Judith Lavonia Grimes
Yorba Linda, California, 92886
Lineage Specialist- Women's History
UnCivil War #1
JANE ANN MARTHA
(GOODWIN ) JAMES,
Born May 10,1817,
Pittsylvania Co. Virginia
1883,Cedar Grove, Sharp Co. Arkansas
Wed: October 12,
1835 in the home of my brother:
and his wife,ELIZABETH(?)GOODWIN:St.Francis Co., Arkansas
My Spouse: LT.
ELIJAH JAMES,(b. July 7,1816,TN-died age 48 of typhoid, Nov.14,
1862, UNION Army Hospital, St .Louis, Mo.(grave # 445,section
#49)-organized Helena 1862, First Arkansas Volunteers Battalion,
U.S.A., Co. ’C’,
Father of Jane
A.M. Goodwin: John D. Goodwin, Pittysvania, VA.
Mother of Jane
A.M. Goodwin: Jane (?) Goodwin, Pittsylvania, VA.
Jane Ann Martha
(Goodwin) James, This is My Story:
“I birthed 11
children. My first child and first son died as infant named: JOHN
WILLIAM JAMES, in 1836. The first time my man, ELIJAH JAMES, left me
for war, it was the Mexican War in 1846, there was a 5 week old
baby, Mary Elizabeth at my breast, three more at my apron.
In 1862, the
Nations’ blood ran hot for war. Elijah leaves me again, this time
into my care, three daughters and five sons, the youngest, AMOS P.
JAMES, being 4 when his father again takes up a cause.
Our oldest son,
THOMAS JEFFERSON JAMES, age 18 enlists with his father in the 1st
Arkansas Battalion, U.S.A. army Co.’ C’. My son-in-law, LEWIS ROBERT
TURNER leaves his fields unplanted, and abandons my daughter,
CAROLINE VIRGINIA (JAMES) TURNER, alone with their young sons as he
hurries to join up in the same unit, with Elijah and Thomas. With
the call to arms-the regiments were not formed and no necessities
set aside for men. Many of our fellows ate their own horses waiting
to get to war.
Word has come that
our three men are all in the hospital, sick to death with typhoid.
That very word gives me chills. Lewis has sent for Caroline to come
with haste as she is needed to nurse himself as well as Thomas and
see immediately to her father Elijah, who has not youth on his side
being of 48 years.
I cannot go to St.
Louis! Must I always stay behind? Amos is only four, also 7 others,
all under their majority, needing care in these hard times. Sarah
Ann has not yet wed at 15 and is my strong right hand and a beauty
of rare courage. Caroline, my oldest and first married, leaves
behind little ‘JIMMY’ (JAMES MARION TURNER) age 5 and little sickly,
ELIJAH, Jr. age 3 with neighbors and makes the trek up river to St.
Our rocky, hilly
farm north of Curia Creek in Cedar Grove is best described as
‘frontier’ with Elijah always seeking the unpopulated, lonesome,
land. Not far from my very porch there are two crossings of military
roads-used constantly by armies of both sides.
None of us venture
far from the home place and I lie down with bedfellows of fear and
trembling, never knowing when we will be raided again or by which
army? Most of the time we are smack dab in the middle of Confederate
territory and they came to clean us out of foodstuffs more than
once-our vicinity being close. The first time we were raided, Sarah
Ann saw them coming and ran and sat herself over our sacks of corn,
spreading out her full skirts to cover the staple. She smiled and
was so flushed, beguiling the men, they never asked her to move and
our hoard was saved. Another time they left with our plow ox and I
hurried after, following as close as I dared. Gathering my ‘grit’
when entering their camp, I went directly to the commanding officer
and stated my case, demanding of this army to be gentlemen. Thank
God, he couldn’t see my trembling knees and our ox was returned safe
This war is
battled by all, won by none. Would it be easier to put on trousers
and march out behind the flute and drum, than to walk through the
enemy camp bearing up, as best I could to ignore the lewd remarks
and gruffaws of the wild men, my heart thumping its desperate prayer
and my dusty work-clothes only partially covering my bare feet?
Fear, flat out,
fear! Sarah, I am plumb scared to think what is next? Oh, Lordy, I
do miss your father.
Singing softly: “I
am tired, I am weary, I am worn…”
The boys have to
get this old ash hopper working and draining so that I’ll have lye
for soap. The TAYLORS and other kin will be along this week to kill
a hog, while this cold weather holds. We plan to save it all, every
scrap, nothing to waste except the squeal. The kids have been
collecting every bucket, bowl, jug, crock and bin on the place in
preparation and I’ve sifted critters out of the salt, sugar and corn
crocks and scalded everything. Knives are sharpened and I’m
trusting the girls to wash the innards so we can stuff sausage.
