Written by Andrew Kaeiser's daughter, Mattie Moody
Dr. Kaeiser was my Grandmother's son-in-law and physician and was often at the house. He fell in love with my Mother and asked her to marry him. Mother often said that if Dr. Kaeiser had had any children she would not have consented. I don't know about that. They loved each other and were very happy. They were married July 18, 1848 and my brother William Minor Kaeiser was born the 16th of the following May, 1849. When my father and mother were married in the old Methodist Church at Trinity, Ala., they went to my father's home about a mile from Trinity taking Grandmother with them. She died the following winter, I think. I was born July 19, 1852.
When I was born my parents were still living about a mile from Trinity, Ala. where they lived until after Ria was born Jan 20, 1855. Then another sister, Elizabeth was born Nov. 30, 1857. She only lived to be four or five months old. She died of whooping cough. Just back of our house was a swamp, which was not drained or cared for and all the family had malaria or chills and fever every autumn. My Father had become interested in a place in Winston County, which had about fifty springs on it. Some of these springs were mineral, white sulfur, iron and one called Blue Spring because the water looked blue when put in a pitcher. The place was named Blue Springs after this spring. It must have had several different minerals in it and was good for the digestion and acted finely on the kidneys. The first summer we went out there, soon after my sister Elizabeth's death, Mother was confined to the bed from indigestion, but soon after drinking that water she recovered and had good health as long as she lived there. They were plenty of nice freestone springs near the house, plenty of soft water for washing, cooking, and so forth.
Just before the beginning of the "War Between the States" in 1859 I think, my Father sold his home in the valley, near Trinity. When the war commenced, he thought that the Winston home was an ideal place to live, and never dreamed that there would be any armies or fighting around there. It was a hilly country, abounding in caves.
In 1860, Lincoln was elected and then the war commenced. Lincoln was determined to free the slaves and they ought to have been freed - I always felt that the principle of slavery was wrong, although I was born and raised in Alabama. Perhaps the Negroes might have been freed without war, but hotheaded politicians on both sides made trouble. The Southern people were not in favor of secession - my Father objected to it - but of course when the state of Alabama seceded he went with his state.
My father owned about 20 Negroes, and had built a comfortable home for himself and good cabins, most of them log cabins, but with good chimneys, good roofs and floors and they were comfortable homes for the Negroes. Twice a year he went to Decatur with one or two Negroes and wagons to get supplies of tea, coffee, sugar, rice, flour and dry-goods for our clothes and those for the Negroes such as shoes and so forth.
My father had given up his practice of medicine before we moved to Winston, but there was no doctor nearer than 20 miles when we moved out there. Whenever any of the neighbors were sick they sent for him and many of them never paid for his services. He was obliged to keep supplies of medicine and drugs for his own use and of course he supplied them to whoever sent for him.
He built a little church and school house on his own place and whenever he could get a teacher he boarded and paid the teacher for the benefit of his own children and urged the neighbors to send their children. Whenever there was a preacher in the neighborhood we had services in the schoolhouse and our Negroes always attended and people from 10 to 20 miles around would come. Mother always had dinner prepared for the whole congregation. We usually had two sermons, one in the morning and one after dinner, between the two sermons Mother played the piano. That was the first piano many of these people had ever seen or heard; yet they took a fiendish pleasure in burning it in our house in Jasper in January or February 1865.
My Father was not gifted and had never prayed in public until he started a Sunday school for those people. He sent off and got Sunday school books and papers and tickets with Bible verses on them which he gave to each child. One for attendance and one for studying the lesson. When a child got 100 tickets, he was given a Bible with his name in it and 50 tickets would get him a hymnbook. After 30 tickets, I think they would get a book from the Sunday school library. He sent off and got all these books and paid for them himself. We also got a book of prayer. He would read the Bible and read a prayer. Some woman who came to Sunday school would "raise" a tune and the children would sing. This was kept up, I think, until early in 1864 when times became so bad that no preacher could come into the county.
