The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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Heart of the Blue Ridge

Elizabeth's Journal - Part 17 of 18

The Cooley Family © 1986

Issue: February, 1986

Read Intro About Elizabeth's Journal

The following is an excerpt from a journal kept by Elizabeth Cooley McClure of Carroll County, Virginia from 1842 (she was 17 then) until her death in 1848. Her journal not only reflects the day to day world she and her family lived in, but a young girl's hopes and expectations for the future.

The Journal follows Elizabeth and her new husband, James McClure, as they leave the Blue Ridge and head to Texas by wagon only to be turned back by the Mexican War. She and James then head upriver to Missouri. The details of their travels portray the sheer grit of mountain people.

A special thanks to the Cooley family for sharing it with us.

July 30, 1847. Yesterday I went to the great dinner at Independence. It was a pleasant day and the greatest concourse of people I ever saw. I enjoyed myself tolerably well. Mr. McClure is unwell, but is now gone to his school. I soon will have to go to mine. I am tired. I want time to commune and study things over, to read the Bible. O! I am tired of the world, I want religion!!!

August 15, Sunday evening. Been to meeting at Cumberlands. Mc. is gone to try to take Demar and Hill for horse stealing. I wish he was here. James is very sick. Dr. Thorton is there. I hear Mc. coming, I am glad. I am doing tolerable well. Very busy.

August, Monday evening. Been to school, 24 scholars. Day before yesterday I went to meeting, heard White preach. Mc. went to town with D.S. I am a bad horse I fear, I feel very bad, but have no reason to complain but I feel a depression of spirits. I know not why but I am getting weary keeping school so long, for it is all the time from morning till night, from beginning to end, all the time. I talk just as much as I can possibly bear to keep order and govern the school as I wish it to be done. My mouth is very sore, a little sick last week but feel well as common. Mc. is better. My school will be out in 2 weeks. O! I feel so lonesome tonight.

Sept. 9. My school is out, it pleased me very well. Several there, a light shower of rain. They delivered their speeches well, spelled well. I felt bad in the evening. Sunday morning prepared for leaving Mallory's then I took a chill 10 o'clock and oh! how bad I was. Mr. McClure went and got some quinine, so, late in the evening I was able to ride to Mr. Halloway's. Stayed all night, in the morning sick again but come on here. Been half sick ever since. I cannot easily get acquainted here but Mc. is with me. I love him, he loves me and is good to me. It is cool this morning. I am making my calico dress that came from Duncan's. I am writing but I am going down to warm. My mouth is all fever sores.

Tuesday 21 Sept. Last week I cut out and made Mc. a coat, a shirt, all do well. Saturday we went to the Blue Bottom camp meeting. Felt bad at first strove hard to get happy. Saturday evening went to the mourner's bench, prayed and was prayed for and got a great deal happier. Sunday was baptized and was happy yet, feel pure and clear from sin. Mc. is happy too.