|Carnton Plantation in Franklin, Tennessee|
She walked through the halls of Carnton Plantation House amongst the cries of wounded and dying soldiers, blood soaked skirts skimming the floors. She sat by the bedsides of men, seeing them slowly fade away, wiping their brow and writing their final letters to their families, sweethearts, children. The woman that comes to mind here may sound like the focus of Robert Hicks best-selling novel Widow of the South, Caroline "Carrie" Winder McGavock. However, there was more than one important heroine with a love story attached at Carnton Plantation when it was made into a field hospital that terrible Indian Summer evening in Franklin, Tennessee when the famed Battle of Franklin ravaged the town.Elizabeth Fields Clouston was the governess for the McGavock children who resided at Carnton. The McGavocks, had a total of five children.Only two were still living by the time the war arrived on the front steps of Carnton Plantation. The Mcgavock children, Winder, 7 and Hattie, 9, most certainly could have never realized the carnage which quickly entered their home as it transformed into a field hospital. It's not completely clear when Elizabeth Clouston would have begun working as the governess to the children, but it's possible it may have been for a few years prior to 1864.
|Winder and Hattie Mcgavock|
Elizabeth or "Lizzie' Clousten did not achieve fame for her devotion to the soldiers during their dark hours after the battle, although she surely nursed them with all of the steadfast devotion Carrie Mcgavock exhibited. But Lizzie does have a very interesting story. Elizabeth Fields Clouston was born in 1833 in Franklin, Tennessee to Edward and Senia Clouston. Her father had come from Scotland and he owned a dry goods store where he worked as a druggist in Franklin. The Clouston house still exists on beautiful 2nd avenue, a pristine historic street in the downtown area of Franklin, Tennessee.
|Clouston Hall in downtown Franklin, Tennessee is now home to an art gallery called Gallery 202.|
"Four days have elapsed since we left Franklin and we are still prisoners. It is a short period of time, yet the anxiety and suspence of years seems concentrated in it. Those and only those that love deeply and devotedly can fully appreciate the torture of being separated from those that are dearer far to them than life itself, and they, only after they have been tutored by recesses of my heart and see how fully and entirely its every throb and impulse are your own. In the language of the infatuated Hargrove, I think of the Sacred Past of those I love, and every form and face is that of one whose image is engraved indelibly on the tablets of my heart. I am often in imagination transported back to Col. McGavocks and fancy that I am rested in the Hall watching with restless impatience for the appearance of her who is dearer to me than the whole world beside. Such pleasing defusions are short lived however and sober reason whispers that inexorable fate has decreed that prison walls shall for a time separate us.
I console myself with the reflection that this state of things will soon be over, and at no distant day, I will be able to claim you as my own, and in exstatic happiness that will then be mine forget all of my past trials and sufferings. My Lizzie shall it not be so – I feel assured that no effort of yours will be wanting to bring so desirable a result."
|Captain Roland W. Jones met Lizzie Clouston at Carnton while the home served as a field hospital.|
It's apparent from the loving words in this letter, that Jones was sweeping Clouston off of her feet, after falling head over heels in love. His hopes for the future were obviously being thrown off course by the fact that he was being held prisoner by the Federals in Hospital number 2 in Nashville. Before the civil war broke out, Jones had been a very wealthy plantation owner in Yalobusha County, Missisippi. Having married Elizabeth Hairston in 1852, she had passed away shortly after the birth of their child in 1862. Meeting Clouston was probably a godsend to Jones, knowing he would most likely face going back to a life that had quickly been snuffed out by the brutality of the times.
Lizzie Clouston and Roland Jones were married on December 14, 1865, only two weeks past the one year anniversary of the battle of Franklin. The affair had to be a joyous one for the Clouston family, as it most likely signified the end of a terrible chapter for Franklin, Tennessee. The Clouston-Jones union also was the first marraige of the four oldest Clouston daughters. Lizzie would go back to Roland's Yalobusha County, Mississippi plantation to live, They had two children, Maria Louise Jones in 1868 and Carrie Mcgavock Jones in 1869. Evidently, their second child, Carrie McGavock Jones, was named for the mistress of Carnton, an indication of Lizzie's admiration for her former employer. Unfortunately, shortly after the birth of Carrie Mcgavock Jones, Lizzie died. Probably as a result of complications from childbirth.
The letters Roland wrote to Lizzie will be forever immortalized, and because of their preservation, Lizzie will be a young and beautiful civil war heroine forever. Lizzie died at only 37 years old. She left behind two young daughters, an already grieving husband and a devastated family in Franklin, Tennessee.
February 13, 1872 Captain Roland W. Jones and Lizzie Clouston's younger sister by fourteen years, Emma Wilson Clouston would marry. They would go on to have two more children, both girls.
|Carnton Plantation as seen from the Confederate Cemetery, the largest private one in the United States|