Saturday, October 29, 2022

Abba Goddard's Civil War

A Maine Quilt made for soldiers with each block quilted and bound and then stitched together. What we call "potholder style" construction.

Frank Leslie's Illustrated
Building housing the Clayton General Hospital in Harper's Ferry, Virginia

Abba Ann Goddard (1819-1873) was a multi-talented woman who served as matron at a Union hospital in Harper's Ferry, Virginia while writing lively dispatches for Maine's Portland Daily Press. 

Her father was a mechanic at the Lowell, Massachusetts textile mills and Abba worked in the mills herself. She began her writing career in 1841 as the 21-year-old co-editor (with Lydia Hall) of the female mill workers' periodical The Lowell Offering. 

Mill employees in front of their boarding house, probably 1870s,
long after Abba's time there. I could find no pictures of her.

She moved to Troy, New York in the mid 1840s to teach at Emma Willard's Troy Female Seminary and then to Maine. When the war began she followed the Tenth Maine Infantry south as nurse and reporter with four other Portland women.

September 9th, 1862 letter

She advised the army on strategy and promotions in her "Letters from Harpers Ferry"
and thanked the people of Maine for their donations of food, clothing
and bedding.

Women in Saco, Maine, mentioned in Dr. Dawson's letter, stitched this donation quilt.

National Gallery of Art
Siege of Maryland Heights by William McLeod

The town and her hospital passed into Confederate hands for a few weeks in September, 1862 as Stonewall Jackson's troops took over.

Library of Congress
Photo by John P. Soule

Union controlled Harper's Ferry had become a haven for escaped slaves, known as contrabands for their position as confiscated Confederate property. 

Jackson's troops under Major General A.P. Hill horrified the locals by kidnapping the Black residents, sending many back to their slavemasters and selling others into new servitude. 

In her accounts Abba wrote:
“Every nook, cranny, barn, and stye has been searched and men, women, and little children in droves have been carried off…our hospital laundresses, and our men servants, without a word of warning, were seized upon...”
Abba manage to shelter a few employees in the building's cellar until the Union Army recaptured the town, writing in her account of that September:

“I am almost tired of night watching and my revolver begins to grow weary."

September, 1862

Returning to the Clayton General Hospital with fifty quilts.

Further Reading

Abba Goddard's "Letter from Harper's Ferry" appeared in the Portland Daily Press August-October, 1862.  

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Freedom's Friends #8 Hetty Reckless: Friends & Relations


Block # 8 Friends and Relations for Hetty Reckless
by Becky Brown
An orderly block for a woman named Hester Reckless, whose given
name is perfect for a woman who never abided by the rules.

Hester Reckless, also known as Hetty and Amy, was born into slavery in Salem, New Jersey about 1780. We tend to forget slavery's history in the northern states but New Jersey did not begin to abolish slavery until 1804 with the first law applying only to adults born after that year. Hetty was already an adult and did not qualify for freedom. 

Her mother was slave Dorcas Boadley, property of Jane Gibbon Johnson (1738-1815) as was Hester. Perhaps Jane promised to free Hetty in her will but no legal documents were ever found.

The Johnson House in 1941
The house still stands.

When Jane died in 1815 her son Robert Gibbon Johnson inherited Hetty and she joined his family at an impressive new house at 90 Market Street in Salem. Robert's second wife, Julianna Elizabeth Zantzinger (1781-1854) of Lancaster County, was about Hetty's age. The two women did not co-exist in harmony and after about ten years Hetty had had enough abuse at Julianna's hands. 

Hetty said Julianna knocked out her front teeth with a broom

Letter from Isaac Barton, Philadelphia Salem County Historical Society

"The immediate cause that induced Amy to leave...was severe usage by Robert's wife
of which a physician in the town of Salem is aware."

In the mid-1820s Hetty escaped to Philadelphia, which had no organized associations to aid fugitives at that time, but she and her daughter gained their freedom there, residing as free people until the 1850s, despite Robert Johnson's legal attempts to reclaim her.

Records at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Hetty was apparently one of 42 early members of the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society (although not one of the 14 founders in 1833.)

It's worth noting that the 1860 census recorded 18 slaves in New Jersey, the last Northern state to record any enslaved people. 

Once Robert Johnson died in 1850 Hetty returned to Salem, living on Market Street close by the Johnson house and Abigail Goodwin (See Block #7), who complimented "Amy" as good at helping the cause in Salem, collecting clothing and donating cash into the years of the Civil War.

Hetty lived a long life (perhaps not so long as was claimed, however.) She returned to Philadelphia, probably because her daughters remained there. The 1880 census found her about six months before her death living with her daughters. Maria Cornish, 65, was born about 1815. Was she the daughter Hetty brought with her to freedom? Daughter Edith Brown, 71 above, was born earlier but in Pennsylvania, which that makes no sense. If Edith was actually born in 1809 she would have been born in New Jersey. (Women could be evasive about their ages and census takers could be inaccurate.)

