150 Years Ago Amanda Wilson Wrote — April 1 – 7, 1861

Posted on Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

Amanda Wilson was becoming concerned about 'rumors of war'.

150 Years Ago Amanda Wilson Wrote — April 1 – 7, 1861. Selected writings from Amanda Wilson’s Journal.

April 2 (Tues.): A hearty welcome, joyous spring with the buds and blossoms, sunshine and showers, and warbling birds. But a sad goodbye to the dear old winter – to fireside chats and pleasant evening reunions with fondly loved ones who may never come again, with thee to add a greater chain to home, yet hope says they may, and my prayer is that God will spare all for very many winters to love and be loved.

April 3 (Wed.): Took music lessons in the morning. Minnie and Will Bradley dined with us. Afternoon, sewed until ½ past 4 when I went down the street (rode down and walked back). Met Miss Mattie Owens on 4th St., who invited me into Mrs. Johnson’s to take cream.[1] Caroline came over in the evening. Christiana out to have a feast. Obed at home. Retired about 10 o’clock.

April 4 (Thurs.): A warm pleasant day spent at home sewing very industriously making shirts for Husband. Sallie came over in afternoon with her sewing. Evening Mr. and Mrs. Hough called on business. Caroline over an hour or so. Sewed all evening. Sad news. Serious rumors of war.[2] Retired about ½ past 9 o’clock.

April 5 (Fri.): Warm, sunshiny day, until ½ past 3 when it was quite cloudy. Home all morning, sewing. Afternoon – over at Sallie’s a little while, after which, went down town with Emma Bickham and bought 2 prs. Gloves, 1 pr. For Sallie and the other for self. Treated E. and self to ‘cream.’ Evening, went to Fabbin’s concert with George.[3] Obed’s eyes too sore and he having paid for the engaged seats in the morning.

[1] Williams’ Cincinnati Directory: City Guide and Business Mirror for 1860 (Cincinnati: C.S. Williams, 1860) p. 181. Mrs. Johnson was the wife of Edgar Johnson, part owner of Jackson and Johnson. The Johnson’s lived at 56 Richmond St.

Kenny’s Illustrated Cincinnati: A Pictorial Hand-Book of the Queen City (Cincinnati: Geo. E. Stevens & Co., 1875), p. 138. Fourth Street was described as, “pre-eminently the fashionable street of the city.” Kennys’ continues: “On fine afternoons the sidewalks are thronged by as many as can be seen on any of the streets of New York. On either side there are magnificent hotels, jewelry, furniture, dry goods, and book stores, interspersed by offices of public companies and professional men.” Kennys’ further added: “Fourth Street is the constant resort of gaily dressed ladies out for a day’s shopping.”

[2] Cincinnati Daily Commercial, 3 April 1861, p. 1. The paper noted, “A speaker in Virginia’s convention to vote on secession said, ‘Whither are you going? You have to choose your association. Will you find it among the icebergs of the North, or the cotton fields of the South? What will you gain by going North?’”

Cincinnati Daily Commercial, 4 April 1861, p. 2. A second article discussed the growing troubles: “It seems the opinion is prevalent in Washington that it will be impossible to avoid hostilities with the Confederate despotism of the seceded cotton states.” The report continued: “Defensive preparations are still going on at Ft. Sumter. Up to today no orders have been received … The fuel and provisions at the fort are nearly exhausted.”

[3] Cincinnati Daily Commercial, 5 April 1861, p. 3. The concert was noted, taking place at Pike’s Opera House, “It was not until Mad. Fabbi appeared as Agatha, and sang … [that] a flow of genuine admiration radiated … Mad. Fabbi revealed the highest dramatic power.”

Kenny’s Illustrated Cincinnati: A Pictorial Hand-Book of the Queen City (Cincinnati: Geo. E. Stevens & Co., 1875), p. 37-8. Pike’s Opera House, located on 4th St., just a few doors from the Post Office, was described as the, “most elegant place for public amusement in Cincinnati.” The stage was, “45 feet deep and 72 feet wide.” The whole structure was elaborately frescoed, with marble in the walls, ceilings, and in the paneling. The stage was enhanced by a, “beautiful painting of two female figures, representing music and poetry.” Pike’s Opera House could sit 2,000 people and on occasion, up to 3,300.

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