necessary to conceal

When the Serpent Entered Eden


their sentiments, for they had undergone "La change of
In September of 1850, Mr. Brodie met his old friend,
Solon Robinson on the streets of N~ew York City; after
the first greetings were exchanged the editor told the
commission merchant that he had his face turned to-
ward Florida, whither he was going in the interest of
the poor down-trodden slaves, his expenses being paid
by some devoted workers in the cause, who lived in
So completely had Mr. Brodie abjured abolitionism
that he tried to persuade Mr. Robinson that he was
simply wasting his time. "However," he said, "if you
will go on such a mistaken errand, let me give you a
letter of introduction to my friend, Dr. Bradford, who
will receive, with true Southern hospitality, anyone I
send. Go to him, spend a part of your time in Florida
going over his magnificent plantations, see how all is
managed; compare the happy negroes you will find there
with the poor of our own section; hear them sing and
dance and frolic; see how tenderly they are looked
after when they are sick and take my word for it, you
will almost wish you were one of the doctor's slaves
yourself." Solon Robinson took the proffered letter
and we will tell you what use he made of it.
Travel was slow in those days, it was Olctober when
he reached Pine Hill; there had been a storm a few
days before his coming, one of the equinoctials, which
sometimes sweep over this country, uprooting trees,
laying low most vegetable growth and then passing
swiftly by, leaving everything sweet and clean behind
it and an indescribable freshness in the air.-
At Pine Hill were a number of China trees. As every
one knows, the "Pride of China" has weak roots, so a
long row of these trees were lying on the ground; the
children of the family, with their little black playmates,
had been climbing the branches and riding the larger

Through Somle Eventful Years


limbs for horses, but, wearying of this, they were
grouped on the immense trunks and listening to the
eldest of the children, a girl of twelve, with long chest-
nut curls, read a fairy story.
The tale was about two little girls, Rose-W~hite and
Rose-Red, who were walking in the forest and in a deep
and dark place, beside a running stream, they saw a
squatty dwarf, with broad shoulders and very large feet;
his head was covered with thick white hair and he had
a long beard, white as his hair and reaching to his feet.
The dwarf was calling loudly and seemed to be skip-
ping about over the log on which he stood, his voice
was harsh but he was very much in need of help, for
when they drew nearer they saw that his beard was
caught in a cleft in the log and held as if in a vise. He
had been cutting some fire-wood and when he gave a
mighty stroke the ax flew out of his hand and his long
beard was caught, so that he could not get loose. The
children were afraid of him but they were sorry for
him too, so they tried to loosen the beard, but without
success. At last Rose-Red remembered a pair of small
scissors she had in her pocket, and drawing them forth,
snipped off the ends of the beard and the clumsy dwarf
was free.
Instead of thanking them he began to abuse and
threaten them and they were trying to make their escape
--when a horrid cry from Tinnie, one of the black play-
mates aforesaid, caused every one to look up. Advanc-
ing toward them came an almost exact duplicate of the
dwarf. There was a wild uproar at first, with many
exclamations from the irrepressible little darkeys, such
as, "Lordy, dere's dem very same big feet," "He got
de same hair, too," "LEn he beard would be jis' as long
ef he hadn't plaited it an tied it up wid blue ribbins."
Attracted by the screams Mammy appeared upon the
scene. "W~hat duz you want ?" she asked. "I have come
to see Dr. Bradford," said the stranger. "Well," says

Wthen the Serpent Entered Eden


Mammy, "dem what cums ter see him comes to de front
do'." Around the corner came Fanny, tall and slender
and most imposing looking, her pink and white "ker-
chief" tied in a staid bow on the top of her head, her
ginger-bread face drawn up in a frown.
"What is you doin' here ?" she inquired, "don't you
know no better den to kum 'round folks' back yards,
skeering de chilluns ter def ?"
"Mnadam,") said the stranger, "I have come to call on
Dr. Bradford."
"Don't go Madaming me, ef you kum ter see de
Marster de place fur you ter go is de front do', das
where white folks goes."
"(Excuse me," said the stranger, "I have walked from
Tallahassee and took what appeared to be the near-
est path."
"W~alked fum town, did you? Well, dat settles de
whole matter, a gentleman nuver walks. Howsumever,
you kin go 'roun' ter de front and de do's dey will be
open, but you knock. Ab will kum ter de do' and he
will 'nounce you ter de Marster."
Following the direction indicated by Fanny's long
finger, he soon reached the front door. Ab was not
there, but the doctor sat in an invalid chair, on the
porch, a pair of crutches in reach of his hand, render-
ing needless the polite excuse made for not rising.
The stranger was asked to be seated while the doctor
read the letter of introduction, which was duly pre-
sented. W7hen the doctor had read it he turned the
sheet and read it again.
"Mr. Robinson," he said, "as Mr. Brodie's friend,
I bid you welcome; of course we know you by reputa-
tion, your paper is widely read. We shall do all in
our power to convert you to our way of thinking and
we hope you come to us with a desire to learn the truth."
Promising Mr. Robinson every opportunity to pur-
sue his investigations, Doctor Bradford rang a small


Through Some Eventful Years

bell on the table beside him. This brought Ab, who
was told to bring some fresh water. "LBut stop," said
his Master, "perhaps Mr. Robinson may prefer a mint
Turning to his guest, the doctor said simply, "I
never take anything stronger than water myself, but
we keep whiskey in the house and Morea makes a fine
julep they say."
This offer was promptly accepted and Morea soon
brought it in. The new-comer openly stared. To us,
who knew and loved the good old woman, there was
nothing repulsive in her appearance, but she was some-
thing new to him and no sooner had she disappeared
through the folding doors than he asked: "WVhat mode
of torture made her like that?"
Doctor Bradford was naturally indignant. Morea
was not quite four feet in height and almost square;
she had a small head with deep-sunken eyes and her
hands and feet resembled nothing so much as terrapin
claws, yet she looked all right to us and nobody could
make such dainties or tell such fairy tales as "Aunt
Morea," as the children called her. The Mistress
trusted her and she was the proud mother of nine
strong, well-formed children. Mr. Robinson was told
of this, but the sight of her seemed to fill him with hor-
ror. WThen supper was ready he was introduced to the
family and all were as pleasant and polite as if he had
been an invited guest.
At breakfast next morning he met the youngest
member of the household, a little girl of four years,
petted and spoiled by all, especially by her father.
This child wlas destined to play an important part in
Solon Robinson's visit to Florida.
As far as Dr. Bradford's strength would allow he
accompanied his guest in rides through the three plan-
tations, but at other times he was furnished a horse and
buggy and a colored driver, that he might go where he

When the Serpent Entered Eden 37

pleased and see all he wished. The Bradford brothers
entertained him in turn and he spent a week with each
of the four. Captain Lester, also invited him to spend
a week with him. At the end of this time he came again
to Pine H~ill for a farewell visit.



