Keeping the Home Fires BurningWives, Mothers and Daughters of Southwest Virginia’s Heroes
Thanks to the work of historians… especially these women• Mary B. Kegley (Early Adventurers on the Western Waters)• Lula Porterfield Givens (Christiansburg, Montgomery County, VA)• Patricia Givens Johnson (biographies of William Preston, Andrew Lewis, etc.)• Roberta Ingles Steele (Escape From Indian Captivity)• Claire White (William Fleming, Patriot)• Nelly C. Preston (Paths of Glory)• Elizabeth Lemmon Sayers (Pathfinders and Patriots)
Some of the questions that motivated me to prepare this talk …• Was William Ingles really a Tory?• Did Mary Ingles really have a baby?• Why did Susanna Preston and Mary Ingles never get remarried?• How well was Mary Ingles treated after her return from captivity? Were there ugly rumors circulating about her?• What sort of difference did it make for a woman to have an education in the mid to late eighteenth century?• I know that Elizabeth Givens is my grandmother, too. What can I find out about her?
Prominent Soldiers and Statesmen Southwest Virginia (1750-1780s)• General Andrew Lewis (1720-1781)• Colonel William Preston (1729-1783)• Colonel William Ingles (1729-1782)• Colonel William Christian (1743-1786)• General William Campbell (1745-1781); General William Russell• William Fleming (1728-1795)• Governor Patrick Henry (1735-1786)• George Rogers Clark (1752-1818); William Clark (1770-1838)
Brides• Elizabeth Givens (1728- 1781) m. Andrew Lewis 1740 (?)• Susanna Smith (1740-1823) m. William Preston 1761• Mary Draper (1732-1815) m. William Ingles 1750• Anne Henry (1767- 1790) m. William Christian 1770 (?)• Elizabeth Henry ( -1825) m. William Campbell 1776 m. William Russell 1782?• Ann Christian ( - ) m. William Fleming• Sarah Shelton ( -1775) m. Patrick Henry 1754• & Dorothea Dandridge ( -1831) m. Patrick Henry 1776• Ann Rogers ( 1730-1799) m. John Clark (?)
Portraits of Women – A Rarity!• Susanna Smith Preston
Motherhood• Elizabeth Lewis - seven children• Susanna Preston - ten children• Mary Ingles - six children (possibly seven)• Anne Christian - six children• Elizabeth Campbell - two children by Wm. Campbell; then four more by William Russell• Anne Fleming – thirteen• Sarah Henry - six children - Patrick Henry’s first wife• Dorothea Henry - eleven children – Henry’s 2nd wife• Ann Clark - ten children, including George Rogers Clark and William Clark
Mary InglesTrials and Sorrows:Attack at Drapers Meadows; decision to leave infant behind; attack at Burkes Garden (grandchildren); husband accused of being a Tory
Elizabeth Henry Campbell Russell – after death of General WilliamTrials and Sorrows… Campbell, Elizabeth discovered that her daughter did not want her to remarry (William Russell); Arthur Campbell, cousin of William Campbell (deceased), disapproved of William Russell, too, and asserted his family rights to control Sarah’s education, etc. Mother and daughter did not reconcile for many years.
Elizabeth Givens Lewis• We don’t know very much about her, but we do know that Andrew was always off fighting, perhaps more than any other military leader in the period between 1750-1780…• However, Andrew’s Mother, Margaret Lynn Lewis, became well known during the mid-nineteenth century… Interesting story about her “commonplace book”
Trials and Sorrows, Continued• Sarah Shelton Henry – developed severe mental problems (talk of putting her in an asylum); Patrick Henry moved more often than any other… (see map)• Anne Henry Christian – husband’s determination to move west, husband’s death in Kentucky, and Anne’s subsequent death from TB• Susanna Smith Preston – Smithfield was located in a neighborhood where there were many Tories, thus requiring the posting of militia for protection; after husband’s death, letter show she was rather lonely at Smithfield, despite all the slaves…• Ann Rogers Clark – during 1770s, all of her grown sons were off fighting or languishing in prison somewhere… later William went all the way to the west coast; the Clarks moved to Kentucky in 1780s.
