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The Glengarry McDonalds of Virginia
Chapter 21 - Flora McDonald


Flora McDonald, the youngest child and fourth daughter of Angus W. 'McDonald and Leacy Anne Naylor (his wife), was born the 7th of June, 1842, and named for her illustrious cousin (many degrees removed) of the Clanranald branch. She lost her mother at the age of six months and was cared for, for the next eighteen months by her father's aunt, Mrs. William Naylor. This lady was also stepmother to Leacy Anne, to whom she was much devoted.

One of Flora's earliest and happiest recollections was when her new mother arrived and took her child's heart by storm, with her kindly words and affectionate manner, and in all the long years following, she had little cause to change those first impressions. She first remembers going to school at Mrs. Meaney's, but after a year or so there her education was carried on in a very desultory fashion. With eight brothers and sisters older than herself and quite a number younger, it is scarcely to be wondered at that her opportunities were somewhat restricted.

At twelve years of age she was sent from ''Wind Lea,'' where the family then lived to Charles Town, to live with her sister, Mrs. T. C. Green, and attended a private school, but a spoil of illness lasting for some months seriously interfered with her educational progress, and at the end of her first term she returned to her home, and was permitted to do pretty much as she pleased for the next two years in order to re-establish her health. Much of her time, in open weather. was spent in the woods and on the banks of the streams in genuine enjoyment of this close contact with nature.

Nothing delighted her so much as being allowed to accompany her brother Marshall on his expeditions in quest of specimens. And once when about nine year's of age, he took her with him quite a distance to the house of a mountain woman, in order that she might be taught how to "net.'' so that she could make for him the little nets which were necessary to enclose each individual fish before he dropped them into the flask of alcohol preparatory to despatching them to the Smithsonian. Soon she became so expert, that no other diversion gave her half such joy as weaving these little travelling jackets for the fish while, at the same time, performing this service for the brother she so dearly loved.

When the family moved to Winchester she was placed regularly at school again, first at Mr. Charles PoweIl's and afterwards at Mr. York's. But, alas that bugaboo, "the war" interfered this time. It was plainly evident that Flora was not intended to get information by the schoolroom route.

Not being a man, she could not enlist in the army, so she had to content herself with being a looker-on, though giving aid and comfort to those who Were enlisted, whenever it came in her way. On one occasion, Sue and Flora obtained a pass to go through the enemy's lines to Richmond. The officer in command at Winchester, at that time, being a Frenchman (Gen. Cluseret), issued the pass unconditionally, but a day or so after that, he was superceded by Gen. Milroy, who hearing that two "secesh girls" were going South with no restrictions, decided to allow them to go—thinking they would of course take advantage of the Federal generosity and carry all sorts of contraband articles along. Accordingly they were not only allowed to start, but to get outside their double line of pickets, before a squad of cavalry arrested them and carried them back to Winchester. They were first taken to Cluseret's headquarters, who indignantly refused to receive them, saying; "Ze ladies have no offense, take zem avay."

They were then driven to Millroy's headquarters, where they were detained for five or six hours, while the General himself superintended in person, the searching of all their baggage, and where a negro woman was on hand to search their persons. This the girls, indignantly refused to allow and strange to say it was not enforced, and the pistol which Flora carried was even returned, and another pass offered.

But nothing would have induced the girls to venture again and they calmly made up their minds to remain where they were, and wait for the advent of the Confederates, but the wait was a weary one.

Gen. Cluseret was so indignant that his pass to these girls had not been respected, that he resigned from the U. S. Army, saying that he had not joined it to war against women. Later, during the days of the Commune in Paris, he was "Delegate of War."

After the close of the war between the States, the two girls went from Richmond in August, 1865, under a pass and protection from Gen. Ord, commanding in Richmond, to Cool Spring, Clarke County, Virginia, where their brothers had settled, and where William had opened a school. Here they took their first lessons in housekeeping and here some of Flora's happiest days were spent.

After three or four years the home at Cool Spring was broken up, when William moved to Kentucky. On December 18th, 1867, Flora McDonald was married to Leroy Eustace Williams at Cool Spring, he being a native of Clarke County. Mr. Williams had been a student of law at the University of Virginia at the breaking out of the war, and on the eve of his graduation had left college to enlist in the Confederate army. He joined the "Clarke Cavalry" and served in that company throughout the war, until the battle of Trevilyan Station, when he received two painful wounds, one through his lungs and one in his bridle hand.

After living a year in Clarke, Flora and her husband moved to Culpeper, where Mr. Williams entered into partnership with his brother-in-law, Mr. James W. Green, in the practice of Iaw.

Mrs. Williams has been an active member of the Daughters of the Confedracy since is organization. She was first connected with the Stonewall Jackson Chapter of Staunton, Virginia, during her residence at that place and Iater with the Albert Sidney Johnston Chapter of Louisville, Kentucky. For three terms she held the office of Treasurer General of the National organization, declining re-election for a fourth term.

After several moves they finally located in Louisville, Kentucky, and later at Anchorage, where they now reside. Four children were born to them, Leacy, Peachy, Flora McDonald, Eustace LeRoy and Angus Edward, who died in infancy.


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