Home » Item Display

Abbie M. Brooks diaries and church invitation, 1858-1870

Click here to view the item (new window)
Type: Diaries | Text
Creator: Brooks, Abbie M., 1830-1914
Title: Abbie M. Brooks diaries and church invitation, 1858-1870
Date: 1858-1870
Description: This collection contains two diaries of Abigail M. Brooks, which date from 1865 and 1870 along with typed transcriptions of both. In addition, there is an invitation to attend church which dates from 1858. In the 1865 diary, Brooks describes life in rural Tennessee, near Nashville, where she teaches in a one room school house. Later in the year, Abigail moves to Edgefield, Tennessee, also near Nashville, and starts her own school. She describes life in Edgefield, trials with her students, the smoking stove, and parents who don't pay tuition. She also describes trips to Nashville to shop, take music lessons, and visit with friends. In April 1865, she mentions the fall of Richmond, General Robert E. Lee's surrender, President Lincoln's assassination. She describes meeting soldiers who were traveling home from war and learning about their war experiences. In the 1870 diary, Brooks describes the cities of Edgefield, Nashville, Atlanta, Madison, Augusta, and Savannah. Her diary gives insight into the Presbyterian Churches that Abigail attended while living in these cities. She describes the services, the ministers and church buildings. Many of the entries review her efforts to make a living selling books, religious prints, maps, or pictures of Robert E. Lee, both door-to-door and in local factories or offices. She mentions many local businessmen and their wives and sometimes comments on race relations, travel,city conditions and the hardships she encountered as a single woman trying to make a living in the post-Civil War South.

Processing Information: Collection reprocessed in 2008

Abigail Lindley (1830-1914) was born July 11, 1830 in Cooperstown, Pennsylvania to Alanson and Lucetta Lindley. Her father was a teacher and later the owner of a wool carding mill. Abigail was probably educated in the female academies of Meadville, Pennsylvania. In 1856, she left Pennsylvania and moved to Ohio to live with her Aunt Phoebe, where she gave birth to an illegitimate daughter, Ortie. Ortie was raised in Ohio by foster parents David and Laura Bacon. After the birth of her daughter, Abigail was disowned by her family. She left Ohio for a life of work and travel in the South. She began using the name Abbie M. Brooks. It has not been determined why she began using the name "Brooks" because it is not known that she ever married. During the Civil War, she taught in Edgefield, Tennessee where she also sold religious books, Civil War images and maps. Around 1870, she began selling books in Atlanta; Madison; Augusta; and Savannah, Georgia. In the early 1870s, she began making trips to Florida where she "wintered" for many years while having a base in Atlanta. She wrote several articles and books on Florida history and travel including The Unwritten History of Old St. Augustine. She died in St. Augustine, Florida in 1914.

America's Turning Point: Documenting the Civil War Experience in Georgia received support from a Digitizing Historical Records grant awarded to the Atlanta History Center, Georgia Historical Society, Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, and the Digital Library of Georgia by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Subjects: Brooks, Abbie M., 1830-1914 | Education--Tennessee--Edgefield | Presbyterians--Georgia | Presbyterians--Tennessee | Reconstruction (U.S. history, 1865-1877)--Georgia | Women--Confederate States of America--Social conditions | Georgia--Race relations. | United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Personal narratives | United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Women | Georgia | Tennessee | Edgefield (Tenn.)
Contributors: Atlanta History Center
Online Publisher: [Athens, Ga.] : Digital Library of Georgia in association with the Atlanta History Center, 2012
Original Material: [identification of item(s)], Abbie M. Brooks diaries and church invitation, MSS 39F, Kenan Research Center, Atlanta History Center.
Rights and Usage: Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. All requests to publish, quote, or reproduce must be submitted through the Kenan Research Center.

This collection is open for research.

Cite as: [identification of item(s)], Abbie M. Brooks diaries and church invitation, MSS 39F, Kenan Research Center, Atlanta History Center., as presented in the Digital Library of Georgia.

Persistent Link to Item: http://dlg.galileo.usg.edu/ahc/turningpoint/id:ahc0039f-001.xml

Related Institutions: Digital Library of Georgia
Georgia Historical Society
Atlanta History Center
Hargrett Library
Collection Information: America's Turning Point: Documenting the Civil War Experience in Georgia