Small figures made with teasel plants as heads. They have small beads for eyes and nose. Their bodies are stuffed cloth. Their hands are pipe cleaners. The man has a civil war type uniform and hat. He is holding a gun made of wood. He has wire glasses on his head. The woman has a straw hat on top of her synthetic curly hair. She has a print skirt, white blouse and apron. She is holding a garden hoe. Tag: “Kaycee’s Designer Mice Collection. Kaycee E. Lichliter. Middletown, VA.”
Location: Eastern USA
Main language: English
Currency: US dollar
Construction: teasel plants, bead, cloth
Height in Centimeters: 8
Height in Inches: 3
Reading Level: 6.80
My name is Matilda, and I was born in the state of Virginia. Virginia was the 10th state to obtain statehood at the end of the Revolutionary War (1788). When I was born in 1851, Virginia was a very large state. We lived in the western part, which had a lot of mountains. My father was a farmer, and he grew corn and potatoes. He worked very hard in the fields, Our cabin was made of logs from trees. We also had a small barn and an outhouse behind the house. We did not have electricity or running water.
When I was 10 years old, my dad took me over the mountains to the eastern part of Virginia. With horse and wagon, the trip took a long time. Crossing the Appalachian Mountains was quite dangerous. There were only a few trails, and the cliffs were steep.
As we got closer to the Atlantic Ocean, we passed many large cotton plantations. I noticed that all the workers in the fields had very dark skin. They were working very hard in the hot sun.
When we arrived in Richmond, I was fascinated by what I saw. There were tall buildings, fancy carriages, and policemen directing traffic. I was amazed to see people dressed in fancy clothes, sitting at tables and eating fancy food.
As we walked the streets, I also saw a crowd of people watching a white man, dressed in fancy clothes, beating a black man with a whip. The black man was on his knees screaming in pain and yet no one tried to stop the whipping. I looked at my father, but he told me to look away and keep walking. He told me,” It is none of our business.” Dad said, “In our western part of Virginia, most people do not believe in slavery, and neither should you.” Later, I asked my dad why black people were treated so badly. He replied, “Those slave owners believe that black people are not really humans.”
A few months after we returned home (in 1861), President Lincoln declared war against all the Southern states, including Virginia, that favored slavery. The southern states had left the United States and formed their own “country” called the Confederacy. This was the start of the Civil War.
However, people in Virginia were very divided about the war. The easter part of the state wanted to keep their slaves, leave the United States and join the Confederacy. However, many folks in the western part of Virginia wanted to stay in the Union. They did not believe slavery was right. Unfortunately, this meant that many Virginians would fight against other Virginians. In fact, it was not uncommon for a family to have members on both sides of the Civil War.
Soon after the war started, my dad joined the Union. The Union was the army of the northern states, and they wore blue uniforms. Dad felt very strongly about defending the United States of America. I was very sad when he left wearing his blue uniform. While he was gone, my mother, brother, and I took care of the farm.
The Civil War was long and deadly. After four long years, the Confederacy finally surrendered, and the war was over. My dad survived the war. However, he never really talked about the battles he fought. He was just glad the war was over, and the Union had won.
Another outcome of the Civil War was that Virginia was split into two states. In 1863, West Virginia was admitted to the United States as the separate state. In fact, it was the only state that was formed as a result of the Civil War.