Sunday, September 26, 2010

Black Sheep Sunday - "Crazy Bet" - black sheep or heroine?

One aspect of finding ancestors has been the discovery of interesting people who had touched their lives. One such is Elizabeth "Crazy Bet" Van Lew.

I was introduced to Elizabeth while researching the post for George Hills Starr. George served as a Union Colonel during the Civil War. He was captured and sent to Libby Prison, where he and 105 men escaped through a tunnel. During the reading for this post I met this amazing women known as "Crazy Bet".

Elizabeth was born in New York and received her educated in Philadelphia. During the Civil War her family resided in Virginia. Here her sympathies did not match those of fellow citizens, in fact she became a Union Spy. This is where the paths of Elizabeth and George may have crossed. The accounts of the escape at Libby stated that Elizabeth aided the prisoners.

This "Black Sheep Sunday" take time to learn about Elizabeth. During her lifetime she was more likely considered worse than black sheep, but also very much a heroine.

Articles about Elizabeth Van Lew :

Elizabeth Van Lew (1818-1900) : by Encyclopedia Virginia

Elizabeth Van Lew's American Civil War Activities : by

Elizabeth "Crazy Bet" Van Lew from Civil War Talk

"She risked everything that was dear to her - friends, fortune, comfort, health, even life itself - all for one absorbing desire of her heart - that slavery might be abolished and the Union preserved."

Epitaph above from gravestone : Shockoe Hill Cemetery, Richmond Virginia

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