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Caroline Elizabeth "Carrie" Winder McGavock
Birth: Sep. 9, 1829
Natchez
Adams County
Mississippi, USA
Death: Feb. 22, 1905
Williamson County
Tennessee, USA

American folk figure. Revered in her lifetime for her devotion to the almost 1500 Confederate war dead buried on her Tennessee plantation, her celebrity during the Victorian era inspired Oscar Wilde to express a wish "to meet the Widow McGavock, high priestess of the temple of dead boys" during his 1882 American tour. Born Caroline Elizabeth Winder in Natchez, Mississippi, to planter Van P. Winder and the former Martha Anne Grundy, a daughter of noted Tennessee legislator Felix Grundy, McGavock had been the archetypal "Southern belle": a spirited, patrician beauty with a romantic, unconventional streak. Eschewing the name Caroline in favor of "Carrie", she raised eyebrows with her penchant for wearing black even as a very young girl--a curiously prophetic choice that dismayed the artist who painted her as a debutante. In December 1848 she left her childhood home, a sugar cane plantation near New Orleans, Louisiana, to marry her cousin John McGavock, a planter from Franklin, Tennessee. For the next sixteen years her life centered on her duties as mistress of "Carnton", the couple's large plantation, and the raising of their five children, three of whom died in early childhood. During the Civil War her husband acquired an honorary colonelcy by funding the local Confederate regiment, but remained safe at home. It wasn't until November 1864, when Union and Confederate armies clashed at Franklin, that the McGavocks felt the impact of battle, and the experience became the defining event of Carrie's life. With Carnton commandeered as a field hospital, she tended to the wounded and the dying during the fighting and for months afterwards. When it became apparent that a cemetery to accommodate more than a thousand Southern casualties was needed, the McGavocks responded by donating their land and supervising the transportation of the dead from the battlefield to the new burial ground. The private establishment and maintenance of so large a cemetery was unprecedented at the time, and this work, in addition to the care of war orphans, consumed Carrie McGavock and the remnants of the family fortune until her own death at age 76. Although an iconic figure who was widely eulogized by her contemporaries, she had been largely forgotten until a book written a century after her death, "The Widow of the South", renewed interest in her story. (bio by: Nikita Barlow) 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  Van Perkins Winder (1809 - 1854)
  Martha Grundy Winder (1812 - 1891)
 
 Spouse:
  John McGavock (1815 - 1893)*
 
 Children:
  Martha W McGavock (1849 - 1862)*
  Mary Elizabeth McGavock (1851 - 1858)*
  John Randal McGavock (1854 - 1854)*
  Harriet Young McGavock Cowan (1855 - 1932)*
  Winder McGavock (1857 - 1907)*
 
 Siblings:
  Caroline Elizabeth Winder McGavock (1829 - 1905)
  Felix Grundy Winder (1839 - 1863)*
  George Guion Winder (1843 - 1879)*
  John Bass Winder (1847 - 1889)*
  Van Henry Perkins Winder (1852 - 1886)*
  Sallie Guion Winder (1854 - 1930)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
McGavock Family Cemetery
Franklin
Williamson County
Tennessee, USA
Plot: Mc Gavock Family Plot
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: kimshockey (reb)
Record added: Jan 24, 2004
Find A Grave Memorial# 8313208
Caroline Elizabeth Carrie <i>Winder</i> McGavock
Added by: Davis E. McCollum
 
Caroline Elizabeth Carrie <i>Winder</i> McGavock
Added by: Michael Dover
 
Caroline Elizabeth Carrie <i>Winder</i> McGavock
Added by: Randy
 
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I enjoyed touring your home. You sound like an amazing woman. Thank you for preserving the memories of the fallen soldiers.
- Charity Myatt Thompson
 Added: Sep. 13, 2016

- shelby
 Added: Sep. 9, 2016

- sjm
 Added: Sep. 9, 2016
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