Dear Nannie... yours devotedly, Charlie: Nannie Figgat Chronicles Mid-19thCentury Southwest Virginia through her Diary, Recipes and Correspondence
Robbins, Jean C.
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The title, Dear Nannie... yours devotedly, Charlie, represents the basis of our story of Nancy G. Figgat/Anne Godwin/Nannie -- all the same person. We began with two manuscript recipe books, which we realized belonged to mother and daughter, Martha Mary Godwin and Nannie. Resources at the Botetourt Country Historical Society Museum helps us appreciate the Figgat and Godwin families of Fincastle, Virginia. Our research took off when we discovered that Charles Miles Figgat courted, married, and deserted Ann Godwin, whom he alone affectionately addressed as "Nannie." Having a passion for research led us to a wealth of primary and secondary documents, but it all began at Virginia Tech in Newman Library's Special Collections with the Southwest Virginia Counties Collection. Our story is the story written by Nannie in her letters, diary, and recipe book. She provides a culinary perspective from her time and place in Virginia history, and she documents activities in and around Fincastle during the Civil War. With additional historical documents including letters written by her father, mother, and husband from 1835 to 1885, we follow Nannie Figgat for more than 80 years. Her story is mainly from the perspective of a young woman in her twenties waiting to hear if her parents will agree to a marriage proposal, through war and scandal, to her final move and residence with her adult children in Roanoke, Virginia. Their documented activities conclude the story with her death in 1919. We hope readers will experience, as we did, her triumphs, grief, and disappointments, and appreciate her as an example of courage, faith, and love during often trying times.