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In Their Own Words

May 14, 1869

Store Failure Recorded in Journal

Many formerly wealthy southerners faced hard financial times after the Civil War, including Gertrude Clanton Thomas and her husband. The following entry recounts the failure of a store they tried to operate in Augusta:

“Friday, May 14, 1869 … I am willing for the children to enjoy themselves and was pleased to have Turner attend the picnic and the party tonight but I shrink from going into town - I am glad that the children having measles will be a good excuse to account for my absence. I would not like them to know the real reason but I wished the ninie days to have passed which people will take to discuss our failure! I was reading the Chronicle yesterday evening - and I read that attention was directed to the sale of glass ware and &c at the store of Thomas and Schaub ‘where goods were being sold for half price.’ I felt my face flush, and I did not recover from it for some time… .”

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. 314-315.