Marie Keane

F, b. 1866, d. 1953
Last Edited3 Aug 2000
     She married Thomas Todd Dabney. The following was written by Marie Keane Dabney and relates to her early married life.

CHAPTER NINE

DESPITE the warnings of my wise mother, I spent the first year of my married life in the home of my husband's family. He was so indispensable to those helpless people that I could see no other solution, and delay seemed cruel to a man so many years my senior.

Perhaps their realization of their dependence upon him' inspired their constant urging a speedy marriage and their repeated assurance of a most hearty welcome into the family!

He was managing his father's two thousand acre estate in order to enable his two maiden sisters to live like ladies.) and his Epicurean father to abide in luxury. His mother, who had tasted the rigors of the Civil War and its tragic aftermath for the South, as well as the slave?owning days preceding it, still bore the brunt of a complete bouleversement in housekeeping.

     Her husband must not suffer the indignity of manual work; his julep was a daily necessity; his food must be kept to the standard of pre?war days. Indomitable in her courage, obdurate in her estimate of woman's status according to Saint Paul, she had continued to bear children even during the frightful days of the war, while her husband evaded its rigors, although he was only forty years of age in the fateful year of '61. He was, never known to do any heavy manual labor more strenuous than that of lifting a log to fling on the open fire, and for this task he always wore gloves. Also he periodically toured the plantation on horseback and criticized every thing that was, being done. Invariably his inspection ended with a curse for the d? Yankees who had even "ruined the acorn crop."

I soon perceived that the head of the house was unquestionably the mother, although she would have been the last to acknowledge the fact. A small, frail woman with an incongruously gentle voice and a determined jaw, she had been aptly described by an old servant as "a little lady what, sets high." The iron hand in the velvet glove was hers, despite her mild manner, and everyone was cautioned not to, cross her because of her weak heart.

Her former slaves flocked to her when they were in trouble, physical or mental, and they were never denied. She had the respect of the community, contributing generously to the church, noted for her hospitality and her superabundant table, her industry and devotion to her family.

I did not love her. She could not be convinced that Spring began on the twenty?second day of March.. Didn't the Richardson Almanac designate March as the First Spring Month? So Spring began March First. Selah. Warning glances from her daughters would silence the dissenter. Ma?ma's weak heart forbade discussion.

The spinster daughters were of a type quite new to me. So refined as to be vulgar, so cautious as to appear to be concealing guilt, concerned chiefly with the opinion of Gloucester, they never ventured out without gloves, veils and hats, for to them sunburn was unladylike.

Living on an arm of the Chesapeake Bay, the tide washing their lawn, they had never learned to swim nor to sail a boat.
Wasp waists, bustles and bangs were among the hideous fashions of the '90's, to none of which I conformed. I wore no stays, no bustle, and some of my dresses were copied from old portraits. Confident that I wore what became me, I was as vain and conceited as any slave of fashion, and often the despair of my mother. But an indulgent husband encouraged me in what he kindly called my independence. He was particularly delighted with my exceedingly brief bathing?suit, and unwisely begged his sisters to copy ii. They gave one gasping glance at it and clung to their long trousers ending with a ruffle at the ankle, and topped by a modest skirt, a highnecked blouse and a flopping hat. Thus panoplied against the elements, they occasionally braved a brief dip in North River.

Their brother, a perfect Centaur, taught me to ride astride, and my jodhpurs called for a family conference. He even desecrated a corner of the spacious lawn with a tennis court, without asking the consent of his mother, to whom all outdoor games except croquet were "unlady?like." Naturally I was as great a distress to the family as they were a bore to me, and that I was abetted by their chief prop and support soon caused a friction which could have but one ending.

The ancestral home, surrounded by great elms and pecan trees on a beautiful lawn level with the river, had in itself no pretension to architectural beauty nor interior comfort. No effort had been made to decorate the dreary house. The narrow windows were uncurtained, fine old books were stored in the attic; lovely old pewter and Canton china were banished to the barn.

Luxury ruled only at the table, and here was every appliance for serving the rich food for which the house was noted. Pepper?grinders, long toddy?spoons heavy cut?glass decanters, even marrow?spoons.

Soon after I went to live with these bon?vivants, my mother?in?law gave me the treasured family remedy for over?eating.

"Dr. Dabney wrote the prescription, and we always keep it on hand." She added proudly, "All my family suffer from indigestion."

