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Family Stories

 

 

COLONEL ANDREW BALFOUR

AND

HIS FAMILY

________________

ANNE ELIZA TROY  

 

INTRODUCTION

 

            The Author, a member of the fourth generation from Colonel Andrew Balfour, a great-grandson of Tibby Balfour, who married John Troy June 24, 1790, reproduces this Revolutionary History, together with a brief sketch of the life of his mother, Anne Eliza Troy, for the edification of the descendants and kindred.

            John Troy was a lawyer of Salisbury, North Carolina, whose father, Michael Troy, and mother, Rachel Potts, immigrated to America from Londonderry, Ireland, prior to the year 1770.

            Anne Eliza Troy personally knew Dr. Caruthers, a Presbyterian Clergyman of Scotch extraction, Author of “Revolutionary Incidents and Sketches of Character chiefly in the ‘Old North State’,” from which the history of the Balfour family herein is gathered, she had entertained Dr. Caruthers at her home and often talked with the writer of his integrity and Christian character.

            Anne Eliza Troy manifested at all times a lively interest in the history of the Balfour family as contained in Dr. Caruthers’ sketches, more fully handed down through the channel of family tradition.  With her children it gave her much pleasure to talk frequently of these details, and the writer now finds no small degree of satisfaction in concluding that Margaret Balfour and Anne Eliza Troy were women of like character, in affection, in devotion to duty, complete faithfulness to the extraordinary responsibilities surrounding their lives, and in their deep rooted conception of every principle of right and justice, it is, therefore, deemed quite fitting that a brief sketch of the life of the latter be made a part of this work.

            To the memory of Colonel Andrew Balfour, his sister, Margaret Balfour, wife, Eliza Dayton Balfour, and daughter, Tibby Balfour, and to the memory of Anne Eliza Troy, this work is affectionately dedicated, esteeming the opportunity a sacred privilege.

            Publication is for gratuitous distribution to such of the kindred as may desire a copy, trusting that all those into whose hands the same shall fall, may thereby be inspired to the nobler aims of life.

T.    O. Troy.

Amherst, Va.,

     February 10, 1917

 

 

COLONEL ANDREW BALFOUR

 

Extract from the book entitled “Revolutionary Incidents and Sketches of

Character chiefly in the ‘Old North State’ “ by

Rev. E. W. CARUTHERS, D. D.

Philadelphia:   Hayes & Zell, 1854   From pages 297-343

 

(And, then the writings of Rev. Caruthers about Colonel Balfour and his family are reproduced.  Because we have this section of Rev. Caruthers book as a self-contained story, we are not duplicating it again here.)

 

( . . . and we continue . . .)

 

ANNE ELIZA TROY

 

            Anne Eliza Troy (Evans), born July 17, 1825, was the eldest of seven children of Oran S. and Nancy T. Evans, of Chatham County, North Carolina.  Six daughters and one (the youngest) a son, Orpheus Hume Evans.

            The home of Mr. And Mrs. Evans, modest in its surroundings, was an abiding place for discipline, a field for industry, and for the inculcation of all the lofty ideals that tend to the upbuilding of true character, and it was here that the Subject’s young mind first began to shape the course that followed with so much distinction throughout all the years of her life.

            At a very early age her school duties began, walking many miles each day to and from the country school.  Being a most diligent student and with a bright mind, she acquired, quite early, a splendid English education.  Her educational work was so successful that the age of sixteen years she was chosen as a teacher in her own community, and thus became an instructor to many of her former classmates and schoolmates.

            One of the most beautiful characteristics of her entire life was her marked fidelity to her parents.  From her earliest childhood her mind seemed to grasp all the force of that beautiful Commandment, “Honor thy father and thy mother,” and, without wavering, in fact, under all conditions, some the most trying, her stout heart never failed to live cheerfully up to this rule; when called to the work as a teacher it naturally gave her much pride, and seemed to afford her the utmost satisfaction then to immediately begin to demonstrate this great lesson she had learned, by returning to her father a portion, or perhaps all, of the money he had expended upon her education.

            On February 4, 1845, she was married to Simpson H. Staley, of Randolph County, North Carolina.  Of this union two children, Oran Dalles and Leonora Simpson, were born.  Mr. Staley lived but a few short years, and at his death it devolved upon her, then so young, to care for his estate (lands and slaves) and to properly preserve the same for the benefit of his children.  This she did with marked ability, and with much success until in after years the same, like all similar interests, was partially disturbed by the consequences arising out of the war.

            On June 4, 1850, she was married to Dr. Mathew M. Troy, of Randolph County, North Carolina, of which union the writer was born.

            The periods of sunshine in her life indeed were of short duration.  After her second marriage there were interspersed a few short years of seeming tranquility, then came the Civil War, and of the cruelties and hardships of this, she bore a share almost without parellel.  The writer with full knowledge, as a boy, of many of these details, to which has been added the study and reflection of more sober years, feel, and that quite conscientiously, , that in all respects her fortitude and devotion can most faithfully be compared with that of Margaret Balfour, one of the distinguished  and much beloved principals of the Revolutionary History, which forms a part of this work.

            To one who appreciates the exalted attribute of family affection, it it easy to realize the great friendship that existed between Anne Eliza Troy, the eldest sister, and Hume Evans, as he was called, the young and only brother; it was beautiful.

