Hetty Cary

Female 1836 - 1892  (56 years)


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  • Name Hetty Cary 
    Born 15 May 1836  Baltimore, Independent Cities, Maryland, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Gender Female 
    Occupation Between 1866 and 1879 
    Teacher 
    Burial 1892  St Thomas Episcopal Cem, Owings Mills, Baltimore, Maryland, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Buried 1892  Owings Mills, Baltimore, Maryland, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Died 27 Sep 1892  Baltimore, Independent Cities, Maryland, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    Notes 
    • Hetty Cary was the wife of CSA General John Pegram and, later, of pioneer physiologist H. Newell Martin. She is best remembered for making the first three battle flags of the Confederacy (along with her sister and cousin). Hetty was related to two of Virginia's most influential families, the Jeffersons (through her motherís family) and the Randolphs (through her paternal grandmother, Virginia Randolph Cary). She was also a lineal descendant of Pocahontas.

      Henry Kyd Douglas, in "I Rode With Stonewall," described Hetty as "the most beautiful woman of her day and generation" and "the handsomest woman in the Southland -- with her classic face, her pure complexion, her auburn hair. her perfect figure and her carriage, altogether the most beautiful woman I ever saw in any land."

      Hetty was wholeheartedly a supporter of the South, even when in the North and among Union soldiers. On one occasion, she waved a smuggled Confederate flag from a second-story window as Federal troops marched through Baltimore. An officer of the passing regiment allegedly pointed Hetty out to his colonel, asking, "Shall I have her arrested?" The colonel looked at her and replied: "No, she is beautiful enough to do as she pleases."

      Hetty and her sister Jennie smuggled drugs and clothing across the Potomac through the Union blockade for Confederate troops. They were forced to leave Baltimore after federal authorities discovered her Southern sympathies. They escaped to Richmond, where they then lived with their cousin Constance Cary and her mother, who served as the girls' chaperone. The three young ladies became known as the Cary Invincibles.

      Due to confusion among the troops during the First Battle of Bull Run due to the similar design and color of the Confederate flag, the Stars and Bars, and the Union flag, the Stars and Stripes, Confederate General P. G. T. Beauregard recommended that the Confederate flag be changed.

      Constance Cary wrote:
      "During the autumn of Ď61, to my cousins, Hetty and Jennie, and to me was entrusted the making of the first three battle flags of the Confederacy. They were jaunty squares of scarlet crossed with dark blue edged in white, the cross bearing stars to indicate the number of the seceded states. We set our best stitches upon them, edged with gold fringed, and, when they were finished, dispatched one to General Joseph Johnston, another to General Pierre Beauregard, and the last to General Earl Van Dorn. The banners were made from red silk for the fields and blue silk for the crosses."

      The resulting flag, commonly called the Southern Cross, served as the principal battle flag of the cavalry, infantry, and artillery units in the Army of Northern Virginia from November 1861 until the surrender at Appomattox Court House in April 1865.

      When 26, Hetty met 32 year-old John Pegram at a party at his motherís home, and became engaged in 1862. Their wedding date was finally set due to two events. At the end of 1864, John's division was sent to the Confederate entrenchments around Petersburg, Virginia. Near that same time, Hettyís mother, Mrs. Wilson Miles Cary of Baltimore, obtained a pass to go to Richmond to visit her two daughters. Due to her motherís visit, John urged Hetty not to delay their marriage any longer, and wedding preparations quickly began.

      The wedding occurred January 19, 1865. It was a major social occasion, as it was the union of one of the most beautiful women in the South to one of Virginiaís most eligible bachelors. The elite of Confederate society, including President Jefferson Davis and his wife Varina, attended the wedding in the historic St. Paul's Episcopal Church.

      After the wedding, both John and Hetty traveled to a farmhouse near Petersburg, which was serving as General Pegramís headquarters. On February 6, only 18 days after their wedding, John was killed by a Miniť ball leading a charge at the Battle of Hatcher's Run. Hetty returned to Richmond on the train carrying her husbandís body. Exactly three weeks after their wedding day, his coffin was taken to St. Paulís, the same church where the couple had been recently married. Reverend Minnigerode, the pastor at their wedding, also conducted the funeral service.

