Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Betty and Will After the War

The House on Caroline Street has now finished publishing the online version of Betty Herndon Maury's Civil War diary. I have begun doing research to annotate the diary and have had a wonderful time chasing down facts and checking the reliability of the information Betty was getting about battles.

I am especially looking for information about Betty's life after the war. She and Will moved to Washington DC at some point. It's a bit difficult to pin down exactly when they moved there, as the Washington Post (the source of much of my post-war information about Betty and Will) did not begin publishing until 1877. I do know that they lived at 1767 Massachusetts Avenue in Washington. The house no longer exists, having been torn down to make way for office buildings.

It was surprisingly difficult to learn where and when Betty died. When my efforts failed, I turned to the reference section of the Central Rappahannock Regional Library, and they were eventually able to locate a death notice for Betty. She died in January 1903. The death notice referred to her as "a woman of forceful character and intellect", which brought a smile to my face. Now who do you suppose supplied that description?

The death notice did not say where Betty was buried, but once again thanks to the wonderful reference section at CRRL I learned that Will is buried in Rock Creek Cemetery in Washington. Believing there was a good chance Betty would be buried near her husband, I went to the cemetery and found their grave. Nannie Belle was there too! Nannie Belle never married. She went on to write some articles for Cosmopolitan Magazine. At some point she moved to an apartment building in Washington, also now gone.

That's where I am in my research. I will update the blog from time to time with more information about Betty, Will, Nannie Belle, and Alice, the baby born to Betty after the conclusion of the diary.

In addition, though, I am going to devote space in the blog to other things, beginning with the Virginia novelist Ellen Glasgow.

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