Anna Maria Hendree Norwood

1828 – 1901

Anna Maria Hendree was born 27 October 1828 in Richmond, independent city, Virginia. She was the daughter of George Diefendorf Hendree and Sarah Austin (Tinsley) Hendree of Richmond, Virginia.

Anna married Thomas Manson Norwood. He was born the son of Caleb and Jeannette (Mason) Norwood 26 April 1830 in Talbort County, Georgia. About how Anna and Thomas met from the handwritten “Memoirs of Anna Hendree Norwood McLaws,” shared by Hendree Mason: “...A few years later, 1849, when she [Anna Maria Hendree] again visited these cousins [the Means of Oxford, Ga.] with her mother and sister, Susan, she met Thomas Manson Norwood of Culloden, Georgia (a student in Emory College) which culminated in their marriage June 2nd, 1853 by Rev. Moses D. Hoge at six o'clock in the morning in the Gothic Presbyterian Church, on Fifth Street, now known as the Second Presbyterian Church.”

Thomas Manson Norwood graduated from Emory where he studied law and was admitted to the the bar in 1852. He set up his practice in Savannah, Georgia. [Paper from the Vault GDAH – Congressional Directory, pg. 1623]

After marriage, Thomas and Anna lived and raised a family in Savannah. George Hendree Norwood was born 8 October 1856 in Savannah and died 30 September 1888 in Savannah. Thomas Manson Norwood, Jr. was born in May of 1865 in Savannah and died 30 October 1867. Anna Hendree Norwood was born 8 October 1867 in Savannah and died 16 June 1961 in Richmond, Virginia at the age of 93. Lacy Merriman Norwood was born 20 April 1873 in Savannah and died 21 March 1959 in Chatham County, Georgia

In 1858, Anna and her son, George, left Savannah to visit with her sister Agnes Hendree Paine in Tuskegee, Alabama. Here is a letter written to Anna from Thomas Norwood [Hendree Mason Papers]: “Savannah Nov 4th 1858

“Your favor of the 31st ult. came to hand today Thursday. I received your note of the 28th also, and replied at once. And I must again acknowledge the strong obligation I am under to Mr. P & Sister Agnes for their solicitude and their pressing invitation, while at the same time I beg you will assure them that no invitation whatever would be necessary to draw me to their roof if I were so situated that I could leave. I thought when I wrote last that the sickness was abating, but then we had seven burials day before yesterday and ten yesterday. I hear there are six or eight today, but I can not say how true the report may be. I know I cannot well leave, and have dismissed the subject so far as to feel no uneasiness.

“I learn today that there is much whooping cough in town, but there is none in our neighborhood.

“On Tuesday, the 2nd inst. Margaret was delivered of a girl-child. She & the child are well from all I can learn from Fafhue – I have not seen either of them.

“Last night was cool, and so today. But the wind is getting South again. We may have frost in 48 hours – we may not in ten or twenty days.

“Dr. Geiser is still in the same condition of mind but weaker in body. Charters' opinion of his case has changed a hundred times in the last ten days. This supposed cold weather might help him, but he may pass away before the lingering Fall.

“I have been sleeping in the City ever since last Monday night. I found going back & forth too much trouble and moreover too expensive; and I believe it was more dangerous than remaining here at night.

“Please say to Mr. Paine I will drop him a line in a day or two about the prices of comoges(?) here.

“Dophm (or Doshm?) wishes me to say to George for her that his kitten has grown much and now catches mice & rates. I hope he is well again. Kiss him and tell him it comes from the deepest seat of his father's heart!

“With my best wishes for all with you, and I hope your brother John is yet among them. I remain Yours affectionately

During the Civil war the Norwood family lived in Savannah while Federal troops occupied the city. This is an account written by Anna Hendree Norwood McLaws, from her notebook shared by Hendree Mason: “In the After Years as Told Me by Mother:

