Category Archives: Eyewitness to History

This Day in US History… 1865: A Somber Easter Sunday

We continue this month’s series of diary entries from Isabella Wunderly Campbell, who became Wyoming’s first lady in 1872. Isabella was a 19-year-old  living in Washington, D.C., during the eventful April of 1865. Her daily diary entries give insight into her experiences during the final days of the Civil War, which ended 150 years ago this month.

April 2-9
April 10
April 11
April 12
April 13
April 14
April 15

April 16, 1865 (WSA Isabella C. Wunderly diary, Campbell Collection, C-1049)

April 16, 1865
(WSA Isabella C. Wunderly diary, Campbell Collection, C-1049)

Sunday, April 16, 1865

Such a Sabbath has never before dawned on this nation. Grief pervades every heart. Our whole city is clad in mourning. The shock to the whole community, the whole country, has been fearful. It seems greater than we are able to bear. Dr. Gurley spoke most beautifully of the departed. The church was draped in the deepest black also the President’s pew. Oh how can I realize the truths which for the past day have been crowding upon us. Another has taken his place, everything accomplished in the twinkling of an eye. Oh Father in Heaven, wilt thou not kindly temper this severe affliction for the dear ones upon whose hearts if falls so heavily. A nation mourns. Lord help us for the faithful fails from among the children of men.

Easter Sunday must have looked more like Good Friday at the church. Though the Lincolns were not members, they did hold a pew at the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C. At the time, pews were rented and reserved for families. Rev. Dr. Phineas Gurley was well acquainted with President Lincoln. In addition to his post as chaplain of the US Senate, Gurley was Lincoln’s spiritual adviser and often visited the White House. Dr. Gurley was also present at the president’s death bed the morning of the 15th and would give the funeral sermon on the 19th.

Leave a comment

Filed under Eyewitness to History, This Day in Wyoming History..., WSA Collection Highlights

This Day in US History… 1865: “Ring the Alarm Bells, Murder and Treason”

We continue this month’s series of diary entries from Isabella Wunderly Campbell, who became Wyoming’s first lady in 1872. Isabella was a 19 year old  living in Washington, D.C., during the eventful April of 1865. Her daily diary entries give insight into her experiences during the final days of the Civil War, which ended 150 years ago this month.

April 2-9
April 10
April 11
April 12
April 13

April 14

April 15, 1865 (WSA Isabella C. Wunderly diary, Campbell Collection, C-1049)

April 15, 1865
(WSA Isabella C. Wunderly diary, Campbell Collection, C-1049)

Saturday, April 15, 1865

“Ring the alarm bells, murder and treason” We are terror stricken, horrified, stand helpless as children. What can we do – Last night the President was shot at the Theatre and died at 7-22 this morning. Our President the great and good man has fallen by the hand of a base assassin. Was ever sorrow like unto this? Oh Father could not this bitter cup have been spared us. We know thou doest all things well. Thou too hast ordered this. The most intense excitement pervades the city. Every house is draped in mourning. The contrast is appalling and chills the warmest stoutest heart. I am almost beside myself and everybody seems to be insane. As yet the assassin has not been captured. Almighty God, do not permit him to escape the hand of law and justice.

Following the excitement and festive air of the Grand Illumination only two days earlier, the city turns black with mourning upon the news of President Lincoln’s death.

1 Comment

Filed under Eyewitness to History, This Day in Wyoming History..., WSA Collection Highlights, Wyoming at War

This Day in US History… 1865: Good Friday

We continue this month’s series of diary entries from Isabella Wunderly Campbell, who became Wyoming’s first lady in 1872. Isabella was a 19 year old  living in Washington, D.C., during the eventful April of 1865. Her daily diary entries give insight into her experiences during the final days of the Civil War, which ended 150 years ago this month.

