33 Civil War Widows Still Alive Share Memories
HE HAD FRIENDS FROM NORTH Civil War Vidov Can Talk Old Days With Only One Iff By WILLIAM L.CHAZE Associated Presi Writer Mrs. Leonard Doyal, a big-framed country girl of quick laughter, was more than four decades her husband's junior when they wed in 1910. He was a farmer and store owner, a widower of Irish stock who had been drafted into the Confederate army as a teen-ager after the Battle of Atlanta. Mrs. Doyal now is mostly alone with her memories, one of 33 widows of Civil War veterans still living in Georgia. "When the war was over, he had a little horse and he rode his horse on home to Georgia," Mrs. Doyal told a recent visitor. Seated in a metal and plastic wheel chair in her room at a nursing home, she gazed at a stone wall outside her window as she spoke of the past in the broad accents of rural Georgia. "That's all he got from the war. That is just all he ever got" Mrs. Doyal shook her head incredulously. HER HUSBAND, a private in his fighting days, died 43 years ago. They had three sons, but pneumonia and the measles killed two in their childhood. The 84-year-old Mrs. Doyal, her snowy hair brushed straight back from her forehead, gray eyes bright and interested behind spectacles, lives now in the A. G. Rhodes borne in Atlanta, a brick, white-columned nursing home. Three other Civil War widows also live there, but Mrs. Doyal is able to talk over the old days with only one of them, 95-year-old Mrs. James Emory Hudson, a tiny woman widowed in 1920. "My husband was 16 when he was called down in Jonesboro, it was," said Mrs. Hudson. Mrs. Hudson, lying in a narrow bed with her head propped on two pillows, said her husband was only a high school boy when he was drafted. He, too, came home a private. 1 1 . V i - V.f ph . J if- -4 3. c,- ' v r ' ' ' - ' if x ? - - 'TH J pi 4 -4 J NEITHER SOLDIER was wounded. "He was real lucky .that way," said Mrs. Doyal, smiling. "Once, he was guarding a bunch of Yankee soldiers from Atlanta to South Carolina and would you believe it if I told you? they stole all his ammunition. "They were on the train and he looked down and, law, he saw that his ammo was gone. He climbed to the top of the train, after locking them up in the car, and told them, Live or die I don't care.' "They lived. "He had some real good friends in the Union army yes, some fine, close friends," she said. Mrs. Doyal does not remember her husband's unit or the major battles in which he fought. Te was an infantryman who a . n v BELLE DOYAL RECALLS HUSBAND '. . . He Rode His Horse Home to Georgia.' spoke rarely of the war," she said. "No, he didn't want any part of it." She said her husband was raised in the Georgia mountains and moved with his family to a farm near Atlanta when a doctor suggested his mother's health might benefit from a milder climate. BORN IN Albany, Ga., she moved at an early age to the Atlanta area and had known her future husband since she was a child living with her parents on a farm near Douglas-ville. "He told me, law, he loved me ever since he first laid eyes on me, after he was left a widower by his first," she said, her eyes moistening. "He was a fine looking man a young looking one, a jolly sort." She was 23 and he was 65 when they wed. Mrs. Hudson was 30, a native of Charleston, S.C., when she married and she doesn't recall her husband's age, except "he was an old man" who was respected in his native Atlanta. "I remember the preacher lookin at us and saying, 'Brother, you're robbing the cradle.' " Mrs. Hudson, who worked as a dress designer, chuckled at the memory. "He died in 1920," she said. "He was on the streets as an Atlanta policeman for 31 years. He was the sort of a person who just put all the unpleasant things out of his mind, so he didn't say much about the war. .,.s.S a&tfttira&& uuml t; n nt-'rniiiin a Wk. I&sm&tjfcm kiwiiw mJaaii firfflmwrwi) .f:-:fi'-K. s mm !4 ; ;1 - 5 u. Associated Press Wlrephoto PENNSYLVANIAN LUCY McCLOY, 98, MARRIED A SOUTHERN SOLDIER Were Her Parents Upset? .V. I'm Sure Their Hearts Were Heavy.' v 4 v . -Jk , HER HUSBAND FOUGHT FOR THE BLUE Christine Moore, 90, Was Married la 1897 33 IN GEORGIA Civil War Widows Lm By JERRY T.BAULCH WASHINGTON (AP) - The men who wore Yankee blue and Confederate Gray are dead, but 423 widows of Civil War veterans still are alive this Memorial Day. Each was once a bride far younger than her husband. "I remember the preacher lookin' at us and saying, 'Brother, you're robbin' the cradle,'" says Louise Hudson1, 95, who lives in a Georgia nursing home. Mrs. Hudson-, a native of Charleston, S.C., was 30 on her wedding day. She doesn't recall her husband's age, except "He was an old man" who was respected in his native Atlanta. BY COINCIDENCE, the old est and youngest Civil War widows are named Harper. As far as the Veterans Administration can determine, the oldest is Loudie M. Harper, 104, of Perry, Ga., who married a Confederate veteran 21 years her senior in 1889. The VA says the youngest widow is Minnie L Harper, 57, of Bell, Fla., who married Jim W. Harper in 1943. She isn't certain what his age