Virginia’s Expanding Frontier• 1750s through 1780s – Of the women in this study, I believe that only Mary Ingles, Ann Christian, and Ann Rogers traveled as far as Kentucky…
The Lure of Land in Kentucky – Every Family Was Tempted by the Possibilities• Andrew Lewis – Greenbrier & Ohio• William Ingles – Clinch, New River (Ingles Ferry), Burke’s Garden, etc.• William Preston – Everywhere, including Kentucky• William Christian – Dunkard’s Bottom, then Kentucky• William Fleming – Kentucky• Arthur Campbell – “State of Franklin” (Tennessee)• John Clark – Kentucky• Patrick Henry – acquired property in Kentucky (but I don’t think he ever traveled there)
Although Patrick Henry (and his family) moved frequently, as indicated in this interesting map, he never moved his family to Kentucky
Eighteenth Century Families on the Move• Andrew Lewis Family – near Staunton, then Richfield, near Salem• William Preston Family – Tinkling Springs, Greenfield & Smithfield• Ingles Family – Pennsylvania, North Fork, Drapers Meadows, Bedford, and Ingles Ferry• Christian Family – Borden’s Tract, Mahanaim (Dunkards Bottom), Kentucky (Anne did not want to move to Kentucky)• William Campbell - Aspenvale• Fleming Family – Belmont• Patrick Henry – Studley Plantation, Scotch Town, Red Hill (Hanover, etc.)• Clark Family – King and Queen County, Carolina County, Albemarle County, Kentucky
Ann Christian Fleming’s Sampler• Women preserved and passed along the history and culture, through story- telling and education, and by passing along skills, hand-crafts, recipes, and so on…
Importance of Letters and Journals:Letter From Ann’s Husband, William Fleming, to “Cousin Sally” (1794), a niece in Scotland• “I live in a pleasant situation one hundred and eighty miles from Richmond near a big Lick in Botetourt County. I have retired from all publick business for several years. I am now old, my constitution broke, maimed by several wounds, and often attacked with violent pains in my limbs, brought on by colds and many years of severe duty in a military line. I am just able to walk a little after two months confinement to my bed and room.”• “Your aunt is in pretty good health but tender. My eldest son Leonard is married, has several children and lives in the State of Kentucky; my eldest daughter Elizabeth was married last December to a clergyman by the name of Allen; my daughters Dorothea, Anna, Priscilla and sons William and John are with me. We have buried six or seven children.”
Patrick Henry’s Sphere of Influence: Most of the individuals in this study probably met Patrick Henry in person or were well acquainted with one of his siblingsRed Hill
One of Henry’s Homes: Scotchtown• Notice the resemblance to Smithfield…
Postscript:Frontier women may have had it hard, but Tidewater gentry had their ownmisfortunes, as illustrated by this entry I found in a copy of the Virginia Cavalcadeabout Mary Willing Byrd (1740-1814), who married into the prominent and wealthyByrd family.• “She sold the famous 3,500 volume library of her father-in-law, William Byrd, II (1674-1744), to help pay the debts of her husband, William Byrd III (1728-1777) who had committed suicide.”
Some concluding thoughts…• Only Mary Ingles and Elizabeth Campbell Russell achieved a degree of fame in their own lifetimes…. Mary, of course, because of her remarkable and almost legendary ordeal, and Mme. Russell because of her marriage to two generals as well as the leading role she played in launching the Methodist Church in Southwest Virginia.• Accept for court documents listing weddings and wills, the lives of the other women in this study were not recorded in public records, but some of their stories have been reconstructed through the patient and painstaking efforts of their descendants, genealogists, and historians.
Women’s History Month: A Chance to Pay Tribute to the Women…• Who packed up all their possessions and moved to the backcountry, braving unknown dangers• Who bore so many children, often in a lonesome, isolated cabin, far from sisters, mothers, or other family• Who managed to provide for their children during long periods of separation from their spouses, with complete responsibility for child-rearing, food preparation, education, animal husbandry, gardening, doctoring, and often even “Homeland Security” (defending the cabin against Indian attack, or from raids by Tories)• Who found ways to be resourceful and independent in a world that afforded them fewer opportunities and less power than women can today enjoy.• Who contributed their fair share of passion and enthusiasm in the process of forming the “new republic”
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