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In Their Own Words

January 09, 1870

Financial Problems Caused Marital Problems

Gertrude Thomas and her husband experienced numerous financial problems during and after Reconstruction. These in turn led to marital problems, which left her feeling helpless:

“… I find that I cannot confess even to you my Journal without condemning Mr. T. I must say this much, that habitual profanity consequent upon loss of property has become a sad habit with my husband. Perhaps I ought not to mention this but if I could learn my children how terrible it is in its consequences I would gladly do so… . It is impossible for a person with my reverential ideas to hear the name of God profaned so constantly without great pain. Alas I fear I am becoming accustomed to it and as I do my reverence for God lessens and my ideas and faith become bewildered. I remonstrate but in vain. And my nature, never gentle, becomes indignant & and I am no meek and lowly disciple but like Peter am hot headed & say words for which I am sorry… . The clouds gather around us and betoken a heavy storm. Mr. Thomas is again worried terribly about his property… . Well I expected nothing more. I sit and with Mr. Thomas and try to cheer him taking care not to worry him by saying ‘I told you so’ but what can I do? … My theme is unpleasant, my fire is going out. I am cold and disheartened… . I can neither look backward or forward but feel that I am drifting wither I know not.”

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), pp. 325-326.