            Mr. Evans, the father, was a man of dauntless courage and the very thought of invasion by an enemy stirred his every impulse, and with the beginning of the Civil War he found himself to be a Secessionist of the most extreme order.  Too old himself to engage in war, nothing would satisfy him but to send forward his young and only son, then a bright boy of seventeen years; and the latter with much of the same parental spirit and with marked loyalty to his father’s wishes, immediately enlisted in the cause of the Confederacy.  Here followed a condition that was indeed pathetic, and constituted the next serious crisis that overshadowed Anne Eliza Troy’s life.  The starting of Hume Evans (so young) to the war, seemed almost completely to overcome the strength of her good mother, and some remedy had to be found.

            Dr. Troy (of Whig persuasion) was not a Secessionist, and never at any time hoped for the success of the Confederacy, but promptly aligned his views with those of his native State when she had seceded.  He was a great favorite of Mrs. Evans, and at this juncture it seemed that nothing could preserve her from complete collapse except that D. Troy should immediately enlist and follow as a protector for this young boy.  Although a professional man, thus exempt from military duty, he immediately consented to do so and enlisted.

            Here Anne Eliza Troy, wife, eldest sister, daughter, was called upon to separate from her husband and to face alone, as it were, all of the serious problems then to follow through the long period of war; she was equal to this, and with that deep love which she bore for her mother and young brother, gave her cooperation.  Dr. Troy became a member of the same company with Hume Evans, and carried out with his best efforts this undertaking, of which the close was attended with indescribable sorrow.

            In the space of a few months Hume Evans had laid down his life in the cause for which his father had manifested such zeal.  While on picket duty at a late hour at night was instantly killed, being shot through the head, without warning, by a villain whose weapon rested through the crack of a fence and in such close proximity as to leave its powder marks upon the boyish face, then dreaming perhaps of his home and loved ones.

            This murder, for murder it was, seems in all respects as cruel and foul as was the killing of Colonel Balfour, the principal of this work. 

            Dr. Troy, as best he could, buried the remains of Hume Evans near the place of his death until his father could reach the scene and bring the body home for final interment.  With this terrible experience, it seemed to dawn upon Mr. Evan’s mind what the cruel consequences of war might be, and for the first time his stout heart trembled.  Of him and Mrs. Evans, both of whom lived until about the close of the war, it may truly be said, they died broken-hearted.

            After the death of Hume Evans, it seemed no one could share so deeply and effectively the great affliction to this family as did Anne Eliza Troy, and here she laid aside every other interest, devoted her time and attention to the care and comfort of her father and mother, watched over them throughout all the dark years of the war, nursed them through all their afflictions, and finally when the sad end came, saw them carefully laid to rest.

            Dr. Troy, after the death of Hume Evans, continued the duties of war in the capacity of Field Hospital Surgeon, was captured when the lines were broken at Petersburg, Virginia, afterwards confined for many months at Johnson’s Island, and was not heard from during this long interval until a day or two before his return, far into the summer of 1865.  The writer here recalls vividly how, as a boy, he observed the keen soliitude of his mother during this last-named anxious period, following so closely upon the previous sorrowful experiences; it did at the time seem more than her strength was equal to.

            Dr. Troy, on his return home broken down in health and spirit, undertook the restoration of his profession, but soon died.  His remains rest, together with the remains of the writer’s second child, Herman Whitley Troy, in the town cemetery at Graham, North Carolina.

            Then it seemed for Anne Eliza Troy that life’s battle had to be begun anew.  To those now living, the difficulties and gloom of the period immediately following the war need not be painted anew.  To the stoutest hearts what to do was indeed a difficult problem.

            Anne Eliza Troy, with practically everything swept away by the war, careworn with the many sorrows herein recited, and with the education and training of her children not yet completed, did not falter.  In her deliberations as to what to do, her mind pointed to the vocation of hotel keeping.  This work she undertook with an earnestness and a perseverance that may truly be called wonderful.  Her efforts in this line were a complete success; she followed the occupation with such marked energy and courage that at one time she was the keeper of three different hotels in North Carolina, situated many miles apart, traveling frequently alone by night from one to the other in order to add her personal supervision to every detail.

            In the pursuance of this work she was enabled to provide for her family, to meet all her pecuniary obligations and do much good for those around her.  Her work as a hotel-keeper won for her a host of patrons throughout North Carolina and the adjoining states, all of whom became her warm friends, for in this field she lived closely to one of the ruling characteristics of her nature, namely good measure, shaken together, running over.

            Anne Eliza Troy’s broad mind and generous heart afforded her at all times a true conception of that most important subject, “Charity”.  To her family and kindred her love knew no limit; to her neighbors she ever bore the fullest gratitude and affection; to the poor around her she always extended substantial aid, and during all the long years following the war, her affection for the family slaves of former years never waned, their affection for her was alike, deep and lasting.

            After such a strenuous active life as this review shows, her health failed, and about the year 1888 she was compelled to withdraw from her hotel pursuits; this she did, locating at Amherst, Piedmont section of Virginia, seeking the benefits of this splendid climate, and further the opportunity of being near the family of the writer.

            Here she gradually regained a portion of her strength; in fact, became stronger each year, taking, as it were, much comfort in the knowledge of duty well performed, and of that beautiful thought, that she owed no man anything.

            With these surroundings the last years of her life were spent in reasonable composure, and at the home of the writer on the morning of July 31, 1900, surrounded by her children and grand-children, she passed most peacefully to her reward.

Here the writer would renew that ofttimes sorrow for the omissions of his earlier years, would record his lasting gratitude for the privilege of having his mother during the closing years of her life, walk as it were, with her hand in his, and would once again bless her memory with those words to be found carved upon the shaft that marks her resting place: “Faithful in all things, a life of usefulness with Godly fear and true charity.”

 

 

 

J. P. BELL COMPANY, INC., PRINTERS,  LYNCHBURG, VIRGINIA   

 

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