Daniel and Cora Johnson

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Daniel Wellington Johnson (26) (1879-1927) and Cora Fannie Durrum (27) (1883-1957) married in about 1899 when Cora was about 16 and Dan 21. They were living with Daniel's parents William and Alice in 1900. He worked on the farm with his father, but it was subsistence farming. William did not own the land. Dan and Cora's daughter Amye Beatrice Johnson's (13) (1903-1991) memories of her early childhood hint at a hard life. I remember her story of sleeping in the loft with her sister, and hearing 'Santa' stomping around on the roof on Christmas Eve, and the ultimate treat of finding an orange and a peppermint stick in her stocking on Christmas morning. Her memories did not make her fond of living in the country.

By 1910, Danial and Cora and their young family were living in Lynchburg on Eighth Street. Daniel worked as a paper hanger. By 1920 the household included their oldest child Helen, 18, and her husband Ernest Hicks, daughter Bea, 17, son John 15, and Essie and Callie Smith, also 17 and 18, nieces. Helen already worked as a clerk in a department store, while Bea, Callie and Essie worked in the overall factory. The image of a household with 4 teenage girls boggles the mind!

Cora was left a widow seven years later, and started her diary for her children within a few years. This document gives little information on her life in Appomattox, but insight into her values and religious devotion. She lived in the country, and remarried in 1935. Although she does not speak of how she supported herself, it apparently was by farming, since the great bulk of the diary entries are written in winter. I have very early memories of visiting her in Appomattox, probably in about 1955. Though the house had electicity, there was no central heating or plumbing. I remember the outhouse, with torn newsprint stuck on a 2 penny nail driven in an exposed stud. The house was unpainted or heavily flaked, and there was a stove for heat in the main room. A porch ran across the front of the house, and this was where the adults sat and visited.

© 2005 Footie Lund
revised March 2007