Saturday, August 3, 2019

Philoclea Eve's Civil War

Atlanta History Center
Detail of a quilt attributed to 
Philoclea Edgeworth Casey Eve  (1813-1889)

A few months ago on our trip to the Atlanta History Center Merikay Waldvogel, Tara Miller and I got a good look at this chintz quilt with several panels, including the popular fruit basket design. We were fascinated by Philoclea's first name and her quilt.

A classic Southern chintz applique quilt:
Many ready-to-cut panel shapes, a little extra applique and simple quilting.

The quilt was donated in 1991. I doubt Philoclea Eve put a stitch in it. Being quite wealthy after her 1840 marriage she might have bought it, maybe in Savannah, but perhaps an Augusta, Georgia seamstress had a bedcover business going in the 1830-1850 years. Many nice things were said about Philo, but no one ever mentioned her needlework.

Jones Family quilt, Atlanta History Center

We also saw this related quilt, related in style
but also in family.

I happened to have a book at home on the Jones family.

The Children of Pride is a hefty tome, 2,000 pages of letters from Mary Jones Jones of Liberty County, Georgia and her extended family. It took me weeks to read it (my idea of a good time). Just as I was finishing I realized that Mary Jones and Philoclea Eve had a connection. The Jones family mentioned Philo Eve often. Since there are no footnotes (it would be a 4,000 page book then) you have to figure out who's who on your own. Philo was---Mrs. William J. Eve, the mother of Eva Eve who married Mary Jones's son Charles. We can assume Philo was pronounced Fill'-oh like Philadelphia and philosophy.

Philoclea Edgeworth Casey Eve (1813-1889)
1873 Portrait

Philoclea Edgeworth Casey was born in Louisville, Georgia and spent much of her life in nearby Augusta. Her father John Aloyisius Casey was a doctor and her mother Sarah Lowndes Casey a daughter of Major John Berrien, Revolutionary War soldier who was a port inspector in Savannah.

Philoclea (love of glory in Greek) was
the name of a character in a tragedy written by an Irish playwright
in the 1760s.

 Berrien family home in Savannah in the 1930s

Savannah, like other coastal cities with mosquito infestations, was subject to periodic outbreaks of Yellow Fever, which can be fatal to 50% of those who are infected. Dr. John Casey was one of those victims, dying while tending to patients in 1819. Sarah died a few years later leaving Philoclea and her brother Henry Rozier Casey orphans.

Savannah's Berrien House today

Raised by relatives, Philo married William Joseph Eve in 1840 in Sparta. William, about 10 years older than she,was a member of the elite Georgia planter aristocracy, owner of many slaves in Richmond County, Georgia, where they made their home in Augusta.

In her obituary Philo was described as "noted for her beauty and her high order of intelligence." She certainly was sociable as she is mentioned by many mid-19th century Southern diarists and letter-writers.

When the Civil War began two decades later Philo and William had three children (two had died as infants).

The 1850 census of Richmond County, Georgia credits Planter William Eve with real estate worth $75,000. The 1860 census shows they had 40 slave dwellings on their land with 132 people living there, the county's largest slaveholders.

William Eve's plantation, the basis of that wealth, was Goodale on the Savannah River a few miles southeast of town. This decrepit 1799 house remained on the land until recently. Philoclea's family did not live there but her husband may have been born here.

As one of the town's wealthiest women Philo enjoyed a social position in Augusta. In 1855 Gertrude Clanton Thomas dropped by a gathering and found "only a small crowd. As a matter of course Mrs William Eve was there."

Philo and William's eldest child was Sarah Ponleva Berrien Eve, about 20 then. Everyone called her Eva Eve.

The Moravian Academy is still a school

Eva had finished her education, attending the Moravian School in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and one in Georgetown. In 1858 she'd been bridesmaid for cousin Ruth Berrien Whitehead who'd made a good marriage to Charles Colcock Jones, Jr., a Savannah lawyer, son of a Presbyterian minister who owned several plantations in Liberty County, Georgia and well over 100 slaves. She and Ruth kept in touch as the war began and in 1861 she was living at home in Augusta while Ruth was awaiting her second "confinement" (childbirth) in Savannah.

Much could go wrong and with Ruth it did. In early July, 1861 a relative wrote her father-in-law:
"I write to inform you of the distressed condition of the family...After a painful illness of the most violent character...Julia breathed her last at eight o'clock A.M. of today. Ruth, the mother, is also critically ill with puerperal fever, attended with occasional delirium."
Cased photo showing a common family unit in the days of high
maternal mortality

Julia not yet 2 years old died of scarlet fever days after her sister was born and five days later Ruth did too. Charles who'd had everything had nothing left but a very sickly infant he entrusted to his mother.

Charles Colcock Jones, Jr. (1831-1893)
became chief of artillery for the military district of 
Georgia in the Confederate Army.

Letters sent between family members while Ruth lay dying is one of the great passages in Children of Pride. After the terrible series of events life returned to wartime normal in Georgia. Baby Mary Ruth thrived at her grandmother's and Eva Eve's name began to show up in letters by and about Charles, Jr.  Eva married Charles in late 1863, one happy event in a year in which both their fathers died.

