Part of the American History & Genealogy Project

Sallie Chapman Gordon Law 1805 ~ 1904


Just upon the eve of preparation by ex-Confederates a few years ago to celebrate the Fourth of July in a becoming manner and spirit, the sad news was announced of the death of the venerable Mrs. Law, known all over the South as one of the mothers of the Confederacy. She was also truly a mother in Israel in the highest Christian sense. Her life had been closely connected with that of many leading actors in the late war, in which she herself bore an essential part. She passed away June 28, 1904, at Idlewild, one of the suburbs of Memphis, nearly ninety-nine years of age.

She was born on the River Yadkin, in Wilson County, North Carolina, August 27, 1805, and at the time of her death was doubtless the oldest person in Shelby County. Her mother's maiden name was Charity King. Her father, Chapman Gordon, served in the Revolutionary War, under Generals Marion and Sumter. She came of a long-lived race of people. Her mother lived to be ninety-three years of age, and her brother, Rev. Hezekiah Herndon Gordon, who was the father of General John B. Gordon (late senator from Georgia), lived to the age of ninety-two years.

Sallie Chapman Gordon was married to Dr. John S. Law, near Eatonton, Georgia, on the 28th day of June, 1825. A few years later she became a member of the Presbyterian Church, in Forsyth, Georgia, and her name was afterward transferred to the rolls of the Second Presbyterian Church, in Memphis, of which she remained a member as long as she lived.

She became an active worker in hospitals, and when nothing more could be done in Memphis she went through the lines and rendered substantial aid and comfort to the soldiers in the field. Her services, if fully recorded, would make a book.

She was so recognized that upon one occasion General Joseph F. Johnston had thirty thousand of his bronzed and tattered soldiers to pass in review in her honor at Dalton. Such a distinction was, perhaps, never accorded to any other woman in the South, not even Mrs. Jefferson Davis, or the wives of the great generals. Yet, so earnest and sincere in her work was she that she commanded the respect and reverence of men wherever she was known.

After the war she strove to comfort the vanquished and encourage the down-hearted, and continued in her way to do much good work.

Women of America

Source: The Part Taken by Women in American History, By Mrs. John A. Logan, Published by The Perry-Nalle Publishing Company, Wilmington, Delaware, 1912.


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