Four Women of Shiloh Who Faced Life With Courage

Four Women of Shiloh Who Faced Life With Courage


Tributes to two Senior Citizens of North Louisiana

and two who were part of the past of Shiloh


 by Edna Liggin


Of the two living, Mrs. Bertha Porter Burns, was the wife of a country preacher, the late Reverend Marion Van Burns. Her life has been one of rearing six children, lonely weekends, managing through low economic years, but rich in the experiences of living as the wife of a country minister.


Margaret Fuller Elam, now over 100 years of age, and in a Bernice Nursing Home, has had a life of hard work on a Lincoln Parish farm, with Shiloh the family town across the creek.  Her father, Uncle Alf Fuller lived to become the last surviving veteran of the Civil War.


In 1885, Catherine Cook Mabry, became a widow when her husband was shot and killed by four men at his home a few miles from Shiloh. She faced the hard task of keeping together a family of ten sons and two daughters, and making a living from their farm.


Coming to Louisiana from Georgia in the 1840s as a child, Mary Edmunds Lee, suffered the loss of two husbands in the Civil War decade. Her psychic experiences became legendary to her family; her ability as “Doctor Mary” lived on in memories after she died.


To these four, Shiloh was the accessible town, with each of the four living in a different direction from the town. Two were much older than the other two; they did not all know each other, yet they all had the same courage and were brave women who faced up to the times in which they lived.


The next four posts will be the writings of Edna Matthews Liggin.   Edna’s mother was the sister of my grandmother, making us cousins who share most of the same history.  Edna is the one who actually got me started in genealogy.  She provided most of the information to get me started.  That would be the information my grandmother didn’t know and required some research at a few courthouses.

Edna was a blessing and I hope you will enjoy some of her work on our family and Union Parish.

Edna Matthews Liggin will always be remembered as the official historian of Union Parish and the Book Mobile Lady. She began writing the Uncle Lige column in The Gazette in 1939. Over the years she wrote many articles about the Union Parish history, the people there and her bottle collection. In her retired years she enjoyed visiting the older people in the Union Parish community.


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