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In Their Own Words

August 24, 1852

Courtship Recorded in Journal

Although her marriage would eventually suffer financial and personal tribulations, during her courtship and engagement,Gertrude Clanton looked on Jefferson Thomas in a much better light - as recorded in her journal on this day following one of his visits:

“Jeff is absent! The polar star of my existence has left. And Oh! what a void is left… . Jeff came down for me before I had quite finished dressing. We walked down to the spring. Pa and a Mr. Evans were down there so after taking a drink of water we returned instead of taking a seat in the bower. Returned - oh so slowly - Jeff took a seat for a short time in the piazzi and then went up to the house. We had but little time for conversation. After breakfast we assembled on the collonade to see the stages off. The hour drew near and I felt we must part but at last the word good-bye is uttered - the farewell kiss for Jule and cordial grasp of the hand for Jeff. I did not hear a word he was saying when he bade me farewell. I was endeavouring to look calm for I knew I was observed. Mr. Rolsten of Macon told me I had not a vestige of colour in my face - but perhaps it was imagination. I took a game of ten pins and then walked to the bathing house but did not take the bath with Sister A [Anne] and cousin Emma. I did not go up to dinner.”

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. 114.