Monday, June 20, 2011

Over the Hill to the Poorhouse

I recently wrote about the percentage of married veterans who lived in Confederate soldiers’ homes while their wives lived elsewhere.

I recall that while researching My Old Confederate Home, I was most struck by the stories of married men who were forced to leave their wives of many years for the shelter of the Kentucky Confederate Home. (The Kentucky home, unlike some others, never accommodated wives or widows of veterans.)

As plans for the organization of the Kentucky home were being discussed, the wife of a Bath County stockman wrote a friend about an aged couple who lived in the county: “They are much too ill to care for themselves,” she wrote about the Confederate veteran and his wife. “They have no family, and I fear they will starve to death if a place cannot be made for both of them.”

The couple, married nearly fifty years, was forced to split up. He was one of the first admissions to the Kentucky Confederate Home; she went to live in the county poorhouse.

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