Thursday, March 4, 2010

Smile For The Camera, "Give Their Face A Place", Sarah Anne Darden

This Smile For The Camera challenge is:  March is Women's History month and you are asked to picture women back into history. The unknown, known and unsung women who are often the foundation of our family history. Give their face a place.  Thank you to footnoteMaven at Shades of The Departed for hosting this carnival.

My choice to give a place to is my GG Grandmother, Sarah Anne Darden Eley Pierce.  Better call her Sallie tho, as I don't think I have ever found her in any document recorded as Sarah.  Sallie was born March 5, 1847 in Isle of Wight County Virginia, her father was Charles Henry Darden, her mother, Nancy Seeds Darden.  Left is the ONLY picture of Sallie that I have ever seen.

Her father built this house, sometime around 1850.  If she was not born in this house, she surely spent many of her formative years here.

This photo was taken sometime in the 1990's. 

At the Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, Allen County, Indiana there is a great collection of early maps.  (This map was part of the collection of  maps in the Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress.)  In that collection I discovered a map of Isle of Wight County, Virginia drawn during the Civil War.  This map had residences indicated, marshes, rivers, areas of heavy forests or woods, plus any military objects of interest.  Charles Darden's home is shown, as "Darden", see it close to the bottom of the map, a little to the right of center.

Here is the home, current mapping courtesy of Google.

Sallie married Solomon B. Eley, on September 13, 1865, just months after the close of the Civil War.  Her husband was a veteran, had been a Captain in the 16th Virginia Infantry, and was at Appomattox Courthouse Virginia on April 9th, 1865 for the final surrender. 

Sallie and Solomon did not wait long to start their family, on July 4, 1866 their first born child, Lorena Estelle Eley was born.  Three more children came along in rapid succession, 2 sons and another daughter.  The two sons did not survive past infancy, one of the sons we do not even have a name for. 

In April of 1871 Solomon died from consumption, very likely, the after effects of his years on the battlefield.  His compiled service record shows he was hospitalized at least once, in Richmond.  He died in Sussex County, Virginia, where we find a Chancery case which included documents where Sallie had arranged to have Solomon's body as well of that of an infant child transported back to Isle of Wight County for burial.  (Burial spot unknown.)

Sallie was left to care for her two daughters.  Her father was in deep financial trouble, times were rough, how did she surive? 

About two years later on April 1, 1873 Sallie took as her second husband Francis Columbus Pierce.  To this union were born two daughters.  The first has been lost to this researcher, the second lived to adulthood, married and had her own family.

By 1900 Sallie and Frank Pierce had moved away from their ancestral county, Isle of Wight Virginia.  But they did not move far, only to Norfolk Virginia.  Frank worked as a sawmill watchman and later as a policeman.

Sallie died May 2, 1914, her three daughters surviving her.  Sallie is buried in a paupers grave in Magnolia Cemetery, Norfolk, Virginia.  After experiencing the Civil War, marrying a veteran, losing her husband and 3 children to early deaths, marrying a second time, Sallie's last place is here, under a huge magnolia tree in an unmarked grave. 

Copyright 2010, CABS for Reflections From the Fence.


lindalee said...

She looks like a woman of firm determination. that is some house she lived in first. She was truly a woman of courage and deserves your tribute. Nice job Carol.

Karen said...

What a great story - an incredible house - and a tranquil place to spend all of eternity. Looking forward to getting caught up on reading blogs (computer problems). I really enjoyed your post!