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In Their Own Words

July 23, 1852

Disturbing Event Recorded in Journal

Gertrude Clanton recorded a disturbing event in her journal:

“Something of a tragedy has occurred in our neighborhood recently. Last week Mary Culbreath was spending some time with Mrs. Heggie. The latter went to Augusta. Ann Heggie did not return from town that night on account of the storm. Matt did. There was no one in the house that night but Mary and Matt. Taking advantage of this circumstance he entered her room and effected her ruin. Mary sent for Jesse Wood her brother in law. He came and carried her down to Mrs. Berry’s where she boarded. On the way she informed him. Her brothers together with Jessie Wood started (fully armed) for him. He got the advantage of them. In a day or two he was in Augusta. Hearing that a large party was in pursuit of him, he by a circuitous route succeeded in getting to Savannah and then took a ship - for no one knows where! It was expected he would carry off his property and being very much in debt his property was levied upon and Ann and her three children left without a home! …”

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. 111.