Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library and Museums
William L. Gage Journal
LH – 119
Scope and Content
This journal was acquired by the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library and Museums in 1951.
William L. Gage was born in Maine February 27, 1820. Around 1850, he married Hannah Wilson and was living in Baltimore, Maryland. They were the parents of six children: Edgar S., Susanna, Hannah, Amos, Rose Emma, and Alexander Selkirk.
William was a member of the Baltimore Lyceum for which he included in his journal a lengthy “Essay on Bells.” Interested in politics and national events, Gage chronicled the nearly daily events of 1861. Well educated and an excellent writer, Gage wrote several letters for friends. He enlisted in the Confederacy and was eventually captured by the gunboat Currituck January 12, 1863. He was transferred to several other gunboats and then confined at the Old Capitol Prison. He was “discharged” February 13, 1863 after 32 days of imprisonment.
January 20, 1870, Gage left his family in Baltimore to work as a farmhand at Fauntleroy Farm, Virginia. He returned home in May, departing again for Virginia with his son Amos. Later that year, Gage returned to Baltimore where he was employed as a bookkeeper. In 1880, he was clerking in a store in Baltimore’s 11th Ward. It is unknown when William L. Gage died.
Scope and Content
The earliest date of this journal appears to be in May 1855. Gage wrote and copied sentimental poetry, particularly dedicated to his wife Hannah Wilson. Also included are songs, essays, and Latin names for plants. Throughout 1861, Gage wrote nearly daily entries regarding national politics and events leading to secession. During his months at Fauntleroy Farm, Virginia, Gage kept a detailed daily account of his farm work.
The final pages of the journal are dated 1885 – 1888 and appear in different handwriting. They served as an account of payments of individuals who were seen for medical examinations, “sick visits,” and “office consultations.” It is possible these accounts were kept by Gage’s youngest son, Alexander Selkirk Gage who was a physician in Baltimore He died in 1948.
One journal, 1855 - 1888