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Thomas Joseph Macon, 1839-1917
Life Gleanings
Richmond, Va.: W.H. Adams, 1913.


Thomas Joseph Macon was born in Hanover County, Virginia in 1839 to Frances Mutter Macon and Miles Cary Macon. At the time the Macons owned Fairfield, a plantation situated just outside Richmond that had been in the family for generations. However, the Macons relinquished the property for unspecified reasons and moved within the area several times during Thomas Macon's youth. Despite his family's rural lifestyle, Macon attended various local schools and studied with established tutors. In the mid-1850s he began to work as a clerk in the Richmond dry-goods firm Park, Nimms, & Co. and, except for four years of service as a private in the First Company Richmond Howitzers during the Civil War, continued in this career for the rest of his life. Macon published his first book, Reminiscences of the First Company of Richmond Howitzers, with Leigh Robinson in 1909. His autobiography, Life Gleanings, followed in 1913. Thomas Macon died in 1917 at the age of 78.

In Life Gleanings (1913), published by W.H. Adams of Richmond, Virginia, Macon tells of his childhood and education in rural Virginia, his profession as a dry-goods clerk, and his military service in the Civil War. Interspersed with personal experiences are his reflections on the Virginia social customs he encountered during his lifetime. Macon also includes his impressions of major regional and national concerns, such as the Civil War and its aftermath, presidential elections, women's suffrage, and the growth of the railroad. Richmond assumes a prominent place in Macon's narrative, as he provides an historical overview of the city, beginning with the final antebellum years and continuing through post-Reconstruction. He details Richmond's changes over time, paying particular attention to the war's impact on the city's social and political culture. Macon closes Life Gleanings with several stories related to his experience as an officer in the First Company of Richmond Howitzers.

Armistead Lemon
Harris Henderson

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