Saturday, April 4, 2009
Here's a goose on the creek at sunrise a few weeks ago. This picture is one of those I'd never consider posting here because I find too much fault with it, except I have nothing better until I can load up all the pictures I took today after the sun finally came out after 5,327 days of rain. (If you feel that last sentence contained too many words, you'd be correct except what you don't know is I really wanted it to contain more words so this is actually an improvement.)
The book Virginia Folk Legends, edited by Thomas E. Barden, contains a couple of tales about Mathews, neither of which I've ever heard, but one of which I'd like to share. Of course I'd never heard of lacrosse and had never tasted salad dressing until I left Mathews to go to college, so chances are good that the stories existed but I never knew about them due to the fact that I lived under a rock.
Here's one of the stories.
A Confederate Spy
M. Smith, interviewed by H.G. Miller in an unknown location in Mathews County, no date given
"In an old home situated on the Bay, I heard an interesting tale of Civil War days. During the war a Confederate spy by the name of Bell came to the home of Mr. W. Hudgins near Fitchett's Wharf and asked for refuge. While he was there some Yankee soldiers prowling through that section of the county came upon a Confederate cap in the vicinity of the Hudgins' home. They immediately started to the house to search, but in the meantime Bell had gone out into a dense woods nearby to hide.
The mistress of the house saw the soldiers coming and ran up to Bell's room to see if any of his belongings had been left there. Nothing seemed to be in the room which would reveal his presence in the house except some letters, which she grabbed quickly and just had time to slip them inside of the dress of a doll which her little girl was holding.
As soon as the soldiers reached the porch, one of them picked the little girl up in his arms to talk to her. But she remembered her mother's warning and held her doll baby close to her side. So the letters were not discovered.
Mr. Hudgins took Bell in a sail boat at night to Gwynn's Island, where he hid in the woods. At times the Yankees were so near that they could hear them breathing. Later Mr. Hudgins took Bell to the Eastern Shore where he remained for a while. His mother was living in New York and he was very anxious to see her. It was during a visit to her that he was finally captured.
[John Wilkes] Booth, who was an old friend and school-mate of Bell's, sent word to Lincoln that if Bell were hung, he [Lincoln] would die. Bell was hung, but before he died he wrote a beautiful letter to the man in Virginia who had befriended him. In this letter Bell wrote about the beauty of the morning of the day before he died, and of how much he wanted to live. He also expressed beautifully his appreciation of the great kindness of Mr. Hudgins and his family. This letter was destroyed by mistake, greatly to the distress of the present members of the family, who would have liked to have preserved it.
Many people believed that the hanging of Bell was one of the causes of the assassination of President Lincoln."
Chesapeake Bay Woman. Again.
To prevent me from being sued for copyright infringement, please be advised that I did not write any of the above story and I fail to recall how to properly attribute a quotation from a book, but I sure do know how to make a sentence run from here to Argentina and back.