The kitchen was at least sixty feet from the house. From it issued great platters of fried chicken, spoon?bread, flaky rolls, home?cured hams, saddles of mutton, fried oysters, crabmeat, cream too thick to pour. The plantation and the river furnished all this food, servants were plentiful and cheap, and to me everything was extravagant and lavish: so my reaction to the never?ceasing complaints about the poverty and hardships which the Yankees had inflicted was not always sympathetic. Certainly there was no privation about food, and no expense entailed by travel; for few seemed to have strayed very far from Gloucester Courthouse. And like Whimpy, little Whimpy, they all came home to tea, or rather, to a corking good dinner.

Mrs. Dabney always said Grace at dinner before the family was seated, while her husband eyed impatiently the turkey stuffed with oysters or the succulent roast. Perforce the blessing was brief. It was simply a "Thank God." One day, as we were standing waiting for Grace to be said, there appeared at the dining~?room door a neighbor noted for his prodigious appetite. Mrs. Dabney paused a moment to ask, "Colonel, have you dined?"

"Thank you, Madam, I have," was the reply. Mrs. Dabney closed her eyes and reverently said, "Thank God!" We all sat down, without a smile. It was not a humorous family.

They contributed generously to the frequent church suppers but never supplied the church with a male member. On Sunday the men consented to drive, the family to Ware Church, dutifully escorted them to the door, and remained outside to discuss local news with similarly minded neighbors.

     The ladies, however, attended services regularly???or as regularly as the road was clear. For a mill?dam which had to be crossed on the way was subject to collapses in wet weather. And as the dam was on Tabb property, and as the Tabbs were related to everybody who was anybody, it was not considered polite to ask them to repair the dam until they were good and ready. I recall four times one whiter when we had to return without religious stimulation to a very compensating and soul?satisfying dinner. Ware. Church did not rate an eloquent rector: but The Exchange, while its mistress "thanked God", saw to it that he had ample assistance from her kitchen.

The meals were brought in by the cook's young boys, in every kind of weather, and one of them remained in the dining room to wave a long peacock?tail brush over the table. Often he would doze at his task, which evoked loud curses from the master. "Damn your immaculate hide. Littleton Tazewell Tabb, can't you keep the flies out of my plate? If I only had the power I had before the double?damned Yankees came, I'd drop you off the end of my pier!"

Littleton T. Tabb, accustomed to these outbursts, would grin broadly and resume his languid manipulation of the brush, and soon would go to sleep again. The flies seemed to enjoy the ride. No screens were tolerated, and flies were outnumbered only by fleas. On one occasion when T.T. asked his man why he had not delivered a load of manure in the garden, the reply was, "I done dump it, Marse Todd, but it done hop away."

Slave quarters, built of brick panels between heavy hand?hewn studdings, still flanked the service entrance. On summer nights from that quarter floated Negro spirituals accompanied by banjoes--an inimitable orchestration combined with the sound of the wavelets lapping the shore.

No wonder that on these banks the early settlers built some of the handsomest homes in Virginia I Williamsburg and Jamestown were within driving distance, and Toddsbury (1657) was separated from The Exchange by a creek spanned by a footbridge which my father?in?law had been obliged to cross to court Mistress Emory Tabb, who was born there. Perhaps it was his constitutional indolence which led him to seek a bride so easily reached. At any rate, that trip marked about the extent of his travels, except for an occasional journey to Baltimore or to the: Virginia Springs. "Gloucester's good enough for me!" was his shibboleth.

The Gloucester people, most, hospitable and kindly, were amazingly satisfied with their status. They traveled little, and perhaps it was this lack of acquaintance with other countries which induced the constant reference to, their little plot as "the garden spot of the world." They were really quite serious about it.

Having been denuded of so much of t1heir material possessions (the Yankee gunboats had anchored at their very doors and had removed everything movable, even the bee?hives) they had recourse to dwelling on past glories, and ancestry was the favorite subject of conversation.

Nearly all the families were connected by blood or by marriage, and they "cousined" one another even when the relationship was so remote that it required as much elucidation as today's income tax report.

One of the well?intentioned "cousins", who had not been taught that direct personal questions reflected bad breeding, asked me sweetly, "And who was your great great?grandmother, my dear, and where did she meet your great?great?grandfather?"

"I believe," I answered, looking thoughtful, "that he was an anthropomorphous ape, and she fell in love with him when he gave her his seat on the limb of a tree, somewhere in Britain."

