Country Life in Georgia in the Days of My Youth

- by Francis Latimer Felton

Why this Book was written after I had passed my eighty-second year deserves an explanation. Understanding the infirmities of age, which can be easily increased by worry and overwork, I had almost decided to allow my accumulated manuscripts to remain after my decease, when those who survive me might give them to a publisher if so desired. But when I gave this statement to a number of my sincere friends I was met with a storm of protest. They said I might do this work, if I would be careful as to health, and with frequent rest spells. I explained that while my memory was still good, and my condition normal, still I was a very old lady - much of my physical strength abated - and old people by reason of age were almost sure to become garrulous, talked too much (if they have impatient kinspeople) and were set in their ways of thinking as well as of saying and doing things, and are old-fogyish in regard to modern methods and activities. Nevertheless they have insisted and reminded me that while we have Southern histories concerning the Civil War, compiled from data furnished by political and military leaders, the outside world really knows very little of how the people of Georgia lived in the long ago, before the days of railroads, telegraphs, telephones, cook stoves, sewing machines, kerosene oil, automobiles, tri-cycles and a multitude of other things now in common use.

"I heard the cannon in Rome, Georgia, twenty-five miles away, when Georgia seceded. I was only three miles distant from the railroad the night Mr. Jefferson Davis passed through to Montgomery, Ala., to be made President of the Confederacy. If it had been in day time I should have seen him. I saw Georgia troops reviewed by the Governor at "Big Shanty" when they were drilling for the last time before leaving for Virginia. The battle of Manassas was going on when they passed through our town on July 21, 1861. The wires were working telling about the battle and the women were sobbing with arms about the necks of soldier boys who were bidding them a final good-bye at the depot. The only brother I had was a cadet at Marietta Military Institute and he volunteered with the Gate City Guards of Atlanta sometime before he was sixteen. That boy-beardless, slender, tenderly raised, immature, a child in years, left his mother in gleeful delight, anxious to go, craving excitement, and knowing nothing whatever about camp life or the dangers that were in front of him. His mother's face was quivering with suffering and anxiety, a part of her very life was carried along with that heedless youth, and her anxiety never lessened until her son surrendered with General Forrest, at LaGrange, at the close of the war. "
Country Life in Georgia in the the Days of My Youth

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