Before the Northern army reached Decatur, General Houston and a Mr. Farster from Florence and several others came to our house and had a public meeting called a "muster". My Mother made a patriotic speech, and how the men did cheer! Of course, General Houston and Mr. Farster each made speeches. My Father never spoke in public but he told the men who were young enough and would join the army that he would take care of their families while they were gone. Quite a number joined the army, and all that went Pa would send a Negro man once a week to prepare firewood and to do anything that was necessary and would send food when they needed it. Most of them deserted in a few months and were at home again. Pa was over 60 when the war began, so could not go as a soldier and my brother was only a boy 12 years of age. Pa wanted to be in the battle of Corinth so he went there intending to go in as an independent. When he got there, the officers persuaded him to join the army. They said he could get a discharge any day that it was necessary. If he went in as an independent and taken prisoner, he would not be exchanged. Before the battle, he was taken ill with dysentery, was immediately discharged from the army and managed to get to friends in Trinity, Ala. He sent word to Mother to send the carryall for him. Mother sent 2 Negro men and the carriage as soon as she heard. While he was at the Trinity home of a Mr. John A. Liles, in bed hardly able to raise his head from the pillow, a Mr. Nels Fennel came running in saying; "The Yankees are coming! I fell in the branch and got my feet wet. Mrs. Liles gave me a pair of dry socks. Run doctor, the Yankees will get you." My Father could not sit up, but in a few minutes the carriage came for him. They had a mattress in the carriage and laid him on it and those Negroes and mules made good time into the country. When they got home they had to carry Pa into the house and put him to bed, but he soon recovered.
After the Northern army came to Decatur, the Winston men would go to Decatur about 50 miles from our place and get arms and uniforms and come back as soldiers. Then, they began to rob and plunder. They came to our house in daylight sometime in 1864 and carried off sacks of wheat, provisions of all kinds, clothing and bedclothes. After they left us, my Mother began to take all clothing and bedclothes that were not in actual use to an upstairs room. After she had collected a good many things she would take me with her into this room which had a trap door opening into the roof in a sort of attic. She would draw the curtains, lock the door and put a table under the trap door. With a chair on the table she would climb into the attic. I would give her the things and she would hide them behind the chimney, made of native stone. The chimney had a fireplace in two rooms downstairs and in two rooms upstairs. It was called a stack chimney. These Winston men had managed to get our guns when they robbed us in July and had taken all our horses and mules.
On the night of September 1, 1864, a large number of men came about 9 o'clock and began robbing us again. They had evidently heard in some way that my Mother had been putting away bed clothes and everything not in constant use up in the attic above the second story rooms. I never told any of this until after the house was burned. We always carefully lowered curtains and locked the door. My Mother had taken one of the mountain girls into the family to teach her to read, write and to live a decent life. Her father was living, but her mother was dead and the father had remarried and had a lot of children besides this girl and her 2 sisters. She proved to be a traitor to us and had evidently told of this trap door, as one of the 2 robbers went up into the room where I had fled, and I saw them punching the ceiling with guns. They did not hit the door, so they went back downstairs. Those Tories stayed all night until about dawn, robbing and plundering and abusing my father. We had raised a large crop of wheat that year and it was stored in an adjacent room near our dwelling house. They made our Negroes put it into sacks and they carried off wagonloads of it, besides all our bacon and lard and everything they could carry off. One Negro man had a hernia and Pa never allowed him to lift anything heavy or do very hard work. He was the foreman. They ordered him to lift sacks of wheat. He said, "Master never lets me lift any heavy things." They cursed him and pointed a gun at him and made him carry the wheat until he was nearly dead. They pointed a pistol at my sister Ria and held it cocked in front of her face. She looked steadily at the man and made no outcry. He slowly lowered the pistol and walked away. They took shoes, socks, coat and vest from my Father's person. After they were gone the Negro with the hernia sent for Pa to come and relieve him. We had to send for the Negroes' shoes for him to wear and Mother found some socks that had just come from the wash that the Tories had missed. The next morning Mother and I went up into the loft and got some shoes for him.