Little Amos even picked sage to help. Not only do we do the killing,
cleaning and preserving quickly-we have to hide what we can from
others, sometimes from our own Confederate neighbors. One resource
we have is rocks and Elijah built a rock chimney-a big ‘un. In a
pinch we have thrice hung the hams in the top of the house chimney,
to the far left side, out of sight and since the smoke rises to the
right tunnel, not too hot to get smoked, and with a fire going..no
one looks up..We keep a hot pot on the coals, even if it is just
There’s an old
OSAGE called, ’CASBEER’ who brings us venison and trades for duck
eggs or sour doughe. Sarah and I can manage the dye pot and she is
right good at weaving clothe but neither of us has figured out
Elijah’s way of making leather, and the boys need shoes, badly.
They’ve been wrapping their feet with rags to walk back and forth to
work in the bottomland farms.
in the flesh, came walking up our hill with the TAYLOR kin, hauling
her tack. She has been to the end of my world and back again
bringing bad news, all clearly written on her face. The hair stands
up along my neck and my smile vanishes.
Oh, God, what is
happening? I am stone.
left me forever, his tired eyes facing homeward, with his last
breath, he lay in the arms of his son-in-law, LEWIS ROBERT TURNER.
Lewis and Thomas both being too weak to stand and suffering their
way to recovery, in the same hospital. Lewis will recover and
Thomas should be released soon from his responsibility to come home
to heal? How I ache to hold him in my arms and feed him back to
My man, will
never come home again. How can I bear this sorrow? It has to be
written in the Family Bible and letters to my brother O.P.
GOODWIN and others. But, not yet. Not yet. That which gathers
itself in my innermost heart, shrinks the softness into rock
with horror and lonesome terror.” I can not write, its just too
I am CAROLINE
VIRGINIA (JAMES) TURNER, This is My Story:
“God the Creator
loves Arkansas. He would never “Spew it from His mouth for being
lukewarm” as Arkansas is either cold or hot giving away nothing in
its’ seasons or its’ people or its’ politics to be called,
‘Lukewarm’. Even Arkansas water runs both hot and cold.”
“Momma saw me
coming and ran, grabbed me and hugged me with wild eyes and
desperate tears. She looks really tired and I have much to share.
The children clustered around me, faces older than they seemed a
month ago. Facts were told and crying and their questions given
some answer, supper over and chores done. The children put to bed.
Now, it is time for Momma to ask and hear, those things a woman
needs to know.
I made good time
on the winter waters. The ferrymen still make way for a woman and
are civil, even if she does have men-folk on the wrong side of this
war. Suspicions of extra fee for me held true, female or no, the
prices were gouged. Up river was exhausting with no stops for nature
and no bed or warmth. The children, I left them with neighbors,
thank goodness they were not along. Food was held dear and without
more often than with.
Arrival in St.
Louis became a trial of reactions. I barely held my anger when I saw
the conditions of the hospital and set about quickly to find a
helper for foodstuff and a way to bile clean the linens. Our men
were a shadow of themselves but we all put on our good faces.
Kindness was all around me as others brightened to a smile in an
apron and a skirt. I tried not to count those faces missing in the
morning when I arrived to nurse my way through the barracks. Days
passed in work-just trying to yank the illness out of our men,
almost by will alone.
The sun finally
came out, hot on the porch, its dusty beams poking through the small
window. Poppa asked to be moved outside to look toward home and
Momma. Lewis and I managed the pallets and soon Poppa spoke and just
seemed to empty out his spirit to gentle death. Thomas was heavy in
fever and not able to know. In a few days he was clear and seemed to
bear up like you would expect…but was so grieved he could barely
speak and his eyes held an unworldly gaze. The doctor said Thomas
and Lewis would both recover.
last clear words were for his soul and God’s care for you and the
children. He softly said, “Janey, I love you.” And then he was
Is it possible to
carry conversations in our heads with our men who are far away?
Lewis, are you listening? Are you also unable to sleep and having
drowsy pictures of me? Can you see through the veil of distance and
hear my heart?
Don’t you dare go and die on me!! Come home and raise your family!
Momma has sat here
at this old table and it is soaked with her tears. She has blowed
her nose into her apron until it’s a wadded up mess. I’ll rinse it
out before bed. She is asleep in the chair with her head propped on
her arms, and grannys quilt is snug wrapped around her, chair and
all. I suppose they’ll call her the Widow JAMES, now, and cluck in
their teeth, that Elijah was a UNION man, after-all? Doesn’t it
matter that the typhoid took him before he even fired a shot?