And how, in those days, the ladies prided themselves upon?their "innocence"! Of course I was brought up in complete ignorance of my body, confided Cousin E_______, "All nice young girls were. I assure you that I had never seen a gentleman's??er?underclothing until I chanced to see?oh, months after we were married?my old darling's?er?drawers, on the clothesline. And I have never in my life been so acutely embarrassed as when I broke the news to my mother that my dear William was expected."

"The modem girl is so coarse!" chimed in her sister. "So men have lost that subtle sentiment which distinguished the gentlemen of our day. We used to wear evening dresses which bared the shoulder; so everybody knew that I had a deep dimple in my left shoulder. Indeed it was quite a famous dimple. My suitors once made a bet about how many drops of water it might hold. And one of them added, 'And how many tears"

That these cannot be classed as typical Southern women is evidenced by the interesting life?histories of many of the inmates of the Home for Confederate Women, which is my next?door neighbor. Its oldest member had, started housekeeping in a cabin in the Dismal Swamp, where she spun, wove, made dyes from plants, helped her man to build carts whose wheels were evolved from the surrounding forest, and even fashioned buttons from the horns of cattle.

"Any time," she reminisced, "'when. I was? a?settin' in mah cabin do' rockin' the baby an' spinnin', a big b'ar would come to th' aidge of the cl'arin' an' stan' thar lookin' at me... I got used to 'em. I c'd use a gun."

No, the Southern woman can no more be encompassed within a type than can her Northern sister. True, she has rightly been accused of decorating her walls with framed coats-of?arms extending from the entrance to the kitchen, where cockroaches multiplied unchecked. I have myself seen this.

But on the ~other hand, and in the opposite extreme, who that has visited in small New England towns I has not been the victim of the Yankee housewife who would not allow a visitor to depart without a survey of her immaculate kitchen? After such an experience I was moved to write home:

"Won't you walk into my kitchen?" urged the New England housewife,
"'Tis the most efficient kitchen you've seen in all your fife!
I've a dirt?eradicator on my patent pantry shelf,
And a vacuum sterilizer that I work all day myself.
I scald my bread?box daily; beans are baking in my oven.,
There am rugs upon my kitchen floor, and nothing there that's sloven:
I slave within my kitchen from morn to dewy eve,
Umtempted by Spring songs outside inviting me to leave.
I never scatter coats of fire upon my neighbor's head
I simply shake my dustless mop on her new hat instead.
Convenience and efficiency are my chief Contemplation,
Without them I would be bereft of themes for, conversation.
What? Going? But you haven't seen my, garbage?ash receiver
Great Heavens! She's gone without one glance at my new raisin? seeder!"

Source: Mrs. T. N. T. by Marie Keane Dabney, The Dietz Press, Incorporated, Richmond, Virginia, copyright 1949, pages 40-47. Marie was born in 1866. Her body was interred in 1953 at Gloucester County, Virginia, at Ware Church. Marie died in 1953.

Family

Thomas Todd Dabney b. 9 Apr 1850, d. 21 Sep 1931
Children

Hugh Keane Dabney

M, b. 11 April 1893, d. 21 May 1972
FatherThomas Todd Dabney b. 9 Apr 1850, d. 21 Sep 1931
MotherMarie Keane b. 1866, d. 1953
Last Edited30 Jan 1997
     His body was interred at Gloucester County, Virginia, at Ware Church. Hugh was born on 11 April 1893. Hugh died on 21 May 1972 at age 79.

Annette Dabney

F, b. 11 November 1890, d. 10 October 1960
FatherThomas Todd Dabney b. 9 Apr 1850, d. 21 Sep 1931
MotherMarie Keane b. 1866, d. 1953
Last Edited24 Jul 2000
     Her body was interred at Gloucester County, Virginia, at Ware Church. Annette was born on 11 November 1890. Annette died on 10 October 1960 at age 69.

Family

Child

Sophie Jenkins McKee

F, b. 31 January 1865, d. 24 March 1942
Last Edited2 Mar 1997
     She married William Foreman Dabney. Her body was interred at Gloucester County, Virginia, at Ware Church. Sophie was born on 31 January 1865. Sophie died on 24 March 1942 at age 77.

