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SUBMITTED BY:  Emily Whitaker Poetz (Introduction vetted and edited by Cheri Todd Molter; Manuscript written by Henry Richard McFadyen)

My name is Emily Whitaker Poetz and my aunt, Claudia Whitaker, sent me a link to your story submission page and said the History Center was looking for stories from the Reconstruction Era in North Carolina. I have a manuscript that I am sending to you in three separate pdfs.

The author of the manuscript was my Great-Grandfather, Henry Richard McFadyen who was born in North Carolina to Archibald McFadyen, a former Lieutenant who served during the Civil War, and Miriam E. Cromartie McFadyen. It was written about 1961 when Henry McFadyen was 85 years old and living in Oak Ridge, Guilford County, North Carolina. It includes quite a lot about what his life was like as a child growing up during the Reconstruction era in North Carolina. As far as I know, it has not been published anywhere previously. (Click on the links to parts 1, 2, and 3 below.)

Henry Richard McFadyen pt 1

Henry Richard McFadyen pt 2

Henry Richard McFadyen pt 3

Editor’s Notes:

In this manuscript, Henry Richard McFadyen includes the story of his father, Archibald McFadyen, who graduated from the University of North Carolina and then enlisted in the Confederate Army on June 17, 1862, at Cumberland County. McFadyen served in Company A of the North Carolina 5th Cavalry and was promoted to 3rd Lieutenant on December 2, 1862. On July 12, 1863, Lt. McFadyen was captured and taken prisoner at Hagerstown, Maryland, during the retreat from Gettysburg. He was confined at Johnson’s Island in Lake Erie, near Sandusky, Ohio, until June of 1865. After the war, Archibald McFadyen returned home to North Carolina, married Miriam E. Cromartie, and by 1899, they had seven children: Archibald H., Georgia F., Alice C., Paul R., Henry Richard, Miriam C., and Gertrude M. McFadyen. [Sources: North Carolina Troops 1861-65, A Roster; Evans, Clement, Confederate Military History, Vol. V, (1899), p. 620]

In Part I, Henry McFadyen mentions mad dogs and a societal fear of “hydrophobia.” The term hydrophobia is the historic name for rabies.

In Part II, McFadyen writes about his father’s experiences at the prisoner-of-war camp at Johnson’s Island in Ohio. He states that, while imprisoned, his father—Archibald McFadyen—kept a journal, and in it, he recorded the contents of the care packages sent to him and the other Confederate prisoners along with the names of the people who sent them. These are the names of the women mentioned who donated boxes of assorted necessities: “Mrs. A. W. Emly,” “Miss M. C. Douglass,” “Miss Fannie Tonbert,” “Miss Clara D. Chamberlain,” and “Miss Fannie V. Eberts.” McFadyen also states that his father and a few other Confederate soldiers studied theology while imprisoned, and “Rev. John L. [Girardeau],” who served in the 23rd Infantry (South Carolina), was their teacher (Index to Compiled Confederate Military Service Records).

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