“When Savannah was occupied by the Federal troops, Mother was expecting her second child, he was born April 18th, 1865. Father had to have a permit to go for the Doctor. Father was on parole with an infection of the eyes, his sight was threatened, so he remained constantly in a darkened room, Mother sitting by a door ajar, getting light from a window in the next room so she could read to him, or write by his dictation any legal matter that came his way. They were without funds and she, like so many Southern women, had to make cakes, pies to sell to the Yankee troops, many of them camped in the square in front of their house. One cake a specialty she called “Confederate Carraway Fruit Cake.” I had a recipe but believe it has disappeared, it was a conglomeration of any stuff she could get together, watermelon rine preserves, cow peas, etc. but they liked it. The Yankee soldiers occupied the Massie School building on one side of the Square to our left and a Church on the opposite side from us, where they brought in their dusky damsels and had dances in both edifices. Brother George played among the Yankees in the square where they had tents and horses, he was offered a pony, but was not allowed to accept it, no doubt stolen from some Southern home by Sherman's vandals, on their march to the sea. It was thought that Savannah would be bombarded from the sea as it was only eighteen miles distant, so my parents and others sent many valuables for storage in a warehouse at Gordon on the Central rail-road, which proved to be in Sherman's direct line of march 40 to 60 miles wide. I have the permit to go to Gordon and a list of things sent by my parents, upon investigation only a small ornamental luster ware cup and saucer, and some melted glass that had been fine table ware were found. Everything else destroyed by fire or stolen, including a black mahogany bed room suit of furniture made in Gothic style by a slave who had been taught cabinet making – Grandmother had him make a wedding present for Mother when she and Father were married in Richmond, Va., on June 2nd , 1853 in the Gothic Presbyterian Church by the Reverend Moses D. Hoge. Family Portraits and one of Thomas Sully's daughter Sallie also a picture he painted for Mother as a wedding present. I don't know the subject. Sully's portraits of my grand-parents George and Sarah Austin Tinsley Hendree were saved, don't know where they were. Our silver was buried under the stable floor. Grandmother was with Mother during this time, quite an old Lady- General O. O. Howard upon request from Mother who explained her age, gave her some tea and told Mother that if the soldiers annoyed them in any way to let him know, that it would not occur again. One day, several soldiers appeared and demanded the stable for their horses, Mother was small, with great charm of manner and courage, so she informed the soldiers that the stable needed cleaning that she could not think of turning it over in its present condition to such handsome young gentlemen, and if they would return day after the morrow she would have it in order to suit their fastidious taste, and she incidentally mentioned that General O O Howard had told her he would see that her family would not be disturbed. The handsome gentlemen did not return, but the silver found another hiding place. One of the faithful prewar retainers would accompany Mother to the front door when anyone called to buy food, saying “You stan back Miz Ann I ten to shim”. One day a tipsy fellow in some way slipped in and reached the stairs leading from the back of the hall to the second floor. Mother happened to be coming down, so she blocked his way, he insisting upon “gettin up there”. I know you got “fine juls and silver and plenty of fine clothes” with charming satire Mother flattered even his befuddled brain into believing that had she had all the fine clothes and “juls” he said, she would not receive so handsome a person in so plain a barb as a calico dress, and finally got rid of him. Mother was a dainty type but wholly unafraid.

The church the Yankee soldiers desecrated by dances with negro women caught fire and was destroyed. Mother said she gathered Father's valuable legal papers packed them in a trunk ready to be removed if their house caught also. One sleepless night with all the arousing in the church and the Massie school, to say nothing of the tents, soldiers and horses in the square, Father suggested that if any illness among the soldiers occurred they might try to ascribe it to her cooking, but that didn't scare her, she continued to make that “Confederate Carraway Fruit Cake” and any thing else she could concoct, which they no doubt considered good Southern cooking (what a laugh) and were glad to buy, this being the only means of support for the family except any little legal practice that came father's way, as I've already explained. Father's law office was rifled, his certificate of Admission to the bar stolen but years later returned. After the war he pawned his watch, scraped together what money he could and went to Philadelphia to get treatment by the noted Eye Specialist Dr. Pancoast, which he told me was very severe. All this I can verify by letter and etc.”

