Monday, January 31st, 1853

Arose about an hour today.[1] Eat breakfast by candlelight. – – Pa commenced delivering his corn to Dr. P. P. Duval, worked the carriage horses to the wagon, with the view of taming them a little.[2] They drew finely. – – Brother came down to see James, found him much better. – – Ma set up an hour or two, she is improving right fast. Pa is anxious for her to send for old Dr. Duval or Gregg, one which she says she will do if she has a relapse. – – Bil stayed from school on account of the corn. – – I wrote three letters, Tavie, Willie, Molley Turner: T.W.M.[3]

  1. [1]Rose may mean she arose about an hour before sunrise.
  2. [2]Dr. Philip Pendleton Duval appears in a footnote on 11, January. We will be reading more of “Dr. Phil.”
  3. [3]Molley, hereafter Mollie, is Mary E. Turner, about 15, daughter of William M. Turner, currently Sheriff of King William County. They live at The Grove, near Piping Tree, a well-known King William landmark on the Pamunkey River. We will be reading more of the Turners.

Sunday, January 30th, 1853

Arose as usual, a glorious day. Sister & Lilie took a long walk after breakfast. Uncle Edmund came by on his way to church.[1] Lilie and I retired to our room about ten to arrange ourselves for church, but were disappointed in going. – – “Mr. Brown,” one of the carriage horses, kicked James down, injured him not a great deal. We were determined not to be out done, so we walked around to “Holly Fork.” – – Aunt Rose came by and spent about an hour with Ma. She is rather better today, brother went down to Jerusalem. They came by and sat a little while, or at least Pa sent for brother to come down and see James. As soon as he returned from church, he was sent for down to Mr. Martin Slaughter’s to see Corbin.[2] One of the arteries in his wrist was burnt and had commenced bleeding. He got there in time to stop it. It was about ten miles from here. He didn’t get back home until after sundown. He pretty soon got something to eat and he & Mag left in a hurry for “Oak Dale,” accompanied by Sister and Lilie. – – Sent for Dr. L. again to Ma, not at home.

  1. [1]Uncle Edmund is Edmund Littlepage, Pa’s other brother. He lives at Rural Retreat, often just Retreat, adjacent to his brother Hardin at Aspen Grove.
  2. [2]The 1850 US Census Slave Census lists Martin Slaughter owning 13 male slaves and 10 female. He lived “down the county” towards West Point. Corbin is the name of a slave that will reappear in the Littlepage journals.

Saturday, January 29th, 1853

Arose as usual. – – Brother came by about ten o’clk from poor Mr. Trimmer’s & informed us of his death.[1] We were all very much shocked to hear it. He told us when he left there the day before that he was so much better it would not be necessary for him to go see him any more, but after Brother left, he was very imprudent. Went walking about in the yard in his shirt sleeves and was soon taken with a relapse. He died about eight o’clk this morning. He was a gentleman, very highly respected & beloved by every one that knew him. His death was deeply regretted by his friends. – – Pa went up to “Oak Dale” for Lilie and Bake, they returned just before night.

  1. [1]The 1853 Death Register for KW records Gid(eon) Trimyer dying of pleurisy. That record shows his age as 33. Other evidence suggests he was a carpenter, a trade that runs in his family. Oddly, while appearing in the 1840 census, he seems not to be found in the 1850 census, at least as far as is concerned. UPDATE: Gideon has been located in the 1850 census. See the comments below.

Friday, January 28th, 1853

Arose before day. Pa and myself eat breakfast by candlelight. He was anxious to get down to Woodbury soon enough to finish sowing his clover seed, which he did and returned home to supper. – – I slept down in the chamber on the lounge last night. Ma & the baby both quite sick. Don’t think I slept more than an hour & half all night. Brother came down to see Ma twice during the day. Sent for Dr. Lewis, not at home, sent for Tebbs, not at home.