Martha Hookem (23) and Elizabeth Barclay (50) were lodgers or boarders in the house on Rodman Street. Sophia Woollard, 43, is listed as a daughter but whose? Elizabeth Barclay is too young to be her mother; Hetty too old. Sophia's children were Harriet, 11 and Jacob Woollard, 14.  

Hester Reckless (was it pronounced to rhyme with freckles?) died in January, 1881, remarked upon only for her age, which had increased by a year in the six months since the census. 

Her death record gives the cause of death as hemiplegia (paralysis on one side) probably a symptom of a stroke.

Olive Cemetery in 1924
Library Company of Philadelphia

She and her family were buried in Philadelphia's Olive Cemetery, once on Girard Avenue between Merion and Belmont Avenues. Now where?

The Block

Friends & Relations
The block (with a name created just for this BOM) is drawn from an exceptional sampler, the Sarah Holcomb quilt dated 1847 from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

Turkey red designs with much pattern in the block corners
are typical of Pennsylvania applique in the 1840-1860 years.

Print the pattern on an 8-1/2" x 11" sheet. Note the square inch for scale.

Friends & Relations by Georgann Eglinski
That dotted red bled. She's going to soak it in Color Catcher
over night.

The late Sue Garman drew a pattern and made a fabulous reproduction of the Sarah Holcomb quilt:

Sunday school records note Hetty's death near the bottom here.

Friends & Relations by Barbara Brackman
One of my greens bled too.
Dots in the future over those problematic intersections.

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Cornelia Amory Goddard Loring's Civil War

Collection Rochester Historical Association, New York
Pre-quilted & bound block from a Sanitary Commission quilt
associated with Cornelia Loring's family,
pictured in Pamela Weeks's & Don Beld's Civil War Quilts (revised.)
"My grandmother, Mrs. Charles G. Loring worked in the [Sanitary] Commission rooms in Boston by day, in the evening she would bring materials and drive about in her buggy to distribute them among the neighbors, collecting the finished garments to be carried back to Boston by an early train."---Katharine P. Loring recollections of her [step] grandmother Cornelia Amory Goddard Loring's work during the Civil War.

Katharine Peabody Loring (1849-1943)

Katharine's father's mother Anna Pierce Brace Loring had died in 1836 so Cornelia was the grandmother she knew. Less than a year old when grandfather Charles Greeley Loring married his third wife, Katharine was an adolescent during the Civil War and may have been recalling her grandparents summering at the sea shore in Pride's Crossing where train service was available for the 30 mile commute to Boston.

Cornelia Loring (1810-1875) seems to have been a one-woman supply chain for textiles funneled to & from the shore to the "Industrial Committee" of the New England Women's Auxiliary Association.
"The Industrial Committee, chaired by Mrs. Frank W. Andrews, oversaw the making of clothing and bedding for soldiers and hospitals. It provided patterns and fabric for distribution to sewing circles and soldiers aid societies throughout New England, and to women in need whose work was paid for by benefactors."
Sewing machine, 1865

In 1863 the women of greater Massachusetts donated 5,400 quilts
to the cause. 

Collection Rochester Historical Association, New York
56" x 84", Dated 1864-1865
This narrow quilt appears to have been stitched
to warm a hospitalized soldier towards the end of the war.
The nine-patch probably survived because it was never shipped.

Pamela Weeks in the recent revision of her book Civil War Quilts concludes Cornelia's stepdaughter Susan Loring Jackson may have organized its making. Inscriptions include Susan's name and two of her children's with locations in Beverly Farms, adjacent to Pride's Crossing .

C.G. Loring owns beachfront property in this 1872 map

Cornelia's first husband merchant George Augustus Goddard (1802-1845) was killed three years into their marriage when he was thrown from his chaise and fractured his skull near their home in Milton in May, 1845, leaving her with a small boy George August Goddard II (1844-1920.) 

Forty when she married Charles Loring five years later, Cornelia gave birth to one boy Kirkland Lathrop Loring who did not live to be two years old.

Wendell Phillips speaking for Thomas Sims, 1851
Gleason's Pictorial Drawing Room Companion

A year after their marriage her attorney husband took the case of Thomas Sims, a fugitive from Georgia slavery who landed in Boston after the passage of the Fugitive Slave Law dictating that Northerners must return African-Americans to bondage.

Lorings were so numerous in Massachusetts that Charles's double first cousin Edward Greely Loring was the judge who ruled against Sims and sent him back to Georgia. 

Picture from Pamela Weeks's Civil War Quilts
Detail of the Loring quilt with a war-time print of soldier and cannon.

When the Civil War began Cornelia was living on Mount Vernon Street in Boston, stepmother to Charles's four children in their forties and grandmother to eight. Son George was a student at Harvard.