Before and after the war, Thomas M. Norwood was involved in politics, “...member of the State House of Representatives in 1861 and 1862; presidential elector on the Democratic ticket of Seymour and Blair in 1868; elected as a Democrat tot he U. S. Senate and served from Nov. 14, 1871 to March 3, 1877; resumed the practice of law in Savannah, Ga.; elected as a Representative to the Forty-ninth and Fiftieth Congresses (March 4, 1885-March 3, 1889); again resumed the practice of law; appointed judge of the city court of Savannah in 1896 and served twelve years; retired to his country home, “Hancock [Harrock] Hall, near Savannah, Ga. And died there June 19, 1913, interment in Laurel Grove Cemetery, Savannah, Ga.” [Paper from Vault of the GDAH – Congressional Directory, pg. 1623]

On the 24th of July 1901, Anna Maria Hendree Norwood died. The Atlanta Constitution on the 25th of July 1901 wrote:

“Death of Mrs. Norwood, Estimable Lady of Savannah Dies After Long Illness

“Short Sketch of Deceased, Was Miss Hendree, of Richmond, Va. When She Married Thomas M. Norwood in 1853.

“Savannah, Ga. July 24---(Special.)----- Mrs. Anna Maria Norwood, wife of Hon. Thomas M. Norwood, died this morning at 2 o'clock, after an illness of several years. Mrs. Norwood had been an invalid for some time and her health gradually declined and she wasted away until death came to her relief. Mrs. Norwood was before her marriage Miss Anna Maria Hendree, of Richmond, Va., where she was untied in marriage with Judge Thomas M. Norwood on June 2, 1853, by Rev. Moses D. Hoge, a Presbyterian clergyman. She was the daughter of George and Sarah Hendree, who was a Miss Tinsley and a member of one of the most distinguished families of Virginia.

“Mrs. Norwood was the survivor of a family of eight. Her eldest brother, Dr. John Hendree, of Selma, Ala. Had but one child, Woodson Hendree, a boy of brilliant intellect, who died at the age of eighteen, and whose poems were collected and published after his death. She left surviving her as nieces daughters of her brother, George Hendree---Mrs. Emily Park, wife of State Treasurer Robert E. Park; Mrs. Laura Harrison, wife of Z. D. Harrison, clerk of the supreme court; Mrs. Georgia Burton, wife of Bishop Burton of the Kentucky diocese. Her eldest sister married Sidney B. Payne, of Tuskegee, Ala., and her second sister married Dr. George H. Bartlett, grandson of the New Hampshire signer of the Declaration of Independence. Her other sister married James M. Ball, formerly of Savannah.

“Of the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas M. Norwood, there were four children, George H. Norwood died on September 30, 1888. He married Miss Loretta Howard, whose mother was Cornelia Lamar, niece of Mirabeau B. Lamar, founder of The Columbus Enquirer in 1828, and afterwards a major general under General Zach Taylor ...” “The surviving children are Mrs. Annie H. Davis and Mr. Lacey M. Norwood, a member of the Savannah bar. Mrs. Norwood was in her seventy-third year and had been a member of the Presbyterian church since her childhood.”

On Thursday afternoon, July 25, 1901 on page 1, the Savannah Press, wrote:

“Mrs. T. M. Norwood's Funeral
“Interment Was in Laurel Grove Cemetery This Morning

“All that was mortal of the late Mrs. Thomas M. Norwood was tenderly consigned to its last resting place in Laurel Grove cemetery this morning. Services were held a the First Presbyterian church at 10:30 o'clock and Rev. Mr. McCorkle, pastor, conducted them. Members of the bar and a large circle of friends attended the services, which were of an impressive character. A quartet, consisting of Miss Florence Colding, Mrs. A. B. Rowe, and Messrs, W. A. Reeves and Fritz Opper, with Mrs. W. A. Bishop as organist, sang in the church and at the grave. The floral decorations were many and handsome. Rev. Mr. McCorkle read the burial services at the grave in Laurel Grove Cemetery.

“There was a pathetic incident at the grave when three old colored domestics of the family broke down and wept as they saw the last of their beloved mistress consigned to mother earth. The incident deeply affected everyone present.”

Anna Maria Hendree Norwood was a sister who kept in touch with her family. She left many letters which family members collected and kept. Her daughter, Anna Hendree McLaws kept many of the letters, diaries, and so forth and handed them down in her family. Her family today shared this information with other descendants from Anna's brothers and sisters, and we are most grateful to Hendree Mason for the “Treasure Boxes.”

Contributed and copywrite by Lois Harrison Colwell