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In Their Own Words

March 06, 1870

Journal Entry Recorded Humiliation at Having House Sold at Auction

Gertrude Thomas recorded her humiliation at having her old house sold at auction:

“… Mr. Thomas rode into town. I remained at home and determined I would not take time to think. I went out into the vegetable and flower garden and had beets planted and a hedge of flowering peas prepared leading from the wing room. I tried to interest myself but the thought would constantly occur ‘Now at this hour, the announcement is being made that’ - What shall I say? Not that my husband has failed for that was known last summer when the goods were sold at the store, but this was an additional calling of the public to notice our degradation, perhaps that is too strong a word, but Oh it is humiliating - Ma consoles me by telling me that ‘we are not the first, or only people who have been advertised by the sheriff.’ I know that, but it is little consolation to a person terribly deformed to know that there are some cases in the world as bad & perhaps worse than his own… . We have enough left yet of this world’s goods to keep hunger from the door and my boys will certainly be able to support themselves and aid their sisters. If Mr. Thomas was more hopeful it would infuse new life and vigor into our little family circle… .”

Source: Virginia Ingraham Burr (ed.), The Secret Eye: The Journal of Ella Gertrude Clanton Thomas, 1848-1889 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1990), p. 331.