I T was a bright, beautiful Sunday afternoon in late
November; over the pine forest a solemn silence
reigned. The sun was traveling westward and its slant-
ing rays fell softly on the glistening brown pine-straw,
which lay like a thick carpet beneath the trees. Lulu,
the nurse of the least little one, had taken her charge
to these woods, where Jim had been keeping them com-
pany, but time was passing and Jim had four miles to go
before he would reach home, so he had bidden them
goodbye and the baby was carefully seeking partridge
berries, whose bright red attracted her, while Lulu sat
on a fallen log, deep in meditation, or maybe taking a
nap. Baby had strayed off quite an unusual distance
from the shadow of L~ulu's wring and realizing the fact
she quickened her steps and returning to the log where
she had left her nurse she found M/r. Robinson talking
wcith Lulu.
As the baby came nearer she heard M~r. Robinson
say: "If you will listen to me, as soon as you cross Ma-
son and Dixon's line you will be free." Spying her lit-
tle charge almost beside her, Lulu hastily snatched up
the child and called back to her companion, "It's late
an' I gutter take dis yere baby home, it's her supper
W~e have said that this was a spoiled child. Always
when she had been bathed and made ready for bed it
was customary for her father to be called to get her to
sleep. At such times he sent the nurse away and, lying
down beside his small daughter, he would wait to see
what she would say to him. This was an hour of pure
delight to them both; baby saved up all she heard but
did not understand till this quiet time, when she could

WZhen the Abolitionist Editor Came to Grief


"ask father" and father never wearied of explaining, as
far as possible, all the questions which vexed her child-
ish brain. Seldom was this program varied, for hon-
ored indeed must be the guest who could detain him
from this petted child.
On this particular Sunday night Lulu had summoned
Dr. Bradford and was off, in haste, to enjoy herself
"in de quarter" with the other young negroes of Pine
Baby laid her little brown head on father's arm and
was quiet for a while, then she sleepily asked, "What
does free mean ?"
"'You mean three," said father, "well three is two
and one more."
N~o more was said and soon both were sound asleep.
At breakfast and at dinner the baby's high chair was
placed at her father's left hand, and Lulu stood behind
the chair, that she might attend to the wants of her
On this M~onday morning the family were assembled
around the bounteous board. M~r. Robinson occupied
the seat on Dr. Bradford's right hand, just opposite
the baby, who was busily engaged with her bowl of
mush and milk. Conversation was general around the
table, the governess, for there was always a governess,
talked with the school children of the coming week,
the children responded and the "stranger within the
gates" took quite a prominent part in the pros and
cons of school life.
Suddenly the baby dropped her spoon--she had
thought of something-"Father,"' she said, "how can
Lulu be two and one more ?"
"WT~hy, she could not be, of course."
"But, father, you said last night, when I asked you
what free meant, that it meant two and one: more."
Some inkling of the truth must have come to both
Lulu and Solon Robinson, for she hastily left the room

Through Some Eventful Years


while he, with a terrible scowl, turned to the waiting
"Hush up," he cried, "children should be seen and
not heard."
"(I won't hush" was the answer, "'you said it yourself
--you said when Lulu went across Mason and Dick's
line she would be free."
The cat was out of the bag at last. A dead silence
fell on the .group around the table. Mother took the
weeping child from the table, the governess marshalled
her flock to the school-room and the master of Pine
Hill Plantation was left to reckon with his guest.
Lulu was questioned first, she admitted that it was
true. M~r. Robinson had tried to talk to her but she
did not want him to say those things to her; she referred
her master to several men on the place, who could tell
him more than she could.
The investigation went on. His various hosts in the
neighborhood were sent for and it developed that on
each plantation the same course had been pursued.
Forgetting the generous hospitality, the kind con-
sideration which had been shown him, he was trying,
in every case to injure and undermine his entertainers.
As he listened to the testimony given by scores of
negroes, whom he had sought, with more or less suc-
cess, to render insubordinate, his livid face and trem-
bling limbs spoke plainly of his cowardice and of his
It was proved that. at each house where he had vis-
ited he had repaid kindness with treachery. When the
family retired he too, went to his apartment, but not
to sleep. As soon as the household was quiet he would
steal out and make his way to the negro "quarters,"
where the news of his coming had been spread abroad.
The incendiary talks he gave them had not yet borne
fruit but it had been discovered not a day too soon.
The four brothers and Captain Lester sat in judg-

When the Abolitionist Editor Camre to Grief

ment upon this ungrateful old sinner, and it was finally
decided that two of their number should take him to
St. Marks and ship him to some far Niorthern point on
a vessel carrying cotton to market. The Captain of this
vessel was a Southern man and could be depended upon
to obey orders; before the vessel could have reached
port a number of the agricultural magazines, of which
he was editor, came in the mail; it was somewhat amus-
ing, and also irritating, to read therein a letter, dated
October 25th, telling of his arrival at Pine Hill and
his reception there; he wrote at great length and while
he omitted all mention of the mint julep, he did not
forget to tell of "Morea, who evidently had undergone
some terrible torture in her youth which had distorted
and cruelly disfigured her." There was much along
the same lines. M~r. Brodie was overwhelmed with mor-
tification at the failure of his experiment and Solon
Robinson lost some of his subscribers in F~lorida.
The situation, about this time, was very trying to the
Southern people; John C. Calhoun, beloved and ad-
mired by the greater part of the country, had passed
away. So true and pure was he that personally, even
his worst enemies could find nothing to say to his dis-
credit. Political enemies, he had many, but his doctrine
of State's Rights was the very heart -of the S~outh. In
this same year (185') M~rs. Harriet Beecher Stowe,
began the publication of her famous novel, "Uncle
Tom's Cabin." It came out first as a serial.
The next year it came out in book form and was
translated into many languages and the editions reached
_4li into the hundreds of thousands. "Uncle Tom's
~`Cabin" had but little literary merit, but it was strongly
dramatic. M~rs. Stowe knew nothing whatever of the
South or its people; she knew nothing of the negro or
the manner in which the institution of slavery was car-
ried on; she had never been South, but she was gifted
i iha vivid imagination and she had, also, a total dis-

