Skip to comments.Image found of Confederate White House housekeeper
Posted on 07/19/2014 4:15:19 PM PDT by re_tail20
Mary O'Melia left Ireland for America as a young widow with three children before she was hired as housekeeper at the White House of the Confederacy. An intimate witness to history, she also has been much of a mystery.
That was until this year, when a woman with a distinctive Irish lilt to her voice called The American Civil War Museum. The housekeeper, the woman said, was related to her late husband, and she had in her possession a necklace that Confederate first lady Varina Davis gave O'Melia.
But there was more.
"What really took my breath away is she said she had a photograph of Mary," said Cathy Wright, curator at the Civil War Museum, formerly the Museum of the Confederacy.
"Considering that it's been almost 150 years since she left the White House that anyone has been able to look at her face is just remarkable," Wright said in an interview.
The tintype adds a human dimension to what is a tantalizing but frustrating portrait of a woman who left her children in Baltimore to oversee the White House in the capital of the Confederacy during the duration of the Civil War but publicly revealed little of the experience.
O'Melia was among a staff of 20, was a confidante to the first lady, and may have been in the mansion in April 1865 when President Abraham Lincoln visited after Confederate defenders left the city smoldering. Historical records are unclear on that point.
The discovery is important nonetheless because the museum, which is next door to the White House, has strived to piece together the often untold lives of the African-American slaves, free people of color and European immigrants who worked as domestics for the Davis family.
"One of the more elusive figures was Mary O'Melia," Wright said.
(Excerpt) Read more at foxnews.com ...
so the slavers really called their executive mansion the “White House?”
I’d love to see a photo restoration contest with this photo.
She’s the spitting image of a girl I went to middle school with!
National treasure donated to the people of the United States by Tom Liljenquist.
The collection focuses on regular people and not generals and politicians.
See, that’s the thing. We can see into the past. The future hasn’t happened yet ....
There is enough there to make it almost 100% the original image.
Slavery obscures the bigger story of the civil war, the end of our Republic and the beginning of the imperial presidency and slide toward socialism we are experiencing today.
Some liberal kook will want to destroy the photo and will give the reason that it is associated with slavery.
What a beautiful young woman. Bet she had red hair.
She looks like Sandra Fluke! Now we know her truebackground
I thought I was the only one who thought that, TexasFreeper...
The Vice President of the Confederacy disagreed with you. His Cornerstone speech says all we need to know
“Our new Government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition.”
Or some liberal pol will try to order it.
And what were Abraham Lincolns’ beliefs....
and his solutions to the problems of the times...?
“Many Lincoln researchers do acknowledge what would, today, be considered “racist” overtones in Lincoln’s early political life. On Oct. 13, 1858, during his famed debates with Judge Stephen A. Douglas, Lincoln spoke to what he considered to be basic black and white racial differences “which, in my [Lincoln’s] judgment, will probably forever forbid their [blacks] living together on the footing of perfect equality.”
In the same speech, Lincoln states, “I agree with Judge Douglas that [a black] is not my equal in many respects, certainly not in color - perhaps not in intellectual and moral endowments; but in the right to eat the bread without leave of anybody else which his own hand earns, he is my equal and the equal of Judge Douglas, and the equal of every other man.” In this statement, despite his reference to differences in “intellectual and moral endowments,” Lincoln shows his belief that both black and white were entitled to equal rights and protection under the Constitution.”
The Founders’ Library, Lincoln-Douglas Debates.
...”After seeing over 200,000 African-Americans volunteer and fight alongside Union forces, Lincoln dropped his support for plans to colonize freed slaves to Africa after the Civil War.”
So Lincoln did “evolve” faster than most of the time.
It should be noted that there is no evidence whatsoever that Lincoln ever planned anything but voluntary colonization.
150 years later, it's just a little difficult to say he was utterly and entirely wrong.
Ah but the difference is that he was alive at the time and was one of the founders of the CSA. His view point is as vital to understanding the Civil War as the view points of the founding fathers on the American revolution.
Pushing ‘ the lost cause’ notion that came only AFTER the war was lost is not useful. History is usually messy but we can’t pretend that causes and conditions of the times were what they were. To pretend otherwise says we will never fully learn the lessons.
I think it was Theodore Roosevelt who first used the term "White House" to officially refer to the Executive Mansion. I would assume that referring to the Confederate version as the White House is more recent as well. Actually, the building in Montgomery that is usually referred to as the first Confederate White House was painted grey.
Yep. TR’s executive order, but it had been called the ‘White House’ even before it was burned in the War of 1812.
I refurbished some of my grandmother's relatives old photos, and she really liked them.
(It really doesn't show up well here, but the original photo was in really bad shape.)
Very well done.
Thanks. They’re fun to do.
Anyone who has an old antique photo in bad shape with spots, cracks, etc., post it and I’ll see what I can do.
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