The Joy of Grandchildren During the Civil War

By Madge Maril Premium

In November, join us in the 30-Day Family History Writing Challenge. Each day in November, we’ll share a new writing prompt that will help you use your research in a fun, creative way. Use the hashtag #30DayFHWChallenege to stay in touch with others participating.

November 2nd’s prompt is: Think of your ancestor as a character in a novel, and describe him or her in a few short paragraphs. What color are her eyes? What is she wearing? How does she carry herself? What kind of voice does she have? 
Having trouble thinking of words to say? Read this response from Liz, writer at The Classic Preppy. She wrote about her Civil War-era ancestor Nancy, as well as the beauty traditions passed down from mothers to daughters: 
“Nancy Angeline Stanton of South Carolina, the only daughter of John Dunkley Stanton and Elizabeth Owen Stanton, never considered herself to be a true beauty, although her mirror told a different story in her youth. Her skin was flawless and her features, though perhaps a bit pointed, were symmetrical and pleasant.”
“Nannie, as she was called by her loving family, matured quickly. She married Elisha Robert Ragsdale at the tender age of 18. By the time she was 25, she was the mother of three active boys. And only 19 days after her 28th birthday, she was a widow. Her dear husband, who had lost his previous two wives and children to early death, was himself gone, another victim of the War Between the States.”
“Nannie grieved the early death of her of son, Edward,” Liz went on to write. “A child should never predecease a parent, and the grief that ensues from that kind of tragedy ages one more than normal. But just as that sadness can have a deleterious effect, the joy from grandchildren is a balm that helps heal even the deepest wounds. Nannie found that in her grandchildren. Her second youngest grandchild, Nannie Elizabeth Ragsdale, was not only named for her, but inherited her baby fine, not-at-all-thick hair. So did Elizabeth’s daughter, Betty. So did Betty’s daughter, Liz.  
I am Liz. I have blue-green eyes, baby fine hair and relatively asymmetrical features. But I have always stood tall, shoulders back, ready to take on whatever comes my way.”
“Did I get all of that from my Great-Great Grandmother Nannie Stanton Ragsdale? I may never know, but I’d like to think so! (Oh…and I believe in ‘perms’ for better hair…as did my mother and grandmother!)”

Read the entire story on The Classic Preppy. Feeling inspired? Share your 30-Day Family History Writing Challenge responses with us on Facebook for the chance to see them published here online.