Through Some Eventful Years


Regard for truth. Given a vivid imagination and a dis-
regard for truth and it is easy to be dramatic.
Mrs. Stowe's book came, too, just when the time was
ripe for such a fire-brand; the abolition of negro slavery
was "the burning question of the hour." Old England
and New England vied with each other in this work;
nothing was too bad for the Southerner, nothing too
good for his slave. Brotherly love was lost sight of;
Christian charity died a natural death and these apos-
tles of abolition proclaimed "A Higher Law:"
"A law wYhich aimed its blows at Slavery;
At marriage, and the home;
A law which in its wide out-going
Caused e'en yet full many a heart to mourn."
The dignified protests of Southern statesmen; the
able editorials in Southern newspapers; the masterly
arguments of DeBow's Review were treated with con-
tempt and contumely.
Pursuing, as nearly as possible, the even tenor of her
way, the South waited, to see what the outcome would
be. If "our black folks" felt this unrest which pervaded
the times, they gave no sign, and relations between the
races, as yet, knew no change. To make our story
clearer and plainer, we shall introduce, from time to
time, some leaves from a child's diary.



THESE leaves, selected from the little girl's diary,
need, perhaps, some explanation. Our aim is to
use only the parts which show the trend of political
events in the South, as seen through the eyes of a child.
This child entered school when only four years old--she
was not made to go but went of her own free will, be-
cause she so dearly loved the governess, Miss Joanna
Young Scammon, of Maine.
It was a joke at first, this tiny scholar, but she was
so quiet and her progress was so rapid that she became
an accepted fact in the school room. In those days
there were not so many fads and fancies regarding the
rearing of children. It was not considered detrimental
to either physical or mental health for a too-early use
of the faculties with which nature had endowed them.
Sunshine and out-door exercise in abundance, the chil-
dren of this household had, and in every way their
health was looked after, but it never once occurred to
the grown-ups that a child could be mentally over-stim-
ulated. So, at the age of seven years, we find this child
a pupil at The lamonia Female Seminary, studying His-
tory, Geography, Philosophy, Arithmetic and the usual
reading and writing, besides a column of WTebster's
Dictionary every afternoon. A round, roly-poly, rosy
little creature, she enjoyed to the full every bit of knowl-
edge she acquired. A very child in all things, play was
as sweet as study.
A very child in all things, play was as sweet as study.
Of course, there is much in this diary that is of a pure-
ly personal nature, and such we have omitted. Where
there occurs allusions which tend to show the relations
L'tween the two races so prominent in the Southland,

Through Some Eventful Years

we have made use of them. Even in this household
where the utmost prudence obtained in talking before
children, remarks, dropped here and there, could not
fail to arouse their curiosity, but this was nothing com-
pared to the deep-seated uneasiness, which filled with
apprehension the thinking element of the South.
Every Northern newspaper contained expressions,
~either for, or against the abolition doctrines; for all
of the N~Corth did not stand for this unwarranted inter-
ference in the affairs of the South. John C. Calhoun
had stated the doctrine of State's Rights so plainly that
all who would could understand, but his warning voice
was disregarded by the fanatical Abolitionists.
This principle, _State's Rights, was embodied in the
Constitution of our fathers, and with the disregard of
these sacred rights came many of our present-day
So long as these doctrines remained in force, per-
sonal liberty, except to criminals, was assured; marriage
laws were held sacred and divorces were rare and when
these did take place, the parties. to such divorces were
looked upon with suspicion and mistrust. We will not
try to assert that "free love" was unknown, but parties
to it were not considered respectable and life was made
hard for them. Business. houses held to a certain code
of honor and failures in business were not the every-day
affair as at present and when a man wilfully defrauded
his creditors he could not hold up his head and be rec-
ognized as the equal of honest men.
When the Republican Party came into power a death-
blow was dealt to State's Rights and "The Higher Law"
sprang into being like Athese from the brain of Zeus,
fully armed and equipped, not with wisdom and justice,
but casting aside all law, both human and Divine, in
a mad desire to have everything their own way.
Of course, the negroes knew of the strong feeling

A Few Explanatory Wtords 45

against the abolition movement among their "Lwhite
folks." Secret though the midnight meetings were
held, some news of their import was sure to get to the
ears of the white people; some of the negroes were
faithful and from these came the information but,
strange to say, no mention of all this was made to the
white children. It had always been impressed upon the
negro mind that nothing but what was good and right
must ever be told to the children of the family. The
incidents mentioned in the diary show how little the
child really knew of events transpiring around her. The
real significance attending these circumstances was not


I T is March again and I am eight years o~ld. Mother
says I write well enough to keep a diary, so she has
given me this book and father has sharpened a pencil
for me to write with. For two whole days I have been
copying in my copy-book a little verse, this is it:
"If you your ears
Would keep from jeers,
Three things keep meekly hid
Myself and I, and mine and my,
And how I do, or did."
I do not see how I can write a diary and at the same
time keep this rule which I have learned. Tonight,
when bed-time comes I shall ask Father; he always tells
me what I want to know.
March 9th, 1854.--I forgot to. put a date yesterday
so today I put the day and the year. Father made it
all right about that troublesome "'I," he says this is for
my own eyes, and maybe his too if I should show it to
him. He says I must remember the rule all the time,
except when I am talking to him or writing in this book.
Mother is going to L~ive Olak today and I wish I could
go too. I love grandpa so dearly, but father and moth-
er do not want me to miss my lessons and get behind
in my classes. Anyway, we are going to spend the day
with him Saturday.
March Ioth, I854.--I was studying my lessons, in
the Library, when mother got home last night. Often
I am watching for her but my geography was hard and
I did not know she had come until she was in the room.
She stood in the door and did not move when I went to
kiss her, she said, "Grandpa has sent you a present,
*These Leaves from the Diary are often awkwardly expressed but al-
lowance must be made for the writer's youth. Her figures too are bad in
some places and the greater part of the Diary was written on the coarse,
rough paper which in the days of the war was often the only kind obtain-
able; so if the dates are sometimes wrong please excuse it.