September 2 was a miserable day for us all. Pa had prayers as usual and after breakfast he took his Bible and some work he was doing, repairing cards to make cotton into rolls for spinning. All our clothes were made from cotton so carded and spun on an old fashioned wheel, and then woven in looms of which we had two. I was good at carding and spinning by the time I was 10 years old, and Pa had a nice light wheel made especially for me. I had to put most of the thread into the looms for weaving as I was more expert, and could do it much better than the Negroes. I loved to weave also, but Pa said I was not strong enough so he would not let me weave much. Returning to Sept 2. Late in the afternoon my Mother called my sister and me to walk to a graveyard out in front of the house, where baby sister who had died in infancy from whooping cough was buried. As we reached the front gate, I looked up and saw 2 men standing beside little sister's grave. I called Mother's attention to this so she went back and sat down in a chair near the front door. About that time my Father walked out into the front yard. The men at the grave had evidently been waiting to make sure he was about the house, and must have given a signal, for immediately six men came riding down the road to the front gate. Pa walked out to the gate to meet them. The man in front who had his gun raised and cocked, asked, "Who are you?" Pa answered. "Dr. Kaeiser." He took aim and shot him through the heart. The bullet went through his body and was buried deep in a plank of the house. Pa fell and Mother sprang to him and took his head in her lap. He opened his eyes once and that was the last. He could not speak. My sister and I, supposing they were coming to rob the house again, had run upstairs and began putting on extra clothing. As soon as we heard the shot we knew instinctively what had happened, so we ran downstairs, out the back door to the kitchen where the cook had started supper. She and 5 or 6 children joined us, and we all ran out the back gate. Ria and I climbed the fence and ran through the cowpen and crouched down in a corner of the fence with a pet dog who had joined us. It was easy to keep him quiet, for a Tory had once shot him through a front paw. So when he heard the shot and saw us running, he ran and was frightened also. The cook with her children went to the cowpen and met her husband who had been working in the blacksmith shop and was going to the house to see what had happened. He told her to wait until he called her. In a little while she called us and told us the men were gone and for us to come on back to the house.
The men who killed him met some of the Negroes coming home from the field and said to them, "We have killed your old Master. So dig a hole and put him in it." They did not intend that he should have a decent burial. Mother called on the Masons to bury him, and although most of them were friends and probably some relatives of the men who fired the shot, they did not dare refuse that call. My Father, a Mason was Royal Arch and even higher orders. He had several suits of regalia. These Tories had sent word to all the neighbors that any of them who went to Mother's assistance, should share the same fate. One old man, the father of the girl who was traitor to us, said he was an old man and did not have long to live anyway, so he was going to Mrs. Kaeiser, even if they killed him. His wife went with him. Mother and I went up into the loft to get burial clothes, linen sheets, etc. Mother with the help of this old man and his wife, and the Negroes prepared him for burial.
While they were at work two men walked in and looked into the room and then walked out. I am glad to say they did not kill the old man or injure them in any way. The man who fired the shot was Jim Curtis. There were 9 Curtis brothers and some Southern soldiers captured one of them, and started with him to the army in Virginia. He was killed on the way, and the 8 brothers who were all bad, wicked men, swore they would have a gallon of blood for every drop of his. Dr. Kaeiser was the first victim, but he was not the only one. I have heard that Jim Curtis died a horrible death down in Miss. several years after the war closed. A few years ago I visited in Winston County and ran into a nephew or great nephew of Jim Curtis'. I did not tell him that I knew anything about him or his family.
Winston County is a picturesque country and has more pretty wild flowers and flowering trees then any place I have ever seen. My Father was killed Friday evening, Sept 2, 1864. Saturday some of the Negroes made a wooden coffin and covered it with some black cloth Mother had. They covered the inside with cotton batting and a white linen sheet. Into this they put my Father's body and on Sunday afternoon, Sept 4 he was buried with Masonic honors on the hill beside my little sister. Mother had sent a message in a roundabout way to Jasper, in Walker County about 20 miles from our home. She could send no direct messenger because the Tories watched the roads. A Masonic brother of my Father's who lived 7 or 8 miles from us but in the opposite direction from Jasper, sent word to friends of his death and the news finally reached Jasper. There were southern soldiers stationed there and home guards. So about 60 armed men on horseback and with about a dozen wagons came to move us to Jasper. Late Tuesday, Sept 6 we saw men coming down the road. Brother and I were sitting at a window when I saw them. I said, "They are friends!" Brother said, "No, they have come for me this time." But when they came nearer he recognized some of his schoolmates from Jasper.
