Work at Bethany Hospital and Abbeville, South Carolina
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Bethany Hospital and Soldiers’ Aid Association, Edgefield County, S. C.
Paper by Mrs. C. P. Poppenheim, written 1901
In the month of June, 1861, a number of ladies of Bethany Church, Edgefield County, S. C, met at Bouknight’s Ferry, on Saluda River, at the home of Mr. William Bouknight, and there organized a society for the aid of our soldiers in camp and the sick in the hospitals.
The following constitution was adopted:
Whereas, Many of our soldiers are laid low by the hand of dis-ease, and thereby prevented from attending to the necessary duties which are so essential to the protection and welfare of our beloved and common country, and as it is a duty binding upon us to furnish all necessary articles, and aid, which are in any way conducive to the welfare of our soldiers; therefore,
Resolved, First. That we, the ladies of this community, near and about Bethany Church, do sympathize deeply with our sick soldiers.
Second. That we form ourselves into an association, known and distinguished by the name of Bethany Hospital and Soldiers’ Aid Association.
Third. That the principal object of this association be for the immediate relief of the sick soldiers from our midst, and then our service be indiscriminately favored to all weary soldiers in our cause.
Fourth. That this association be organized by appointing officers, viz.: President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer.
Fifth. That each member of this association pay into the hands of the treasurer a certain sum, concluded upon by the association, for the purpose of purchasing medicine and all other necessary articles which the society feels it in their power to purchase.
Sixth. That each member be punctual in attending the meetings, which shall be monthly, or oftener, if the president deems it necessary.
The following officers were elected:
President – Mrs. W. Abney.
Vice-President – Mrs. Geo. Long.
Secretary – Miss Louisa M. Bouknight.
Treasurer – Miss Mary E. Bouknight.
General Manager – Mrs. G. D. Huiet.
Miss E. H. Huiet.
Miss Mary Livingston.
Mrs. A. Coleman.
Mrs. B. Culbreath.
Mrs. C. Perry.
Mrs. D. Smith.
Mrs. G. Rutherford.
Mrs. H. Livingston.
Mrs. J. Abney.
Mrs. J. Berry.
Mrs. J. Schumpert.
Mrs. John Miller.
Mrs. M. Gilder.
Mrs. M. Long.
Mrs. S. Coppock.
Mrs. S. Smith.
Mrs. T. D. Purifoy.
Mrs. W. Clary.
Mrs. W. Strother.
Mrs. Wm. Clark.
Mrs. Wm. Merchant.
This association met every two weeks, each member bringing their contributions, and when sufficient had accumulated, large boxes were packed and shipped by way of Newberry Courthouse, ten miles distant, to R. W. Barnwell Jr., Charlottesville, Va.
The Charleston Tri-Weekly Courier of August and September, 1861, has letters published acknowledging the receipt of these boxes, containing shirts, drawers, socks, pants and coats, handkerchiefs, vests, dressing-gowns, slippers, sheets and pillow-cases, pillows, blankets, comforts, towels, counterpanes, bandages and rags, tea, coffee, sugar, preserves, brandy, wine, cordial, whiskey, porter and ale, cologne, lemon syrup, sage and tapioca, arrowroot, cornstarch, mustard and flaxseed, ginger and nutmeg, rice and rice flour, basins and pans, cups and saucers, coffee and teapots, knives and forks, plates and dishes, fans, brooms, cards and brushes, bowls and mugs, soap, and starch, gelatin and isinglass, Bibles and tracts and other books, bed-ticking, pickles, butter. Cigars, tobacco and pipes were also sent. One good mother said: “By all means let our boys have their tobacco, pipes, and cigars.”
Loving hands knit socks and gloves during the long, anxious hours, awaiting news from the battlefield in Virginia.
Homespun garments, all spun, dyed and woven, cut and made on the plantation, were brought in large packages, to be sent to the needy soldiers.
This devoted work went cheerfully on during the long and anxious days that our loved ones in camp were exposed to so many dangers; nor did it cease until the desolation of Sherman’s march through South Carolina and the destroying of the railroads by Sherman’s men put a stop to all transportation.
Mary Bouknight Poppenheim, (Mrs. C. P. Poppenheim,)
Charleston, S. C.
March 20, 1901.
Woman’s Work at Abbeville.
Written by Mrs. Joseph Marshall, 1901
A society was formed in Abbeville to send supplies to soldiers in our army. Mrs. Armstead Burt was the President; Mrs. Thomas Perrin, Vice-President. Two ladies were appointed each week to send a box of clothing, provisions and comforts for the sick and wounded.
A knitting society was formed, Mrs. J. W. Marshall, President; Mrs. W. H. Parker, Vice-President.
About fifty pairs of socks were sent away every two weeks.
In 1865, a hospital was fixed up for the sick and wounded passing through Abbeville, which was then the most direct route west. Mrs. Robert Wardlaw was the president.
Two ladies met each train that came in, and if the soldiers were too sick to go on, they were cared for in the hospital. If they were able to go on, a hack was furnished, often to Washington and Elberton, Georgia, a distance of thirty and forty miles.
Twenty soldiers died here and were buried in the Episcopal Churchyard, and at Long Cane Cemetery.
After the war, Mrs. Samuel McGowan and Mrs. J. W. Marshall got up an entertainment, the proceeds of which were used to mark each grave with a marble upright piece at head and foot.
One soldier came with smallpox. He was taken to a vacant house near Magazine Hill. A Negro man, who had had the disease, nursed him, and others did all they could, but in a few days he died, never able to tell his name. He was buried near the house in which he died, and a cedar tree, planted by a little girl, is all that marks the resting place of, no doubt, a true and brave soldier.
At Calhoun Mills, Abbeville District, a society was formed, with Mrs. M. C. Tilman as president.
All supplies were sent to her home, where they were packed and sent to Abbeville – twelve miles – to be shipped on the railroad.
True and patriotic old farmers sent all they could think of – provisions and clothing, and all sorts of herbs – for the sick. One old man brought two immense slippery elm trees. At first, he was laughed at, but Mrs. Tilman said it was the very thing for the wounded. She set the little Negroes to work to take off the rough bark, and tie up the soft inside into small bundles and, with two days’ work, four large bales were sent to Virginia. The surgeon wrote saying that nothing had ever done more good, and begging that they would send all that could be had.
Letter from Mrs. L. C. Haskell, 1901
There was a society ten miles west of Abbeville, at Monterey. Mrs. Squire Giles, Mrs. Haskell, and Mrs. Tilman were prominent members and, I think, officers.