Saturday, January 15th, 1853

Decidedly, and without doubt, one of the most disagreeable days I ever spent in my life. Sister has been busy all day attending to the turkeys in the dining room. Children trying to see which of them could make the most noise. The dear little baby and Ma still sick. Mag and Lilie in the chamber sewing and reading together, Pa and brother from home, and poor me walking about from pillar to post trying to have the house cleaned up and put in little better order than it has been this week. – – Yesterday was the first pretty day we’ve had this week. It rains regularly four days in every week, if not more. – – Lilie and I took a nice walk around to Holly Fork this evening. I don’t think we would like to venture any further than that again directly, didn’t have the exquisite pleasure of seeing that very polite gentleman again.

Friday, January 14th, 1853

The morning spent as usual, doing little or nothing. – – After dinner Lilie and I fixed ourselves warmly and thought we would take a nice walk before sunset, which we did walk as far as we could without walking into the mud. After we had gone about a half a mile we turned to retrace our steps. We saw a buggy coming near to us. We did not know what to do, not preparing ourselves to meet anyone before we started, but we summoned up all the resolution we could, and were so happy when we had passed, but what should the very polite gentleman do but get down and shake hands with us. We soon discovered that he had taken a drink too much. We were really so very much frightened or at least I was, for I believe I was more so than Lilie, that I became so weak I could scarcely walk home. – – I am still acting in the capacity of housekeeper, Ma still confined to her bed and hasn’t been out this week. Oh! I shall be so happy when she regains her health. I had always so much rather be sick myself than see Ma suffer. I am determined she shan’t take charge of the key basket again until the spring, even if her health is entirely restored. – – What lovely weather we have now. I don’t think there will be many ice houses filled this winter. – – I received letter from Tavie this evening.

Tuesday, January 11th, 1853

Arose very early this morning as usual. – – Pa had two hogs killed. – – A meeting of the members was held at Jerusalem today (brother went down) concerning Dr. Duval and the Smyrna Church in relation to baptism.[1] – – Mag, brother, Lilie and Sister took a long walk this afternoon. Lilie received a letter from John. He and Willie Brown I believe have had a falling out so he said. – – Ma quite sick.

  1. [1]Dr. John Philip DuVal (1795-1863) lives in King and Queen County. Eventually a “Reform Baptist,” DuVal was a founder of Smyrna Christian Church, as well Jerusalem Christian Church in King William. A few years earlier he had taken a position on Baptism that varied from the elders at Smyrna. This controversy continued to fester and would cause “old” Dr. DuVal to sell his farm in King and Queen in 1853 and move to Petersburg. He would continue to travel and preach, preach and travel until his death a decade later. His son Dr. Philip Pendleton DuVal, Dr. Phil, is following in his professional and religious footsteps, frequently preaching at Jerusalem where he is a member, and appearing in the various Littlepage Journals.

Monday, January 10th, 1853

Arose very early this morning, wrote a letter to Willie Brown the first thing I did.[1] – – Brother went up to Mr. King’s for the things he purchased at the sale. Pa spent the day at Mr. Pollard’s, returned home twelve o’clk. – – The dear little baby has been very sick all the evening. I sat up with her ‘till Pa came, and then he sat up ‘till three. The rest of the family retired about nine. – – Lilie & Sister walked around to Holly Fork about sunset.[2] – – What glorious weather we have now, it certainly resembles May more than January. I never knew such a continuation of this weather. – – Oh, I entirely forgot to mention what good potaties pies Mag and I made for dinner, our first attempt at pies, or at least mine.

  1. [1]Miss Willianna (Willie) H. Brown of Richmond is the 16 year-old daughter of commission merchant John J. Brown.
  2. [2] Holly Fork is mentioned throughout the Littlepage journals. Writing in 1849, Rose’s mother Caroline mentions religious meetings at “Holly Fork School House.” Rose writes in her journal of walking from Mount Hope “over to,” “around to,” “down to” and just “to” Holly Fork. But the location of this local landmark has not been definitely established. However, that does not preclude a guess. – – Perhaps the best single clue in Rose’s journal is on 16 January when “Aunt Rose came by on her way down to Holly Fork and spent an hour or two with Ma.” As Aunt Rose lives at Spring Pleasant on today’s route 30 she would have to be going south on today’s Powhatan Trail to pass Mt. Hope “..on her way down to Holly Fork.” The 6 March entry suggests that Holly Fork was between Mt. Hope as, “Bil, Bake & myself went down to Jerusalem but Ma stopped at “Holly Fork” thinking it was so very late.” And a few months later, “We promised to walk to Holly Fork to meet Ginnie but were disappointed.” Ginnie is Virginia Hill who lived at Forkland, about a mile due south of Mt. Hope. – – These clues suggest Holly Fork was located not more than a mile south of Mt. Hope. A look at the 1865 Gilmer map shows three roads intersecting to make an almost perfect equilateral triangle, and three forks. That triangle is also shown on the 1920 USGS map of King William. One of those roads is now gone, the one that once led almost directly to Forkland from Mt. Hope. But the other two – Powhatan Trail and Green Level Road – have changed little.- – Unfortunately neither map contains names nor symbols that pinpoint Holly Fork. Perhaps one day additional information will make identification possible. Until then it is likely one of these forks near Mt. Hope was our Littlepage landmark.

