She grew up with four brothers- George, Mortimer, Thomas, and James.
Little Lois grew up in the era of big bustle dresses, calling cards, fancy balls, and a gentle and "proper" society. She was probably schooled in a private day school in the city, and was likely taught good manners, etiquette, and the social customs of the day. I'm sure her mother trained her in how to be a good "southern lady".
I think they attended the Episcopal church, and they probably attended Sunday services as well as special events and prayer groups.Going to church was a way of life. The loud pealing of pretty bells called the people of Charleston to the churches of their choosing. They didn't take the privilege lightly after their ancestors had endured long and terrible ocean crossings to flee religious persecution and to secure religious freedom.
Early in the mornings, she might have been awakened by the calls of the shrimp and vegetable vendors who went door to door with their wood push-carts calling and singing loudly "Fish! Fresh Fish! Get your fish here!" Fish and shrimp came in on the boats every morning and"Groceries" were bought daily. There was also an open air market, where little Lois probably went to with her mother to purchase meat and vegetables from the stalls.
Lois's mother probably served her children soups, stews, grits, biscuits, gravies, rice, duck, quail/other wild game, and many other dishes of the day. She might have served a "Charlotte Russe" or a fluffy frosted cake or tart for a special day dessert.
She very likely accompanied her mother, Mary, on morning "calls", visiting friends and relatives. If the parties were not home, they left their calling card to let them know they had been there. Ladies wore gloves everywhere, and Lois and her mother probably walked to many of their destinations, as well as taking the trolleys which were drawn by strong horses and heated by small stoves in the chilly winter.(later on they ran on electricity!)
She probably went with her mother to run errands such as material shopping for dresses and aprons, shoe shopping, and trips to the big post office. The big mansions were already built on the Battery so Lois grew up seeing those, watching big ships come and go into the harbor, watching pelicans dive for food, smelling the strong and distinct scent of the plough (pluff) mud, and her and her family perhaps enjoyed a leisurely stroll down shady Tradd Street in the evenings.
I imagine young Lois played (and maybe even "rough and tumbled" a time or two with her many brothers) on pretty floral rugs in the parlour. There were probably picture rails on the walls and heavy velvet drapes at the tall windows. She most likely played with dolls, balls, dollhouses, wagons, and wood blocks.
In the evenings, her Mother Mary might've relaxed and did embroidery, tatted lace, repaired socks, or read the popular "Women's Companion".
While growing up, her family probably took the ferry over the water from Charleston to Mount Pleasant--and then to Sullivan's Island-- quite often, for family holidays and to visit with relatives and enjoy the sandy beaches and fresh air during steamy and humid summer times.
I would imagine she probably chased or was chased by the quick little white ghost crabs that scatter about the sandy dunes of Sullivan's Island and watched big pelicans and osprey (sea eagles) dive right into the waves for their supper.
Hopefully her and her brothers were taken in to the shallow waves to splash and play and tumble and cool down on the sweltering Charleston summer days.
Sad news arrived when Lois's Mother, Mary, passed away in 1879. I'm sure it probably broke young Lois's heart, as the age when a young girl really needs her Mother was fast approaching.
|Mary's death certificate|
As Lois grew up, she reached 12 and then 13 years of age. About 13 to 14 years of age, young ladies received their very first corset, made of thick calfskin and with restrictive stays that were loose at first. They were gradually and daily tightened tighter and tighter. Usually this was done by their mother so I am not sure who helped introduce young Lois into womanhood. Hopefully she had relatives, aunts, maybe a Grandma? (remember she had no sisters but there was an aunt on Sullivan's Island) Young girls practiced walking, climbing stairs, and sitting in their new corsets. Many of them even slept in their corsets, thinking it would make the waist reduction happen faster. It was a very exciting time for them as it was a coming of age ritual and meant they were now coming into being young women.
It was quite common for the young girl's waist to be measured every few days. Down to 20 inches! 19 inches! Even 16 INCHES! (whew!) The smaller the waist, the more the girl was praised and looked up to, even if she was woozy..fainting...and couldn't breathe.
Perhaps she grew up reading Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women"? or "Little Men"?