The commandant told Mother that they must begin packing immediately and would have to leave early next morning. They feared if there were time, the Tories would gather in force and overpower his men. They had taken some Tory families' prisoners as hostages. Still they did not feel safe. All night the Negro women were cooking preparing food for our friends and lunches for all the next day. In the night a picket fired a shot. I can remember how the men got their guns and formed a line in the living room. They told us to get into the closets. It proved a false alarm, as there was no enemy around. It served to hasten the work of packing so we could leave early in the morning. We had a carriage but the Tories had cut up and destroyed the harness and the curtains. A single buggy had a good harness, so a friend of ours put his horse to the buggy and took Mother and my sister Ria with him. A soldier put me up on his horse and he walked and led the horse. Another soldier gave his horse to Missouri Manes, who we afterwards found to be a traitor to us. Months afterwards she gave birth to a Negro child. They put Mother's saddle on the horse she rode, so she was comfortable. We traveled slowly so that it was nearly dark when we reached Jasper. The men and wagons went back the next day for another load of furniture, etc. They kept the hostages and posted a notice on the front door to that effect and said that if anything in the house were damaged, the hostages would suffer. They returned and found everything all right so they released the hostages at their homes as they returned to Jasper. Our Negroes were so afraid of the Tories that they came to Jasper with us. Mother tried to persuade them to stay in their comfortable homes where they could have plenty to eat, but they would not stay. Afterwards they were obliged to return to their homes and they stayed there and made a living for themselves until the end of the war.
Mother rented a house in Jasper and we children went to school at the "Academy", a good school taught by a Northern man, a Canadian, I think, and his wife. We lived there until January 1865. About the 12th of January, I think, the Tories met in force at our house in Winston County. They burned our house but none of the Negroes houses. I think they never troubled our Negroes much, after they went back. About the 15th of January they came to Jasper. Having spies in the town they knew just when to come in while the soldiers were feeding their horses. Our solders had no discipline, no pickets out or guards of any kind. While they were feeding, the Tories got between the soldiers and their guns, so our men were obliged to run into the woods. Jasper was just a village then and the "woods" were not far from the heart of town. The Tories opened the jail, released the prisoners, burned the jail and courthouse, burned our house and left town. When they ordered us out of our house, Mother was without a wrap of any sort, although it was a cold January night and only a sunbonnet on her head. My sister and I put on some Merino capes that we had as wraps.
We went out the back gate and there were these men dressed in the northern uniforms; armed and on horseback. Mother asked if we might go to a neighbor, and one man spoke "Go where you can", then he said, "Mrs. Kaeiser you are the supreme judge of Alabama. Every prisoner that is taken is brought to you to be judged". Mother said, "You are very much mistaken about that. I have never been asked about but one man and I did not even know him." "You will never make me believe that." replied the man. Mother wanted to stay and argue with him but I was pulling her arm and begging her to go on to the neighbor's house.
We stayed with a Methodist minister's family. They were good friends to us and kindly took us in and made us welcome. The Tories left the town as soon as our house was burned. The next day, however, a few of them not in uniform rode into town and told several people, "That any house that sheltered my Mother and her children would be burned." This family we were with said they were not afraid for Mother to stay as long as she wanted. She did not want to stay. A mule that had been stolen from us by the Tories, escaped and wandered into Jasper, and was recognized by one of our Negroes and brought to Mother. She hired another mule, a wagon and driver, a Negro man and in two or three days we started for Tuscaloosa, about 60 miles from Jasper. A man living near Jasper had borrowed $1200 in gold from my Father. Mother asked him to pay it in confederate money, for she had to have money to travel. Friends had given us clothing, that I am sure they could hardly spare, so we had a change of clothing. When my brother went to school in Jasper he had boarded at the house where we were staying and had left a little horsehair trunk there. We put the clothing given us into the trunk and put it in the wagon and started for Tuscaloosa.
Mother kept several Negroes with us in Jasper. One girl about 17 or 18 years old was named Sarah, who had nursed Ria. She left her own mother to go with us on this trip. I do not remember very much about the trip to Tuscaloosa. Mrs. Musgrove had given Mother a warm woolen coat. We sat on straw in a covered wagon and stayed at night in houses on the road, wherever they would take us in, and feed us and give us beds to sleep on. Sarah saved her bedclothes before the house was burned. It consisted of a large black bear skin, two pillows, and a number of quilts and blankets. We did not try to save anything we were so frightened. They had robbed Mother of every shawl and wrap she had. Afterwards, she said if she had only thought of it, she could have taken a blanket from a bed and put it around her. I have so often wished that I had taken a pretty dark blue spread, which was tufted, and I was very fond of, and I think we had more than one. We could have saved that much. At such times one never thinks of saving anything but life.
