FootNotes In Time

~ Fourth Reactualized Life ~

Amelia "Kitty" Fleddoes Barr
1818 - 1881
Civil War


Kitty is one of the more tragic and interesting of my reactualized incarnations so far.

Born in New Castle, PA in 1818, she was the daughter of Charles Fleddoes, the local postmaster, and Lettie Boyton Fleddoes, a former millinery model. She had one younger sister, Penelope. Penelope was considered the great beauty of the family and was her parents' undisputed favorite, a fact that caused Kitty no end of grief throughout her life.

A prolific diarist, Kitty wrote with great passion about the daily events of her life, particularly her secret romantic yearnings. "Today I saw Phillip Reilly at the grainery in town," she wrote in her diary in 1833, when she was fifteen years old. "He has recently cut his hair, and I find him not quite so attractive as a result."  At age sixteen she fell passionately in love with her second cousin Amos, who served in the 4th Regiment of the Pennsylvania Reserve Infantry. Amos was later killed at The Battle of Turnip Hill, one of the early tragedies of Kitty's life.  

The following year, at her father's insistence, she married a man named Ezrah Barr.  Ezrah was a huge man, weighing nearly 300 pounds at the time of their marriage, and was profoundly hard of hearing. The marriage was never consummated; she and her husband never once slept in the same bed together. Kitty enjoyed muttering colorful obscenities at him at the dinner table, knowing that he couldn't hear her.

As the war neared its conclusion, Kitty began to engage in correspondence with a lieutenant in the 63rd Regiment. How they initially began writing to each other is unclear -- in sessions, under hypnosis, I get the impression that a letter he'd written to his wife had mistakenly ended up in Kitty's mailbox -- but the friendship flourished, thanks to a near-daily exchange of letters that continued throughout most of 1864 and 1865. The lieutenant was married, but he soon began to profess his love for Kitty, as did she in exchange for him. At one point she reluctantly enclosed a photograph in one of her letters; it was actually a picture of her sister Penelope, which she passed off as her own. "You are even more beautiful than I'd ever dreamed, Dear Heart," he wrote to her in response, when he saw the photo. Terrified that he would show up at her doorstep, once the war was over, and discover that she wasn't a buxom, blue-eyed beauty with blonde curls ... that she was, instead, a short, somewhat plain brunette who bit her nails ... she broke things off with the lieutenant by writing him a 'Dear Horace' letter.  She never heard from him again.

Heartbroken, Kitty retreated into a nightly bottle of Geoffrey's Cordial. She spent her days walking the banks of the Neshannock River, and her evenings writing gothic horror novels for gentlewomen. When Ezrah dropped dead of a heart attack at the breakfast table, sixteen years into their marriage, she buried him in the backyard, along with a hatbox filled with the lieutenant's love letters.

She died at age 63, choking on a chicken bone during a church social. Her last conscious thought before deactualizing was "I should have had the brisket."

Kitty was survived by two nephews and fourteen cats.


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