was. Of the 423 widows still drawing small federal pensions, the VA says none was bora before the Civil War ended in 1865, the average widow's age is 90. And 288 were married to Union veterans and the rest to ex-sbldiers of the Confederacy. Many of the widows still are spry, but most are burdened with fee infirmities of age, Some recall vividly what their husbands told them about the war, while others say they remember little or their husbands didn't talk much about the war. Mrs. Lyman W. Preston, 89, of Albuquerque, N.M., remembers fondly her husband's war stories of marching to the sea with Sherman, of seeing Atlanta biumi, of parading through Washington in the Grand Review after the war. THE PRESTONS met in 1913 to Menai, Ark., and married the following April when she was 32 and he was 65. A daughter was bom a year later. Preston who joked the rtl , ...JC. V, Xj PRESIDENT RICHARD NIXON REACHES OUT TO SHAKE HANDS WITH CROWD GREETING HIM IN MOBILE LAST WEEK it impossible to select another jury which would be impartial. A mistrial had been declared in the murder conspiracy trial of the two. The Senate continued debate on draft extension legislation. A proposal to limit the extension to one year will come up after the Memorial Day recess. I the mEKnmr - . - " s-w s . ,MhMi Ph VPS INTERNATIONAL I S3 H i i i 4 By CALVIN COX Atlanta Constitution News Editor NATIONAL Searchers digging by day and by night along the scenic Feather River in Northern California unearthed the bodies of 20 slain men. They bad been stabbed or hacked to death with a machete or heavy knife. A farm labor contractor, Juan V. Corona, 37, was jailed in Yuba City and charged with at least 10 of the murders. Corona was treated 15 years ago for mental illness. The victims, white men between the ages of 40 and 63, all apparently were transient farm workers. PRESIDENT PRAISES SOUTH: President Richard M. Nixon, visiting Alabama, hailed the progress the South has made in school desegregation and declared, "I have nothing but utter contempt for the double hypocritical standards of those Northerners who look at the South and say, 'Why don't those Southerners do something about the race problem.' " The Chief Executive spoke to Southern newsmen in a Birmingham meeting. Earlier, he participated In the dedication at Mobile of a stretch of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway. President Nixon who might have Alabama's Gov. George Wallace running against him again in '72 saw some splendid Southern qualities. "Not only the deep patriotism of the people that I sense everywhere I go, but your religious faith, your moral strength, the idealism is here. America needs it." ... .Curfew restrictions were lifted in Chattanooga, Tenn., after four nights of racial disorders. The National Guard was called into the area. . . .More than 400 airmen were involved in a racial brawl at Travis Air Force Base in California. . . .Former Sen. Thomas J. Dodd, D-Conn., died at age 64. Dodd was censured by the Senate in 1967 for allegedly converting testimonial dinner funds to his personal use. . . .A Superior Court judge in New Haven, Conn., dismissed charges against Black Panthers Bobby Seale and Ericka Huggins, saying massive publicity made Presidents NikoaliPodgorny of the Soviet Union and Anwar Sadat of Egypt signed a 15-year treaty of friendship and cooperation. They also announced agreement on continued Soviet assistance for Egypt and other Arab countries. A communique after the signing in Cairo, condemned Israel for "rejection of all proposals for a settlement of the Middle East crisis." SUPERSONIC FLY-IN: The SST nations put their wares on display at the Paris Air Show. Flown in for the occasion were the Russian supersonic transport, the TU144 and the French-British Concorde. The latter flew earlier in the week from Toulouse in Southern France to Dakar in West Africa, a distance of 2,500 miles, in two hours and 20 minutes. The death count mounted toward 1,000 in the wake of an earth quake last Saturday in eastern Turkey. More than 90 per cent of the town of Bingel was reported destroyed. The Chief North Vietnamese delegate to the Paris peace talks stated again that the talks would make no progress until the U.S. sets a date for withdrawal of its forces from Vietnam. .. .Israeli Consul General Ephriaim Elrom was found slain in Istanbul, Turkey. He was kidnaped a week previous by leftist terrorists. CITY AND STATE Gov. Jimmy Carter pledged a major overhaul of the Georgia court system. Carter told the Peace Officers Association of Georgia meeting in Eastman that he would appoint a committee of judges, lawyers and legislators to help in the task. The reforms, said the Governor, would seek to make the courts "more responsive to the people's needs, eliminate delays, standardize sentences, and permit superior court judges and criminal court judges to travel more freely across their circuits." Voters In Augusta and Richmond County turned back a "unified government" plan to merge Augusta and unincorporated areas of the county. . . .A rookie Douglasville policeman was critically wounded when he