When we arrived in Tuscaloosa we went to the home of a family of friends named Gregg who seemed glad to take us in. Mother had several friends in Tuscaloosa and two wealthy families of cousins named Battle. One was Alfred Battle. I forgot the others name. Maybe it was William. I know their residences were shown us. Mother did not go to see them or let them know where we were staying. She visited Dr. Cochran's family, because Mrs. Cockran and her mother, Mrs. Coleman were good friends of ours. Mrs. Cochran had been in bed for years, from an injury to her back. She had several children. More than one was born after she was bedridden. We were in Tuscaloosa three weeks waiting for the boat to take us down to Selma. The fall and winter had been so dry that there was not enough water in the river for the boats to run. Mother sold the mule for $700 confederate money. Finally Mother hired a two-horse wagon with a Negro driver to take us to the railroad in Marion, Ala.
The rains must have begun about the time we started for it seems it rained the whole week that it took us to get to Marion and the roads were so muddy. The wagon had a canvas cover and we sat on straw. One horse would balk and would not move a step until everyone of us got out. Once I told Mother not to get out for her weight would make little difference. She sat still and the driver, a big heavy man, got in to drive. The horse refused to move until Mother got out. Sarah said. "That horse can count and I knows it!" We had to walk up every hill and it seems to me they were the longest hills, and mud would almost pull the shoes off our feet. Once my sister, Ria and I sat down on the roadside and said we were too tired to take another step. Mother just looked at us and plodded on. I thought Mother did not care what became of us. Now I know she thought we would come on after we rested a little. Sarah was distressed, begged us to come on. She offered to give us each a hand and pull us along. But we refused to try. Finally when they were all nearly out of sight, Sarah called to us, "Never mind you all set there and de Yankees will come along directly and get you." When Yankees were mentioned we forgot we were tired and both of us jumped up and ran until we got to Sarah.
One day, I remember we had toiled all day and it seemed most of the way was uphill. Late in the afternoon we came to a river that was miles out of its banks and it would be impossible to cross it. The driver said we would have to go back 5 miles and take another road, which would take us to a ford that was never impassable. He said there was a nice house near the ford where we could stay all night. We started back and I think I was crying for I did not see how we could go over that 5 miles again. It was nearly all uphill. We went back rapidly, as I did not realize that going back would be downhill, and there would be very little getting out and climbing hills. When we got to the "nice house" Mother asked if they could shelter some poor refugees from North Alabama, whose husband and father had been killed at his own gate and their house and everything they owned burned by the Tories. Before she got through, these people said, "Yes, come into the fire." It seems to me that I remember 2 or 3 ladies, one seated Mother and took her bonnet and cloak and another went and to add something to the supper. We were nearly starved and that was the best supper. They had fried chicken and ham, beaten biscuits and battercakes, preserves, honey and I don't know all they did have. They showed us to a great big room with two beds in it and a fireplace with a bright wood fire burning it. Mother said. "Children, you must have a good bath before you get into these nice beds." So Sarah got a big teakettle, some buckets of water and a big tin tub, so we had a nice warm bath and clean nightclothes, got into the nice bed and were soon asleep. Mother was late coming to bed, because the people wanted to hear her story.
I think that was Friday night and Saturday about dark we got to a hotel in Marion, where we stayed until Monday morning when we took the train for Selma. From there we took a riverboat to Montgomery. Sunday morning sometime after breakfast, Ria and I each had a chill and before noon we were both in bed with high fever. We did not eat anything all day Sunday. Monday morning we got ready to take the train for Selma, just as we came down into the hall the driver called, "All aboard the coach for the train for Selma". Mother told us to go out and get into the coach while she went to the desk to pay the bill. The driver continued to call, "All aboard" I said "Wait for my Mother, don't leave my Mother." Finally Mother got on and we went to the train for Selma. None of us had any breakfast and there were soldiers on the train. Whenever the train stopped at a station, brother would get out and try and get something for us to eat, but the soldiers would push him aside and grab everything in sight. We did not get a bite to eat all day. Late in the afternoon we reached Selma and went aboard the boat for Montgomery. We thought, of course, we would have supper aboard the boat. We did not get a good supper until 8:00 p.m. That was Monday night and Ria and I had not eaten anything since breakfast Sunday. While we were waiting someone started a rumor that we were not going to have any supper on the boat. When Ria heard that she began to cry. A lady sitting nearby, who was giving her children some lunch, asked Mother why her little girl cried. Mother told her it was because she was so hungry. The lady gave Ria a biscuit and I thought of course, Ria would share her biscuit with me. She would not give me a bite and the lady did not give me any because she thought I was too big to cry. I was 12 years old. It is strange that I remember all this so long afterwards. I also remember that Sarah, "got in with the cook on board" so we were eating most of the next day.