Charles had told his mother around Christmas, 1862:
"[Eva's] father "has sunk...the physicians offer no hope of his bodily or mental recovery. She and Cousin Philo are in great affliction."
William died in March, 1863 at 59 at their home at 79 Broad Street in Augusta. Charles's father died the same month.

Confederate armies were full of teen-aged

Philo's boys Francis Edgeworth, born in 1844 (known all his life as Edge Eve) and McPherson Berrien Eve (called Berrien), born in 1846, eagerly enlisted, Edge at 16 and Berrien at 14 or 15, which amused his sister:
"The child is daft, and his uniform is irreproachable. He smiles blandly and tries to affect dignity."
Philo spent some of  her time during the war nursing soldiers, like George Knox Miller of the 8th Alabama Cavalry who remembered her as a "glorious Georgia woman" who sent her carriage to the Augusta hospital were he was recovering "and took me to her house" to nurse him in better conditions.

She took in relatives as Union troops overran their homes. Cousin Saida Bird came with Eva Eve Jones from Savannah after Eva & Charles's house was ransacked and their library destroyed in 1864. The loss of the books seems to have saddened the whole family more than anything.

Sarah (Saida) Bird 1848-1922

"Aunt Philo is very sweet and kind," Saida told her mother," and seems to take my staying here as a matter of course."

Saida's home Granite Hill in Hancock County, Georgia

As only a 16 year-old can Saida reduced Confederate defeat to a personal hardship:
"I was having such a happy, happy time....I had begun to know so many nice people and had so many delightful books. Cousin Eva was such a darling and Cousin Charlie so nice, though such a tease.... Now everything is broken up."
Sherman's troops occupying Savannah 1864
 "Cousin Eva says she consoles herself with the thought that they can't do her much more harm."
Philoclea Eve was confident enough in her opinions to offer advice to Confederate President Jefferson Davis; an 1861 letter survives with her suggestion that CSA troops needed more identification on their uniforms to avoid shooting at each other.

Augusta's Confederate Monument,
dedicated in 1878, was near the Eve home on Broad Street.

Philo was fortunate. Her sons were not killed. Berrien Eve survived physically at least. The fourteen-year-old soldier seems to have been one more veteran whose post-war life was a continuing battle. He died at 39 in 1884 of "congestion of the liver," leaving his pregnant wife with four young children. 

Francis Edgeworth Eve (1844-1908)

Brother Edge also made it through the war, enduring five saber wounds and a "knock in the head," according to a biography in Confederate Veteran magazine. In July, 1865 Eva told her mother-in-law:
"Poor brother Edgeworth feels his glory departed, and lays aside the captaincy with a sigh as he opens an up-country store. He goes bravely to work, and says he'll gain an honest livelihood...These times try men's souls---and women's too."
Both boys married in 1866.

Philoclea E. Eve's postwar pardon.
The Eves and Joneses took the oath
of loyalty to the Union.

Eva Jones, husband Charles and daughter left the South in December, 1865, moving to New York City in hopes of improving Eva's health and regaining some financial security as Charles practiced law. Philo went with them to help care for Mary Ruth and Eva's son Edgeworth Casey Jones born in 1866.

Soon after the war Eva's sister-in-law Mary Mallard had gossip from her mother who was visiting son Charles in his "very nice house." When Charles's mother arrived Eva and Philoclea went to Newport, Rhode Island "for benefit of sea-bathing....I have heard from Augusta that Mrs. Eve is reported to be married to a Mr. Haywood of Carolina. I do not vouch for the truth of the report."

It did not happen.

After a decade in New York with both goals accomplished the family returned to Georgia settling in Summerville, west of downtown Augusta in the sand hills.

The Jones bought this home Montrose in Summerville, 2249 Walton Way.
Library of Congress HABS photo, 1936

Philo Eve's post war years were filled with grandchildren and charity work, most notably her position with the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association where she was the Vice-Regent for Georgia, traveling regularly to Washington for meetings. Here she is at Mount Vernon on the far right in 1873, perhaps a little weary of the whole group photo process.

 Philoclea Edgeworth Casey Eve died in 1889 at Montrose.

Montrose today

Her bookplate

Philo's quilt, like the city of Augusta, survived the war without serious damage.


Found a reference to Eve family quilts in the Augusta newspaper of 1853 reviewing the fair. Philoclea entered "three album laid-work (applique) Spreads, very beautiful."
Next week one more person remembers Philoclea, William and Eva Eve.

Published letters from Philo's many cousins:

The Granite Farm Letters: Civil War Correspondence of Edgeworth and Sallie Bird, John Rozier, 1988.
The Children of Pride : A True Story of Georgia and the Civil War, Robert Manson Myers, 1973.


mzjohansen said...

Fascinating name and a fascinating story. Thank you for your research and for always findinggreat stories behind amazing quilts!

Nann said...

Thanks for citing the meaning/origin of Philo's name. I enjoyed the entire story!

Susie H said...

What an interesting family story. Thank you for sharing.