Diarist Kate Carney Rejoices at the Fall of Fort Sumter

Confederate Flag flying in Fort Sumter after t...

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Kate Carney was the daughter of a prominent Murfreesboro family. Her father was a successful merchant and plantation owner. Their home, named The Crest, was located north of the Murfreesboro square between Spring and Maple Streets. Her mother was the granddaughter of Captain William Lytle, who had donated the land for the town of Murfreesboro. The family was prosperous and Kate was well educated. She kept a diary on and off for many years, most notably from the beginning of the Civil War through the middle of 1862. Her diary gives a personal view of Civil War Murfreesboro. Kate Carney was an unabashed, outspoken supporter of the Confederate States of American and secession.

When Kate began making her entries in April 1861, she was coming to the end of an extended stay at her uncle’s plantation in Yazoo City, Mississippi. On April 15, 1862 she simply wrote five sentences, including news she had just received from South Carolina:

“I heard good news, Fort Sumpter has been taken by our men. Rejoice-Rejoice.”

Kate Carney became a teacher and married William Poindexter in 1875. Kate and William were married and lived in Clarksville, Tennessee for nearly 15 years until William died of pneumonia. Kate continued to live in Clarksville for several years, but eventually moved to Florida where she died in 1930.

A tough, stubborn and persevering woman, Kate Carney left us a legacy in her diaries. She apparently viewed her writings as childish foolishness as she burned a number of them after she married. However, several survived and are an invaluable resource that give us a glimpse into life in 1860s Murfreesboro. This blog will make use of her writings in the future to help explore and understand Civil War Murfreesboro.

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2 comments to Diarist Kate Carney Rejoices at the Fall of Fort Sumter

  • Carol White

    Rutherford County archives recently obtained a photograph of Kate. You may want to check with them to publish here. She’s so beautiful!

  • admin

    Wow! That’s awesome news! Thanks for the information.

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