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Friday, September 13, 2013

Images once lost, now found

Absalom Row

     During the past week a number of photographs--some of which have not been seen by any living person until now--have been discovered by Spotsylvania Memory. In an earlier post I had promised to share with you, my faithful readers, anything of interest that might come my way. In today's post, and others to follow, I am able to deliver on that pledge in spades. [Please note that you can click on any image for an enlarged view]
     Shown above is my great great grandfather, Absalom Row (1796-1855). Like his father Thomas Row of Orange County, Absalom was committed to public service and served for many years in Spotsylvania as justice of the peace, school commissioner and overseer of the poor. He also owned Greenfield, the family plantation, and was the owner of about two dozen slaves most of his adult life. A journal written by him in 1825 has also just been discovered, and will be the subject of a future post in this space. I have written about Absalom three times before, and I invite you to read those posts if you have not done so already: Absalom Row, Slavery and Absalom Row and A Murder in Old Spotsylvania.

George W.E. Row (right) and Joseph W. Johnson

      Absalom Row's only son--and my great grandfather--was George Washington Estes Row. George enlisted in the 9th Virginia Cavalry in April 1861 at age 17 and transferred to the Sixth Virginia Cavalry the following year. Regular readers of Spotsylvania Memory know that he is a primary focus of my research and he has had a number of posts devoted to his life's story. For those of you who may be interested in his early life and his experiences during the Civil War, here are links to those posts:
George Washington Estes Row, Part 1 and George Washington Estes Row, Part 2. In the photograph presented here, George is sitting with his first cousin Joseph Watkins Johnson, who served with the 1st Virginia Sharpshooters (also called the 30th Virginia Sharpshooters).

Paper holding lock of George W.E. Row's hair

Lock of George W. E. Row's hair

     Among the artifacts that I discovered last week was this lock of my great grandfather's hair, taken when he was 17 years old. While I cannot say for certain that this is true, I surmise that his mother cut this when he was preparing to ride off to war in order that she might have something of him in the event that he never returned home.

Nancy Estes Row and George W. E. Row
     This photo of George Row was likely taken about 1848-49, based on his apparent age. His mother would be about 50 years old here. Nancy Estes Row lived her entire life at Greenfield plantation and was a strong-willed, intelligent woman who ruled her domain with vigor and purpose. Her life story has been presented twice before on Spotsylvania Memory, and is worth a couple of clicks for those of you who may have not read them before: Nancy Estes Row and Slavery, War and Nancy Row

More rare photographs will appear in my next post...

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