Gettysburg's Carrie Sheads; We Hardly Knew You, Caroline

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JPK Huson 1863

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carrie sheads oakridge 1849 paper pic.jpg

From an 1849 newspaper ad, Oakridge Select Female Seminary long, long before Miss Caroline Sheads was principal, graced Oak Ridge.

Oakridge Seminary, Carrie Sheads, a Union officer's sword and yet another woman we marvel at 150 years later. What a girl, huh? Don't get me wrong, she really was. Who argues with Confederate officers with you school captured, wounded bleeding all over your floors, your roof being used as a Confederate signal tower ( and bringing down artillery henceforth ) and with ' gently bred 'female students looking to you for a lead? Caroline Sheads.

We love Carrie so much we bring home photos of the wrong, darn house each trip to Gettysburg. Oh it's Elias Shead's house. It's not the seminary. Elias Sheads, Carrie's father had the same war as his daughter. It was awful.
carrie house.jpg

That house- before the post-war ' boom' sent Gettysburg's neat streets sprawling outwards.
sheads_house.jpg


sheads 1850.JPG


Elias, Mary, Elizabeth, Louisa, Caroline, David, Elias Jr., Robert and Jacob. 1850 census, Elias and Mary ( McBride ) Sheads were raising a large family. Then war happened.

View attachment 150583

And so began the Carrie Sheads legend- not to re-re-re-re repeat here. We have excellent threads on her story plus really, Carrie Sheads? We know her- or do we?

sheads elias 1864 death notice.JPG

sheads family notes from ancestry eli.jpg


Elias, Jr. 1864

sheads family notes from ancestry dav.jpg

David was wounded, disabled, died young

sheads family notes from ancestry isaac.jpg
sheads isaac 1865 buried.JPG

Cousin Isaac, killed at Cold Harbor

sheads family notes from ancestry jac.jpg

Brother Jacob was not 18- ran away to join

sheads family notes from ancestry rob.jpg

Robert was wounded also, at White Oaks- died not long post war.

Hang on. Carrie's war? Not over.

Carrie was offered a job in Washington ( story by itself ). With sisters in tow, Louisa and Liz, she took this amazing chance to leave tragedy behind.
sheads louisa died fluid.JPG

Article on the Culp family- Lousia's cause of death in 1866 mentioned. ( And a huge thread is born.... ). Lousia died in Washington, DC, in 1866.

Elizabeth died in DC but cannot again find the clipping.

sheads mary mcbride find a gv 59.jpg

Carrie's mother, 1870, Mary McBride. She'd lost 3 sons and a daughter by 1870. By 1870 Carrie had lost 3 brothers and a sister and her mother.

Her story became famous for some reason without any of her most heroic struggles also being mentioned. Seems so odd!


sheads carrie deaath 1884 1.JPG

sheads carrie deaath 1884 2.JPG

1884, "At Washington, Miss Caroline Sheads.

In the interests of no one's eye's glazing over, will stop here because there really is more. The war decimated Gettysburg citizens. While venerating our heroin and heros, these unwieldy stories encompass what this war really was. Picturesque? No.

Elias, who interestingly made mead ( no, really ) for sale, is described in various writings as a broken, old man by the time he joined his family in Evergreen.


Caroline, we hardly knew ye.






 

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WJC

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View attachment 150564
From an 1849 newspaper ad, Oakridge Select Female Seminary long, long before Miss Caroline Sheads was principal, graced Oak Ridge.

Oakridge Seminary, Carrie Sheads, a Union officer's sword and yet another woman we marvel at 150 years later. What a girl, huh? Don't get me wrong, she really was. Who argues with Confederate officers with you school captured, wounded bleeding all over your floors, your roof being used as a Confederate signal tower ( and bringing down artillery henceforth ) and with ' gently bred 'female students looking to you for a lead? Caroline Sheads.

We love Carrie so much we bring home photos of the wrong, darn house each trip to Gettysburg. Oh it's Elias Shead's house. It's not the seminary. Elias Sheads, Carrie's father had the same war as his daughter. It was awful.
View attachment 150562
That house- before the post-war ' boom' sent Gettysburg's neat streets sprawling outwards.
View attachment 150573

View attachment 150567

Elias, Mary, Elizabeth, Louisa, Caroline, David, Elias Jr., Robert and Jacob. 1850 census, Elias and Mary ( McBride ) Sheads were raising a large family. Then war happened.