Thursday, January 27th, 1853

A little colder than it was yesterday. I never felt such weather in my life. – – Mag got up quite early & went down and had a mighty nice breakfast for us. Ma sent Hardin & Bake for me just before dinner. – – Mr. Butt and Ginnie spent the evening with us.[1] I brought all of Mag’s keys home with me through a mistake. – – Ma not so well.

  1. [1]Virginia (Ginnie) Hill we recently met. However Mr. Butt presents an interesting problem. The 1850 US Census entry for the household headed by Harriet Hill, Ginnie’s mother, shows a Lavinia Hill, 24, living there. In that same census a Thomas B. Butt, 43, is shown in Norfolk living with his wife, Lavinia. She is 33. Skip ahead past this 1853 journal to 1860 and Lavinia Butt, 33, appears living in the same Hill household. No Mr. Butt. In another decade Levenia, now 40, and husband Thomas B. Butt, 62, are recorded as living in West Point along with Harriett Brumley, a.k.a. Hal, who had also been living with Harriet Hill. The problem is that, despite census evidence, Lavinia/Levinia Hill/Butt does not appear in any Hill family genealogies I have located. Further, in the 1880 census Thomas B. Butt, 73, appears boarding back in Norfolk. He is a barkeeper, and there is no Levinia. I have yet to locate any further record of Levinia past that 1870 census and have no explanation as why a daughter of Robert and Harriet Hill has gone missing. And just why is Virginia (Ginnie) Hill visiting Oak Dale with her sister’s husband? Meanwhile, Rose will write of these Hills and Butts again.

Wednesday, January 26th, 1853

Arose very early. Brother and Mag left for Oak Dale this morning. Lilie & I accompanied them. Pa went up also to help them fix. They took their first meal there tonight. We fasted from breakfast to supper. I think they have a very good cook and in fact I like all of his servants very much, especially for hired servants. – – I had never fancied to myself before today what it was to leave the home of our childhood forever. Oh! what sweetness there is in the very sound of home, home, the home of our childhood and of our youth. Should I ever be separated from it how often will the pleasures of it steal over my heart. I felt so sad all day. I could not refrain from giving vent to my tears several times during the day. – – I love Mag dearly, and hope she and brother will get along well. I think she will be very economical in housekeeping, which I like to see. Lilie & I slept up in the garret. It reminded me of old times about eleven years ago. – – It has been one of the coldest days ever spent. – – Ma still confined to her bed.

Tuesday, January 25th, 1853

Arose as usual. Nothing particular occurs, brother had several patients. – – He, Mag & I went to Oak Dale this evening for the first time. Mag was very much pleased. Found every thing in very nice order about the house and yard. We unpacked the crockery and most of the furniture. He broke the looking glass to his bureau, but walked over to the Ct. House, and found Cousin Ammon, who was going to Richmond in a few days.[1] He promised to take it over for him and have it fixed. – – We returned home about dark, found Mr. F. Dickinson, Mr. Pollard, Uncle Hardin & Mr. Powell here.[2] They stayed until eleven o’clk, and made them a large pitcher of apple toddy. They declared it to be the best they ever drank. – – Ma was sick and as I am housekeeper, I had to preside at the head of the table. Really, I received such a compliment that night, and as it came from two old married gentlemen, I will write it in my journal. They declared that I presided with more dignity & grace than any young lady they ever saw. I hope if any one should accidentally ever read this, they will not be “goose” enough to think I swallowed all that. Now for the (“Spoon“) (“Spoon“) (“Spoon“). That will never be forgotten.

  1. [1]Ammon Johnson (1819-1869) is the son of Capt. Ammon Johnson and the late Ann Burnley Littlepage. Ann was Pa’s sister.
  2. [2]Mr. James O. Pollard and Uncle Hardin we have met. Elijah L. Powell owns 256 acres “adj. C. H.” according to the 1863 KW Land Tax Book. The 1865 Gilmer map shows an E. Powell living east of Zion Church, about a mile from the Courthouse. Pa recently purchased Woodbury from George Norman Powell, Elijah’s father. Mr F. Dickerson remains a mystery.

