The temperatures dipped below 20* F last night at Francis Slocum State Park (PA) and the marsh this morning was edged in ice. Green is peeking out, though, and hope for spring’s permanent arrival live on!!
The United States was teetering on the brink of civil war as Mary Walker of Tamaqua (PA) made plans for her union with Ebervale (PA) coal miner Martin Corrigan. President Abraham Lincoln spent the Easter season contemplating the resupply of Fort Sumter. Mary and Martin completed the final details for their marriage.
On Easter morning, 31 March 1861, Mary traipsed up the mountain from Tamaqua to the region’s main Irish Catholic church in Beaver Meadows. In all likelihood Mary was accompanied by her mother, Ellen, and sisters, Anne and Ellen, each taking a turn carrying the dress in which the Irish immigrant was to exchange vows. Meanwhile, Martin, himself a recent Irish immigrant, hurried to put the finishing touches on his wedding attire, borrowing a vest and dress overcoat to spruce up his outfit.
Though St. Gabriel’s Church existed in Hazleton and was most likely the Corrigans’ home church, Martin and his entourage traveled to the diocese’s main church, St. Mary’s, to rendezvous with the Walkers. Within the celebration of the high holy day of Easter, Martin and Mary were united in marriage by the Reverend Father Scanlon. Afterward the young couple posed for a photograph, to capture in perpetuity the beginning of the Corrigan-Walker partnership.
Family Genealogical Record, Ida May Corrigan, 26 Dec 1903. Hand written original. Corrigan Collection with author.
Map 1859 COLTON’S PENNSYLVANIA. Published by Johnson & Browning, 172 William St. New York: accessed online at http://www.mapsofpa.com/antiquemaps35.htm.
Photographic copy of original carte de visite, inscribed on back by Mary Corrigan Delehanty. Corrigan Collection with author.
Miscellaneous sources such as census data and obituaries of Martin Corrigan and Mary Walker. Author’s notes available upon request.
In the decade after Edward and Francis Dodson unpacked their wagon (1772), the 95 acres on Little Fork of Allen’s Creek, Mecklenburg County (VA) became a bustling farm. Green stalks of corn grew from hills of rich, red clay soil. Hogs snuffled through thick stands of oak, hickory, persimmon,and pine. Cattle grazed in fields that first yielded crops of wheat. The farmers sold surplus timber and crops to purchase those tools and foodstuffs they couldn’t produce themselves. And they purchased “heads” to increase their productivity, which would increase their profits, which would increase their savings, which would purchase more acreage–and more “heads” to work the new land.
The county was criss-crossed by spring-fed creeks and rivers, and by centuries-old trading paths, first packed down by the feet of the Occaneechi Indians. The road from Petersburg (VA) to the North Carolina border cut through the Mecklenburg Court House settlement, and was heavily used by the Continental and county militia companies as they positioned supplies and men during the Southern Campaign of the Revolutionary War. Edward Dodson served as militia company lieutenant from 1778 for the duration of the rebellion, and no doubt was called to guard the munitions at nearby Taylor’s Ferry on the Roanoke River. Having enslaved men, women, and children back on the farm privileged a resilience on the Dodson place that helped the family survive throughout those turbulent years.
In 1784, the Dodson family welcomed Edward Junior. Sally (Sarah), William, Elizabeth, and Martha probably knew what was up with the addition of one more baby, but toddlers Nancy and John were likely enthralled by the newborn. Outside their house could be heard the cries of two more babies, Robin (Bob) and Amy, born to the enslaved Kate and Biddy. In the quarters of the forced laborers two-year-old Bristol and Lucy were looked after by seven-year-old Sukey and four-year-olds, Dick and Bristol. Will, Peter, and Pat worked the farm with Kate and Biddy, overseen by Master Ed.
Post-war Virginia was just beginning to reconcile the concepts of liberty and slavery, the American contradiction that would shape generations of Dodsons.
Mecklenburg County (VA) Personal Property Tax Lists, 1782-1805, scanned microfilm images. A Binns Genealogy CD Series, Williamston, MI; BinnsGenealogy.com.
Name of Enslaved Date of Birth