Sunday, January 9th, 1853

Arose as usual this morning, all of us attended church except Sister. Heard a tolerable good discourse delivered by Mr. Short, his last one at Jerusalem. The members are opposed to his preaching there any longer.[1] – – No company during the day, retired quite early.

  1. [1]Elder Newton Short (1809-1888), about 44. A native of Kentucky and Indiana resident in his youth, he would later be minister of the Disciples of Christ at Slash Christian Church in Hanover County.

Saturday, January 8th, 1853

Another beautiful day. Nothing particular occurs today, only Ma has been quite sick in bed. – – Pa & brother attended a sale at Mr. King’s.[1] – – We girls have been lolling about from pillar to post reading, writing, and practicing a little. It has been so very much like a Spring day that we promised ourselves a nice long walk down to Jerusalem this afternoon.[2] Forgetting all about how miry it was, we didn’t even get around the circle before we had to turn back. – – Lilie has had the blues all the evening and I could truly sympathize with her. I verily do believe she is in love with Mr. Crockett or somebody else.[3] I don’t know who. She is a sweet girl and will make any man happy that marries her. There are few girls in this world of Lilie’s disposition, so contented in every situation. I only wish I was half as much so. Well I have been trying this whole evening to master my feelings, but don’t believe I succeeded altogether. At last, I know it is wrong for a person to give away to their feelings as much as I do, but I can’t help it to save my life. I walked alone in the garden just about sunset this evening and could not refrain from shedding a few tears when I thought:

“Alas – how light a cause may move
Dissensions between hearts that love”[4]

I was roused from my reverie by one of the servants coming to let me know it was time to give out supper. Had it not have been for that I don’t reckon I would have made my appearance in the house before dark. How delightful those little reveries are, just to steal away from the noise and bustle of the house for an hour and reflect upon some pleasant _______ perhaps our last interview with the object or idol of our heart. I am too fond of building “air castles.” How often are our brightest hopes forever blasted. – – All have retired save Lilie and myself. She is now reading in her, and it is getting late.[5] I must put up my writing and join her. – – I forgot to write that Brother was confined in his room all day yesterday and part of today with the crick in his neck. It is something better this evening. I know some of us have fattened several pounds laughing at him.

  1. [1]The well-established King family has too many “Mr. King’s” nearby to make a particular Mr. King likely to be having this sale. Maybe a clue will turn up.
  2. [2]Jerusalem Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is located about a mile south of Mount Hope on county highway 633. The Lewis Littlepages attended Jerusalem regularly.
  3. [3]Lilie’s father, Jacob Shook of Richmond and his business partner, Robert H. Crockett, about 30, are in the livestock business. Within his family Robert is remembered as “Cattle Bob.” He would indeed marry a daughter of Jacob Shook, but not Lilie.
  4. [4]Thomas Moore, Irish poet (1779-1852), from The Light of the Harem.
  5. [5]Occasionally in the journal Rose seems to just leave out a word. Here Lilie may be reading in her journal, or maybe something else.

Wednesday, January 5th, 1853

Arose very early this morning as usual & gave out breakfast. – – Pa walked up to the Ct. House after breakfast and returned about one o’clk and told us we must all get ready to go to the party, that it was to be a dancing party.[1] Well, we all got ready between four and five, and started down in the wagon. What a glorious ride we had going down. Our reason for going in the wagon was that the roads are almost impassable between here and there. The ground is still covered in snow, but not quite enough for us to go in the sleigh. We danced until two and then changed our apparel and started home about a quarter past. We were all highly diverted at Lilie. She made about a half dozen trials before she could succeed in getting in the wagon, so very much afraid some of the young gents would get sight of her nice little ankles. Mr. Edwards escorted her out.[2] Mr. Corr, Sister, and Mr. Nelson, myself.[3] We were accompanied in our ride down by the former and latter gentlemen, over taken by them on route. I believe the whole crowd of us were on the point of freezing when we arrived at home, which was about four o’clk. Notwithstanding the wagon was about two thirds full of straw and blankets together, each of us had on a large cloth cloak over our mantels, and then a great big Buffalo robe wrapped all around us. I believe all of them took a short nap coming home, but myself. We retired at five and arose again . . . .

Note: A page has been torn out here; we are missing January 6 and 7.

