Dying For A Lost Cause–Is It Worth It?

Fun times in the slammer.
Fun times in the slammer.

Rose O’Neal Greenhow‘s father was murdered at random by an unknown assailant. That’s enough of a story for most lives, but there’s more. This pretty little lady became a famous Confederate spy credited by Jeff Davis for the win at the First Battle of Bull Run.

Before the war she married well and moved to Washington, DC becoming instantly popular with the political crowd. Unfortunately her husband was killed in an accident, after which Rose determined to support the South in any way she could. Four of her eight children actually made it out of toddler-hood with their lives. The youngest is pictured above visiting her mother in prison after being caught as a spy.

After getting out Rose ran the blockade, sailing to Europe in search of support for the Confederate cause. The British blockade runner carrying her back to the states ran aground after being pursued by a Union gunboat. Rose, afraid of getting caught,  jumped into a rowboat, but a wave capsized it and she drowned, weighed down by $2000 worth of gold for the Confederate cause sewn into her underclothes and hung around her neck.


6 responses to “Dying For A Lost Cause–Is It Worth It?”

  1. My Spanish ancestor was wed to a black woman and had kids before marrying the female half of my ancestry. The Civil War was complicated. One thing in this woman’s bio makes me think she has links to my family.


    • Very complicated! Even the “Native Americans” had slaves. What makes you think you’re related? I’m always curious. Genealogy is a fun thing. I have Indian blood but I’d never claim it for benefits–I think things go too far sometimes.


      • She had an aunt named Maria Hill — the same name of my ancestor who married a Catholic Spaniard. It isn’t the same woman but the limited number of Catholics, in the US at the time, and the wealth of the Hill family does hint to a link.


      • I forgot to add my ancestor had cousins and likely trading partners in Virginia. The Hill family branches from people in the Jamestown era. Funny thing.,the North let Catholics flood in, so her loyalty had to have a deep connection. Most of my Catholic ancestors come from Spanish Florida. I never got anything for my Native American or Spanish ancestry. Odds are I have Black ancestors, too, considering the long links of the Spanish slave trade.


      • I wasn’t implying you got anything for your ancestry. I was thinking about a particular Norther politician who pretended to be part Indian in order to get diversity benefits. My family was Dutch and English (with the small sprinkling of Indian) until my grandmother married an Irish/ Italian Catholic. He fathered 4 children he didn’t want then ran off to California to be a drunken bartender. My mother married a responsible Irish/German guy who put the gene pool back on track–sort of.


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