According to a Nashville newspaper, by 1863 the ravages of war had made once-prosperous Franklin "but the ruin of its former greatness. Desolation and decay have passed over it."
The Union occupation in the spring of 1863 was followed by a devastating battle on November 30, 1864. The women of Franklin kept family and community together as best they could during these desperate times.
Sarah Ewing Sims Carter Gaut, who lived on 3rd Avenue North, was a devoted secessionist and spy despite being a widow with five children. Teenager Fannie Courtney supported the Union occupiers, and her pro-Confederate neighbors ostracized her.
Mariah Reddick, a McGavock family slave, was sent south with other slaves to prevent their escaping to approaching Federal soldiers. She returned after the war, lived downtown, and remained close to the McGavocks. She died in 1922 and is buried at Toussaint L'Ouverture Cemetery.
Matilda Lotz took refuge in the Fountain Branch Carter house basement with her parents and siblings as the Battle of Franklin raged outside.
The emerged afterward to find thousands of dead and wounded soldiers lying thick across the landscape. After the Lotz family moved to California in 1870, Matilda Lotz became a noted artist and traveled to Europe.
Carrie Winder McGavock cared for hundreds of Confederate wounded
after the battle, as her plantation home, Carnton became a field hospital. In 1855 she and her husband John McGavock established the private Confederate cemetery adjacent to their family plot. McGavock cared for the cemetery until her death in 1905.
(photo captions, left to right:)
Sarah Ewing Sims Carter Gaut
Courtesy Tennessee Portrait Projects
Heritage Foundation at Franklin and Williamson County
Unidentified African American woman
Library of Congress
Carrie Winder McGavock
Courtesy Carnton Plantation