North Carolina Steps Up For The War Widows

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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#1
mourning with widow w photo.JPG


Conveying her raw pain to us over the span of a century and a half, this mourning photo is evocative, if we allow it, of what ' War ' meant to thousands. Is she Southern? Northern? Does it matter? Her husband is dead. Neither side could be said to have placed importance on the welfare of families left decapitated by sacrifice. Until one state did.

North and South, war truncated families. The arrival of mail created so many new widows, one war ravaged town decreed wearing black, illegal. It was too depressing.

Neither government concerned itself much with supporting families who lost their breadwinner, whose sacrifice in uniform should have been acknowledged. While profiteers salted away cash, soldier's widows were evicted, starved ( the real thing ) if they lacked family support and were thrown into yet another wr- survival.

widow nc 1863.JPG

From an NC paper, local sentiment on the subject seems clear

In a cash and supply strapped South, government support for soldiers' families was instituted, then withdrawn. yes, I can source that, please do not make me. Only so many hours in a day. In the supply rich North, conditions were not better.

One state, North Carolina, typically came to the rescue. You have to love it, and I do. NC newspapers sneered at war profiteers and dismissed Davis's speech on the subject, through the famous Bread Riots, for instance. There was good reason- NC took care of them with Texas a runner-up. Through 1863, 1864 and 1865, the newspapers beat the drum off the battlefield.

1864
widow ral 1865 1.JPG
widow ral 1865 2.JPG



widow hair.jpg

Tough to find photos of poor women as widows, a mourning photo the last thing on her list of expenditures. This obviously well-off widow's stark expression must speak for all of them.


widow nc 1865.JPG


bread riots nc.JPG

In order not to produce a lengthy thread, only a few snips. Easily found in era newspapers, this loyalty to soldiers' families is singular, North and South.


It was a ridiculously awful war, a time in which women sometimes turned to prostitution as a desperate means to feed their children. A famous case in the North highlighted their plight when a mother was discovered dead of starvation, her children nearly so. That these were children of soldiers, some fallen, was repulsive. One state took a public stand and stood by it.
 

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JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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Joined
Feb 14, 2012
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18,427
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Central Pennsylvania
#4
Photo #2 - is her hair braided like that!?

I think so? Braids were wrapped, coiled, adorned with flowers, arranged on improbable, gravity defying heights- then covered with hats or net. Godey's has mind boggling illustrations.

Maybe elaborate hair pieces were sold at the time? ( women historically sold their hair, no idea if it was a ' thing ' in the era ) You see crazy confections adorning heads. Must have taken hours!
 
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#8
I think so? Braids were wrapped, coiled, adorned with flowers, arranged on improbable, gravity defying heights- then covered with hats or net. Godey's has mind boggling illustrations.

Maybe elaborate hair pieces were sold at the time? ( women historically sold their hair, no idea if it was a ' thing ' in the era ) You see crazy confections adorning heads. Must have taken hours!
Victorian Women:
Queen Victoria was a fashion icon in her own right. In the early years of her reign, she inspired the “Apollo Loop” in which a plain or coiled plait of false hair was attached onto wires to create eye-catching loops worn vertically on top of the head. But the use of elaborate wigs made way for cleaner, gentler looks. The Victorian period of fashion was about living more simply than the previous era. Hairstyles eventually became more natural and demure with hair parted in the middle, drawn into a bun or coil with curls allowed to fall loosely at the sides of the head.

Hairstyles mirrored the aspirations and social changes occurring within society during this era. The Industrial Revolution saw the rise of the middle classes and brought new fashions for clothes and hair. By the 1850s women wore hairstyles incorporating hairpieces purchased from the new department stores. Additionally, women began using soaps to clean their hair, but this act would strip away oils, leaving the hair stringy and dry. Products to restore hair’s lustre included vegetable oil and even bear grease.

Towards the end of the 19th century, the Marcell Wave invented by Marcel Grateau’s “curling iron,” became a popular hairstyle which enabled to create a more natural looking wave as opposed to a curl. Victorians associated hair with life and love, therefore, it was traditional for women to incorporate lockets of hair into mourning jewellery after the passing of a loved one.

Source: http://chertseymuseum.org/hair
 
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#10
I think so? Braids were wrapped, coiled, adorned with flowers, arranged on improbable, gravity defying heights- then covered with hats or net. Godey's has mind boggling illustrations.

Maybe elaborate hair pieces were sold at the time? ( women historically sold their hair, no idea if it was a ' thing ' in the era ) You see crazy confections adorning heads. Must have taken hours!
Thanks. I wasn't thinking about hair pieces. Could be a possibility.
 



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