Cornelia Victoria Ward Only daughter of William Walker Ward and Elizabeth Mumford Adams
Cornelia Victoria Ward was born on September 6, 1837.
I did not find the 13 year old Cornelia listed in the 1850 Census with her mother and brothers, but I did find Cornelia in the 1850 Northern Division of Bedford County, Virginia. She was living with George W. Leftwich, a Baptist Clergyman and his wife Caroline M. Leftwich and children in Bedford County. William Ward, Cornelia’s father, had a sister by the name of Mildred. Mildred married Augustine Leftwich. She may have been staying with the Leftwichs’ because of their relationship, but I believe that she may have been attending school. Reverend George Leftwich was a teacher at the Botetourt Springs Male and Female Institute which is now called Hollins College. It is my belief that she was staying with them while attending school. Also in the 1850 census, she is marked as attending school.
She married Littleton Tazewell Walden on February 27, 1855. The marriage took place at her mother Elizabeth Mumford Adams Ward’s house in Pittsylvania County. The Reverend was M. Andrews.
The couple had two children:
William W.Walden born 1856 died 1927
Malcum born: 1858 Died November 13, 1862.
Littleton T. Walden was killed in a horse riding accident near the Smith Plantation on the Pocket on March 6, 1858.
In the 1860 census, Cornelia Walden is the head of the household in the North District of Pittsylvania County. Census was taken on September 6, 1860 by Zach S. Finney. She has her occupation as a Farmer. There are two children living with her. William W. Walden age 4 male and Malcium age 2 female. Some of the family trees that I have looked up says that Malcium is really Malcum and that it’s a male not female. In the 1860 slave schedule, there are four slaves listed under Cornelia Dove’s name. Ages, 55,30,13,7.
It was fourteen years until she married again. Cornelia married George W. Dove son of James and Almira Dove on September 19, 1872. They were married at Cornelia’s house by the Reverend Isaiah Ramsey.
She had four children by George Dove:
Charles Millard Dove Born April 4, 1878 Died May 6, 1951
Sallie Dove Born 1876
Lucy Dove Born October 5, 1873
Rosa Dove Born October 5, 1873 Died February 16, 1913
She died at the early age of 41 in December, 1878.
From 1858 until 1872, Cornelia ran the farm and took care of her children. During the Civil War years, all three Ward women were alone on the farm. Her grandmother Tabitha’s husband died in the year 1858 and her mother’s husband died in 1844. They survived the war years and I am sure suffered together the pain of loss and reduced circumstances during this hard period. But the thing is that they survived and kept the family farms running.
She married George Dove in 1872 and in less than seven years she dies. She has twins in 1873, in 1876 Sally is born and then 1878, Charles is born. I can’t say what caused her death, but the stress of having children at a slightly older age could probably have been a factor. In the 1880 census, George Dove is married again to a Lelia Forloines 16 years of age. The children listed are Charles Millard Dove and Sally Dove. There is also an Eliza Walker listed as a nurse. She is 45 years old. Rosa and Lucy are not listed as living with them. They would have been about seven years old at the time. Rosa married my great grandfather so I know she hasn’t died.
I actually know a part of this story about what happened, but I need more concrete evidence before I write the true story.
So Cornelia Victoria is my last Ward family member. She began life with the greatest expectations as the only daughter of a large plantation owner and leader of the community. I looked through the records and could find no other family member with the name of Victoria. It may be just my musings, but Queen Victoria ascended to the throne in June of 1837 at the age of 18. By the date of Cornelia’s birth, September 1837 this would have been well known. They would have wanted to name her something grand and what better way than to name her after the Queen of England. But even with the grand name, tragedy was a major part of Cornelia’s life.
It began with the early death of her father in 1844 when Cornelia was only seven years old. Then in the year 1855, her youngest brother dies on the day after Christmas. This is only seven months after Cornelia’s teenage marriage to a neighboring plantation owner’s son. On March 6, 1858, the marriage ends tragically when her husband Littleton is killed in a horse riding accident and less than six months later her grandfather dies in an accident on August 2, 1858. And all during this time, she has a small baby and is pregnant with another child which is born at the end of 1858.
Most women of that time marry within a couple of years when they lose their spouse. But this is not a good time for husband hunting. It is a lonely, hard time for Cornelia. Her youngest child dies on November 13, 1862. Both of her brothers, many cousins, uncles and relatives and eligible young men have joined the Confederacy beginning in 1861. Her brother Robert dies at Gettysburg on July 3, 1863. Some of her uncles and cousins are bankrupted by the war and lose their homes. Some return home changed forever by the war.
And finally her grandmother Tabitha dies in 1866. Can we say that the last tragedy of her life was the marriage to George Dove? Descendants of this marriage, which includes me, would like to think otherwise. What made her marry George Dove after so many years of widowhood? Was he charming or just convenient? And what happened in that house during the time before her death and 1880?
So was Cornelia a victim of the time in which she lived or was she a survivor, a heroine?