I also remember that in the hotel at Marion, there was a young lady, Miss Fannie Watkins, I think. She had a niece with her, a girl about Ria's age. Miss Fannie and her niece were nicely dressed and Miss Fannie tried to keep her niece away from us because we were disreputable looking. Mother tried to talk to Miss Fannie and I had noticed that she tried to avoid Mother. I can't remember the little girl's name, but she was friendly and would play with us whenever she could. It seems to me that it was 2 nights and a day going from Selma to Montgomery. I know it was morning when we reached Montgomery.
Mother had a bachelor brother, William Grant living in Montgomery. We went to where he and a bachelor friend kept house. The housekeeper, a mulatto woman met us, asking us in and said, "she would send for Mr. Grant". Uncle William soon came. We stayed there a day or two and Uncle William paid $200 confederate money for some ordinary calico to make Mother a dress.
One morning we went to the train for Columbus, Ga. From there we went by train to Seale, Ala. Uncle McDonough lived on a plantation 7 miles from Seale. When we got on the train in Montgomery, Mother saw Miss Fannie Watkins and her niece and greeted her as an old friend. Miss Fannie was very cool until Uncle William came forward and introduced his sister. He knew Miss Watkins. She was very cordial then and made room for Mother to sit with her, and Ria sat with the niece. I went off and sat with Sarah. I thought anyone who had talked to my Mother as much as Miss Fannie ought to have recognized her as a lady though, she was shabbily dressed. Mother said I was too sensitive.
In Columbus, Ga. we stayed with Mrs. Salisbury, a rich woman who lived in a large, elegant home. She was sweet and nice to us as could be and after Mother told her story she understood why we were so shabbily dressed. We did not stay there long. We went 20 miles by train to Seale, Ala. where Uncle Donough met us. As we got off the train I noticed a tall, slender man with a long white beard, standing by the steps. After we were all off, he asked the conductor if there were any refugees on the train. Mother said, "Refugees! I'm one!" Then Uncle Donough looked at her and said "My God! Can this be my sister?" It had been 20 years since they had seen each other. Then he said, "Let us go over to the hotel, Betty is there." She was his oldest child and her sister Sallie was a little baby when mother visited them before she was married. Uncle had a carriage in which we drove the 7 miles to his plantation. Sarah went in the wagon with the baggage.
We lived with Uncle Donough and his family for 7 or 8 months. Aunt Mary, his wife was sweet and good to us. They had two grown daughters and five sons. William and James were in the army. Donny, the youngest died of typhoid fever before we went there. William and James were the oldest sons. I think Cousin Jimmy was not 16 when he joined the army. Cousin Will was in the artillery. Think he was hardly 18 when he joined. Cousin Betty taught school in a nice room adjoining the kitchen, where the boys slept. She taught two younger brothers, Coffield and Whitaker, called Coff and Whit and a little cousin, Mary Fort, and one or two neighbor children. We went to the school and Mother often taught for Cousin Betty if she wanted to visit friends. Mother's sister Elizabeth, married Elias Fort and they lived about 2 miles from Uncle Donough. My aunt had died several years before we went there, leaving 7 children, one a little baby who was raised by a Negro mammy and fared well, until Uncle Elias married Fannie Pitts, who didn't treat LuLu well at all. She had a baby of her own while we were there. Aunt Mary took the next to the youngest of Cousin Betty's children, who was named Mary, for her and raised her as her own child.