April 2-9
April 10
April 11
April 12
April 13

April 14, 1865 (WSA Isabella C. Wunderly diary, Campbell Collection, C-1049)

April 14, 1865
(WSA Isabella C. Wunderly diary, Campbell Collection, C-1049)

Friday, April 14, 1865

Mother and I started out and made some calls. Went to Mrs. Lucks and brought Aunt home with us. Mother and I went to see St. Patricks. The sepulcher was very pretty and the flowers beautiful. Went to church at 4 ½, the lecture was in anticipation of the Communion or Sabbath. Heard a very nice lecture and returned home, called on Mrs. Smith also stopped a few minutes at Judge Peck’s. Genl. Grant is in the city and expects to visit Ford’s Theatre tonight with President and Mrs. Lincoln. How I should like to see him.

Despite warning that he should not attend such public events, President Lincoln made it a point to attend the play at Ford’s Theatre saying it was important for people to see him. The Grants declined the invitation to attend the play  in favor of visiting his children in New Jersey. The theatre is now a National Historic Site, open to the public for tours as well as performances.

Leave a comment

Filed under Eyewitness to History, This Day in Wyoming History..., WSA Collection Highlights

This Day in US History… 1865: A Grand Illumination in Washington Celebrates the End of the Civil War

We continue this month’s series of diary entries from Isabella Wunderly Campbell, who became Wyoming’s first lady in 1872. Isabella was a 19 year old  living in Washington, D.C., during the eventful April of 1865. Her daily diary entries give insight into her experiences during the final days of the Civil War, which ended 150 years ago this month.

April 2-9
April 10
April 11
April 12

April 13, 1865 (WSA Isabella C. Wunderly diary, Campbell Collection, C-1049)

April 13, 1865
(WSA Isabella C. Wunderly diary, Campbell Collection, C-1049)

Thursday, April 13, 1865

This is Holy Thursday and quite a great day in the Catholic and Episcopalian churches. Mrs. Robbins and Miss Tyson called this morning. Mrs. Smith also spent the morning and lunched with us. I have been helping to get the house fixed for an illumination tonight. Judge Peck’s intend to also. I think it will be splendid. 10 pm Tired out walking and looking. I can only say the whole thing has been a grand success. The most splendid ever known in this country or even in the world. Even the Smith’s(?) made a little light in their houses. Glory enough.

The April 13 “illumination” was so large in Washington, D.C., that the merchants nearly sold out of candles.

Leave a comment

Filed under Eyewitness to History, This Day in Wyoming History..., WSA Collection Highlights

This Day in US History… 1865: A Drizzly Day in DC

We continue this month’s series of diary entries from Isabella Wunderly Campbell, who became Wyoming’s first lady in 1872. Isabella was a 19 year old  living in Washington, D.C., during the eventful April of 1865. Her daily diary entries give insight into her experiences during the final days of the Civil War, which ended 150 years ago this month.

April 2-9
April 10 

April 11

April 12, 1865 (WSA Isabella C. Wunderly diary, Campbell Collection, C-1049)

April 12, 1865
(WSA Isabella C. Wunderly diary, Campbell Collection, C-1049)

Wednesday, April 12, 1865

It has been dull and rainy all day. Mad several ineffectual efforts to clear  but it still rains. I expected to go to the Hospital but Alice was not well and we postponed the visit. The citizens are generally preparing quite extensively for a grand illumination tomorrow evening. I trust nothing may occur to mar the anticipated pleasure. I went to see Mrs. Smith but made no other calls save a moment to see Mary Peck. She was not looking very well. A little thin I think. Judge [Peck] is growing better very rapidly. I am truly glad to see it.

Leave a comment

Filed under Eyewitness to History, This Day in Wyoming History..., WSA Collection Highlights

This Day in US History…1865: Lighting Up the Night to Celebrate

We continue this month’s series of diary entries from Isabella Wunderly Campbell, who became Wyoming’s first lady in 1872. Isabella was a 19 year old  living in Washington, D.C., during the eventful April of 1865. Her daily diary entries give insight into her experiences during the final days of the Civil War, which ended 150 years ago this month.

April 2-9
April 10

April 11, 1865 (WSA Isabella C. Wunderly diary, Campbell Collection, C-1049)

April 11, 1865
(WSA Isabella C. Wunderly diary, Campbell Collection, C-1049)

Tuesday, April 11, 1865

The dampness continues but unless it rains I shall go out. 8 pm Have just finished lighting up the house. I have it all in a blaze, and the starry banner in the window. What an hour is this! I thank the gracious Giver of all things that I have lived to see this day. I called at Mrs. Robbins also at Mrs. Bradleys. Had a very pleasant visit the former place. Sewed quite a good deal. Mrs. Smith spent the greater part of the evening with us. I also had a visit from Hattie. She promised to come with her sewing. Uncle went out to see the illumination but as it was so damp I remained home.

