Trusted custodians of the Baugh House, the Fannin County Heritage Foundation, held their fall meeting. President Janie Turner stated the purpose of the organization as being “people that work together to preserve the heritage of Fannin County” and that the Baugh House continues to receive historic artifacts with an “increase in visitors and donations to the museum.”
Guest speaker Bobby Lee Verdier, a professional genealogy researcher and family historian, spoke on women who served in the Civil War as combat soldiers. Verdier estimated that 400-1,000 did so for the Union and 200-500 for the Confederacy. These women “refused to stay in their socially mandated Victorian places”, passed themselves off as men and fought. Verdier identified the desire to be with husbands and brothers and patriotism as their motives.
Soldiers of that era simply did not often change out of uniform nor did they frequently bathe or even change their underwear. Lack of facial hair was also not an impediment as many male soldiers were not yet shaving regularly. Men were much shorter and more slightly built than today, so a woman could successfully disguise her gender by shearing off her hair, wearing bulky clothing and assimilating.
One such woman was Molly Bean of North Carolina who is believed to have fought at Gettysburg. Bean was discovered and accused of being a prostitute. Once cleared, she was placed in an insane asylum for two years. Verdier’s talk included the youngest uniformed Confederate of the Civil War, David Bailey Freeman, who was born in near by Ellijay. Freeman entered the Confederacy with his older brother at ten and was in uniform at eleven.
The speaker encouraged participants with an interest in genealogy to attend his organization’s meetings every third Thursday at the United Community Bank in Blue Ridge. The “Family Researchers of Genealogy” has expert members that can answer questions and give advice on breaking through Brick Walls, or dead ends amateur genealogists often contend with in research.
The Fannin County Heritage Foundation is a group of diverse individuals with a common interest in history. Historical anecdotes and conversations abounded over dinner with the highlight being member Dale Dyer discussing his heroic role as a B 24 pilot in World War II.
Visit the Baugh House for fascinating displays on local history and to speak to knowledgeable individuals.