While we were at Uncle Donough's, Wilson's raid came through that country, and they had a fight with our soldiers at Columbus. The Northern troops were victorious and our soldiers were scattered all over the country. Cousin Will and Jimmy Grant came home and were asleep in the schoolroom, when a Negro awakened them. They jumped out the window and ran down into the field and hid in a gully. The Yankees didn't get them. Uncle had been sending all the horses and mules down into the plantation at night and the older boys with Brother and Cousin Coff, had been sleeping in the gin house. That day we heard that the northern soldiers were gone and there was no danger, so they brought the stock home and the boys all slept in beds. The Yankees got all the horses and mules, took all the bacon and corn they could carry off. Only 2 or 3 of them came into the house and the only thing they took was a case of pencils from Cousin Betty's bureau drawer. We thought they would burn the house, so I put on all the clothes I could possibly get on and had one dozen hanks of thread I had spun, strung on a string and tied around my waist. I had on a sunbonnet and my father's hat stuck on top of that. I had a bag of some sort on my arm and a basket on the other. Cousin Sallie pushed me into a corner and stood in front of me while the men were in the room. She did not want them to see me if she could prevent it. I put one dress on over another and of course the last one couldn't be fastened.
The surrender was in April 1865. We came to Uncle Donough in Feb., 1865. In Sept. or early Oct 1865 Uncle James Grant came from Davenport, Iowa, and tried to persuade Mother to go home with him. She was too ardent a Southerner to go north. Cousin Sallie Grant went home with him and stayed a year. He wanted Priscilla, Aunt Betty's oldest child to go with him and she wanted to go but Uncle Elias could not be persuaded to let her go. Cousin Priscilla was about 18.Next was her only brother Mathew, I think was his name. He was called Matt. Margaret was about my age and Bettie Ann, a pretty child. I can only think of 6. I thought Aunt Betty left 7 children. A few years after the war Uncle Elias went to Texas taking all his children, even Mary who Aunt Mary Grant thought belonged to her. All the girls married after they went to Texas, except Margaret and LuLu. They died of fever. Mary had died the last I heard from them and Betty Ann took care of her children, although she had plenty of her own.
Mother and us children and Sarah went with Uncle James and Cousin Sallie as far as Stevenson Ala. They went North through Nashville from Stevenson; and we went to Decatur, where we were among old friends. Mother owned 100 acres of land adjoining our old home near Trinity. This land had a schoolhouse on it, which with 2 additional rooms made a dwelling for us. We lived a year with a Mrs. Gordon at Curtis Wells, about 2 miles from Trinity. It was there Mother's hand was crushed while feeding sorghum cane into the mill to get juice to make syrup. Brother had been sick so Mother took his place at the mill. Brother was just able to be up and was in the yard and turned the mill backward to release her hand. Ria and I were driving the horse that pulled the mill. We stopped when she screamed.
After we were living in the schoolhouse on our land, Uncle James Grant wrote to all his brothers and sisters in the South, that if they would send him their children he would educate and take care of them. I was the first one to go and Cousin Whit Grant a year older than I was the next one. Uncle Grant had adopted one of his wife's nieces when she was 5 years old. I was 15 when I went north and Bessie Leonard was 14. One of her brothers, Henry Leonard was at my Uncle's when I went there. There were 19 of his own and his wife's nieces and nephews that my Uncle helped in some way and all of us were together in Davenport. I thought when I went to Davenport that I would have to go in classes with smaller children because I had been to school so little. I was surprised to find that I could go in all of Bessie's classes and with other girls about my age. My Mother had taught me a great deal and I had always read everything I could find. I had read a number of Scott and Dickens before I went to Iowa and I always loved to read.
Mother's health failed before I had been in Iowa 2 years. I went home and was with her the last 6 months of her life for which I have always been thankful. Although she had cancer of the uterus and could never be well, she was happier and more cheerful than I had ever known her since my Father's death. All her friends, young and old, loved to come and see her. I have heard her preach beautiful sermons. Just telling what was worthwhile in life, and how life seemed to her when she was young and how it was then. One of the doctors who helped diagnose her was not a Christian. He said he believed in the Christian religion after being with Mrs. Kaeiser and if he ever became a Christian, it would be through her influence. I don't know if he was converted. He is dead now. Mother died in Aug. 1870. Ria and I went to Davenport in September and brother came later, and we all lived in Uncle's family.
This "History of Mattie Kaeiser Moody's Ancestors and Life" was dictated to her niece, Louise Andrew Shook by Aunt Matt. It was taken down during one of her last visits. They had not finished it when her visit ended and she had to return to Florence, Alabama, where she lived. It is not sure what year this was written, probably in the early 1940's.
Aunt Matt had been a semi-invalid most of her life, but her mind and memory was very good. She lived to be 94. She died May 2, 1946.