Leaves From a Child's Diary


guess what it is ?" Now, grandpa always gives me such
nice presents, sometimes he sends me beautiful picture
books. Sometimes he gives me gold pieces; once he
brought me a set of real steel knives and forks from
Sheffield, England; once he sent me a barrel of brown
sugar that myz Lulu might make me plenty of candy.
She makes the best candy in the world and, when she
has time, she plaits it and makes splendid baskets, with
high handles. Once he sent me a mother goat, with
twin kids and once a pair of peafowls, which I still have
and which are just the most magnificent birds you ever
saw. (I wonder if I spelled magnificent right ?) I
have had all sorts of gifts from dear grandpa and so,
when mother wanted me to guess, I just couldn't. Every-
body in the room had a guess but it seemed nobody was
right, for when mother stood aside there stood a little
girl, something smaller than I. I drew back a little,
for at first I could not believe grandpa had sent me that
little girl; but he really had. I am not sure yet that I
like my present but of course I will for did not grandpa
think she was a nice present ? I asked mother what
she was for and she said she would be my maid and
wait upon me, but my Lulu can do all I want done.
When she had eaten some supper mother gave her to
aunt Ginnie to keep until the next morning. WThatever
will I do with her when another day comes ?
March I3th.--Dr. M/itchell stopped at Pine Hill last
night and father w~as busy with him and so I did not
have a chance to talk with him about Frances, for that is
my new maid's name. Mother says I must be very kind
to her and when she gets over feeling so strange she will
play with me, then, too, she says I may teach her all I
learn myself, I have given her the small slate I used
when I was a beginner. She is a shy child and she sits
and rolls her big black eyes at me until I feel almost
afraid of her. Mother says she is my Re-spon-si-bil-i-ty.
Isn't that a big word ? Mother told me how to spell

Through Some E~ventful Years

it but when I asked the meaning she said, "It will prob-
ably take you a lifetime to learn its full meaning, but I[
will try to tell you what it means in regard to you and
I can't remember every word, but this is what she
meant, I was to be patient with my little maid; I must
not get mad with her; I must not strike her; I must not
say hard things to her and if she was so bad I could not
stand it I must bring her to mother to be corrected just
as she corrects us. WThy do I have to be so careful about
Frances, mother ? I asked. "Because," mother said,
"Frances belongs to you." But my Lulu and Allen and
Hannah belong to me too, and you have never told me
all this before ? "It is this way," said mother, "'Fran-
ces has nobody but you, your grandpa has given you a
deed of gift to her and it has been recorded in the Book
of Deeds in the court house, Frances has no father and
her mother does not want her, aunt Gillie, who used
to take care of her is dead. She has a grandmother
and grandfather, these are Uncle Kinchen and Aunt
Amy. They, as you know, go everywhere with your
grandpa and so they cannot take care of Frances even
if they wished to do so." W7ell, mother is right and
I will try to do my best, but I wish she did not belong
to me. I am so glad when night comes and she goes
home with aunt Ginnie. I go to school several hours
of each day and that is a help.

We close the little diary and go on with our story.
Uncle Kinchen, mentioned by the young writer, was
Governor Branch's waiting-man, his valet, he would
be called in France. Aunt Amy, his wife, had been
maid to Mrs. Branch and the two traveled everywhere
with them. The Governor went in a roomy carriage,
drawn by four horses, following this could always be

Leavtes From a Child's Diary


seen a carry-all with a pair of sleek Kentucky mules, and
on the driver's seat sat uncle Kinchen and aunt Amy.
This old couple showed plainly that old age was up-
on them. Kinchen, as a youth of twenty, had carried
his little Master, in his arms, on rainy days, to the "Old
Field School," which he attended. This school was
near Elk's Mcarsh and it was a frolic for both master
and man when the rain came down. Now uncle Kin-
chen was treated with respect and affection by the en-
tire family and oftentimes the grandchildren would
gather around him while he told them wonderful stories
of the many great deeds their grandfather had accom-
plished, to all of which they listened with delight. Aunt
Amy was almost as old; she had waited upon her mis-
tress from her babyhood and she too, had much to tell
to these same grandchildren. In their opinion it was
hard to find anyone more entertaining than these old
Riding behind the "Democrat" came Starling, who
also traveled with Governor Branch. To him really
fell all tasks requiring strength and dexterity and he
rather resented the secondary position he occupied.
Starling rode a small Spanish mule and he was fre-
quently admonished to be careful of his mount. Often
along the journey the Governor would ride "Janet,"
for that was the mule's name, and Starling would ride
on the box beside Uncle Godfrey, the coachman.
This mule had a history which we may as well give
here. In the year 1822, John Branch made his first
visit to Florida, he came as United States District
Judge. Pensacola was his headquarters and the Span-
i~sh residents of the city interested him deeply. He
made many friends among them and some of these
friendships lasted through life. Governor Branch was
an athlete, fond of all exercises of that nature and es-
pecially fond of horseback riding. He had ridden an
Arabian from North Carolina to Florida and, speaking

Through Some Eventful Years


one day to a Spanish friend of the easy gait of the
Arabian, the Spaniard said, "You will never know the
full delight of such exercise until you ride a SPpanish
mule."' Governor Branch made some polite reply and
thought nothing more about it. Fourteen years later,
coming to Florida to live, he again visited Pensacola
and renewed the pleasant acquaintances he had made.
The conversation turned on horseback riding and the
Spaniard, who had spoken of the mule so many years
before, said, "G~overnor, I have a steed for you now,
and when you have tried her you will never care for
an ordinary horse again."
True to his word he sent this mule to Tallahassee
and she proved to be the very finest riding animal the
governor had ever tried. He never willingly rode any-
thing else and "Janet" made the trip from Florida to
Carolina with as much regularity as the governor him-
self. Once, in Philadelphia, a broad-brimmed Quaker,
of a rotund figure, accosted him on the street, "Are you
the old gentleman who rides a mule ?" he asked, so
you see Janet's fame had spread.
These journeys were leisurely ones for oftentimes
they stopped to visit along the way and never, while he
lived, was the home of John C. Calhoun passed by. To
the end of his days Governor Branch looked out for
the comfort and welfare of all his faithful servants and
dying, they were provided fo~r in his will.