I left my tears
and my grief upstream in the river. The TAYLORS are here and I’ll
help with the hog killin’ and then this tired woman rides for home.
Our sorrow won’t lift as long as this war continues. Momma said I
could have Poppa’s gentle mare, Old Cricket, to ride home. My
thoughts lean more to that frisky gray gelding that was Thomas’s
pride. The miles will go quicker and with more joy in the ride, even
if he is a bit skiddish, sometimes even skittish.”
coming and the ice storms still grip, however today, the sun again
promises bright warmth with darker clouds clinging to the heights of
the winter mountain and a web of fog along the river. I remember the
last bright day and the death it held. I’ve left Momma’s house and
aimed my heart toward my own hearth.
Momma sent little
Jimmy an arrowhead, blue as his eyes. With the hog’s gift of fresh
lye soap, a hot bath and clean clothes and with Momma’s Christmas
gift to me, a crisp new apron, I feel as if I could fly. The only
thing missing is Mr. LEWIS ROBERT JAMES ex soldier, by my side and a
good cup of real coffee.
This trail is
known to me and to the horse. The miles pass quickly. The creeks
and the Strawberry and Black River all are easily crossed if one
goes to the known crossings. The White River is another thing-but
the TAYLORS told me of the high sandbar and low water just ahead.
The horse is tired but if I cross now, we can rest on the other side
and flitter home like a butterfly.
Whoa, Horse! Easy!
Its just cold water and there’s corn on the other side for ya.
now.. Who’s that yelling? What? I can’t hear you? Its, Oh, God,
the soldiers are yelling and they are pointing rifles at me. What?
No, I live over there! I live on your side! I’ve been to St. Louis
to nurse my sick husband! I need to cross here!
Now! What? Go
farther down to cross? What? I AM NOT A SPY! Help ME!
Whoa Horse! Whoa!
A sharp shot and
we go down, horse and rider together, down and out, deeper into
the channel, past the ice crusted edge, into the churning swift
water. Jimmy, your blue gift arrowhead, is in my apron pocket.
Cold, so cold. I can’t see sunlight. OH, God, Help me.
Hunters found the
gray gelding’s body, miles down the White River, and knew its owner
was my son, Thomas. Thence, trouble had again come to us, they
stopped over to tell us of the dead horse and the story of the
beautiful girl, a spy riding a grey horse, killed, as told by the
Confederate pickets along the White River.
Sarah Ann and I
rode out to find Caroline or her body and bring it home to bury.
The TAYLOR girl found her first, after a cold, long, weeks search,
washed up on the sand bar at river bend. Her folks buried Caroline
gently on the bank of the White River where she lay. They brought
the little handkerchief from her apron pocket with the gift, the
blue arrowhead wrapped secure. With this proof we knew it was our
Caroline, shot dead or drowned, before years end 1862. I did not
have to face the flesh of her death and can today, remember the face
I knew so well in its youth and womanhood .
Jefferson James, 1st Ark Union Bat. Co. C, was relieved of duty
Dec.31, 1862 and was on his grieving way home in January 1863 to
hearth & family, when captured by CSA regulars. My son, my tender
hearted boy, died of freezing starvation before he could be
exchanged. His young body put into its’ cold bed of earth, also too
early for a mother’s reckoning, by uncaring, unloving hands, in the
bare winter soil, somewhere in Helena, Arkansas. Three winter
graves all separated by distance from home but tied secure to my
heart forever. Where in this land I lie in my final day, these of my
heart lie with me, in faith for the resurrection.
The loss of my
dear husband, my lovely daughter and my shining son to this uncivil
war is more than I can bear when I lie alone at night, but with the
young at my skirt seeking solace, I bear up while they are with me.
Here I list, in
the James family Bible, the words that again tug and break, my
“ Our daughter,
Carolyn Virginia (James) Turner, born in the manner of all women,
January 29, 1839 in Arkansas, farm of good black, bottomland, in a
rope bed by a large hearth in a log and rock house, all built by
her father, Elijah James.
age 16 to Lewis Robert Turner, November 29,1855, Lawrence Co.
Arkansas. Two sons she bore, nursed, loved and left motherless, not
She died at the
hands of an enemy, unknown if by accident, in the White River,
December 1862, almost 24 years of age.
Not a single grave
close by to mourn or remember, just a small, sky blue, arrowhead,
wrapped in a lawn handkerchief, in her Christmas apron pocket.”