Friday, May 15, 2009

There Will Be No Readheaded Children

Sarah is one of my genealogical regrets. There was a studio portrait of Sarah Jane Graham Campbell, my Great Great Grandmother. She threw the portrait away. Having never cared for the likeness she was certain no one would ever want it. How very wrong she was.

Another installment in the Campbell Family History.

IT IS SETTLED; THERE WILL BE NO REDHEADED CHILDREN. Sarah Jane Graham, the oldest daughter of a wealthy farming family, was being courted by an Irishman named Kelly, a local farmer. A proposal of marriage was expected from him and Sarah, being a stubborn sixteen-year-old girl, had made up her mind not to marry him because she wanted no redheaded children.

Sarah’s justification for not marrying farmer Kelly raises suspicions as to her true feelings for him, because on the fourth of April 1843, William Graham gave his permission to John Campbell to marry his eldest daughter Sarah and in the forty years they were married they had several redheaded children. The redheaded gene was to visit every generation of the Campbell family down to and including mine.

John was thirty-six years old, sixteen years older than his bride and had spent most of his adult life living with his parents. All indications are that theirs was a loving marriage. Sarah was well taken care of by John and nothing more was required of her than having his children.

That was until the War Between The States. John and Sarah Campbell owned slaves and had southern sympathies. Life in Union held Carroll County, Missouri, was becoming very dangerous for their family.

Isaac, their oldest son, had already gone off to war to fight for the Confederacy. Sarah and John feared for the safety of their fourteen-year-old son, James, who was at the mercy of the Union soldiers billeted just outside town. To save James, John spirited him out of the county in the dark of night to the safety of his sister Jenny Sproul's home in Louisville, Kentucky.

Sarah had moved away from the Union troops to their farm in Brunswick, Missouri. She took her youngest son, three daughters, and the family slaves. With John gone, the responsibility now fell to Sarah to maintain the crops and safeguard their home. She was called on to protect her way of life, her home, and her family against great odds. And she was to succeed.

The Battle Of Lexington

In and Around The City

September 18, 19, 20, 1861


Blogger Judith Richards Shubert said...

Another wonderful account of one of the heroes of our past! Your great-great-grandmother, Sarah, truly was brave to take up the responsibility of her home and family by herself with John gone. But I loved your relaying the "no red-headed children" mantra to us. There are many red-heads in our family, too!

May 20, 2009 at 12:33 PM  
Blogger TERRY SNYDER said...

So many times the focus of civil war stories are about the heroics on the battlefield. I find it infinitely more interesting to hear stories like this one. How the war affected each family. The sacrifices they made. How the division in the country impacted every citizen, and every descendent. I think Sarah's story is an important one that needs to be told. I'm glad it is in your hands.

May 24, 2009 at 9:48 AM  

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