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The Ellen Payne Odom Genealogy Library Family Tree
Beth's Weekly Moultrie Observer Column - Week 82
(This appears here courtesy of The Moultrie Observer)

   We're traveling with Great-grandmother McNair - through her wonderful letter that survives to this day - when she visited Moultrie during Sherman's March to the Sea.  We appreciate Mr. Tom Vereen sharing this with us.and thank him for permission to use it here!
   Mrs. McNair continues: Sometime later word came that the hotel people had gathered up some vitals (sic) and we rushed along with the hungry mob to get in touch with something to stay hunger, if possible. My share turned out to be half of a stale breakfast roll and a cup of tea made from leftover leaves and the situation became nerve wracking with two children and nothing to eat and all eating places closed and the town filled with wild excitement.
   Next morning about daylight my husband swept the streets and bought $12.00 worth of baker's bread and the family devoured most of it during the exciting day, which followed.  We secured seats in the first outgoing train and we pulled out of the city only to find the train stalled with cylinders blown out before we had covered 60 miles.
   We waited as patiently and as circumstances allowed, but we were all still hungry.  (Confederate money bought little).  And with another long crowded gloomy day ahead of it.  The train missed all its connections - all the eating places had been visited and left bare.  And, for the first time in my hereto compatible life, I was "dead hungry," and there was nothing to buy - and we had to bare (sic) it. 
   Sometime in the night the train began to move and we decided to stop over at Quitman because we must find food to eat and that night early.  The bill at the Pulaski Home was $75 and I suppose that was room/suite for one simple night with two beds.  We chanced upon a Bartow County family in Quitman who had been wise and who went farther down than we and purchased a small farm and our welcome was charming beyond expression.  We had nine o'clock breakfast Tuesday morning and "did the subject justice."  The news from abroad was most gloomy.  We were persuaded to stay a while and wait for developments.  The people were all at sea as to plans and purposes.  Sherman was devastating the country.
   My beloved husband left us with these glorious friends and made his way from Quitman to Macon in a buggy with another anxious patriot whose family was also near Macon.  It was two weeks before the word came to me to start on the big trip - across the wire grass country and our host sent us in a two horse wagon hoping to make the trip inside of three days.  It occupied the most of four days - and one of those nights we were fortunate enough to find shelter in a little hamlet called Moultrie.  A sick Confederate soldier wracked with rheumatism had reached his home from Virginia and as the creeks were swollen and rain imminent we were thankful for the shelter.  They gave us the best they had - in a two roomed house - with immense log heap fires - in the main room.  Fifteen people slept in one room - and if we had not been privileged to open the wooden shutters partly I think I should have felt parboiled by early morning.
   The shed room was the kitchen and eating place for this hospitable family - and we had plenty of fried bacon - combined with sweet potatoes for supper and breakfast.
   I never paid a bill in a New York or Washington hotel with greater willingness and thankfulness than the money I handed that humble soldier citizen in Moultrie where he had but very few neighbors and all were as poor as our host and hostess. 
  We'll finish Great-Grandmother McNair's adventure next week!

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