April Ist, I 854.--This is "All Fools Day" but no-
body feels like fun, even sis Mag has not played any
tricks and Buddy hasn't a word to say. Father got a
letter this morning saying that dear, sweet sister is very
sick in Savannah. Mother is not well enough to go
but father is going in a few minutes and will bring her
home as soon as she is able to travel. He is going in

Leaves From a Child's Diary


the carriage as far as Oglethorpe, in Georgia, and then
take the train. Mother is so sad and her beautiful blue
eyes have lost their light. What if sister should die as
sister Sarah did.
April 15th.--God is good to us for sister and father
are at home again. Sister is pale and weak, but she
smiles as sweetly as ever and she says now that she is
at home she will soon be well. Everybody wants to wait
on her at once.
MVay 4th.--Sister is so much better, she goes to the
table now and we are so glad. I can hardly stay away
from her long enough to go to school.
May I Ith.-Sister is worse, three doctors are here,
not counting father and Buddy; all the servants are so
distressed; aunt Dinah cries and prays all the time. Will
God hear our prayers ?
M~ay I~th.--Sister died last night-there is nothing
more in the world to say.
June 20th.--It looks as if our world would never
come right again. Miss Brewer whomn we love so well,
is going away to her home iix New York and she is not
coming back, because she is going to be married. Moth-
er says she has been a great comfort to her in these
days of trial. She will not go until the Ist of A~ugust.
We go to school ten months and have holiday in Sep-
tember and O'ctober; sometimes we have August and
September, and begin school in October. W~e go some-
where every summer. If we have to go before school
is ou~t, the governess goes too.
August 22nd, 1854.-W-Ve will have to say goodbye
to dear MViss Brewer tomorrow, she is going back to
her home in Brooklyn and next winter she will marry
Mr. Albro. He came here to see her, when she first
left Mr. Wolfe, and the lamonia Female Seminary, to
teach in our family. Her younger sister, Miss Addie,
is almost as sweet as she is; I am so sorry they are going
to leave us; everybody is sorry.

Through Some Eventful Years


August 30th, 1854.--I was afraid the days would
be lonely without school and lessons, but we are getting
on quite well; we miss sister dreadfully but mother and
father tell us such beautiful things about the Heaven
she has gone to, that I would like to go there, too. We
gather flowers every morning and take them to her, to
her and the other loved ones who are t~here.
Oct. Ist, 1854.--We spent the month of September
at the sea-side. M/3other is never well now and she is
so white and thin and when she wants to go over the
house to see if all is right, father takes her up in his
arms and carries her as if she was a baby, for he is
strong though he is lame.
Oct. I5th, I854.--Aunt Eliza Bailey came today to
spend the winter with us. Her only daughter, Teresa
Leigh Reid, died the week after sister did and they
brought her home and buried her under the myrtles.
Mother and aunt Eliza both feel so sad, as indeed, we
a11 do.
Oct. 21st, 1854.---We are going to have Mviss Julia
Parkman Young for our governess. I have only seen
her once; she is from New York city and she is very
nice looking and quiet. I wonder why all our teachers
come from the North ? They are all very pleasant and
so are the three governesses Dr. Holland has had to
teach at Minerva Hall, since I have been going to
school. Their governess goes everywhere with the
girls but after school time our governess does what-
ever she pleases.
October 2nd, I854.--School opened yesterday. Miss
Young is our governess. She is a little pretty and she
has pretty clothes, but whenever she thinks nobody
sees her, she cries. Her eyes are big and brown, a light
brown, her hair is like her eyes. Uncle John who makes
fun of everybody, says she does not look as if she could
say boo to a goose, but there is no sense in that, for all
the geese stay at the Horse-shoe with aunt Pendar.

Leaves From a Child's Diary


October 5th.--This is Friday night. I have studied
hard and tried to have good lessons. I do not have
much time to play for I have to teach Frances some
every day. She learns well most of the time and mother
says she is a credit to her teacher. I hope it suits mother.
December 2Ist, 1854.--Guess what has happened--
aunt Eliza Bailey has a dear little son and he is named
Edward Bradford for father. Aunt Eliza calls father
"LBrother Doctor,") and she says he is the very best
man in all the world. I think she is right. I just love
that baby to distraction.
December 22nd.--I have a Christmas present three
days before Christmas. It is a baby, aunt Dlinah gave
it to me, she says the rabbits brought it to her and she
thought right away "I'll gie dis chile ter Susie."
Wasn't it kind of aunt Dinah? It is a beautiful baby
and of course she really wanted it for herself. Aunt
D~inah says she will take care of it for me and I can
have it to play with whenever I want it. Mother says
Lulu can make ;ne a trunk full of clothes for my baby
and I can keep the trunk in my doll house and when I
want the baby to play with, we can get her and give
her a bath in the blue tub, she has given me, and dress
her in the clothes from the trunk. Her name is La-
vinia and she is too little and soft yet to play with. When
I asked mother if the baby was really mine, just as
Frances is, she said, "She is yours, and so are Dinah
and Henry and all their children except Nellie and Be-
thiah, that is, they will be yours some day, they are
left to you, in your father's will." I do not know what
that means and company came in so mother could not
stop to tell me.
Jan. Ist, 1855.-Mniiss Young feels so bad that she
wants to give up teaching and go to her grandmother
in Ncew York. I am sorry, for I love her in spite of the
tears, she says I must not say "crying," she says she is
weeping, but she does not tell me why.