Family

William Foreman Dabney b. 17 May 1862, d. 2 Apr 1935
Child

William Fairlie Dabney

M, b. 1898, d. 1969
FatherWilliam Foreman Dabney b. 17 May 1862, d. 2 Apr 1935
MotherSophie Jenkins McKee b. 31 Jan 1865, d. 24 Mar 1942
Last Edited31 Oct 2001
     William was born in 1898. His body was interred in 1969 at Gloucester County, Virginia, at Ware Church. William died in 1969.

Ella Mae Dunphy

F, b. 23 November 1890, d. 11 July 1976
Last Edited1 Sep 2014
     Ella was born on 23 November 1890.1 She married Christopher West Tabb at Baltimore, Baltimore County, Maryland, on 15 July 1914.2 Ella died on 11 July 1976 at age 85.1 She was buried after 11 July 1976 at Mount Olivet Cemetery, Baltimore, Maryland.1

Family

Christopher West Tabb b. 6 Apr 1878, d. 10 Mar 1959
Child

Citations

  1. [S1088] http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi
  2. [S675] Source: E-mail from Nancy Crockett Tabb (knewthat.aol.com) dated 03 December 1999 to George E. Tabb, Jr.

William Kennon Perrin II

M, b. 6 November 1834, d. 29 November 1904
FatherWilliam Kennon Perrin b. 1784, d. 1855
MotherSarah T. Wormley
Last Edited30 Jan 1997
     His body was interred at Gloucester County, Virginia, at Ware Church. William was born on 6 November 1834. He married Lucy Wellford Jones at 'Waverly', Gloucester County, Virginia, in 1866. William died on 29 November 1904 at age 70.

Family

Lucy Wellford Jones b. 3 Sep 1840, d. 26 May 1925
Children

Lucy Wellford Jones

F, b. 3 September 1840, d. 26 May 1925
FatherDr. Walter F. Jones
MotherMary Welford
Last Edited31 Oct 2001
     Lucy was born on 3 September 1840. She married William Kennon Perrin II at 'Waverly', Gloucester County, Virginia, in 1866. Her body was interred in May 1925 at Gloucester County, Virginia, at Ware Church. Lucy died on 26 May 1925 at age 84.

Family

William Kennon Perrin II b. 6 Nov 1834, d. 29 Nov 1904
Children

Dr. Walter F. Jones

M
Last Edited30 Jan 1997
     Dr. died. Dr. was born. He married Mary Welford.

Family

Mary Welford
Child

Mary Welford

F
Last Edited30 Jan 1997
     She married Dr. Walter F. Jones. Mary died. Mary was born.

Family

Dr. Walter F. Jones
Child

William Kennon Perrin

M, b. 1784, d. 1855
Last Edited30 Jan 1997
     William was born in 1784. He married Sarah T. Wormley in 1833. William died in 1855.

Family

Sarah T. Wormley
Children

Sarah T. Wormley

F
Last Edited30 Jan 1997
     Sarah died. Sarah was born at 'Rosegill', Middlesex County, Virginia. She married William Kennon Perrin in 1833.

Family

William Kennon Perrin b. 1784, d. 1855
Children

Fannie Perrin

F, b. 25 September 1867, d. 8 December 1955
FatherWilliam Kennon Perrin II b. 6 Nov 1834, d. 29 Nov 1904
MotherLucy Wellford Jones b. 3 Sep 1840, d. 26 May 1925
Last Edited31 Oct 2001
     She married Hansford Edward Taliaferro. Fannie was born on 25 September 1867. Fannie died on 8 December 1955 at age 88. Her body was interred in December 1955 at Gloucester County, Virginia, at Ware Church.

Family

Hansford Edward Taliaferro b. 30 Mar 1858, d. 5 Mar 1938
Child

Hansford Edward Taliaferro

M, b. 30 March 1858, d. 5 March 1938
Last Edited31 Oct 2001
     He married Fannie Perrin. Hansford was born on 30 March 1858. Hansford died on 5 March 1938 at age 79. His body was interred in March 1938 at Gloucester County, Virginia, at Ware Church.

Family

Fannie Perrin b. 25 Sep 1867, d. 8 Dec 1955
Child

William Kennon Perrin III

M, b. 29 July 1869, d. 1933
FatherWilliam Kennon Perrin II b. 6 Nov 1834, d. 29 Nov 1904
MotherLucy Wellford Jones b. 3 Sep 1840, d. 26 May 1925
Last Edited31 Oct 2001
     He married Anita Ewens. William was born on 29 July 1869. His body was interred in 1933 at Gloucester County, Virginia, at Ware Church. William died in 1933.

