Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Iron Nerve of One Woman

This entry is from Nashville Daily Gazette, September 20, 1861, but originally came from Raleigh [N. C. ] Standard , no date given., and is from document put together by the  Tennessee Historical Commission found at the Art Circle Public Library, Crossville, Tennessee website.

A friend has communicated to us the following particulars showing the heroism of. . . Mrs. Julia H. Waugh. . . in Johnson county, East Tennessee, which entitles her to a place among the bravest of the brave. About the 10th of August a mob of about 150 men. . . led by Johnson, Grayson, Lock and others, commenced their depredations and insults in the county above named, near the North Carolina line, hunting down friends of the Confederate Government, and forcing the weak and defenseless to take the oath of allegiance to Lincoln.
A portion of this mob. . . fifty or sixty in number, visited the house of Mr. McQueen and demanded of his wife to know where he was. She refused, at the peril of her life, to tell them, and after a scune cursing, which they received from an old negro woman, who had no respect for Lincoln's minions, they left, and soon after visited the storehouse of Wm. R. Waugh, who was absent at the time. Their Captain marched his men up and surrounded the house and demanded of Mrs. Waugh all the arms and ammunition which her husband had. She told them her husband was absent, and had left her to take care of the store and defend the family.

They assured her that if she would quietly surrender the arms, she and the family would not be hurt. She refused. . . and gathering an axe, placed herself on the door of the building, and told them she would split the head of the first man who attempted to enter. She had with her her stepson, about 14 years of age, armed with a double-barreled gun and pistol-her daughter, about 18, armed with a repeater and a knife, and a young man who had volunteered to defend the building, was also armed. They could and would have killed a dozen or so of the mob if the attack had been made.

They endeavored to intimidate Mrs. W. but she defied them and taunted them with the sight of a Confederate flag, which they had threatened to take from her, but she told them that before they took that flag they would have to take her, and that while they were doing that, she would be certain to have her prize in the shape of a dead tory. And there she stood, the impersonation of collected courage, defying that large, angry, and desperate crowd, until at last the crowd, chagrined and mortified. . . slowly retired, and soon afterward disbanded. The iron nerve of one woman-on other occasions tender and gentle as a child-had met and turned back from their purpose some fifty or sixty desperate men.
Martial law,  engraved by John Sartain from Library of Congress Collection

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