Brev. Brig. Gen'l
- Feb 14, 2012
- Central Pennsylvania
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.
That house- before the post-war ' boom' sent Gettysburg's neat streets sprawling outwards.
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.
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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?
Elias, Jr. 1864
David was wounded, disabled, died young
Cousin Isaac, killed at Cold Harbor
Brother Jacob was not 18- ran away to join
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.
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.
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!
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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