Family

Anita Ewens b. 1882, d. 1942
Children

Anita Ewens

F, b. 1882, d. 1942
FatherJohn Frederick Ewens
MotherHenrietta Hill
Last Edited31 Oct 2001
     She married William Kennon Perrin III. Anita was born in 1882. Her body was interred in 1942 at Gloucester County, Virginia, at Ware Church. Anita died in 1942.

Family

William Kennon Perrin III b. 29 Jul 1869, d. 1933
Children

John Frederick Ewens

M
Last Edited30 Jan 1997
     John died. John was born. He married Henrietta Hill.

Family

Henrietta Hill
Child

Henrietta Hill

F
Last Edited30 Jan 1997
     She married John Frederick Ewens. Henrietta died. Henrietta was born.

Family

John Frederick Ewens
Child

Sallie Tayloe Perrin

M, b. 2 February 1881, d. 22 April 1966
FatherWilliam Kennon Perrin II b. 6 Nov 1834, d. 29 Nov 1904
MotherLucy Wellford Jones b. 3 Sep 1840, d. 26 May 1925
Last Edited31 Oct 2001
     Sallie was born on 2 February 1881. His body was interred in April 1966 at Gloucester County, Virginia, at Ware Church. Sallie died on 22 April 1966 at age 85.

Edmund Moss

M
Last Edited30 Jan 1997
     Edmund died. Edmund was born. He married (---?---) (---?---).

Family

(---?---) (---?---)
Child

Mark Johnson

M
Last Edited10 Mar 1999
     Mark died. Mark was born. He married Elizabeth Westwood. Mark's will was probated on 18 December 1728.

Family

Elizabeth Westwood
Child

Joseph Bruce Veale

M
Last Edited30 Jan 1997
     Joseph died. Joseph was born.

Family

Child

Richard Hand

M, d. 1689
Last Edited30 Jan 1997
     Richard was born. He married Frances Purefoy. Richard died in 1689.1

Family

Frances Purefoy b. 1653, d. c 1689
Child

Citations

  1. [S107] Virginia Magazine of History, Vol. VII, page 100.

Frances Purefoy

F, b. 1653, d. circa 1689
FatherThomas Purefoy , Jr. b. 1621
Last Edited30 Jan 1997
     She married Richard Hand. Frances was born in 1653. Frances died circa 1689.

Family

Richard Hand d. 1689
Child

Christopher Todd

M, b. 2 April 1690, d. 26 March 1743
Last Edited30 Jan 1997
     Christopher was born at "Toddsbury", Gloucester County, Virginia, on 2 April 1690. He married Elizabeth Mason circa 1718. Christopher died on 26 March 1743 at "Toddsbury", Gloucester County, Virginia, at age 52. His body was interred in 1743 at Gloucester County, Virginia, at "Toddsbury".

Family

Elizabeth Mason b. 25 Apr 1701, d. 10 Nov 1764
Children

Elizabeth Mason

F, b. 25 April 1701, d. 10 November 1764
Last Edited19 Mar 1999
     Elizabeth was born on 25 April 1701.1 She married Christopher Todd circa 1718. Elizabeth died on 10 November 1764 at "Toddsbury", Gloucester County, Virginia, at age 63.1

Family

Christopher Todd b. 2 Apr 1690, d. 26 Mar 1743
Children

Citations

  1. [S423] Source: This is an exact copy of Patterson Smiths papers loaned by Edward Dabney Septermber 15, 1892, and housed at the Virginia Historical Society, Richmond, VA, Mss 1M 6663c 4285-42-86, (stated as copied from the Old Toddsbury Bible).

Nathaniel Wythe

M
Last Edited30 Jan 1997
     Nathaniel died. Nathaniel was born. He married Elizabeth Todd.

Family

Elizabeth Todd
Child

Elizabeth Todd

F
Last Edited30 Jan 1997
     She married Nathaniel Wythe. Elizabeth died. Elizabeth was born.

Family

Nathaniel Wythe
Child

William Fitzhugh Randolph

M
Last Edited30 Jan 1997
     William died. William was born. He married Jane Cary Harrison.

Family

Jane Cary Harrison
Children

Jane Cary Harrison

F
Last Edited20 Mar 1997
     She married William Fitzhugh Randolph. Jane died. Jane was born at Clifton, Cumberland County, Virginia.