“Illuminations” were often used to celebrate momentous events in Washington, D.C., in the 1860s. After dark, every light fixture in the house would be lit and candles placed in the windows, making the streets glow. People would then stroll through the avenues admiring the view. The streets were packed with carriages slowly touring the city, especially in front of the White House. At the time, Washington, D.C., was lit by gas lights but coal shortages had threatened to darken the city, making candles scarce as well. These illuminations were an optimistic celebration of the better times to come.

Leave a comment

Filed under Eyewitness to History, This Day in Wyoming History...

This Day in US History…1865: News of Lee’s Surrender Reaches Washington, D.C.

We continue this month’s series of diary entries from Isabella Wunderly Campbell, who became Wyoming’s first lady in 1872. Isabella was a 19 year old  living in Washington, D.C., during the eventful April of 1865. Her daily diary entries give insight into her experiences during the final days of the Civil War, which ended 150 years ago this month.

For previous entries, see April 2-9.

April 10, 1865 (WSA Isabella C. Wunderly diary, Campbell Collection, C-1049)

April 10, 1865
(WSA Isabella C. Wunderly diary, Campbell Collection, C-1049)

Monday, April 10, 1865

It is damp and rainy and I am obliged to postpone both shopping and calling for the day. I was awakened early this morning by the sound of heavy artillery. I immediately discovered it was intended for a salute and ran to Uncle’s chamber to see whether Lee had surrendered. The joyful news was true. Oh how my heart beats, can I yet believe the evidence before me. I trust that peace will now ere long flow over this desolated land and that the dear ones who have fallen and those who are left may be avenged.

Leave a comment

Filed under Eyewitness to History, This Day in Wyoming History...

This Day in US History… 1865: General Robert E. Lee Surrenders, ending the Civil War

150 years ago today, on April 9, 1865, General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General U.S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse, ending the final battle of the Civil War.

Isabella C. Wunderly was only 19 in April 1865. She and her widowed mother were living with her uncle Joseph Carey, Chief Justice  of the Court of Claims in Washington, DC. Isabella would marry Wyoming Territorial Governor John A. Campbell in 1872, becoming Wyoming's first first lady.

Isabella C. Wunderly was only 19 in April 1865. She and her widowed mother were living with her uncle Joseph Carey, Chief Justice of the Court of Claims in Washington, DC. Isabella would marry Wyoming Territorial Governor John A. Campbell in 1872, becoming Wyoming’s first first lady.

Though Wyoming was not yet a territory, the young woman who would become our first territorial first lady, Isabella Wunderly, was living with her uncle in Washington, D.C. Her diaries from 1864 to 1868, just prior to her marriage to John A. Campbell, Wyoming’s first territorial governor, are now part of the Campbell Collection here at the Wyoming State Archives. These diaries recount her life as a young woman during the Civil War and the first years of Reconstruction. Throughout the rest of April, we will be sharing Isabella’s diary entries as part of the nation’s remembrance of the eventful month 150 years ago.

Cover and front endleaf of Isabella's 1865 diary. (WSA Isabella C. Wunderly diary, Campbell Collection, C-1049)

Cover and front endleaf of Isabella’s 1865 diary.
(WSA Isabella C. Wunderly diary, Campbell Collection, C-1049)

Monday, April 3, 1865

Found it almost impossible to overrule Lumos this morning and fear I mad a bad beginning for Monday — but I did try at least to do better. Dustted the parlor before breakfast and then as usual  read until breakfast time. Aunt started to Alexandria about 10 o’clock and I prepared to make some calls. As I was about to start was electrified by Uncle’s coming home with the news of the fall of Richmond — Oh gracious Father, what an hour is this! The end of all our fears and sacrifices so near at hand, how can I realize the astounding fact. In the joy of the moment we almost forget the slain. Everybody seems crazed with joy. Oh what a day in the world’s history. I can only say Amen.

