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
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
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.