Family History Items

Gettysburg….The South After The Civil War….and family

During my recent time away in New York and Pennsylvania, we made a trip to Gettysburg.  Gettysburg was pretty amazing and powerful.  I knew there were battlefields, though was surprised by the shear volume of monuments.  There must have been at least 500 large monuments scattered across the whole park. 45,000 people died in the battle.

When we went to my brother's house in Corning, NY, he showed me some family items from Alabama that just arrived from a distant relative. The box contained pictures, letters and certificates. In reviewing letters and looking at pictures, I was reminded what is was like to be a Southerner after the Civil War. Pictured below, is something my great grandmother needed to sign after the war to get a pardon. "Whereas Virginia Jones of Perry County, Alabama, by taking part in the late rebellion against the Government of United States, has made herself liable to heavy pains and penalties……This pardon to be of no effect until the said Virginia Jones shall take an oath prescribed in the Proclamation of the President dated May 19th, 1865. To be void and of no effect if the said Virginia Jones shall hereafter, at any time, acquire any property whatever in slaves, or make use of slave labor."  I think these words are very powerful and drive home what it was like after the Civil War.

"After Lincoln's death, President Johnson proceeded to reconstruct the former Confederate States while Congress was not in session in 1865. He pardoned all who would take an oath of allegiance, but required leaders and men of wealth to obtain special Presidential pardons."

From: http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/presidents/andrewjohnson

I also think the pictures below from the 1930's tell a story…the plantation house that is sort of rundown…..the African American boy playing with my relatives….though note the old slave cabins in the background. We all like to think that our ancestors had nothing to do with slavery…though most did to some degree. Boston business owners made fortunes importing slaves with their ships….and all the mills of the East were kept in business with Southern cotton.

(In case any of my Wight-side relatives are reading this…..this all has to do with my mother's side.)

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And a monument at Gettysburg for Pennsylvania

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