Brownie Bass Tulloss
Lillian and Harry Brady on Haymarket Bridge ca 1920
Cows at Shelter Farm ca 1955
Red House Tavern office building 2005

Maude Ewell

 Alice Maude Ewell (1860-1946) was a local author of the late Victorian period who wrote fictional stories and poems for prominent periodicals of the day as well as locally published books. She was a contributor to such national magazines as Atlantic Monthly, Godey’s Lady’s Book, Peterson’s Magazine, and St. Nicholas, a magazine for children.

Alice Maude Ewell 1890
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Two of Miss Maude's books are available on Google Books:

A White Guard to Satan

The Heart of Old Virginia

  

Another is available from the Prince William County Public Library:

A Virginia Scene

  

The Heart of Old Virginia was illustrated by Sue Berkely Alrich, another Haymarket resident.

"Miss Maude,” as she was known locally, was born and lived her entire life north of Haymarket on her family’s farm located at the foot of Bull Run Mountain near the present day intersection of Route 15 and Log Mill Road. Her paternal grandparents came to this area in the 1830s. A Ewell enclave, all built within sight of each other, eventually included her grandparent’s home, “Dunblane”, her father’s house, “Edgehill”, and a small chapel known variously as “Grace Chapel” and “Ewell’s Chapel."

Alice Maude Ewell as a young woman circa 1890. Photo from Haymarket, A Town in Transition by Sarah Turner

Edge Hill
Dunblane

 Alice Maude Ewell was part of the first generation of women to grow up in a South radically transformed by the Civil War. After the war the Haymarket area, like all of Virginia, was economically depressed; this caused many young men of Ewell’s generation to leave the area to look for work. Economic necessity, personal talent, and a reduced possibility of marriage, all lead to a literary career that began with the publication of her first poem in Peterson’s Magazine in 1883, when she was 23 years old. Her last published work was A Virginia Scene, a collection of family memoirs of Prince William County, written at the age of 70.

Within the last ten years, Miss Maude’s magazine fiction has been the subject of renewed interest and literary criticism by William Scheick, a professor at Univeristy of Texas, Austin. Scheick praises Ewell’s fiction for its suggestion that “the collapse of both the social class and economic systems of the Old South proved[ed] an opportunity to revise outmoded social boundaries in a manner particularly conducive to women’s achievement of a new gender identity.”

Alice Maude Ewell is buried at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on Fayette Street in Haymarket.

Grace (Ewell) Chapel

 

Images in top banner, left to right: Brownie Bass Tulloss ca 1900; Haymarket Horse Show ca 1960; Lillian and Harry Brady on Haymarket Bridge ca 1920; "Red House Tavern" office building 2005; Haymarket Women's Club meeting ca 1950s; Cows on Shelter Farm ca 1950

©2012 Haymarket Museum

  

One of Alice Maude Ewell’s earliest memories was of standing on the steps of Edge Hill (her father’s home that he inherited from his grandfather) and seeing Union soldiers approaching the house on horseback. The soldiers soon discovered her father, on furlough from the Confederate army, hiding in a hole under the kitchen floor. He was taken to Washington D.C., where he was imprisoned for several months. 

Miss Maude was born in this house that her grandparents, Dr. Jesse Ewell and his wife, Ellen MacGregor, had built circa 1831. Slaves owned by Ellen’s brother built it. Miss Maude wrote: “When this low and rather large, this softly gray old dwelling … went up in smoke and flame [in 1911] … much of [my] life went with it.” Miss Maude had another house built to replace it, and lived there until her death. Image from A Virginia Scene, Maude Ewell.

In 1847 Alice Maude Ewell’s grandfather, Jesse Ewell, donated land to the Methodist Episcopal Church for the purpose of building a place of worship. The chapel was called “Rescol Chapel” when used by the Methodist Church. By the late 1880s the chapel had been conveyed to the Episcopal Church and the name was changed to “Grace Chapel” but, because of the close association with the Ewell family it was also known as “Ewell’s Chapel.” After falling into disrepair after the 1950s, the chapel  was demolished in the early 1980s. To learn more about the history of Grace (Ewell) Chapel click here.