on May 2nd, Madame Childs stood
up to Colonel Turchin and his Union Troops
to save the Athens Female College while
Athens was being sacked and raided.
Hamilton Childs, known as Madame Childs, the
presented a letter to Col. Turchin on the
steps of Founders Hall that she said was from President Lincoln.
Turchin with his troops ready to burn down
the college, read the letter that ordered
troops to protect the institute and to post
security on the grounds to guard the campus
during the entire siege of Athens.
On Saturday, May 5th
2012, time lapsed back 150 years, as the
exchange of words and actions between Madame
Childs and Col Turchin took place in the
same location in front of the college,
The lawn of Founders
Hall provided a temporary home for an
encampment of Union Soldiers and cannons.
Firing of the cannon was on the half hour
and Blacksmith demonstrations were
throughout the day.
Featured were the
Alabama Division of Reenactors and Sons of
the Confederate Veterans Camp 768. The
reenactors are George Makowski as Col.
Turchin, Darrell Ball, Mark Curley, John
Mumaugh, Michael Mumaugh were all Union
Soldiers, Brad Wales Cannoneer, William
Pepper as the Drummer and Cathy Woods as
reenactment was sponsored
by the Athens State University Alumni
Association and the Center for Lifelong
May 5th, 2012
some information I located online from a
“According to Elva Bell McLin's book "ASC
History 1821-1994," former primary student
Allie Cook gave an explanation.
whose family moved to Illinois in 1865,
wrote the Athens newspaper in 1919 that
before leaving Athens, she heard a story
about the school's president, Jane Hamilton
Childs, known as Madame Childs.
said Madame Childs wrote to President
Lincoln, asking for protection, and Lincoln
ordered Federal troops to protect the
Roy L. Smith dubbed the school "the college
that Lincoln saved" in a story he wrote in
1941 for the Christian Advocate, a Methodist
publication. The Methodist church had
assumed sponsorship of the school in 1842.
said two local historians "vigorously
denied" the story, but the tale of Madame
Childs confronting a Federal soldier and
waving a letter from Lincoln enamored the
media and public.
It is a
story Athens State spokesman Rick Mould
shares with visitors, though he has no
said Madame Childs had valuable connections
in Washington, D.C., who could have gotten
her a letter. She made these connections
when she attended private schools in
Virginia, Baltimore and Philadelphia, and
operated a school for girls in Georgetown,
before moving to Alabama.
State archivist Sara Love said Childs' best
friend was married to U.S. Secretary of War
more likely that if she had a letter, it was
from him rather than Lincoln, I think," Love
said. "But then again, Stanton could have
gotten her one from Lincoln, I'm sure."
According to Mary Fielding, who kept a diary
during the war, Madame Childs' sister
arrived from Washington, D.C., the week
Turchin marched into town. Whether her
sister brought Madame Childs a letter is
Madame Childs' connections have been enough
to garner a letter of protection from
Stanton or Lincoln?
said Madame Childs traveled through Union
lines in 1864 to speak to Union officials in
Nashville about saving the college.”