Monday, January 24th, 1853

Arose uncommonly early & had breakfast before sunrise. Pa had to go to Walkerton to see about Brother’s furniture & he had to go some distance to see a patient before court.[1] Brother returned about three in the evening, had an old hare fried for his dinner. Pa took supper at Uncle Hardin’s, returned home about eleven o’clk.[2] He hired a servant from Mrs. Motley.[3]  – – Ma still confined to her bed.

  1. [1]Walkerton, 2.6 miles almost due north from the Courthouse in King & Queen County on the banks of the Mattiponi River, was a regular stop for the commercial steamers plying the headwaters of the York River. Brother’s furniture likely arrived via water, likely from Baltimore, Norfolk or even Richmond. – – The ‘he’ seems to refer to Brother, Dr. Ju, rather than his father.
  2. [2]Hardin Littlepage of nearby Aspen Grove is Pa’s brother.
  3. [3]Edulia Motley of Sandy Point on the Mattiponi appears on the 1852 King William Personal Property Tax Rolls as owning nine tithable slaves, i.e. 16 years or older. That same year the Lewis Littlepages are listed with twelve. Slaves were “hired out” by their owners usually on one-year contracts starting the first of each year. While the Motley surname is found in quantity in both King and Queen and Caroline Counties, it is not common in King William. She is in fact Edulia [Gregory] Motley (1813-1881), the youngest child of William Gregory and his wife Anne Southerland of Elsing Green. Her first husband was James Mill, her second John Motley. John died in May, 1851. She would soon become Edulia King, wife of Col. Robert King, brother of James (Hill) King, who we have met. Because of the unfortunate circumstance surrounding the first marriage of her older sister Evelina, Edulia no doubt was an astute businesswoman careful to secure her possessions throughout multiple marriages. For more information about the trials of Evelina [Gregory] Roane see Thomas E. Buckley’s The Great Catastrophe of My Life, 2002, pages 100, 143-44, 147,171,173, and 264-66.

Sunday, January 23rd, 1853

Arose very early as usual. It was my Sunday to go to Church, but Ma wanted me to stay with her, so I consented to do so and let Sister go as she was very anxious. Mr. Slaughter & Cousin Fes returned with them and stayed ‘till ten o’clk.[1] I didn’t favor sitting at the head of the table much, so I had a traveling supper for them. We played & sang a good many hymns. We teased Cousin Fes a good deal about Miss Fanny and I don’t think he liked it much.[2] We had some mighty nice pies & jelly & custard for dinner, & also some handed around in the evening with some ground peas &c. We amused ourselves very much playing “nuts in my hands.[3] – – Ma and the dear little baby still sick.

  1. [1]With the large number of Mr. Slaughters in the neighborhood, we have no way of knowing just who this is. Cousin Fes is easier. He is Robert (Festus) King, about 20, son of James Hill King and Rose [Ellett] King who have already appeared.
  2. [2]Fanny was a relatively common nickname for Frances. Unfortunately, she only appears once in Rose’s Journal.
  3. [3]Because ground peas are called peanuts today, playing “nuts in my hands” seems appropriate. I am guessing the game involves guessing which hand is holding the nuts. Other ideas?

Saturday, January 22nd, 1853

Arose very early this morning, nothing particular occurs during the day. – – I made some nice green apple pies this evening to eat with some jelly & custard Ma made while we were gone. – – The girls returned from Uncle Hill’s this evening.- –  Ma still confined to her bed. I don’t believe she has been out of it for three weeks. – – The ever memorable discussion about “who made the best jelly,” Ma or cousin Maria, took place today.[1]

  1. [1]“Cousin Maria” Shook aside, this Cousin Maria may be Maria [Ellett] Gregory (1788-1860), wife of the late Roger Gregory (1795-1850) of Elsing Green. Maria Ellett is a cousin of Caroline [Ellett] Littlepage.