Introduction: In this article, Melissa Davenport Berry continues her series on descendants of the Jamestown settlers, writing more on Civil War diarist Elizabeth Virginia Lindsay Lomax. Melissa is a genealogist who has a blog, AnceStory Archives, and a Facebook group, New England Family Genealogy and History.
Today I continue with my “Jamestown Descendants: Who’s Who” series, with more focus on Lindsay-Lomax and allied family lines of Old Virginia who descend from Jamestown settlers.
To recap: My last two stories covered some of the narrative from the personal diary of Elizabeth Lindsay Lomax (1796-1875), entitled Leaves from an Old Washington Diary 1854-1863.
The diarist Mrs. Lomax was born to Capt. William Lindsay and Mattie Fox in Virginia on the family estate “Lindsay’s Mills,” near Port Royal. She was the widow of Mann Page Lomax (1787-1842), born in Port Tobago, Virginia, to Thomas Lunsford Lomax and Anne Corbin Tayloe, and a direct descendant of Jamestown’s William Tayloe, Henry Corbin, Hugh Gwyn, Ralph Wormeley, and Thomas Lunsford.
The couple had five daughters and one son, Confederate Brig. Gen. Lunsford Lindsay Lomax.
Mrs. Lomax’s diary was edited and published in 1943 by her granddaughter Elizabeth Lindsay Lomax Wood.
Here are more snippets from her diary as published in the Evening Star newspaper, plus entries from the complete published diary. I added genealogy with historical information.
Thursday, April 7, 1859.
Clear and delightful.
We went to Kate Kearney’s wedding today at St. John’s Church at 2 o’clock and afterwards to the reception at Gen. Kearney’s. Capt. [James McCord Lake] Henry of the army was the groom and is a very handsome young man.
Note: Kate Kearney (1839-1921),was born to Dr. John Achilles Kearney, Surgeon on the USS Constitution, and Mary Martha Forrest, a descendant of Jamestown’s Thomas Grave.
Phil Kearney [Gen. Kearney, killed in the second Battle of Manassas] brought Alice [Worthington Winthrop, granddaughter of diarist] some wedding cake to dream on. She is rather young for it – still one must dream.
A later diary entry dated February 14, 1860, notes a Valentine celebration at the Lomax home and a birth announcement of the above couple’s first child:
In the evening the young people, including Dick Poor and Phil Kearney, assembled here for dancing.
Mrs. Kearney came to see me today to tell me that Kate Henry has a daughter born on the twelfth of this month. [That daughter was Kate Kearney Henry (1860-1932), who married Judge John.]
Note: Enoch Mason (1854-1910), was a Jamestown descendant and son of Charles Taylor Mason and Maria Jefferson Carr Randolph (a direct descendant of Thomas Jefferson through his daughter Martha Washington “Patsy” Jefferson, who married Thomas Mann Randolph).
In the previous story I mention that Mrs. Lomax taught music lessons to cover her expenses. Here is another source of income initiated via a Yankee connection during a walk home from St. John’s Church, Washington, D. C., on Ash Wednesday:
March 1, 1854.
Colonel [George Britton] McClellan walked home with me and stayed to breakfast. We had a pleasant time talking over old Newport days. He kindly said he would try to secure me some writing to do for the War Department.
She did secure a position as noted in her diary on Wednesday, May 1, 1855:
This month was ushered in by a very pleasurable event. At least for me. Colonel Cooper’s messenger brought a ponderous volume of papers from the War Department for me to copy, which means that I am regularly installed as a worker for the Government, which pleases me mightily.
Thursday, July 17, 1855.
Colonel Cooper called to say that Mr. McClellan was sending me more writing to do for the War Department, which is good news.
Mrs. Lomax continued work projects through 1860 and was “glad for the occupation and remuneration.”
Colonel Samuel Cooper Jr. was the son of Samuel Cooper Sr. of Massachusetts, a participant in the Boston Tea Party and a member of the Sons of Liberty at the young age of 16, and authored a rare firsthand account of the event.
Cooper was the highest-ranking Union officer to join the Confederacy when Virginia succeeded in 1861 (he even outranked Robert E. Lee). When the Union army invaded Virginia, Cooper’s estate “Cameron” was taken over and used as a campsite and hospital. When confiscated by the Federal government it became known as “Traitor’s Hill.”
Cooper married Sarah Maria Mason, born to Anna M. Murray and John Mason (a descendant of Jamestown’s Thompson and Mason lines).
A diary entry notes Mrs. Lomax’s two daughters attending the wedding of Cooper’s daughter:
Thursday, February 5, 1857.
Anne and Vic have gone to the wedding of [Sarah] Maria Cooper and Lieutenant [Frank] Wheaton [later a Union Maj. Gen. who would marry his first wife’s cousin Emma Twiggs Mason after Maria died].
Fitz Lee [groom’s best man and cousin to the bride] is here for a few days. It is always a pleasure to have dear Fitz with us, he is so lighthearted and gay – he will never grow up.
Note: Confederate Gen. Fitzhugh “Fitz” Lee, nephew of Gen. Robert E. Lee, born to Sydney Smith Lee and Ann Marie Mason, was a close friend and classmate of Lindsay and godfather to his daughter Elizabeth Lindsay Lomax Wood.
Wednesday, December 20, 1854.
This afternoon about five o’clock, Vic, Chandler, and I attended a large reception at Colonel Cooper’s where we met many old friends in the city for the holidays.
Among others, Colonel R. E. Lee, Superintendent of West Point. I had forgotten that he was such a handsome man, though Lindsay wrote me from West Point that Colonel Lee was the handsomest man he had ever known, just like “a marble model.” Handsome yes, but not like marble. Colonel Lee is “very human, kind, calm and definite.”
Colonel Lee spoke of Lindsay with a feeling of friendship that pleased me greatly. In leaving he held my hand a second and said kindly, “Never worry about your boy, dear lady. He is a very promising young man.” I beamed with pleasure.
The cadets are fortunate to have a superintendent to whom they can look up to with wholehearted admiration and respect. That means a great deal to youth.
To be continued…
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Note on the header image: Civil War-era cannons, Fort Stevens, NW, Washington, D.C. Fort Stevens was part of the extensive fortifications built around the city during the American Civil War. Credit: The George F. Landegger Collection of District of Columbia Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith’s America; Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.