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August 24, 2017 / Joanne Yeck

A True Romance of the Civil War, Part II

In 1904, the Appomattox and Buckingham Times ran a lengthy and fascinating story of “true romance.” It was an unusual article for the newspaper to run. Thankfully, it has been preserved at the Library of Virginia’s Virginia Chronicle.  Click here to catch up: A True Romance of the Civil War, Part I.

The story continued:

Mrs. Morgan had two sons and two daughters, the oldest being Lucy, who was twenty years old at the time of the Girtys buying their home. She taught her children to love the memory of their father and the cause for which he gave his life. Hers was a sad and hard lot after his death. Like many thousands of southern women, she had to leave her home and seek refuge with friends in a distant part of the state, where they would not see the devastation and suffering brought on by an army composed of the great part of men of the most brutal type, and who took pleasure in offering insults to defenseless women and children (which thousands now living can testify to.)

The Girtys had a daughter by the name of Frances. She was a few years older than Lucy Morgan. Frances Girty had been left quite a fortune by the death of [an] aunt. She was fond of horses and drove a nice turn out. She sometimes came and took Lucy out driving – going to the village shopping, or take her to her home. ‘Twas there she met her brother, Walter Girty, who fell desperately in love with her on first sight. He did everything in his power to win this beautiful southern girl, for she was a most attractive woman, having many admirers. Lucy was beautiful, with dark hair and a most bewitching pair of hazel eyes. Her mouth still bore the marks of the scar inflicted by the ruffian’s pistol. One of Lucy’s most ardent admirers, and the one she thought a great deal of was Hamilton Ashby, a young Virginia then living in Texas – a civil engineer. She had met him only twice, but that was enough to make Lucy’s heart go pitty pat. He was to come to Virginia that summer. His family lived in the adjoining county of – – –, about twenty-five miles from Lucy’s home.

Walter Girty called so often as three or four times a week to see Lucy, and would gladly have called every day had she permitted him to do so. His heart seem to be wrapped up in the southern girl. He was of a very jealous, vindictive nature and could not bear to see any other man with her. This she soon found out. He was cold and distant; had much of the western ways. After eight years his visits were not looked on with favor by her mother, who could not bear to see him with her, as he was so different from a southern man. He had expressed his sentiments a little too freely on some subjects, which was very distasteful to southern people, but he was most careful when with Lucy never to discuss any subject touching on the war. He had held a captain’s commission in the yankee army, and commanded a company of negro troops when Grant’s army besieged Petersburg. This he had never told Lucy, knowing it would greatly injure any prospects of ever winning her love. He offered Lucy many handsome presents, all of which she politely refused. Lucy’s brother heard him make some remark about the women of the south; he told his mother and she wrote to him to never put his foot in her house again. This greatly offended him; as he thought his wealth and standing was as good as that of any one and it made him more determined than ever to make Lucy his wife, under any circumstances. He offered to give her $50,000 to run off with him, but Lucy spurned his offer and told him that she was not for sale. From time to time many things came to the ears of the Morgans about his unkind remarks about southern people, and Lucy refused to see him after hearing this. He made the remark that he would humble that little rebel and her family yet. The Morgans knew little of the sorrow in store for them.

To be continued…

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