Through Some Eventful Years


Jan. Ioth, I855.--Aunt Robinson has come back
from Texas, just in time, mother says. She taught
mother when she was a little girl, and she has offered
to teach us until mother can find a suitable governess.
Father and mother are pleased for they think she is the
best of teachers. She is an English woman and very
strict. I went to school to her when I was quite small.
I have promised mother that I will be good and study
Always I have wanted an express package to come
addressed to me, well this morning it came. It was a
very nice package, indeed, books for the most part,
which is just what I like best. It was from our dear
Miss Brewer who is now Mrs. Albro, and her sweet
young sister, M~iss Addie. There was something for
each member of the family. My gifts were a string of
pink and silver beads for my biggest dolly, "Julia Park-
man Young," a drawing book with four pencils and a
beautiful book called "Mrs. Nancy Bradford's Diary."
Miss Brewer thought I would like that especially be-
cause I, too, have an aunt named Mrs. Nancy Brad-
ford and she has a husband and house full of sons. This
Mrs. Bradford lived in the days of the Revolution and
she was very patriotic but very unhappy for all her peo-
ple were in the army, helping General Washington. I
hope our dear little aunt Nancy will never have to send
her sons to war.
There was a book for Frances in the box but I am
afraid she is ungrateful; the book is a Primer, bound in
dark yellow, about the color of Frances herself, it has
pretty pictures, too, but it made her angry, for she is
just on the last lesson in McGuffey's Second Reader and
this is the second time, so she will be ready for the
Third Reader next Monday; she is quite scornful of the
pretty little Primer but she shall write a nice letter of
thanks, never-the-less. Father says if he had known

Leavres From a Child's Diary


I wanted an express package so badly he would have
seen to it that one came; he is always so kind.
There is something wrong somewhere. This morn-
ing everything seemed lovely but just after breakfast
uncle Tom and uncle Richard came and in a few minutes
Captain Lester came, too, next came Dr. Holland and
Mr. Berrien Manning. They did not come as usual to
the house, but stopped under the big trees at the front
of the flower-garden to talk. How I did wish I could
know what they were talking about. It was nothing
mother said, but I believe it was something about those
March 8th, 1855.--Another birthday, nine years
old. I have a lot of nice presents. Mly folks are so
good to me. This has been a long winter, for the first
time in my life grandpa did not come to Florida, all this
winter I seem to have been looking for something and I
know it is grandpa. Next to father I love him better
than anybody in the world. Frances is learning fast.
April 24th, I855.-We are going to Tennessee.
M1Cother's health is bad and she has not seen aunt IMar-
garet for years. I have never seen her. Aunt Marga-
ret is IMrs. General Daniel Donelson. She is a little
younger than mother and she has a large family of
boys and girls. Uncle Daniel was a general in the
Mexican War and General Andrew Jackson was his
M~ay 29th, I855.-W-;1e have been here in Tennessee
for some weeks. Father did not come with us as he
expected to do. At the last something happened which
made it necessary for him to stay at home. When I
asked mother what it was, she did not tell me, but Fan-
nie told me, one night when I was getting ready for
bed, that some white men, who had no business on the
place, had come in the night and were hidden away on
the place. Fannie said they were some of the "Aboli-
tion crew." I asked more questions but she would tell

Through Some Eventful Years

me no more and she told me to keep my mouth shut;
so I do not really know anything about it. I do not
even know what she meant by "LAbolition crew." I
hope it is nothing that will hurt father.
June 2nd, 1855.--I have had a splendid time here
with my kinsfolk, aunt M~argaret is tall and stately and
beautiful and she has the jolliest children, and when we
get to playing we almost take the roof off the house. We
went to the "Hermitage," where President Jackson
lived, but what I liked better was going to see grandma
Saunders, who lives on a mountain side and has a cold,
cold, cave with a stream of ice water running through

~We are going home next week.
June 6th.--I have found out a little more about that
"Abolition crew" Fannie talked about; last night I fell
asleep on the sofa in the front room at aunt Margaret's
and nobody found me and when I woke mother and
uncle Daniel were talking. He said, "These abolition-
ists are everywhere through the South. Sooner or later
they will make trouble for us. Dr. Bradford writes
that those on Horse-shoe were made to leave and will
be severely dealt with if they return." I sat up and
called out, "'Oh, uncle D'aniel, please tell me all about
it ?"' Mother called F~annie to pu~t me to bed, so I
haven't heard any more.


The early Spring of 1855 found Dr. Bradford pre-
paring to take his family to Tennessee and Kentucky.
Under the sorrows and trials of the past year Mrs.
Bradford had faded as some delicate flower and to
divert her he had planned a visit to her sister, Mrs.
Donelson, of Davidson County. Mrs. Donelson was
the third daughter of Governor John. Branch, of North
Carolina, who was, at the time of her marriage, Sec-

Leaves From a Child's Diary


retary of the Navy in President Jackson's Cabinet.
Daniel S. Donelson was the nephew of Mrs. Andrew
Jackson; he was a handsome blonde giant, splendidly
proportioned with a brain to equal his brawn. He was
a graduate of West Point and moreover a classmate of
Jefferson Davis, the South's beloved President and of
Robert Edward Lee, whose name ranks with "The Im-
Like his classmates he took a prominent part in the
W~ar with Me~xico and, at the period of which we write,
he was living on his fine stock farm some sixteen miles
from Nashville and, with his beautiful wife and eleven
splendid children to help him, the doors of hospitality
were ever held open. rT~he brothers-in-law were de-
voted friends and great pleasure was anticipated by all
The leaves from our little girl's diary tell of some
mysterious happenings, which she could not quite un-
derstand though she suspected the Abolitionists;
looked upon, evidently as a kind of bug-a-boo or a first
cousin to the devil. As the time approached for them
to leave home, troubles of this nature came thick and
fast. Dr. Bradford soon found he could not leave home
and G;overnor Branch, Mrs. Bradford's father, offered
to accompany the family to the home of the Donelsons
in Tennessee. Anxious to get his wife where she would
have a change, Dr. Bradford accepted the offer grate-
fully, and the first of May found them en route for
N ashville.
In t~he meantime Dr. Bradford, with his valued man-
ager, Mr. Manning, and the other slave-holding neigh-
bors found they had on their hands the worst abolition
tangle they had yet met with. Three miles from Pine
Hill Plantation, near the little village of Centreville,
was a large saw-mill owned by Mr. Columbus W~il-
liams, who, though he owned valuable property in
Florida, did not live here. He had hired, to run his mill


