SUBMITTED BY: Elmon Dale (article transcribed by Carolina Echeverri; vetted and edited by Cheri Todd Molter)
[This article and Mrs. Dale’s obituary, both from the Hickory Daily Record, are attached below. Click on image to enlarge.]
“Mrs. Louisa Dale, ninety-seven, of Longview, stuck holes in the [family’s] meat during the Civil war so the Yankees, she explained, would think it had been poisoned. The Northern soldiers also refused chickens caught by the family dog, according to Mrs. Dale, who, when in the right mood, can relate many interesting facts concerning the bloody war and the Reconstruction days. Her first husband Elijah Cunningham died while in the service of the Southland. Mrs. Dale, who was only thirteen at the time of her first marriage, never saw her youthful husband again alive after he left their Alabama homestead for the battle-fields [sic].
‘We were both young, just like children together,’ Mrs. Dale declared. Her second marriage was different, however, she added. ‘I had to toe the mark then, I’ll tell you.’
Mrs. Dale ultimately left the Alabama homestead taken up by her young husband without ever dreaming that, in the years to come, it would be worth at least a small fortune. Coal was later discovered on the homestead, and today instead of the wilderness that Mrs. Dale knew there is a small city. One of her sons, local relatives said, made an investigation several years ago to determine whether Mrs. Dale had lived on the homestead long enough to share in the wealth of the coal mine, but the outcome of his quest is not known…
Mrs. Dale was born in South Carolina, the youngest child of Adam Whitley [and Kate Cunningham Whitley]. She lives at present with a daughter, Mrs. [Annie Elizabeth] Flemming. She has three other daughters, Mrs. Lula Allen of Gastonia, Mrs. [Donnie] Lavender of Hickory, and Mrs. Georgie Keller of Morganton; and three sons, Robert Dale of Morganton, Joe Dale of Burke County, and Adam Dale of Hickory.
Buried Wrong Husbands
She asserts that many women buried ‘the wrong men’ during the Civil war. After burying [the] men they believed to be their husbands, the spouses [who were believed to be deceased] later showed up alive, she added.
‘Things were awfully mixed up during the war,’ she further explained.
Mrs. Dale is rather hard of hearing but is able to read without the aid of spectacles. Quite religious, she peruses the Bible diligently. Her favorite Bible is one with large print she won in a radio contest for being the oldest person to guess correctly the Scripture from which a minister had taken his sermon.”
Editor’s note: Mrs. Louisa Dale died on Oct. 1, 1940, the following year after this article was published.