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Women -- North Carolina -- Biography. Confederate States of America. North Carolina Infantry Regiment, 4th. Company F. My Arrival at "White Oaks". Some of the Things That Happened. Our Removal to Clayton. The Year Eighteen Sixty-one. The Gallant Fourth N. Regiment, State Troops.
Letters from George and Walter. My First School Days. My Father's Death and Burial. How the Sheriff Swindled My Mother. Sherman's March to Raleigh, North Carolina. The "Bummers" and "Red Strings". The "Ku Klux Klan". The Beautiful Pink Frock. My First Great Sacrifice. The State Tournament.
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The Great Race. The Crowning of Nealie For Queen. The Coronation Ball. The Marriage of Ashley and Nealie. The Conquering Hero Comes. The Baptizing at Stallings Mill. The Meeting at the Well. Jesse Falls in Love at First Sight. I Am Not Far Behind.
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His Departure and My Grief. Hear Rumor of Engagement to Another Girl. I Am Very Unhappy.
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Our Engagement. One Evening's Entertainment. How My Mother Disposed of Us. Jesse's Enforced Absence. The day was cold and raw, with snow flurries now and then filling the air. It is not to be wondered at that my arrival was not more warmly welcomed, as it was the most unusual thing for snow to fall in that warm southern climate.
Being the youngest of eleven children, also made the advent of another girl baby a source of indifference to the inmates of "White Oaks," the name by which our place was known. The children were assembled for their noonday meal on this eventful day in the dining room where they were discussing the new baby and attempting the difficult task of finding a name, one that was not already in the family Bible or had not been in use in the family generations before. After many names had been rejected and scorned as unfit, Nealie cried out "Oh, let's name the baby Bettie!
Rilia was then deputized to visit the nurse, Aunt Pallas, and beg that this name be submitted to my mother, as pleasing all the children. She soon returned with the glad tidings that "Laura Bettie" would be enrolled in the old family Bible, which was well nigh filled, as "Laura Elizabeth," that being more suitable for me in later years, but she said "Lookee heah, chillun, you can call dat baby poah little ugly thing 'Bettie' or 'Laura,' but I'll do her laik I did 'Pussie' her pet name for Cornelia , I'm a' gwine to call her Betsy.
Aunt Pallas, whom you will meet throughout the pages of this book, was a typical African in color, though her head was larger than the average negro, with the kinky hair growing low on her forehead, her eyes were very small, but lighted up by intelligence.
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Her nose was large and flat, and most decidedly gave the appearance of a full-blooded native of Africa. Her mouth was large, with full lips even adding to her homeliness. Her shoulders were square, the body and hips with straight lines like a man's. Her limbs were muscular and her stature, though short, was as erect as a young Indian's.
She claimed that she made herself so by carrying pails of water on her head when she was a child. Johnnie Hinton bought my mammy from some niggah traders, dat told him mammy was a guinea niggah Page 11 and b'longed to de quality, an dats why she called me Pallas - dey shore did get my name out of the dicshummary. Her age, like every other one of her race, was a problem we never could guess, except from bits of history that she would tell us.
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She remembered when George Washington died, and many incidents of the Revolutionary war. Our large family lived on the farm called "White Oaks," near a small town called Clayton. The land my father planted in grain at that time, and as the soil was later found suitable for cotton he and the boys had hard times "making both ends meet. He was well advanced in years at this time. My father was a typical Southern gentleman, with a courtly dignified bearing, and was well educated for the times. He was a descendant from that illustrious Virginia family whose lives have been recorded on the pages of American history since the Colony of Virginia first had a Secretary of State, and before his marriage had taught school in the town near his present home.
It was there that he met and married the daughter of a wealthy planter and a large slave owner. Being an ardent abolitionist he refused the gift of a young negro man and his wife on his marriage to Candace Hinton.
This refusal, coupled with his outspoken convictions never to own slaves, made him a target for the slave owners in that section. It is true that "Aunt Pallas" was a maid for his first wife, and was so devoted to her Page 12 that she was no more a slave than the wife, and was permitted to do exactly as she pleased.
When the rumor spread abroad that Charles Lee was a rank abolitionist there were already war clouds that bid fair to darken the whole fair South-land; his father-in-law, Col. John Hinton, forbade him ever "darkening his doors.
My father soon began casting about to find some one who would be a mother to his babies. He had known my mother as an acquaintance a few years, and his wife always spoke so kindly of her and her great beauty - that may have helped him to turn his footsteps toward her home. My mother, also named Candace Hawkins Turley, was a woman remarkably beautiful, but whose family was obscure, excepting her grandfather, Thomas Turley, who was a Revolutionary soldier when the war for American Independence began; he enlisted on the patriot side, and served from the beginning of the Revolution to the siege of Yorktown, at which place he was made an invalid for life by the bursting of a British bomb shell near his head.
The story of his abduction when a baby, as handed down, made interesting family history; he was born in Ireland, and belonged to the Irish nobility. As was the custom in such families, the children were entrusted to white nurses, who became strongly attached to their charges.
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Thomas Turley's nurse having Page 13 decided to emigrate to America, could not endure the separation, and he was stolen by this woman and reared by her in America. This child never knew the secret of his life until divulged by his old nurse on her deathbed.
It was said that he did not know his own name, as this woman so much feared that her guilt might be known and the child restored to his seeking parents. It is not strange that my mother's family was obscure with such a bit of family history.