      On the day that her husband was killed, General Robert E. Lee was given command of all the armies of the Confederacy. He wrote the following sympathetic letter to Hetty:
      ďI cannot find words to express my deep sympathy in your affliction, my sorrow at your loss. God alone can give you strength to bear the blow he has inflicted, and since it has been death by his hand I know it was sent in mercy. As dear as your husband was to you, as necessary apparently to his Country and as important to his friends, I feel assured it was best for him to go at the moment he did. His purity of character, his services to the Country and his devotion to his God, prepared him for the peace and rest he now enjoys. We are left to grieve at his departure, cherish his memory and prepare to follow. May God give us his Grace, that through the mediation of his blessed Son, we may be ready to obey his gracious Summons.

      Truly and affectionately your friend
      R E Lee
      Petersburg 11 Feb '65"

      Only two months after her husband lost his life, her late husbandís brother, Colonel William Pegram, was killed, dying during the fight at Five Forks in the Confederate retreat from Petersburg. During a grieving period, Hetty stayed with her mother-in-law. Following that, Hetty and her mother returned to their home in Baltimore, where she taught at the Southern Home School for several years. Later, while traveling abroad in Europe, Hetty met professor Henry Newell Martin, a pioneer physiologist and professor at Johns Hopkins University. They were married in 1879.

      Hetty died at her home in Baltimore on September 27, 1892. She was buried there at St. Thomas' Churchyard. [Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hetty_Cary]
    Person ID I5349  mytree
    Last Modified 16 Jul 2017 

    Father Wilson Miles Cary,   b. 2 Sep 1806, Williamsburg, Independent Cities, Virginia, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 9 Jan 1877, Baltimore, Independent Cities, Maryland, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 70 years) 
    Relationship Natural 
    Mother Jane Margaret Carr,   b. 15 Mar 1809,   d. 22 Jan 1903, Baltimore, Independent Cities, Maryland, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 93 years) 
    Relationship Natural 
    Married 16 Sep 1830 
    Family ID F2235  Group Sheet

    Family 1 John Pegram,   b. 24 Jan 1832, Petersburg, Independent Cities, Virginia, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 6 Feb 1865, Petersburg, Independent Cities, Virginia, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 33 years) 
    Married 19 Jan 1865  St Paul's Episcopal Church, Richmond, Independent Cities, Virginia, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 3
    Notes 
    • John Pegram was a Brigadier General in the Civil War under Longstreet and is referred in the Source as a friend of General Sorrel.
    Last Modified 16 Jul 2017 
    Family ID F2242  Group Sheet

    Family 2 Henry Newell Martin,   b. 1 Jul 1848, Newry, Down, Northern Ireland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 27 Oct 1896, Burley In Wharfedale, Yorkshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 48 years) 
    Married 20 Dec 1879 
    Last Modified 16 Jul 2017 
    Family ID F2243  Group Sheet

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 15 May 1836 - Baltimore, Independent Cities, Maryland, USA Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 19 Jan 1865 - St Paul's Episcopal Church, Richmond, Independent Cities, Virginia, USA Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBurial - 1892 - St Thomas Episcopal Cem, Owings Mills, Baltimore, Maryland, USA Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - 1892 - Owings Mills, Baltimore, Maryland, USA Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 27 Sep 1892 - Baltimore, Independent Cities, Maryland, USA Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Maps 
     = Link to Google Earth 
    Pin Legend  : Address       : Location       : City/Town       : County/Shire       : State/Province       : Country       : Not Set

  • Sources 
    1. [S1] "Belle Run", Hetty Cary, Dan Fesperman, (Name: The Baltimore Sun; Date: 25 Oct 2000;).

    2. [S74] Internet, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hetty_Cary.

    3. [S109] Recollections of a Confederate Staff Officer, General G. Moxley Sorrel, (Name: Morningside Bookshop;), Page 52.


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