The Hidden Confederate

by | Jan 21, 2016 | Confederate, Martin

My great-aunt, Julia Haughton Bryan, recounted how during the War Between the States a female family member was asked to hide a Confederate from the Yankees in her house. The lady rolled the young man up in a rug and stuffed him under a bed. When the Union command came looking for him, our ancestor, while standing on the stairway, pretended to faint. When she regained “consciousness” the Union soldiers apologized for the intrusion and left the house without finding the Confederate. When I heard about the planned North Carolina Civil War History Center and their call for stories, this one came to mind; but it needed details. I found that my great-grandmother had a sister, Matilda Lamb Morton. Later, I found that she wrote a manuscript, Memories of the War Between the States 1861-1865, by Matilda Lamb Morton Age 4 1/2 Years When the War Began. I drove to the Louis Round Wilson Library in Chapel Hill and read the following: “It was while at the Colin Spruill place a Confederate soldier rushed in asking Mother to hide him, the Yankees were after him. Never hesitating, she rolled him up in a piece of carpet under the bed. I was in the room with the other children, we continued our play as if nothing unusual happened. The Yankees came hurriedly in, told my mother a Confederate soldier was in the house, and they must search it. After looking around they requested her to lead them to the upper story, talking pleasantly. She did, lingering on the steps, even pretending to faint, to gain time for our soldier to escape, which he did. His name was Parisher, his pallid, frightened face remains in my memory still.” I could hardly believe my eyes. The story survived intact for over 150 years. The manuscript goes on to say that these events took place in Martin County, about two miles from Williamston, N.C. It leads you to believe that story’s heroine was Eliza Jane Williams Lamb, Matilda’s mother, Julia’s grandmother. (A longer version of the story can be found at: http://www.soulfoodnsunsets.com/spinnin-yarns/a-performer-in-the-family/)

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