Wednesday, April 04, 2007

A chapter of Charlotte's history

Many longtime Charlotte residents remember that one of the city’s most revered residents around the turn of the century was Anna Morrison Jackson, the widow of legendary Civil War general Stonewall Jackson. Her funeral in 1915, with full military honors, was one of the largest Charlotte had ever seen.

Lesser known, perhaps, is the fact that she was one of six fascinating daughters born to Dr. Robert Hall Morrison, the first president of Davidson College, and his wife Mary between 1825 and 1840. The sisters, along with four brothers, grew up in Lincoln County. Several lived in Charlotte after the war.

One sister, Harriet Abigail, taught herself architecture because no schools at the time would teach the topic to a woman. She became the first woman to obtain an architectural patent. Other sisters were talented artists and writers.

Five of the six sisters married military officers prominent in the Confederacy, a fact commemorated in the book "They Married Confederate Officers: The Intimate Story of Anna Morrison, Wife of Stonewall Jackson and Her Five Sisters" by local author Kathy Neill Herran.

Herran was the guest speaker Tuesday at the Mecklenburg Historic Association Docents monthly meeting, where she shared snippets of each sister’s life.

Anna Morrison Jackson spent 53 years honoring her late husband’s memory after he was killed in battle. Treated with near-universal reverence, she received free passage on trains and free hotel lodging wherever she went – even in the North, Herran said.

Herran bemoaned the fact that all of the houses in Charlotte where the sisters lived have been torn down.

"This is local history, and we need to do what we can to keep it alive," she said, drawing applause.

I enjoy dropping in on the historic association docents’ meetings, because even as a near-native with deep roots in this community, I always learn something new. If you’re a newcomer, they can be a great way to learn about this city – and about historic sites to visit or volunteer for.

Meetings are free and open to the public the first Tuesday of each month in the fellowship hall at Sugaw Creek Presbyterian Church, 101 Sugar Creek Road. They begin at 9:30 with refreshments, a 10 a.m. business meeting and an 11 a.m. historic program. Click here for more info.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stonewall Jackson was an honorable man and a fierce fighter; And many of us STONEWALL street that the Charlotte observer is built on was where he was laid at the funeral parlor. We have heard the Funeral home is no longer standing; Ulyssis Grant my Great ,great Grandfather was good freinds with Commander Jackson and Commander Buckner; Buckner and Grant were roommates at Westpoint. At one time CApt. Buckner loaned Ulyssis Grant a business loan and the business failed ; Its amazing how close these Commanders were before and after the war and went to the same Military College.

7:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have heard that Stonewall Jackson was one of the founding fathers of the KKK which at that time was a RELIGIOUS sect; The Confederate flag was a Christian flag and nothing more than that; It has symbols of the cross of St. Andrew and other symbols representing the States of succesion.

7:10 AM  

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