Monmouth Historic Inn

More About the Quitmans' Antebellum Life

February 4 2015 | News

Today's blog is more information on Monmouth and a glimpse into Antebellum Life in the 1800s.  How amusing it sounds now - but more surely did not at the time - for General Quitman to have left to fight in the Mexican-American War and tell his wife he is off on a "land speculation" instead of the truth!


Rose once called Monmouth “spinster hall” in honor of the seemingly endless hours she, and her unmarried sisters, passed sewing clothes, knitting and darning socks.  Relatives, friends, their father’s associates, and ministers invited by their mother, as well as young male callers, were in and out of the house to break the tedium.  The house slave would occasionally divert unwelcome suitors, understanding that such visitors were to be patiently endured. 

The less fortunate of the Natchez community also paid their respects, often to ask for money.  Some were indigent Mexican War veterans, counting on their common bond with General Quitman, whose participation in the Mexican War was well known.  Eliza obliged and sometimes dipped into her special charity box to help.  Country peddlers also stopped to sell their wares.  “A sailor had been here with some real Chinese silks,” Rose reported.  “Mama got a beautiful black one at eighteen dollars.  When she gave him the money he spit all over it.  He said it was for good luck.”

John Quitman, as gregarious as his wife was reticent, urged her to entertain more, and threw a few bashes, which were large enough to attract press notice.  Yet, most of his parties were given for military comrades.

Four plantations and multiple public responsibilities kept Quitman from Monmouth often.  Only the Mexican War took him away for more than a year, but often his duties demanded his absence for weeks, and even months, at a time.  During the Texas Revolution he complied with Sam Houston’s plea to come help in the fighting, all the while disregarding Eliza’s plea to return home.  She discovered that his journey was not for land speculation (as she had been told).  She came upon one of his recruiting notices, and became distressed.  “Are you tired,” she complained, “of your wife and little children that you should fly from them?  I am nearly crazy.  My beloved husband if you do indeed love your Eliza and her children return to them immediately.”


Excerpt from the booklet:  "Monmouth:  Its Majesty and Legacy."