Through Som~e ~Eventful Years

a mechanic from New England; there were negro la-
borers of course, but this mechanic was in charge. The
young man attended service at Pisgah Church, near
his place of business. H-e was not looked upon as a
dangerous character and yet he was, for first one negro
and then another came with tales of what had been said
by this man, and finally it was discovered that he was
giving parties at night, in the big mill buildings and in-
viting the young negro men and girls to be present.
Uncle Henry and Aunt Dinah, Uncle Randal and Aunt
Julianne came to complain that their daughters had been
coaxed off to these gatherings and many other parents
of young negroes in the neighborhood came with the
same story.
The gay mechanic at the W~illiams Mill had invited
to help him at these parties, other mechanics from his
own section of country, who were working at the rail-
road shop in Tallahassee. It, was proved that they were
not taking any active part in abolition work bjut only
following these very questionable methods in search of
amusement. Notice was served upon them that this
must stop and they were told most emphatically what
would happen if another gathering of like nature should
be held. Also a patrol of responsible negroes was ap-
pointed on each plantation with orders to severely whip
any white man found lurking around "The Quarter."
One night Dr. Bradford was aroused by a call at
his window, "Marse Ned, come out here." He was
out in a moment. Held by two pair of strong, black
hands was the mechanic aforesaid, stripped to his skin
and covered with bleeding welts from a cow-hide, that
most efficient of whips. Frightened and angry he was,
but the hands which held him knew no mercy and they
would gladly have whipped him again but Dr. Bradford
"You contemptible cur; how dare you set foot on my
place after you were forbidden ?" said the Doctor. "You

Leaves From a Child's Diary


have been well whipped but it is nothing compared to
what will happen to you if you should come again. If
you attempt to revenge yourself on my boys I shall
know who did it and you shall suffer for it; if the torch
is applied I shall know whose hand did it and nothing
will be too bad for you. Now boys, turn him loose; if
you ever find him here again flog him twice as hard."
Two or three such instances occurred on different
plantations around and every time one whipping was
enough to put a stop to it, but the doctor's trip to Ten-
nessee was spoiled. That winter the first mulatto child
ever born on Pine Hill Plantation, opened his eyes to
the light; Dr. Bradford promptly summoned the Rev.
McDaniel and had the baby christened with its father's
surname which name he bears to this dlay.*
The gay and festive N~ew Englander was furious but
he could not help himself. During the summer he made
arrangements to marry a young widow with three little
daughters, owning a small plantation and a few
negroes. He thought he was ruined, but strange to
say the widow did not care and the wedding took place.
All this was very disagreeable, to say the least of it.
The close of the season found the Bradfords at home
again and with them came two lovely daughters of Gen-
eral and Mrs. Donelson, Sarah and Emily; they helped
to brighten up the home which had known so much sor-
row. Aunt Robinson, as the children called her, was to
be their governess for the winter. There was much
company that winter and spring.


July 7th, 1855.--Home again, and I am glad, but I
miss Sister Mag. Father says "she is the darling of
In the summer of 1865 Emeline and her son left Pine Hill Plantation
and went in search of the boy's father. She had been expected to be wel-
comed with open arms, but not so. They were greeted with harsh and abusive
language and ordered off the premises. In his home there was no place for
Hagar and Ishmael.

Through Somre Eventful Year-s

Sue's heart." I know I love her and I hope she will
soon come home. She is traveling in the North with
Aunt Eliza. It is so good to see father once more, and
the first quiet time for a talk, I mean to ask him about
those men.
July loth, 1855.-After school was out yesterday,
mother said as my reports were so good, I might have
Lavinia to play with. She is seven months old now, and
she is beautiful. Her brown skin is so smooth and fine,
her hair is black and curly, and she has dimples in both
cheeks. I love dimples. She has two little white teeth,
and she smiles and plays all the time she is awake. Aunt
Dinah brought her to the house. Lulu filled the little
blue tub with warm water. At first I wanted cold water
like I am always bathed in, but aunt Dinah said she had
never been washed in cold water, and she might cry.
You see, I am part grandpa's and he thinks it is un-
healthy to bathe in warm water. When we go to Live
Oak he has thie bath tub in the bath house, which he built
mn the rose garden, filled to the brim wath water from the
ram, and lets me play in it as much as I wish. None of the
other children can do this because, he says, none of the
other mothers would let him manage. I love cold wa-
ter. Lulu helped me bathe Lavinia, while aunt Dinah
looked on and laughed. The baby splashed the water
everywhere with her plump brown hands. Her hands
are so fat, she looks like you had tied strings around her
September 15th, 1855.-Ou02r school closed today for
a two weeks' holiday, which we will spend at Newport.
Mother is still feeling badly and she likes the sulphur
water. Aunt N~annie Meginniss is going too, so I will
have her children to play with; that is fine, for I love
Eliza Lane better than I can tell and Dannie is a dear,
good little boy.
September 29th.-We have had a delightful stay at
this place but we are going home tomorrow. I have

