Monday, December 7, 2009


The date is December 7 and the year is 1865. The Civil War has ended and the brothers, cousins and neighbors who survived have returned home to the local area.

Whether those who fought on opposing sides have begun to communicate is not known, but one can be assured the memories from the hardships suffered run deep.

The Confederate Money is worthless and Jonathan Thomas is dead. Jane struggles to hold onto what is remaining of the Thomas land holdings.

The subject of the back taxes the Federal Government has levied is a concern of all. Congress some three years earlier passed legislation entitled “An Act for the Collection of Direct Taxes in Insurrectionary Districts Within the United States” and the taxes are now due.

Jane turns to her thrifty Dutch son-in-law, Jacob Wattenbarger for help. Jacob pays the taxes and places the receipt in his trunk, where it remains to this day, one hundred and forty four years later.

Copied below is the original tax receipt for the 1735 acre Thomas homeplace dated December 7, 1865, in the amount of twenty one dollars and eleven cents.