In 1860 Margaret Duncan, was ten years old living on a large graceful old plantation with her family near Forsythe, Missouri. The country was immersed in the Civil War and her father had left their home to fight for the Confederate army. Bushwahackers and Jayhawkers were attacking plantations, raiding, robbing and murdering people. Margaret’s family was attacked and forced to flee for their lives leaving behind their beautiful old plantation to find themselves in constant danger. The bushwackers were some of there own neighbors and distant cousins. They felt that her father’s sympathies with the South gave them reason to invade his plantation. The invaders threatened to tar and feather the children if they were not given money. Margaret’s mother was in bed about to deliver another child Dora. The invaders ransacked every room in the house. Margaret watched this wanton distruction, helpless to stop them. She followed them from room to room trying to protect their family’s treasures. The invaders ripped all the feather beds hoping to find money and feathers were flying everywhere. It was when Margaret found the bushwackers upstairs trying on her father’s wedding clothes and stealing her Mother’s beautiful dresses that she reached the climax of outrage and indignation. How could a little girl stop the hatred that the war had started? Margaret ran out of the house after the invaders to see them round up their beautiful horses, livestock and drive off in the family wagons loaded with stolen property. Margaret did not realize at the time that her determination to save her family and to live through this war was going to be her complete responsibility. Forced to move several times and falling into poverty, her mother contracted a fever and died during the war, leaving Margaret alone with her four sibilings. Margaret’s indomitable will to care for her siblings and to keep her family safe brings to mind the strong bonds that join families and a nation.
About Susan Howland
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Published August 10, 2010
Biographies & Memoirs, History, War, Parenting & Relationships, Health, Fitness & Dieting.