April 2-3, 1865 (WSA Isabella C. Wunderly diary, Campbell Collection, C-1049)

April 2-3, 1865
(WSA Isabella C. Wunderly diary, Campbell Collection, C-1049)

Tuesday, April 4, 1865

The great excitement continues as furious as ever. People cannot get over, neither do I blame them. It is entirely too splendid to think of forgetting it. Oh how glad I am I cannot remember the sacrifice. The joy overruns it entirely. I am well nigh mad and am obliged to ask myself what to do or say. There as a grand illumination attended by speeches in the evening. Dr. R came over and invited me to go out with him. I was only too glad to go and mother and Mrs. Bonsall went also. Isaac treated me very shabbily, not coming home to go along and I do think he might have done so. He throws me entirely upon strangers for every attention.

April 4-5, 1865 (WSA Isabella C. Wunderly diary, Campbell Collection, C-1049)

April 4-5, 1865
(WSA Isabella C. Wunderly diary, Campbell Collection, C-1049)

Wednesday, April 5, 1865

We expected to go to Giesboro but were disappointed. Isaac received orders to go to Richmond and had to have the horses. We of course thought no more of it and stayed at home. I have felt so depressed and sad all day. I cannot account for it at all. I fear some bad news but it may only be my foolish fancy. I wish that Uncle was at home. I want him here so much. I have had no letters today and although Mrs. B has been with us I have felt thus. Oh what would I give for one confiding friend into whose ears I might pour my sorrow.

Thursday, April 6, 1865

I have been quite sick all day and although I endeavored to assist a little in making Isaac ready for Richmond, I did not succeed very well and was obliged to go to bed. Aunt and mother have been busy all day — My cousin leaves tomorrow — it will not make much of a change in our family for he is so seldom with us. No one has called and I am heartily glad people have been so sensible for once. It has been cold and stormy the weather more appropriate to March than April. Mrs. Smith sent us each an apple. My dear Uncle surprised us in bed this morning. I was so very glad to see him — he heard of Isaac going and came home to see him off.

April 6-7, 1865 (WSA Isabella C. Wunderly diary, Campbell Collection, C-1049)

April 6-7, 1865
(WSA Isabella C. Wunderly diary, Campbell Collection, C-1049)

Friday, April 7, 1865

A pretty morning but it began to rain about noon. I was not much better and not able to do anything more than yesterday. Isaac bade us Good bye at 2 pm. Uncle accompanied him to the boat. It was raining fast when they started. Mrs. Bonsall was down for a few minutes during the day. We had a splendid telegram from Sheridan. He has captured 7 generals and many guns and prisoners. I mustered strength and courage to throw the flag to the wind. The next news I trust may bring us the capture of Lee and the remnant of his army. Oh it is too splendid to think of after all our sufferings and trials and the many stricken hearts the war has made desolate.

Saturday, April 8, 1865

We are quite desolate. Our numbers are gradually thinning out and we this morning feel almost forlorn. I have felt a little better today and have succeeded in doing some sewing. Aunt went out riding but I thought I was not fit to ride. I wanted to go but I was obliged to succumb. I recieved a letter from Emma Mitchell a short business letter. I think if I do not hear from someone and a good letter I shall suffer from Ennui. I sent Hattie a note and she consented to go to the Mission School and teach my class for me. I am sorry I cannot go. I long to be with them.

April 8-9, 1865 (WSA Isabella C. Wunderly diary, Campbell Collection, C-1049)

April 8-9, 1865
(WSA Isabella C. Wunderly diary, Campbell Collection, C-1049)

Sunday, April 9, 1865

At home all day — how long the Sabbath seemed in the house and the day has been so beautiful out doors. Everyone appeared to be out. I almost envied them. I hope I shall be able to make a few calls tomorrow. I saw Mrs. Robbins and the Dr. going to the Hospital. I want to do something too for the poor, wounded heroes and I trust my health will permit me this coming week. Mr. Culp attended church and Dr. Gurley preached a splendid sermon. I am sorry to have missed it.

Leave a comment

Filed under Eyewitness to History, This Day in Wyoming History...