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September 28, 1917

On this day in 1917, diarist Elizabeth Scott Neblett died in Anderson, Texas. “Lizzie,” born in Mississippi in 1833, grew up a southern belle in Grimes County and married William H. Neblett, a planter and aspiring attorney, in 1852. From 1852 until 1863 she kept a diary that revealed an intimate portrait of southern culture and her own bitterness about a woman’s place in society. “Fame can never be mine,” she wrote. “I am a woman! A woman!” Her letters to her husband during the Civil War discussed varied topics that ranged from the economics of their plantation to the use of artificial birth control. They had six children, and often Lizzie’s writings addressed the hardships of childbirth and childrearing. Her journal and letters were finally published in 2001.

 

 

NEBLETT, ELIZABETH SCOTT (1833–1917). Elizabeth (Lizzie) Scott Neblett, diarist, was born in Raymond, Mississippi, to James and Sarah (Lane) Scott on January 17, 1833. In 1839, when she was six years old, the family moved to Houston, Texas. The following year they moved to Fanthorp Springs, three miles east of the site of present Anderson in Grimes County. The area was sparsely populated, and the first school Lizzie attended was held in a small log cabin. On May 25, 1852, she married William H. Neblett, a Texas farmer, planter, and aspiring attorney. The couple spent their first three years of married life in Anderson and moved to Corsicana in 1855. There William Neblett practiced law, edited the Navarro Express, and farmed property three miles outside of town. The family returned to Grimes County in December 1861.  Mrs. Neblett kept a diary from March 1852, two months before her marriage, until May 1863, shortly after her husband left to serve the Confederacy. She wrote, "I can never gain worldly honors. Fame can never be mine. I am a woman! A woman! I can hardly teach my heart to be content with my lot." She found one of her greatest hardships to be childbirth; she had six children and asked her husband to let her use artificial birth control. She was an avid reader of literature and poetry and saved copies of favorite poems and stories in bulging scrapbooks. Her diary, combined with her letters, scrapbooks, and a memoir she wrote about her deceased husband, provide a picture of a mid-nineteenth-century Texas woman. Following her husband's death in 1871, she lived most of her remaining years in Anderson, where she died on September 28, 1917. Her diary and letters were published in 2001.

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Irene Taylor Allen, Saga of Anderson-The Proud Story of a Historic Texas Community (New York: Greenwich, 1957). Kathryn G. Berger, The Diary of Lizzie Scott Neblett, March 16, 1852 to May 1, 1863 (Honors thesis, University of Texas at Austin, 1981). Erika L. Murr, ed., A Rebel Wife in Texas: The Diary and Letters of Elizabeth Scott Neblett, 1852–1864 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2001). Lizzie Scott Neblett Papers, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

 

 

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