One day Lois was visiting her aunt at her boardinghouse over near Sullivan's Island. She met a young man. His name was Charles. He was totally taken with her, even though he had planned on asking another young woman to marry him. Matter of fact, he had actually been ON HIS WAY to propose marriage to this woman when he impulsively stopped to see friends at the boardinghouse where Lois was that day. Their courtship began. He asked her to marry him. Young and pretty Lois said "yes".
After a quick courtship, it was time to marry.
Their wedding took place on August 4. They had their wedding at a small Episcopal church on Sullivan's Island. Lois was barely sixteen years old. It was 1884.
Lois's wedding dress was likely similar to this one:
It might have been ivory or pink brocade and trimmed with bows, rosettes, taffeta frills, and a small sweeping train.
Veils weren't in fashion for weddings as yet...young brides did wear small flower arrangements in their hair or at waist or collar.(or both) They didn't carry big dramatic bridal bouquets yet...but she might've carried a small nose-gay or tussie-mussy, or perhaps her Bible, or both.
Let's see--what would have been in bloom in August in 1884?---plumbago, lantana, hibiscus, big showy cannas, butterfly ginger, crepe myrtles, and maybe some lilies, gladiolis, and tea roses. The wisteria, gardenias, hydrangeas, and peonies were already done blooming for the season, and the camellias yet to arrive in the Fall.
Lois and her brand new husband, Charles Middleton set up housekeeping in 1884. Charles had been born in Georgetown, S.C., and he was a cotton exporter. His father had been a blockade runner in the War, and he was killed when his boat sank somewhere near Wales. Therefore Charles had grown up fast and was very responsible. He was a good bit older than Lois, probably more mature of course. (I think he was 24 or 25 when he married Lois) Even after the War, his business continued to prosper, even more so as Lois encouraged him to go into business for himself, instead of working as a clerk for a cotton factor. By 1908, he had founded Middleton and Company.
Lois happily settled into married life. The new magazine "Ladies Home Journal" began and I bet the young Mrs. Middleton enjoyed reading it and all the household hints, recipes, and fashion photographs.
The brand new Rutledge Avenue Pond (today called Colonial Lake) area was built and with the pretty water, the promenade, benches, toy sailboats, and lawn, it was a place they enjoyed often. During the Fall season, Lois particularly enjoyed the Fall Horse Racing events during festival time.
On bustling city streets littered with trolleys, ice wagons, horses tied at hitching posts, garbage wagons, and carriages, the young couple went about...perhaps visiting friends, walking around Rutledge Pond, Lois putting on afternoon teas, going to the theater, and shopping on King Street. They probably took slow walks around the Whitepoint Gardens area. There were often singers, violin concerts and small orchestra concerts so there was music in the park. Maybe they walked hand in hand and listened to the music. Waltzing was very popular...maybe they danced?
She busied herself with furnishing their home and becoming the "lady of her own house". Charles loved Lois's long strawberry blonde hair, so she probably wore it in a variety of ways to please him. Married ladies wore their hair up, as fashion and also to show their grown-up 'women' status. She probably enjoyed adorning her up-do's with various velvet and grosgrain ribbons, bows, glittery combs, pearl adornments, and even blossoms were popular, especially for evenings out. Ladies also wore exquisite hats with bows, ribbons, and feathers, and soft shawls and sweeping cloaks in the colder months.
Sadly, tragedy struck just two years after their marriage. The great Earthquake of 1886 hit Charleston. Many people died and the destruction was severe. I looked at the pictures and couldn't believe how most of the whole city lay in ruins. After the earthquake there were many many aftershocks and many huge fires. So much of the city was rubble. I know it was a very frightening time for people who lived in Charleston and many took to sleeping outside on lawns, parks, and open spaces in tents to avoid the tremors and shaking of the aftershocks.
To see pictures of the earthquake and the old city click here for a 4 minute video (watch your sound volume---the saxophone/trumpet background music is a bit LOUD):
keep in mind that all these streets you see in this video, are the same streets where we walk constantly, and many of the destroyed buildings are ones that were repaired and are still standing today--and that I admire and photograph all the time.
(to tell you the truth, I didn't even know that there were so many good clear photographs of the earthquake and the aftermath until I began researching this article.)
Louisa May Alcott's new book "Jo's Boys" came out the year of the earthquake. With everything in such shambles and ruins, I doubt if many people here had the time to think of it, much less read it.
