12 September 2010

Catherine Ladd in Winnsboro and Salem Crossroads, South Carolina: Southern Literary Tour, Part Two: #19

Catherine Stratton Ladd (1809-99) was born in Richmond, Virginia, and married the painter George Williamson Livermore Ladd at the age of 19. Soon after marrying, she began contributing various poems and essays to Southern periodicals under such pseudonyms as Minnie Mayflower, Arcturus, Alida, and Morna. She also wrote plays, at least one of which was performed.
The Cathcart-Ketchin House is at 231 South Congress Street, Winnsboro, which has a population of a little over 3500, although (this being the States) it of course seems much bigger.
One side of the historical marker reads:

'Cathcart-Ketchin House

'Richard Cathcart purchased this lot from John McMaster in 1829, and it is thought he built the present federal-style house shortly thereafter. The house has had a number of owners including Priscilla Ketchin, who purchased it in 1874. The building was deeded to Fairfield County in 1969 by Ella Cathcart Wilburn and Carrie Cathcart Owings and was entered in the National Register of Historic Places in 1970.'

The reverse side reads:

'Catharine Ladd

'Born in Virginia in 1810, playwright, poet, and educator, Catharine Stratton Ladd married George Ladd, an artist who had studied with Samuel F. B. Morse. The Ladds owned this house from 1852 until 1862. Mrs. Ladd was principal of the Winnsboro Female Institute and during the War Between the States was president of the Fairfield District Ladies' Relief Association. She died 1899 and is buried at Salem Presbyterian Church. Erected by Fairfield County Historical Society 1979.'

And the house is now Fairfield County Historical Museum. What the historical marker isn't clear about is that it was in this building where the Ladds ran the girls' school. Enrollment was at 100 when the school had to close because of the Civil War, or what the South seems to prefer to call 'the War Between the States'.

Cathcart-Ketchin House from the rear.

The third - and top - floor.

The entrance hall on the first (or ground) floor.

Catherine Ladd was proficient in needlework, a subject taught by her. This sampler is an example of the kind of needlework produced at the school.

The label reads:

'Watercolor theorem paintings
'Fashionable 'formula' painting was taught to the girls in Mrs. Ladd's classes. Fairfield County Museum Collection.'

Penny and I thank the Director of the museum, Pelham Lyles, very much for showing us around the museum and pointing out several things for us. I'm also grateful to Pelham for sending me a link to the Rev. Charles Woodmason's journal, of which more in another post.

I was initially confused about Catherine Ladd's grave, as a 'Find a Grave' enthusiast has listed this at the Presbyterian Cemetery in Winnsboro, when it is actually at the Presbyterian Cemetery in Salem Crossroads.

A closer view of the inscription reveals that the final 'E' is missing from Ladd's forename.

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