View attachment 150583

And so began the Carrie Sheads legend- not to re-re-re-re repeat here. We have excellent threads on her story plus really, Carrie Sheads? We know her- or do we?

View attachment 150570
View attachment 150578

Elias, Jr. 1864

View attachment 150577
David was wounded, disabled, died young

View attachment 150579 View attachment 150571
Cousin Isaac, killed at Cold Harbor

View attachment 150580
Brother Jacob was not 18- ran away to join

View attachment 150581
Robert was wounded also, at White Oaks- died not long post war.

Hang on. Carrie's war? Not over.

Carrie was offered a job in Washington ( story by itself ). With sisters in tow, Louisa and Liz, she took this amazing chance to leave tragedy behind.
View attachment 150572
Article on the Culp family- Lousia's cause of death in 1866 mentioned. ( And a huge thread is born.... ). Lousia died in Washington, DC, in 1866.

Elizabeth died in DC but cannot again find the clipping.

View attachment 150582
Carrie's mother, 1870, Mary McBride. She'd lost 3 sons and a daughter by 1870. By 1870 Carrie had lost 3 brothers and a sister and her mother.

Her story became famous for some reason without any of her most heroic struggles also being mentioned. Seems so odd!


View attachment 150568
View attachment 150569
1884, "At Washington, Miss Caroline Sheads.

In the interests of no one's eye's glazing over, will stop here because there really is more. The war decimated Gettysburg citizens. While venerating our heroin and heros, these unwieldy stories encompass what this war really was. Picturesque? No.

Elias, who interestingly made mead ( no, really ) for sale, is described in various writings as a broken, old man by the time he joined his family in Evergreen.


Caroline, we hardly knew ye.

Thanks for posting this story of one mid-nineteenth century family. How many others were similarly caught in the conflict?
 

JPK Huson 1863

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Thanks for posting this story of one mid-nineteenth century family. How many others were similarly caught in the conflict?

I'm guessing a lot although the Sheads so far is one of the most decimated families ( apart from the African American community, which was decimated ) from Gettysburg I've come across.

Some other famous names had terrible tragedies, like Nick Codori's capture- for whatever reason civilians were dragged back to Richmond and not released until 1865. Nick died within months of coming home. I forget how many others were captured- one man died in prison. Of the prisoners, in fact, it was one of a pair of captured brothers who died- that family fared poorly, too. There's a thread on what happened with all of them.
 

LoyaltyOfDogs

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Thank you for this thread, @JPK Huson 1863. The full story of the battle's devastation can't be entirely understood without seeing its effects, and the effects of the war as a whole, on the residents of Gettysburg and its surrounding countryside. A microcosm of a national tragedy.

Concerning the Carrie Sheads house, I was interested to see how different it appears in the newspaper ad from the actual house at the time of the battle. Today the house looks much as it did in 1863. Do you know if the seminary pictured in the ad was originally in some other building? Or was it under construction at the time, with a different original design that was changed when the house was finally built? Here's a modern view from Google:

Carrie Sheads house today.jpg
 
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I'm guessing a lot although the Sheads so far is one of the most decimated families ( apart from the African American community, which was decimated ) from Gettysburg I've come across.

Some other famous names had terrible tragedies, like Nick Codori's capture- for whatever reason civilians were dragged back to Richmond and not released until 1865. Nick died within months of coming home. I forget how many others were captured- one man died in prison. Of the prisoners, in fact, it was one of a pair of captured brothers who died- that family fared poorly, too. There's a thread on what happened with all of them.
Thanks for your response.
I was aware the Rebels kidnapped local black freemen on the pretense that since they were black they must be runaways, but I hadn't heard about white citizens like Codori! How did they justify that?
 

JPK Huson 1863

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Carrie never taught school in the very first building. That house was located on Confederate Avenue, next to the Schultz House. It burned down.

Hi and if your user name means what it seems, boy is it great to have you stop by! Hate to be too nosy, are you family? Nothing better than someone's relative for ascertaining fact, thank you.

Ok, which house please? The one taken from the advertisement in ( I think ) The Compiler? It's been awhile, could have been another paper. I was trying to pin down the building where she was principal, that isn't it?

Also- do you know more of what killed her sister? Been looking for years but am not a researcher so it's a ham fisted try. First I'd heard local women died from being exposed to a certain chemical. I made a list of deaths of local women who died young post battle based on obituaries- what has me stumped is ascertaining who died of the usual diseases, etc. around in the era and who else may have died from the chemical exposure.
 
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