Saturday, January 7, 2023

Jessie Woodrow Wilson's Civil War


The members of Savannah's Independent Presbyterian Church
took part in the album quilt fashion that began in the early 1840s.

The blocks never were assembled but bound into a scrapbook for a
 later minister Isaac S. K. Axson

Isaac Stockton Keith Axson (1813-1891) assumed
duties in Savannah in 1857

Axson preached in Augusta, Georgia while pastor in Savannah, invited by Joseph Ruggles Wilson,  pastor of the First Presbyterian Church on Telfair Street in Augusta.

Joseph Ruggles Wilson (1822-1903) & 
Janet 'Jessie' Woodrow Wilson (1830-1888)

Wilson's wife Jessie Woodrow Wilson spent the Civil War in Augusta as a well-respected minister's helpmeet. Born in Carlisle, England, she came to the United States with her parents and six siblings when she was 5. Her father Thomas Woodrow was also a Presbyterian minister, born in Paisley, Scotland. Soon after he took a position in Dutchess County, New York Jessie's mother died at the age of 44.

Mother Marion Williamson Woodrow (1791-1836)

Thomas Woodrow remarried and the family moved to Ohio where
Jesse attended the Steubenville Female Seminary and married Joseph Wilson there in 1849.

Jessie Woodrow Wilson, perhaps a wedding photo

The Wilsons moved to head a church in Pennsylvania, southwest of Pittsburgh for two years, and then on to Staunton, Virginia.

The author of a history of Pennsylvania's Chartiers Church 
seems disappointed that Wilson adopted a Southern point of view,
a view his offspring inherited.

Block dated 1843

The bound book of blocks was a gift from Isabella C. Hamilton

Annie Josephine Wilson Howe (1852-1916)
& Marion Morton Wilson Kennedy (1850-1890)

The Wilsons arrived in Staunton with baby Marion Morton Wilson and soon had a second daughter Annie Josephine. In 1856 a son named for his grandfather Thomas Woodrow Wilson was born. Two years later they went on to Augusta, Georgia where they remained for twelve years.

Crazy quilt 1915
Thomas Woodrow Wilson would grow up to be President from 1913-1921

When the Civil War began Jessie was raising three children under ten, wife of the pastor at Augusta's First Presbyterian Church. Joseph became so "identified with the southern people" that he was a founding member of  the Presbyterian Church in the Confederate States of America. He also was a Confederate chaplain.

"Strength and honour are best
Clothing and she shall
rejoice in time to come
Mary M. Denble (?)
March 24 44"

Son Tommy (Woodrow) Wilson recalled the Civil War years in Augusta. In 1909 he remembered his "Earliest recollection---standing at my father's gateway in Augusta, Georgia, when I was four years old, and hearing someone pass and say that Mr. Lincoln was elected and there was to be war."  He also remembered Jessie serving at a hospital tending the wounded.  

Ellen Axson Wilson (1860-1914)
Woodrow Wilson's first wife was Isaac Axson's granddaughter,
here 16 years old.

Block pieced of stripes dated 1843

1 comment:

Susan said...

What interesting connections the names or marriage hint to us. I had not known Wilson was a southerner, but it explains a lot of things about him.