  1. [1]Dancing, especially among young people, was considered a highly suspicions activity among many devout Protestants, including the Littlepages and many of their neighbors. That certainly accounts for Rose’s underscoring. Rose’s mother Caroline will often express ambivalence towards dancing in her journals.
  2. [2]As Julian Temple Edwards had just turned 11, we can rule out my great grandfather as Lilie’s escort. Both of William Austin Edwards’ boys, James and John, were not much older. More likely are either of Warner Edwards’ sons, Thomas or Kleber. Thomas was 20 and his brother a bit over a year younger. But perhaps most likely is William D. Edwards, son of George Edwards and wife Mary Ann Edwards of Cherry Grove. (Yes, first cousins again.) William D. was born in 1831, which makes him 21, prime courting age. What might separate him from Thomas or Kleber are his coming multiple appearances at Mt. Hope that are recorded by Rose using his first name.
  3. [3]It is likely we met Mr. Corr last Sunday, or rather good reports of him. Our Mr. Nelson could be Benjamin Cary Nelson of King William, like the other possible members of the party, about 20. His late father Wilson Cary Nelson once owned nearby White Bank. The Nelson surname, once prominent at the upper portion of the County on the Pamunkey, was by this time beginning to migrate. This Mr. Nelson appears in the 1850 US census as 18, living in Richmond, and a clerk. Ten years later he is married and living in King William.

Tuesday, January 4th, 1853

When I awoke this morning I found the ground covered in snow. It is still snowing very fast now (1 o’clk PM), but I don’t think we will have much fun sleighing unless it comes a freeze. The roads are so very sloppy. – – Brother and Mag spent the morning in the sitting room playing backgammon, the rest of us in Ma’s room sewing. Pa returned home this evening from Woodbury. He finished gathering in his corn today. Was invited to spend the day at Mr. Pollard’s but didn’t go.[1] – – Lilie, Sister and myself have received invitations to a party at Mr. Ellett’s tomorrow night but haven’t decided yet whether or not we will honor them with our presence.[2] – – Really I do feel so very sad tonight.

“I sigh yet feel no pain
Weep yet scarce know why.”[3]

I was again disappointed in not receiving a letter this afternoon. I could scarcely conceal my feelings when Pa told me no letter came for me, but I know I ought not give way to my feelings so, perhaps it is the fault of the Post Master, for Tavie wrote to me yesterday week and I have never received the letter yet.[4]I must try and content myself with that belief or else be miserable, could I but recall the last few months how differently I should act. Oh, could we only see into futurity. I have often heard it said that sad experience was the best teacher after all. How true.

“O that there were one gentle eye,
To weep when I might grieve,
One bosom to receive the sighs,
Which sorrow oft will have!
One heart the ways of life to cheer,
Though rugged they might be.
No language can express how dear,
That heart would be to me.”[5]

Well enough of that for the present. “My sweet” has put up her writing and commenced reading. I must make haste and do the same. I don’t believe any thing has occurred today worth recording. Brother went to see one of his patients this evening. Mag received a nice long letter from dear Tavie, and one from John, also.[6] Sister did not commence her journal until tonight. I think she will get tired of it before she writes many more nights. – – The dear little baby has commenced improving right fast, and Nannie is the worst spoiled child candidly I ever saw. Dear little Piggie is about one of the best. She has been threatened with the croup several nights lately.

  1. [1]Mr. Pollard is likely James Otway Pollard, about 35, one of a succession of Pollards who were County Clerks in King William. Rose’s father and this Mr. Pollard spend much time in each other’s company, sometimes to the chagrin of his family.
  2. [2] As Rose’s grandparents were Elletts the use of “Mr.” seems a bit odd. Her uncle, William M. Ellett, Jr., lives nearby, as do more distant Ellett relatives. We will not know who is giving the party.
  3. [3]“To sigh, yet feel no pain; To weep, yet scarce know why; To sport an hour with Beauty’s chain, Then throw it idly by.” Thomas Moore (1779-1852) from the comic opera M.P. or The Blue Stocking, 1811. If Rose’s writing seems surprisingly good it shouldn’t. The Littlepages, probably Caroline, strongly believed in education for their children. Dr. Ju. attended Delaware College before the medical school of University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, the nation’s oldest, and at the time, most prestigious. Both Rose and “Sister” certainly attended a female seminary prior to the opening of this journal. As the years pass Caroline will strive to ensure an education for all of her children.
  4. [4]In three years Rose’s brother Ju will be appointed postmaster at King William Courthouse, replacing the late Thomas Cobb. Postmaster was a role frequently held by Littlepages. – – Tavie is Maria Octavia Shook of Richmond, Mag and Lilie’s sister.
  5. [5]“Oh! if there were one gentle eye To weep when I might grieve, One bosom to receive the sigh Which sorrow oft will heave; One heart the ways of life to cheer, Though rugged they might be, No language can express, how dear That heart would be to me!” Found in Act I of the English opera The Bohemian Girl by Michael William Balfe.
  6. [6]The John here is Mag’s older brother John Shook. John, about 25, was a friend of “Brother” long before Ju married his sister. He is a rising lawyer in Richmond, and like his father, a Whig.