Vol. 11


The Scalding Iron

1865; Jones County, North Carolina, USA

The year was 1865, the last year of the Civil War.1 My four-times-great-aunt lived on a farm in Jones County, North Carolina, with her family.

During this time, General Sherman and his Union troops were marching north from Georgia. Along their way they stole supplies and livestock from farms and plantations. In some cases they would even burn down houses. Their goal was to break the Southern spirit.

The word had spread that the troops were making their way toward Jones County. In preparation my family fenced in land deep in the forest to hide the livestock before the soldiers got there. That area of the forest is still known today as Horsepen Ridge.

On the day the Union troops arrived, everyone was going about their normal daily activities. They did not want the soldiers to think they were hiding anything. My aunt was in the kitchen of her farmhouse ironing. Irons back then were different from how they are now. They were made of real iron and were very heavy. To get the iron hot, it was placed in a fire.

A few of the soldiers went into the house and then into the room where my aunt was ironing. One of them asked her where the livestock were, but she did not say a word. She just kept ironing. He asked her repeatedly. Each time, he grew louder and angrier because she would not answer him.

Finally he slammed his hand down on the ironing board, demanding an answer. Still without a word, my aunt calmly put the scalding iron down on top of the soldier’s hand. Furious, the soldier reached back to hit her, but another soldier grabbed his arm and stopped him. The Union soldiers got the message and left without getting what they wanted.

Generations of courageous women in my family have told this story, and they continue to tell it today.

Marion Grace Jones; North Carolina, USA


1. This civil war was fought between the United States (the Union) and the Confederacy, a group of Southern states that had formed a new country.



This copyrighted story may be copied and/or printed for limited classroom or personal use. To reprint this story in an article about The Grannie Annie, please contact The Grannie Annie Family Story Celebration for permission.


Return to Vol. 11 Stories page



Built by Hen's Teeth Network