John McGavock was married to Miss Carrie Winder of Louisiana in December, 1848.

Editor’s Note: The Battle of Franklin is full of stories of military tactics and heroism. A group of Leadership Franklin members worked with the Battle of Franklin Trust to tell more of the human story – one you can only try to imagine. Each story has an introduction to a personality involved in the battle, a first-person account compiled from historic documents by LF class members, and a conclusion that lets you know what happened to our personality after the battle.

John McGavock was married to Miss Carrie Winder of Louisiana in December, 1848.

Carrie’s father, Col. Van Winder and his wife, Martha Grundy Winder, gave Mariah Reddick to Carrie for a maid as a wedding present. Mariah would go on to nurse four generations of the McGavock family as maid, midwife and head of the household staff. Early on, the McGavocks arranged a marriage for Mariah to Harvey Otey, 14 years older, and together they would have eight children.

Hear from Mariah Reddick:

“During the war, Miss Carrie brought me along as she joined other women in Franklin’s Masonic Hall to sew uniforms for relatives and friends. Because Col. McGavock was 46-years-old when the Civil War began and he was too old to shoulder a musket, so he stayed home and raised funds to help outfit and organize groups of Southern soldiers.

“When Federal troops took control of Middle Tennessee, they learned of the McGavocks’ efforts to aid the troops of the Confederacy. In retaliation, Federal soldiers took thousands of dollars of grain, horses, cattle and timber from the plantation. I’ve heard it said that the silver was saved from looters by burying it under the brick walk in front of the house.

“But by then, Col. McGavock had already sent most of the slaves to the south to keep them from being taken by the Federal army. I was sent without my husband and children to Montgomery, Alabama to the home of the Confederate President Jefferson Davis’s mother-in-law, Mrs. Howell. I was pregnant at the time I was sent away and I had my eighth child while there. In less than a month my husband, Harvey Otey, died in my absence.

“While I was in Montgomery, I came to work with Dr. W. M. Gentry, a surgeon, and served as a nurse. I also met Bolen Reddick. Bolen, who was from Montgomery, would come with me to Franklin and be my second husband. This time I was married by choice and as a free woman. He and I had one son together, John Watt Reddick.

“Even though I was free, I continued to work with the McGavocks for many years after the war. In fact, I was there to hold Miss Carrrie’s granddaughter, Carrie Cowan, firstborn of Hattie McGavock Cowan.”

What happened to Mariah Reddick?

Mariah, who later became known in the community as Aunt Maria, would live to be 90-years-old and is reported to have been Franklin society’s favorite midwife. The death of Maria Bell Reddick was a loss in Franklin of a historical character closely connected with the prominent events surrounding the Carnton Plantation. She is buried in the Toussaint L’Overture cemetery with other African American citizens.

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