stopped a car for a traffic violation. The four occupants were rounded up in a massive manhunt and three were held as suspects in a rape-robbery the night before in Atlanta's northside. One of the three, found wounded when captured, subsequently died in Grady Hospital. . .A downtown warehouse fire damaged a portion of the long, across-the-rails Hunter Street viaduct. Union army at 16 to be with his brothers, lived to age 90. Elizabeth Towle of Crystal Lake, HI., was 40 when she married Robie Towle, nearly a quarter-century her senior. She remembers few of his war tales "because I wasn't interested in them," and the war was too far to the past. Now 100 and blind, Mrs. Towle says her most vivid recollections of the Civil War were from her fate: "He was just a soldier." Both men were with the Union! forces. Mrs. Towle, who married in 1910, didn't receive a VA pen-sicmi for years because she could not qualify. A 1932 pension law said a veteran must have married before June 27, 1905 for his widow to qualify. A new law recently opened up pensions to all. ONE WHO JUST got under the wire on that is Georgia Moore of Chicago who married her first husband, James Monroe Mason June 6, 1905 when she was 22, about 30 years younger than he. Mrs. Moore said Mason, a Negro born in Kentocky, was never a slave and never spoke of the war. She said she wasn't aware until a few years ago that Mason fought in the Civil War. All Civil War widows over 70 are eligible for $70 a month pensions from the VA.Many receive $55 extra if they need aid and attendance or are in a nursing home. They are under the same system as widows of Indian War and Spanish-American war veterans $70 a month if age 70 or older, $40.67 if under 70 and $75 if married to the veteran during bis wartime service. Unlike widows' pensions for World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam, other income does not affect how much they get or whether they get anything. IN THE 1950s the federal government took over from Southern states pension payments to Civil War veterans and widows of the Confederate soldiers. Besides widows, an : estimated 332 children of Civil j War veterans are on VA pen-! sions rolls. One Confederate widow, j Belle Doyal, 84, was 23 when i she married Leonard Doyal, a 65-year-old widower, in 1910. i She had known him since she i was a small child. He died 43 i years ago. "When the war was over," she says, "he had a little horse and he rode his horse home to Georgia. That's all he got from three years fighting in the war. That is just all he ever got." Mrs. Doyal says once her husband was guardinga bunch of Yankee soldiers from Atlanta to South Carolina and would you believe it if I told you? they stole all his ammunition. "They were on the train and he looked down and he saw - ..1 that his ammo was gone. He climbed to the top of the train, after locking them up in the car, and told them, 'Live or die I don't care!' They lived." THREE of Georgia's 33 Civil War widows live in the nursing home with Mrs. Doyal and she is able to talk over the old days with Mrs. Hudson. "After he suffered a stroke, an old retired colonel who was with him in the war used to come 'round to the house every week and they would sit and talk over the old days," Mrs. Hudson says of her husband. She heard a story of "when the Yankees killed his horse, that made a foot soldier out of him. He had to carry a gun for the rest of the war." In New York City's borough of Queens Julia Schoenherr at 81 says, "I'm so young because I'm his second wife." John Schoenherr served as a private about nine months in the Pennsylvania Light Artillery. When the war ended he was 25. They married in 1912 when she was 22 and he was 72. He lived to age 90 and died to 1930. Mrs. Schoenherr explains wiry he enlisted: "My husband 's brother, Lav,Tence, was in the war. He was on a barge being towed across the river. The rope broke, the barge sank and they never found his body. That's why my husband enlisted to take his place. "In those days you could buy your way out of the service. This butcher, who was drafted, heard my husband was going to enlist The-butcher offered him $350 to take his place. My husband refused. He said, 'I'm not selling my life. I'm going in place of my brother.'" She recalls her husband being on duty near Washington the night President Abraham Lincoln was shot and "he used to tell us, the general came to the barracks and said, 'You s-o-b's get up the President's been shot.' " MRS. SCHOENHERR worked as a saleswoman for a woman's clothing chain for 11 years before retiring April 21 of this year. Lucy McCloy, 98, of Fol-croft, Pa., is the widow of Capt. William Wilson McCloy of Richmond, Va., who served with the 24th Virginia Cavalry defending Richmond. She was 27 and he was 57 when they married. Mrs. McCloy says there was never any problem with their May-December marriage because "we never talked about age." Asked if her parents became upset when she married a Southern soldier, Mrs. McCloy replied, "If they did, they didn't say anything. But I'm sure their hearts were heavy." McCloy died at age 81 ia 1S25.