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Northern Women in the Aftermath of the Civil War



Joanne Hamilton Rajoppi

Three million husbands, fathers, sons, uncles and brothers marched to war between 1861 and 1865. Of that number, nearly 750,000 never returned home. For Mary Ann Hamilton of New Jersey the conflict separated her from her husband and three sons. Her beloved youngest ultimately perished in battle and her war-wounded husband lingered in pain at home before finally dying. Rendered economically helpless, a woman like Mary Ann with young children--including a daughter considered "insane" at the time--eked out a living as best she could.

Northern Women tells the story of the perseverance and stamina of women facing an altered world, many of whom were confronted by widowhood, burdened with returning soldiers addicted to alcoholism or drugs, or strained by the care of men suffering from post-traumatic stress. The story of the Hamilton family relates the legacy as well as the dreams and hopes that these women left their children in the context of a rapidly evolving America--the new Federal pension system, the westward migration, industrialization and the start of the modern business culture--all of which opened new careers for women leading to their eventual emancipation at the start of the twentieth century.

Table of Contents



Chapter 1  A Civil War Widow?s Tribulations

Chapter 2  A Claim for a Pension

Chapter 3 The Hamilton Family Grows

Chapter 4 Death Visits Again

Chapter 5 The Rich and the Working Poor

Chapter 6 The Cult of True Womanhood

Chapter 7 Community-Minded Men and Women

Chapter 8 Broken-Hearted

Chapter 9 The Hamilton with Wanderlust

Chapter 10 A New Woman

Chapter 11 Two Brides

Chapter 12 A Sweet and Bitter Love

Chapter 13 The Green River Valley

Chapter 14  Farming and the New Woman

Chapter 15 The Other Man

Chapter 16 Upward Mobility

Chapter 17 A Home Away from Home

Chapter 18 The Last Civil War Widow of the Family

Chapter 19 A Respectable but Poor Trade for Women

Chapter 20 A Patriotic Legacy



About the Author  


"A story of survival during wartime-not from cannon fire and bullets-but of life itself. When the men of the author's family, the Hamiltons, go to war, the women are left behind with barely adequate, if any, means of support, and must provide for themselves and their children the daily necessities of food and shelter. How they survive and impart their values is poignantly portrayed in this story of quiet heroism." -Rich Rosenthal, President, North Jersey Civil War Round Table

"Joanne Rajoppi deftly tells the story of the women of one New Jersey family as they overcame personal tragedy and navigated the social, political, and economic complexities of post-Civil War America. Using the experiences of the women of the Hamilton family, she sheds light on the challenges and struggles that defined the roles of American women in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This is a fine work of local, family, and women's history."-Phillip Papas, Senior Professor of History at Union County College, Cranford, New Jersey

"A story of women when they needed all their fortitude, craft, intelligence, and guile to survive, eat, and live. Ms. Rajoppi has provided us with new historical sources, a fresh story, and an account of a time when the widows of war were forgotten. An excellent read which I recommend." - C. Brid Nicholson, Associate Professor of History, Kean University, New Jersey

"In this well-written and insightful work, Joanne Rajoppi does for Brunswick women what she had done so well for Brunswick boys. She restores these women to their place in history and reveals their hopes, desires, and dreams. This book is essential for understanding the lives of Northern women after the Civil War, a subject that has not received nearly enough attention." -Louis P. Masur, Distinguished Professor of American Studies and History

"Women have played a vital and often times singularly unique role throughout American history. Yet early American history sometimes leaves little record of their inestimable achievements. With inventiveness and great originality Joanne Hamilton Rajoppi has done yeoman's work to recreate the antebellum lives of the Hamiliton woman. Manifesting the universality of the lives of many Northern women, Rajoppi's efforts may well become a tour-de-force in the recognition of the courageous role of the woman who sacrificed everything for their own families and a grateful nation." -Paul F. Caranci, author and historian


Format: 6" x 9" paperback on permanent acid-free paper, printed in the United States; includes 65 black and white period photographs of people, places and events mentioned in the text.
Pages 260
ISBN 10: 1-939995-18-3
ISBN 13: 978-1939995-18-6
LCCN: 2016052703
Price: $19.95 (Bulk order rates are available upon request)

About the Author

Joanne Hamilton Rajoppi, author of "Northern Women in the Aftermath of the Civil War"

JOANNE HAMILTON RAJOPPI, a former journalist, is a lifelong resident of New Jersey. A history aficionado, she chronicled the military service of her great-grandfather during the Civil War in her book New Brunswick and the Civil War: The Brunswick Boys in the Great Rebellion based on the letters he wrote to his family.

A contributor to Meet Your Revolutionary Neighbors: Crossroads of the American Revolution, she also has authored several pamphlets and calendars detailing the history of the region. She is also a trustee and officer of the Union County Historical Society. During the Civil War Sesquicentennial she established and chaired a four-year revolving exhibit in the historic Union County Courthouse. She serves as the Union County Clerk and is a former mayor of her hometown.


Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Names: Rajoppi, Joanne, author.
Title: Northern women in the aftermath of the Civil War : the wives and
   daughters of the Brunswick boys / Joanne Hamilton Rajoppi.
Description: Staunton, Virginia : American History Press, 2016. | Includes
   bibliographical references and index.
Identifiers: LCCN 2016052703 | ISBN 9781939995186 (pbk. : alk. paper)
Subjects: LCSH: Hamilton, Mary Ann Ryan, approximately 1817---Family. |
   Hamilton family. | United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Women. |
   United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Influence. | Hamilton,
   Alexander, -1864--Family. | New Brunswick (N.J.)--Biography.
Classification: LCC CS71.H22 2016 | DDC 920.72--dc23 LC record available at


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This product was added to our catalog on Sunday 29 January, 2017.

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