I don't know where Charles took his bride Lois right after their marriage, so I have no idea where they were when it hit. I imagine it was terrifying. Remember, Lois was a very young newlywed of only 18 years of age.
After about four years, Lois was expecting their first baby. It was a happy time and they were thrilled to welcome a little girl they named Hazel. (remember Lois's maiden name was Hazelhurst)
Charles decided it was time to purchase a nice big house for them and big enough for future children as well.
He purchased a big three-story home on Limehouse Street. It had seven bedrooms, lots of stairs, and was about 6200 square feet.
The huge large home had been built by William Pinckney Shingler, a planter and cotton broker, in 1858. It had a fancy Italianette interior and was probably heated with a stove such as these:
|How to make Home Happy book|
Their bedroom may have looked something like this:
|How to Make Home Happy Book|
Homes back then had such high ceilings and the big heavy ornate furniture pieces with big drapes and canopies looked great in that type of setting.
Their home probably had fancy corbels, nicely glazed doors, pretty ceramic door knobs, tall first floor windows, big heavy gold mirrors and marble fireplaces. Lois probably chose elaborate and fancy wallpapers for the wall. They might have had some of the scenic wallpaper that had scenes painted on it--it looked like big wall murals. They may have enjoyed art and collected nice oil paintings. I did see a picture of the home's interior and it did indeed have lovely tall ceilings, beautiful moldings, a pretty fireplace, glowing wood floors and a sparkling chandelier.
I set out to find Lois's house and this is what I found:
10 Limehouse Street
Their front door. It's so tall and so beautiful! Alot of beautiful woodwork.
Lois and Charles probably enjoyed holidays in their new home- especially once the babies started arriving, recitals, church activities, dances, and supper parties in the neighborhood. I think I read that Lois particularly enjoyed "Gala Week", a festival that took place at the pond area, and I think they had fireworks
She might have took part in the Garden Club, Cotillion Club (not sure if this one was co-ed or men only?), a Sewing Club or a Music Club.
I know she was in the DAR because I come across the list of members and officers:
Her name was misspelled (Middleston) but I'm sure it's just a clerical error because her name is correct, her husband's name is correct (Charles Francis), and the address is also correct.
It was a very different world full of new possibilities and exciting new inventions, this country, underneath the Presidency of Chester A. Arthur, was becoming. The very first long distance phone call from Boston to New York City the year they had married. The brand new Brooklyn Bridge had just been built. The huge 225 ton Statue of Liberty was presented to our country from France. She was 152 feet tall!
George Eastman invented a little black box camera that sold for $25.00 (alot of money back then!). It was loaded with 100 exposures of film and when you took them all, you sent it in for developing, then the camera was mailed back to you loaded with fresh film! So many things for Charles and Lois to be amazed by and to wonder over! Can you just imagine a couple from this era playing with their very first camera?! And receiving finished photographs back via the post right in their mailbox on the house? I'd imagine it was a good bit like us when we got our first cell phone, or learned to "text", or discovered "e-mail" for the first time.
Charles might've enjoyed duck hunting, belonging to various mens' societies, (I am pretty sure Charles was in the St. Cecilia Society) I think there was also the Jockey Club, the Cotillion Club, German, French, and Hebrew groups as well as the Hibernian Society, Knights of Columbus and many church groups and other ethnic groups), sailing outings, or going on the big fox hunts or to steeplechase races. He might've smoked a pipe or cigars.
As the children grew, their parents might've taken them swimming or crabbing in the many local creeks or to Sullivan's Island, where they had married. Children in that era also enjoyed riding horses and ponies, and many had small carts they rode in, pulled by pet goats! I think, but am not sure, that ladies in that era still rode horses "side-saddle"....so I am not sure how little girls rode the ponies and horses.
A few of Lois and Charles' children (Willoughby, Charles, and little Hazel):
|Source: Internet. Probably Courtesy Middleton Family|
On the hot summer evenings, after the children were asleep, Lois and Charles might have stepped out onto their porch for a breeze. They might've enjoyed reading. Do you think Lois read Jane Austen's novels? Or Mark Twain? I think "the Adventures of Tom Sawyer" had been published about ten years earlier?
