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A Governor of Alabama waited for the Baby Girl to grow up before he married her


(Transcribed from the Times Daily, Florence, Alabama January 9, 1892)

Washington Post

Congressman Oates, of Alabama with his 55 years and only one arm, has a romantic story that surrounds the loss of the other arm. During the war he served in the Confederate army, and it was before Richmond that he received the wounds that necessitated the amputation of the right arm. At this time it was that Oates was obliged to lie off on sick leave while he recovered from his injuries. He was received into the house of a Southern family and nursed by the eldest daughter.

When he pulled through Oates felt that his life had not only been saved by her, but that his future happiness was in her hands. The young officer told his story, but this young nurse did not favor his suit – whether because she thought it was pressed simply from gratitude, or whether she did not return his affection, is not told.

William Calvin Oates

Oates was too weak to return to his command, and between fretting over his rejected suit and at the delay in his return to the front, was in a most unhappy mood. One day when more despondent than ever the mother looked up and said laughingly:

“Never mind, Captain, you just wait for so and so,” pointing to the baby in the cradle she was rocking. “You can have her by and by.” The captain laughed.

The baby began to grow to girlhood, and Oates was interested in all she did. When she became of marriageable age he reminded her mother of her old promise, made over the baby’s cradle. There was no opposition to the match, and the couple are unusually happy. This accounts for the difference in age, at which many people have wondered. Mrs. Oates is a pretty woman, with Southern grace and hospitality, and very devoted to her husband.

(Colonel Oates married a Miss Toney, of Eufaula Ala., who is a sister of Judge Sterling B. Toney, of Louisville, Ky.)

(See William Calvin Oates full biography at this link)

His biography is included in the Book Biographies of Notable and Not-so-Notable Alabama Pioneers Vol. III

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About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and All her books can be purchased at and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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  1. Sarah M. Downs

    That doesn’t sound like a romantic love story at all. That poor girl.

    1. Jason Saxton

      That’s what I was thinking.

    2. Jason Kitchens

      No kidding. I look for the age of him and his wife but could not find it. It just said she was 27 years younger than he was. Or what the Ages were when they were married

  2. Trisha Brumfield

    By marriageable age they probably meant about 16 maybe younger. How awful to hook a child to a 55 year old one armed man! People sure did some questionable stuff back in the day!

    1. Dona Smith

      They go to jail for that kind of romance now! There is a reason they omitted the age

  3. Shannon Lundgren

    This isn’t romantic, it’s creepy.

    1. JoAnn Kyzer Doty

      Totally creepy. Whoever thinks its romantic and ok has some major issues. “Waited til the baby grew up” wth does that even mean?

  4. Mary

    Sounds like he viewed women/girls/baby girls as objects. Although in all likelihood, he and she probably just fell into it.

  5. Gregory D. Spruill

    It just shows you where we’ve come from and it just shows you where we’re going

  6. Frances Simmons Hughes

    Different times, weren’t they? I would’ve wanted to beat the crap out of my parents in her shoes. You know the girls practically had to have permission to breathe in those days.

    1. Mary Aiken

      All women were Slaves. Just as they are now !!! Especially in the South.

  7. Norma Adams

    A lot of Confederate soldiers never returned from the war. Women and children were destitute. There was no respectable way for them to live, especially since they had been taught that their place was in the home, not in industry. While I can’t imagine this for my child, I can visualize the desperation that prompted it.

  8. Cindy Branum Blinn

    The poor girl was “groomed” shameful of all the adults

  9. Peggy Kendall

    Disturbing. Treating the poor girl like property.

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