Mary Jane was only 32 years old when her husband died in Richmond, Va. After his death in 1863, Mary Jane raised seven children by herself in the hard days of reconstruction in the Old South. The fact that she did it is a silent testimony to her strength of character, her will, and her determination.
When the war ended the columns of blue clad troops came marching into the South. They soon got a bad name for plundering as they stole everything in sight - horse, hogs, cows, food, even slave girls! Sandy and James hid their mules down in the big timber thickets, behind the homeplace, between the two creeks. They did this off and on for about six months as the Yankee first marched in, and then marched out, on their way home.
Mary Jane hid what few food provisions they had to keep them from being stolen. Luck was with them. The Yanks didn't find them out.
Sandy and James became the men of the house, followed later by Frank and Warren. Sandy gave his share of the old homeplace to James in return for his promise to always look after Mary Jane.
In her last years, after the children had married and moved away, she lived alone. Her son, James, had a house about 1/4 mile down the road and he sent his son, John, (my grandfather) to stay with her at night. John did this as a child and as a young man. Both sons, James and Sandy, help to look after their grandmother, but the major burden for caring for her was done by James and he did an admirable job. She never wanted for the necessities - James saw to it that his mother had everything she needed.
On her tombstone are the words, "She hath done all she could."