I wonder if they had a "new-fangled gadget" telephone installed in their home? How exciting that must have been to hear those first "rings" right in your own home?!
When I read about ladies in our city's history I wonder things like "what was she really like? What did she enjoy? Where did she most like to go? What were her dreams? What did she dream of for her children? What were her spiritual views? And what made her laugh and cry?
|Charles and Lois's door. Love the ornate transom window!|
|Their home has seven bedrooms. I wonder who slept in that window way way up at the top, the attic window? Household help? Children?|
With the War over and Charleston being in the Reconstruction years there may not have been as many fancy parties and formal balls that Lois's mother had enjoyed as a young girl--however-the tradition may have continued just as strong. I bet there were still many dances and weddings to attend though. House parties with charades, guessing games, and card games and going to the Theatre were popular pastimes as well. I did read that their oldest daughter Hazel had a huge debutante ball and big cotillion reception at the Limehouse home. There was music and dancing and beautiful decorations and lots of food. I could not find any photographs of the important event. Perhaps she wore a beautiful white dress and long gloves for the event? Maybe she wore pretty white blossoms in her hair? I'm sure it was a fancy and elegant event.
|Greenery on the Limehouse fence|
Lois definitely had a different lifestyle than her mother had enjoyed. The years after the war were much leaner times. Although Charles seemed to provide very nicely for them, still things that the previous generation had enjoyed had been toned down....or were not available to purchase---the finer teas, fancier foods, better silks and linens, more expensive china and wines. Not just Charleston--but the whole South was in recovery mode.
Still, Lois probably still enjoyed her shopping excursions downtown and on King Street.
There were many shops and businesses trying to stay open and recover from the lean War years. I think there were furniture makers, jewelers, blacksmiths,upholstery shops, delicatessens, silversmiths, newspapers, hat-makers, candle shops, shops for china and glasswares as well as furniture and household needs and shoe shops. I imagine she enjoyed shopping for chintz, taffeta, and pretty cottons to make her little girls dresses, laces and tulles for their petticoats, pretty material for their bonnets, flannels and soft cottons for the babies diapers and layettes. I bet she crocheted and knitted sweet baby booties, blankets, and caps, and would need to shop to purchase the yarns, needles, etc. for those projects.
|The Side piazza on their home at Limehouse Street|
Most cities had at least one, and maybe several photograph studios---where you could go in and have family portraits made in front of painted backgrounds.
Charles and Lois:
|Source:Internet (probably courtesy Middleton family)|
It wasn't clear if Lois and Charles had domestic help. I really couldn't find that information anywhere. Slavery as the South had known it was over...but many of the freed blacks stayed on or found new positions in town as cooks, maids, gardeners, laundresses, carpenters, masons, etc. Many of them lived behind their employers homes--in what had once been slave quarters.
I would imagine that Charles, with his successful business, could certainly afford domestic help for Lois. I'm pretty sure the Middleton family was very wealthy. I also could not find out if Lois had her kitchen in her home on Limehouse....or if it was a separate building out back of the house as was common then? (kitchens were commonly separate buildings so that if they caught fire the main house might be spared)--or if she enjoyed or did much of the household cooking or if help did it.
I also wonder about refrigeration---was there an ice house? A well for water? Did the ice man deliver? Did they heat with the fireplaces only or use the stoves pictured above as well?These are questions I will have to research more on....
On the side of their home we could see the pretty and shady porch. (piazza) What a lovely place they had to sit in the hot evenings and try to catch a breeze! Maybe when the children took afternoon naps Lois read, prayed, or did light sewing up on that top level? Looks like a nice peaceful and shady place. I wonder if they had any pets?
Maybe on nice evenings they had their supper out on the porch?
|we could see ladders and equipment--looks like repair work was being done|
Here I am at their pretty home!
The fancy wood carving above the tall white door is so pretty!
I spotted an old door leaning on a tree in the side yard.......
.....and this very old iron bench.
|Looks like it had been there a long time!|
|Upstairs Window. Did Lois labor and have her babies up here? did she read by candlelight? Tend to sick children? Hurridly get dressed on chilly mornings? Maybe Lois had a big soft fluffy kitty cat who curled up in ball on the end of their bed?|
|A Side View of the Limehouse Street home|
|8 Big Columns--top and bottom. Sure caught young Lois's eye!|
|Flowers on Legare Street|
Lois gave birth to TWELVE CHILDREN over the years! I think eight of them survived. They were all raised here:
Their son Thomas was born in 1897. He married Ruth Stephens. I think they had two children.
