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Eyewitness Account

Andy Wigley has submitted the following article from the "Dallas New Era " of August 17, I961. lt concerns an ancestor of his Martha Ellen Stancil, who was a life-long resident of Paulding County during the middle period of the 19th Century.

Woman, 92, Recalls Invasion of Yankee Army and Locusts
Mrs. Stancil's Family Slept In Forest, Three Weeks

The women of today, may prefer their perfumed cigarettes, but Mrs. Martha Ellen Stancil, of Paulding County, who has passed 92 summers in Georgia, sticks to her pipe.

The writer recently visited this Grand Old Lady, who lives south-east of Dallas, Ga. As we chatted on the porch of her home, which is more than 100 years old and in which Mrs. Stancil has lived 60-odd years, she picked up her pipe and package of cut-plug tobacco.

We think we have destructive pests these days, but Mrs. Stancil recalls a summer before the war when locusts almost cleaned the mountains vegetation.

"They boiled out of the ground," she said, "and you couldn't putyour finger down without touching one of them. They came in Mayand stayed until fall and chirped from sunup until sundown. "

"Our main crops in those days were corn, oats and wheat. We didn't grow cotton and I think the South would have fared better if it had let off planting the first cotton seed."

Bloody Battle

History records that during the bloody fighting around the nearby New Hope Church, the hard-pressed armies had time only to partly bury their dead.

"For days, legs, heads and arms were seen protruding from the long, shallow ditches," she recalled. "But after the battles were over the bodies were removed and given decent burial.

"Father operated a grist mill on a creek about two miles from the church. He hid a large quantity of corn and wheat which the soldiers did not discover. This was all that saved the community from starvation.

"Mother had 11 children. When we learned the armies had met, mother and other women hastily gathered a few things together, and went into the woods with 37 children of various ages. We spent three weeks of terror in hiding while the earth trembled from cannon fire and marching feet.

Slept on Creek Bank

"Mother was frail, but, though she slept on a creek bank with only a quilt under her, the ordeal did not seriously harm her. Each night she made a trip to our house, where General Joxeph Johnston established headquarters, to get food and clothing for us."

"The grain which father had stored away was soon eaten. Not one particle of it was wasted, and I never want to taste another bit of whole wheat bread."

"Our stock was taken or killed and our farming implements broken up. It seemed slow death awaited us."

"But the Lord looked after us during those dreadful days. When spring came, the trenches and fields sprouted grain and corn. I have never seen such crops in all my days, and I firmly believe that it was an act of Providence that sent that bountiful harvest to us from the blood-soaked battlefields."

"During these days of strife, war and crime, the world needs to put more faith in God, " the Grand Old Lady concluded.

Clipping from an Atlanta paper of 1939.
Mrs. Stancil died Jan. 25, 1941.

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