Recently, a friend of the editor of this newsletter (The Averasboro Advocate, June, 2009) gave him a recently transcribed copy of the diaries of Jane Smith Evans Elliot. We share this here as we believe it will have significance to some persons. Jane Smith Evans was the daughter of Elizabeth Smith and Jonathan Evans. Elizabeth Smith was a daughter of John Smith, born in 1796, shortly after Oak Grove was built. Jane Smith Evans was born April 7, 1820, and died December 5, 1886(87) and is buried in the Smith Ferry Cemetery. She married January 12, 1847, Alexander Elliot who was born June 14, 1797, and died June 29, 1870. He also is buried in the Smith Ferry Cemetery. Elliot was a colonel in the NC State Militia before the Civil War.
George Douglas Elliot, the third child of Jane and Alexander, lived at Ellerslie (the family home) in Cumberland County, until 1893. He then bought property about 10 miles from Ellerslie at Little River, and built a plantation that eventually contained about 650 acres. He named this new home Linden, and the town of Linden, NC, took its name from the plantation.
Jane Smith Evans Elliot’s diaries have been donated to the UNC Library and we are happy to include a few pertinent excerpts from them below as transcribed by Mary Beth McCoy.
March 26, 1865, entry: “This day two weeks since, 12 of March was a day of sorrow & confusion never to be forgotten. Sherman’s army reached Fayetteville the day before, and at 9 o’clock Sunday Morning, a party of raiders rushed in upon our peaceful home. They pillaged & plundered the whole day & quartered upon that night & staid until 5 o’clock Monday evening. Some part of the time there were at least three different parties. The house was rifled from ...to cellar.. Took all our blankets & all the Col’s clothes, all our silver & knives & forks, all our luxuries, leaving nothing but a little meat & corn. They threatened the Col.’s life repeatedly & one ruffian galloped up to the door & pulled out his matches to fire the house.”
December 31, 1865 entry: “Thus closes this year so big with events. The war has closed & the slaves all emancipated. We have had many & … trials to bear growing out of this social change. Let us weekly bow to the Divine will. We rest in the blessed assurance that “he doeth all things well” and will bring order out of this wild confusion. The year has been passed & closes with distracting cares. Amid its occupations and…, we forget the eternal word to which each … year is hastening us! Am I living for time or am I living for eternity? Alas! How far have I come short in all my duties, both to God & man. Father! Forgive me & “remember I am but dust.”