Leaves From a Child's Diary

enjoyed listening to Captain West and Aunt Robinson
talk about the many voyages she has made in his boat
going to and from St. Marks to New Olrleans.
October 6th, 1855.--School once more--Aunt Rob-
inson "at the helm" as Captain W7est says. Mrs. Woods,
who taught my older sisters when they were too small
to be sent off to boarding school, is here on a visit. Some-
thing funny has happened. Mrs. Woods came in one
morning and handed father a book, she said she bought
it to read on the journey down and she was going to
give it to him. He thanked her and took the book, his
face flushed, he said "This is Uncle Tom's Cabin."
"Yes," she answered, "it is now in its hundredth edition,
but I read in the newspapers that it was not allowed to
be sold in the South s~o I brought this copy for you to
He read it carefully and then he read parts of it over.
When he had finished the book Mrs. WToods came in
and she asked, "Well, Dloctor, what do you think of
aunt Harriet Stowe's production ?"
Father looked her in the face and then he laid the
volume on the library fire and watched it burn.
"'There, Mrs. Woodss" he said, "that is the best place
for it."
I wanted to read that book myself but it must have
been a bad book for Father, who loves books, to have
treated it that way.
November 4th.--This is Grandpa's birthday and he
will be here tonight. I am so glad. Mother says I
may go up the road to meet him if Father will go too.
I know he will. Mother has a birthday feast'ready for
him and the long table is set with the prettiest things.
Aunt Morea is scolding Bill and aunt Ginnie has cooked
her very best sweet wafers, for, she says, "Ole Marster
don't git no sech sweet wafers nowhere else, he say so
his-self." Everybody is glad Grandpa is coming.
November Ioth.--Last night I was telling Brother

Through Some1 Evlentful YePars

Junius how we rejoiced to see grandpa and how all the
older ones among the house serv-ants came after break-
fast to shake hands w-ith him and ask after his health,
and how- he had a present for each; some of them had
presents he had brought them from North Carolina
and to the others he gave some money, and then I said,
"Everybody loves Grandpa."' But Brother Junius said
that was not so. I asked him why, he said that and this
was his answer, "I do not love him-in fact I have a
deepseated grudge against him. When your sister and
I were going to be married your father and your mother
opposed it; well, they had a right--but grandparents
have no right to meddle and I dislike the governor and
always will."
I love Brother Junius and always will as he said
about Grandpa, but I think it is ugly for him to talk
that way. And why did Father and Mlother object? I
have never heard of it, but I will ask Father tonight
what he meant.
November 16th.-Last night was the first oppor-
tunity I had to ask Father, he said, "I am sorry you
have heard anything about this. Mlr. Taylor should
not have told you but, as he did, I w~ill tell you this much,
it is all over, your Sister Sarah has gone to a better
land, you must forget it but I will have to explain your
grandfather's position. He did not do anything wrong
but a man rarely ever forgives interference in his love
affairs. There is nothing wrong with your grandfather;
he is a splendid man." So, I am satisfied, though I do
not quite understand.
December Ioth. There is trouble in the air but I:
cannot find out just what it is. The grown folks keep
v-ery quiet when we children are around and if they are
talking w-hen we come into the room they stop right
away; I w-onder what it is? When I asked father, he
said, "'Some day I will tell you." When he says that
I wait.

Leavles From a Child's Diary


December 20th. -I know a little bit now. It is some-
thing Uncle Kinchen found out and told Grandpa. It
is about those same Abolitionists and it must be serious,
for the grown-up folks all look troubled. When Grand-
pa told what uncle Kinchen had found out, he said:
"Kinchen is trustworthy and absolutely faithful. You
know how often he and Amy have accompanied me to
Northern cities, they have frequently been approached
by Abolition agents, but their talk had no effect on them
"Since the publication of Uncle Tom's Cabin these
agents have grown bolder and there have been instances
where they have carried off negroes, who were unwil-
ling to leave their owners. Fearing this, I made out
manumission papers for Amy and Kinchen and had
them recorded at Halifax court house, for it was my
intention to take them with me to Boston, which is,
as you all know, the very hot-bed of Abolitionism. Be-
fore leaving home I gave them these papers and ex-
plained their meaning, telling them that henceforth they
were as free as I myself am.
"W~ie went to Boston and just as was expected, the
Abolitionists swarmed around the old couple, like yel-
low jackets around a sugar kettle, but, when they
found that they were really free they lost interest and
let them be.
"We stayed several weeks. I had business there and
when business was disposed of I paid a long-promised
visit to General Green. When we were again at home I
was very busy and did not take much notice of little
things, but one day something peculiar in Kinchen's
face made me observe him closely.' I also took a good
look at Amy and she, too, seemed to have something
on her mind, so I questioned Kinchen as to the trouble.
'Marster,' said he, 'it's dese here Free Stiffikites,
what you gin ter me an' Amy, we ain't got no use fer
dem. Ef 't gits out mongst de plantations 'round

Through Some Evrentful Years

erbout dat we is free niggers, we won't ever hav' no
'spectability nur standing' in dis kummubity,"
This made us laugh and then Fannie and Bill brought
in the bedroom candles and we said "good night" and
went to bed. I did not sleep well. I dreamed the Abo-
litionists wrere, after me and they like the Devil as uncle
Aleck describes him, with horns and cloven feet. ~When
I told father this he said "That is the fruit cake you
ate last night," Perhaps it was.
Dec. 23rd.--Almost Christmas--preparations are
well under way and all the family will dine with us on
Christma~s day. The next day wee 9o to Live Oak; the
next day we spend with U~ncle Richard and Aunt Nan-
cy; the next dlay we go to U~ncle Tom's; the next dlay
we spend in town with Aunt Sue and Uncle Arvah and
then we go to Walnut Hill, to Uncle William and Aunt
10 ar y.
Isn't it great to hav-e so many kinsfolk? W7e always
have a Christmias tree at our house and it has presents
for ev-eryone: not just one present, but lots.
January 8th.--This is Aunt Sue's birthday and she
and- her three dlear little boys spent the day with us.
They hav-e only been gone a little while. Aunt Sue says
her mother wTanted to name her for General Jackson
because she w-as born on the anniversary of the battle
of New- Orleans. I am so glad, so glad she did not, for
I am named for aunt Sue and how I would hate to be
named Andrew Jackson. The baby came too, but she is
so little.
January 24th.--Uncle Bailey is here. He came last
night and brought Aunt Eliza and Eddie. He is going
to leav-e them w~ith us for a good long while. The peo-
ple of Jefferson have had some trouble with the A~boli-
tionists. W-hy can't they stay at the N~orth and let our
people alone ? Uncle Bailey was once a general in the
army and afterward he was Captain of Regulators in
Jefferson County. I love to listen while he tells of the