Their daughter Dorothy was born in 1900, right at the turn of the century. Such and exciting time! I love reading about that time era. Sadly, so sadly, she passed away in 1911. She was 11 years old. I could not find out what she died of...illness, accident, tragedy.
Their son Augustus married a woman named Alice. They had four children.
Their son George Abbott was born in 1892.
Edward Willoughby was born in 1891.
and Eunice was born in 1906.
|Charles in later years|
Charles and Lois's daughter Hazel married Frederick Rutledge Baker. He was born in 1890. They had only one child, who they named after his father--Frederick Rutledge Baker the Second. He was born in 1916 and lived until 1990.
Charles and Lois gave each of their children a home as they married and moved out of Limehouse. After all the children were married and moved out they rented out Ten Limehouse.
They lived with their daughter, Hazel (pictured way above during childhood) over on King Street.
I, of course, went looking for the house. We found it!
(I get so excited when we actually FIND the houses I am looking for--the ones I am studying/researching--on a recent one I was working on while just putting the finishing touches on THIS ONE--I was not so lucky. I went---and that particular family's house was long gone and apartments built on the land in the 1960s or so. That is a chance you take and you just never know what you'll find when looking into history.)
|Lois and Charles lived here with daughter Hazel|
|side Piazza view. Three levels on the house!|
|this is where Charles and Lois' grandson lived with his parents. I bet they were so proud of him and enjoyed spending this time with them.|
A wealthy and dashing Mr. Trenholm owned this house, but never lived here, Instead, he lived over at 172 Rutledge Avenue. It is believed that he was the one Margaret Mitchell based her character Rhett Butler on--in her famous novel "Gone With the Wind". He sold the house to Laura Witte Waring's Dad-- which is where Laura grew up. That home is now Ashley Hall School. Back in June I wrote all about Laura and her house here:
Hazel's husband worked for Middleton Compress and Warehouse Co. He bought and renovated several other homes as well.
|Hazel got a fountain! It's SO LOVELY! I loved it|
|Side View of Hazel and Frederick's home.|
|This door and the woodwork MUST HAVE reminded Hazel of the doorway where she grew up--over on Limehouse|
|Pretty Flowers at Miss Hazel's House|
|Here I am at Hazel's home. It's so big and pretty|
This is the home where Lois spent her last days.
I was happily surprised to see that this house where Lois and Charles moved into as they aged was just a couple of blocks from White Point Gardens, where they had done their courting. I just bet that they strolled over there for as long as they could....talking and reminiscing about how it "was back in the good 'ole days". The harbour is there, pretty boats coming and going, and they could always sit and watch the ever changing water, the dolphins jumping for joy, and the beautiful sunsets there. They had a long and happy life together.
|White Point Gardens|
Miss Lois died in 1927, not long after they had sold their lovely home on Limehouse.
Lois's Death Certificate:
Her husband, Charles, then lived with their son Charles (also pictured above as a child).
this is his home:
|the tall skinny carved front doors are very unusual and pretty!|
He married a young lady named Jane Margaret Simons. She was born in 1891. They were blessed with three children. One of the boys they named after his grandpa---Charles.
|Can you imagine Charles and Lois visiting their three grandchildren here? I wonder how they celebrated birthdays and holidays? Do you think they put a bright and shiny Christmas tree up in that bay window?|
|The pretty, delicate, lacey fronds of the mimosa tree were kind of framing the bay window for me in this picture.|
|Nice big house to raise children in. There appeared to be a big porch on the back, maybe screened in.|
Charles never re-married.
|Charles and Lois's Grandson Charles--Charles' namesake|
|charles' death certificate|
|Charles Francis Middleton's grave|
He passed away there at his son's home, at age 80. It was 1939.
Lois and Charles's son Charles died in 1958.
I'm not 100% certain, but I think this might be Margaret Middleton, Lois' and Charles's daughter in law. She became a highly acclaimed writer and wrote quite a few books. She was in the Century Club and the National Society of Colonial Dames. Charles' widow died in 1980.
One of her books: