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In Their Own Words

August 17, 1879

Troubles Recorded Reluctantly in Journal

Gertrude Thomas’s family misfortunes continued well after Reconstruction, and the toll it took on her family life became more difficult. Though she tried to keep these despondent feelings from her journal, sometimes it was impossible, as this entry indicates:

“My head aches and so does my face, and so does my heart. It is not the cook’s sickness or my own, that is a small matter, but all my life I have tried to make the best of things, hide from outside persons, even from you my Journal anything which would not reflect credit upon my family. Either I have grown more careless or Mr. Thomas more reckless for alas the worst state of things prevail. He has taken his name from the church book and profanes God’s name constantly- There are times when my own faith fails. I do not know in whom to trust, to what to pray. I cannot write of this, indeed I ought not. I could stand it if it was confined to one room, only to my hearing but alas when children and servants prove no restraint! …”

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. 385.