Library of Congress
Mount Vernon Street in the 1850s with a view of Bunker Hill

Cornelia's stepson Charles Greeley Loring II had a distinguished army career.

Major-General Charles Greeley Loring (1828-1902)
Ninth Army Corps

Grandson Lt. Patrick Tracy Jackson III
5th Massachusetts Cavalry Regiment

Undoubtedly she had a number of family members and friends serving in the Union Army to worry about. The many Lorings are so interconnected an outsider cannot hope to figure them out. Also difficult to figure out: the Boston branch of the Sanitary Commission. Unlike organizations in New York City and St. Louis, the Boston aid society was not a public relations presence in the press of the day (or modern memory.) 

Ednah Dow Cheney in a biography of Abby May recalled the Auxiliary's origins in December, 1861 after national Sanitary Commission officer Frederick Law Olmstead issued a call for local soldiers' aid organizations under the Commission's canopy:

Samuel Howe, at first the lone actor in gathering and dispensing supplies, had experience raising money, clothing and bedding for anti-slavery causes such as Kansas settlers fighting for a free-state constitution so he looked a good choice to administer a similar project. But as Cheney noted he was "inclined to think it was not worth organize work of the women...," attitude quite consistent with Howe's misogynistic reputation. (See Elaine Showalter's, The Civil Wars of Julia Ward Howe for a portrait of his unhappy marriage trying to repress his wife's independent activities.)
The civil war's "cruel fangs fastened upon the very heart of Boston, and took from us our best and bravest.... The work of the women in providing comforts for the soldiers was unremitting. In organizing and conducting the great bazaars, which were held in furtherance of this object, many of these women found a new scope for their activities, and developed abilities hitherto unsuspected by themselves."
Julia Ward Howe, Reminiscences, 1899
The Sanitary Commission and its local branches were run by men with women deputized to conduct most of the raising of supplies (after all, women could not make contracts, etc.)

Abby Williams May (1829-1888), first cousin to 
Abby May Alcott (Marmee in Little Women), was Secretary of the Boston group.

Note the Lorings

Efficient branches of the Sanitary Commission seemed to benefit from smooth relations between the men "in charge" and the female committees. But the Boston association had problems with dissension, perhaps indicated by its name as an Auxiliary. Like other regional groups Bostonians put on a fund-raising fair during the latter years of the war despite "the Executive" (one or more of the men?) discouraging the idea.

In the face of opposition the New England Sanitary Commission Fair was held Christmas season of 1863 at Boston Music Hall, raising $140,000 for war work. Cincinnati's Fair the same week raised about $235,000 (and got more press in the Boston papers.) 

Elevating the items for sale in Boston above the "usual variety of fancy and useful articles" were displays of fine arts remembered by twelve-year-old Sarah Gooll Putnam (1851-1912) who was related to the Lorings through aunt Mary Ann Putnam Loring (Charles Greely Loring's middle wife.) Sally recorded her impressions of the event, an account found online.

Cornelia Loring ran the Boston table, offering fine
art and useful articles.

Boston Music Hall, 1850s, Massachusetts Historical Society

Abby May's cousin Louisa May Alcott dramatized "Six Scenes from Dickens" but complained, “Things did not go well for want of a good manager and more time. Our night was not at all satisfactory to us, owing to the falling through of several scenes for want of actors [but] People liked what there was of it.”
Two patriotic silk quilts at Table #7 from the women in Cambridge.

As might be expected Cornelia and her husband were in favor of Abraham Lincoln's re-election in 1864. Diarist Regina Shober Gray recalled the torch-light parade held on election eve, which she watched from Cornelia and Charles's windows on Mount Vernon Street. "It was a beautiful sight....Mrs. Loring’s party...was not so crowded as I supposed, but was a very pleasant gathering; no doubt many declined her invitation, on acct. of the torch–light."

After Cornelia's second husband died in 1867 she moved to Florence, Italy where she was buried in 1875.

Boston Globe Obituary

Picture from Pamela Weeks's Civil War Quilts
Many of the surviving Sanitary Commission quilts were made
in New England using their rather unusual "pot-holder"
method of binding each block before joining them.

Further Reading:
Jane Loring Gray (1821-1909)

See more about Cambridge women's work for soldiers' aid at this post about the Banks Brigade that met at the home of another of Cornelia's stepdaughters Jane Loring Gray.

Pamela Weeks & Don Beld, Civil War Quilts: Revised, Updated, and Expanded. 2020

Judith Ann Geisberg, Civil War Sisterhood: The U.S. Sanitary Commission and Women's Politics

Elaine Showalter, The Civil Wars of Julia Ward Howe

Massachusetts Historical Society: New England Women's Auxiliary Association Records
Plus many Loring Jackson family records.

New England Farmer, November 21, 1863