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Memoir Review    



Maria's Journal: A Nineteenth Century Glimpse into
the Lives of Three Remarkable Georgia Women
by MacKenzie Cross
Wolfe Publishing, 2003
Hardcover, $18.00 (89 pages)
ISBN: 1-883793-58-0

In 1980, MacKenzie Cross was going through items at a roadside flea market in Nassau County, Florida, when a man burning books from a crate box caught her attention. She bought the box for $3. As she explored the contents, she discovered the journal of Maria Osborne Bessent covering the years 1854-1864. The journal was actually an old ledger for a sundry store, and Maria Bessent was pasting newspaper clippings about the Civil War, poems and stories. The readable parts of the old ledger provided insight into the lifestyle of that period.

The journal proved to be a source of entertainment and reflection for MacKenzie Cross and her family. The journal survived the fire at the flea market only to survive another fire in the Cross home. The house burns to the ground, and MacKenzie takes the journal on her own adventure to a houseboat, to a haunted Civil War era infirmary turned house, and finally to a cottage.

MacKenzie Cross felt driven to research the author of the journal. An article about the journal in a local newspaper brought letters from other Bessents and one clear connection to St. Mary's, Georgia -- where Maria Osborne Bessent lived. There she met "Cappy" MacDonell and learned of another journal and two more fascinating women named "Maria."

Maria's Journal is a treat for Civil War buffs, coastal Georgia historians, and those that research family history.

Maria's Journal is available from the author. Copies may be ordered for $18.00 plus $5.00 for shipping and handling from: MacKenzie Cross, P.O. Box 52, Fernandina Beach, FL  32035.

Joyce Dixon
Southern Scribe Reviews


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